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Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am sorry to know about this challenging situation.
Is there anything else you would like to know?
The very reason she has to not trust you is the fact that you are younger and have not known each other long enough. Could you tell me more about your relationship?
I'm 22 years old, she's 29
She's really my first very major love
We've known each other for just a year... well, so far I guess it doesn't sound very trustworthy
We have very similar attitudes to life. I'd say, when we picture the perfect relationship, we have nearly the exact same idea. We share many things in general, and we both feel we have never been understood the way we understand each other before
Personally, I think we fit extremely well. The things she are scared about are mostly bad habits
I'm used to living a student life alone, so I'm not that cleanly. She's afraid I'm gonna be lazy, don't listen to her, etc.
I see, then age is a factor for sure, but I think the core issues is not age difference but the fact that she does not trust you enough, while she is still dating and would be marrying this other person, then how could she expect you to trust her?
I guess that is the reason for my confusion...
I know her life has been very, very hard for her... like, if she decided to go for me and we failed, I don't know if she'd contemplate suicide or whatever
At least she would say that if we don't work up, she is completely broken in life. While she trusts me a lot, it's seemingly not enough
What you are stating is very concerning since it shows a person whose mental health is very unstable and vulnerable
Hmm... how bad is it?
I mean... I would actually like to hear more about it
The fact that she is still into the wedding planning while having this relationship with you , shows she is not mature enough and is having a serious issue even knowing what to do and how to do it.
Because you see, she has actually said herself that she is crazy and I should stay away from her... at one point, her mother even wanted her to see a psychiatrist
Yeah, she still lives with her parents and she is quite dependent of them...
Btw, I would like to add, she is Chinese, and there are some cultural differences
(such as, living with your parents until you get married isn't uncommon)
Then I would not suggest you to get even more involved in order for you to prevent her to become more unstable, and for you to attach to a situation that could damage you, her and many other people.
Hmm... so would you suggest I just drop it completely?
If this person is unable to take good care of her own psychological stability, and presents suicidal ideation-risk, and is engaging in this situation that is actually pushing her even more, I'd not suggest you to fuel it, but to allow her to reflect on it, and to take good care of her formal commitment first in order to be able to share with other people the same intimacy, but not to mix everything.
Well, maybe I overdid it when talking about the suicide. I don't think she'd actually contemplate it, but it illustrates that she is extremely afraid of failure
I think her psychological stability is something I would like to talk about anyway
She has made statement about her mental health problems, and her mother who knows her well, is aware and wanted her to receive professional treatment. Then her actions getting involved this way in this time of her life confirms she has serious mental health and maturity problems, which need to be addressed with necessary support.
I don't actually feel she has serious mental health problems
Maturity problems, yes, but I don't really see the mental health issues. But it's hard for me to tell
It is very sad to know she does not feel truly happy and sure about her current official relationship but keeps working on getting married soon, that's very serious and would lead to serious crisis, and not constructive ones for sure.
Perhaps you could elaborate in detail what kind of mental health issues you think she has, what's causing them, what the symptoms should be etc., to make it clear to me what's going on with her
When a person tells you, or when you observe a person's behavior and feel afraid that person could commit suicide, then for sure that person could have very serious mental health issues.
I don't think she'd commit suicide. Most of the time, she acts normal. Well, she's quite special, but it's not like it seems she has a condition
Those mental health signs mostly appear when she's extremely pressured, but under normal conditions, I wouldn't describe her as disturbed
You are right when you mention how cultural differences could play a big role in relationships. Does her cultural values support her having the freedom to choose and change her mind about her romantic relationships and commitment? Do they support a person who is committed to get married to have another romantic-sexual relationship?
I got concerned mostly because you said you were afraid she could commit suicide because of a crisis from not getting her plans work for her the way she wanted. Is that what you meant?
She wouldn't receive much support to make her own choice. Think of it as the premise of the culture is survival. In order to survive as best as possible, it's not just the man and woman that are married. The two families are merged very tightly. Like his family has been giving her money, I think like 20,000$ total over their whole relationship
I'll retract that I think she would commit suicide
When a person perpetuates a romantic relationship and marriage plans with a person she does not truly love, that shows that such person is not mature enough and has issues around self-esteem, assertiveness, poor coping skills and more.
I don't think she would. She would just feel her whole life was ruined if she risked everything in going for me, and then I left her later
Right, she does have self-esteem issues. In fact, she has told me, if she had a good job, a strong position in society and her parents were proud of her, then she could have left him
I see, then taking that into account, it would be more about possible depression, anxiety related to the social and family pressure, due to the financial commitment with him and his family.
I think you can take it as, going for me takes very much confidence. She must be certain enough of herself to feel she would be able to handle all these issues without me
Unhappily she does not feel fine nor happy at all with such commitment because the very most important factor, the core of it is missing, right? She does not love this person.
(as a side note: the financial commitment isn't actually such a huge deal in that culture. There are other things that are more important, but in our culture, that financial commitment makes it easier to understand the significance)
I don't think she loves him
I see, and it seems obvious that she does not have yet what it takes to be that assertive and resilient
Well... she has said things...
Like, she and a friend visited him once. Those two stayed up all night playing computer games while her boyfriend was sleeping. She went to sleep after her boyfriend went to work, because she didn't want to sleep together with him
last time she visited her, she commented that she hopes he doesn't touch her. She has been saying things like having sex with him feels like she's getting raped...
Then again, they do share many things, I know there are things she genuinely likes about him
Oh, he lives in Sweden right now, she lives in China, but she is planning to move there shortly after marrying him
But reality is that sooner or later she would have to face reality afford the consequences from her choices and actions. I do think it would not be wise just to change one person fr another, for a healthy and fulfilling relationship to develop, it takes time, hard work and a lot of sharing, compatibility and two lives working together in multiple areas. You are very different and would need much more time to work on it, but at the same time, she is not beholding other options but to get married with a person she does not love, or to risk everything for you, who she does not trust nor know good enough, and it should not be that way.
Right, it should not be that way... unfortunately, it is.
I do wish I had more time to be with her. While I haven't known her that long, I do feel I know her very deeply
I am sorry to know that, it sounds truly complicated and dysfunctional, since there seems to be core incompatibilities between them, not allowing them to create a happy and healthy relationship,, even less a healthy marriage.
We are very similar in certain ways, and I'm very sure we would have a good life. I do realize though, it's not like we would just be together and everything would be great. I understand that I'm taking on a very great responsibility
Yeah... I feel the same thing. I think if they get married, they will stay together for their whole lives simply because they're not able to break up due to cultural reasons and stuff
But I also think, she's gonna hurt him, cheat on him etc.
In real life, healthy and fulfilling, constructive and enjoyable experiences require time, effort, hard work, a lot of sharing and full accountability from both persons for a relationship to work.
Absolutely, it's very sad and frustrating but real.
What you're saying sounds so obvious, but it's good to hear someone say it...
Right now, I feel I don't care so much about myself...
I just want to figure out what's best for her
Sure it is. We all need that.
I can tell you that in order for a person to truly take good care and play a healthy role in another person's life. that person needs to first take good care of himself, otherwise it would become self-sabotaging, dysfunctional and enable different forms ob abuse and-or neglect.
Yeah, but I feel that I'm capable of taking care of myself
I mean, if I realize that the very best thing for her is for me to disappear completely from her life, I will do that, and I'm confident that I'm still gonna have a very good life
She is the only one with the power and responsibility to choose what she wants to do and afford or not, and she would have to afford the consequences too. Your role as a positive source of support, should be focused on promoting her insight, accountability and healthy actions for her to take better care of herself and life.
I believe you need to give her time and space for her to work on herself, on what she needs to do about her life, and not to make it all depend on hopes and fears about a possible future
Hmm... that's easier said than done
Even if I disappear, she's not gonna have that much time and space. There's still social pressure, she doesn't have a good relationship with her parents, her career isn't really going so well
I believe if it requires confidence to break up with her boyfriend, then she would never get that confidence until quite a while after they're married
Absolutely, but life is real, and if we do not take it that way, regardless of how much we wish nice and good things, they would not just appear, they are the consequence of concrete work.
I'm willing to work hard for this. I'd do what I have to
That's a work that she needs to do on herself, nobody can do that for her.
I mean, I'm prepared that if I end up together with her, then the relationship might be detrimental to myself in the beginning
But I'm not gonna just let her roll over me and treat me as her servant either. I do want to make her accountable, help her take responsibility
In a sense, I don't know if her boyfriend will be good for her
They have described it as a father/daughter relationship, where she's the naughty, childish daughter and he's the responsible father that takes care of her. Do you think such a relationship could work?
I do not think so based on what you said before, it would not create a healthy, mutual and fulfilling relationship for both of them.
Right... I actually don't know. My instinct tells me it's not gonna be good
It certainly isn't what I picture as a great relationship. However
Her boyfriend really treasures her very much. I think that no matter how much she hurts him, he wouldn't ditch her
He would suggest things like it makes him proud to take care of her
I see, then if she remains the same, he would find out that what they have is not enough to make a marriage work
You're sure about that?
Yes, I do not think a person could be happy and fulfilled when facing the fact his spouse does not love him, and got married because of reasons different from real caring and love
He would say, he's aware that she doesn't love him, but he doesn't care. He knows he loves her, and it makes him happy to take care of her
He would also say, even if she doesn't love him in a romantic sense, his taking care of her is something she really needs in her life, and his ability to provide that for her is gonna make her happy, even if she doesn't love him per se
I see. Life will tell for sure.
That'd be a very limited and simplistic, unrealistic way of assessing reality.
Alright... I suppose she has a tendency to avoid responsibilities and stuff
She would say, she needs to be taken care of. He responds to that, so he believes what he does is best for her
I would rather say, the thing she really needs is to be taught to take care of herself
I truly hoe she could learn and mature from experiences and that you could grow from it and play a healthy role in her life too.
The whole experience has taught me a lot at least
So... if I were to ask your opinion, what do you think I should do?
Reflect on it, assessing the pros and cons in the short and long term, and choose to do what you were willing to afford as a responsible adult, taking into account reality more than hopes and wishes; then take consistent action.
Sorry to say, but that last answer wasn't really helpful
Different persons in the very same situation should take different approaches, depending on what they value, their belief system, personal experiences and expectations, maturity level and more...
Hmm... but you see, my opinion is that I could help her just as well as her current boyfriend can, possibly more
And that's not taking into consideration the fact that she doesn't love him
However, if I am to fight for her, it would create a massive disturbance in her life
And I don't know what would happen if I stayed in her life as a friend and nothing more
What could be the best approach for some people, would not work with other persons, since even pain could be necessary for people to learn,mature and change their ways, and bypassing those experiences, even when driven by good woill and optimism, would not help but delay lessons, necessary for that specific person's growth as a whole human being, wiser, more assertive, accountable, effective.
Yeah, I see that
I think that's the difference between how her boyfriend and I would handle her. I think he's more inclined to protect her from all the bad things in the world
I did assumed this whole time that she was unsure but truly loves you, knowing that she doesn't, makes even a much bigger difference here, since as you said, you would be pushing her from a dysfunctional relationship to another with a person she does not love, but could hope to be there t rescue her from present nightmare.
Hm... could you clarify that a bit?
If this person does not love you, and you care about her, the first thing you may consider is her right to find a person who truly fulfills her, who she could love, understanding and supporting each other. Sure that does not just happen, it is a process where people explore each other through experiences, challenges, difficulties, but they do share the same core of reciprocal affection, passion and compatibility. You would consider supporting her for her to take good care of herself as a friend, then to find ta person she could really love and feel that connection.
I am pretty sure she does love me quite much. We do share many things, such as life philosophies, opinions, approaches to thing and so on. I do think, if we made a healthy relationship, it could potentially be an extraordinarily good one
We do understand each other and complete each other in many ways
However, I feel this sounds a bit "childish". These are things that are apparent very early. But we have never tried living together for many years, I don't know how our relationship and feelings will develop over time
What I do know, however, is that I'm intent on taking care of her in a very responsible way, and make a strong effort to make it work out. It's not like I think I can be with her, and if after one year it wasn't as good as expected, that's gonna make me lose hope. Similarly, if we see that we do not work out at all, I would help her
i a sorry apparently I confused your words, and thought you said she does not love you, but with your clarification I see she does.
Within the limitations of her own circumstances
I would like to say
A few months ago, she said she loved me and all she wanted was to be with me
Then she developed some health issues, her career plans got changed and things didn't go as she planned
Now, she says she still loves me and she wants me, but she has been saying things like she can't risk being with me, and her career has top priority
Then time would tell, and each of you will decide what and how you want to do things. Just take full responsibility for your own choices and actions, and that would be the best way to support her.
I see, then those are her priorities. I truly hope you could grow and become wiser and more fulfilled from this experience.
I'm still conflicted though, because I believe I can give her at least as good career opportunities as her boyfriend...
I don't think it's enough that I'm prepared to take responsibility for my own actions, because the things I do will affect a lot of people
At the same time, inaction will affect a lot of people
That's why I said you need to assess all the pros and cons of your choices an take action consistently, while she should do the same. You focusing on what depends on you as a responsible adult, would allow them to do the same as long as they choose to do so, but that's not your responsibility, it depends on each of them.
I am sorry but I cannot continue. I truly hope you could take good care of yourself and support her the best possible way too.
Alright, I think that makes sense
Thank you for your help, it was enlightening
You're very welcome. thank you for being this open here.