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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I have basically exhausted my close friends with the

Customer Question

I have basically exhausted my close friends with the happenings of my current relationship with my boyfriend of 4 years. He and I have really bad arguments, there are insults, miscommunication, take downs, and there is me who gets violent from frustration (which i have stopped doing after seeing a therapist, and the reason why i do that is another long story.) Last Friday's argument i thought would be no different that others we have had in the past, Just so i can validate that i am not crazy when it comes to these arguments i recorded it and then later played i back to myself jut to see If i have done something to trigger his words. Basically what happened, is that I became intimate and he brushed me off. I did take offense and how i take offence is by getting quiet, I do that to have a moment to myself and to get over it (which i successfully do if he doesn't ask me 'What's wrong?')
Long behold he asks me what's wrong and since i took that as a sign to talk about how i was feeling i told him "You rejected me. Though i never reject you." and THAT started and argument. He became defensive (per usual) he talks at me, with aggressiveness and with an angry tone in his voice (this is what my best friends have told me after hearing the recording) The subject changes to other issues, he said that I always have an issue and i always want to talk to him about it. He thinks that the smallest issues that I can "get over" should not be brought up to him. That if he hurt my feelings that is another thing but if its something small i should not bother going to him about it. then it got to another subject, I asked him "My friends invited us out to karaoke and some dinner." and he said 'no' he wants to stay home and write (mind you he has two days off every week, and has the morning off before going to work. I am lucky to see him at least one of his days off.) I then said "I hang out with your friends when they invite us out, why are mine different?" he said "I go because i want to see my friends and then you want to see me so i just take you with me." he also says "I dedicate both of my days off to hang out with you" (not really) "I had to make up a bullshit excuse to see you." (am I a hassle? and obligation?) "we see each other at least every other week, god forbid i don't see you in a week." Mind you, i do not mind if he wants to stay home and enjoy his day off. but it would be nice to get a call or a text.
Anyway i don't want to talk about the whole argument but the gist is, he has been there financially for me (things i have never asked for, he insists on helping) which is fine, its kind but i rather take care of those issues myself. he says that he has been there when no one else has (financially) and that i should be so lucky. As nice as it is to have someone to help me out of some financial rut (mind you this is when i did not have a great job that payed well. that has changed and i am well off on my own.) But i think its more important to be comforted, have him be there emotionally. Of course that isn't the case. I have been called juvenile and childish in the argument(s) i have expressed that i do not like the way he is talking to me so his answer is "than stop saying things"
I can't talk clearly when we argue, but i try to remain calm and have a leveled tone until i ge frustrates and use a defense mechanism by laughing and cutting my answers rather short "yes babe. okay babe. mhm. okay." anyway, My friends who have heard this have cried, have become angry, and wonder why i tolerate it. I wonder why i tolerate it too. I want to stay with him but i also don't. I am very torn and sad , confused. I just don't know what to do...
He says he wants to work it out and work on our communication, my sensitivity, and strengthening our relationship. but this happened almost every argument. how many times can we "work it out?" i don't know what i should do but to do my own thing.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I forgot to mention, he is an only child and 2 years younger than i am
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am 27 and he is 25
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I’m Dr. Jackie, an interpersonal communication researcher/professor and relationship expert. I want to help you. And I'm so sorry you are going through this turmoil.

I hesitate to say that you are too sensitive or even comment on how either of you are handling the argument because I am only seeing a written account. However, from what you have shared here (and thank you for so many specific details that really help provide the big picture), it seems like you are right in that he sees a lot of these things you fight about as little and insignificant. But even if he is right in that it seems like he thinks you over-react, the fact remains that you have been hurt and have shared this with him. So regardless if he thinks these things are too insignificant to fight over, he should try to be more understanding of your feelings.

Also, another big concern I have is that it appears as though he is holding his financial help over your head as a way to have power or control. Maybe this is not the case, but from reading "between the lines here," that is what I sense. And here is the problem: whenever one person feels indebted or like s/he owes the other person, this imbalance in "power" can really cause disruption in the relational communication. You point this out in the end with, "He says he wants to work it out and work on our communication..." This definitely is a two-way street in that both of you need to listen to the other person. Like you said too, if this is occurring in just about every argument, and you argue often after 4 years, statistically, there is only about a 1% chance of this just suddenly changing. The vast majority of the time, things only become more filled with conflict as the downward spiral of the relationship continues. About the only thing that could change this is some type of "intervention," such as a near-death experience, tragedy, or counseling/therapy. Just like a person addicted to alcohol or drugs rarely quits on his/her own, people typically do not resolve their conflicts on their own. But a counselor (and face-to-face is always my first suggestion) can help you two work on this. If he is serious about working things out, then he should agree to counseling. But even if he does not go, please please consider counseling for yourself so that you can work through this with a therapist and really explore if you think this relationship can work.

I'm going to send you my contact information (phone and Skype) if you want to use either one of these formats to chat with me. Or of course, you can reply here as well.

Please let me know if this helps and what I can do. Take good care,

--Dr. Jackie

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.


I have not heard back. Can you let me know via rating/feedback if this has been helpful? Thank you!

--Dr. Jackie

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