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Between a Rock and a Hard Place in a Relationship

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I don't know what I should do.

I've been with this girl for about 4ish years - pretty much nonstop, aside from a brief period where we broke up for personal reasons. She's a really good person. Her personality is the centerpiece as to why I love her. We get along so well. She 'gets' me. She's given me a lot of love. There's a lot that encompasses these two sentences, but the bad is likely going to be longer than this.


Now, while she is great and everything, she has some really annoying traits that she won't change. One of them is her absolutely dreadful inability to take action on stuff. It seems no matter how much love I give her or support, she is not able to 'get over this'. Her personality has meant that she would naturally take the spot of a floor mat. Other colleagues would take advantage of her because she doesn't want to be hated. For the life of me, I can't support THIS. As I've said, I've constantly been reassuring her/giving her as much confidence as possible. But still, the confidence she needs to do something, even with my CONSTANT reassurance, is still not enough.


I feel like an absolutely dickhead if I leave her, but she also knows how much it upsets me that she'd naturally go back to the way "she was". Makes me feel so insignificant, which sounds really selfcentred, given how bad she ALSO feels about it.


I didn't really care that she had low self esteem. I was willing to overlook it and other flaws, given how I have been working on improving my own imperfections. But if she doesn't take steps to make changes, I don't know if I'm patient enough to see her fall due to her flaws.

Edited by Dazzle
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19 minutes ago, bishopshodan said:

Long story but I ended up in emerg with a broken hand after one of our fights.

You need to be very careful when breaking bricks and walls bare handed. did you forget you weren't this guy?



Glad to hear things were worked out.

Edited by gurn
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Her being more submissive to friends and colleagues makes her feel bad? or it makes you feel bad? Is she upset that they take advantage of her, or is it your perspective that she is taken advantage of? If you are projecting your sense of pride on her, you are not really focusing on the main issue.


 You're intentions to keep pursing this I am sure come from place inside that wants to protect and help heal her. But from experience, those can only be helped that want the help. If she is unwilling to change and is content with the consequences, then you should leave. That is if it is as much of a deal breaker as you make it out to be.

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Although not quite on the same scale, I understand to some degree what you're enduring. My only relationship happened for six months last year, and like you, I had a girlfriend who spent most of her adulthood in a terrible emotional mindset, willing to ignore people who actually had her back while caving to people who gaslit, bullied, and manipulated her (take a wild guess what kind of people her parents were).


Also, like you, I truly believed that with the right amount of love and support, I could finally get her to see that she was equal to me and that a happy life was possible for us.


But I was wearing rose-coloured glasses the whole time, and I did not see her negative words and behaviors with the same clarity I do now. Everybody close to me sensed that trouble was coming, despite still being supportive of me. But I refused to leave her at many points where it would have been perfectly justifiable, and by the end, when she broke up with me for the second time, I ended up resenting her and her racist, elitist parents equally.


My advice to you is to not waste time and just end things with a clear and simple explanation of her flaws leading you to this choice, and don't communicate with her anymore. She should have at least one other person on her side to talk with, or she can go to therapy like you did, but you should no longer be her shoulder to cry on. Many people tend not to change for the better until life punishes them harshly enough, which is something I'm still living through myself. Self-worth is not something someone hands you on a platter, it's something you have to build with your own two hands.


It will be agonizing for a long while, but you have to protect yourself first, and when you've spent enough time single and being at peace with who you are and what you need, look for someone with that same positivity and focus on fulfillment. 



Edited by Neil HD
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Thing is, if we're in a relationship where we want the other person to "change", it may never happen.  So it's wasting time when it really signifies this person may not be right for you if considering them on an "as is" basis.  If there are shortcomings that really have you questioning it all.


Imagine your life without her.  Would it be better/worse?


That should help you in whether or not you feel like it's worth working at.  Her issues may require intensive/outside help and it may not be enough to just have you guiding her.  So she may have to be willing to explore that (or you accepting the things you cannot change).


My ex was a great person in so many ways but the ones that stood out in a bad way became glaring over time.  I saw them early on but "hoped" things would change.  They did..they got worse. 


We get one life and deserve to be happy....however that looks.


If you're staying with her to avoid being a jerk, that's just prolonging the agony in my view.

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50 minutes ago, bishopshodan said:

I just wrote this sentiment in another thread.


Essentially. ' If you can't love yourself, you can't love anybody'

I always understood that quote as "if you don't love yourself, you won't believe/trust anyone that does love you".  As you can well imagine, this would make a relationship dysfunctional and could result in quite a bit of manipulation.


Another quote I like is 'the only person you can change is yourself'.  As human beings, we don't like change and certainly find it very difficulty to change behaviours or beliefs.  Of course, with a lot of hard work and personal investigation, these things can be changed.  Most of all, any person that actually wants to make a change, has to REALLY want it.


50 minutes ago, bishopshodan said:

That said, I am so glad I stuck it out with my wife. We have come soo far, I love her with all my heart and feel almost guilty how happy we are after all these years. 

Nothing good in life comes without effort. We put the effort in.

22 yrs is awesome, bish.  Congrats on turning things around.  Obviously you both understood the true value in your relationship and were willing to do the work required to maintain it.  Having a partner is not an easy task and takes equal doses of compromise, which is also something human beings don't really like to do. 


To the OP, I would suggest that if you can't accept her for who/how she is (and that trait overpowers the things you love about her), or she is unwilling to work towards a change, the relationship may be doomed.


Stay strong and always be gentle.


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In a relationship, each person has an “unwritten job” to help encourage the other to become more of who they are meant to become, but within their capabilities. They may also make changes in their areas of weakness that you may never see. Giant steps mentally is what it takes for even the smallest of outward changes to perhaps even be seen.


I’m not claiming to be an expert, just what I’ve experienced from being married for 16 years this December 14th. Love the person you are with for who they are and who they can be. But who they can be, even in their faults that can certainly be worked on, isn’t what you will expect it to look like. My wife and I certainly challenge each other in our areas of weakness, but the smallest of changes not only take years to see, but will also be a glaring weakness and an area of frustration. But, at least in our relationship,  we each love each other for everything. Even love the warts.

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just because one person gives it doesn't mean another person can receive. It doesn't matter how much you think you're being supportive if she's not ready for it. I'd suggest couples counselling if you want to keep it going as there's clearly a communication disconnect here. 

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Not sure of yours or her age, but you have to be patient and give people time to develop. Positive re-encouragement is key.


When you guys had the "break up" - did you feel right about it? Or was there something "off" with her missing in your life?


Honestly, you should always do what's best for yourself - if you are unhappy and don't see a remedy to this problem in the future, you have to just ask yourself if you're willing to accept her the way she is. And if you cannot, it's best to cut ties and move on.


But I would lean towards being patient and giving her a chance to develop a more assertive personality.


Trust me, there are worse things in relationships. Not to downplay your issue, but there are people with much bigger character flaws than the ones you've mentioned. And if you see her fall as you said - be there to pick her up.


Best of luck whatever you decide. As with any big decision in life, it's best to "go with your gut".

Edited by BrockBoester
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What I gather from the brief summary of your relationship is that this aspect of her is the only real draining portion of your relationship, in which case I'd definitely advise you to at least take some serious steps towards trying to remedy the situation before you break up with her.


Now, this isn't about reassuring her or making her feel good about herself to try and somehow goodwill her into being a more confident and assertive person. It's a big personality change that she needs to make in the way she approaches and treats other people. She needs to not only be willing to make this change but hold herself accountable for being the primary catalyst in changing. None of this should be on you because you won't be there to oversee every social interaction she has.


It's hard to quantify changes like this so if you're up to it one suggestion I might have is to start bullet journalling together. It was one of ways I personally held myself accountable for making changes in my life that I believe helped me grow as person. Each day/week you can talk about your successes and failures in regards to the personal goals you set and it'll help keep you in the loop with her progress without having you take responsibility for her changes.


Anyways, this was just my take on the matter. It's entirely understandable if you break up with her over not wanting to change because of the 'doormat' situation. That's a mentally exhausting thing to deal with as a partner and you'd probably grow resentful after a while because of it.


All the best.

Edited by Mathew Barzal
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I broke up with a gf who I was dating for 5+ years.... best decision of my life.

We got along fine, but a little too much... where we were able to know what buttons to push and how to annoy each other. 

We weren't unhappy per se... just content with each other.  


Never feel obligated to stay with someone.  

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