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Thread: Relationship Struggles...?

  1. #1

    Unhappy Relationship Struggles...?

    So, this is something I can't really talk about with friends, but hey, I can talk about it here.

    I've been dating my boyfriend for three years. For the first year and a half, I was managing a frame shop and drawing a lot, and he loved that. We spent a lot of time gaming together, planning future excursions, and we had a lot in common.

    Then I decided I wanted to start producing entertainment and performing Burlesque, which I did. I have three successful productions running, I perform 5-6 times a month, plus my upcoming mermaid party gigs, plus I'm in the process of starting a Dr. Sketchy's. That said... I'm very busy. But I love it... it makes me feel like something I'm doing is making a difference, and all my hard work and training is paying off... and I actually make most of my living off of entertainment.

    He wants to be supportive, he's proud of me. But he doesn't find Burlesque interesting and he's not happy that I'm taking off my clothes in front of people. He also is introverted and doesn't do well with big groups of people he doesn't know, so I can't really count on him to enjoy being, or even want to be, a mertender. We've been slowly growing apart since I started being active in performance, and it's really affecting me... I feel guilty for working on costumes or acts, I feel guilty networking and promoting myself, and I feel guilty for being out of town performing.

    All the things we had in common... he dropped. He used to love going surfing and being at the beach, which is my happy place. He would come with me to visit my family on a nearby island and we'd go kayaking. We would make waffles and sew together- he loved making costumes and Halloween. Now that he works 40-hour weeks (he just graduated) he's always tired and depressed.

    I'm just starting to feel like I've been ignoring the fact that we might just be too different. We both want to be happy, we both love each other, but everything just feels like it's falling apart between us. We live together, we have a pet cat, and I work part time at our apartment complex... so if we broke up I'd have to find a new place to live, say goodbye to my kitty who I love deeply, find a new job, and somehow cope with losing someone I love. He's just not himself anymore- the things we had in common he doesn't do any more, and he doesn't want to be a part of what I do.

    I mainly just wanted to vent about it... but I feel very lost. This sadness is taking over my life right now.
    I'll be a Finfolk Mersister in January!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Sherielle's Avatar
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    There is a book called Love Busters by Willard Harley that really helps couples communicate better. I highly recommend it.
    Also, if your job is with the apt complex, why do you have to move and why would he get the cat if you guys broke up? That's seems a bit extreme.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Aurelia View Post
    There is a book called Love Busters by Willard Harley that really helps couples communicate better. I highly recommend it.
    Also, if your job is with the apt complex, why do you have to move and why would he get the cat if you guys broke up? That's seems a bit extreme.
    I'll look up the book, thanks for the suggestion. I would be the one moving because we have two roommates that are his friends, and I hate my job- also the cat came with him, it's his cat... I just love him dearly.
    I'll be a Finfolk Mersister in January!

  4. #4
    That sounds like a tough situation, I'm sorry you have to go through this with someone you love. And for the record, I'm not a professional or an expert, I'm merely the offspring ng of two therapists. There are lots of books, seminars, counselors, and other tools you can use to help communicate better, learn empathy skills, and any other couple problems you have. I would suggest that before you jump into any of that you first decide what it is you want for yourself. Decide your ideal life, your ideal future, and decide how you want your partner to fit in. As soon as you disover what it is you'd like, then I would suggest you start a dialogue about what you both want and how to get it. I hope that things work out the way you hope.
    User formerly known as "TheaChic".
    Sandra Siren
    My spell is passion and it is art
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  5. #5
    Ugh, I'm so sorry you are going through this.
    You probably don't need any advice, but it's something I can relate to, as I had a very similar experience with a past boyfriend.
    You can totally tell me to piss off if I'm overstepping here

    I am also a burlesque performer and model. Life with this guy was ok at first but there was this odd progression.
    While he didn't seem to get depressed over it, and never outright told me he didn't like me doing burlesque, he became vindictive and things often played out in the following manner:
    Me: "Oh hey, I have a show next Saturday. I think I'll just cab it, it's only a 10 minute drive to the venue."
    Him: "Oh! No, I'll take you, no problem."
    Me: "You sure?" I know you're beat by Saturday from work."
    Him:"No worries, for sure." (exact quote)
    Night of show, 10 minutes before we need to leave...
    Him: "You know, I just don't feel up to doing anything tonight, I'm tired. Have fun, I'm staying home." Proceeds to play Warcraft until 4am
    Eventually I just stopped telling him, or letting him promise to help out, when I had shows or events, photo shoots, etc.

    What was really tough, was that this was someone I cared about. Just as you care about your guy, his feelings regarding how my hobbies somehow affected him still mattered on some level. The reality was that when it came down to it, his opinion on what made me happy really shouldn't have mattered, unless I was actually harming myself or others. I didn't let him get to me, and when he tried to get back at me using emotional sabotage, and began making me doubt myself and my happiness, I left.

    So, this isn't to tell you that you shouldn't try and work things out. But whatever you do during this time, don't allow emotional manipulation to happen. He doesn't need to be into all your hobbies as much as you are, or at all. If he is secure in himself, he can just be supportive at a distance if he wants. But never let someone dictate out of insecurity what hobbies you should have. Especially if what you do brings you happiness, success and friendships.
    *hugs*
    xoxo

  6. #6
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    Maressa, I haven't had a chance to read everyone's replies but I wanna share about Sean and I.

    Sean and I have been dating for 7 years. He's very introverted, I'm very extroverted. We have very little in common, and very little interests in common. He was put out a bit by my mermaiding for the first 3 years.

    People grow and change over time, it's normal, and it's normal for people to be different and lose interest in certain things. I used to do nude modelling, I was in a band, I was always the center of attention which made him really uncomfortable. He'd liked video games, using the internet, and going to the gym. I liked playing guitar, getting on stage in front of people, modelling, going out and being social. To top it all off, because of my illnesses and how much wake up at night- he didn't want to sleep in the same bed as me which really shot me down.

    You can't get back on track over night but here's what I found help

    1) Learning about introverts. I read some books, asked some friends. Looked online. That gave me confidence, helped me understand how to meet his needs, and in turn

    2) Learn what to NOT take personally. Personality differences and interests, shouldn't be taken personally. I had to stop resenting Sean for not being as outgoing as I was, and accept the fact that he didn't enjoy that and it made him uncomfortable. It had nothing to do with wanting to spend time with me or not, just his own personal comfort level. Same thing with the sleeping in the same bed. At the time my therapist (I was seeing her for different issues but brought this up to her) just said, don't take it personally. Stop thinking it's anything bad about your relationship, and just accept that for now you can't sleep in the same bed so you can both get a good sleep. Don't over think it.

    3) Try new to both of you hobby/activity. We did tango! It was fun, and we only did it for 1.5 years occasionally. We don't anymore but for that time in our relationship it really helped.

    4) Try each other's interests. Once you do #3 it's a bit easier for you to try out something he likes, and him to try out something you like. I started going to the gym with my boyfriend and I've been going now ever since. Going to the gym was a big part of his identity. It made us closer as a couple, and helped me get fit. IN turn, I taught him how to do photography, and he started taking my photo (so he was then included in my photo/modelling) and he had a real talent for it (he does it for my company!)

    5) Communicate. Open a dialog. Don't argue... but simply say "Hey, so I feel like we're drifting a part. We arent interested in the same thing. I'd like to try a few things to see if we can make it work. Would you be willing to try _____ if I try ____?" or something along those lines. Having frank conversations in a non-threatening way is a great way to get on the same page and learn from each other.

    I personally don't believe in ultimatimums in relationships. I would never tell Sean "well ___ needs to happen or I'm out of here". But I do say things like "____ is something I need to do to meet my needs. I hope we can reach a compromise about it" I find modern day pop culture tells everyone you have to be all about yourself in a relationship. All about your wants. Your needs. What you like etc. THen the ball swings the other way and we have people who are all about the other person, and never care about their own needs. In reality, it's about compromise, and growing together.

    A good relationship takes time an effort and growth. Regardless of what pop culture says, they don't just happen. Sean and I went through a lot of ups and downs. We are so freaking different, it's insane. But I learned to understand he needed to be alone and it didn't mean it was because he needed to get away from me. I needed to understand big groups make him anxious and he has no fun. He needed to understand that I could dress up sexy, go out with my friends, and it didn't mean he had to feel threatened in the relationship.

    I am a person who needs attention. Sean understands most of my friends are guys (I don't get along with as many girls) and all musicians. So we go out, I dress up, we play shows, sing karaoke, have fun at the bars. I don't flirt with other men or lead them on, but I enjoy being dressed up and getting confidence from my friends and FEELING confident. Sean doesn't bat an eye at it, he knows I need it, and he knows I will respect him. But with some men it might take a bit for them to really SEE that that's the deal. And that their girlfriend can go out and be sexy and have fun and it doesn't mean she's cheating on him or looking for someone else.

    Work most certainly plays a role too. Sean used to work 50-60 hours a week and I learned that patience was the one thing he needed from me most. He needed me to NOT get mad at him that so many things changed and that he was tired and lost motivation. I'd just do little things to help perk him up and help him handle what he was dealing with. I'd do his laundry, make him lunch, dvr his favourite TV show, buy him a game. It really got through to him.

    I'm not telling you that you should stay with your boyfriend... but if you do love him and ideally when you think in your head of what you want- that it's to stay with him- then I think it's worth trying more things to make it work. But if you feel apathetic and it's moreso the home and the kitty keeping you there, well you may need to reflect on it. I will caution you though, everyone gets bored with each other at times and considers greener pastures. There were maybe 3 times earlier on in our relationship where I wondered about the rest of the world out there. One instance a few years ago I even had a chance to move for a year to Roatan Honduras. I was sincerely considering the long distance thing and I worried we might break up because of it. But it's been 7 years now and I look back on it and I am FLOORED by what Sean and I have gone through. The ups and downs. We know each other better than ever, and it's almost like we have a second wind. I feel like I'm getting to know him all over again. I feel like we're team mates in a battle against stacked odds lol. It's amazing, and crazy, and kick ass, and scary all at the same time. But it was 100% worth it. I don't want you to miss out on that just because of a bump in the road.

    So, there's really nothing else we can tell you do to, really it comes down to what do you want. Maybe you don't know what you want so you gotta figure it out. I think my tips will help you figure out if you want to stay with him or not. And I think they'll help your relationship

    Best fishes!


    edit: I apologize for typos I'mw aiting to get my eyes checked!

  7. #7
    Thanks guys, all perspectives and experience is helpful right now- I can't talk with other dancers I know or friends about this, because a lot of people I know personally are very polarized towards working themselves literally to sickness and death over their art... but I'm more of a work hard but also take time for your family kinda lady :P

    Quote Originally Posted by AniaR View Post
    Maressa, I haven't had a chance to read everyone's replies but I wanna share about Sean and I.
    Thank you so much for this, it's what I needed to hear. I am pretty amazed that he's stuck by me through everything, even though it's made him uncomfortable- we do keep an open dialogue about our feelings. I think the main things really is his depression- he has had a really rough time with college, college ending, and the job hunt- he has HUGE student debt, and I also have a chronic illness, and when we started dating he got 'cleaned up and more focused' because he knew if he stayed with me I would be slightly dependent on him as a partner with a very expensive illness. So there's a lot of pressure right now on him to succeed, and I try to just every day remind him that he's doing great and that I'm proud of him.

    I do go out a lot and see friends, and he doesn't guilt me for it, I always extend the offer for him to come along and I feel like he feels bad when he says no, partially because he knows I'd love it if he did come along. But we both tie EVERYTHING personally- and I've been working really hard on just letting it go. It helps a lot that I have a therapist mom- I go visit her and teach a volunteer art class once a week and stay over night, and it really helps give him some alone time and me some grounding. My mom is also introverted and helps me understand where Tyler is.

    And the thing with me entertaining is not so much that I'm the center of attention, it's that I'm the scantily clad center of attention. He has an old-fashioned family and it was REALLY rough with them when I started- they stopped talking to us, and it broke Tyler's heart. We've since patched things up with his family, mainly by me going back to school and deciding to pursue entertainment as a career, that told them I wanted something from life and had drive, and now it's better. My own family is SUPER supportive and has followed me 100% in everything I do, which is amazing.

    All in all, I think I just drastically overthink everything... and so many others around me who do what I do have horrifying stories and situations due to their relationships. The ones I see who do well are the ones who make the time and effort for their partner. The ones who have failing relationships judge me harshly for putting time aside for him... but he'd do the same for me. I care way too much about what everyone else thinks. Tomorrow's my mom-visit day, I'll talk with her about it some more and reflect. I KNOW I'm doing the grass is greener thing... thinking wow, wouldn't it be cool if I dated another artist who was outgoing like me? Then I remember that I have, and he totally drained my energy and was just as emotionally all over the place as me, and had no feet on the ground to help me reason and logic through issues.

    Sorry for all the rambling... it's just so good to finally get all this out somewhere outside of the judgement of friends. I do feel lots better.
    I'll be a Finfolk Mersister in January!

  8. #8
    Also Raina good luck with your eye check! )
    I'll be a Finfolk Mersister in January!

  9. #9
    I finally married after 8 years of dating the same guy. I can tell you we've run into this also. I don't give the best advice but I hope this helps:
    my hubby and I are both the same as you and your boyfriend. He likes to do his own thing, I like to do my own thing. What I learned was we both have to have our own things that make us happy or else one of us is gonna go insane. He has his life and I have mine. At the end of the day we go to bed and tell each other what we did and I find it helps. I guess what's different is that we're ok with our differences. After the hubby started work he fell out of gaming and was sad. Begrudgingly I Encourage him to pick up his old hobbies again (despite the fact that I kind of dislike gaming) because I finally realized we need our own "happy thing." Why not get him to pick up surfing once he as time?
    The SeaGlass Siren

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SeaGlass Siren View Post
    After the hubby started work he fell out of gaming and was sad. Begrudgingly I Encourage him to pick up his old hobbies again (despite the fact that I kind of dislike gaming) because I finally realized we need our own "happy thing." Why not get him to pick up surfing once he as time?
    Thanks for sharing your experience We're actually both avid gamers. We recently started a house Minecraft server and have been building a castle together, and he's teaching me MtG. He's helping me make a mermaid deck! Haha!

    I think he'd be so happy if we took beach trips. The beach is an hour away, and he always stresses about the gas money and such (he's so used to being broke)... but once he's there he's so calm and in his element. He's a total water baby who hasn't touched water since June. Maybe this weekend I'll just load up the car before we go to bed, set an alarm for early, and surprise him. I want to learn, too!

    A lot of his hobbies got dropped because of money. We're ok financially... he's just been on a college budget for so long and he has so much debt that it's hard for him to see that it's ok to spend $20 on a day trip.
    I'll be a Finfolk Mersister in January!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    Maybe you can make/get him a kickass fabric merman tail as a surprise and have him go swimming with you!

  12. #12
    Do you think also that maybe he's withdrawn/depressed and resentful to your happiness because he's trapped in a job he hates?

    I've been there myself.




  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by -Annwyn- View Post
    Do you think also that maybe he's withdrawn/depressed and resentful to your happiness because he's trapped in a job he hates?

    I've been there myself.
    Oh yes, he's admitted to that, and he feels silly about it. He has an engineering degree, and should be making about 50k a year, but he's working in a factory on an assembly line (a job that will get him connections he needs, but which is horrid for obvious reasons).

    The other major very hush hush thing is that he's one of the women-trapped-in-a-man's-body guys... and he is not comfortable getting the surgery. He cross dresses, and I'm supportive and help him pick out clothes and do his makeup and such. It's 100% fine with me, but he's unhappy with himself as a man. He'a s very masculine looking tall Norwegian guy, so looking like a girl is pretty tough. I'm looking into helping him find a good therapist... but once again he freaks out about money. It's a slow crawl.
    I'll be a Finfolk Mersister in January!

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by PearlieMae View Post
    Maybe you can make/get him a kickass fabric merman tail as a surprise and have him go swimming with you!
    LOL, I would love that. He'd need a shark tail for sure.
    I'll be a Finfolk Mersister in January!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Pod of The South Rivertee's Avatar
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    I agree with a lot of what the others say here My husband and I are are polar opposite as you can get when it comes to likes and dislikes. Hobbies and friends we certainly have different taste but what is awesome about each of us is what I think most mermaids on here have, adaptability. We both became parents before we were stable (hence our 2yr old son) and it threw us both into a whirlwind of negativity to the point we rarely spoke because of work and stress.

    What I've found worked best was finding something we can do together AND find things to do apart so we missed spending time together more. I do mermaiding and swim with our son (usually I have a friend or family member near by) while I do that he gets the whole house to himself to do whatever. He does DAG foam fighting and I knit/draw/sing etc while our son plays with Daddy and his friends. Together we do things like DnD, go out with friends (mostly to our local pub) and we have little things that keep our relationship happy.

    1) never go to bed angry or without a kiss. I never know if one morning I'll wake up and he won't be there.
    2) one day a week is OURS no gigs,work,parties,chores etc. Dishes can wait, friends understand, and money can be made again but time with each other can never be replaced or gained again if lost.
    3) the venting journal! best idea my friends and I had, if we were upset or hurt about something the other did we vented in the journal and at the end of every month we talked about it. My husband and I have 2 full journals but with them we've learned SO much about peevs and small things that hurt feelings.
    4) red light kisses! In a city there is a lot of traffic, even if we're just driving to a friend's house, every red light is a kissing opportunity!
    5) Twice a month we have an old date we did in the start of our relationship. Re-create the magic that sparked our love.

    I know a lot of this sounds cheesy and embarrassing, but the smiles and laughter we gained through them all is well worth it. Because of the smaller things in life, I don't stress the bigger hardships as much.

    Good luck!
    ~Nothing's Impossible just hard to achieve, so stay true to yourself and always Believe~

    Formerly known as Kaguria the Kitsune Mermaid

  16. #16
    Kaguria that's not cheesy, it's ADORABLE. I'm a giant cheese ball. Thanks so much for sharing.
    I'll be a Finfolk Mersister in January!

  17. #17
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maressa View Post
    LOL, I would love that. He'd need a shark tail for sure.
    We could make a shark tail with a tastefully lacy lining!

  18. #18
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Sherielle's Avatar
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    My husband wants a shark tail, lol

  19. #19
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    I think the main things really is his depression- he has had a really rough time with college, college ending, and the job hunt- he has HUGE student debt, and I also have a chronic illness, and when we started dating he got 'cleaned up and more focused' because he knew if he stayed with me I would be slightly dependent on him as a partner with a very expensive illness. So there's a lot of pressure right now on him to succeed, and I try to just every day remind him that he's doing great and that I'm proud of him.
    Yes Sean struggles with this too. He has been laid off now for over a year and has been working his ass off trying to find work while we manage debt too. I'm the one bringing in money, and savings are running out. This sort of stuff puts a LOT of stress on a relationship. It brings out the worst in people.

    And the thing with me entertaining is not so much that I'm the center of attention, it's that I'm the scantily clad center of attention. He has an old-fashioned family and it was REALLY rough with them when I started- they stopped talking to us, and it broke Tyler's heart
    As I said, I was a NUDE model lol. There was no clad about it Sean's family is very reserved so yeah, I've been there too! It's not easy for sure.

    All in all, I think I just drastically overthink everything... and so many others around me who do what I do have horrifying stories and situations due to their relationships. The ones I see who do well are the ones who make the time and effort for their partner. The ones who have failing relationships judge me harshly for putting time aside for him... but he'd do the same for me. I care way too much about what everyone else thinks. Tomorrow's my mom-visit day, I'll talk with her about it some more and reflect. I KNOW I'm doing the grass is greener thing... thinking wow, wouldn't it be cool if I dated another artist who was outgoing like me? Then I remember that I have, and he totally drained my energy and was just as emotionally all over the place as me, and had no feet on the ground to help me reason and logic through issues.
    It is certainly very hard not to compare ourselves to other's situations ESPECIALLY in this digital world. I was always looking at couples who were touchy feely and feeling resentful because I'd like to be that way but Sean isn't comfortable like that around other people. I've also seen a lot of my friends go through hard times because of lack of work. And you prepare and think for the worst. It's hard!!! You aren't alone!

    I was very resentful when I was working and he was off because I HATED my job. I was miserable and undervalued and taken advantage of and meanwhile he was home playing video games. I've been a lot happier quitting and being a full time mermaid but it's a daily financial struggle supporting two people on mermaid gigs.

    I think the thing to remember is that all couples fight about these two particular issues: job/money and interests/personality it's so NORMAL. so don't feel weird for over thinking it. <3

    3) the venting journal! best idea my friends and I had, if we were upset or hurt about something the other did we vented in the journal and at the end of every month we talked about it. My husband and I have 2 full journals but with them we've learned SO much about peevs and small things that hurt feelings.
    We also do this. Helps a lot to prevent resentment!

  20. #20
    Maressa you're amazing. He's very lucky to have you.
    You could always go on a cheap picnic at a park. There's a bunch of awesome date ideas without spending money
    The SeaGlass Siren

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