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RLiebowitz
RLiebowitz, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 50
Experience:  work with couples and families in private practice
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I had an argument with my partner which is recurring over several

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I had an argument with my partner which is recurring over several months...and it has got to the point where I get really emotional every time it happens now. Now, because I get so emotional he has earned to "switch off" and not take me seriously, which makes it even worse because I hurt even more that he is ignoring how upset I am. I dont know what to do to handle my emotions and communicate them in a healthy way.
The argument is that I would like him to join me when I have family gatherings or friend gatherings - but he puts up a lot of resistence each time. We have spoken about it on many occassions, and he has said that he recognises he is being selfish and will change, but in action this doesnt happen. I have categorically said that I have always wanted companionship in a relationship (in terms of meeting up and sharing each others' loved ones) to be easy, and that if that is something he really cant provide we should break up, but he has said he'll work on it. We spent a few months working on the relationship, but it seems that this area has not improved. It has now got to the point where we are more committed and breaking up is not an option, but there is still resistance and I react really badly to it because I feel like I have run out of options, and I feel like he is not taking it seriously how much it upsets me.
Please help!

RLiebowitz :

Hello! As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I'd be happy to help you! :-)

RLiebowitz :

I can understand how not having your partner at social and family gatherings can be stressful and sad. I have several questions, including how long you've been in this relationship? do you join him at gatherings?

RLiebowitz :

I think your first step might be to have a direct conversation with him and find out if maybe there is an underlying reason as to why he doesn't want to attend events with you. Does he have social anxiety? Does someone there make him feel uncomfortable? I'd first rule out if there are any circumstances that are swaying his participation.

RLiebowitz :

If you find that communicating with him about this topic hits too close to home and that it's difficult to relay your message without becoming emotional, you may want to choose communication like letters. I'd also encourage you to use statements like "I feel," as cliche as that sounds. So, you don't want to say "I feel like you're a terrible boyfriend." That's not the right way to use that. It's "I feel rejected when you don't join me," or however exactly it is that you feel. You may want to spend some time writing this letter so that it doesn't come across as attaching

RLiebowitz :

attacking*

RLiebowitz :

Get that dialogue started and see how he responds. We can always revisit it together.

RLiebowitz :

If he's resistant to the conversation, you need to ask yourself "is this something I can live with? Can I live with a boyfriend who doesn't accompany me to events?" The answer is yours and is personal - only you can make that choice. If he's not responsive, you have to ask yourself if this is a "make or break."

RLiebowitz :

I hope this was helpful - have I answered your question? :-)

Customer:

Thank you.

RLiebowitz :

hello!

Customer:

To answer your questions - we've been in this relationship for two years and yes I do join him at gatherings. 99% of the time I say yes immediately, the other 1% of the time it is because I have previous plans.

Customer:

He does get quite moody that 1% of the time, so it is important to him too

RLiebowitz :

how old are you?

Customer:

27

Customer:

We have treid communicating over this by letter, and the "I feel " type communication

RLiebowitz :

So, I think it's okay for you to ask yourself - is this what I want in a marriage? Is this how I want to spend the holidays when I have children?

RLiebowitz :

and again, that answer and decision is personal and your own

Customer:

Well the answer no..but we worked on it and then got engaged. We are full throes in the middle of wedding planning.

Customer:

I dont feel like I can pull out of that, I would like to work on it within the relationship.

RLiebowitz :

I understand

RLiebowitz :

is he opened to couple's counseling?

Customer:

I dont know.

RLiebowitz :

have you asked him if someone is making him uncomfortable?

RLiebowitz :

whats his relationship with HIS family like?

Customer:

he is fine with his family, and he isnt uncomfortable in family gatherings

Customer:

in fact he is very sociable

RLiebowitz :

so why do YOU think he refuses to go?

Customer:

laziness

RLiebowitz :

thats all?

RLiebowitz :

does he have an addiction? to electronics? substance?

Customer:

I think he only sees me when he wants to see me, he doesnt want to be asked/told that I miss him, want him arround, etc

RLiebowitz :

has this always been an issue in the relationship?

RLiebowitz :

well if you're getting married he's going to be seeing you a lot! :-)

Customer:

Even with our private dates, it is really difficult for me to say "we havent seen each other in a while, I miss you, can we put a date in the diary"

Customer:

Even phone calls lately have been difficult for me to book in. Haha yes he will be seeing me a lot !

RLiebowitz :

does he participate in the wedding planning?

Customer:

When he gets busy he sort of pushes our time aside without realising it, and as he is someone who likes to "take on the world" he gets busy often.

Customer:

Yes he does participate...

RLiebowitz :

does he have a busy job?

Customer:

Erm...compared to mine I would say no. But that is probably a bit unfair because it is all relative.

RLiebowitz :

could he be exhausted from work?

Customer:

I would like to change something about myself to be honest.

RLiebowitz :

ok

RLiebowitz :

what about you would you like to change?

Customer:

For example, the last 4 weeks he has been really stressed and busy, so I have taken a step back. He only ever talked about himself and his day on the phone, we didnt see each other very often. But I supported him by talking to him about it, sending him things he'd like, and expressing my concern when we did see each other.
However during that time I was also really stressed about various things.

Customer:

And slowly it built up that I wasnt able to talk to him about them. When I tried, I got interrupted or talked at.

RLiebowitz :

ok

Customer:

And then when I invited him to my uncles party and got the usual excuses type approach it was like the straw that broke the camels back

Customer:

However, intellectually I know that all of that was because he was stressed, not because he doesnt care.

Customer:

Even so, emotionally I reacted so much...and I want to change that..

RLiebowitz :

I understand

RLiebowitz :

how does it make you feel when you have to attend a family event alone?

Customer:

I think I get needlessly agitated. E.g. today I sent him a text saying "perhaps it would be nice to meet tonight, come over I'll cook dinner etc etc" and he hasnt replied yet...that is making me agitated. But I dont think that is necessary (again, intellectually rather than emotionally)

RLiebowitz :

yes, I understand

Customer:

When I have to attend a family event alone - I feel worried life will always be like that. I can make excuses for him right now but when we are married it is silly. Our relationship is new, but as time goes on I will feel like as a married couple we should be there together.

RLiebowitz :

<listening>

Customer:

When we argue about a family event/friends event I feel that I dont want to spend my life having the same argument over and over again and that knowing how I feel, he is almost deliberately making me feel ostrisized from my family/friends. Even though I know it is not his intention to make me feel like that, it is the result, and he knows it.

RLiebowitz :

okay.

RLiebowitz :

so, I always tell people

RLiebowitz :

You can't get mad at a cat for not barking and loving bones.

RLiebowitz :

This is the cat -- er -- man you've decided to spend your life with. You signed up for all the good and all the bad.

RLiebowitz :

I think its good you're in a place where you're understanding that you most likely cannot change him and are looking to change yourself and your reaction.

Customer:

yeh..but I dont know *how* to change my reaction...the more I react the less seriously he is going to take me and the more I feel stuck...but emotionally I have tried and tried and tried not to care, and to see things differently, and it doesnt work.

RLiebowitz :

You mentioned earlier that "married couples go places together." You need to start restructuring those ideas. Redefining those ideals. Many unhappy couples go places together and argue the whole way there and the whole way back. If having him go places with you is causing more turmoil than peace, what's the point? you want the activities you do to bring you closer together.

RLiebowitz :

right - so it's about "changing your internal tape."

Customer:

I get so happy when he says yes/does come, and so sad when he doesnt, and I hate that my emotions depend so much on a "yes" or "no"

RLiebowitz :

so when your brain says "he's not coming bc he doesn't love you," "married people go places together," etc

RLiebowitz :

that's the old tape

RLiebowitz :

you need to start to combat it with a new tape

RLiebowitz :

"many married people have different circumstances," "my husband doesn't prioritize social events like I do," etc

RLiebowitz :

I think it's important for you to continue to remind yourself it's NOT YOU - it's not PERSONAL

RLiebowitz :

he's not punishing you

RLiebowitz :

it's just the type of guy he is

RLiebowitz :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

yeh

Customer:

again, intellectually...emotionally it is so very tough.

Customer:

even right now, I know that if I get a text saying "yes I'll come over" I'd be over the moon, and a text saying "no/maybe/its too far/i'm too busy" and I'll crash.

RLiebowitz :

Look.

RLiebowitz :

I'm going to say this and probably risk getting paid

RLiebowitz :

but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say it

RLiebowitz :

you aren't happy in this relationship.

Customer:

thats ok, I want honesty :)

RLiebowitz :

I mean I'm trying to work with your goals - but your goals are based in codependence

RLiebowitz :

this guy dismisses your feelings, doesnt spend time with you or accompany you to important events

RLiebowitz :

you can't rely on him

Customer:

what does codependance mean?

RLiebowitz :

It means you love him for the wrong reasons

RLiebowitz :

you don't want to raise kids in this environment

RLiebowitz :

and please dont be the woman who convinces herself that a wedding dress and a baby is going to change him

Customer:

no, I wouldnt do that...

RLiebowitz :

you already have, darling!

RLiebowitz :

by telling yourself you can learn to live like this

Customer:

I'd never have kids in an unhappy relationship

Customer:

hmm true

RLiebowitz :

so why get married? honey you're not 21 - you're 27

Customer:

but there are things in the relationship which are good...amazing

RLiebowitz :

those eggs won't be good forever

Customer:

so I feel like I want to "have it all"

RLiebowitz :

but how often can they be good and amazing if you don't see him?

Customer:

When we are together, we get on so well. Its hard to find someone that compatible...

Customer:

true...

RLiebowitz :

I'm not tell you that you're not happy

RLiebowitz :

YOU'RE telling ME that you're not happy

Customer:

but then sometimes I am happy

RLiebowitz :

every turn I made to try to help you make the relationship doable you shot down

RLiebowitz :

gimme percentages

RLiebowitz :

out of 100%

Customer:

its unrealistic to be happy all the time right?

RLiebowitz :

how often do you see each other?

Customer:

erm..I dunno..I guess when we see each other 100%, when we dont say 50%

RLiebowitz :

how many days a week do you see each other?

Customer:

once a week, but this time it had been 2-3 weeks which is why I felt so agitated.

RLiebowitz :

2-3 WEEKS?!

RLiebowitz :

how old is he?

Customer:

32

RLiebowitz :

do you have a ring?

Customer:

yeh

Customer:

the thing is...I have thought about leaving...but part of me is scared that I am being too "needy"

RLiebowitz :

seeing him every 2-3 weeks?

RLiebowitz :

you have my stamp of approval

RLiebowitz :

you are NOT too needy.

Customer:

no..that was a one of, it doesnt usually hapen like that.

Customer:

and he found it hard too

Customer:

usually it is once a week

RLiebowitz :

how far do you live from each other?

RLiebowitz :

how long have you been dating?

Customer:

I am scared that there is something about me that is insecure, and that I'd feel like this in any relationship..

Customer:

thats why I want to work on myself in this regard

RLiebowitz :

is that what he tells you?

RLiebowitz :

that you're too needy?

Customer:

we liveXXXXXfrom each other and we've been dating 2 yrs

RLiebowitz :

i think seeing each other 1x weekly is a little outrageous

RLiebowitz :

like, fri - sun sleep over?

RLiebowitz :

or movies sat night?

Customer:

No, it is what I tell myself when I feel agitated if he hasnt returned a phonecall or I havent seen him in a while. My "internal dialogue". I kinda beat myself up for needing to talk to him/see him so much.

Customer:

No sleepover...evg or the weekend during the day. Our culture we wouldnt be able to sleepover.

RLiebowitz :

whats your culture?

Customer:

man its so good to talk to someone about this

Customer:

thanks

Customer:

hindu/indian

RLiebowitz :

of course

RLiebowitz :

this isn't arranged is it?

Customer:

no

RLiebowitz :

where do you live?

Customer:

stanmore

Customer:

(england)

RLiebowitz :

HONEY!

RLiebowitz :

you live in a free land

Customer:

we were both born and brought up in the uk...

RLiebowitz :

you've gotta have girlfriends who are married or engaged

RLiebowitz :

and see how much time they spend together

Customer:

the odd thing is that actually I am the first in my close friend's circle to get engaged

RLiebowitz :

really??

Customer:

Yeh...dunno why...at our age its odd. I'm talking about possibly 10-15 close friends...

Customer:

Hmm..the thing is when he doesnt want to see/speak to me I feel unsupported. But part of it might be my communication. However we do love each other, and I know he cares... Should I be more demanding, and see what happens? Like begin to just say "can we meet up tonight/this week/etc" and if he continously says no, instead of getting annoyed just say "ok then". Eventually I'll be able to see how much he is willing to give without everytime turning into an argument.

Customer:

argh I dunno I am just waffling now.

Customer:

ultimately, I want to see if this situation could get better, and if not I want to leave..but I want that to be an informed decision

RLiebowitz :

We've spent about 45 minutes chatting, I do have run - I'd be happy to continue this conversation later on but would like to leave the conversation with there being a clear "answer" to your initial question.

Customer:

and I want to know I wouldnt feel like this in any relationship, that it is specific to this one

Customer:

dont ask for much do I? :|

RLiebowitz :

seeing each other once a week is too little

Customer:

ah ok, thanks for your time for now then!

RLiebowitz :

if you're looking to make an "Educated decision" on your relationship

RLiebowitz :

I would recommend writing a list of what your definition of LOVE is

RLiebowitz :

and then make a list of what your relationship's qualities are

RLiebowitz :

and compare

RLiebowitz :

my bigger concern for you is that he doesn't even seem open to hearing you.

Customer:

yeh

Customer:

I hope its a phase

RLiebowitz :

I hope so, too - but remember that you DESERVE to be HAPPY :-)

RLiebowitz :

Have I answered your question as thoroughly as possible? Is there anything else specific I can add?

Customer:

i think so...i think its mainly addressing the fear every relationship would be like this (i.e. i worry too much/am too insecure) that I am battling with now

Customer:

everything else seems clear

RLiebowitz :

ok, thank you :-)

RLiebowitz :

and again, I'm here if you need me later on

RLiebowitz :

please be advised I only receive compensation for my service if you "approve" our convo

Customer:

thanks..how do I get in touch again?

RLiebowitz :

Post another comment and put my name in the title

RLiebowitz :

I'll be looking for ya ;-)

Customer:

cheers

RLiebowitz :

hahaha CHEERS! :-)

RLiebowitz and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you