I’m a man, she’s a woman, it’s my first major relationship. We’ve dated for four years, starting by long-distance.
We fell hard for each other, quickly. Communication was important and we did whatever it took to be a presence in each other's life.
She was very open with me initially. She revealed the two-plus years she was trapped in a sexual abusive relationship, and how this caused anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and insomnia.
She also revealed a history of self-destructive behaviour.
I tried to have a greater understanding of her and assure her that I'm in her corner.
We've had sex twice in the last two years, because she’s lost her libido, which she blames on having an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted.
But we stopped having sex long before the IUD was ever brought-up.
Neither of us wants kids, but she’s made me feel guilty for not yet having a vasectomy. When we discussed it, I was 25 and not ready.
I refuse to pressure her for sex given her complicated history.
What I miss most is the intimacy. (We don't hold hands, nor snuggle, we even stopped sharing a bed for one year).
She’s taken a job elsewhere, re-creating a long-distance relationship after living together for two years.
Also, she’s developed an increasing rift with my family.
A couple of weeks ago, I failed to show up at her family event due to my own familial responsibility.
She stopped speaking to me, and only reaches out to remind me of my other failures and how my family make her feel.
I've attempted to acknowledge, apologize, and reflect on what I've done to hurt her, but also try to move forward by working on myself.
I’m unsure if she’s trying to sabotage the relationship.
I no longer feel I'm a priority in her life. In the recent years, she's worked a minimum of three to four jobs at once.
I'd even consider that we’re downgraded to just good friends: A good morning text, and maybe some messages during the day.
I recognize that she's a complicated person. But moving forward, something has to change.
I think a two-week break is the best course of action.
She can reflect on whether she wants to be in a relationship (with me and in general), or if she feels that she needs to work on herself first.
She's focused on the five or so events where I've messed up. But I've never called her out on mistakes she's made.
I was nervous about losing her, but also don't think she's done anything maliciously.
I want to move forward with her, but don't know if this relationship can heal.
I'm lost in love, and don't know where to go, or how to get there.
Walking on Egg-Shells
Call for a break. Frankly, I think it’s over, but you need to take that risk. She’s almost pushing you to it.
Many people who’ve suffered abuse and its devastating effects are tormented by their memories, and negative reactions can easily be triggered.
From your account – and that’s all I can know – you’ve tried hard to be understanding, supportive, patient.
But for her, five “messed-up events” were too many.
PTSD sufferers can be easily brought back to feeling the pain of the past, fearing trauma happening again.
She’s pulled away from your relationship – heavily focused on working (distancing) and now moved away with minimal contact (detaching).
A break will reveal what you need to know.
My husband and I have families who ignore the successful.
When I was first in my family to get a Master's degree, no one from my extended family congratulated me.
But they enable a cousin to abandon her child in favour of an endless stream of boyfriends.
When my husband was first in his family to attend and graduate college, no family members (besides his mom and me) cared at all.
Among my relatives, drug users and alcoholics are praised while college grads (three of us now) are ignored or criticized for not living in their hometown.
I’m left, sadly, with no "loving" feelings for my extended family.
The rewards of education are mostly personal.
You know what you’ve achieved, and how it’s enhanced your life in many ways.
Your family members likely envy your jobs and your lifestyle, and perhaps believe that they didn’t have the same chances (also a sad attitude).
Tip of the day:
When a partner minimizes contact and focuses on negative events, a break means re-thinking the relationship.