I feel like myself and my long term boyfriend are growing apart.
We're both 24 and have been together since we were 19, all through college (different courses). College is coming to an end for both of us this year and we'll both be moving into the 'real world'.
The thing is, I'm not sure what I want from my life in the future. I don't know exactly where I'm going to be working after college, although I will have a job in Ireland for a year anyway. After that, while I currently think want to stay here, I don't know where exactly I'll be, and I may change my mind and head abroad. He knows he's going to be here for another 3 years minimum.
Besides the work thing, I feel we don't have a whole lot in common anymore. He's someone who values routine, definite plans, spends a lot of time with his family, and is a total morning person. His hobbies are things he shares with his family.
I'm the opposite: I like spontaneity, flexibility in plans, I'm not as family-oriented, a complete night owl, and tend to explore hobbies individually or with friends. I've tried to get my boyfriend to take up a few things with me, but nothing's lasted.
While I'm not a huge party animal, I do enjoy going out, whereas he's the complete antithesis to that. If someone else in our group of friends organises a night out he'll go and enjoy himself, but he never does the organising, and will never go if it's just me and him. When we started dating we used to go out for a drink a lot (non-alcoholic, neither of us are drinkers), but I can't remember the last time that happened. He feels we don't need to now we know each other, and prefers to stay in and watch TV.
He'll do things like go on walks, or for dinner out, or a trip somewhere, provided I organise it. Left to his own devices, he'd happily spend every night in on the couch cuddling. But I'm getting tired of organising everything.
I've painted a very negative picture here, which isn't really fair: he's a great guy, very caring, funny, respectful, affectionate, and he's always there for me when I need him (which has happened a lot in the last 4 years, as I've had a lot of family issues to deal with). But I guess I'm just finding the lack of variety in our lives (unless I organise it) sort of boring. Stifling even. Even conversations tend to revolve around his family and college. And when I talk about things, while he listens respectfully, I get the impression (perhaps the wrong one) that I'm boring him too. I also know some of my habits, like sleeping on till the early afternoon when I've a day off, are starting to annoy him. Phone conversations sometimes don't go much beyond 'hello' now unless I deliberately make small talk. Yet he still rings me all the time.
I guess I feel like we're different people now than we were 4 years ago. When we first met, I was thrilled to find a guy I had so much in common with: I'm now struggling to remember what those things were.
Also, if I'm honest, I'm sort of curious about the world out there (I don't mean playing the field, but just being single, able to do my own thing, not worry about a partner). I was a bit of a late developer socially, never really went out much till my late teens, right before I met my boyfriend. I've only been with one other guy, which lasted 2 months and hardly counts. I guess I feel like I'm missing out on part of the experience of being young.
I'm not sure talking is going to change much. We've always talked our way through differences in the past, but I feel this is a question of basic nature more than anything else, and that's not something a partner can or should try to change, I think.
So what do I do? Do I stay with a guy whom I care deeply about, whom I know will always treat me well, even if he's not the most exciting person in the world, and doesn't share a lot of my interests? Or do I take the plunge, face the hurt (and the hurt I know a breakup will cause him), knowing that it's temporary, and see what my life, rather than our life, is about?
I'll try to keep this as short as possible. I feel for you though, it's a very tough decision to make. After 4 or 5 years it's very common for the initial spark to have diminished. You have a man that you love and that deeply loves you, many women would kill for that. But you're 24. Are you ready to settle down yet? Settle being the key word here.Time is on your side.
However, you should try as hard as you can to keep this relationship going, your boyfriend sounds like a decent, caring guy. They're hard to come by. I wouldn't do anything drastic, sort out the annoyances in the relationship if at all possible. This means things that you do too! Like sleeping in, if that annoys him then maybe try to do it less often or to get up an hour earlier.
On to hobbies. First of all, you'll be glad to have your own hobbies sometimes, if you need a break from your boyfriend. If you have different interests, that's fair enough, no two people are the same. It shouldn't have a major impact on the relationship. It's understandable though that you want to spend time with your boyfriend doing things other than cuddling on the couch. If you've tried out his hobbies and he's tried out yours without finding a common interest then consider something neither of you have tried before! It's always great fun to try new things, especially with a partner.
As with any relationship, communication is key. You're complaining about his disinterest in organising things, does he know that it annoys you? If he does, you might end up on the next flight to Paris, so tell him! And that goes for anything he does that annoys you.
Being curious is normal. You might want to experience single life but for women, it must be hell. You meet some of the dirtiest, perverted and disgusting men when you're out, as you might have seen. But there's always the chance to find something special. Talk to your single friends about single-life and see if it sounds like it's for you. If you're unsure then maybe, maybe try out being in an open relationship/taking a break for a while to test the water. But this is usually just a half-arsed break up.
One aspect that shouldn't be overlooked is that he's also a non-drinker, if you're not big into drinking then you'll find it hard to find a man with the same attitude. Drink complicates relationships, there's no denying it. People cheat, argue and break up when they're drunk. Consider yourself lucky to have a fellow non-drinker by your side.
But this all boils down to what you want, as an individual, not as a couple. My best advice would be to look at your relationship and imagine it in 20 years. Do you see yourself being happy? Being happy in life should be everyone's main goal.
You said that you're staying here for at least a year. I suggest that you take that year and try to build on the relationship. New hobbies, communicate with him, try to coax him into being more spontaneous or maybe even take a break from each other. See if it works. After that, while you're assessing what you want to do with your career, assess what you want to do with this relationship. Ask yourself once again, will I be happy in 20 years? Also take into account that guys like your man are hard to come by.
I just realised that I've totally failed at keeping this short
Best of luck and let me know how it turns out
Thank you Mike. I'm not sure I can do another year of this. But I'll bear it in mind, thank you.
does he know you feel this way?
typically, men in this sort of situation are oblivious to the fact anything's wrong. Until there's a breakup out of the blue.
Im in a similar position to you but im 33 and with my BF a looooog time. I have for the first time in my life taken some time for me as i had to go away for work, but i ended up getting perspective on my relationship which has really surprised me. Now im confused about where my future should be. I know i will never settle though as it wont make me happy. I dont think you should have to change for him, if you like to lie in on your day off your entitled to it, he should not have any control in that sense.
I often feel if you dont grow together you dont stay together, i have a feeling you are coming to the natural end of your relationship, i think you should take your time with it but your only 24 and you might need to experience other things. He is not saying too much to you about how he is feeling but the issues are there for the two of you so it should not be all on you, if you grew apart you both did.
I dunno whats going to happen, its the scariest thing for me to have to think about breaking from because we are all each other has, but i know it is not right to live a lie either and pretend to be happy.
Trust your instincts and take your time with it.
All the best.
Maybe think about and talk over with him how you want things to be and come up with a plan together about how to make changes.
People who love you can change in amazing ways if you are up-front and give them a chance. And if he doesn't change at least he had the opportunity.
It can make any decision in the future to move on, if it goes that way, easier for both of you. And that's worth spades.
Have you ever told your boyfriend what you've written here? Perhaps the guy is drifting along in his own bubble, not aware that you feel this way. And that maybe you can do some of the thing you feel you're missing out on, despite being in the relationship. For all we know, he might be feeling a bit stifled as well and to shake things up a bit might be what he'd like too. It's worth a try if you're genuinely not sure whether you want to dump him.
He's also perfectly able to take time out for other things, and this is far from the first time this issue has arisen and we've talked about it several times before.
I don't know what to do, this is the main reason we're growing apart I think and have been for some time, and I have talked to him about it before. I'm just afraid to pull the trigger on a relationship with such a decent, caring guy, but is there any point in having a decent caring guy if he can sideline "fun" as a concept indefinitely?
tbh, that sounds like a relatively minor thing. But have you told him that it's a serious enough problem for you to potentially want to break up over?
and if he does start taking initiative and making decisions, will you actually like it? Or do you want to just second-guess your mind?
(that reminds me of the conversation I had with my wife not so long ago on a weekend away:
wife: so what's your opinion: should we do A or B?
me: I don't know
wife: you are pathetic: you have no opinion
a day later:
me: we really should do B
wife: no, we have to do A
me: no, I really think we should do B
wife: you are so stubborn it's unreal)
Does he know that this is a real deal-breaker? Or are you genuinely feeling that you've had enough and that you just don't want to hurt him because you care for him very much?
I think you have a case of the grass is always greener
Do you mind me asking are you camparing him to other peoples boyfriends ?
My g/f and i have stressful enough lives and I often feel if we didnt "date" as in make time to go out and be in each others company for mundane things we would not be happy & we live together.
And your spontaneousness - like what and how. -everyone likes to think they are unique and interesting - so how spontaneous are you really.