Author Topic: Relationship advice/help please  (Read 4394 times)

Garrett B.

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Relationship advice/help please
« on: July 31, 2019, 08:37:51 AM »
I could really use some relationship advice on our very unique relationship.  My girlfriend and I have been together almost 10 years now.  I am 40 and she is 39.  We both have good jobs and she makes about the same salary as I do.  Our assets are also similar and we keep those separate.  There have been ups and downs.  We both own our own homes, but spend most of our time at my place.  Her Mom and sister are staying at her place.  We have been in couples counselling over the last few years to deal with our issues.  I love my girlfriend and care for her very much and she is a great person and we share a lot of the same values, but at times I feel we just arenít a good fit.  But I just could not picture my life without her Ė we separated a few years ago and I went into a pretty bad depression.  We have not been intimate in a number of years, although we are affectionate at times towards each other.  I am an introvert and have trouble meeting people so I am really trying to put all effort in trying to make this relationship work.   

The primary issues are the desire for a child, which has been an issue for several years now, with her wanting one and me mostly being mostly opposed.  I was warming up to the idea of having one, but my girlfriend has a history of mental health issues and they have came up again, with her missing significant time from work; she suffers from anxiety, at times depression and her moods can get very high, then very low.  Her entire family has a history of mental health issues.  This has once again scared me off having a child with her as I just do not think it is a good idea, and bringing a child into our relationship will likely only make it worse.  She is now pursuing IVF, where the child will be hers from a sperm donor (not mine), and we will continue to work on our relationship, and if IVF is successful and she has a child I may or may not be in the picture. 

Her first cycle of IVF starts in a few weeks and I am secretly panicking as I feel I cannot talk to her about my fears because when I do, and it is not what she wants to hear, she attacks me and it becomes a big conflict.  I have not been sleeping well the last couple weeks due to this panic. So I am going to see a counsellor today and will likely ask the counsellor to start up couples counselling again so we can discuss my fears.  I do not want to abandon my girlfriend when she is suffering through her mental health issues, but I also do not think having a child now is a good idea.  However, she is determined to have a child as she feels her life is empty without one; and her biological clock only has a year or two left.  I want to enjoy my life and feel that this could result in a life of depression, and darkness. 

My thoughts these days are on retiring early, and she wants to have a child which could significantly derail my FIRE plans.  Now having said that, I could be surprised and having a child in our life could turn out to be great, but it could also be a disaster. 

I really donít know what to do.  I love her and care for her dearly.  I do not want to abandon her when she is feeling down.  But I feel I also need to look out for myself and my future.  I do not want to make a bad decision that will result in me hating my life.  I also fear that once she has the child, it will be overwhelming for her and she may not be able to return to work and then I could be stuck supporting her and hating my life.  Perhaps with the help of the couples counsellor we can discuss what will happen if the relationship ends and if there is a child involved. 

Iím sure I am missing out on some details but this is an overall summary. 

Your advice and thoughts are appreciated. 

dcheesi

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2019, 08:49:01 AM »
So, you're not intimate, you have separate homes, and she's pursuing having children without you. I'm not sure if couples counselling is the best fit, given that I wouldn't call this a "couple" situation in the first place? More like long-term good friends who sometimes room together.

Also, you might benefit from reading through someone else's personal thread with similar themes:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/7-year-relationship-no-sexual-desire-she-wants-to-get-married/?topicseen

It's a long slog, and of course not every aspect of their situation is the same as yours, but you still might find some of it enlightening or at least thought-provoking.

Malkynn

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2019, 08:54:00 AM »
Just because you can't picture your life without her doesn't mean that that life wouldn't be better.

This is not a workable relationship, literally every major factor is wrong and unfixable.

You need to move on and let her live her life the way she wants to.  You will both be better off apart.

Lady SA

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2019, 09:01:32 AM »
I see many, many red flags in this relationship:
1. you two haven't been intimate in YEARS, and you describe yourselves as "sometimes affectionate"
2. You feel that she is your only chance at a relationship because you are an introvert
3. If you try to bring up a reasonable concern, you describe her as attacking you.
4. The whole weirdness of her going through IVF without appearing to consult you...? 

Like, this isn't how couples/partners function, at all. This is a semi-comfortable sometimes-roommate situation that you find yourself in, my friend.
So, you're not intimate, you have separate homes, and she's pursuing having children without you. I'm not sure if couples counselling is the best fit, given that I wouldn't call this a "couple" situation in the first place? More like long-term good friends who sometimes room together.
^exactly this.

She is 39 and desperately wants a child, and sounds like this is her only chance. You should allow her to pursue it, but deep down you know joining her in this journey is not for you. And that doesn't make you a bad person or anything, it simply means that you two have different paths that are now diverging, and that's ok. I think you should step away from this relationship NOW, before things get more complicated with a child in the picture that you could become attached to.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2019, 09:02:58 AM »

So, you're not intimate, you have separate homes, and she's pursuing having children without you. I'm not sure if couples counselling is the best fit, given that I wouldn't call this a "couple" situation in the first place? More like long-term good friends who sometimes room together.





Just because you can't picture your life without her doesn't mean that that life wouldn't be better.


I couldn't agree more with both of these.. You seem like you're just friends, at best, at this point and just comfortable having each other in your lives to some degree. As a complete outside I see this as more of a toxic relationship for both of you and you probably need to get out especially if there's a child on the way.

mozar

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2019, 09:05:05 AM »
What helped me: therapy by myself, reading "codependent no more" and "feeling good the new mood therapy" , taking a break from romantic relationships for a few years, taking anti-depressants.
I can tell,  because I've been there, that you have a long journey ahead for restoring your mental health. I could make recommendations to help with your relationship with your girlfriend but until you get the help you need its pointless.

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2019, 09:07:20 AM »
What helped me: therapy by myself, reading "codependent no more" and "feeling good the new mood therapy" , taking a break from romantic relationships for a few years, taking anti-depressants.
I can tell,  because I've been there, that you have a long journey ahead for restoring your mental health. I could make recommendations to help with your relationship with your girlfriend but until you get the help you need its pointless.
I'm curious what recommendations you'd make and why you feel I need help with my mental health?  I feel I am a pretty mentally stable person who is for the most part happy with my life. 

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2019, 09:14:49 AM »
Aside from your loyalty to this relationship, and all that you want it to be, why are you sticking this out?

Any pregnancy will be high risk with a woman over the age of 35. Also, she obviously has family co-dependency issues (do you think you might, too?).

Regarding mental health, many depressed people and those with other things like ADHD have great kids, and are great parents. I don't think this is a disqualifier, but her age is a huge factor that must be considered. Having strong, healthy babies is really a young woman's game.

Would you consider adopting?

Why are you not married if you're in love?

frugaliknowit

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2019, 09:17:52 AM »
I find what others have said to seem valid, so I will not repeat.

I am about to give you a "tough hug".  Here goes:

LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH

Also, you might be confusing love with co-dependence.  Best wishes.

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2019, 09:18:18 AM »
I also struggle with the fact that by her having this child it really could bring me joy.  I mean my life could be incredibly empty without her (I don't really have any friends outside of her and my parents), and this child could end up being the best thing to ever happen to me.  I just really don't know and am scared.  I mean what if I love the child and love the life?  This could be my last chance at ever being a parent and I could regret it if I don't at least keep trying with my current girlfriend. 

What we have discussed and agreed to is that we want to continue working on our relationship, but keeping in mind her biological clock is ticking, so she does not have time there.  So the IVF is a way she can pursue having a child while we continue working on the relationship. Ideally we'd both be in our early 30s and she'd have more time to get pregnant and we could also work on our relationship, but our age make that a challenge. 

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2019, 09:23:22 AM »
Aside from your loyalty to this relationship, and all that you want it to be, why are you sticking this out?

Any pregnancy will be high risk with a woman over the age of 35. Also, she obviously has family co-dependency issues (do you think you might, too?).

Regarding mental health, many depressed people and those with other things like ADHD have great kids, and are great parents. I don't think this is a disqualifier, but her age is a huge factor that must be considered. Having strong, healthy babies is really a young woman's game.

Would you consider adopting?

Why are you not married if you're in love?
I'm sticking out out because I love her and we do still have good times together.  We had lots of sex early in our relationship and we hold out hope that the intimacy will return with work.  With regard to her age, she has been in consultations with her assisted reproduction clinic for about a year now and they see no issues with her giving birth; she tried IUI a few times but that did not work so she is now proceeding to IVF.  They feel she would give birth to a very healthy baby; they said many women in their late 30s and early 40s give birth to healthy babies.  Her mom had her last child when she was 42 years old. 

Car Jack

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2019, 09:24:37 AM »
A friend of mine was in a similar situation to yours, minus the desire to have a child....both wanted one.  She got pregnant and they had a child.  She became more and more loopy.  Government interdiction and eventual divorce.

She clearly doesn't care what you think.  Despite your desire to not have children, she's going ahead and doing it without you.  You're not important.  Her desires are.

Avoid the drama.  It's time to cut bait and move on.  So you're introverted?  It's not the end of the world, even if you end up never being married.  Settling for impending disaster because you don't think you'll find someone else is still impending disaster.  Part as friends.  Goodbye.

Here4theGB

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2019, 09:28:02 AM »
Dude, just no.  "Break up," though I'm not exactly sure what you'll be breaking up.  It certainly isn't a gf/bf relationship, I dunno what you're in.

Pigeon

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2019, 09:34:12 AM »
I think the biggest red flags are that you seem to want different things out of life, in particular, the kid.  Personally, I would be concerned about her mental health if she's got a history of serious issues.

While it's obviously not for most people, there are some who have otherwise perfectly happy marriages without sex.  It's a thing, for whatever the reasons might be.  If that's OK for the two of you, it's your relationship.  If you aren't happy with it and want to change that, you both need to be willing to work on it. The idea that she shouldn't try to have a baby because she's over 35 is ridiculous.  It's harder, it may not happen and there are more risks involved, but plenty of women do it.   

Doing infertility treatment can be all-consuming.  It screws with your hormones, takes up huge amounts of time, money and energy.  I doubt there's going to be much work on the intimacy issue during treatment.  If it's successful, having a baby and a small child also screws with your hormones, takes up huge amounts of time and also frequently is exhausting. 

Maybe you both need individual counseling, in addition to the couples counseling?

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2019, 09:38:11 AM »
I think the biggest red flags are that you seem to want different things out of life, in particular, the kid.  Personally, I would be concerned about her mental health if she's got a history of serious issues.

While it's obviously not for most people, there are some who have otherwise perfectly happy marriages without sex.  It's a thing, for whatever the reasons might be.  If that's OK for the two of you, it's your relationship.  If you aren't happy with it and want to change that, you both need to be willing to work on it. The idea that she shouldn't try to have a baby because she's over 35 is ridiculous.  It's harder, it may not happen and there are more risks involved, but plenty of women do it.   

Doing infertility treatment can be all-consuming.  It screws with your hormones, takes up huge amounts of time, money and energy.  I doubt there's going to be much work on the intimacy issue during treatment.  If it's successful, having a baby and a small child also screws with your hormones, takes up huge amounts of time and also frequently is exhausting. 

Maybe you both need individual counseling, in addition to the couples counseling?
Thank you for the well thought  out post. My GF is currently in individual counselling. And I'm going to see a counsellor myself today, but I plan on asking the counsellor to see us both to help us talk about some of my fears about the upcoming IVF.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2019, 09:45:52 AM »

I'm sticking out out because I love her and we do still have good times together.  We had lots of sex early in our relationship and we hold out hope that the intimacy will return with work.  With regard to her age, she has been in consultations with her assisted reproduction clinic for about a year now and they see no issues with her giving birth; she tried IUI a few times but that did not work so she is now proceeding to IVF.  They feel she would give birth to a very healthy baby; they said many women in their late 30s and early 40s give birth to healthy babies.  Her mom had her last child when she was 42 years old.

I don't mean to be a jerk but I'm brutally honest so here it goes..

#1 Good times in the past are in the past, it's about the here and now

#2 I hold out hope for Megamillions, hope is not enough

#3 You really don't want a child so staying with her makes NO SENSE at all given the state of your relationship

#4 You love her and she loves you but you are not IN LOVE and as someone else said LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH

#5 Go out, find a  a group of people with some kind of shared interests, book club, cooking class, painting, something, ANYTHING and meet some people

Also, again not to be a jerk, this isn't all about her, this is about you, what you want, where you see this going and how it affects your future. Do you really want to be a pseudo father to this child that she is having not caring about your thoughts/wants/needs while you are in a 'relationship??'

You don't really seem to have a life together I think you probably just need to be completely done or at least admit you're just close friends and nothing more.


Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2019, 09:51:46 AM »

I'm sticking out out because I love her and we do still have good times together.  We had lots of sex early in our relationship and we hold out hope that the intimacy will return with work.  With regard to her age, she has been in consultations with her assisted reproduction clinic for about a year now and they see no issues with her giving birth; she tried IUI a few times but that did not work so she is now proceeding to IVF.  They feel she would give birth to a very healthy baby; they said many women in their late 30s and early 40s give birth to healthy babies.  Her mom had her last child when she was 42 years old.

I don't mean to be a jerk but I'm brutally honest so here it goes..

#1 Good times in the past are in the past, it's about the here and now

#2 I hold out hope for Megamillions, hope is not enough

#3 You really don't want a child so staying with her makes NO SENSE at all given the state of your relationship

#4 You love her and she loves you but you are not IN LOVE and as someone else said LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH

#5 Go out, find a  a group of people with some kind of shared interests, book club, cooking class, painting, something, ANYTHING and meet some people

Also, again not to be a jerk, this isn't all about her, this is about you, what you want, where you see this going and how it affects your future. Do you really want to be a pseudo father to this child that she is having not caring about your thoughts/wants/needs while you are in a 'relationship??'

You don't really seem to have a life together I think you probably just need to be completely done or at least admit you're just close friends and nothing more.
You are not being a jerk and this is stuff I have thought about.  I wouldn't mind maybe separating for a bit and trying things out as being really good friends instead.  I would still like to support her in her IVF, still see her and her family, and if she has a child still be involved; I'm just not sure I'm set out to be a full-time father, and having a child with her scares me.  And I am not sure she would go for that; being just really good friends and living separately.  I mean I think she would be a great mother and she would love her child more than anything; but I am not sure how my life would look in that scenario and whether I would be happy. 

I get it with the "pseudo" father comment, but I really see it as no different than meeting a single mother and dating her. 

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2019, 09:53:48 AM »
I hear a lot of fear in your posts.  Fear of being alone, fear of the unknown, and fear of missing out.

I highly recommend that you see a counselor by yourself.  Not for couples counseling, but just for you.  That can help you work on your extreme introversion, to help you learn how to make other friends and to have a life that includes more than just your girlfriend.  That doesn't mean you have to leave your girlfriend, but it can't hurt to expand your life a bit.

Couples counseling would be helpful if you were making decisions as a couple and for your relationship.  But your girlfriend is not doing that.  She is making decisions to get what she wants, regardless of your opinions.  I understand her drive to be a parent - I was the same way.  My ex-husband and I split up in part because I wanted kids and he did not.  He agreed to have children anyway and resented the heck out of me for pressuring him.  It would have been much easier if we had divorced before having kids and just gone our separate ways.

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2019, 09:59:56 AM »
I hear a lot of fear in your posts.  Fear of being alone, fear of the unknown, and fear of missing out.

I highly recommend that you see a counselor by yourself.  Not for couples counseling, but just for you.  That can help you work on your extreme introversion, to help you learn how to make other friends and to have a life that includes more than just your girlfriend.  That doesn't mean you have to leave your girlfriend, but it can't hurt to expand your life a bit.

Couples counseling would be helpful if you were making decisions as a couple and for your relationship.  But your girlfriend is not doing that.  She is making decisions to get what she wants, regardless of your opinions.  I understand her drive to be a parent - I was the same way.  My ex-husband and I split up in part because I wanted kids and he did not.  He agreed to have children anyway and resented the heck out of me for pressuring him.  It would have been much easier if we had divorced before having kids and just gone our separate ways.
This is some good advice.  Perhaps the counsellor I see today can see me individually, as well as perhaps a session or two with my GF as a couple to discuss the issues I'm feeling now prior to the IVF beginning in a few weeks.  Our scheduled couples counselling is set to begin again in early September (there was a break for the summer, which has been bad timing since I really need it now), so I feel we need something interim so we can discuss my fears prior to IVF starting in September.

Re. being an introvert: I've always been happy having just one or two friends.  In general I don't really like people, and having too many friends is too high maintenance and too much effort for me.  I'm perfectly happy being alone most of the time, but I do need some human interaction.  I see my parents probably once or twice a month and they'd much rather see me more and have a loser relationship with me, but I just can't handle it...I need my alone time. 

terran

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2019, 10:04:56 AM »
Whoa, so she's made a decision for herself about having a kid with or without you. It's time for you to make your own independent decision. The time for talking with her, making sure she knows about your fears and desires, etc has passed. She's made her decision and now you have to deal with that decision by acknowledging that it's happening and deciding if you want to be a committed part of this kid's life, and if you decide to stay you need to really commit, at least to the kid if not the mother.

But I just could not picture my life without her Ė we separated a few years ago and I went into a pretty bad depression. 

This isn't healthy. You can be sad if you're not with her, but actual depression isn't good. You should be able to function normally on your own without another person, perhaps after a brief mourning period. Mozar suggested some books about codependency upthread that might be good to look at.

Case

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2019, 10:05:10 AM »
I could really use some relationship advice on our very unique relationship.  My girlfriend and I have been together almost 10 years now.  I am 40 and she is 39.  We both have good jobs and she makes about the same salary as I do.  Our assets are also similar and we keep those separate.  There have been ups and downs.  We both own our own homes, but spend most of our time at my place.  Her Mom and sister are staying at her place.  We have been in couples counselling over the last few years to deal with our issues.  I love my girlfriend and care for her very much and she is a great person and we share a lot of the same values, but at times I feel we just arenít a good fit.  But I just could not picture my life without her Ė we separated a few years ago and I went into a pretty bad depression.  We have not been intimate in a number of years, although we are affectionate at times towards each other.  I am an introvert and have trouble meeting people so I am really trying to put all effort in trying to make this relationship work.   

The primary issues are the desire for a child, which has been an issue for several years now, with her wanting one and me mostly being mostly opposed.  I was warming up to the idea of having one, but my girlfriend has a history of mental health issues and they have came up again, with her missing significant time from work; she suffers from anxiety, at times depression and her moods can get very high, then very low.  Her entire family has a history of mental health issues.  This has once again scared me off having a child with her as I just do not think it is a good idea, and bringing a child into our relationship will likely only make it worse.  She is now pursuing IVF, where the child will be hers from a sperm donor (not mine), and we will continue to work on our relationship, and if IVF is successful and she has a child I may or may not be in the picture. 

Her first cycle of IVF starts in a few weeks and I am secretly panicking as I feel I cannot talk to her about my fears because when I do, and it is not what she wants to hear, she attacks me and it becomes a big conflict.  I have not been sleeping well the last couple weeks due to this panic. So I am going to see a counsellor today and will likely ask the counsellor to start up couples counselling again so we can discuss my fears.  I do not want to abandon my girlfriend when she is suffering through her mental health issues, but I also do not think having a child now is a good idea.  However, she is determined to have a child as she feels her life is empty without one; and her biological clock only has a year or two left.  I want to enjoy my life and feel that this could result in a life of depression, and darkness. 

My thoughts these days are on retiring early, and she wants to have a child which could significantly derail my FIRE plans.  Now having said that, I could be surprised and having a child in our life could turn out to be great, but it could also be a disaster. 

I really donít know what to do.  I love her and care for her dearly.  I do not want to abandon her when she is feeling down.  But I feel I also need to look out for myself and my future.  I do not want to make a bad decision that will result in me hating my life.  I also fear that once she has the child, it will be overwhelming for her and she may not be able to return to work and then I could be stuck supporting her and hating my life.  Perhaps with the help of the couples counsellor we can discuss what will happen if the relationship ends and if there is a child involved. 

Iím sure I am missing out on some details but this is an overall summary. 

Your advice and thoughts are appreciated.

I'm sorry my friend, based on your story, you two are woefully incompatible.  Your analysis of the problems associated with her having a child and raising it probably have some accuracy, but if she wants a child, that trumps everything.  She is near the end of her biological clock, and if she wants a child she should pursue it.  Meanwhile you aren't intimate with her, which while not a problem for all relationships, is probably a critical component for most relationships.

It seems like you two (or maybe mostly you?) are desperately holding on to the relationship out of fear.  Fear of being alone, fear or her not being able to stand on her own, fear of whatever.  Although relationships can provide a very important support mechanism in life, generally you want to be two separately functioning individuals who can survive apart.

I would guess that you two likely can survive on your own, and that it would be possible for you two to finding people that are much better matches.  It might not be easy, especially if you have been out of the game a long time and don't have much experience.  But it is very possible, and you should push yourselves to do this.  The end result would be very much worth it.  It will probably be much more difficult for your girlfriend, given her potential child as well as mental issues... but I think her priorities will be different than yours (raising a child).

You don't want to be a father, and holding on to a relationship with her as she tries to become a mother, seems like a terrible idea.


The path forward is clear.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Sorry for the harsh advice.

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2019, 10:09:52 AM »
Whoa, so she's made a decision for herself about having a kid with or without you. It's time for you to make your own independent decision. The time for talking with her, making sure she knows about your fears and desires, etc has passed. She's made her decision and now you have to deal with that decision by acknowledging that it's happening and deciding if you want to be a committed part of this kid's life, and if you decide to stay you need to really commit, at least to the kid if not the mother.

But I just could not picture my life without her Ė we separated a few years ago and I went into a pretty bad depression. 

This isn't healthy. You can be sad if you're not with her, but actual depression isn't good. You should be able to function normally on your own without another person, perhaps after a brief mourning period. Mozar suggested some books about codependency upthread that might be good to look at.
Perhaps we define "deep depression" differently.  I mean I cried a lot, and my life felt very empty.  But I was still able to function, I went to work etc. 

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2019, 10:10:23 AM »


I get it with the "pseudo" father comment, but I really see it as no different than meeting a single mother and dating her.

I see this as VERY different. I have dated single mothers, I wasn't dating them or in a relationship with them when they decided to have a baby without my involvement. Just the fact that she's doing this regardless of where you fit in is a HUGE sign

GizmoTX

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2019, 10:21:54 AM »
Has she priced out IVF? Does she already have the money for it or will she go into debt? How many cycles will she try? It usually takes 3. The hormones will likely exacerbate her mental health issues. What if the worst happens & there are significant health issues with either baby or mother?

My SIL is bipolar & her pregnancy was a nightmare because she had to be off all meds. During our nephew's childhood she had numerous episodes that put her in a mental hospital; even for a committed relationship, taking care of wife & child while being the sole breadwinner has put an enormous strain on my brother. SIL is now mentally incompetent to drive. Nephew is now 27 and doesn't work.

I would not want to be facing a future raising a child with a person I am not married to, especially with mental health issues.

Samuel

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2019, 10:22:10 AM »
I am an introvert and have trouble meeting people so I am really trying to put all effort in trying to make this relationship work.
That is an absolutely terrible reason to stay in a bad relationship (said as a fellow introvert).

Malkynn

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2019, 10:40:27 AM »


I get it with the "pseudo" father comment, but I really see it as no different than meeting a single mother and dating her.

I see this as VERY different. I have dated single mothers, I wasn't dating them or in a relationship with them when they decided to have a baby without my involvement. Just the fact that she's doing this regardless of where you fit in is a HUGE sign

Agreed.

The two situations cannot be compared.
You cannot be part of a child's life from the very outset and be only a "step dad", that's simply not an option.

I second the recommendation for therapy, which is not only for the mentally ill btw. Your sense of what is reasonable and rational seems way out of whack and I think you could really use some guidance as to what your parameters should be for decision making.

None of what you have posted is reasonable. Remarkably and alarmingly not reasonable.

former player

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2019, 10:53:35 AM »
I'm sorry you are in a difficult position with your relationship.  It's good that the rest of your life seems to be in good order:  a home of your own, a good job, assets in the bank and contact with your parents.  You sound pretty sane to me, and also eligible: if you wanted to find a new relationship I am sure you could, including one which brought with it the possibility of children if that is what you wanted.  (If you did want to look for a new relationship, then given your introversion I might suggest you trying a marriage agency where a human being helps to pair you up with suitable partners rather than trying the shark pool of random dating.)

But I think the first thing you need to do is to be honest with yourself about what you are getting out of your current friendship with this woman - I'm not even sure I'd call it a relationship, given that you have not been intimate for some time and she is busy trying to get pregnant without consideration of your views. Sometimes we get stuck into one way of being and are just unable to look up at the horizon and all the possibilities that are open to us on the way to it.  A counsellor would be the right person to help you with that. 

I would also be rather concerned about your legal position if she does have a child: she may well be in a position to claim that because of your continuing relationship with her you will be a responsible parent for child support purposes - 18 years or more of child support for a child that is not yours through a relationship which is not a relationship would sting somewhat I would have thought, and would certainly tie your future down in ways which would be less than ideal.

debbie does duncan

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2019, 11:02:48 AM »
Does your GF pay her share of the rent ? Who is paying the rent on GFs place where she is not living? Who is paying for the IVF ?  Since you have not have sex with her in awhile....she is a friend. Is she expecting you to support her and her child? Make an appt to see a lawyer before any of this starts.
As in today!

MayDay

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2019, 11:20:20 AM »
You need a therapist.

Not having other friends is a terrible reason to stay with someone!

Break up, go to therapy, work on making friends.

Villanelle

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2019, 11:34:30 AM »
What helped me: therapy by myself, reading "codependent no more" and "feeling good the new mood therapy" , taking a break from romantic relationships for a few years, taking anti-depressants.
I can tell,  because I've been there, that you have a long journey ahead for restoring your mental health. I could make recommendations to help with your relationship with your girlfriend but until you get the help you need its pointless.
I'm curious what recommendations you'd make and why you feel I need help with my mental health?  I feel I am a pretty mentally stable person who is for the most part happy with my life.

The fact that you sunk in to a deep depression when you temporarily left what is quite clearly a very unhealthy relationship is a strong indicator that you'd benefit from therapy.  "Able to function" is a pretty low bar. 

Also, the fact that fear of never finding another person is pushing to to stay in an extremely flawed relationship is something that a therapist can help you put into perspective. 

socaso

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2019, 11:38:01 AM »
I have been to both couples counselling and individual counselling. Both are very helpful but my (completely unprofessional) opinion is that you would benefit more from individual counselling right now. You need time to work out what you really want in your life.

Case

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2019, 11:58:39 AM »
What helped me: therapy by myself, reading "codependent no more" and "feeling good the new mood therapy" , taking a break from romantic relationships for a few years, taking anti-depressants.
I can tell,  because I've been there, that you have a long journey ahead for restoring your mental health. I could make recommendations to help with your relationship with your girlfriend but until you get the help you need its pointless.
I'm curious what recommendations you'd make and why you feel I need help with my mental health?  I feel I am a pretty mentally stable person who is for the most part happy with my life.

The fact that you sunk in to a deep depression when you temporarily left what is quite clearly a very unhealthy relationship is a strong indicator that you'd benefit from therapy.  "Able to function" is a pretty low bar. 

Also, the fact that fear of never finding another person is pushing to to stay in an extremely flawed relationship is something that a therapist can help you put into perspective.

I think depression after break-up (from a relationship you wanted to stay in) is pretty normal.
But agree that the OP could benefit from therapy anyways, because he seems to have a few issues going on (dependency, isolation, etc...).

OP, don't lose hope, there is a lot more to life!  But you will need to take steps in the right direction.

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2019, 12:02:12 PM »
Does your GF pay her share of the rent ? Who is paying the rent on GFs place where she is not living? Who is paying for the IVF ?  Since you have not have sex with her in awhile....she is a friend. Is she expecting you to support her and her child? Make an appt to see a lawyer before any of this starts.
As in today!
She is paying for the entire IVF with cash.  We both have well paying jobs and she is very frugal with her money so she will have no issues paying for the IVF herself. 

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2019, 12:13:45 PM »
What helped me: therapy by myself, reading "codependent no more" and "feeling good the new mood therapy" , taking a break from romantic relationships for a few years, taking anti-depressants.
I can tell,  because I've been there, that you have a long journey ahead for restoring your mental health. I could make recommendations to help with your relationship with your girlfriend but until you get the help you need its pointless.
I'm curious what recommendations you'd make and why you feel I need help with my mental health?  I feel I am a pretty mentally stable person who is for the most part happy with my life.

The fact that you sunk in to a deep depression when you temporarily left what is quite clearly a very unhealthy relationship is a strong indicator that you'd benefit from therapy.  "Able to function" is a pretty low bar. 

Also, the fact that fear of never finding another person is pushing to to stay in an extremely flawed relationship is something that a therapist can help you put into perspective.

I think depression after break-up (from a relationship you wanted to stay in) is pretty normal.
But agree that the OP could benefit from therapy anyways, because he seems to have a few issues going on (dependency, isolation, etc...).

OP, don't lose hope, there is a lot more to life!  But you will need to take steps in the right direction.
Thank you for the kind response.  Some of the responses in here are pretty cold and nasty, so I appreciate the polite and well balanced advice. 

terran

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2019, 12:24:52 PM »
I think depression after break-up (from a relationship you wanted to stay in) is pretty normal.

It is possible, as the OP has said, that what he has described as depression isn't what some others in this thread (myself included) are thinking when we read that word, in which case your comment might be true for his case, but depression is not a normal response to a breakup. Sadness is a normal response, but depression can be better understood as sadness without a cause (though a cause can push someone prone to depression into depression), which is a psychiatric condition that might benefit from professional help. See the section under "Depression Is Different From Sadness or Grief/Bereavement" at https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2019, 12:35:42 PM »
I think depression after break-up (from a relationship you wanted to stay in) is pretty normal.

It is possible, as the OP has said, that what he has described as depression isn't what some others in this thread (myself included) are thinking when we read that word, in which case your comment might be true for his case, but depression is not a normal response to a breakup. Sadness is a normal response, but depression can be better understood as sadness without a cause (though a cause can push someone prone to depression into depression), which is a psychiatric condition that might benefit from professional help. See the section under "Depression Is Different From Sadness or Grief/Bereavement" at https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression
I probably should have said I was really, really sad then. 

Candace

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #36 on: July 31, 2019, 12:36:31 PM »
Does your GF pay her share of the rent ? Who is paying the rent on GFs place where she is not living? Who is paying for the IVF ?  Since you have not have sex with her in awhile....she is a friend. Is she expecting you to support her and her child? Make an appt to see a lawyer before any of this starts.
As in today!
She is paying for the entire IVF with cash.  We both have well paying jobs and she is very frugal with her money so she will have no issues paying for the IVF herself.
Does she have a doctor who's agreed to do IVF? I would think that a clean bill of mental health would be a requirement.

Sibley

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #37 on: July 31, 2019, 12:45:13 PM »
So, you're not intimate, you have separate homes, and she's pursuing having children without you. I'm not sure if couples counselling is the best fit, given that I wouldn't call this a "couple" situation in the first place? More like long-term good friends who sometimes room together.

Also, you might benefit from reading through someone else's personal thread with similar themes:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/7-year-relationship-no-sexual-desire-she-wants-to-get-married/?topicseen

It's a long slog, and of course not every aspect of their situation is the same as yours, but you still might find some of it enlightening or at least thought-provoking.

I also immediately thought of this thread.

OP - your relationship is over, and you've been riding inertia for years because it's easy and comfortable. Please stop flogging a dead horse. Your roommate needs to move out and back into her house. If she doesn't want to live with her family, she needs to evict them.

You need to move on with your life, independent of this woman. Given that you had a depressive episode last time you broke up, sounds like you really need some mental health support (THERAPY) to get through this period and figure out how to live independently.

SotI

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #38 on: July 31, 2019, 12:54:43 PM »
Let me add my perspective as someone whose SO is also suffering from mental illness: A relationship with someone mentally can work, you know what you want, can structure this and also communicate clear boundaries.

With this in mind, the key question for you is to decide how prepared you are to handle the worst case (she gets a child, goes mentally off the rail, whatever you can envision). Are you willing to deal with this, step in, commit to whatever the situation throws at you, even if it might derail your own plans? And if so, why?

I suppose, counselling might help you figuring this out. Although, the fact that you feel to need to ask here indicates too much discomfort regarding her plans. That should tell you something about your gut feeling. Don't second-guess yourself too much.
   

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #39 on: July 31, 2019, 12:54:53 PM »
Does your GF pay her share of the rent ? Who is paying the rent on GFs place where she is not living? Who is paying for the IVF ?  Since you have not have sex with her in awhile....she is a friend. Is she expecting you to support her and her child? Make an appt to see a lawyer before any of this starts.
As in today!
She is paying for the entire IVF with cash.  We both have well paying jobs and she is very frugal with her money so she will have no issues paying for the IVF herself.
Does she have a doctor who's agreed to do IVF? I would think that a clean bill of mental health would be a requirement.
Yes, she has already been accepted into the program.  She tried IUI a couple times but that did not work.  There is no requirement for a "clean bill of mental health".  She did have to talk to a counsellor to ensure she has appropriate supports etc.  I mean my GF is not a crazy/psycho person or anything, but she does suffers from mental health issues like many people do; like I said she suffers from anxiety, and high's and low's in terms of her mood.  She'd been on meds ever since I've met her, but I'm not convinced the meds really do much.  The IVF doctor is aware of her mental health issues and the meds she takes and there are no issues. 

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2019, 12:58:13 PM »
So, you're not intimate, you have separate homes, and she's pursuing having children without you. I'm not sure if couples counselling is the best fit, given that I wouldn't call this a "couple" situation in the first place? More like long-term good friends who sometimes room together.

Also, you might benefit from reading through someone else's personal thread with similar themes:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/7-year-relationship-no-sexual-desire-she-wants-to-get-married/?topicseen

It's a long slog, and of course not every aspect of their situation is the same as yours, but you still might find some of it enlightening or at least thought-provoking.

I also immediately thought of this thread.

OP - your relationship is over, and you've been riding inertia for years because it's easy and comfortable. Please stop flogging a dead horse. Your roommate needs to move out and back into her house. If she doesn't want to live with her family, she needs to evict them.

You need to move on with your life, independent of this woman. Given that you had a depressive episode last time you broke up, sounds like you really need some mental health support (THERAPY) to get through this period and figure out how to live independently.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, perhaps "depressed" was not the right word.  I was very, very sad though.  I cried a lot and just felt like my life was empty.  But I'm not an expert on what is defined as "depressed" vs. really sad. 

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #41 on: July 31, 2019, 01:05:40 PM »
Yikes, I would run for the hills.

You're not romantically compatible, lead complicated and intertwined lives, that despite being together for a decade, has resulted in her pursuing children with a sperm donor.

You deserve to be happy, and if you chose so, someone who is into you in more than just a co-dependent way. Take a step back and think about how much longer you want to kick the can down the road.

Garrett B.

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #42 on: July 31, 2019, 01:15:45 PM »
Yikes, I would run for the hills.

You're not romantically compatible, lead complicated and intertwined lives, that despite being together for a decade, has resulted in her pursuing children with a sperm donor.

You deserve to be happy, and if you chose so, someone who is into you in more than just a co-dependent way. Take a step back and think about how much longer you want to kick the can down the road.
You're probably right but easier said then done when you love and care deeply about someone.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #43 on: July 31, 2019, 01:34:55 PM »
Go through my post history and you will find that, quite frequently, I enter threads like this and plea for everyone to calm down. It's really easy to tell people to break up on the internet when you don't know the whole picture. I'm not going to do that here, but I wanted to address one point OP made:

I also struggle with the fact that by her having this child it really could bring me joy.  I mean my life could be incredibly empty without her (I don't really have any friends outside of her and my parents), and this child could end up being the best thing to ever happen to me.  I just really don't know and am scared.

My son is four months old, so I am by no means an expert. But after just four months, I can't tell you how much it hurts my brain to hear and/or see struggling couples claim, "This child may bring us closer together."

Listen -- this train of thought is completely irrational.

- Pregnancy takes an unbelievable toll on the mother (physically, emotionally, hormones, etc.), not to mention a mother that is 39 years old. You need to be there to support her and deal with her ups and downs 24/7.

- A newborn is cute and an unbelievable gift, but they are really fucking difficult. For practice, set your alarm for every 90 minutes, stay up for 30-60 minutes, attempt to go back to sleep for 60 minutes, and repeat throughout the night for about six weeks. Stack this on top of your everyday life and your already existing relationship issues (these don't disappear when a baby leaves the uterus). You think things will be better?

- I have a thread going right now about feeling like I'm losing my autonomy. I went golfing today. Did I pick that over being with my son? What does that say about me? And if you are not even living with your girlfriend, then what? Are you just going to peace out and stop in when you feel like it?

I could go on and on, but the thought that a newborn is going to bring couples closer together makes me want to rip my hair out and scream. You need to be all in to make it work. If you're not there mentally, then it's not going to work, period.

LifeHappens

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #44 on: July 31, 2019, 02:31:28 PM »
OP, you seem to have a glimmer of hope you could be a father figure to your GF's future child. I just want to caution you about this. I have a good friend who was in a relationship with the mother of a young girl. He and the girl became very close and he was definitely a father figure to her for several years. Unfortunately, my friend and the girl's mother broke up. He has absolutely no parental rights in this scenario and does not see the girl anymore. It's devastating for my friend. He's been mourning the loss for years now. I can only imagine how terrible the girl feels.

TLDR: getting emotionally involved with a child that isn't yours through biology or adoption can go very, very wrong. Proceed with caution.

Rosy

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #45 on: July 31, 2019, 02:33:01 PM »
Bottom line is that you wanted to continue this "relationship" at any cost, but you are beginning to realize that it keeps deteriorating at an alarming rate and is about to spiral into a maddening new direction and just maybe, this might be the end of the line for you.

You have no control over the decisions and actions of your "girlfriend". You can only control your own actions with the caveat that you do not want to be stuck in reactive mode, but rather remain steadfast in standing your ground on actions and decisions that are vitally important to you, your life and your future happiness.

It is as if you were transfixed by an oncoming train barreling in your direction and you are so frozen in fear you cannot move to step aside and avoid a collision.

By supporting her in whatever she wants to do like a good friend would, you are opening yourself up to a world of heartache because you are still fully invested in a "relationship" that only exists in your head.
She has made her decision, despite your wish to the contrary and is merrily moving forward with her plans. That is her right and I can understand a woman determined to have a child above all else. Even you. I cannot say whether I agree with her decision or not, it is a desperate move.

The fact that she has mental issues is not to be taken lightly. None of the fear scenarios you have presented can be dismissed. Yes, you may become attached to the child - have you considered how much worse it will be to know that here is a child that may need your help, but an emotionally distraught mother will not let you near? much less help?
You will have no control and no say so and there are her family to consider - all of whom have mental issues.

This is truly a train wreck waiting to happen.

Forgive me for saying this, but generally speaking, a forty-year-old man, with a good income and stable finances, who is caring and kind, introvert or not, is a good catch. Yes, I know, you would prefer to make this relationship work, but the truth is, there is no relationship to salvage.
At most, you can entertain friendship, but in your case, that is fraught with even more landmines.
Do the smart thing and do not go there.

Sure you cried when you broke up - why not, any man worth his salt will shed a tear and feel depressed after a break-up with someone he cared deeply about. It makes you a more loving, desirable human being.
The only mistake you made is that you gave in to your fear of loneliness and you remembered only the good times and saw only what "could be".
That is just human and normal.

We all want companionship and love in our lives. It is OK to want that, but you also have a duty to yourself to protect yourself from a situation that you already know will be potentially disastrous for you and truly impact your life in a mega negative way for years to come.

Do not do this to yourself. You deserve a great relationship with a fine woman and there is no reason you can't still find that - none.
There may be the right woman waiting for you but you will never find her if you do not give yourself a chance and do not leave yourself open to meeting someone new. Make room in your heart for good things to happen to you.
Yes, of course, you are not ready to immediately jump into a new relationship, but you need to remember that you are a man worth loving and living with.
People who care about each other want to be near each other, spend time together - even the introverts who need their own space. You certainly can have both, a good relationship and your own space.
I could never live with someone who was constantly in my pocket - I need time and space to myself, more so than the average person.

You must honor and respect yourself and your own desires and happiness - if you do not, how can you expect others to respect and honor you?
I am not saying that you are a doormat, but I do feel like this twisting yourself into a pretzel to make this work has just backfired big time.
Think long and hard about what you want and how you want to live your life going forward - listen to your inner voice.

You've received plenty of good input - it doesn't matter that some of it may not have been said in a kind manner - it is the content of the message that you need to consider - that is why you asked, right?

Villanelle

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #46 on: July 31, 2019, 02:36:14 PM »
I think you don't need (and maybe even shouldn't) make a final call right now on this relationship.  Part of what a good therapist can do is help you process the decision, the options, and the implications, as well as the thought patterns that are pushing and pulling you in various directions, so you can decide if those are patterns you think serve you well.

And why not?  It generally isn't expensive (and is often free or very cheap if you have health insurance, though I'm not sure where you are from).  What is the downside?  You lose an hour or two a week? 

It seems pretty clear that if you felt you had this all figured out and you felt good about it, you wouldn't have started this thread.  There's a struggle and confusion of what is best for you, and maybe why it's best.  That's exactly what therapy is for (among other things).  It can help you when you feel like you've looked at a major decision from all sides and you just can't come to a conclusion.  It seems like you were almost insulted that so many of us suggested therapy. Why?  What's insulting about saying, "you are clearly struggling with this so get some help"?  Isn't that actually why you started this thread?  Therapy is just help from actual experts and someone who will talk with you enough to flush out for more pertinent details than we can get from one internet post. 

And since there is a child about to enter the picture, it seems even more crucial that you get this sorted out because breaking up in a few years after the child has started to love and depend upon you is even harder for everyone, you included. 

seemsright

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #47 on: July 31, 2019, 05:22:52 PM »
Having one kid rocked my rock solid marriage more than I can even describe in words. We are going on 21 years and our now 9 year old is still hard. There are different stages and I found 0-3 hard. 4 I am not sure how I got though it. 5-8 hard (and fought the school district for 2 years) 9...the preteen attitude is starting (I find it really fun but it gets taxing by the end of the day)

I would not change having her. But we are never having another one. I could not imagine living through 4 again.

I think you need to work on yourself. Start reading books, going to places with people. I never found counseling helpful. You need to figure out WHAT YOU WANT start there.


Case

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2019, 05:32:26 PM »
What helped me: therapy by myself, reading "codependent no more" and "feeling good the new mood therapy" , taking a break from romantic relationships for a few years, taking anti-depressants.
I can tell,  because I've been there, that you have a long journey ahead for restoring your mental health. I could make recommendations to help with your relationship with your girlfriend but until you get the help you need its pointless.
I'm curious what recommendations you'd make and why you feel I need help with my mental health?  I feel I am a pretty mentally stable person who is for the most part happy with my life.

The fact that you sunk in to a deep depression when you temporarily left what is quite clearly a very unhealthy relationship is a strong indicator that you'd benefit from therapy.  "Able to function" is a pretty low bar. 

Also, the fact that fear of never finding another person is pushing to to stay in an extremely flawed relationship is something that a therapist can help you put into perspective.

I think depression after break-up (from a relationship you wanted to stay in) is pretty normal.
But agree that the OP could benefit from therapy anyways, because he seems to have a few issues going on (dependency, isolation, etc...).

OP, don't lose hope, there is a lot more to life!  But you will need to take steps in the right direction.
Thank you for the kind response.  Some of the responses in here are pretty cold and nasty, so I appreciate the polite and well balanced advice.

Itís easy to be judgmental and think youíd handle a situation Ďlogicallyí when you arenít actually in the situation. 

Likewise, itís easy to get stuck in a bad relationship when thereís nothing bad about it, or itís only Ďokí but not great.  Spend some time thinking objectively about your life, and where you want to go.  Think about yourself in 30 years, and what life path will make you look back and feel it was a good life.  I do think therapy is a good idea, or at least wont hurt (probably).

The main issue is that your gf has already started pursuing IVF and has a short biological clock.  You dont have much time to think.  This is an important decision in your life.  Take off time from work to think (if your job wont be affected by it).  Figure out whether you want kids or not, because a later reponse from you indicated that you are a Ďmaybeí rather than a hard Ďnoí.  But, your original post was rather passionate about not wanting kids.

Case

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Re: Relationship advice/help please
« Reply #49 on: July 31, 2019, 05:38:44 PM »
I think depression after break-up (from a relationship you wanted to stay in) is pretty normal.

It is possible, as the OP has said, that what he has described as depression isn't what some others in this thread (myself included) are thinking when we read that word, in which case your comment might be true for his case, but depression is not a normal response to a breakup. Sadness is a normal response, but depression can be better understood as sadness without a cause (though a cause can push someone prone to depression into depression), which is a psychiatric condition that might benefit from professional help. See the section under "Depression Is Different From Sadness or Grief/Bereavement" at https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression

I see.  Psychology is not my expertise, and i accept your response.

Anyways, i think a lot of sadness after a relationship ending is quite normal, and the OP clarified that we was very very sad, presumably caused by the relationship ending.

OP itís normal for moving onfrom relationships to take a very longtime.  Months, even a year after a 10 year relationship.  How long it takes can be affected by your actions and base mental health, and iím sure i or people here could enumerates tactics to help with it and building a new life.

Your primary objective now should be to convince yourself of whether your GFís life direction and yours no longer coallign, especially withthe life youwant to have.  There are many options in life and you can be greedy and choose for yourself.