I have been dating my boyfriend off and on for almost a year. Just when things seem to be going great, something happens, we argue, break up – but then a month or two later, or even less, we decide to give it another try.
I’m getting too old for games and I really want to get married. It’s too much up and down. It’s gotten so that it’s causing shalom bayis issues for me. What I mean is, I’m in a bad mood after (another) break up. I guess I’m not the easiest person to be around, because my roommate has asked me to just end things permanently with my boyfriend or get engaged and move, because she can’t take my moods, which are caused by this relationship.
What do you think?
Thank you for your question, Linda.
There are a couple of things to address here:
Firstly, when seeking advice from someone, you need to provide more details. What are your arguments about: serious life issues, hashkafah, or if the Road Runner is really at fault for all the pain Wile E Coyote has been through for the last 50 years? Do the arguments begin when one of you wants to take the relationship to the next step (engagement), or the fact that one of you does not want to take the relationship to the next step (from your letter, I would think that would be your boyfriend)?
You have a pattern of breaking up and then getting back together. What is the factor that keeps bringing you and this fellow back together? Is it that you really do love each other and can live with each other’s differences, or you’d rather not start from scratch with someone in a new relationship? This is important to know. If you keep going back to each other because “the enemy I know is better than the enemy I don’t,” then it’s a toxic, unhealthy relationship. You are staying together just because you don’t want to be alone for a while until you find that new someone who is perfect so you don’t have to start adjusting to any quirks or shortcomings you think he may have. You’re used to your current boyfriend’s quirks, so why not just stay, right? Wrong. That’s not love. This cycle will keep going. Just because you wear a wedding ring, do you think the fights will stop? You are getting a look into what life will be like with him, but once you get married it’s not so easy to walk away – not that it’s easy now, but marriage makes the situation more difficult. And what if you get pregnant? Now you are bringing a child into this situation. Is it a healthy environment for the child to constantly see its parents fighting, even if they do resolve their issues for a few weeks at a time?
Life is not reality TV or a romcom or a soap opera. I’m sorry to say, but even reality TV is scripted. It’s not cute and sweet and people won’t smile and happily whisper to each other, “Aww, they made up again. They really do belong together.” This is life. Your roommate/friends/family may not want to be involved with your drama, they may see how toxic the relationship is for you and for the fellow, and I repeat, this is not TV, this is real life. Your real life. I can’t blame your roommate for wanting some stability and knowing what to expect from the person she’s sharing a kitchen with.
This brings me to the second issue I want to address: You wrote, “...She can’t take my moods, which are caused by this relationship.” Yes, I can understand how breaking up with your boyfriend (yet) again can affect your mood. And you have every right to mope around or be angry and channel that anger into a hobby, running, yoga, or cleaning your share of the apartment; but it isn’t fair to punish others for what has happened in your life. If this was the first or second time you broke up with your boyfriend that would be another story, but it sounds like it has been one of several times. Your roommate is not a teenager anymore, doesn’t want to be brought into the drama or be collateral damage. I can only hope she was supportive the first time or two, but even I would roll my eyes if this was the eighth time my friend broke up with her boyfriend and she’s still crying about the same thing. Resolve it or move on. I am not saying to not show any emotion. You’re human after all, but it sounds like your roommate gets the brunt of it all. If you wrote more details, I’d have a better idea. I’m just going with the brief description you provided.
Maybe you should consider couples counseling if the two of you want to really make it work and love each other. You can learn new ways to deal with differences other than breaking up and starting the cycle again. Maybe you will find that you are not each other’s basherts and no matter how much it hurts, it is healthy for all to walk away. These are decisions for you and the man you are involved with to make and no one else. Don’t ask your friends or the woman who cuts your hair. Speak with a real couple’s therapist and you will have to provide more details than you provided me, but be prepared for your boyfriend to say how he feels about the same issues and your feelings and opinions may be totally opposite.
I know you said that you want to get married. But make sure you are getting married for the right reasons to the right person and not just get married for the sake of getting married. I can assure you that hundreds will warn you not to go down that road and why a journey down that road may lead to trouble. Unhappiness. Fights…
Time to stop the cycle of breaking up and getting back together. Time to put your big girl Spanx on and see if you and your boyfriend are basherts or not. Be prepared for the answer to be no, because if you aren’t, there is no point of going to therapy or even trying, because this will be happening for years – or maybe until your boyfriend decides this is too much drama and he decides to end it. I strongly suggest you seek out a therapist, either for yourself or preferably for both of you.
Hatzlachah to you all.