Wednesday, 7 March 2012

We Don't See Life & Relationships In The Same Way

Dear Babs

I am a 28 year old Legal Secretary and I have lived with my partner for 5 years. Over the last few months I have been feeling dissatisfied with the relationship. I don't think my partner and I see life or relationships in the same way. I met him on the rebound. I had just finished with my then boyfriend who I was in love with but he had problems with anger. I tried to resolve the difficulties with him but it didn't happen. I later had therapy and realised my reaction came from my childhood. My mother was a very angry woman who intimated my father, my sister and me. The upshot is that I have come to terms with the loss of that relationship and though I'm sad about it I realise it's gone. Now my partner has suggested marriage and I really don't know what to do. I feel awful because he really is a nice guy but I'm not sure he can be there for me in the way I want. If I had come to you for counselling what would you say? 

Dear Lauren

It sounds as if you've done a lot of thinking and clearly you've gained some insight into what makes you react in the way you do. I guess what you now need is some insight into what makes your partner respond in the way he does.

I will admit to some concern at what you see as a lack of common ground 'my partner and I don't see life and relationships in the same way'. I would say shared cored values are important and that behaviours can be changed. However, you say you've only become dissatisfied recently so I'm wondering what has happened to create this change. I wonder in fact whether it was his proposal? 

I don't want to put words in your mouth but you seem to have seen him as second best and that while you've been able to see him as that you've been able to mark time. Now with him suggesting marriage it means investing him and the relationship with value. I wonder if you simply have cold feet? What about working out just what your differences are? If you feel you can't do that on your own then why not consider counselling again? But not until you've shared with your partner what's happening for you and how you feel. He is after all half of the relationship and you do need to be able to promote dialogue about your concerns both now and in the future.

It may be on the other hand that this isn't the man for you but again you won't know that unless you explore further. I do hope you are able to make sense of what's happening for you. I wish you well.

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