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How do you know ...
May 23, 2005
I really need some advice about how you know you've met "the one." I always thought that "the one" in your life would be the person who brings out the absolute best in you and who makes you feel like nothing in the world could bring you down as long as you have this person in your life.
Well, I've been with my boyfriend now for almost 6 years, we've been living together for about 3 years. I've never cheated on him despite the opportunities that have presented themselves over the years.
We talk about marriage and children and I know he would make an incredible father just from the way I see he is with our dog (Emmy's a black lab we bought when we moved in). I also know that I would make an amazing mother and wife when I'm ready to settle down.
We rarely fight and have learned over the years the importance of communication. Our sex life is good, and eventhough sometimes I'm just not in the mood, I make sure my man is always satisfied. But that's one of the problems. I feel like I always make sure he's satisfied in every area I can, while I feel a little less important most of the time. Anything I can do to put a smile on my man's face is worth the effort to me. I leave him notes in his wallet, his car, his pants, I leave messages just to tell him that I love him, I pick up stupid little things that will make him laugh, or things that he needs whenever I go shopping, I'll stay in on the weekends because he hates to go out, I'll pick up movies he likes, food he likes, I never complain about anything. Even my dad always tells me that I'm one of the most mellow people he knows, and he also said he just can't imagine me getting married. I don't understand why it's so hard for my boyfriend to do anything out of the ordinary for me (and believe me he knows how much a phone call or note would mean b/c we've had this same arguement for the past six years, but it has improved some over time).
The thing is I'm pretty independent. I have a good job, making more money than my boyfriend, a nice car, honestly if it wasn't for me and all the money I saved we wouldn't have been able to afford the townhouse that we now own. My boyfriend had a lot of credit card debt that he continues paying off now. I'm an active girl who works out and will try anything once. My boyfriend is a homebody who never wants to go anywhere. I have to beg him to take me out to dinner which he always promises, yet never comes through on. He says everything is a waste of time because he'd rather stay home and work on improving his life/career/self, but nothing has really changed. Any time he does do something for me I feel like I owe him something b/c he makes it seem like such a pain. I like to have a good time, I like going out drinking with my girlfriends and we always draw attention of boys where ever we go. Like I said I'm not a cheater, but I do flirt a little and constantly hear what an incredible catch I am, not to be conceited, but honestly I couldn't agree more.
I went out on Saturday and hung out with this boy who I just found out had a crush on me for years. I felt incredible around him, like I was so perfect in everyway. We had a blast just hanging out and drinking, something I've told my boyfriend I'd love to have with him. I just don't feel that way around my boyfriend. My boyfriend is constantly grabbing me and asking me to do things for him and I always comply because that's the way I was raised. I just want more spontaneity, more excitement, more adventure. I've been know to get crazy and sometimes I just want a partner in crime and someone who appreciates what they have.
I just know my boyfriend would be completely devistated if I ended the relationship, but sometimes I feel like he's holding me back. The desire to raise a family and my desire to live life to the fullest are constantly in battle with one another. I almost ended things last year b/c I told him I felt underappreciated and that I was losing a piece of myself. I told him I wanted weekends away, dinner dates, and nights out on the town, but nothing has changed. I just don't know what to do anymore. Everything in our relationship is great except for those two areas .... not wanting to do anything and underappreciating me (he says it's about the money, but I told him I have plenty of money which he doesn't mind spending when it comes to something he likes and that it doesn't cost any money to send your girlfriend a note). We are going to the Bahamas in a few weeks, which I paid for entirely by myself, not to mention a new summer wardrobe for him when we went shopping on Saturday. I don't mind spending money on the one I love as long as he treats me right.
Sometimes I think I'd be better off by myself. If we weren't together I'd be doing so much more with my life, but I love him. I just don't feel like he brings out the best in me because I'm capable of so much more. However, he's become a better man over the years and I know without me he'd just fall apart.
Any type of advice would be great. I just don't know where else to turn. My friends tell me I deserve more, eventhough they love my boyfriend, my dad says I'm too much of a free spirit to commit myself to the same man since I'm 18.
If you've found "the one" how did you know? Or if your married how did you figure out it was the best thing for you. Please anything would be great. Thank you so much for listening, I feel like I'm about to explode.
Oh, gracious. Another "bad, bad boy, dump him, you-go-girl, you deserve better" thread.

Here's the deal:

First, the fact that you're asking if he's "the one" indicates that you are seeking an idealized fantasy of what you believe love ought to be.

Surprise! Love is rarely what we THINK it SHOULD be. Love is WHAT IT IS.

I've met so many people who have this idealistic notion in their head about "soulmates" and "love at first sight" and Hollywood-esque romantic fantasies... Love CAN be those things, if BOTH people believe in the very same notions! You can add a romantic soundtrack to your life pretty easily if you have the music all written out in your head. But if the two of you have different scores (he has a jazzy soundtrack and you have lots of violins), it is going to be more difficult to come up with an ending that will make the audience cry!

This gal makes great claims to independence -- yet she clearly isn't willing to BE independent of this guy, is she? If she was as independent as she says, she could step away for a while and focus on life without him.

Seems to me that she ENJOYS nurturing this guy -- leaving him little notes and doing little things to make him happy. VERY OFTEN in a relationship one partner takes on this role of nurturer. Men, in fact, appreciate this and often seek it out.

(Understand that any statements such as the above are generalized -- there are ALWAYS exception to any rule!)

We don't have the right to whine and complain about a relationship when we've entered into it or have learned during our time together that the other person is a bit different from us. If we CHOOSE to remain in that relationship, we also make the choice to COMPROMISE certain things at certain times.

I am NOT suggesting that this gal stay with someone if she feels he treats her poorly. But it is QUITE clear that she does NOT believe this. She just wants a bit MORE from him.

So she needs to TELL him this. She cannot DEMAND it -- it would not make her feel good to get a dozen roses from him if she knew that he purchased them because she TOLD him that she wanted him to do it! And at the same time, if she just sits back and waits for him to go buy her flowers and he never does it... she's going to spiral down into a cycle of misery that will never end.

What's horrible to me is that once again, everyone wants to bash the GUY for being insensitive. You know, not everyone is a romantic at heart. And CLEARLY, men and women are very different on many levels. This guy is not abusing her, he's not cruel, he's not anything "wrong" -- except that PERHAPS he is not the right guy for HER!

Rather than see the man for WHO HE IS and LOVE HIM FOR WHO HE IS, the gal is focusing on her idealized dream of WHO SHE BELIEVES HE SHOULD BE.

This is a sure-fire way to end up in a failed marriage. Can a few of you who have been down that road raise your hands? MY hand is up -- now YOU folks have some guts and do the same -- I know you are out there!

What this gal needs to do, in my opinion, is to focus on HERSELF right now. All the time and effort and attention she is giving to this guy -- she needs to switch over some of that to HERSELF.

By learning more about what SHE wants out of life and by switching gears toward her OWN happiness, she will ultimately discover what kind of man she REALLY needs.

SHE is NOT selfish for wanting something more. HE is NOT selfish for accepting all she gives him so freely and without restraint!

Putting ALL our energy into one other person is the WORST way to build a solid relationship.

When we desire to be the best person we can be, when we truly LOVE ourselves and have a goal and purpose in our lives -- it is THEN that we can give to our partner in a selfless way that demands nothing in return.

The thing is -- when we give of ourselves this way, we ALWAYS get something in return. The key is to first learn to experience the JOY of giving, loving and caring. THAT is the first reward, just the simple happiness that comes from being a GOOD person to our mate, to ourselves, to those around us.

After that, OTHER benefits come in time.

There ARE some things that we should EXPECT from a relationship -- these vary from person to person. We need to determine for ourselves exactly WHAT is MOST important to us. We need to be able to COMPROMISE some of the things that are of lesser importance. And we also need to NEVER ignore that which we need most.

If this gal absolutely MUST have certain reciprocities from her potential mate, then she needs to figure out if this guy is EVER capable of giving that to her.

Simply blaming the man and labeling him as selfish and uncaring isn't very realistic. From the original post, we can see he has MANY wonderful qualities about him that many women would appreciate. Just because perhaps THIS gal needs more doesn't mean the guy is a selfish oaf!

And it is OK if this gal needs more. But knocking another human being because he might be DIFFERENT isn't the way to teach this lesson!

The sad fact of life is that sometimes our differences tear us asunder.

The good news is that sometimes our differences can unite us, too. We can often learn to become better people by learning from those we love! We can play off each other's strengths and weaknesses and we sometimes find that ultimately we adopt little bits of the the other person into our own character and personality.

A nurturer NEEDS someone to nurture. But if a nurturer isn't happy in that role any longer, then that nurturing person needs to perhaps reconsider her role in life. Maybe she is a "part-time nurturer" and needs more recognition for her good deeds. This is nothing to be ashamed of -- it's just important that in order to do our best in ANY relationship, we need to know WHO WE ARE so that we can give and take with our partner to the best possible mutual benefit!

There's no "bad" person here. These two sound like really great people to me.

Even though they have had a long time spent together, this doesn't necessarily mean that they have delved deep enough into their own needs and discussed the situation.

NOW would be the time to do that, don't you think?

Good luck -- and please do NOT start thinking you have been wasting your life with a selfish, rotten guy. If you approach it like that, you're going to make a big mess of things, having these notions at the forefront of your thoughts as you two get down to brass tacks and talk.

Dismiss the negativity when seeking a resolution, but do not IGNORE it completely. Just don't enter into a life-changing decision by focusing on ONLY the negative issues. You MUST also consider that which is GOOD about what you have.

Perfection is hard to find in a partner. You should at least get MOST of the things you need -- but you can NEVER demand them. They must be given freely.

Hope this helps.

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