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Jim1234 Offline OP
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All, it's been years since D and any of my previous threads, but I was hoping for some advice. I started a new thread because others were so old, and none of it was really relavent to this new relationship. I hope the moderators forgive me. Maybe this is the wrong place to discuss it; I don't know, but it seemed like a good place to me.

GF and I have been together for over 5 years now, and we are having issues. We live apart, but see each other almost every day. I value the relationship, but I'm not sure it can be saved.

I'm clean and tidy; she is fastidious. Really fastidious. Like "why haven't you cleaned the dust out of your car's gear shifter this month?" fastidious. I am happy to change many habits to please her, like trimming nose and ear hair, putting lotion on my scaly elbows, dressing sharper, wearing nicer shoes, updating my house, etc.

Last weekend I didn't take a shower all day and got into bed. I showered late the day before; I was planning on showering first thing in the morning, and hadn't done anything arduous all day. "That's disgusting!" was her opinion, clearly upset. I didn't think so, and I don't make a habit of it.

The next day, we had a conversation about it, and she's frustrated that I don't care about these things as much as she does. Im frustrated because I'm tired of hearing about things like the gear shifter and my scaly elbows that are inconsequential to me. She has never been with someone "like me," to whom these things aren't important. She is tired of being with someone as "gross" as I, and I don't see how I'm ever going to intrinsically care as much as she does about cleanliness.

So I'm left asking myself whether she needs to either accept me as I am, or break up with me, or if there's some way I can change my thinking so I am intrinsically more concerned with hygiene. Frankly, I'm not hopeful for the future of our relationship.

Any thoughts or 2X4s welcome.

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Good Morning Jim

There is no problem starting a new thread. Thank you for letting me know you wish to start fresh as the past threads are not relevant to your present situation. Oh, and if you’d like to share your ages that would be helpful.

Has your GF of five years always been this critical and detail oriented of you and your belongs? I’m suspecting not.

You mentioned you and her are having issues. Could it be that her fastidiousness is just an expression, an outlet, a pressure relief of the more underlying issue(s)?

From what you’ve shared, your relationship does not sound irreparable. And I get that you value the relationship. By the way, interesting wording “value the relationship”. Ask yourself, do you value her? How she lights up the room? How you each bring betterment to the other’s life?

Some times we get bogged down trying to save the relationship we lose sight of the person. Relationships are built and maintained by caring about, and more importantly respecting the person. Open honest communication being a key component. Speak with her. Heart to heart. Not about these things, about her, her life, her dreams.

Now, if you can, or should, pick up your socks more - apologize and do so.

Five years and living apart. Was/is this planned? On purpose? Is this how you and/or her want your relationship to be? Are either of you now looking to move in together? I’m only looking in, and read the few paragraphs you’ve shared, yet this did strike me.

Originally Posted by Jim1234
GF and I have been together for over 5 years now, and we are having issues. We live apart, but see each other almost every day. I value the relationship, but I'm not sure it can be saved.

Word choice does affect how one reenforces their world views. And one’s views affects their word choice. Present case:

We live apart, but see each other almost every day.

We live apart, and see each other almost every day.

The second statement does not place the two events at odds with each other. “And” couples the two events and more shows this is desired. “But” concatenates differing or contrasting statements, almost forcing them to coexist and play nice together.

In our word choice we both reflect and craft our world views. Perhaps there is something here for you to dig into.

D


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Originally Posted by Jim1234
So I'm left asking myself whether she needs to either accept me as I am, or break up with me, or if there's some way I can change my thinking so I am intrinsically more concerned with hygiene. Frankly, I'm not hopeful for the future of our relationship.
It may be salvageable from your point of view however it takes two people to make a relationship work.
If both people are not 100% into their half - then its not going to work.

So is this the case?


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Originally Posted by DnJ
Good Morning Jim

There is no problem starting a new thread. Thank you for letting me know you wish to start fresh as the past threads are not relevant to your present situation. Oh, and if you’d like to share your ages that would be helpful.

Has your GF of five years always been this critical and detail oriented of you and your belongs? I’m suspecting not.

You mentioned you and her are having issues. Could it be that her fastidiousness is just an expression, an outlet, a pressure relief of the more underlying issue(s)?

From what you’ve shared, your relationship does not sound irreparable. And I get that you value the relationship. By the way, interesting wording “value the relationship”. Ask yourself, do you value her? How she lights up the room? How you each bring betterment to the other’s life?

Some times we get bogged down trying to save the relationship we lose sight of the person. Relationships are built and maintained by caring about, and more importantly respecting the person. Open honest communication being a key component. Speak with her. Heart to heart. Not about these things, about her, her life, her dreams.

Now, if you can, or should, pick up your socks more - apologize and do so.

Five years and living apart. Was/is this planned? On purpose? Is this how you and/or her want your relationship to be? Are either of you now looking to move in together? I’m only looking in, and read the few paragraphs you’ve shared, yet this did strike me.

Originally Posted by Jim1234
GF and I have been together for over 5 years now, and we are having issues. We live apart, but see each other almost every day. I value the relationship, but I'm not sure it can be saved.

Word choice does affect how one reenforces their world views. And one’s views affects their word choice. Present case:

We live apart, but see each other almost every day.

We live apart, and see each other almost every day.

The second statement does not place the two events at odds with each other. “And” couples the two events and more shows this is desired. “But” concatenates differing or contrasting statements, almost forcing them to coexist and play nice together.

In our word choice we both reflect and craft our world views. Perhaps there is something here for you to dig into.

D

Thanks for the insights...

we're both 58.

She has always been critical of my hygiene and cleanliness. Like I said, she's fastidious, whereas I'm "just" clean (my words, not hers). Her home is sterile, whereas mine is clean, and she can't understand why I am not overly concerned with stepping up my game. I mean, I'll shower 2-3 times a day if I'm getting dirty, but do I need to do this every day? This is probably the defining conflict of our relationship, and has been since the start. I don't know if it's a pressure relief of some sort, but I don't think so. I think it's just who she is. I'll think about it.

I don't need her to tell me to pick up my metaphorical socks; I do all that myself. But she apparently feels the need to check I actually brush my teeth before bed, as if I haven't been doing that since I was 5. That's not a metaphore, and just one example. I find it disrespectful and demeaning.

And yes, I value her. "Valuing the relationship" was a term my previous marriage counsellor used. She improves my life in many ways, and I'm happy around her, most of the time (except when she's checking whether I brushed my teeth, etc).

We planned to move in together after our kids all graduate from college... so May '24, and our plan is to put my house on the market in the spring.

As far as the word choice, I don't think it means as much as you are intimating, but I'll think about it.


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Originally Posted by Cadet
It may be salvageable from your point of view however it takes two people to make a relationship work.
If both people are not 100% into their half - then its not going to work.

So is this the case?

Well, that's really the question. I am happy to find some middle ground, and step up my game, but she's "not willing to lower her bar." I'm not sure I can step up enough to meet her bar when I dont intrinsically care about some of these things. We have an appointment with a therapist this week to see if there is some compromise we just don't see.


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I hope therapy is helpful. You can only control yourself and what you're willing to change. I wonder if re-employing some of the DB strategies would be helpful, whether your current relationship works out or not. Spend some time practicing GAL and caring for yourself if you're not already doing so. At a time when you need to be at your best, it is important to eat well, sleep, get some family or friend time in, etc. so you have some balance to the negative stuff happening with your partner. Even though MWD says one person can make a significant impact on a relationship, in the end, the other person has to choose whether or not the change impacts them enough to salvage the relationship (to Cadet's point). Do the best with what you can control and, hopefully, you feel better however the relationship goes because you know you did all you could with what you could.

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Originally Posted by MrP
I hope therapy is helpful. You can only control yourself and what you're willing to change.
Sometimes you could stand on your head, twist yourself into a pretzel and it will still make no difference,

Both parties need to want it to work

I do agree you can only control yourself


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I don't think anyone needs to shower 2-3 times a day, unless they are in an occupation that is going to get them repeatedly dirty or grimy. (I think of the guy that fixed my messed up heating system when I first moved into the house. The previous owners did not maintain it properly, and he came out of the basement looking like a coal miner. That guy needed multiple showers doing that kind of work).

If your GF is this obsessed with "sterility," how does she find time to do much else during the day? I picture her either cleaning herself or the house nonstop, to keep up this perfect, sterile appearance.

Full disclosure: I will admit that I have what might be called a fastidious streak (which has annoyed my wife at times), but I am certainly not sterile, and it doesn't extend to all areas of my life. My fastidiousness pertains to my collections and keeping eating spaces clean. (I have to have my music collection sorted alphabetically by artist and album titles, for example, and the kitchen has to be clean but not gleaming perfect).


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MrP, I appreciate the suggestions, but I don't know if I can get a better life! I've really taken those lessons to heart and continued them after the D!

Cadet, we are both trying, and I'm optimistic.

And Sunflyer, this obsession takes up a significant part of her time. She is free to do her own thing, but I get irate when she pushes it on me.

The good news is we saw the same therapist separately just over a week ago, and the initial results have been good.

I don't really know what she discussed, but there have been some differences, i.e. we came back from a wedding. I was exhausted, brushed my teeth and collapsed in bed. Instead of nagging me to shower, she slept in another room. I was already asleep, and didn't notice. So, 1) I wasn't nagged into compliance (Yay!), and 2) knowing she was unwilling to sleep in the bed with me makes me WANT to shower.

In my time with the therapist we talked about my offense at being TOLD what to do, and in her opinion, while no one likes it, in my case, I might take it too far. I'm working on that, and it's been helpful.

All in all, it's been good.


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Jim, I'm confused as to what you are asking. You're not married to her. Problems before marriage is why we date. I think the question you need to ask is "what is the future here?" The answer to that will help guide you in what to do next.


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