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Relationship Issues --I'm definitely in the wrong

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by The Q, Sep 5, 2020.

  1. The Q

    The Q Quinn

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    So background:
    My boyfriend and I have been together for 6+ years. We met online back when we were both teenagers, had a lot of interests in common. We got together and haven't looked back since.
    He's from Lima, Peru; the long-distance was always a weight but a manageable one, looking forward to the time when we could live together and make a life together. We communicate well, we work through conflicts very well and rarely resort to the blaming and vindication of many relationships.
    He's been to the USA several times; once as a child, twice he visited me, two weeks each during the Christmas season in two years. Another time he was doing a "test run" of living in the US with a friend of his. This has all been very good; nerve wracking but good experiences of getting to know each other in person.
    For the longest time, he really wanted me to visit him in Peru; this seemed equitable to both of us for me to experience his life and where he's coming from. And I wanted to--still want to. I expressed my fears and anxieties of travelling as I've never been on a plane, never been outside of the country and rarely outside of state borders. It's difficult for me to start new things.
    But my own issues don't change the fact that it's unfair to him. He begged me to come and got more and more dejected over my slowness.
    Eventually I did schedule a trip for this last March.....and then the pandemic happened. My trip was cancelled (I still have the plane credit towards a future trip) and we're in limbo again.
    Today, I had a long and hard conversation with my boyfriend about this. He said that even though he knew it was probably an unfair conclusion, he didn't feel like getting his hopes up for me to ever follow through on promises or stability in this way. In his words, by the time the borders opened again, I would be settled in my apartment and he would be moving up to start the greencard process anyway, end of story. He feels hurt, disappointed in me, and hopeless that he's going to have to conform to my life without me giving anything back. When I try to express that I still very much want to visit him once the borders open again--I still have the plane credit--he shies away from it. And very reasonably so; he's been disappointed for a long long time by my empty promises that even a future chance of me following through is too much for him to put energy into.
    He's not ending anything, he's not even saying to break things off. But he's expressed this kind of hopeless resignation to the way things are and doesn't want to deal with any more words from me on the matter. He sees me as prioritizing my own individual life and he has to tag along for the ride; I've tried to arrange going to grad school even though I don't know what to do with my life.
    I want to give him hope again, even though it's impossible to get down to him right now with closed borders. It's impossible to promise or reassure him without it sounding hollow. My own anxieties and slowness to get around to crucial matters like this have done so much harm, and apologizing doesn't solve anything. It's horrible because it's not even a crossroads of making a decision.
    Tldr; my own slowness to react, to get on things in time has led to a scar between us where he (understandably) can't trust me to be reliable. And I think he might be right and don't know how to solve this; I don't know what to express to him, or how, or what will help this situation where it's impossible for me to just go down there right now.
    EDIT: Just for more information; we are both anxious, possibly autistic/neurodivergent, and trans men. There's no power imbalance on his side; if anything moreso for me as someone living in the US.
     
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  2. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    This is an all round sucky situation. Coronavirus sure doesn’t help things and there’s no way to predict when you’ll be able to see each other again. You may have stalled beforehand, but it’s not really fair for him to lay blame at your feet for the current situation. I understand that you don’t want to give him hollow assurances. Have you asked him if there’s something you can do in the meantime to help restore faith in the future of your relationship?

    Good luck navigating this tricky situation together. I hope you two make it through :)
     
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  3. The Q

    The Q Quinn

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    I don't think he's laying blame so much as just expressing extreme sadness and bitterness; he said he just doesn't want me to make promises and doesn't want to talk about it until he knows for sure that I'm coming down there. He's a pretty hardcore pessimist sometimes so "dealing with the bad stuff of life" can be his default, such as seeing this situation as unresolvable except through giving up.

    I think in general he can get very tired of my very verbose way of dealing with conflicts; I'm good at the "talking" side of conflicts to resolve them...but when that doesn't always resolve things I understand how he's fed up.

    My plan is to keep going as planned; wait for the borders to open and follow through ASAP while keeping his emotional investment as minimal as possible so he doesn't get hurt in the process if it drags out. Not even touching the fact that I might end up second-guessing grad school and the whole way my professional life is going right now, but that's a whole other issue.
     
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  4. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    This sounds tough, sorry he's feeling so glum, though I guess it's understandable. Whilst allowing for our traits and their effects, we do have to take into account that there may be consequences in how people feel towards us over time, if we haven't been able to be there for them. He wants to wait for some evidence that you will follow through now, and it sounds like you will, as soon as possible.

    Unlucky that covid hit just as you had plucked up courage, but it sounds like you have some ground to make up. You'll get there I'm sure, and probably you'll find it all better than you feared. I find the fears about doing something are often the worst part, and despite the fears, I can have really good experiences when I do take the steps. Good luck!
     
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  5. The Q

    The Q Quinn

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    Yeah, I think you're right about making up ground. It's really frustrating to have that denied right when I started it--though, as he points out, if I'd stopped having cold feet sooner, I would have been able to see him before all of this happened.
    I think he doesn't want to be reassured, he wants results, which I can understand. It's just going to be a damper and tension until that point.
     
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  6. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    And that is completely understandable.

    Sounds like a good idea. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders :)
     
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  7. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Here's an idea. Why don't you both take a trip to Peru together once he's settled in and borders are open? That way, you'll have him as a guide, which will likely go a long way to lessen your travel anxiety, you'll both have something to look forward to, and he gets to show you around and show you what life is like in Peru.
     
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  8. The Q

    The Q Quinn

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    We're doing okay now but I think I should have rephrased. He would be guiding me in Peru the whole time; the plan was to already be with him the entire visit. It's the plane trip only that I would be doing myself (and the biggest source of anxiety for me). The rest of it would be entirely with him, which is what we were looking forward to (and were disappointed to postpone yet again.)
    I appreciate the advice though; we're doing fine right now. As I mentioned we have a very good thing going where expressing frustration and emotions (even things like disappointment in each other) doesn't affect our long-term commitment. It's just part of the process.
     
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