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Posted by: LoveTooMuch | 2007/12/19

Desperate to have my own family

Hi, I am a 25 year old woman living alone in a bachelor's flat in Cape Town. I see myself as a very intelligent young woman. I am a junior civil engineer. I see myself as having too little self-confidence and I am emotionally not all that independent. I seek self-validation by involving myself with guys who I then tend to love too much, because I have the need to know that I am making a difference in someone's life.

With the above paragraph in mind, I seem to be smart at all other areas of my life except when it comes to relationships. I was emotionally and sexually abused when I was 14 and from then on it has affected my relationship ever since (although I don't blame everything on my past experiences). In 2002 I sorted out the issues surrounding my abusive relationship in high school (there was only this one).

I have had about 8 serious relationships in 11 years. I cannot remember being single for longer than one year ever. I don't really know who I am if I am not with someone, which really is a problem I suppose.

I tend to fall in love with guys (all my age) who are either domineering towards me (so I feel overshadowed by the way they take the lead i.e. we don't have an equal partnership and I always play second fiddle) or I fall for guys who have innocence, a certain level of immaturity and naivety and with whom I have to take the lead all the time, because they don't understand how to take the lead with a relationship (and thus I sometimes feel like I am playing second fiddle with these guys as well, because they seemingly don't care about what I need).

I suppose I am just curious to know what anyone has to say about this. I don't know how to take control of the situation and make a change. I am confused. I thought that I would have been married by now with kids on the way and I don't understand why that hasn't happened for me yet.

At the moment I am involved with someone. We've been together for a year now. I realized that I am not getting all that I expected from him (because he falls in that somewhat immature and naive category). I am disappointed. Some things can be rectified through proper communication, but other things I am not sure about.

Who can I talk to?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I hope I don't sound repetitious when I suggest you seek CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) which deals well with such issues as self-confidence and emotional dependence, and similarly inconvenient automatic assumptions and behaviours. And clarifying exactly who you are, without needing reference to someone else. Potential effects of earlier abuse can be a host of self-assumptions which are both ianccurate and unhelpful.
With the dominating guys, maybe it matters much less who you are, as they hardly care. And as you notice, the WAY you interact with the weaker guys also involves them paying less attention to who you really are.
With the current relatonship you say you realize you're not getting all you expected from him --- is this a matter of feeling dissatisfied at a rather general level, or are you clear about WHAT you expect and are not getting ?

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: LoveTooMuch | 2007/12/22

To: CyberShrink (and also "Know how you feel")

Since my first post I have confronted my current boyfriend about my needs and what exactly it is that is lacking from our relationship (the romance, the extra effort to make me feel special etc...). I can't say that I received a good response. When requiring that our romance be spiced up (meaning that I would've loved to get more flowers this year than the one rose he gave me on Valentine's Day this year) I got responses like "you know I don't have time for anything right now" and "yes I know I am laughing, but I'm in a bad mood now and I am going to laugh at pretty much anything you say now" or "you know that I don't have all those emotional issues you need to think about all the time". Completely insensitive and only concerned about the way HE is feeling. Nevermind my cries for help.

The big concern is that he thinks everything revolves around his bad moods and we can never talk things out without him trying to avoid the conflict by making silly jokes about what I am saying (even if I'm sharing my deepest feelings he doesn't seem to take note that I seek comfort from him; also he is under the impression that a hug, a kiss and a "i love you" solves it all).

I am going to add that he is an only child living with his parents and his mother has spoiled him with regards to taking responsibility for his emotional well-being (actually the lack thereof; I only realized this recently). When he is upset he can take his frustrations out on other people and his mother lets him treat her like a doormat too sometimes. He has no problem refusing to eat something his mother prepared if it isn't according to his liking...it is not so much that, but he shoves away something so deliberately and says in a disgusted voice "I am not eating this". It does not bode well for me for the future don't you think? He gets aggressive but never violent. He swears out loud which sometimes scares me a lot. At the same time he has a kind side...he can be so incredibly sweet...and that is actually what I am in love with. He is a junior actuary: intelligent and analytical (which I relate to, being an engineer), but he is unfortunately analytical about our relationship too. If he cannot pop the issue into a formula and get an answer he is totally lost and confused and comes off as being totally insensitive.

If I have to summarize our issues (without making me sound perfect because I'm not) I'd have to say that he doesn't know how to take responsibility for his words and his actions. He is 24 and yet he throws tantrums typical of a small child or maybe the type teenagers throw.

He is not mature enough to handle a romantic relationship and doesn't recognize how important little romantic gestures are to me. He never took me out for dinner or spoiled me with little gifts and gestures (the kind that is important...picking a flower next to the road and surprising me with it...surprising me with a visit at my flat, because he drives that way everyday anyway...). He doesn't do anything from his side unless I ask him too and unless it is expected of him.

I can't take the lead all the time. We have to call it quits or he needs to grow up and get his priorities straight.

What do you think?

Reply to LoveTooMuch
Posted by: Know how you feel | 2007/12/20

Hi LTM, I know how you feel, I'm a little older than you, also in CT on my own and I sometimes wonder whether a strong, smart independent woman is not what men want. I have realized that self love is number one on the list and that there is nothing wrong with knowing what you want.
I was feeling like you were too - it's called the quarter-life crisis... there are books on the issue. Know that what you are feeling is normal. I also out alot of energy into securing a career, imagining marriage with kids... it did not happen and I was devastated, I felt like a failure. But I have come to realize that in time my dream will be realized just like yours will...
If you feel you need to chat you can respond to this message and/or seeing a life coach is also very beneficial...

All the best to you, have a great festive season, after all there's no better place to be than CT this time of year

Reply to Know how you feel
Posted by: Potential responder | 2007/12/19

Before i respond i need clarity on this the last paragraph you say some somethings can be rectified through communicating others you not sure about, what types of others are you refering to ?

Reply to Potential responder

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