{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Um, I feel like my BF of almost 4yrs (1 living together) and I are on the brink of separating. I think COVID is putting it into perspective. We’ve gotten through the worst of the quarantine while supporting each other as best we could (very thankful for him). But his coping skills with stress (during covid) are lacking and as things progressed he’s just been taking it out on me more and more in the moment, then he feels awful for not treating me as well as I deserve (he treated me well before..)", "post_id": "5eda64e38bdd170024629a3c", "reply_count": 20, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "5e6fe1c31f5e51001d267e46", "bowl_name": "The Work-Life Bowl", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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Um, I feel like my BF of almost 4yrs (1 living together) and I are on the brink of separating. I think COVID is putting it into perspective. We’ve gotten through the worst of the quarantine while supporting each other as best we could (very thankful for him). But his coping skills with stress (during covid) are lacking and as things progressed he’s just been taking it out on me more and more in the moment, then he feels awful for not treating me as well as I deserve (he treated me well before..)

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From an old woman let me give you some sound advice. All the little things that bother you now will ultimately be the things that Tear you both apart later. People don’t typically change and instead of exhausting yourself and each other trying to change each other, just find someone more compatible. It will cause you greater lasting love for a lifetime

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D1. Agreed that people don't change.. But I think one extension to your advice might be that no one is perfectly compatible.. So there will be irritations throughout life together. Figure out of this is an irritation you can work through and deal with, or if it's one that you will resent.

likesmart

... otherwise I wouldn’t stay with him as my self respect would get in the way). I’m really hoping we can work through this. Have others helped their SOs manage stress /build resilience??

He knows me better than anyone else does,has treated me so well, been my #1 cheerleader in my career where so many before were intimidated. He’s social and fun and extroverted and balances me out, reminding me there’s more to life than work. But I think it’s coming to a head.

beyond just the stress of the pandemic itself, I also think quarantine got rid of all of his “distractions”. Ie going out drinking with his friends (but not his actual close friends, but the “friends of convenience” that are still happy to stay out drinking until 2am Friday or Saturday). And I think it’s making him see that he really doesn’t have that much going on in his life in terms of meaningful hobbies / pursuits (he plays lots of sports / works out), but hasn’t developed many hobbies that require him to use his brain / can be done at home. He’s still unhappy with his job (has been thinking about a change for over a year and slowly making baby steps towards this with my support). And in general he’s not where he wants to be with his life. So lots of stuff building up. These were all things we were talking about Pre quarantine, and were trying to work through. These are the types of things we all deal with as we grow up and close some activity chapters behind us and start new ones. For example, I used to go out with him more, but started to grow out of it and he’s ready to as well. Quarantine just put so much pressure on the stuff that we were starting to tackle in little steps.

was he amazing at managing stress / anxiety before covid? Not really. Was it a deal breaker, no. I have enough of a “can do” attitude for 2 people. quarantine? I’ll weather the storm, navigate my team through this, transition to at home workouts and walks, and read and think more. Has it sucked? Yes. I’ve cried lots, had ups and downs. Have I accepted it and tried to make the most of it? Yes.

It’s making me realize that one of the things I really value is resiliency.... I’m hoping we don’t have too many more COVID type setbacks in life. But if we do ... I need us both to handle it appropriately. If we can’t get the comms right
/ not taking our frustration on me piece right, and quickly, this is going to fall apart and it just makes me so sad.

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It seems like he definitely needs to learn how to manage his stress and temperament in a healthy way. And I don’t think that’s your responsibility. You can recommend him therapy so therapist can guide him and you can be supportive but it’s not your responsibility to make him feel better especially when it’s draining you. I broke up with my ex because I couldn’t live with his short temperament which turned into abuse later on in our relationship. The important question is can you live with it. A healthy relationship at the end of the day is about accepting everything about the other person without a huge cost of your own happiness.

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Seems like a normal relationship to me.

Everyone goes through this, sometimes regularly, and sometimes once every few years. You both need tools to work together on listening to each other and managing emotions/stress.

My advice is give each other ten minutes per day to just “vent”. This is when you sit and listen without reacting or giving advice. And the other person says whatever they want to say to “let it off their chest”. Limit it to ten minutes or less so it doesn’t become a fight. After each of you have your turn, hug and go for a walk or watch a funny show. Easy and done.

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Some thoughts:
(1) I’ve told every single one of my sisters that any male with vocal cords has the ability to say nice things when times are good. I can say “I love you”, “you look beautiful”, and “you’re hair looks really nice today” to literally every single woman that comes within earshot. Which is why I tell them that you MUST pay attention to how they treat you when they are stressed and under pressure.

Nobody acts perfectly under stress, but if the treatment is unacceptable then you need to know that how we respond to stress has deep roots and is difficult to change.

(2) white-knight syndrome. As a husband and father, I take my responsibilities in the home seriously. In all the effort to love and support my wife while also being a role-model for my child while also dealing with stressors from work while also managing extended family issues, while also...(blah blah blah) life can be a lot sometimes. Despite my best efforts to always respond reasonably (to always be the white-knight, so to speak), I falter. I slip. I say something that I didn’t really mean, even if it’s how I felt in the moment. I feel incredibly guilty about it even though it is understandable to not be “perfect” all the time.

If he is willing - asking him about what he is going through internally could be a good start to healing the hurt and resentment you are beginning to feel creep between the two of you. You should also be candid about what you are feeling.

Loved the suggestion above that he get some time to go visit family or something. Time away (for both of you) can provide incredible perspective.

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OP - totally get how you feel and it must be difficult for you both. I think this is something you can work out. Dealing with stress is definitely difficult and taking that out on a loved one is not acceptable. With that said, sometimes it can be difficult to immediately identify the source of that stress and cope with it correctly. This will result in blaming someone closest to you for your pain and stress.

So I think you should reach an agreement with you BF to take a minute to breathe when he start to feel like he is getting stressed. Sometimes you don't even need to actively talk it out. Let him have a few moments to reflect. Drink some water. Give each other a hug. You may find these "pauses" to be helpful in alleviating his stress and provide him a channel to let go of some stress.

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Has he seen anyone since this all started? If he has family nearby or close friends, I’d suggest you encourage him to go visit a few close people. That can really help mental health, especially if he’s not doing well with the stress. Just one small suggestion that might help his overall outlook. Won’t solve all problems but might be good for both of you

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@Deloitte1, that sounds sad. Should the OP/Accenture at least try? Maybe her BF needs a talk to be aware of how he manages stress and if it still don’t work then it’s time to leave?

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Yeah I posted this before seeing her lengthy response.

likesmart

I would give him a chance to try therapy/meds before you break up. This is an extremely trying time and people react in all sorts of different ways. Of course, life is full of difficult stuff, and you don't want someone who's going to panic and not be there for you in those times, but it is possible to work on and improve coping skills. It sounds like you love this guy and it's not quite time to pull the plug yet.

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OP - you sound like an amazing person. I wish I had some helpful advice, but I hope the lucky guy realizes what he has before he loses it.

From your description of him, it seems like he’s having trouble establishing a life plan. Where he does he see himself in 5 years? What kind of person does he envision himself as? What skills or hobbies could he see himself having fun with? Answering those questions and plotting out some goals and milestones does wonders for de-stressing. It’s not easy. Because he has to be real and honest with himself. And sometimes you have to push yourself out of your safety zone to make life choices. If his job is that bad, sticking around for a year is not good for his mental health and he’s probably carrying that home. Perhaps he needs to firmly decide, my current job is not my future and start heavily job applying so he can secure an exit.

Once a plan is in place, all that’s left is execution. Day by day. Week by week. Before he knows it, he might even be happy.

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COVID-19 isn’t making people worse in relationships, it’s just showing you who they really are.

If he can’t handle a very stressful situation without taking it out on you all the time, then imagine what having a children or money issues will do. From your comments it seems like you are making a ton of excuses for his behavior, which is normal. I would reread everything you just wrote and then ask yourself if friend told you all that what your advice would be. I would end it and find someone with a kinder disposition. Run girl run! It’s never to late!

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Is he abusing you? Reach out to your support group and get out of there

No no. It’s not abusive or anything. It’s just clear that he’s really frustrated and will respond in a way that he wouldn’t before. He’s more short tempered / grouchy / reacting without really thinking.

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Oof, fishbowl being real this morning. This describes my GF and I as well. We had a long talk on Wednesday about how I was feeling suffocated by her fears and insecurities and how they manifested on me. Her resilience is much lower than mine own and I feel at the end of my rope

Op. Go with your gut. If you're having issues now. It will just get worse in the future. Pull the eject trigger.

Their lots of fish in the sea

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