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Is this unconditional love?

I feel kinda dumb for asking this question, or saying any of this really. You’ll see why in a second. My relationship, like any relationship, has a lot of ups and downs. And since we both suffer from mental illness, the ups and downs are that much more, hm, drastic I guess? Mainly the downs. My fiance, throughout the entire almost 2 years we’ve been together(our anniversary is next month) she’s said and, more importantly proven, that she would do anything for me. No matter what it is. The way she loves me is passionate, strong, intense. It’s great, really. But one detail that’s never left my mind that always seems to show itself is that I get the subtle feeling that her love isn’t necessarily unconditional. Like my love for her is. I’ve both said and proven this time and time again. That there’s nothing about her that I don’t accept and love with open arms. Even the things I don’t necessarily agree with or like. I love it all, because it’s her. But she, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly give the same type of energy. She loves all the things about me that make her feel good, and happy. But everything else, not so much. The things that irritate her, annoy her, frustrate her. She almost completely dimisses those things like she wants nothing to do with them. She wants me to love her the way she loves me. Which is intense and passionate, and that’s just not, well, me honestly. My love is gentle and soft and sheltering. And I’ve accepted and been okay with that for a while now, but lately, she’s starting to make me think that the way I show my love isn’t okay or acceptable. Because gentle and soft IS my way of being passionate. And it’s like she just doesn’t accept that at all. And about two or so months ago she basically asked why the relationship isn’t going, and I quote, “her way”. And personally I feel like that isn’t fair. I don’t really see why a relationship has to go anyone’s “way” or whatever. All I’ve ever wanted is a relationship that’s OURS. And it seems, to me anyway, that she wants the relationship to be hers as opposed to a mutual partnership. Where we both love each other how we each individually know best. Obviously it’s okay to have expectations and wants and needs in a relationship but in a roundabout way it’s always felt like, with her, it goes a little farther than that. Of course, I’m not saying I do no wrong either. For a while I haven’t put in as much effort as I should because I’m so caught up in my own mental battles and struggles and it’s hard to maintain the same exact energy I had in the beginning of the relationship. But that’s the energy she wants. And I feel like I’m just not in a good enough place mentally and emotionally to give her that. I just… sigh… I have no idea what my point is. There’s just so much going on in this relationship, and a lot of it is bad. Not toxic or volatile necessarily. Just… Not good. And I don’t know what to do or say. It seems like we’ve both completely lost who we are as people. And it’s fucking scary. Especially because we have a 10 month old son together. I don’t know if we should separate for a while and come back later. I don’t know if we should completely call this off. I don’t know. All I know is… this kind of relationship isn’t what I wanted.

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This is your fiance? I’d suggest working this out before getting married.

To be honest, to me it doesn’t sound like she’s the type that’s willing to change veiws at all, you need to be careful because if you’re getting married soon you’re going to be stuck in this sort of rickety situation for a long time, giving things they don’t want for who knows how long. Which will not only hurt the relationship, but hurt your self worth and mental health for the long run. Because she won’t be able to accept the parts of you that are- well- you.

I had a friend like this a long time ago. He was just a friend (but it was alot like a relationship if someone were to look at it) and I accepted him for alot of things, even the worst, but I also noticed he’d start off a relationship with someone being very kind and sweet and doting, and then turn the tables once he saw any sign of vulnerability or selflessness from them and became a egotistical disgusting freak.

So, I also know what it feels like to accept someone unconditionally, but that got to a point where I accepted too much. I’m defiently not saying you’re accepting too much, but you do need to know the difference between accepting flaws vs accepting red flags or just accepting something you cannot handle. That’s where unconditional love can cause trouble. To me though, it sounds like she isn’t willing to tolerate the fact that people have flaws, and wants “her” very own “perfect” relationship. Quote on quote for “her” because when saying that, she obviously didn’t see a “we” in it. Which is heavily unhealthy for you. Maybe it’s not as toxic at first, but if theres more bad than good in a relationship then usually there is something that is keeping you there, and that something usually turns out to not be a good thing, and for me what had me stuck there is I was accepting too much, to the point where I brushed off red flags and became an easy target to manipulate. If that is the situation, don’t let it happen. If she really would do anything for you like back then, It’s her time now to prove it to you by being responsible enough to tell you if she’s willing to accept those parts of you, and understand she needs to participate as well, or if you both need some time alone if this isn’t going to work out at all. Because if she keeps up this sort of not giving back and not accepting and then not addressing it at all and being egotistical about it, this will cause alot more severe problems in the long run and I think you may get even more hurt than she will.

If you are both really are ready to tie the knot, then I’d heavily suggest marriage counseling. If she is not willing to do that, then don’t be afraid to take a stand for yourself. You don’t have to hold up the entire relationship you know. Every relationship requires 2 people. Like watering a flower, both people must commit, if 1 isn’t ready or willing to fully commit, then eventually that flower will die and might even poison the caretaker.

Please do what you know is best for the sake of you own health,

-X

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this reminded me of the different types of friends I’ve seen/been a part of. I’ve seen friendships where one friend does objectionable things ,things the other friend reallly doesn’t approve of, but they stand by them through all the fallout. I’ve seen others where one takes a principled stand against some of those things and risks the friendship on the grounds that it is not condonable.

Being in either of those camps, it’s really hard to understand the other camp lol. It sounds like you guys could use some couple counseling as @Systemofconfusion suggests, to see whether you’re going be able to find common ground and understanding for the medium to long haul.

Wishing you the best, as an individual and as part of a couple and a parent. Thank you for reaching out here, and we’re gonna be here for you as you go through this. You matter, friend!

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Hey, I hear you. I’ve been there, with a woman who panicked and catastrophized the second things started to cool off and we started settling into a relationship routine. Thing is, that fireworks period usually doesn’t last any more than a year, if that, even according to the experts. That new relationship energy is unsustainable. If she’s still got that energy going after 2 years, that’s incredible, but that may also mean she lacks your perspective of being happily settled into the relationship. It sounds like you tried explaining to her that you are happy, that your happiness and affection just manifest differently than hers, and she didn’t seem to understand or accept that.

I’ll play devil’s advocate for just a moment. When she said that the relationship isn’t going her way, maybe she didn’t mean it quite like that. Maybe she meant her needs aren’t being met. When the people in a relationship have different energy levels, they both need to make concessions. You may need to get your game face on and start having substantial date nights or game nights or something that gets both of your endorphins flowing, while she may need to meet you where you are and have movie nights or reading nights or early-to-bed nights, whatever that looks like. Relationship problems stem primarily from miscommunication, which leads to unmet expectations and misunderstandings, which lead to resentment. I’d highly recommend reading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman to help each of you better understand how to best show love to the other.

That said, if someone asked me why the relationship wasn’t going her way, I would NOT be happy. Given the hurts I’ve been through, I would say that’s a massive red flag. I’ll say that I got instantly upset when I read that. Maybe she didn’t mean for those words to come out of her mouth, but the fact that they did tells me she’s thinking them at some level. I’d caution you against pointing out to her that you accept her flaws more than she does yours, but her wanting the relationship to go “her way” is NOT okay. As you pointed out, there are expectations and needs that need to be met in a relationship, and sometimes the need-meeting skews more toward one partner for a time, but then you talk about it and correct course. Love is not a contest, and the relationship is not a prize to be won. There are no winners and losers in an unconditional relationship. It’s an equal partnership, and if one partner is having a problem, they need to bring that to the table and discuss it.

I don’t advocate for relationships to end based on misunderstandings and miscommunications, so I’m not going to tell you to start packing your bags in case you need to get out. Relationships are work, and you both need to be ready to put in the hard work. It was easy for her when the fireworks are there, and it’s easy for you when things are good and chill, but both of you are going to have to step outside of your comfort zones and meet in the middle. I’d advise some marriage counseling. I know there’s a stigma attached to that, but instead of seeing at as the death knell for your relationship, look at it like personal therapy for both of you, together. Marriage counselors are in the business of saving relationships, not ending them. They facilitate productive conversations between you, and observe things in your interactions that neither one of you can see because you’re part of it.

Let us know how it goes. The first and hardest step is acknowledging that all is not well, and from there you can start to work on getting well again. I hope it goes alright for you.

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