Q: Trying to be ‘Her Rock’. Messing it up.
I have been with my girlfriend for just a few months and it is only recently that we decided we are officially boyfriend and girlfriend. I am 33 and she is 28. I would say that we are forward in showing our affections towards each other. I am British and she is Spanish, I work away half the time and the other half of the time I spend together with her.
Unfortunately our relationship seem to have been hit with a big challenge early on. Her mother was tragically rushed to hospital and they found a pretty bad brain tumour. It seemed that she may pass away then, but the best outcome is now looking like intense treatments and plus much of her personality may already be lost. While this happened I was out of the country on work, so I could only support my girlfriend through phone, messages and video calls.
I previously had a failed marriage so I learned already what are some of the important things to provide for my woman. When this situation occurred I planned ‘I must do everything to be HER ROCK’. I made it very clear that I am here for her, that she can talk about it to me, that she can express her feelings and cry in front of me, that she can let her emotions out, that I won’t judge her and so forth. She really did open up to me and talked a lot about how she was feeling. She thanked me for being there for her (though not physically).
We increased our phone calls to 1-2 times every day, which is a lot more than I usually go for (I usually prefer 1-2 per week). Generally I run out of things to say if too many. Anyways, her mum has been in hospital for over a week and after calls every single day I have found myself really running out of things to say. While I want to support her well and be HER ROCK I am finding it hard to have content for these phone calls. I noticed that every call I will ask her about her mum’s condition, how she is feeling, etc and I feel like maybe I have been asking about it too much, but I really ran out of other things to talk about.
Today everything backfired. I was on the phone and there is a big test coming up tomorrow and my girlfriend is very scared of the results of that test. I thought it would be good if I explored my girlfriend’s emotions so that she could talk about it and get her feelings out. I thought that would be a helpful thing so she could express the way she feels to me. So I asked her what is the worst case and the best case scenarios. I also mentioned some things that I thought she might be afraid of, so that she would be able to talk about it with me. However, she seemed to get annoyed with me and she even said that we should not continue the phone call because I was not being helpful to her.
I am gutted to think that my one stated goal (to be her ROCK) has completely backfired because now it seems like talking to me made things actually worse for her. I feel like a bit of a failure. I will see her in person in 3 days when I finish this work trip and that should be much better to be togetger properly,but what happened today made me apprehensive about that too. I am really annoyed with myself because I felt today that I missed the chance to be HER ROCK at the time in her life when she perhaps needs it the most of all. How can I remedy this? or learn from it?
A: First of all, you are being very hard on yourself in difficult situation like this.
Given that you have only been together for a couple of months, you have done well in supporting her through this tough times. It’s never easy to deal with family situation like this. You have had a great start in supporting her, being her ‘Rock’, asking questions about her mother’s health. It’s definitely tricky to be supportive over just phones, messages and video calls.
However, it does sound like you are trying too hard to be her ‘rock’. There is a fine line between caring vs. being her therapist. The conversations you have shouldn’t just be about her mother’s illness or sad emotions. May be instead of focusing on the sad emotions, focus on something more positive, more inspiring.
I think you get caught up about saying/doing things to be her ‘rock’ so much that you stop ‘being’ her ‘rock’. You got caught up in what to say, what to do instead of being “PRESENT” to her. What that means is sometimes it’s about sitting in silence and create space for her, sometimes that’s all she needs. Stop trying to come up with things to say and allowing your feelings to come out more. May be you still allow your past emotions about your marriage to affect your ‘being’ in this relationship. This is definitely something I suggest you to work on because it will continue to affect this current relationship
Q: I’ve been with my boyfriend for just over 6 months and in most ways its amazing and we fit together so well.
The problem is the way he is with other women. At the beginning of our relationship we almost broke up because he was allowing an ex to basically treat him like a bf still without the physical side.
A problem now is that whenever we go out with my single friends he is very flirty and fixated on them and directs the conversation as if I’m not there.
Afterwards he spends time reflecting to me about what he likes about them including that they are pretty/cute as he does to me about other woman he meets in daily life. I know some people are just flirty natured and that’s the way they are but it seems very intentional. He is not like this with my friends he knows have bfs or towards his best friends girlfriend for example.
The worst thing is the past 3 times hanging out with different friends he has picked up on something they’ve said and lectured me there and then on how I should be like that too. It makes me feel very belittled and embarrassed. The 1st time it happened I confronted him after and he gave an excuse of wishing HE did that and apologised for projecting it on me. Now I feel like I can’t go out with him with my single friends until this is resolved which is awful.
We have a great honesty/openess so I don’t suspect he is currently cheating me or anything but I feel like he enjoys indulging in what it could be like to be with a woman with x y or z qualities and wonder where it will lead.
A: Ummm why are you wasting your time with this man???
Honesty and openness and belittling???!!! I’m sorry why are you with him again? Do you enjoy being with someone who compares all your flaws to others? If you can’t learn and grow then you shouldn’t be there. This man doesn’t know who he is or what he wants and is projecting on you.
You need to have a good look at why you have allowed yourself to be in a situation of belittling and embarrassment and comparison. Do you not feel worthy enough? Do you like to put yourself in a position of rejection? Of course someone is going to say “no” however we attract people into our lives for a reason. It’s called the Law of Attraction. If this is your pattern then maybe it’s time to break to cycle now. Sit in these questions for a while and been really honest with yourself. Don’t point out point inwards for the answers and then create change.