Is it impossible to grow in life when your partner does not want to grow with you? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 06-20-2012, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I have been wondering if anyone else struggles with this or if anyone has thoughts about this. I have been with my partner for 6 years. Originally when we got together we were both honest about what we wanted and supported each other as such.

 

But as time has went on what he said he wanted he has done nothing about. And what I wanted is just not possible any longer with the way things are now being with him.

 

I try to bring it up but he gets upset every single time I say it's obvious we both are unhappy but we love each other what can we do to make things better. He gets upset and says everything is fine the way it is. I tell him if we both aren't honest there isn't anyway for us to move forward.

 

I am more of a free spirit, I prefer to be alone, and I enjoy travel. He on the other hand does not seem to like anything or want anything in life. He says he wants to be able to tour with his band and travel etc, but he does not do it, he has not even made music in years.

 

He is obviously very unhappy and has been for our entire relationship. The problem with this is that, while I am here in his misery what I want is not happening. It seem incredibly impossible, I can't do anything. How can we talk about us if he won't even be honest about what he wants? I mean what do you do when the person your with is just stuck in place in a rut, and every time you try to grow your forced to drag them with you, which is totally impossible and doomed for failure. 

 

I personally have come to see that you cannot go further than the person next to you. What are you guys thoughts?



"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. " - C.S Lewis

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#2 of 18 Old 06-20-2012, 12:24 PM
 
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Could he be depressed?

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#3 of 18 Old 06-20-2012, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Could he be depressed?

I am certain that he is depressed, he has been on anti-depressants for 2 years. But, personally I think he is just unhappy about his life. He is terrified of just living, and I have tried everything to help him, but in doing so I get no where. He is so predictable, I change and respond to him differently but he continuously repeats the same patterns over and over. Ugghhh it's so draining. 



"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. " - C.S Lewis

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#4 of 18 Old 06-20-2012, 05:23 PM
 
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In my experience men don't respond well to big picture, general talk like "make things better" or "grow in life", it all sounds overwhelming and complain-y to many of them. The conversation has to be positive and patient. I have to pull out any tid-bits my DH wants to give about his dreams, short term, and long term goals, play cheerleader about those, and push for action plans we can really get up and do and how I can help him. Also I need to be vocal going to him about I'd like to do this, how's that sound, can you help me in such and such way?

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#5 of 18 Old 06-20-2012, 07:41 PM
 
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Maybe he is being honest.  Perhaps he's not unhappy.  Some people can dream but don't really want to do things.  Dream is different than going out and doing it.  If he's not interested in doing those things, is a home body, and like your relationship the way it is.  Then he's not unhappy.

 

I do think a person can grow without the partner growing.  As long as they are trying to grow themselves and their partner isn't actively trying to stop their growth.  I do not think a person can grow a relationship all by themselves. 

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#6 of 18 Old 06-20-2012, 10:46 PM
 
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What is he doing to hold you back from your own dreams? Don't frame your concerns in a "it's obvious we both are unhappy" way, because it's not very nice to tell other people what their feelings are. Instead talk to him about YOU being unhappy and what needs to happen for YOU to achieve YOUR dreams.

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#7 of 18 Old 06-20-2012, 11:15 PM
 
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No everyone is a "do-er". Some are content to stay put and do what they have always done. That would never work for my and my hubby, we love to learn and explore.


If you want to stay with him you are going to have to have a great network of friends to do things with occasionally or you will feel stifled. If he's a mature guy he will encourage you and say "bye, have fun" as he watches you head out the door.
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#8 of 18 Old 06-21-2012, 02:01 AM
 
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start getting some individual counseling. a good talk therapist can help you see what your next step should be.

 

how old are you guys? do you have children together?

 

from my own experience, it is quite possible to still love someone like you describe, to always love them, but for it to become impossible to continue on life's journey together. 

 

a depressed person who is mired in their "stuff" and unwilling to try to get out of it WILL bring you down. they are like a drowning person, clinging to you, and it becomes a heavy weight to bear...

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#9 of 18 Old 06-21-2012, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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start getting some individual counseling. a good talk therapist can help you see what your next step should be.

 

how old are you guys? do you have children together?

 

from my own experience, it is quite possible to still love someone like you describe, to always love them, but for it to become impossible to continue on life's journey together. 

 

a depressed person who is mired in their "stuff" and unwilling to try to get out of it WILL bring you down. they are like a drowning person, clinging to you, and it becomes a heavy weight to bear...

 

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No everyone is a "do-er". Some are content to stay put and do what they have always done. That would never work for my and my hubby, we love to learn and explore.
If you want to stay with him you are going to have to have a great network of friends to do things with occasionally or you will feel stifled. If he's a mature guy he will encourage you and say "bye, have fun" as he watches you head out the door.

 

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What is he doing to hold you back from your own dreams? Don't frame your concerns in a "it's obvious we both are unhappy" way, because it's not very nice to tell other people what their feelings are. Instead talk to him about YOU being unhappy and what needs to happen for YOU to achieve YOUR dreams.

 

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Maybe he is being honest.  Perhaps he's not unhappy.  Some people can dream but don't really want to do things.  Dream is different than going out and doing it.  If he's not interested in doing those things, is a home body, and like your relationship the way it is.  Then he's not unhappy.

 

I do think a person can grow without the partner growing.  As long as they are trying to grow themselves and their partner isn't actively trying to stop their growth.  I do not think a person can grow a relationship all by themselves. 

 

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Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post

In my experience men don't respond well to big picture, general talk like "make things better" or "grow in life", it all sounds overwhelming and complain-y to many of them. The conversation has to be positive and patient. I have to pull out any tid-bits my DH wants to give about his dreams, short term, and long term goals, play cheerleader about those, and push for action plans we can really get up and do and how I can help him. Also I need to be vocal going to him about I'd like to do this, how's that sound, can you help me in such and such way?

We are in our mid twenties, have already been through individual and couples counseling. Me being unhappy isn't what I address with him, he says he is unhappy, he said he has been unhappy his whole life. He said he wanted to change, when we first met, of course I didn't notice it, he was not obviously unhappy. Once we got further involved, eventually moved in together and had a baby I saw more clearly what was going on. I am not just bringing up stuff I want as far as being a complainer and talking about growing, he already knew what I was and where I was going in my life, he told me where he was going as well, our whole plan was to grow together. He hasn't grown at all and instead has required massive amounts of motivation and support from me, it is not a two-way street. He is depressed and it is draining. My question was if its possible to grow as a person when your involved with a person who is unhappy and depressed long term. His life revolves around negative feelings, I just want to know if it's possible for me to grow, it has been hard so far and I have struggled educationally, and emotionally, for example my mother died four months ago, but still he is incredibly depressed and I am supporting him day after day. I care for myself, I have learned to, its just sometimes I feel depleted, and give up on my own growth as a human being. 

 

@ tropicana that's my point the weight, that's what I feel, some days he is happy and they are great but most of the time its difficult. Especially if I need support, like now after loosing my mother. When I go to him when I am need he has nothing to give, except more misery.

 

btw for those who imboxed me I don't yet have permission to send private messages I have to have so many valid posts whatever that means, but once I get it I will message you back :)

 

Michelle



"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. " - C.S Lewis

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#10 of 18 Old 06-22-2012, 12:22 AM
 
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My husband and I went through a really rough phase, and I had to figure out how to make real changes in my life even though he wasn't interested. It was rough for a while, but we came through it. I've also seen it go the other way, where the people just grow apart.

 

I reached a point where I knew that I HAD to change, even if it ended my marriage. It was really, really scary. Yet the fear was more bearable than the suffocation of staying put. For us, it worked out really well. Me taking responsibility for my own happiness ultimately freed my husband. He then took responsibility for his happiness, and then we were able to figure out how to be happy together.

 

My big lesson was that I am responsible for me, and no other adult. I cannot make another person happy. I can only figure out what makes me happy and then have the guts to do it, and that's enough. One way of looking at it is developing independence within the marriage.
 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#11 of 18 Old 06-22-2012, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I went through a really rough phase, and I had to figure out how to make real changes in my life even though he wasn't interested. It was rough for a while, but we came through it. I've also seen it go the other way, where the people just grow apart.

 

I reached a point where I knew that I HAD to change, even if it ended my marriage. It was really, really scary. Yet the fear was more bearable than the suffocation of staying put. For us, it worked out really well. Me taking responsibility for my own happiness ultimately freed my husband. He then took responsibility for his happiness, and then we were able to figure out how to be happy together.

 

My big lesson was that I am responsible for me, and no other adult. I cannot make another person happy. I can only figure out what makes me happy and then have the guts to do it, and that's enough. One way of looking at it is developing independence within the marriage.
 

I always feel like what will make me happy will tear us apart, maybe I should just do it and see what happens, I have been letting fear get to me. It's really silly when I think about it! I don't even want that much, I am going to try to think about what I actually want from life. I'll update later :)



"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. " - C.S Lewis

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#12 of 18 Old 06-25-2012, 11:37 PM
 
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i would also encourage you to follow your dreams and goals, who knows he may surprise you and support you. good luck!


Midwifery student , Mama to my 4 amazing kids. treehugger.gif

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#13 of 18 Old 06-27-2012, 07:29 AM
 
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Start doing things for yourself and don't worry about him for awhile. Perhaps he will follow your example! Sometimes depressed people just need to stop being treated like they are fragile and need to stop having someone to wallow in their despair with them so they can be given a chance to pick themselves up. (I said SOME, not all. This was true for my depression, but no everyone's.)

 

Maybe his plans have changed, and he just doesn't want to travel with a band anymore anyway. He's older, he has a kid. I bet he has different ideas about what would be a fun thing to do.

 

Being physically active can help, so I strongly encourage you guys to start going on family walks! I know that sounds simplistic.

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#14 of 18 Old 06-27-2012, 09:01 AM
 
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In my opinion, it's a real challenge for a couple to make things go ahead when one person grows and the other can't/doesn't want to. You get into two separate lanes, and somehwere down the line you have to deal with where you have each ended up separately. I do believe it can work out in a couple where there is a lot of communication and that both people involved make it their priority, and that would actually be so awesome and create a greate relationship/bond, otherwise, after too long of both being miserable it may lead to other choices.
 

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#15 of 18 Old 06-27-2012, 12:13 PM
 
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In my opinion, it's a real challenge for a couple to make things go ahead when one person grows and the other can't/doesn't want to.

 

 

although I agree, I also suspect that this happens to nearly every couple to at least some degree if they stay together long enough. I suspect that very few couples are naturally in sync about how much they want to grow and in what direction they want to grow for 50 years. That just seems unrealistic.

 

My marriage advice is to figure out a way to have fun with your spouse. Couples that play together are more likely to stay together and be happy together.

 

But that is a separate issue altogether than whether or not to grow as a person. Playing with your spouse is ideally something that is fun and easy for both people. Growing is often challenging and uncomfortable. It's a separate deal. Even in a solid, happy marriage, often the best the other person can do is to be supportive because growth is often a solo activity.

 

Marriage over the long haul is a challenge partly because people DO grow and change. The fact that it is a challenge is not a reason to stay stuck and blame it on one's spouse (which I did for several years -- that's hard on a marriage, too bag.gif) . I thought the reason I couldn't grow was because of my husband. But the truth is that I wasn't growing because I was a chicken and I wasn't sure what I wanted anyway.

 

I still struggle to be brave and to know what I want.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 18 Old 06-28-2012, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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although I agree, I also suspect that this happens to nearly every couple to at least some degree if they stay together long enough. I suspect that very few couples are naturally in sync about how much they want to grow and in what direction they want to grow for 50 years. That just seems unrealistic.

 

My marriage advice is to figure out a way to have fun with your spouse. Couples that play together are more likely to stay together and be happy together.

 

But that is a separate issue altogether than whether or not to grow as a person. Playing with your spouse is ideally something that is fun and easy for both people. Growing is often challenging and uncomfortable. It's a separate deal. Even in a solid, happy marriage, often the best the other person can do is to be supportive because growth is often a solo activity.

 

Marriage over the long haul is a challenge partly because people DO grow and change. The fact that it is a challenge is not a reason to stay stuck and blame it on one's spouse (which I did for several years -- that's hard on a marriage, too bag.gif) . I thought the reason I couldn't grow was because of my husband. But the truth is that I wasn't growing because I was a chicken and I wasn't sure what I wanted anyway.

 

I still struggle to be brave and to know what I want.

I totally felt like you were reading my journal here. I am a total chicken :) But I realize that now. It's funny how the first thing we do is blame our partners and everybody else, instead of owning up and accepting our responsibility to who we are as people. I have done a lot of thinking the last few months since my mom passed away and a lot of things have slowly become clear to me. One of them is that i have been afraid to live. There are things i wanted that nobody thought I should want, places I wanted to go, but people felt I had no right or purpose to, a lifestyle I dreamed of instead told it was the world telling me I wanted it not God or myself. If there is one true thing I know, is that I know myself, what I want, and where I want to do. I really appreciate your support and honesty here Linda, not having my mom around for my entire adult life, along with losing her a few months ago to that same illness has had me kinda lost and searching for a mother's guidance everywhere, I appreciate you sharing your experiences in life. 

 

Michelle



"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. " - C.S Lewis

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#17 of 18 Old 06-29-2012, 02:20 AM
 
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Your welcome, and I'm sorry about the loss of your mother. hug2.gif

 

I don't have this stuff figured out. I still don't know what I want to be, and I'm nearly 50. Or may be at some level I know but I can't admit it to myself because it is scary.

 

I have learned that life is messy and marriage is messy, and some of what I thought I knew about "healthy" relationships is actually unrealistic, like about thinking 2 people will grow in perfect sync. I've really, really cut back on how much stuff I blame my husband for. I'm more comfortable with the fact that I don't have everything figured out and that my life isn't perfect than I used to be.
 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#18 of 18 Old 06-29-2012, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Your welcome, and I'm sorry about the loss of your mother. hug2.gif

 

I don't have this stuff figured out. I still don't know what I want to be, and I'm nearly 50. Or may be at some level I know but I can't admit it to myself because it is scary.

 

I have learned that life is messy and marriage is messy, and some of what I thought I knew about "healthy" relationships is actually unrealistic, like about thinking 2 people will grow in perfect sync. I've really, really cut back on how much stuff I blame my husband for. I'm more comfortable with the fact that I don't have everything figured out and that my life isn't perfect than I used to be.
 

Thanks. It's seems like once you accept that things aren't perfect and never will be, life is less hard because you aren't trying to force it to be something it's not. I love my guy, he's great, loyal, faithful, a provider...the world says thats not enough, the world says he is supposed to be perfect all around and be super romantic too! I have to get over all that and just let it all go..we grow at our own pace....I have to remember that.

 

Michelle



"We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. " - C.S Lewis

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