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I said something hurtful and don't know how to fix it

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  • I said something hurtful and don't know how to fix it

    Hi All, this is my first time posting in a forum... and I am here because I don't know where else to find advise or grounding for how confused and upset I have been feeling.

    I am a 27 year old American female in a loving relationship with a 29 year old Mexican man I met at grad school 8 months ago. We hit it off since the beginning though not without silly fights over small differences that feel big from time to time (Me: morning person, food nut, always early. Him: late nighter, pick eater, always late) The little stuff.. the big things like family and religion, honesty and intellect we are eye to eye on.

    We're apart for the summer and on his visit across the country to see me, everything went wrong. My family has been putting pressure on me with their traditional expectations of family, dating, etc. Their lack of support for me dating a non-white guy has been very emotionally difficult for me. I see my future taking me out West and he's planning to stay in the east. I want a family, he says he does but isn't very into children.

    On the visit, all of my concerns over this relationship, family expectations, the future boiled over. In tears, I spilled my fears, saying to my startled boyfriend "I'm crying because I love you and love what we have but i have to be realistic that in some ways we are too different and I have to admit this probably won't work out long term"

    Ouch. Not something you should ever just spit out. But once it was out I couldn't take it back. And sadly it's not the first time I've spilled emotions like this. each time (2 others) has been hard but not like this.

    He was kind at first but then slowly iced over. It was day 3 of a 6 day vacation. The rest of the week was a mixed bag-- i think we both tried hard to make it work. I apologized for my emotional outburst in a million ways (straight "i'm so sorry for what I said", making his favorite meal, cancelling social plans, apologizing again...). I even let on some about my family pressures though not enough to hurt his feelings (they have not yet met him).

    He is gone now and in the pit of my stomach I feel him pulling away. Gone are the ****excess**** of sweet texts, the good night phone calls, the emailed news articles. We've had some contact at my initiation and he ends with "un beso(a kiss)" but it feels strained and forced.

    I know I'm an adult but I feel like my teenage self again, pushing away a guy I love because i panicked over wanting a future with him too fast. I picutred my ideal instead of appreciating the present.

    How do I stop feelign and being so needy? I know I should try to wait it out until he feels like talking to me but the pain and anxiety I feel at this are almost intolerable. I really feel so upset i can barely keep it together at work, and all for one stupid sentence I said in a wave of emotions. Please help. Thank you.

  • Welcome to WH, jaelki.

    There are others here who can probably provide better advice. I am older and long way from having to work through the difficulties that can arise in a new relationship, and I would consider 8 months as new.

    As you said, you cannot take back your initial words. You apologized and tried to smooth it over. That seems reasonable. The only thing I might have done differently in trying to restore calm would be to have told him that you did not really mean that you did not think things would work in the long term, only that you feared they would not work in the long term.

    I would try to convey that message now, and tell him that what you would like is for the two of you to address your concerns together. Tell him how much you care and how you would like to make things work. Tell him you would like to address small issues now so they do not become big issues later. Suggest to him that he also might have concerns and he should articulate those and, again, you can try to allay each other's concerns as a couple and have a roadmap for going forward.

    If he totally stonewalls and remains "iced over", then I would question his worth as long-term bf material. He should be more understanding and willing to get past one emotional outburst after 8 months together. There may well be tougher issues to be faced down the road. Is this how he'll react every time there's a bump in the road? As I see it, you presented him with a great opportunity to show you how committed he was to the relationship and how eager he was to work on any perceived problems with you. He missed it.
    I do not grow old; if I stop growing, I am old.

    Comment


    • Welcome as well jaelki,

      I'd like to start with this, if I may. You are a grown woman as you already know but you are allowing your family to put an aweful amount of pressure on you. You were aware when you met this man that they would not approve but your forged ahead in any event.

      I'd like to think you did so because of "you". This is your life, who you choose to spend the rest of your life with is important for happiness and well-being. Who your parents agree with and you are 27, maybe someone who you despise in reality and end up living a loveless marriage with for years upon years.

      Second. You ask how you can stop being so needy. So you are suggesting that maybe you "needed" him when you met him, needed someone.. Yet you also point out the things you love and the things you don't love about him. Have you ever written a list? Things you love and things you don't and looked at that list. It's an interesting exercise that does open your eyes as to exactly how you really feel.

      I think also when we speak, we speak the truth. Emotions just allow us to get it out.

      But what you have decide is are those differences important in the scheme of things? Can they be compromised? Can you live for you and enjoy what you have and not fear your parents and can you live for today, for say 4 more months and see exactly where you both are then. I think 12 months is a better indication as to whether you feel you can grow with a person or not.

      You can't take words back love but you can explain them..
      PUT A LITTLE 'LIKE' IN MY SOUL!

      Comment


      • I'm gonna beat you up a little here, sorry.

        First of all, do you want to know how to fix it or how to stop being needy? The first thing is about him and the second thing is about you, and which it is says a lot about your maturity. If he's really your priority like in a loving, giving relationship, you'll worry less about your own feelings than his, given that it's you who made the blunder here.

        IMO he's not ringing immaturity bells of his own (he may be immature for all I know but I don't see it here) because what you said was not just deeply hurtful but also deeply meaningful. And like CW says, people usually say what they mean in moments of duress, so he probably rightly feels that what you said is so, no matter if you say you're sorry or not. And it doesn't really sound like he's guilt tripping you, he's just pulling back. Can you blame him? You just told him in so many words your future together doesn't exist. Why should he feel warm and fuzzy toward you about that? And if he wanted to make you suffer for that he'd do the "how dare you!" routine. Sounds like he's still being civil, which is a nod in his favor.

        Basically you cut him to the core, so what you have to do is deal with that. You don't fix that by saying I'm sorry. You may not even fix it at all, but what you have to do is woman up and wear it. If it was me I'd tell him that I know what I said hurt him, and I'm sorry for that, and that I respect his intellect and won't patronize him with phony reassurances and leave it up to him to decide where he wants to go with it. If he needs time and space, give it to him. If he wants to talk, do that. But whatever you do, don't lie or mislead him. That will only make a bad situation worse.

        You sound like a good woman at heart so I'm not saying you're "evil to the core!" here or anything. But when adults step in it, we don't run and hide, and we deal with the fallout we caused with others first before licking our own wounds.

        If you didn't really mean it, he'll figure that out eventually, moreso from your actions than your words. Just let what happens happen. It will anyway.

        I guess the biggest resolution for you is figuring out if you really did mean it or not.
        [FONT=Trebuchet MS][COLOR="#800080"][B][SIZE=4]Woman trapped inside a woman's body![/SIZE][/COLOR][/B][/FONT]

        Comment


        • Originally posted by jaelki View Post
          I want a family, he says he does but isn't very into children.
          Of all the things you said, this is the one that sticks out the most to me. It is what I call a deal breaker. I think he was soft selling the idea of not having children because he said he wanted a family but wasn't into children. How does that work? Adopt them when they are already adults?

          I think that on the third time he knew that your mind was set and there was no changing it. Thus he pulled back.

          To me it really does sound like you two would have to work on too many things to be happy and compatible.
          I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
          ...
          Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

          From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

          Comment


          • I wanted to thank each of you for taking the time to write me back with such thoughtful advice; the things you've each written ring very true and make me take a hard look at myself and the mistake I made.

            Jen1447, I appreciated your hard line talk. especially this:"Basically you cut him to the core, so what you have to do is deal with that. You don't fix that by saying I'm sorry. You may not even fix it at all, but what you have to do is woman up and wear it. If it was me I'd tell him that I know what I said hurt him, and I'm sorry for that, and that I respect his intellect and won't patronize him with phony reassurances and leave it up to him to decide where he wants to go with it. If he needs time and space, give it to him.


            I realize I probably sounded selfish writing up my story (and yes, to some degree I probably am). But quite honestly I am the most upset by knowing the hurt I caused the man I love and realizing that there is nothing I can actively do from 1500 miles away to heal that hurt. That I could cut to the bone the very person I love by saying the exact wrong thing when what I really hoped to have said was "You are a wonderful man, I am grateful we are in each others' lives, and I need to talk about the small problems now because I care about building a future together that is sustainable and supportive for both of us".

            I guess all there is to do now is give him space to figure out what he feels and if he understands my comment was rooted in love or if it was too harsh and unthoughtful of him to be forgiven. But not communicating is so difficult when I am afraid that silence on my part will be mistaken for unconcern or apathy when in truth I am biting my tongue from the rush of apologies that won't fix the pain i caused him.

            Comment


            • In my limited familiarity with your situation, it doesn't seem to me that he has or will have forgiveness issues at all. He has 'hard truth' issues. He's pulling back because you zeroed him out, not because he thinks you were being mean spirited. So forgiving you either isn't or won't be an issue, it's convincing him that his investment with you is actually not wasted and that there's a future for you both together. If you actually believe that and genuinely want to convince him of that, don't tell him you're sorry, tell him you were wrong. Then spell out exactly how you think you do have a future together, and why you misspoke before (panic or whatever). I think he'll get it.
              [FONT=Trebuchet MS][COLOR="#800080"][B][SIZE=4]Woman trapped inside a woman's body![/SIZE][/COLOR][/B][/FONT]

              Comment


              • Originally posted by jaelki View Post
                In tears, I spilled my fears, saying to my startled boyfriend "I'm crying because I love you and love what we have but i have to be realistic that in some ways we are too different and I have to admit this probably won't work out long term"

                Ouch. Not something you should ever just spit out. But once it was out I couldn't take it back. And sadly it's not the first time I've spilled emotions like this. each time (2 others) has been hard but not like this.
                Other than the way it came out, I am trying to figure out what was wrong with the conversation. This conversation was inevitably going to cause pain to the two of you. You might think that you have small issues, but it seems to me that there are two important ones -- geographic location (I see my future taking me out West and he's planning to stay in the east) and children (I want a family, he says he does but isn't very into children). I also suspect that the the issue with your family bothers you because you also have some traditional expectations of dating/marriage/family.

                You are 27, it's been 8 months of dating and you want to build a future with this man. I don't think it is too early for the discussion because what you said seems to be the truth. You should have said (as you corrected it later) "because I care about building a future together that is sustainable and supportive for both of us". But the issues are not "small stuff" and the hurdles need to be discussed and overcome. I think BB's suggestion is spot on.

                You can't undue what's been done and we all understand why he has pulled back. This is the maturity test. Instead of beating yourself up about this, why don't you deal with the issues now? Long distance may not be the best path, but it may be the only one that makes sense at the moment.
                "The only consistent feature of all of your dissatisfying relationships is you." Despair.com "Dysfunction"

                Comment

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