Relationship Advice, please :-)

Hi there 🙂

I began SCS this August and this is my first time posting in the Q/A. Thank you so much for all you do!

My question is about my relationship.

I’ve been with my boyfriend for 7 very happy years. 🙂 I’ve never felt connected to anyone the way I feel to him; we connected on a very deep level & I’ve always feel completely at ease with him from the day I met him. We’re super in love, planning our future together, we love self development and growth and work on these things together. We are very supportive of each other’s goals. So, generally, great! Haha 🙂

So, what’s the problem you ask?

It started last year when I began to have thoughts about maybe wanting children. Before I met him, I NEVER wanted children or really to even get married. I always thought of myself as someone who would live with a partner, but never get married or have kids. I’ve always run from that kind of life. He also never wanted children. So until now it hasn’t been a problem!

But starting last year I began to wonder if a child is something I might want in my future. Not immediately but maybe in a distant future. Ironically, as a person who never wanted to get married or have kids, the only person I’ve ever wanted to marry and maybe have kids with is him! Someone who doesn’t particularly want kids. 😀

Long story short, the other day I listened to Brooke’s latest podcast about imagining your life 10 years in the future, if anything was possible. It really motivated me! I wrote down this amazing future with my dreams for my life, both personal and professional. And in that dream, there’s an amazing house on the coast where I live with my my then husband (now boyfriend) and maybe we have a kid! Not definite…but in a certain happy, future self I can see us having a kid (with help from a nanny and still pursuing my professional goals, lol.).

So, though we’ve discussed this issue previously, this week I shared my ideal future with my boyfriend. I wanted to see what he thought and if we could also imagine that for his future.

He said that he loved my version of the future & would love to have it with me! But, he feels like maybe he can’t have it. That maybe he won’t be able to achieve it (financial wise). And that in regards to maybe having a family, he said that in that future he could see having a kid, but doesn’t want to have kids until he finds his own purpose. Lately he’s been struggling with find his fulfilling purpose in life; and it’s something that really worries him because he doesn’t believe he can/will find it and will always feel unfulfilled.

My boyfriend and I went through a rough patch about 3 or 4 years ago. He made a career shift & had a really hard year financially. I supported him through it both emotionally and financially. But it was a really dark time for us as a couple because his self esteem was a so low and he was very sad. It made being with him really difficult. But thankfully, we got through it! And now he is doing better than ever financially & so much more confident & happy. It’s amazing to see 🙂

I mentioned that rough patch we went through because at this moment, I’m terrified of going through that again, or that it becomes a pattern for my boyfriend. Now that he has his financial situation fixed, I understand that he wants to work on his “purpose” and figuring out what he wants to do with his time on this earth. And I totally support that! But, I’m afraid when I see him sad or listless, thinking that he can’t find his purpose. It reminds me of the dark time we went through & I don’t want to go back to that.

Also, I want to have my ideal future with him! And that ideal future involves having a version of him that does find his purpose and feels fulfilled & is happy living in the awesome house on the coast! 🙂 One that involves him growing and thriving and being the amazing person he is, not the sad, listless version of him that thinks he can’t achieve anything or have a family. (Is that terrible to say???)

I know from listening to Brooke that my only job is to love him. And I also know that I can’t expect him to change to make me happy. Only my thoughts can make me happy. But, at the same time, I know that by HIM changing his thoughts and growing, he will be happier! I’ve seen it before with his career struggles, and I can see it now. His limiting thoughts about not finding his purpose cause him pain. If he can change those thoughts he will find his purpose, & all of these wonderful changes will lead him to a happier life. Because besides his personal struggles, he is the most amazing man I know. So fun, positive, intelligent, caring, empathic amazing person.

And, for my part, I know that my only job is to love him, and believe me I really, really reaaaally do. 🙂 But, I also have a fear of “falling out of love” for him when I see him going back into this sad-listless state. Of course I want him to be vulnerable and open with me, but it’s makes me afraid to go through those struggles again. And then my mind sort of jumps to, “He won’t be able to change this issue, you’re going to break up…”. Then my mind goes down the rabbit hole of ‘break up thoughts.’ I wake up with anxiety and feeling like, “Oh no, if he can’t feel better, am I going to be unhappy in our relationship? Will we break up? Will we never have our awesome future or a family or get married? If I have these break up thoughts, does that make them true? Or is this just my mind going nuts?” etc etc!

So here’s my model on this issue: (and thank you so much, I know this is a loooong one)

C: My boyfriend is having trouble finding his purpose
T: He won’t be able to fix it, he’ll be unhappy and won’t want to grow our awesome future together or ever have a family
E: Sad. Frustrated. Upset. Anxious.
A: Having thoughts about breaking up, finding fault with him, questioning everything
R: Having problems in our relationship, not working on building our future, breaking up

C: My boyfriend is having trouble finding his purpose
T: I have faith that he will be able to find his fulfillment. I will love and support him.
E: Relaxed. Hopeful.
A: Wanting to be with him and focus on the amazing parts of our life
R: Loving and supporting him while he finds his fulfillment

I don’t know if that’s right or not, or if it still depends on his change too much! Thank you soooooo much! 🙂