I am a type A business woman with a tender heart. In business people always like and respect me for being responsible of their best interests, my own life, and they enjoy my passion and enthusiasm. I feel comfortable being professional and organizing things.
I have not had long term successful romantic relationships. I struggle with communicating my feelings or handling conflict – it’s true always, but I have overcome the challenge in friendship and business. I have not felt successful at understanding how to do this in romance. I sometimes can’t tell how I feel. I also cannot figure out how to approach some topics – especially if they are chronically happening or they are micro level things that are hurting my feelings. I also am sensitive to criticism.
I can’t tell if the person I have dated in the past will be critical of me or enjoy me. My mom, grandfather and past serious boyfriend/x-husband were all sharply critical of me. They would nag at a topic (an unimportant one they would fixate on until I changed) OR they would mis-remember historical things I said or did around their narrative.
I am dating a wonderful guy who I think is amazing – he’s everything I want in a guy. He doesn’t like conflict either. He grew up in a critical household with parents who did the same type of thing my parents did.
In our relationship I often feel like he nags/mis-remembers – repeating the patterns he saw in his family. It turns me off and makes me afraid he will get worse when we get married. And I can’t figure out how to make it clear to him when he does these things because it’s connected to something he is upset about. So he might not like that I am traveling for 2 weeks for work – but he sends a text saying “you are moving aren’t you and not coming back?” I do it sometimes with success if I wait until the emotion is down – but other times in the moment he argues with me or doesn’t understand “how” what he said was the issue. We resolve the topic of conflict – not the method that he uses to react or talk to me. It feels like such a small issue because he is so wonderful – but it makes me feel so misunderstood and uncared for and leaves me not feeling excited about this relationship as I wish I was. I have talked to him about it before but he doesn’t understand. The actual issue is slippery – evasive as though he can’t see himself.
1) How do I actually get him to understand the root issue which is HOW he is talking to me? How do I illustrate this issue so it is encouraging from our relationship? How do I figure out if he is the right person – if he can change this and not escalate to a person who criticizes me?
2) What if the issue is me over focusing on his passive criticisms and letting it hit my hot buttons? How do I shift my thinking to gratitude for him while I work on ironing out this issue?
3) How can I create confidence and peace as I walk through this process? Addressing my internal fears that he doesn’t just like me because I help him achieve life goals but doesn’t actually ENJOY and like me? Or that he won’t increasingly become critical? How do I stop my panic that makes me want to run away from this relationship when he does this?