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plaxmax34 07-28-2008 01:01 PM

Family Won't Let Her Speak
Hey guys. I'm new here and I wasn't really sure what forum to post this in, because it kind of covers a couple of topics. I guess I chose this one because my girlfriend's self-esteem and emotional health are at stake.

So here's the story. My girlfriend and her family recently found out that her younger brother (19) has been doing drugs. He got a DUI, he's on academic probation at school, all sorts of things.

My girlfriend wants to try to help him out, but she is afraid that her brother won't listen to her because she feels that he doesn't respect her. And her mother seems to be in denial about it. She doesn't want anyone to talk to him about it, she just wants them to pray for him.

Friday night, my girlfriend and I started talking about what's happening with her brother and she started crying hysterically about it. We talked for a while. I tried to listen to her and calm her down while we talked. But when she went home, she got upset again and broke down in front of her family. She was crying and she even started hyperventilating. I thought this was good, because she finally got to show her family how she was feeling about the situation.

She felt that what she did was wrong. She kept saying that she "cracked". She felt, I guess, that she needed to be strong and not show how upset she was. I told her not to look at it that way. She didn't crack. She should have never had to hold in her emotions like that in the first place. But, here's the part I don't understand. Her mother was apparently furious at her for doing this. She told her that by getting upset in front of her brother, she was just making the situation worse. And for the rest of the weekend, her mother wouldn't talk to her.

I thought this was terrible! How could she expect my girlfriend to just keep everything bottled up inside? How were things ever supposed to improve if they didn't communicate their feelings to each other? How could she think that things would get better by just ignoring the drug problem?

And last night, while I was on the phone with my girlfriend, her and her mom got in a big fight. My girlfriend was telling her how much she hates her and how she's such an idiot sometimes. My girlfriend was so upset that she was ready to leave the house and go sleep in her office in the city for the night.

Now, here's the thing, my girlfriend and her family are Mexican. Her mother is very religious and "traditional". I can't understand her behavior, so I'm wondering if it's a cultural thing. I'm a white guy, and I'm constantly learning new things about Latino culture through my girlfriend, but there's still a lot that I don't know.

I wouldn't expect you guys in this forum to be able to explain the cultural aspect of this situation, because cultural issues aren't the focus of this area (although if anyone who reads this is Latino/a, I would really, really, really appreciate your point of view). But if I'm not mistaken, her family's treatment of her is causing some serious emotional damage. And I feel that things have been this way for quite a long time, probably her whole life. I know there's already some serious emotional damage in her past that she has not healed from.

Any advice for how I can help her here? I am partly responsible. I was the one who told her that she needs to communicate her feelings and concerns both to her brother and the rest of her family. I told her that was their best chance at helping him. He needs help and love and support right now, not family members who want to ignore him or pretend nothing is wrong. Did I do the right thing? What can I do next?

niknak77 07-28-2008 01:10 PM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
I agree with you on this. Ignoring a problem will never make it go away. Prayer is good, but you also need to take action. I can't comment on your questions about the culture but your girlfriends reaction is understandable and normal. I don't know how old your girlfriend is or her financial situation but is there a way she could move out of her parents house? Perhaps if she lives on her own, either alone or with a close friend(s)/relative, she could discover her own inner strength and be able to deal with her family better. Just a suggestion.
Try your best to be supportive and let her release her emotions when she is with you since she can't around her family. You sound like a caring and sweet person which is what she needs now. Good luck.

plaxmax34 07-28-2008 01:34 PM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
[QUOTE=niknak77;3666553] I don't know how old your girlfriend is or her financial situation but is there a way she could move out of her parents house? Perhaps if she lives on her own, either alone or with a close friend(s)/relative, she could discover her own inner strength and be able to deal with her family better.
Try your best to be supportive and let her release her emotions when she is with you since she can't around her family. You sound like a caring and sweet person which is what she needs now. Good luck.[/QUOTE]

Thank you for the compliment. I try my best to be there for her, although we live an hour apart so I can't always be.

We're both 22 right now and entering our final year of college. Neither of us has much money right now, but my girlfriend has seemingly been offered a job as a production assistant with MTV for next year (she's interning with them right now). She will probably live at home for a little while as she saves up her money and uses it to buy a car or pay off loans.

I've been trying to find a Hispanic or Latin American cultural message board on the Internet where I can ask about the cultural significance of her mother's attitude, but so far, I haven't found anything.

I think I should also mention here that my girlfriend is an extreme workaholic, and she always takes on more responsibility than she can handle. This stems from feeling that nothing she does is ever good enough to satisfy her family. She never feels that they appreciate her hard work. It's a bad thing for two reasons, though. She will take on so many things at once that she literally makes herself sick with stress.

And I found out just a few days ago that she started smoking as a way to network with people. This was really upsetting to me for a few reasons (she hid it from me, she has always hated smoking but now she changed her mind just to get ahead at work, I'm afraid she's using it as a way to cope with the stress of her brother's drug problem, etc.). We talked things over a few nights ago, but I realized that there are still other things that I have questions about and still other things I want to talk about with her. I don't want to just let the issue go, but I feel like I can't bring it up again because she is already going through so much with her family right now. I feel like there are all these things happening to her all at once, and all these things I want to talk to her about, but it's all just piling up too fast.

I'm sorry, I know I keep adding more to the discussion and it probably seems like I'm all over the place right now. It's just hard to focus on one problem with her right now, because I feel there are so many things she needs help with.

niknak77 07-28-2008 04:02 PM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
I can relate to your girlfriend in never being good enough, my parents are the same way. She will simply have to come to terms with the fact that she will never be able to change them. She can only change how she reacts to them. I know we sometimes never really stop wanting their approval, but if she comes to terms with the fact that their problem is not really with her or anything she does, it makes it easier to live with. She needs to stop living her life trying to gain their approval and live it for herself. She shouldn't smoke just to network or get ahead. Would she be willing to ask about counseling through her schools student health center? Sometimes the school will provide it for a reduced cost, it may be worth asking about. She could really use the extra set of ears as well as the professional advice on how to deal with all the stress she has. Perhaps you can help her to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, at least once in a while. Tell her to hang in there and not to forget to take the time to relax and enjoy her life, you only get to live once; you might as well as enjoy it and make it worth the while.:)

plaxmax34 07-29-2008 09:18 AM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
Excellent advice Niknak, thank you.

She and I had a good talk about this last night over dinner. She told me that on Sunday night, after she and her mother started fighting, her sister came home and helped moderate things a little bit. My girlfriend told her mother that because she treats her that way and reacts that way when she says things, she never wants to tell her anything. She never feels like they can talk. She told me it has always kind of been like that. Their communication has always been terrible because her mother just gets too upset if she finds out that my girlfriend is having problems or things are upsetting her.

I asked her if she ever tried to talk to her mother about their communication problems, and she said that any time she has ever tried to, her mother simply walks away from the conversation. She also said that a big part of the reason her mother was upset was because right now she feels that her son, who has the drug problem, needs all of her help and attention. She feels like she can't take care of my girlfriend right now and she can't handle my girlfriend's problems. But I told my girlfriend that her mother wouldn't have to do anything to take care of her and handle her problems. She would just need to sit and listen and talk a little. But she said her mother has always done this. There have been a lot of times when she hasn't given her the attention that she really needs.

My girlfriend also told me that a big part of it is that her mother is very much about keeping up appearances. Her image is very important and she doesn't like to let anyone else know when their family is having problems. When my girlfriend was hysterically crying a few nights ago, she was afraid that the neighbors would hear them and she was afraid of what they would think. The next day, we all went to a baptism together, and her mother kept shooting these mean glances at her because my girlfriend was in a bad mood and everyone could tell that there was something wrong.

My girlfriend told me that her sister tried to explain to her that she and their mother wanted my girlfriend to make a better attempt to start talking to her brother again and try to forgive him. But my girlfriend told me she's just not ready right now. It's been about two weeks, and she's the only one in the family that has still not said a word to him. But she told me that she just can't handle it right now. She says that if they were to talk, she wants to tell him that she loves him but she hates him right now. She wants to hit him but she also wants to hug him. She's afraid of what she'll say to him, and she's just not ready to go talk to him yet. But she told me that if he came to her to talk, she would talk. She said she will never turn her back on him like that.

Part of the reason she is so upset is because she keeps saying that she's afraid of what he will do to himself or someone else. He already got a DUI and she's afraid that, if he keeps it up, he could cause a car accident and kill himself or someone else. She's also so disappointed in him.

At college, my girlfriend is very involved in a lot of things. Last year, she was the president of the Latino Student Association and she helped organize a lot of cultural events on campus. Her brother was there for her biggest event, and at the end of the night he was telling her how he is so proud of her and he wishes he could be like that. But she feels like the fact that he's doing drugs and getting into trouble is like a spit in the face. She thought she was being such a great role model for her brother, and now it looks like he's just going to be another irresponsible kid that gets thrown out of school and doesn't do anything with his life (those are her words, not mine. She's afraid that he is throwing it all away, and she doesn't want to see what will happen to him).

My girlfriend is also very proud of her heritage. This entire past year, serving as a leader on campus and president of her group, she was trying to be a positive role model and create a good image of minority students at our school. She's seen a lot of minority and inner-city students fail out of our college. She's lost a lot of friends that way. But she wanted to change that trend and find ways to help the incoming students. And she also wanted to make our school (in rural Western New York) a more welcoming environment for inner-city and minority students. It was an enormous undertaking, and she worked her butt off to try to make it happen, and to create progress anywhere she could.

Her brother is also taking on a leadership position this year in a minority student group at his school. But she feels like he is going to set a bad example for the students. If he tries to act, I don't know, professional, and if the other students see what he is like at parties, they're going to think he is a big hypocrite. She feels that no one will take him seriously. And she thinks it will be detrimental to the minority community at his school if he was an elected leader and then he got kicked out of school or got in trouble because of drugs.

As I'm typing this, I realize that she is concerning herself with far too many things right now. Her brother's welfare is one thing, and it's great that she wants to make progress in their minority community, but she can't be focusing on the community and the atmosphere at her brother's college. She's got too much on her plate already. Deep down, I think my girlfriend really wants to change the world. But she'll work herself to death in the process. I didn't tell her any of this last night. I just listened.

She was also saying that breaking down on Friday night was the worst thing she could do. She had just finished a major assignment at work, and she had been telling herself that all she needed to do was to just block everything out until her big assignment was finished. When it was finished, she just cracked under the pressure. I thought she might feel good having it off of her chest. She said that she felt bad that it all came out like that. She feels like an emotional mess. But I told her she's not an emotional mess. It's just that she was holding in all of this fear and anger and sadness and disappointment and all of these other emotions, and even though she was only holding it in for a week, it all built up inside of her and it was too much. It wasn't that she's an emotional mess, it was all just too much that had built up, and it all came out too fast. But I think it was really for the best.

She said it was bad because people at work could tell yesterday that something was different about her. They knew that she wasn't really herself, and they were wondering about it. But she doesn't want to talk about it with anyone at work. If she could, I think it would be good, because that's just one extra outside opinion, and one more set of ears that is not connected to the problem. That's always good. But she feels that she can't open up to any of her coworkers like that. She's afraid of how they will see her if she does that, and she doesn't want to seem weak or anything. She wants to give the impression that she's Wonder Woman. She told me that if she were to try to talk about it with anyone, she doesn't think she would be able to control her emotions. She thinks she would probably break down crying again.

I told her that I understand how she feels about this, and in a way, she's right. Deep conversations aren't always appropriate in the workplace, and her office is very busy everyday anyway. I told her that if she can, she should try to talk to her brother again before we go back to school (that's in about three weeks). She told me that she just doesn't trust him right now, and she has no idea when she will be able to again. I understood. It's totally understandable if she doesn't feel like she can talk to him, but I told her that if there's any way she can before we go back, she really should do it. It will help their communication, it will show him how much she cares and how she really feels, and it might help her regain some trust in him.

As far as the smoking thing goes, we didn't really discuss it much yesterday. I did ask her about something though. She told me on Friday that the reason she didn't tell me about the smoking thing was because I apparently once told her that I would break up with her if she started smoking. I don't remember ever saying that, but whatever. So last night, I asked her if she really thought I would do that. She said yes. I told her that I was sorry for making her think that. I said that there's nothing she could ever say or do that would lead me to just break up with her on the spot. I told her that no matter, we're going to get a chance to talk about things and try to work through them. But what's most important is that we don't hide things from each other. We have to make sure we can trust one another, otherwise our relationship is not going to work anymore. And it's going to be difficult to trust each other if we hide things. So I wanted to let her know that she could always tell me about anything, or talk to me about anything.

In truth, I had more things I wanted to say about her smoking. I don't think she has the right reasons for doing it (then again, is there ever a [I]good[/I] reason for doing it?) and I really just want to know why she is doing it. I want to make sure she's being honest with me about how often she is doing it, how long ago she started, etc. But she's got a lot going on right now, and I think that can wait.

Speaking of which, she is home sick today. I think it's all catching up to her. The stress from work and her family problems is wearing her down. I know she hasn't been sleeping much and, with the exception of yesterday, she hasn't been eating a lot lately. I think she's had trouble sleeping because she feels so uncomfortable in her house right now, and her mind just won't rest. I don't remember if I mentioned this earlier, but she gets sick in times of extreme stress. She gets indigestion, headaches, cramps, all this bad stuff. I've only seen it happen to her once before, back at school when she was putting together a major event for her club. But this thing with her brother is clearly taking a big toll on her body and mind. I'm trying to be there for her as much as possible, but I don't have all the answers.

Despite all of the negative things we talked about yesterday, we actually had a really good day. She was stressed when I picked her up from work, but we had dinner and a couple of margaritas together and she seemed much happier afterwards. I think I helped reduce some of her stress, although she did get sick from it today regardless. I'm just happy that things are *hopefully* getting better.

And I think you're right, she really would benefit from seeing a therapist. Our school offers counseling for free. I just don't know how to recommend that to her. She has a guidance counselor that she is very close with (it's part of her financial aid program). They usually meet once a week to discuss grades and schoolwork, but a lot of times they wind up just talking about life in general. One time, towards the end of the semester, my girlfriend met with her for a really long time and apparently had a good, long talk about her family. I really think she should keep going to her counselor and having talks like that one. They have a certain connection, because the counselor is also Latina, that I may never have with my girlfriend. The problem is, this counselor is not a therapist, and I think my girlfriend may need an experienced therapist to discuss certain things.

Maybe her guidance counselor could recommend her to one. But having a good connection is very important, because my girlfriend has a really tough time opening up to people. She never likes to ask for help. And the fact that she comes to me when she's upset or when she needs help is really important. It's a sign of incredible trust from her. So I don't want to make it seem like I can't help her and I need to pass her off to a therapist. But I think some professional therapy may help her out. I could suggest maybe going to meetings with her, but I don't know how she would feel about it.

How would you recommend that I suggest she start seeing a therapist?

(And God bless you if you actually read this entire long thing.)

ibake&pray 07-29-2008 11:10 AM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
[COLOR="Navy"]First, your girlfriend is incredibly lucky that you have such patience with her family. Being from a difference culture is a burden that can can be difficult to bear and not cause additional emotional issues in its own way.

As for counseling. How do you suggest it? (I'm a social worker by degree to start with). Easy. You say, honey, dearest, whatever..I'm at a loss at how else to help you right now and I feel that you need more help than I can give you with your family issues. I'm not Latino and I'm confused by your family dynamics-altho to be truthful they sound just like alot of normal family issues. Mom wants to keep up appearances of nothing being wrong. Keep your emotions to yourself, we don't display emotions, we don't have time to talk about you....sounds rather familiar. I think that it would help you to see someone to learn to deal with your mother...Or just say that you are concerned with her mental outlook and you would like to see a counselor with her. OR that you would like to share your life with her BUT NOT LIKE YOUR PARENTS LIVE. There are alot of ways to approach it. Or you could ask her guidance counselor to suggest someone. Her guidance couselor may be doing more for her than you realize. You might want to ask her if she feels she needs to see someone.

Your young lady is an over achiever. They suffer from stress and overload. She needs to learn how to handle stress and how to balance her stress load. She is young and trying to establish herself-yes. But with that comes high engergy and stress. She will make herself sick with the worry from her family and her work. It is a hard thing to deal with.

She needs to talk to her brother. IF only to tell him that she loves him but doesn't like him. She needs to do it for herself-if not for him. Both of them will be the better for it. She will feel better for having gotten it out of her system and he will have seen his sister, She needs the dignity of being able to tell him that she doesn't like him. She deserves that. She will feel better for being able to tell him that-no matter what her mother thinks of it. The fact that she disapproves of it is her right. Her mother cannot change what he did and your girl has every right to be viciously angry about it. She will be better physically when she tells him. It will be cathathic for her.

You have a rough road ahead of you. What you didn't say is if your girl's mother likes you? Time away from her family will give her breathing room to de stress and re group. Good luck.[/COLOR]

plaxmax34 07-29-2008 01:45 PM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
Her family absolutely loves me, including her mother. That's why this situation has been weird for me, because her Mom is usually so sweet and gentle. I always thought that she was very caring, and it is hard to believe that she could cause this emotional damage to my girlfriend.

My girlfriend and I live an hour apart (I'm on Long Island and she's in Queens), but we still try to see each other at least once or twice a week, and we talk on the phone probably two or three times every day. When I go to her house, I am always very friendly with her family. Throughout this whole ordeal, I have still been friendly and conversational with her younger brother. The last thing he needs is someone else to condemn him.

I've also made a strong effort to learn more about their culture. Her mom has cooked a few things for dinner that I'd never had before, but I tried them and I loved them. I think I also impressed a few people at the baptism the other day when my girlfriend and I got onto the dance floor and did some salsa and merengue dancing (she taught me last year).

I get along very well with all of her siblings (she has her younger brother, an older sister and an older brother), as well as with her sister's boyfriend and her brother's wife. For a short period, her father wasn't sure how he felt about me because he found out that my girlfriend and I go to college together, and I think he wondered what kind of stuff we were doing together at school. But he's gotten past that and he has warmed up to me. So my relationship with the family is really great.

But it is tough for me knowing that, psychologically, they have done some damage to my girlfriend. I'm sure they didn't mean it, but she has some old scars that haven't really healed. Aside from her mother's attitude towards her, which I explained before, they were also very critical of her a few years ago when they found out that she wasn't a virgin (they threw her out of the house for a week). She and I have never been able to fully go into it and talk about everything, but I have a general idea of the pain she still feels.

I think therapy would also be very good for my girlfriend for another reason. Aside from these issues she is having with her family and her feelings of ineptitude (as in never being good enough, causing her to be a workaholic), I think she was also sexually abused when she was younger (by a boyfriend or someone our age, probably not by a family member). She has had some very bad relationships in the past, and she has had some very traumatic sexual experiences. Again, I don't know the full story, we've never been able to get too far into it.

I don't mean to toot my own horn, but it seems that I am by far the best boyfriend she has ever had. In fact, I think with some of her previous boyfriends, she dated them for a long time and never even introduced them to the family. Or she introduced them and her family hated the guys. I feel very fortunate to be in this position, because I love my girlfriend with all my heart. Now I really want to find some way to help her get past all of these terrible experiences and heal her damaged psyche.

niknak77 07-29-2008 04:37 PM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
Do what you have been, love her, listen to her and continue to prove her worth and your love. You do sound like a wonderful boyfriend and she is lucky to have you. It's great that you get along so well with her family. Just let your girlfriend know that nothing she says about her past will ever change what you think of her or how you feel about her. Then let it drop. She will come to you and open up in her own time, things in her past may be to painful or even embarrassing for her to talk about. She needs to find an outlet for all her stress. Is there something that she enjoys that she finds relaxing or calming or simply good at relieving stress and anger? Encourage her to find a way to let go and let the stress melt away. Also the next time she worries about what people will think, remind her this is one of her mothers traits that is causing her stress. She may want to think hard about whether or not that is something she wants to carry on into her life.
Oh, and I did read all of your long post. Don't feel bad, mine get long too.

plaxmax34 07-30-2008 09:10 AM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
That was really excellent advice from both of you. Thank you very much. It really makes me happy to hear that you think I'm a good boyfriend. This is my first serious relationship, and I screw up from time to time, like anybody. But I think my girlfriend and I are both very happy with each other, and it makes me feel good to know that I'm doing things right.

I will try to reinforce the fact that my girlfriend can tell me anything about herself or her past and it won't change the way I feel about her. There are some things that maybe just don't bother her anymore. I'd like to know what happened in her past, but if it's not bothering her anymore, than it's completely up to her whether or not she tells me her life story. If she has managed to recover from traumatic events and she can say that the past is past, then I guess there's no reason to open up the old wounds. Heck, I'm pretty open with her, but even I have one or two secrets from way back that I'm afraid to share with her (or anyone else). So it's all up to her.

Just now, I was able to make up a list of about 15 things she likes to do for fun. I don't know that they all totally relax her or that they take her mind off of her work as much as she needs, but that may just be something she needs to learn to do. I must say, in general, her stress management wasn't great, but it was only during real crunch times that she actually made herself sick. If she can just learn to prepare better for those times, and maybe take on a little less work, then I think she'll be more or less ok.

Right now, it's just a combination of things that are piling up on her. On top of all of her stress, she hasn't really been sleeping well. Normally, she's not the most peaceful sleeper. But now her older sister has moved out of her own apartment and back into their house while she and her boyfriend look for a new place. I'm pretty sure, for the last two weeks, my girlfriend has been sleeping on the floor or sleeping on the couch while her sister is sleeping in her bed. I didn't really think this was fair, but what can she really do about it?

Thanks again for your great advice. I think things are definitely looking up.

plaxmax34 07-30-2008 09:15 AM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
Wow, I was just looking at some other posts in this caregivers section. I feel like these problems with my girlfriend are nothing compared to what some of the posters on here are going through. I almost feel dumb for wasting your time with these trivial dating problems.

ibake&pray 07-30-2008 10:57 AM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
[COLOR="Navy"]They are not dumb nor are they trivial. If help can be offered and we feel we can help, then so be it. Accept what we can offer as it does our heart good also. I am past the age of having the first blush of love..having been married for 35 plus years to my hubby. It is difficult to remain or establish a relationship with another person, much less keep it up over the years..My parents just passed last fall-five weeks apart. They had been married 64 and 1/2 years. Mamma just up and quit after Daddy passed. But I digress.

The groundwork that you lay now is the foundation for a healthy and stable relationship. It takes time and commitment and a h*ll of alot of work, from both sides. And everyone has issues that take time to bring to the table. There are some things that may never get said, and that may be something that you will need to learn to live with. And you need to decide if you can live with that. You have to decide if there are questions that you live without either asking or having an answer to. The wisdom of age speaking here... :)

You have your head on straight and your feet well grounded for someone so young. It will take time and patience on both of your parts. Are you older than your young lady by any chance? Good luck, you sound like you are headed in the right direction...[/COLOR]

plaxmax34 07-30-2008 11:57 AM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
[QUOTE=ibake&pray;3669418][COLOR="Navy"]They are not dumb nor are they trivial. If help can be offered and we feel we can help, then so be it. Accept what we can offer as it does our heart good also. I am past the age of having the first blush of love..having been married for 35 plus years to my hubby. It is difficult to remain or establish a relationship with another person, much less keep it up over the years..My parents just passed last fall-five weeks apart. They had been married 64 and 1/2 years. Mamma just up and quit after Daddy passed. But I digress.

The groundwork that you lay now is the foundation for a healthy and stable relationship. It takes time and commitment and a h*ll of alot of work, from both sides. And everyone has issues that take time to bring to the table. There are some things that may never get said, and that may be something that you will need to learn to live with. And you need to decide if you can live with that. You have to decide if there are questions that you live without either asking or having an answer to. The wisdom of age speaking here... :)

You have your head on straight and your feet well grounded for someone so young. It will take time and patience on both of your parts. Are you older than your young lady by any chance? Good luck, you sound like you are headed in the right direction...[/COLOR][/QUOTE]

Wow, you've been married for over 35 years? In today's world, that's quite an accomplishment. While years ago I was beginning to think, figuratively, that everyone seemed to be getting divorced, these days I am starting to feel that [I]literally[/I] everyone is getting divorced, so it is magnificent to hear that there are people like you out there who have managed to preserve their marriage.

I'm really sorry to hear about your parents. If I may, you mentioned that your mother just kind of quit after your father passed away. That's very sad, but at the same time, I find something beautiful in it. That she felt so devoted to your father and so in love that she couldn't go on without him, that's a sentiment that seems to be all but lost in my generation.

Thank you for your compliments. It's not every day that people tell me I have my head on straight and that I'm well-grounded, but it's really nice to hear. My girlfriend and I are both 22 (in fact, she's about a month older than me). Sometimes my mother criticizes me for being in such a serious relationship at such a young age. She says I should go out and play the field while I'm still young. But I love my girlfriend, and a serious relationship like the one we have now is all I've ever wanted in my love life. I'm not going to break things off with her just so I can play the field and see what else is out there. I'm happy with what I've got now.

I realize that marriage is probably going to be the biggest commitment of my life, second only to maybe the decision to have and support children. It's still a few years off in my case (need to graduate college and work on my career before I can pop the question!), and I realize that there are going to be a lot of challenges that arise. My girlfriend and I haven't always seen eye to eye on everything, and I know there will be plenty of disagreements still to come. But I feel that, as long as she is by my side, we can and will work through absolutely anything.

niknak77 07-30-2008 12:30 PM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
If your relationship is solid, you trust and love each other, than there is no reason why it won't last. Don't worry about being young, me and my bf were only a few years older than you two when we met, now we are still going strong and it is more than 5 years later. So if you two stay committed to making it work, it can. Someday you will be the ones celebrating your 35 years together. What a beautiful thing.
Like was said before your troubles are not trivial and people here like to give what help they can to others.
Wishing the best to you and your girlfriend, have a fantastic day.:)

ibake&pray 07-31-2008 06:19 AM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
[COLOR="Navy"]Please do finish college before you get married. My hubby and Idated for 18 months, were engaged for 18 months, then got married 2 months after we graduated from college. He was commistioned in March into the Air Force and we left for the start of 20 years in the AF 2 months after the wedding. So we have had a around the world life so to speak.

But you know if this is the person that you want to spend your whole life with. If she makes your breath catch in your throat when you see her, if you can't think of not seeing her for the rest of your life. If you couldn't imagine not being involved with anyone else but her. If she makes your heart do a silly little flutter when you think about her...then yup, this is-the-person-that-you-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-your-life-with. Never discount your gut feelings....

hang in there, the road will get better.....[/COLOR]

plaxmax34 08-07-2008 02:06 PM

Re: Family Won't Let Her Speak
Hi guys. I needed to vent about something, and it doesnít really have anything to do with the original topic of this thread, but I feel like Iíve built up good rapport with the two of you who have been giving me advice on here. I kind of feel like you know me now. And for anyone just tuning in, they can go back to some of my older posts to get the details on what has happened already this summer, so I donít need to rehash anything.

So, here goes. I realized the other day that my girlfriend and I have had completely different summers this year. For her, this summer has been really awesome. She has had a great experience with her internship, and it looks like sheís going to be able to turn that into a lucrative career. She has gotten to go out to a lot of new bars and clubs in the city, and sheís gotten pretty close with some of her coworkers. So sheís been very productive, but sheís also had a lot of fun. Other than the drama with her family and her brother, I would say this has been the perfect summer for her.

As for me, not so much. My job has pretty much taken over my life. The commute adds four hours onto an already lengthy workday. By the time I get home at night, I only have time usually to eat dinner and start getting ready for my next day of work. I havenít seen any of my friends in the last two weeks just because Iíve been so busy.

I realized the other day that maybe what I hate the most about this summer is that, while she has had the most exciting summer of her life, I have really not been a major part of it. I mean, ok, we still do a lot of stuff together. But if I asked her to think and name her top 3 most exciting days from this summer, she would without a doubt have to say three different days when she was hanging out with her coworkers. All of the exclusive parties that she gets invited to, she goes with her coworkers. Itís not that she hasnít invited me out to these things, but theyíre during the middle of the week. I canít go to them because then I would never be able to get up for work in the morning. It just sucks though because Iím really happy that sheís having the time of her life, but I hear stories about these VIP parties and I see pictures of them, and I just feel like it should be me standing next to her in those pictures.

Of course, as I mentioned above, my summer has been totally unexciting. If I had to mention some exciting days that Iíve had this summer, like 8 out of the top 10 would be days that I spent hanging out with her. And I know she had fun during those times, but compared to some of the other fun stuff sheís been doing with her coworkers, I feel like the days and nights weíve spent together just canít compare.

The other thing is our sex life. Not sure if Iíve mentioned it on here yet, but it has really sputtered out. Back in the spring, we started going through kind of a dry spell. She was very stressed out and her libido was just not there. I thought things would get better this summer. Little did I know we would both be so busy. When we do get to hang out, we never really get any privacy, and it never seems like the mood is right.

When all of this business with her brother began, her health started to suffer. She wasnít sleeping well at night, she was stressed out at work, and she was just not doing very well for a little while. Now I think sheís better, but the summerís almost over. I thought this was ok, because weíll still have plenty of chances to get our love life back on track when we get back to school.

Well, last night we were having dinner together and we started talking about going back to school. She was telling me that she really doesnít even want to go back to school right now. She feels like she could be doing much more important things, and making money, if she just started working for her company right now. She has to get her college degree, just because her parents will kill her if she doesnít, but she said otherwise, she would just drop out and start working.

This upset me because I had been looking forward to going back to school so much. I donít know if she knows this, but being apart from her like this is really killing me. I want to wake up next to her every morning, and I want to be there to take care of her when sheís sick, and I want her to be there for me. We just donít have that when weíre home.

When we graduate, things are going to be like this all over again. I will probably still miss out on a lot of her parties, and we may not get to see each other all that much. While she is on the fast track to her career, I donít think I will be so lucky. Getting this job happened very quickly for her. It wonít be that way for me. It may be very difficult for me to get a job when I come out of school, especially the way the job market is looking right now. I would love to save up some money and get a place in the city where I could be close to my girlfriend. Maybe we could even get a place together. But itís just not going to happen that quickly for me, unless I get very, very lucky.

Iím really happy that she has this new, glamorous life for herself, but I just canít keep up right now. I want more than anything to be a part of her life. I want to be with her forever. But I just donít know how long sheís willing to wait for me, and I donít know how much control Iím going to have over my career situation.

I havenít told her any of this yet. Itís all come to me just in the past few days. I tried to talk about it last night, but I really didnít get the opportunity. I just wish she understood my position right now. Sheís always talking about how great her summer has been and how much she doesnít want it to end, but she hasn't stopped to think about how I'm feeling. I think I need to ask her about her plans for the future. Weíve discussed it in the past, but that was before she was offered a job, and I think things have obviously changed.

Originally, the plan was for us to get married in a few years. I wasnít sure, but I was kind of hoping that we would be able to live together before that. Right now, I just need to know that she still wants me to be a big part of her future. I feel like it will be so long before I can really become a major part of her life again. Before we can live together again.

And I donít want her to feel like Iím holding her back. Thatís important. I will obviously choose my words carefully when we do talk about this. I donít want her to feel like Iím trying to hold her back from this new dream career of hers. And I donít want her to feel like she needs to choose between the career and me. I just need her to know that I wonít be able to keep up with her right away, and she may have to be a little patient if she still wants to have the future with me that weíve talked about.

One other thing that concerns me is her lack of concern over our dead sex life. We havenít talked about it at all this summer. I was thinking about bringing it up earlier in the summer, but after much debate I realized that she really had a lot of other things on her mind. It has been so long since weíve been able to talk about sex with each other. I think it is just a sensitive issue for her, and I think it would be hard to talk about it because we havenít done it in so long.

I believe that maybe she misses sex as badly as I do. I donít know, but I think I can still feel it in her lips when we kiss. Maybe she feels as I do, and she just feels like weíll be able to solve our sex problems when we get back to school. But then why does she tell me that she doesnít care about going back to school?

I really wish my girlfriend was better about telling me things that bother her. She told me that she has trouble opening up and talking to people about things sometimes. Iím afraid that she has been hiding things from me. Iím afraid that maybe her feelings for me are changing, or they have changed, but I really wish she would come and talk to me about it.

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