Relationship problems, am i normal?

I have childhood trauma because of the way i was brought up and some things i went through as a child left huge marks on me. I only realised this during my 1st long term relationship which lasted for a year as the signs of being a disorganised-fearful avoidant only surface towards my romantic partner. My previous partner also gave me trauma where he had no boundaries with certain female “friends”, checked out other girls in public in front of me and always looked at provocative pictures of girls.

This really broke my confidence and during that period of time, i turned into someone i couldnt recognise. I was depressed most of the time. However, i stood strongly by my values, i am not one of those “chill girls” that can accept such behaviour and ultimately he left because he got tired of trying to meet my expectations.

When i am single i am independent, i feel happy and confident. I am not afraid to do things alone like solo travel, eat alone, go out alone, etc.

However, i just started seeing a new guy about 1.5 months ago even though i was hell bent on not trusting another guy ever again, he managed to convince me to give him a chance. I was faced with similar issues yet again, such as the guy checking out other girls in public when he is with me. That lead to me having social anxiety and not enjoying time whenever im out with him. It makes me wonder, are my standards really just too high? Am i asking for too much that no normal male can meet them? Am i the problem? We’ve had many talks and still are working through things, along with other problems we face such as culture differences and family differences, etc.

All these relationship problems have taken a toll on my mental health. I am pouring so much into this that i feel like im drowning in university. I have no energy to give to anybody else or anything else. I feel like if this continues on i am scared one day i might have to drop out. Everyone else seems to be doing well and i feel like i am the only one struggling. But i cant because i worked so hard to get to where i am today and my mum is still helping me with my fees, i cant let her down.

Moreover, i fell sick recently so the physical weakness makes me feel more tired and helpless with everything going on in my life. My mum and her tantrums flared up again and we havent been talking for a few days, normally i am not affected by this but given my current situation i do feel like i have no one by my side which is sad.

Sometimes i do think i know the answer to my problems is to cut it off with the guy, but i cant bear to do it. Why am i always holding on to the potential of something?

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Hey @young1126 , thank you for reaching out and sharing your story with me. It sounds like this is a situation that is weighing heavy on your heart, and I can imagine how frustrating that can be. I’m sorry to hear that you had to endure trauma in your childhood and that it is now manifesting problems in your romantic relationships, but it is heartening to know that you are recognising the key issues and that you stand firm by your boundaries and values.

I want to firstly affirm you that what you are feeling is normal to experience in relationships, especially if you are a young person. It can take awhile to figure out what you like and dislike in a partner, and what works for you in a relationship, so I would like to encourage you to take it easy on yourself. You don’t have to have it all figured out yet.

The thing about relationships is that it is not about compromise, but rather about collaboration. A compromise would mean that both parties have to give up something in order for the relationship to work, and that would leave both of you unhappy in some regard. By contrast, a collaboration would mean that both of you can have your needs met without having to settle for anything less than you deserve.

This is not to say that there won’t be any conflicts in the relationship. There will always be disagreement as that is human nature. But when you are collaborating with your partner, it becomes less of you vs them, and more of you & them vs the problem. So I would like you to ask yourself if your current relationship feels more like a compromise or a collaboration? If you are having issues this early on in the realtionship, then perhaps this partner may not be a good fit for you. You deserve someone who is willing to work together with you and meet you at your values and boundaries without having to minimise your own needs.

I am glad to hear that you are not giving up on your studies despite what you are going through. This shows me your mental resilience and willingness to work through this ordeal. With that, I would like to encourage practicing self-care in this difficult time. Self-care goes beyond treating yourself every now and then (e.g. getting bubble tea after a tough week); it is about doing the things that are good for you, even if you do not feel like it. Some examples of self-care would include eating your meals on time, taking frequent breaks from work to recharge, practicing good sleep hygiene, and connecting with others in your social circle (apart from your partner). It can be tempting to isolate yourself but from what you mentioned, it does not seem like that is what you want.

It can be difficult to let go of something we want so desperately to work. However, it is important to accept things as they are at face value, rather than putting our hopes into something that may never happen. While we cannot control what others do, we can decide for ourselves if something is worth investing our time in. Of course, it would be great if things worked out in your favour, but we cannot let the potential of the future distract us from our current reality.

I’ll leave you with two book titles you may wish to look into:
(1) Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn
(2) Come Home to Yourself by Deja Rae
These are excellent reads that may help provide a better perspective on the topic of love and relationships.

I hope this helps. All the best and take care! (´。• ᵕ •。`)

Yes, I agree with Jane. To add on to the message, it would also be helpful for you, @young1126 , to have a look at the following signs. Use them as a guide to help you consider whether it might be time to move on from a relationship:

  1. When the relationship brings you more pain than joy. Relationships are supposed to build you up. While they might be stressful at times, on the whole, they should not be making your life more difficult.

  2. When the person is causing you hurt. Emotional hurt is not visible but it is real. You mentioned that your partner was checking out on other girls even while you’re present and such behaviour left you feeling anxious and unhappy. It’s important to bring this matter to his awareness and address it together. If the same thing happens even after you have made efforts to address it, you might want to reevaluate the relationship.

  3. When the person puts little to no effort in the relationship. Every relationship—be it friendships and familial bonds—requires effort by the duo. If you find yourself constantly putting in more effort than the other partner, sooner than later it will drain you. While it is possible for a one-sided relationship to last, perhaps consider if you’re prepared to do the same in the long term and if this is your ideal partner, a person who doesn’t care to invest as much effort into the relationship as you.

I hope this helps; and no matter what decision you make, know that you deserve love and respect, and to stay well. Know that when you take care of yourself, you are putting yourself in the best possible position to not just be in a happy and fulfilling romantic relationship, but also to strive in other areas of your life.

Take good care (: