Relationship Feeling like I failed my GF

NLOwl

New Here
I have been dating my GF who has CPTSD for about a year now. She also has other issues such as severe depression (suicidal ideation) and chronic fatigue. We are living together but the last few months have been rough. Last night may have been the final straw between us.

We have two major causes of friction in our relationship: inability to communicate, and disagreement on trying for kids.

Her PTSD stems from a lifetime of assault, abuse, trauma and a miscarriage some years ago (she desperately wants children). These have been recurring topics in our relationship, especially the last point. She has been through some serious s*** in her life and I have nothing but sympathy for her. I want to emphasize that this is a very severe case too, she is on disability for some of what she went through.

When we first started dating, I thought I could help her. I thought it would be easy enough to just show my support and be kind and helpful and present and work at her pace. In turn, I thought I would grow closer and want to get married or try for kids, but the opposite happened.

It's become clear her wanting kids has little to do with the relationship she is in, outside of her partner being stable and neurotypical which has been something she has had difficulty finding in the past. She has been in several relationships but held off with trying for kids with most of them because of the partner's mental issues. She was in a long term relationship with someone for 10 years and it took about that long to get pregnant, and over 5 years later she is still grieving that miscarriage.

She got into reborn dolls for some time after the incident - though has largely moved on from actually using them and just has them on display on a shelf. A little weird but whatever. However, 5 years later she still has a little nursery/kids room set up with kids toys that is just collecting dust. It serves no purpose other than as a depressing reminder of her loss.

She thinks her lack of kids is the reason her family and friends stopped talking to her and showing any interest in her, because there are no cute kids to fawn over. She is convinced her girlfriends have stopped talking to her because they all had kids and they don't have time for a kid-less friendship. She wants to have kids because she seems to think it will be some relief for her depression and loss, and has practically begged me to reconsider ("I wish I could have one... just one...", "Would you be OK if someone else impregnated me? You don't have to have anything to do with the kid." "Should I get my eggs frozen or find a sperm donor?").

She is in her 30s and struggling with this majorly. She said she has spent the last 20 years preparing for a kid - fully paid off a house with extra rooms and land, had a large fund set up to be financially stable, was careful about who she tried with so the kid had good genes and parents. None of her efforts mattered and she feels she failed at the most basic biological function an animal is capable of.

I always told her, even when we first started dating that I was on the fence about kids. I felt like it had to be with the right person at the right time. To me, having a kid is not about fulfilling a biological function, or performing the act of caring for a child, but rather, it is a milestone in a relationship. It is the last "step", so to speak, after moving in and getting married. A final, lifelong commitment to your partner. Having a child should be as a result of an intimate bond between the parents that is discussed and agreed upon with love and excitement. I never felt like this with her. Her wanting kids was always for her own reasons that were centered around herself. She never said she wanted me to be the father of her children, to parent together, or ever even implied I would have anything to do with raising them. The language she uses is so telling, and I could never have kids with someone who does not view parenting with excitement and love, as a relationship goal and an equal partnership.

This should have been a deal breaker for both of us from day one, but it wasn't. I think we both misled ourselves into thinking the other person could change. It only got worse once I moved in.

The more prevalent issue is that we have a lot of problems with communication. I knew with her PTSD she would be prone to cyclic thoughts and thought it was something I could handle. But it has become worse over time. When we talk, she will talk ad infinitum - literally going on about her topic for 20, 30 minutes or longer without a single pause. When she talks about things, especially if it is stressful, it is almost as if she is in another world because she will just stare into the void and talk about whatever it is in an almost catatonic way. At first, I tried to be attentive and listen to everything she had to say. The problem is that she would never stop, and would get angry if I tried to interject any thoughts despite her rambling on for what feels like an eternity. I would have to speak over her to even get a word in edgewise. The more stressed out she is, the more she talks. The topic can be anything that bothers her - health related, issues with her family, house repairs that need to be done, dealing with a sick pet.

I've asked her why she does this and her response is that her mind is always racing and hyperactive, with hundreds of thoughts fighting for her attention. She cannot tie up any loose ends. She has to chase a thought to completion (which never happens), and if someone else tries to talk over her, she instantly loses her focus on what she was saying. As a result, conversations with her feel unbelievably one-sided. I feel like a doormat and disrespected because I can never give any input. My only way of expressing my thoughts is to practically yell over her just to say what is on my mind... which causes a fight where she says I'm the one interrupting her and to let her finish, despite having talked for 20 minutes straight without me saying a single word. She does not ask about me, or show any interest in hearing my side of things, or anything about my life. Every single conversation (if you can call one person talking a conversation) is almost always about her anxieties and stressors.

I have tried to get this through to her dozens of times over the last few months. That a relationship takes two people. That a conversation involves two people talking. She seems completely and totally oblivious as to why this might bother me, and that I am infantile for wanting more attention. I don't think it is at all. Like I said, it makes me feel disrespected and frustrated.

Last night was a bit of a breaking point for me.

We were discussing some article about climate change experiments and its fundraising sources (the topic is not important) and she kept putting words into my mouth. She talked about her opinion for several minutes but as soon as I tried to explain my thoughts, she interrupted me again to say "so you agree that we should just keep ruining the planet and let billionaires control it? Got it." in a overly condescending manner. I lost it. I begged her to please just shut up and let me finish my thought for once, stormed off and yelled "THIS IS WHY WE CAN NEVER HAVE A F***ING CONVERSATION BECAUSE YOU CAN NEVER JUST SHUT. THE. F***. UP!!"

I am not normally an angry person. Never in my life have I ever yelled at anyone like this. But this was from months and months of build up. I was so frustrated and so tired of the constant disrespect and interruption.

After I calmed down a bit and came back, she acted pretty much indifferent - no emotional response whatsoever. Her first words on the incident were "I guess this is the end." In reality, it wasn't necessarily indifference, but more of a shut down response. This is been her way to deal with anything that affects her negatively. She just gives up and shuts down any processing of emotions and goes completely numb. Keeps saying "it doesn't matter" and "I don't care." Did our relationship mean anything to her? "It doesn't matter. We'll both move on. You'll probably have kids without me, too."

She has this pretty extreme nihilist standpoint on life after all of her traumas: Nothing matters. All people are selfish and manipulative. Anything that brings happiness or joy is just a sick joke that is just masking the inevitable reality of failure. The real world is cruel and humanity is a disease. Essentially, we are all just doomed to live a life of suffering and then just die and to pretend otherwise is lying to yourself. This ties into her bizarre view that the world is divided into narcissists and empaths, like some sort of universe of good vs. evil. Except nobody is actually good and even empaths are terrible people.

She has the same exact thoughts regarding loss of a friend or loved one, and also apparently toward our relationship - that none of it matters because we are all selfish.

I don't know what to do, or how to react. I had a lot of reasons to like her at first, and still do. She is so passionate and knowledgeable, especially about animals which I think is awesome. She is well-read and patient. We have similar tastes in humor, music, movies and games. When we were first dating we were constantly laughing and getting along well, but I suppose you can say that about any relationship in the honeymoon phase.

Between the issues with our conversational issues, her crippling depression, her constant lamenting over the inability to have kids, I honestly can't take it anymore. I am losing my mind. But yet I feel guilty about this. I told her I would be there for her, that I was different and I wasn't going to leave her. That I could handle the burden of her PTSD and other issues. I can't. I failed her, and I failed at my commitment. Now I feel like I have left her in a state worse off than when she met me and ruined her life even further. Especially in her 30s - that clock ticks fast and I wasted a year of opportunity for her to try for kids.

I don't hate her by any means and I still care deeply for her. But we are clearly not compatible for a relationship. How do I move forward? How can I live with myself knowing how far I've set her back?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sorry all this has happened.

You haven't set her back. You are not responsible. She chose to be with you. She has choices. She is responsible for her plans and life and decisions and feelings etc. So whilst of course you care for her and want the best for her: but relationships break down for whatever reasons. Doesn't stop it hurting. But life has a funny way of throwing up things.
Sometimes relationships just don't work. Doesn't mean someone has to be the bad person in the relationship. Just means it wasn't meant to be.

The way to move forward is to let go your view that you are responsible for her happiness.
Which is so easily said, but harder to do.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @NLOwl, I don't think that you failed her. You tried your best. If you've got to the point where there is just bad feeling and it's a toxic relationship then move on. It sounds like it's really causing you mental illness. Sometimes the right thing to do is the hardest. Don't feel guilty about leaving her. You deserve to be in a healthy relationship. All the best S3 😊
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
You didn’t sign up to be unhappy for the rest of your life when you began dating her. Things didn’t work out, and it’s not doing either of you any favors to stay.

Even with PTSD, she is an adult and she is the one who is responsible for her mental health, well being, AND relationships. You cannot make yourself responsible for childlessness if she is in her thirties and you have only been dating a year.

Relationships end... that’s why we typically date multiple people instead of marrying the first person who catches our eye. It’s totally fine to walk away for any reason if you’re not happy.
 

mumstheword

MyPTSD Pro
One thing I've learnt from experience is that there has to be respectful equitable listening for a relationship to work, healthy.

If there isn't, it just corrodes and corrodes.

It doesn't sound like either of you are ready for children. Her being obssessed with having them isn't the same as being healthily ready, especially when she has so many incongruous beliefs all vying for centre stage.

Honestly? She doesn't sound like a very mature person who is well enough and grounded enough, but, I can also see that, instinctively, she senses that becoming a mother would, possibly, help her develop in that way.

I think you know that things aren't right, between you, and even in her head, for you to want to bring a child or children into the relationship and that's really is a make or break thing.

So, let her go, with the awareness that you gave it your best and it just didn't work out. Better to let go now, than of she did get pregnant to you and for you to feel trapped snd miserable later on.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Wow, not sure what to say, that's a lot of info. I hope she has a T. And if it helps you one for you also.

Agree with @Sweetpea76 . Additionally, a baby can't solve a relationship problem.

But fwiw, if it was only about having a child, and she has such financial security, she could adopt as a single parent.

Good luck with your decisions, hope all works out for the best.
 

Friday

Moderator
The language she uses is so telling, and I could never have kids with someone who does not view parenting with excitement and love, as a relationship goal and an equal partnership.
This. I wouldn’t want to have kids with her, either, not that it matters. Just as a ‘as far as reasons go’ it’s really f*cking valid.

This should have been a deal breaker for both of us from day one, but it wasn't. I think we both misled ourselves into thinking the other person could change. It only got worse once I moved in.
It’s only been a year. That’s almost no-time at all in relationship-land. Or rather? It’s just about exactly enough time to START to get to know someone for who they are, and not how they present themselves or who we hope. Most relationships? (That get off the ground) Fail at about the 6 month mark. The vast majority of the rest? Fail within the first 2 years.

It’s not like you’ve been stringing her along for 5 or 10 years. It’s only been a year. Smack dab in the middle of the time that it takes most people to know if this is something that could work, long term, or not. Not? Isn’t a failure. It’s sense. A relationship failing doesn’t mean that you failed. More often? It’s the opposite.

But yet I feel guilty about this. I told her I would be there for her, that I was different and I wasn't going to leave her. That I could handle the burden of her PTSD and other issues. I can't. I failed her, and I failed at my commitment.
1. Lesson Learned : That’s what marriage vows are for. Not the early days of relationships.

2. If keeping your word, no matter how hastily given, is as important to you as it sounds? You’ve got a couple/few options.

- First off, you can talk -very honestly- to her, in hopes that she’ll release you // breaking up with you herself. ((This is why marriage vows aren’t promises made from 1 person to another, but made by both to each other. Even so? Divorce is a thing. Where people are released of their vows.)) This is 7 kinds of risky, because it’s depending on someone else’s sense, in place of your own. Some people? Are so convinced they can change others you could swear on a stack of bibles that you don’t want what they want, and they’d still believe they could bring you around. But it is an option.

- Alternatively, you break up with her in a way that doesn’t break your word. If SHE chooses to go black&white hell hath no fury, etc.? That’s not on you. That’s her refusing your ongoing friendship.

- (Almost) Lastly... You suck it up, break your word, and keep this lesson close to heart, take care not to make this mistake again by making wild promises before you know if it would be stupid to keep them.

((Truly lastly, you COULD keep your word. ‘Marry in haste, repent at leisure.’ has a long history of miserable people. Not sure why you’d join their ranks on purpose, but people do it.))
 

Elsewhere

Learning
She has this pretty extreme nihilist standpoint on life after all of her traumas: Nothing matters. All people are selfish and manipulative. Anything that brings happiness or joy is just a sick joke that is just masking the inevitable reality of failure. The real world is cruel and humanity is a disease. Essentially, we are all just doomed to live a life of suffering and then just die and to pretend otherwise is lying to yourself. This ties into her bizarre view that the world is divided into narcissists and empaths, like some sort of universe of good vs. evil. Except nobody is actually good and even empaths are terrible people.
I‘m sorry you’re going through this, @NLOwl

I hope that, if you decide to continue to see each other, you’ll be careful not to get her pregnant. Coming from where I’m coming from, I don’t think there’s a more solemn decision to make in life than that of whether or not to have a child. It shouldn’t be done unless both parties are solidly on board. There’s an innocent life at stake—someone who could suffer a lot, if either of the parents end up regretting their decision or find themselves in over their heads.

The above quote about her nihilist standpoint gives me a lot of pause. I question how someone who thinks like that would think it’s a good idea to bring another human into the mix. It’s worrisome to me
 
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