Relationship Stalemate - To Stay Or Go?

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Side 2
Side 1 says...
I've been with my boyfriend for 2 and a half years now and we're both questioning whether we should stay in this relationship or just call it quits.

OUR ISSUES:

1) I have a chronic illness that means I'm in pain most, if not all of the time. It's incurable and no treatments have worked for me, and I've virtually run out of options.

My boyfriend went through my diagnosis with me and was amazing, and still is. He is always helpful and caring and really understands this illness and how to help me out, which he always does. He more often than not does the dishes, cooking and cleaning despite having a full time job, etc.

However, this disease also means I probably can't have kids. I've always wanted children, but lately I've felt like if I can hardly look after myself, having kids would be a selfish option now, and maybe ever.

Sex is also extremely painful for me, to the point where we don't have sex for months sometimes. He's very understanding about it and never pressures me although I still feel very guilty and horrible about it. I love sex (obviously if it's not painful), and miss it and having a normal sex life, and I'm sure he does too. This just goes forth to enforce in me that even being in a relationship for me is just selfish and pointless.

2) Throughout the first year and a half we had been together, I had (on about 8-10 different occasions) found out he had been:

-Sending naked pictures to women on email
-Talking to his ex girlfriends saying he misses them and how hot they are and secretly arranging to meet up with them
-Paid hundreds of dollars on cam-girl sex websites
-Contacted people on dating websites/craigslist to arrange to cheat on me and have sex with whilst on business trips.

He is adamant about this behaviour being an addiction problem and not just being a "guy". He went to sex addict meetings now and then, but now has fizzled out and never goes anymore. He's probably only been around 15 times tops and I know he doesn't intend to go anymore because he thinks he's fine.

While the last few months has been generally fine and he hasn't been sneaking around (to my knowledge anyway), I still find it almost impossible to trust him and don't know if I ever fully will again.

He knows that for me, it's less of an issue with sex and more of the fact that he lied so much to me that I find hard to get over. He's a compulsive liar that lies about even little things. Admittedly he has been better over the past few months, but still, the trust is just not there.

3) He gambles, and plays poker at least twice a week. I have no interest in gambling/poker, and don't really enjoy the fact that he's always hanging around a sleazy bar with a bunch of people, 90% which of are complete lowlife trash who have gambled all their money and lives away. I know it's just a leisure thing, and I'm nitpicking, but I don't dig it. In his defence though, it's his life and I'm generally fine with him going out every week to play because I know it's a social thing. I just wish it was something more wholesome, like sport, you know?

4) On that previous note, I'm very focused on having a life based on giving back to people, or helping people. Ideally I want to get into documentary, travel, and volunteer. I've volunteered in India and Africa and it was the only time in my life where I felt completely content with what I was doing. My boyfriend, on the other hand, has no interest for it whatsoever. I know some people don't see the appeal or feel the need to travel to a dirty, sad third world country and help people, but I feel that his lack for general compassion for humankind is disheartening. I always pictured myself being with a guy who shares my love for helping people and trying to make a difference instead of leading a shallow life, and it honestly upsets me (I know it's pathetic) that he doesn't care in the slightest.

5) He supports me quite a lot as well financially, which he doesn't have to do. However, since work is so hard for me with my illness, I don't work often and I know this puts a huge strain on him, and the fact that he's willing to stick with me and support me despite my shortcomings is nothing short of amazing. My entire family live overseas and so he is all I have here. If we were to break up, I would move country to be back with my family, which is a huge and hard decision to make also.

--

Basically, I feel like he's really supportive, yet I have no trust for him, he treats me well, but doesn't care for much else in life. I feel so torn on whether to stay with him or not, and he knows this.

I recently found out he is planning on proposing to me, which scares the sh*t out of me. I definitely thought he was the one once upon a time, but now I hardly know on a daily basis whether being in a relationship, let alone being with him is the right thing.

Anyway, that is my view of things, I want him to tell his so you get his perspective as well and hopefully get some advice from other people on what the best course of action might be for us both, because neither of us know anymore :(
Added by queenjane (female)
Side 2 says...
Alright, so my partner has mentioned most issues on her side of Sidetakers, and I am to write mine. Problem is, I also am not sure on whether we should be together or not.

1) Regarding her illness - it takes a big toll on her. It means she is in constant pain, and therefore is grumpy a lot of the time. While that's understandable, it also means that I get a lot of anger towards me sometimes because she is in pain and needs to take it out somehow. I often feel that I don't deserve to get a lot of the anger that is directed on me.

While I do love her, because of the above I often find myself demotivated to come back home while out. I can have a really nice night out - get home - and we have an argument. I understand her problem, I understand that she is in pain, and I want to help her and take care of her, but sometimes it is very tiring, and it is very hard because I don't know how to help her.

2) Children is actually a big issue too. Obviously because of her illness, as she mentioned, she might not be able to have kids, and does not necessarily want children as she won't be able to take care of them if her pain persists the way that it is now. I've always wanted to have kids whether they are adopted or not. It does worry me that she might never want to have them in the future.

3) Regarding my poker-playing. I have been doing it for over five years. When we met, I used to play a lot more and have dropped my playing time significantly. Her and I both have very different views towards the subject matter. She hates that I go and play - while to me, a lot of my really good friends are there, and it is a nice night out rather than going out drinking and spending $100-$150 on alcohol a night.

I often get annoyed at the way she describes the poker aspect of my life - Because a lot of the characters there are good people and they are the ones I spend time with - not the people who are not. Yet, she still believes it's disgusting.

4) Regarding traveling, helping people, charity, etc. ---- It's just never been an interest of mine. With traveling, I have always wanted to see the big cities, and see the sites. Volunteer work hasn't been a focus of mine. I understand why it is her - her parents and her grandparents are very active in these type of actions. However, mine weren't, and it just isn't an interest for me. I do, however, always support my partner in going overseas, pushing her in her passion for documentaries, and so forth. I'm happy for her to follow that dream and make a difference in the world - there's nothing I'd be more proud of.

5) I do not mind supporting her. At the moment we are getting help from her parents so that's very useful. I do know that in the future however, it might be really hard to be able to support her once her parents stop helping. I am not earning a lot of money, I have a mortgage, etc. and I won't be earning a lot for a while still. Only in around 7-10 years will I really be earning a significant amount of money if all goes well. It is something I'm worried about in the future.


--

We are just not sure of what to do. On the one side, we love one another and would like to support one another. On the other side, it's really tough nowadays. We argue almost on a daily basis on whether we should be together, about things that happen throughout the day and so on. It gets really tiring emotionally and physically. We don't sleep much anymore due to arguments.

Can anyone give us any advice? Should we stay or should we go? Have we held on for too long?
Added by Yoniii25 (male)
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