End things or keep working at it?

by anonymous

I am a currently in a serious relationship with my girlfriend who was previously married for 15 years before getting divorced 4 years ago. She has 3 children from her previous marriage and I have never been married before and have never had children of my own. We actually knew each other as acquaintances early in high school, but never dated. I had just gotten out of a relationship several years ago when my current girlfriend was going through her divorce. We reconnected through Facebook and things moved relatively fast from there. We have been living together for the past few years (I moved into her home--yes, the same one her ex-husband used to live in--when she asked me to). As many relationships go, everything was great in the beginning with our relationship. I did know what I was getting myself into and willingly got involved with a divorced mother of 3. As things have gone on, our relationship has certainly had its ups and downs. Though many relationships have ups and downs, our downs seem to be really down (i.e. mistrust, name calling, even physical abuse--and not by me if you know what I mean). My sense of self respect has told me to leave the relationship many times (and I know she has thought the same many times), but we've always managed to stay together. I think deep down I do it for the sake of the kids (and her) because I don't want to abandon them like their father/ex-husband basically did. I have become a central figure in the kids' lives since their biological father doesn't have anything to do with them. However, I can say that I have become increasingly unhappy with my relationship

with my girlfriend due to all the fighting. When we are fighting, it can go on for days without us talking to each other....and it can be over the smallest things....lots of mood swings, attitudes, and I sometimes feel like I'm walking on eggshells. On the other hand, when things are good, they feel really good and I feel like I can see us living a happy life together. I was even willing to not have children of my own and be content with my 3 "stepkids." However, when we are off, I feel like I can see myself not in the picture at all and just moving on (although I know it will be hard). This roller coaster of a relationship has gone on for so long like this that I am feel like I don't even know who the real person my girlfriend is (i.e. the nice person she can be, or the nasty person she can be). I feel like I am even losing my own sense of self in the process. My common sense tells me that after 3-4 years of feeling like this, it will never change, but then part of me tells me to keep working at it and try to fix things once and for all. We have never gone to couples therapy although I have suggested it several times. She has, on the other hand, gone to therapy herself. I know she has a lot of issues from her past relationship that she harbors and we have certainly been through a lot ourselves. I am just tired of the ups and downs and I guess I am looking for some advice from anyone who wants to offer it. Thanks for listening....

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