Hello, I'm in a difficult circumstance and could appreciate some objective advice and insight. To put our relationship into context, I'm a 23-year-old Australian girl, and my boyfriend is a 22-year-old Korean guy who is more culturally westernised. We've been dating for five years and have been living together at his parents' house this year. We started living together in a new area at the beginning of the year. It's important to point out that, as he states, the problems we're facing are the result of "trauma." This is due to the fact that I shared, at the beginning of our relationship, that I had been the victim of sexual assault before ever meeting him. Since then, I've moved past the trauma, and it no longer causes me any problems in my life. Here are the positive and negative aspects of our relationship to give you a better idea:
There are undoubtedly some elements of our relationship that I greatly value. He's very loving, which makes me feel valued and appreciated. Also, his financial assistance is a lifeline, especially because I am concentrating on full-time study and am unable to find a job or government benefits at this point in time. He has a terrific sense of humour and always knows how to make me laugh, even when things are going bad. He's a rock of emotional support, and his willingness to help with housework, responsibilities, and simply everyday stuff is a huge comfort. Above all, I have no doubt that he loves me, and it is something I value about our relationship.
Unfortunately, there are numerous troubling parts of our relationship that I'm finding difficult to confront. First and foremost, I am unable to travel out on my own or use public transport on my own, which is extremely restricting. Also, there are tight restrictions on what I can wear, including no shorts or exposing clothes, as well as no baggy shirts or anything that might show underwear lines. His overbearing concern for my safety in public is a cause of stress, frequently resulting in anger when any guy comes remotely near me for whatever reason, as well as continual reminders to be cautious. Our physical intimacy has dropped substantially, and he is not addressing my sexual needs. To complicate matters further, he regularly makes jokes about my hygiene, implying that I'm stinky or haven't brushed my teeth despite all of my efforts. Unfortunately, our conversations about these concerns often seem to return to promises of "being more careful," leaving me feeling caught in a loop.
Our problems have been recurring lately, and just to put things in perspective, here are a few of the ones I've recorded:
A straightforward dinner with a couple friends on October 11, 2023, turned into an awful experience. After she'd kissed her boyfriend, I shared a straw with her, and he became irritated because he thought that meant I was kissing her boyfriend. On top of that, he became irritated throughout our dinner when one of the waiters walked right up to me to deliver our food. He didn't believe me when I told him that I hadn't been bumped, and it took a lot of work to get him to believe me.
A few days later, on October 14, 2023, we had to go vote, which caused our troubles to worsen once more. He saw that I wasn't "aware enough" when a man approached me to take something, like a pen, and became upset. I was left feeling confused and upset since he refused to talk to me for a full day, claiming my perceived unawareness as the reason.
We've had several conversations about these issues, but each one ends with me promising to "be more careful." This is some more information about our circumstances. Even if things have gotten a little better over time, I'm somewhat worried that these issues might continue forever. It's important to note that, except for these moments, our relationship is amazing overall. Even when I'm staying at a friend's place, he has such control over my movements that I can't leave her house without him, but I do go and end up lying about it. In the middle of it all, I sometimes find myself daydreaming about a life free of these restraints—one in which I could travel anywhere I pleased, whenever I pleased, and wear whatever I pleased. But these ideas are always followed by the weight of guilt.
I really don't know what to do next. I love him, but I can't live with the stress and limitations these problems are bringing about. Should I leave? And if so how would I go about bringing up this conversation? He thinks there is nothing wrong so I have no idea where to begin.