I'm having a hard time today. I don't seek advice from here anymore about my relationship because I never take it; the advice is always that I should move on. I give advice on here to others telling them the same, but I do so with the understanding that they might not be ready for such advice.
Recently, mainly over the summer, the way my boyfriend has treated me has been a dream come true. He apologizes, never says anything even remotely abusive and also listens to what I say, does what I say, talks about a future with me, puts me ahead of all other women, doesnít even mind that Iíve put on a few extra pounds, kisses me often, and he has even put me above his friends (and football team), which is a first for the more than four years weíve been together. Of course we still have fights, but they are short, and they usually end within like an hour, usually with both of us apologizing and discussing the issues like mature adults (no joke!). Weíve been spending just about every night together for months, happily practicing a normal routine. I havenít even HAD to write on here about any of our issues.
So last week we had a great week together. On Friday he tells me he'll be at the bar after work. Oh, I should also mention he does not have a car right now, so I usually pick him up from work Ė part of our routine. The bar is right across the street from his work. Well, being it is Friday, he's meeting a friend at the bar. That's fine with me -- gives me time to go home and shower before I join him at the bar.
So I arrive around 7 p.m., and I hang out mostly with this girl I know, play some games, etc.ó a very typical night. My BF and I had agreed that we would only be spending time at the bar until the Twins (baseball) game was over. But after the game, it didn't look like we'd be leaving soon. I was VERY tired and my BF knew this. So at around midnight, I tell him I'm leaving. He says he is staying because it is his friend's birthday at midnight (heíd been there since like 4). I say I'm not buying him more drinks (after he asked) and that I'm leaving. He seems upset, tells me "fine then, leave."
I do believe that he wishes I would wait so that I could buy him more drinks and go home with him so that I could drive him to work in the morning, as we previously discussed, as is our normal routine. Of course he doesnít tell me that, instead he actually tells me to leave because he thinks I'm complaining. So I'm tired, I leave.
On other nights, I've stayed in these situations and he has changed his mind. But even so, no one really did anything wrong; he wanted to stay at the bar with his friend and I was tired and wanted to go to bed. So we both got what we wanted, right? But this incident has caused a great big blemish on what was our almost perfect relationship.
On Saturday, I go to his work because I was right down the street for an appointment. This isn't psycho of me to do after such an incident; in fact, most often, my BF will ask me to visit him like this at work. However it is obvious he is still upset with me. He thinks I should've been more patient the night before, yet at the same time thinks I should've left sooner instead of complaining. We talk in circles like this; he even mentions that 3 other girls were hitting on him (an obvious lie that I roll my eyes at, as guys are hard-pressed to find a single girl at our dive bar). Iím upset too, but I leave to get him some lunch anyway (which is something I do often for him). I figure when I get back he'll have cooled off. Well, I couldn't find a place to park when I got back so I had to drop his lunch off. He then calls to tell me to make other plans for the night, and to talk to him on Sunday.
OK. So I make plans with my girlfriend for that night. I really had plans with her anyway. But, my BF calls at 5 p.m. when he is off work and wants to know if I can still take him car shopping. We had talked about doing so before, but not that day. Of course he says that we did talk about it that day, but oh well he says, and he acknowledges that he did tell me to make plans with someone else, because I told him I couldn't make it as I was meeting my friend for the concert we had planned on (and he was also invited to attend, but said earlier in the week he didnít want to go).
So things seemed fine. I go out with my friend. Usually, I will go to his house after such an event, even though we weren't getting along, and we might make up at this time. But on Saturday I was very tired, had a few drinks, and since I wasn't sure what was in store for me at my BF's (he has no phone either), I decided to go home and hit the hay.
Sunday I watched the Twins win the division, and I know my BF was at home watching this, too. After the game I went to his house. He had been sitting on his couch relaxing, pretty much since he got home on Saturday night. This was the truth, I do believe based all available evidence. He does like his alone time. He says he's not mad at me. We agree to go get a beer together.
One thing I must mention here is that I bought a "new" used car one week ago, and since then it has been having a few problems, which has me very stressed. So everywhere I go, I think it is going to break down on me and strand me there. Obviously it can be annoying to be with someone so paranoid like that. While we were having beer and dinner at a restaurant, I was nervously twitching my hands, thinking about my car. After that, I decided that I should go home, because I was worried my car would break down and if it did that, I'd rather have it happen in my parking lot. I tell him I'm going to my dad's tomorrow night so he can look at it. I drop him off at home, as he didnít want to come with me, and we kiss good night.
Monday, he doesn't call, which he normally always does. So I call him. I had a stressful day (had issues about getting rid of my old car), and say I don't feel like going up to my dad's. He says "aren't you going to get your car fixed?" At this point, I should mention that my BF works at an auto mechanic shop -- though he just does the simple stuff, but his work buddy mechanics will agree to do cheap work for me on the side. However, my dad is also an ace at fixing cars. He says I can bring my car to his shop, but at the same time, sounds upset with me, says something like "why do I have to help you. You know [mechanicís name] so you can ask him for help." I say, well then I might be up there later. Then, a few minutes later, I decide that I will go up and see my dad instead. So I call the BF to tell him I've changed my mind. He is upset, says that he already told the mechanic he could expect some extra money tonight and now I'm backing out, and that he will never help me with my car again. Big drama, he tells me not to come over that night. He shouldn't have been that upset because I changed my plans, my plans were never concrete with him anywayÖ
But, I think he was really upset because he wouldn't have me there with him, to pick him up, cook him dinner, etc., etc. -- all the things I would have done had I took my car to his shop. Because I didnít take my car to his shop, he probably had to struggle to find a ride home, probably didnít have dinner last night because he canít drive to the store, probably had to wear dirty clothes today because his dryer doesnít work (he usually does it at my house), etc. etc. However, he doesn't tell me these things. I wish he would say how he really feels, that he wants/needs my help, instead of getting upset at me. So I go up to my parents (an hour away), then come home to my place, alone.
Today: I email him, I forwarded him an email he had sent me last Wednesday, which told me how much he loves me. In it, I say that I'm confused. No response.
Then, at work, I found out today I received an award for being a good employee---a BIG deal that comes with $250!!!---so I'm super excited (I desperately need new clothes!) I can't help but call him to (hopefully) share in my joy. He is unresponsive. He says he doesn't want to hang out tonight, again. He offers no reasons why. He says he is busy and can't talk.
Now I'm very upset. Here I'm super happy about something good finally happening to me, and I have no man to share it with. I so badly want a man who loves me; I want it to be him. I know he does love me; you can't be that genuine and lie at the same time; he's told me so many times how much I mean to him, etc., etc.
Iíve had a very stressful past week and a half and because of that, I havenít been able to focus my time and attention to him like I normally do. First, my car died, so then I had to find a way to get rid of it. I also had to get a new car, which was a very good thing for me, but of course I had to re-evaluate my budget. With that, my two months notice was due to my apartment, so I had to decide if I wanted to renew my lease for another year or move--big decision. And of course work is stressful, bills are stressful and my family can be stressful.
Iím so confused about all of this. What is he thinking? To the very good advice-givers out there who were able to make it through this LONG post, does it seem to you that he is:
a) upset that I havenít been paying the typical amount of attention to him
b) worried and feeling insecure because I am improving my life, such as with my new car, getting my finances together so Iím not living paycheck to paycheck, etc.
c) basically just ďnot that into meĒ and only really using me for the services I provide (car, money, laundry, food, etc.)
d) just wants a few days to himself to wait it out until Iím not such a stress mess
e) all of the above
f) something else?
Forgive me if this sounds harsh, but judging from the length and content of your post, you spend way too much time thinking about what this guy is thinking about, doing, needing, wanting, and so on. I don't really know your history with him, but I find it really sad that it's considered amazing that your boyfriend would listen to you, put you before others, or be understanding of your weight gain. Those things are the least that someone who loves you can do. It should just be assumed that a boyfriend would do those things. Otherwise, why would you date him?
You ask what he is thinking, and the fact is, does it matter? What are YOU thinking? Are you upset with him? Can you tell him that? I don't know if he's using you for the services you provide or not, but why isn't he doing any of these things for himself?
What basically seems to be going on here is a very imbalanced relationship. He has all the power. He can just decide that he's angry at you or upset and disappear, and he seems pretty sure that it's not going to make you break up with him. Meanwhile, you structure your life around him so that you're available to drive him places, etc. This doesn't sound very healthy for the most part. Are you happy?
Thank you for answering. As far as my long post, I don't know if that indicates that I think any more or less about him than what others in my situation would or what is a healthy level. I'm a very fast typer and I write for a living so I find it hard for me to leave out the details. BUT, you're probably right in that I do spend too much time thinking about what he needs and what he wants. This is because he doesn't make it very obvious and changes his mind quite often.
I'm not upset with him or mad at him right now. I wasn't upset that he wanted to stay at the bar on Friday, I wasn't upset that he didn't want to see me Saturday night. Truth is, the only thing that upsets me now is that our normal routine has been broken and I don't know how to fix it.
He isn't doing these things for himself for a number of reasons. One is that I enjoy taking care of him doing the "womanly" things like cooking and laundry. That's just me. As far as a car, money has been a big issue for him (and me), BUT he has had a $2000 loan for the whole month of Sept. to buy a car with. I guess we just never really "got around to it" yet. (Plus, with my car probs, haven't had a chance). He doesn't really have anyone else to drive him car shopping, and that's fine, I can take him car shopping. I really don't mind doing any of the favors that I do. I think they are normal "girlfriend" favors. The thing is, he acknowledges that I structure my life around him and says he doesn't like that. Then the next second, he'll ask me to take him car shopping. What the?
Your last comment is right on. He is in control of the relationship, still. It really felt like I gained back some control, but he still has it. I guess, based on that, I should just sit back and wait for him to come back to me. Or just move on in the meantime.
I was very happy, going through the motions with him, enjoying our loving relationship, which really has been quite loving -- to the point where we were giving others advice. It is just this latest "time apart" we seem to be having that is confusing and causing me more stress.
I know what you are saying about being okay with the caretaker role. I feel pretty good when I'm taking care of people myself, helping them out when they need something. I can't count the number of boyfriends that I've given rides to, loaned money to, and countless other favors.
I hope that there can be some sort of resolution in the sense of you feeling slightly more powerful within the relationship. Maybe your best bet is to let him come to you. Let him sulk for a bit, and let things unfold. He might need a little lesson in being the bigger person.
Thanks, so much for reading my long post. You've both given me a lot to think about. He still doesn't want to see me. He says we're "taking a break." I hate those words because, to me, they seem the same as "let's see other people."
What are his goals? Where is he going with his life?
I can't help but wonder if his self-esteem is going downhill, especially if he's realizing how much you do for him. I mean, after four years, can he really feel that good about himself if he can't get around, eat, drink or wear a clean pair of jeans without his chick around? He sounds like a "man's man," too, based on football, bars, his job and your previous stripper thread. Maybe he's beginning to feel like a real failure if he can't buy his woman he loves a drink at their favorite watering hole. Your break in routine may have really made his realize this.
I completely understand how you like to do the caring/nurturing things. A lot of women do, myself included. However, maybe now would be a good time to really start discussing and getting some wheels in motion to get him on his feet financially so that he can buy you a drink, take you out, pick you up, get a washer and dryer at his place. Is there a vo-tech school close to you where he can get certified as a mechanic or something like that?
I don't know. I think there's something inherent in women that makes us want to nurture and take care of our loved ones' hearts and souls. On the other hand, I think there's something inherent in men to be the providers, to put roofs over our heads, to be the strong ones, the protectors (exceptions, of course!). Your guy (for whatever reason) seems to be lacking in a couple of these departments, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is really bothering him.
The fact that you were rewarded with your company probably hit him in the gut when he felt he was already down. And I'm not saying you were wrong in sharing your good news with him, nor were you in the wrong for expecting a happy response from him, but his response speaks volumes about his self-esteem, IMO.
This isn't a guy you just met or are unsure of. After four years, I'd think you guys were pretty serious, and you'd know if he was just a player or user. You've obviously invested a lot of emotion, love, money and time in this one. You both connect. Use those caring skills and energy to help him find and reach some goals so that he can impress you and feel proud and good about himself. If I recall, you're a journalist, an information-finder, probably out and about in your community a good bit talking to all sorts of people in all sorts of professions and industries. He might not want too much hand-holding, but there's nothing wrong with using your talent and opportunities you come across with your own work to possibly help him find a path that would encourage his own growth that he can relate to, enjoy and make a good living doing.
Best of luck in working throught this tough time for you both
Brook65, see that was exactly my confusion. But I think StenoLady has some very good points as to his thinking behind all of this...
StenoLady, thank you so much for your insightful post. You've basically solidified some of my suspicions. My BF is definitely the type of guy (as shown by his actions with family and friends and myself) who wants to be the "protector/provider." And I'm more successful than him in my career. He is only 15 credits short of an AA degree and I've encouraged him to go back to finish. But, he still needs to take those full steps. I know he is a smart and capable student -- one of my attractions to him. I need to set a balance for how I help him. I hope once he gets vehicle, which should be soon, that will help him. I think his recent actions may stem from his insecurities that I got a new car -- my last one was a piece of junk. So at least he had that to help me with. I do believe he is a success story, regarding a guy who has grown up a lot and changed his behaviors for the better. I've invested much time, emotion, love and effort into this. And we do have a special, unique connection. I've been married before and thought it would last forever, but that relationship was no where near the feeling of compatibility, attraction and closeness I have with my BF -- well, when things are going right, at least. So, it's worth the effort. But just not too much effort, I guess.
He did finally call me today and we're hanging out tonight. I'll make plans to take him car shopping.
If he's that close to finishing his AA, he's got to finish. He can get that done in no time, a year or less depending on his work schedule. It would open up so many opportunities and/or goals for him, as well as the satisfaction and pride of accomplishment.
The balance for putting a fire under his butt, so to speak, to get some wheels in motion will definitely be a delicate one, it sounds like.
DH & I are reward-type people. I always need "the carrot dangling in front of you," he says. This could be as simple as not relaxing and enjoying a movie rental on a Saturday night until the day's chores are done, not booking a vacation until I know I've completed (and paid for!) my required continuing education for the year or waiting for marriage until education is finished. Maybe if you both approached the situation with baby steps with a nice reward at the completion of every step -- say, a vacation or a special treat for you both -- it might help with the determination/procrastination factor. I know it does for me.
You both sound like good people. I hope you're able to patch things up soon and move forward if you didn't already last night.
Yes, well, we had a regular night last night -- finally. However, we hung out with friends and didn't really get a chance to talk about our relationship. At least we spent the night together though. I'm not sure if rewards would work for us. Quite often, we find it too easy to just skip to the reward before completing the task. We live very free lives, so to speak, and I like it that way, but I guess the occasional lack of stability is a consequence of that. Thanks for listening -- I mean, reading!
To me it sounds like you're the perfect girlfriend...you drive him around, pick him up at the bar and buy him drinks, and buy him lunch everyday...seems like your routine revolves around him, and not the both of you.
The issue is that he was used to you "breathing" (meaning: doing everything) for him, that the minute you didn't revolve your world around him (but rather around yourself and your own issues) he got pissy.
Partners are supposed to compliment each other, work TOGETHER, in your case seems like you're doing all the work and he's just enjoying the ride (literally!).
You are too good for this, and I would def think about finding someone who will appreciate you.
Always remember, the more you give-the more they expect. So always give a little at a time, and focus more time on yourself, whether it be in this relationship, or another one.
I can't believe I got thru that post, and I was reading I got more and more upset. He's taking advantage of you and you're soliciting it! Forgive me, but I know guys like that, I've been with guys like that, and to me he sounds like a loser. hey we all make mistakes. He's got nothing to offer you. he's a taker and you're giving giving giving......he doesn't deserve you. you should read the book co-dependent no more. It sounds like you're putting his needs before your own....that's co-dependent. I know.....I used to be too. I'm not being mean, I'm being truthful. I've done all that you're doing and more, and take it from me. It's not healthy, and it's self destructive. You need an equal partner. you drive him to work, buy his lunch/drinks, do his laundry, etc......it's like you're his mother. He's a big boy, let him pull his own weight. Start looking after your own needs......it already seems like he doesn't respect you and that's why.....you'll do anything for him
Whoa, ya'll are responding to my post from way back in October!
You do have some very worthy concerns. I will say that I remember how I was feeling back in October and how that was an extremely stressful time for me, mostly because of all those car problems I was having.
My original post was really just about a fight we were having and we made up afterwards. And yes, we did talk about these issues, too.
He knows how I feel that I do too much for him. I'm sure it affects his self esteem that he can't be self-sufficient on certain levels, or that I'm more successful than him in my career.
Certain practical things have changed since October, such as, not too long after this fight, my boyfriend did buy a vehicle. So he does drive himself around now!
And although I do have to remind him from time to time that I don't have money to buy him drinks when we go out, he does understand this. Sometimes I end up paying just because I happen to have the cash on me. Of course he pays sometimes, too. I think at the time I wrote that post he understood it, too, but I always get paranoid about being taken advantage of. As I should be! I just need to stick up for myself, which I have been doing.
Yes, I know about codependency and I definately can see some of the symptoms in my relationship (or in me). I have this tendency in all areas of my life to feel responsible for the maintanence of everything. With friends for example, I never expect them to come see me, I always go see them on their time. It also happens at work -- I expect so much of myself.
A couple of weeks ago I did feel again like I was doing too much for him, and I yelled at him for it. I was upset that he got off work early and just decided to start having fun right away, while sticking me with several errands to run when I got off work hours later. The errands were just simple things like getting a movie for us to watch that night and stuff to make dinner for us. I was mad because why can't he go get a movie and go to the grocery store, since he got off work early... why stick me with the errands and all the work. So I yelled at him and went home alone. He came by an hour later, with two movies in hand and the rest of my errands done. Finally he understood!
So I don't think I can just throw in the towel if he is learning...
LOL I didn't know it was from oct....I just found it in the new posts because someone else had revived it!
glad to hear he's got a car, and glad that you put your foot down and he showed up movies in hand.....at least it got him thinking.
keep doing that sort of thing!
dont' let him have the upper hand in this relationship. you're doing all the work and he's reaping all the rewards......that's no where near fair!