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    Old 10-29-2011, 03:49 PM   #1
    bl155
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    My boyfriend acts like he's my dad

    I want to preface this by saying that I love my boyfriend very much, but I have been frustrated with him especially in the last few months.

    He is extremely intelligent, well-educated, well-traveled, knowledgeable in an incredibly extensive number of subjects (and all his information checks out), he is extremely adept at connecting with strangers, and he works with at-risk youth.

    Sounds like a great guy, right? He is. The only problem is what all of this means for our relationship. When I met him I was under the impression that he was in his mid-twenties, which is fine considering I'm twenty myself. I'd been heartbroken over my ex, wallowing in misery and self-pity daily, and convinced that I would never get over it. The first night I met my current boyfriend, I was shocked to realize I had a huge crush on him and that I could finally get over the other guy. The problem is, it was after I fell for him that I found out his age, early thirties. Now, it's not his age itself that's a problem for me. The problem is the enormous difference in experience that we have, in many contexts, which leads him to constantly try to teach me all these life lessons and causes me a lot of frustration.

    I'd never lived with anyone I was dating before, and we moved in together fairly quickly. I'll be honest- I've been pretty sheltered from reality my whole life as far as what it takes to make it on your own. I did the whole homeless couch-surfing thing for a while, and I suppose I was on my own, but I wasn't really “taking care of myself” or “making it.” I was just surviving.

    I never lived with anyone who cared if I forgot to rinse out a dish right after I used it. I never lived with anyone who nagged me about leaving the scissors on the coffee table. The thing is, it's not just once in a while. It's constantly. He's very neat and orderly, and is huge on keeping organized. I've always been really messy and disorganized, and I'm a really random and abstract person, and an artist. It's really hard for me to handle the constant barrage of nit picking. And he doesn't take the criticism back.

    And it's not just that he wants to tell me what I'm doing wrong. It's that he wants to sit down with me and have this whole conversation about it and about what it means. It's not that I don't take criticism well, but when every little thing that I do is being criticized constantly I get really resentful of it and I stop being receptive to hearing it. So instead of doing any good for the two of us it just makes me mad and starts a fight.

    We went to the grocery store the other day, and he makes more money than I do so it's not a big deal to him, and he was just throwing all this expensive food in the cart. And of course I need to pay half of it, but he didn't even ask how much I had to pitch on food and watch what he was throwing in there. And the bill ended up being huge at the end, and I couldn't afford to pay all of it because I needed to make sure I had enough for rent, and I told him as soon as the utilities bill came I would pay him back the last 30 dollars. Well utilities came, and I had enough money. That day the bank was closed so I couldn't go cash my last check, so I ended up going to the used clothes store and spending the last of my cash on a seven dollar jacket for a job interview. I had the money to pay him I just had to wait until the bank opened up. And I showed him the jacket and he got mad at me and sat me down and gave me a huge long lecture about priorities, the way he would if I was one of the kids he works with. And I can't express frustration with this or he tells me I'm either A) throwing a temper tantrum (he uses this phrase constantly any time I'm even the tiniest bit upset with something he did or said, which is frustrating because there's this huge age difference between us and I keep telling him I'm his partner and he needs to stop making all of these child references and start treating me like the adult that I am, who pays half the bills and has been making a huge effort to keep the house neat and tidy because that's important to him, but if he finds one tiny little thing on the floor he lectures me) or B) he accuses me of trying to start a fight. And I'm not trying to start fights, and I don't enjoy arguing with him. But not an hour goes by that he doesn't find something to pick me over about. It wears me down so much.

    It's not even a two way street most of the time. He's huge on me taking responsibility for everything and treating his things with the utmost respect, which I try to do. But today he accidentally broke my chair, and I just heard him yell when it happened from another room. And instead of apologizing and offering to get me a new chair (which is what he would expect me to do ) he just said something about how the cheap chair had broken and then walked off. If I had done that he would have sat me down and given me a huge lecture about how I need to be aware of my actions and be in my body and how I need to show his things more respect and that if it was HIM he would find me another chair.

    Like, if it's me, the reason I break something or knock something over of his is because I'm not paying attention and I'm not in my body and I'm not focusing the way I should. But if he breaks something, it's because it was cheap, and if he knocks something over, it's because I shouldn't have put it there. And if I try to bring this up then I'm either throwing a temper tantrum or being argumentative.

    I'm just really frustrated. And I know it sounds like a bad situation but really, other than this, things are fine. I'm really in love with him. He's an incredible musician, and he's kind, and he's brilliant, and he's amazing with kids, and he's funny, and I'm really comfortable with him. I don't want to make it sound like I'm ****** off all the time because I'm not. It's just this one issue that we can't seem to communicate about, and I really want to stay with him. I'm not going to leave him. I can honestly see myself being with him, maybe as a life partner. I don't want to just give up. But I don't know how to deal with this. And I'm not very good at communicating, I tend to feel like I'm being judged and have a hard time listening, not just getting offended or hurt, and that makes it hard too because his forte is talking about tricky subjects, and he gets frustrated that I can't articulate my thoughts, but I have a hard time talking honestly about my feelings when I'm feeling attacked, even if he's not trying to make me feel that way. So it's just this endless cycle of frustration. If anyone had any advice for me on how to handle this I would appreciate it very much, because I love him and we complete each other so perfectly in so many ways, but I am tired of running in the same old tired circles and fighting.

     
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    Old 10-30-2011, 06:02 AM   #2
    Belly Kelly
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    Re: My boyfriend acts like he's my dad

    You mean he is condescending is more like it? How long have you lived together?


    I can tell by your well written post that you are also intelligent. It clearly seems to me that the two of you are not all that compatible. He almost sounds controlling on some levels. After his lectures, if you leave the scissors on the table again, does he scold you instead of lecturing you?

    Sometimes these types don't know that they are being perfectionists or condescending. (and, I would use that word with him, because being condescending can also be abusive on some levels).

    The truth is, no two people are alike. You have to take the good and the bad and accept differences in a relationship. He doesn't seem to recognize this. He wants YOU to be exactly like HIM. Well, he is going to be disappointed that no one will be exactly like him. The really awesome thing is that you are living together, which is better than being married and finding out all of this. Stay strong, you don't want a man like this to ruin your self esteem. There is nothing wrong with YOU! He needs to love and accept the woman you are.

    Also, if you are making considerably less $$$ than him, I don't find it fair that everything gets split in half. Perhaps he should pay all the rent and you can buy all the food? Additionally, let him know how much $$$ you have ahead of time when you grocery shop so that there are no surprises at check out.

    Those are just some of my thoughts. I look forward to hearing how long you have known this man.
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    Last edited by Belly Kelly; 10-30-2011 at 06:11 AM.

     
    Old 10-30-2011, 06:03 AM   #3
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    Re: My boyfriend acts like he's my dad

    also, you said he is good with kids? He might be good with older kids who need a mentor, but can I tell you that toddlers and young children always knock stuff over, never put stuff away, and are a complete mess! Something tells me he wouldn't be all that great with kids if you were to have them together. Just something to think about.
    **************************************** *******
    I just had another thought (sorry)!
    Did you ever think he is treating you like his at-risk kids that he works with? It seems like he really doesn't know how to treat you like a partner, but relates to you like one of the kids he works with. May I ask how you met this man??? Also, how old have his past girlfriends been? In some ways, I feel like you are one of the "kids" he is trying to help.
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    Last edited by Belly Kelly; 10-30-2011 at 06:52 AM.

     
    Old 10-30-2011, 07:19 AM   #4
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    Re: My boyfriend acts like he's my dad

    Belly Kelly has some "spot on" thoughts there.

    I don't know if he is ever going to treat you like you're an equal, it just doesn't sound like he sees you like that. BTW, it also sounds like he's a bit OCD and is pushing his faults on you. I'm not too sure the two of you can make it long-term without some major changes in communication.

    As for the chair episode, and mind you I fall on the sacastic side, I don't think I would have handled it quite the same way. I honestly would have asked him, if we could talk. I would have sat him down and asked him what exactly breaking that chair meant to me and how could be do that to me if he loved me. You get the idea. I wish you two the Best but I really think you're in for a long haul.

    Last edited by Mo-S4; 10-30-2011 at 10:32 AM.

     
    Old 10-31-2011, 10:46 AM   #5
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    Re: My boyfriend acts like he's my dad

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bl155 View Post
    It wears me down so much.
    This was by far the most significant, important part of your post. You say that other than the fact that he's a maniacally controlling task master, he's wonderful. That's kind of like saying "when he's not punching me in the face, he's a real prince!!" C'mon. You sound smart enough to know better. You know as much as we can see by your post that this is a very big part of your relationship. You said yourself it happens ALL THE TIME, every day. And it will continue to wear you down. And please make NO mistake about this...his ultra-controlling, condescending behavior and treatment of you is a form of verbal abuse. And he continues to do it because you have continued to take it.

    I dated someone a lot like this guy once. I thought I could talk him out of it. That I could explain my way into getting him to treat me with more respect. But that's just not how it works. He had made up his mind that that was how I deserved to be treated, and that was how he was going to treat me. Like you, I was dead set against leaving him. But he got sick and tired of me trying to stand up for myself so he left me. At first, I thought I was going to curl up and die. But then I realized that was nothing by my weakness and insecurity. After the initial loneliness wore off, I felt the lightness and freedom of not having someone around who thought everything I said and did was silly or wrong or needed correcting. If I had stayed with him, there's no telling how weak and insecure and unsure I'd be today. It DOES wear you down. And it takes away your strength and your trust in your own judgment and your confidence, and all kinds of other things that you need to have a happy, healthy life.

    I'm not sure what you wanted us here to say. Talk to him? Seems you already have, many times, and all he does is say you're having a temper tantrum or starting a fight. You cannot change him. All you can do is change your own behavior. If you insist on continuing to subject yourself to this man's control and abuse, then the only other thing you can do is respond to it differently. Obviously what you've been doing hasn't worked. Next time he tries to "sit you down," simply don't allow it. Tell him "I'm not a child and I won't be spoken to like one. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I even make mistakes. But I'm aware of them and I'm capable of correcting them, and capable of taking responsibility for the mistakes I will inevitably make in the future, because I'm human. I don't need you to treat me like a misbehaving 5 year old." And then leave the room. If he follows you, leave the house. You have to do something a bit drastic to show him you mean business and you will not be treated like this anymore. Words haven't worked. Action is what's necessary. But it's up to you. Only you can choose to leave or stay in this situation. And only you will continue to be miserable if it carries on like this. This is your life. It's up to you to run it. If someone's messing with you, you either allow it or put your foot down and not take it anymore.

     
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    Old 10-31-2011, 11:17 AM   #6
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    Re: My boyfriend acts like he's my dad

    You deserve better than him. If I were you I'd tell him to knock it off and quit being such a control freak. Tell him you're done with being treated like one of his projects and you're not listening to it any more.

     
    Old 10-31-2011, 11:21 AM   #7
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    Re: My boyfriend acts like he's my dad

    Spot on, LLM! Read this over a few times, Bl155. If you don't change the dynamic here, you will end up believing that you are all the things he says you are. Find somebody just as wonderful who loves you for the you that you are, not some unattainable ideal version. Believe me, no matter how much you try and be that person, it will never be enough for him. I read this now where you talk about having improved...well, don't hold your breath for the pat on the head and the "good girl". Personally that would enrage me as much as the criticism. You will never be good enough. This is the way he is with you and there will always be something. Sera

     
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