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What is his motive?
January 1, 2011 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Should I move on or stay???

I'm with this guy for 3 yrs. He told me that he doesn't want to be in the committed relationship but he is trying to get there as he claims that he always had issues with committing, he said he just can't do it right at this moment but he wants to at some point. So I waited. Its been over a year since we kinda made our relationship lighter than it was before.(we lived together before and now we live separately) The issues are : 1. He wants to take care of me as he wants to be a provider to my household even we aren't living together. So I'm letting him, not because I need that.(I think he likes the role) I want more than just him being a provider because what I want is HIM being MY MAN, not his money. 2. He doesn't want to be intimate with me as he believes "SEX" makes us too close. (No sex for almost a year so far and everone thinks thats weird) 3. He is sleeping with other girls(No confirmation but I suspect). 4. It is hard for me to just CUT HIM OFF and move on because I really really want to be with him. 5. He is heavily involved with my son. They talk and go through his school programs everyday as routine. He is like father to my son and they both feels that way. The beggest reason that I can't move on or am confused is that I feel that he is doing what he's been doing because he wants me to wait. Why he wants to take care of me, stay close with my son, going to my son's school meetings/events etc. if he doesn't want me there when he become ready in the future? or Am I reading him wrong? What do you think? If I am reading him wrong, then what's his motive/purpose of doing what he is doing????
posted by painlessheart to Human Relations (84 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
How old is your son? How close is his relationship with him? How much time do they spend alone together? How does your son feel about that?

A guy who won't sleep with you, but wants to spend time with your son, is a bit worrisome.
posted by musofire at 12:34 PM on January 1, 2011 [16 favorites]


4. It is hard for me to just CUT HIM OFF and move on because I really really want to be with him.

I don't think you want to be with him. Rather, I suspect you want him to change into a person you'd want to be with. He is not such a person. Doesn't sound like he's going to be such a person anytime soon.

I have no idea what his motives might be. Not sure it matters.
posted by jon1270 at 12:35 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anyone who has weird justifications for not having sex with you probably isn't worth your time. My ex went from "if we have sex less often, it'll be More Special" to "you're just not sexually attractive to me unless you're bringing in a steady paycheck."

Don't set yourself up for this, and don't let him set a bad example of intimacy and committed parenting for your son. Find a partner who wants to make a real home with both of you.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:36 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is his motive?

It sounds like to my that his motive is to be close to your son.

And while many men are maligned in an unfair and sexist way for wanting to be involved with children ... in this case, I think the fact that he's pushing you away while bringing your son closer, doesn't want to commit to you but wants to financially support you (that's the first time I've EVER heard that) and most importantly, refusing to sleep with you, sets off alarm bells.
posted by Ashley801 at 12:40 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is weird, and sounds less like a relationship and more like a creepy father figure. Or a non-romantic partner, like my ex and the girl he knocked up.

This doesn't sound like a relationship. I'm the goddamn queen of super fucked up relationships, and my inner voice is screaming RUN RUN RUN. Are you getting your needs met here? Obviously not. Unless you are able to change your (PERFECTLY REASONABLE) desires, this man will never make you happy.
posted by mollymayhem at 12:43 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I meant about his relationship with my son is basically going through his school stuff over the phone after the school, He is in highschool.

And I don't want him to be a different person at all, He is a wonderful man as he is. Ofcourse I feel uncertain about our relationship but I am hoping that he will be back if possible. I'm just not sure that we ever going back to where we were before.

I know it sound weird he doesn't want to sleep with me. He even told me he is fighting with the desire to be intimate with me everytime we get together. And he said the reason is he just wouldn't work on his part (to be ready for a healthy relationship?) if we became physical. I don't want to push him, I don't want him to feel cornered. So when he said he is going home, I just let him go. It's hard but I have no choice. I bite my toungue every day.
posted by painlessheart at 12:45 PM on January 1, 2011


This is going to sound sarcastic and snarky, and I don't mean it that way:

Do you even remember what a happy functional relationship feels like anymore? Biting your tongue every day? If you can't express your feelings honestly, you have no hope of salvaging this.
posted by mollymayhem at 12:49 PM on January 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


He won't sleep with you but he may be sleeping with others? Drop him. Fast. Now.
posted by Postroad at 12:50 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it possible that he believes you split up? The way I am trying to fit together what you've said is by filling in some blanks to give us: 1) you lived together, he was supporting you financially, and he was like a father to your son; 2) he asked you to leave and stop having sex, but went on supporting you and having contact with your son. Maybe he sees this as having split up, while you see this as still being together. In this case, his financial support is really alimony.
posted by squishles at 12:51 PM on January 1, 2011


Move on. You need to show your son how an adult recognizes and handles a bad relationship.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:55 PM on January 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


There is no reason for two adults who are in a relationship not to have sex. His excuse that it will mess up your relationship is weird, and frankly sounds like bullshit. It makes no sense. What kind of relationship is one in which the guy supports you financially, sometimes helps your son with homework, but isn't intimate with you, and sleeps with other people? It's not a relationship at all. It's time to put an end to it officially. Stop letting him support you financially. Date other people.
posted by elpea at 12:56 PM on January 1, 2011


Yeah, I know what you mean Molly. But I feel like I'm in the position that I shouldn't say anything if I want what I want from him. (which is a committed relationship) I don't know how long is enough time for me being patient and wait for him to be ready, as we all suspect, he might never never ever be ready for the type of relationship, I know that.

If he was a jerk, doesn't give a crap about me, my family or my life... and use me for something or getting something from me in any way... or being disrespectful... Things are easy because I'm no fool. He is perfect except the fact that he doesnt want to commit with me right now.
posted by painlessheart at 12:56 PM on January 1, 2011


It almost sounds like you're living the story arc of the movie Jerry Maguire, up to the point where Renée Zellweger's character and her son, move back in with her sister, while Tom Cruise's character keeps trying to support her and her son, and build his company, while maintaining a relationship with the boy. As Hollywood generally arranges, Tom Cruise's character eventually has a revelation, that causes him to realize that his main link to a mom and her child needs to be the mom, and then, he goes to her, confesses his love, and Everyone Lives Happily Everafter.

Your problem seems to be that your man isn't having a Jerry Maguire moment, and there is no evidence that he's likely to. You could try doing what Renée Zellweger did in the movie, which was to regretfully ditch the guy, and move on with her life, taking her son along. But that wasn't the crucial event that spawned Cruise's character's revelation in the movie.

Nope, it took Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character to explain to him, how moms and their kids work, in new relationships, for him to get the message, even with all of Hollywood tradition. If I were you, I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope for happy endings.
posted by paulsc at 1:05 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


You ARE in a committed relationship; it just doesn't include sex, cohabitation or marriage. The things he's doing sound like obligations rather than the basis for the relationship you want. What does "providing" for you entail? Do you have a job?
posted by elle.jeezy at 1:05 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


If he wants out, he could have been out. He told me once that he doesn't want to be disconnected with me as he sees us as the closest thing as a family.

He also fears losing me completely. I suspect that he feels we are still connected as long as he is supporting me, talk to my son on the phone every day.

I tried to date other people. I told him that too. He's got upset and said "I don't wanna hear it!!" He told me later hes raging inside knowing I was dating other guy. He said the picture of me with other guy is killing him but he also said he knows he is not in the position to say anything about that.

Like I said, I know its really really weird. And I thought, may be, he felt responsible so he is taking care of us. But if that's what it is..... when this is going to be over??? It doesnt seem like it'd ever be over. It just doesnt seem like he wants this over. Thats why I'm confused what to do next.
posted by painlessheart at 1:11 PM on January 1, 2011


He's perfect except he doesn't want to be with you? In what sense is that perfect?

You've waited for three years and it sounds like you're getting farther apart, not closer. If he's working on his issues, he's not making any progress. Have you talked about him getting into therapy? I would have a frank discussion about everything you want that you're not getting from this relationship and exactly how are you going to change things. I don't mean to be harsh, painlessheart, but you seem so cowed, so afraid to speak up for anything you want for fear it will drive him away. If you can't have an honest conversation about YOUR needs (it all sounds so focused on his needs), you don't want him. Believe me, I know what this is like, and it's like dying every day. You deserve better than this and you are worth fighting for.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 1:13 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


One unspoken question here is: Are you allowed to sleep with other people? At a minimum, your sexual needs aren't being fulfilled, and that's an issue that should be addressed. I won't get into the weirdness of the way he's arranged things, but you should definitely make a list of what you're getting out of the relationship and what you want/need, and see how he stacks up.

Even if it's kind of awesome that you've got someone who wants to pay the bills and play father-figure to your son without limiting you in any way, it's still important for you to remember what you're supposed to be getting out of this.
posted by fatbird at 1:17 PM on January 1, 2011


And right now, he and I agreed to just let it be. because no matter how hard we try to leave each other alone, we couldn't do it, we stopped fighting with the feelings for each other.

While I dated the other guy for about a couple of weeks, I put his photos away, he came over and told me to put them back out. So I did. And I stopped seeing the other guy too because I can't see 2 guys at once.

It seems that he doesnt want me to move on and he wants me to stay but he doesnt want to commit. IT DOESNT MAKE SENSE!!!!
posted by painlessheart at 1:18 PM on January 1, 2011


It doesnt seem like it'd ever be over. It just doesnt seem like he wants this over. Thats why I'm confused what to do next.

If you understand that he doesn't want what you want, what's so confusing? There is no magic button you can press to make him want what you want. It seems pretty obvious that choice A is to suck it up and live in a situation that doesn't meet some pretty fundamental needs. Choice B is to end it. There is no choice C.
posted by jon1270 at 1:20 PM on January 1, 2011


OK, wait. So your boyfriend says that he's "always had issues with committing" and that he wants to be a provider for you and your son even though he doesn't otherwise want to be with you? And he's heavily involved with your son and welcomes that close relationship? But he's still a self-avowed commitmentphobe?

This does not compute. This guy is not being honest with you (or perhaps with himself). It may be that he doesn't love you and doesn't want to be with you at all, but he's afraid to say it in bald-faced terms. It's much easier, after all, to blame "commitment phobia" when it would be more honest to say, "I don't love you and don't want to be with you anymore." Even though that's obviously harder to hear.

What I would do (though I know this is hard) is to completely cut your ties with this guy. If he's such a commitment-phobe, he should be happy to end his commitment to your financial support and the raising of your child. It's going to be a lot better for you in the long run, trust me.

Additionally, as a child of divorce whose parents have done their share of dating, I will give you this advice. Your son is a teenager. He is not stupid. He is also not a fragile flower who will shatter at the knowledge that you and your partner are parting ways. These things happen, and high schoolers are equipped to understand that. It is way, WAY better for you to model mature adult behavior for him by ending your relationship with your self-respect intact than to try to get this guy to stay for your son's sake.

When I was just barely out of high school, one of my parents was in a situation like this and the result was that they ended up getting married. Which was a horrible thing for everyone. That marriage ended in a second divorce, which was even more difficult for all parties. Bad Relationship > Ill-Advised Wedding > Even Worse Marriage > Crash And MotherFucking Burn is sooooooo much worse than Bad Relationship > Mutual/Amicable Breakup > Everyone Moves On Like Adults. Trust me.
posted by Sara C. at 1:26 PM on January 1, 2011 [5 favorites]


he doesnt want me to move on and he wants me to stay but he doesn't want to commit.

And I want someone to send me a million dollars. How do you imagine that's going to work out for me?

You're making this way more complicated than it has any business being.
posted by jon1270 at 1:29 PM on January 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


He even told me he is fighting with the desire to be intimate with me everytime we get together.

I believe that this is a lie, and I think you do too. It "DOESN'T MAKE SENSE" because he has another sexual agenda which doesn't include you, and of which you may be unaware. Think hard. A few others have raised some warnings to you about his relationship to your son and I think it's fair to examine that during your thinking.
posted by thinkpiece at 1:30 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Two posters (musofire and Ashley801) have touched upon the possibility that he is or wants to be more than a friend to your son and you haven't addressed that.

So you used to live together, what was that like? Did you have good sex?
posted by iconomy at 1:33 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you're spending way too much energy focusing on why he's doing what he's doing, what does he want, etc., etc. As jon1270 wrote, what more do you need to know other than you're miserable in this relationship? You aren't getting what you want and need and no progress is being made toward that end. It's been going on too long, and I think he needs to make some effort toward resolving his issues. He needs therapy and the two of you could use some couples' therapy as well.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 1:33 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess, I should say, I've never questioned how he feels about me. I don't think he has either. We both know we love each other.

But I know that's not all it is when it comes to the relationship.

He went through talk therapy and the other psyc. and even with 12 steps for love/sex addictions and co-dependancy etc. So I know he is trying to change things in his life too.

I don't want to defend him or justifying him.

If I could, I've moved on long time ago. If I see the details, sure I want to spend more time with him, I want him to come home, I want him to letting me love him and take care of him.

I looked at the big picure. But at the same time, I feel that I probably need to set the time for a deadline. I am making excuses to extend the deadline over and over.
posted by painlessheart at 1:34 PM on January 1, 2011


For whatever reason, he's making bizarre choices and saying things that alternately pull you in and push you away. You may not question how he feels about you, but his actions are not loving or healthy. Waiting for him is not going to pay off in the way you want. If waiting for him could pay off, you'd be closer--not further--to a committed relationship after 3 years (3 years!) of this.
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:40 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow it looks like 100% of the Mefites are in agreement...dump him.
posted by MsKim at 1:48 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I even agree with everyone.

It is hard and I don't know how to is the problem.

I wish I could just hate him or I could stop caring about him.
posted by painlessheart at 1:51 PM on January 1, 2011


Well, just settle then.
posted by elle.jeezy at 2:06 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


We can't say the magic words that will make breaking up with him easy. There aren't any such words. Nor is there a magic potion that will make him finally commit in the ways you want (scratch that -- the ways you deserve and need), nor is there a spell that will make you feel happy with the 'relationship' as it is.

We can't make this easy. This won't be easy. Say to yourself: "This is going to suck, and I am going to be very sad for a while. But a short term of sadness is worth greater opportunities and the chance to meet someone who will treat me the way I deserve and need."

Say that to yourself over and over again. And then break up with this guy, move on, and find out what it means to be happy.
posted by meese at 2:21 PM on January 1, 2011 [7 favorites]


You are giving ALL of your power over to this person. Do you realize that? You can walk anytime, doll. Any. Time.

-------


There is something very very nasty going on under the surface here. I don't know what it is. This guy is using you in some extreme fashion. You are hooked on finding out the how/why of the using. So far, the only thing keeping you from walking away is YOU.

I confess that interest in your son was not the first thing to come to my mind when reading your question. One possibility: My gut told me this is about his pleasure gained from controlling and mindfucking you. But I live in LA, where folks engage in long-term dysfunctional relationships like the one you describe fairly often. Lots of people have lots of extra money to throw around here, so it isn't weird to me to hear about or witness unmarried men who resist commitment, shag others or otherwise pursue them, and yet they keep one or two women on stand-by for years and years. It's a way for these men to "play" at commitment without actually committing. Being financially responsible or generous is definitely part of the trade-off. BTW, these men never commit to the women who pine for them.

BUT THERE ARE MANY MANY OTHER POSSIBILITIES. MY HEAD SPINS.

Guess what? We could ALL guess about this guy's motivations until forever, and it wouldn't matter, because you won't end up happy with this guy regardless. Let me say it louder: HE WILL NEVER CHOOSE YOU- also - YOU WILL NEVER FIGURE OUT HIS FEELINGS FOR YOU.

There is no closure. You've fallen in love (really a mirror-image of love) with an extremely damaged man who will never make you happy because he is not capable of it.

--------

I've got more, because we still need to find out about what leaving this fellow behind for good will really mean for you and your son. Will you need to move? You'll need therapy for certain to help you process this relationship. I assume this man will pursue you if you dump him by calling, showing up at your house, performing manipulative romantic gestures, ets. etc. You'll need a plan.

--------

In the meantime, I want you to think about this:

Do you honestly believe that someone who causes you this much heartache and anguish cares for you in the way you deserve?
posted by jbenben at 2:22 PM on January 1, 2011 [22 favorites]


Just to be very clear, because I think you may have missed it: four people in this thread have suggested that this man might be romantically or sexually interested in your son.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:23 PM on January 1, 2011 [17 favorites]


First thing... stop taking his money. Be your own person.
posted by JayRwv at 2:23 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's frustrating that that's not how it works - that you can just hate someone or stop caring about them as a pre-step to you moving on. But often, that's not how it works. In situations like the ne you're talking about, there's always that agony of wondering - just one more day, maybe if I just say X, or if he has Y experience, it will be the game changer and person Z will...(do whatever it is you want them to do).

In real life, desirable things are desirable, and whether or not they are good for you is beside the point. So you can't use an internal twitch like "oh, I don't desire you anymore" as the indicator that something has got to change. In real life, you push the cake away, but unless you make some sort of effort (get up from the table, cover it up with your napkin), that cake is still going to look tantalizing, and attractive. And with no other options on the table, you're going to nibble. In real life, there are few clarifying moments of a resolute, "this is the moment this became not worth it to me" - or "this is the moment I stopped loving you". Often it's more, "this the day that I that I accepted that I want X, Y and Z, and I have a better chance of finding it (something I can control) if I make myself available for love rather than waiting for you to change your mind (something I can't control).

The only thing I've seen people be able to get to that point is by developing a clear list of what you want as your ideal partner, and compare what you're getting now to it. This is better than comparing what you're getting from him to "nothing at all", or previous less successful relationships. And really, if he's under 75% or so, it's pretty much a deal killer. If you want a person who financially takes care of you, and he does, that get a check. But if you want someone who sexually desires you, and he doesn't, then that doesn't.

I think you then look at what the data is telling you and meditate, before you decide what you're doing to do about it (leave, stay, confront, etc.). But regardless of what you decide, I think your actions will precede your feelings on this one. Which is why the phrase "this sucks" was invented.
posted by anitanita at 2:28 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I appreciate your suggestions....

Do you know how you feel when you are really done with someone, you go "I dont have no more fights left in me, I am done"

I dont think Im there yet. That is why its hard.

Like I said, I am making excuses for him over and over knowing thats what I am doing. One more day, one more week, one more month...so on.

I want a closure. If there is no chance for us to be together ever again.....

I'm betting on 10%, 5% or even 1% of the possibility that we are getting back as a couple. He keeps me here in this half in half out relationship with tiny possibility. I am stupid enough to think I should bet on the 1%.

I want to be able to tell myself there is ZERO%. But as long as he is doing what he is doing, I dont know I would ever think that way.

Thats where I am struggling with.
posted by painlessheart at 2:49 PM on January 1, 2011


Walk away. If it hurts him, it's his problem because he has chosen not to commit to you. He does not get to tie you up relationally without having a real relationship.


I'm not a supporter of premarital sex (being a big fan of the postmarital kind) but that's not what seems to be going on here. He either needs to propose to you or you need to drop him like a hot rock. Unless you are content to be celibate and kept for the rest of your life.

YOU ARE ENABLING HIM TO BE A JERKWAD. STOP IT.

(And keep him away from your son unless and until you are entirely sure this man is not a predator.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:52 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


This sounds like an ex-relationship in which he still wants to be friends. He doesn't want to move on entirely because it's comforting to have the emotional support of an ex (and her son), not to mention being validated by the ex's continued desire for him and inability to get over him. Maybe he even thinks of you like a family that he's obligated to continue to support. But he's having sex with other women, told you he doesn't want a romantic commitment, and refuses to have sex with you. This relationship is over. Period.

Why is he being confusing? Why don't things make sense? Easy. The same reason so many dumpers break up with so many dumpees ambiguously: some combination of selfishness and cowardice. The status quo is meeting his own needs more than a clean break would, and he doesn't have to give you what you want because you're letting him walk all over you (not to mention that he doesn't want what you want).
posted by J. Wilson at 2:52 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, he is never, ever going to give you that closure you're seeking. You have to do that yourself.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:54 PM on January 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Usually when a man insists on financially supporting a woman who doesn't particularly want or need to be supported, it is because the supporter is trying to make the woman financially dependent so she is less free to leave. If you need his money to live, or are used to relying on it to support a particular lifestyle it can be very hard to break things off.

Similarly, a single mom is going to be reluctant to break up with a man her children see as a father figure.

He's using these things to tie you to him so that you will put up with the no-sex, no-commitment portion of the relationship. For whatever reason, he doesn't want to fuck you or live with you. His motive for being in a relationship with you is not even remotely related to eventually wanting a normal, healthy sexual and romantic relationship with you.

The reason you are so confused about his motive is because he wants you to be. There's something he doesn't want you to know about him, and so he sends conflicting push-pull signals to simultaneously keep you hooked into the relationship while also keeping you at arm's length.

So what is his motive? Hard to say.

Maybe he wants to have sex with a variety of other girls but also wants the security of having a steady emotional relationship with you.

Maybe he's not sleeping with other women... maybe he's not interested in sleeping with you or anyone because he has a very low sex drive, and he keeps throwing up all these barriers to a normal relationship so you won't realize that he's never going to want an active sex life with you.

Maybe he does care for your son in a fatherly way, and is afraid if he breaks things off with you he will lose the relationship with your son.

There could be any number of reasons why he's doing what he's doing, none of which are likely to be "genuinely working on getting emotionally ready to take the plunge into the kind of relationship painlessheart wants."

Seriously? It's Not Going To Happen.

You have reached a point where it is going to hurt no matter what you do.

If you stay with him it's going to be a dull, constant heartache caused by pain and hope and disappointment that never ends.

If you break things off the hurt will feel more intense in the short run, but once you are away from his crazy-making head games you will begin to heal, and you'll have room in your life for someone new who wants the kind of relationship you want.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:59 PM on January 1, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm sorry to see you last update because it didn't speak to any of the good points raised upthread, you only provided more rambling and excuses.

I imagine that is an accurate reflection of your thought process concerning this relationship. The more logical and concrete evidence life (or we) present to you that THIS MUST STOP, the more you run in emotional circles in your mind.

Please see a good therapist. Don't do therapy indefinitely. Set a goal to have this resolved in your mind and heart, then do that.

Also.

I think it is weird you haven't addressed anyone's concern's about this man and your son, and I didn't even necessarily support that reading of the situation. This tells me you are at least subconsciously using this man's (paternal?) relationship with your son as a way to keep him around. Wow.

Therapy.
posted by jbenben at 3:05 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is it better to stop all the communications including my son's?

Just to make it clear, my son is 15, almost 16. So if hes ever sensed something weird from my guy, he is going to say something. He is not stupid and isn't naive. And I am not that stupid either. They truly care about each other, that's for sure. Although I appreciate your concerns ofcourse.

If he is doing the things just to please himself.....for his ego, mind games etc. I am having hard time believing he is THAT messed up.... That's mean if his intention is that. but its possible too.

I guess I will never find out.... and I will wonder forever if I leave him and thats one of the reasons I'm still here hoping because he refuses to give me the closure.

I probably wanted to hear someone tells me "No he is not going to come back because I was THAT GUY once and I didnt go back"

I should find a way to get out of it. I'm in trouble.
posted by painlessheart at 3:14 PM on January 1, 2011


You're not going to ever know with one hundred percent certainty that there is no chance that the relationship will work. You need to accept that this guy has his good points but that those points are clearly not enough to balance out his bad points.

People are shades of gray. He's not going to go from someone you dearly love to someone you hate overnight. The hardest part of a breakup is realizing that the good needs to outweigh the bad and when it doesn't you have the right to walk away. Leaving doesn't invalidate the good parts of the relationship or the person it only asserts that the relationship isn't giving you what you need and that you're in charge of figuring out your needs. This guy is obviously on top of getting what he needs but he isn't, and I hope you can see how clear this is, caring about what you need.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 3:19 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think when people say they want "closure," what they really mean is that they want the other person to decide the outcome of the relationship.

It's difficult and scary, but you have it in you to provide your own closure.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:27 PM on January 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


painlessheart: "Just to make it clear, my son is 15, almost 16. So if hes ever sensed something weird from my guy, he is going to say something. He is not stupid and isn't naive. "

I don't have any opinion on the man's intentions, but just to be clear: not only stupid and/or naive children have run-ins with molesters.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:32 PM on January 1, 2011 [21 favorites]


Stop taking the money. Why let him have this 'provider' role that you think he wants, when he won't let you have the roles you want in this relationship? If he doesn't respect this decision and keeps giving you the money, send the money back. If you really don't need the money, fine. If you think about it and then think of what you will have to cut back on, look at questions on metafilter about budgeting and frugal living.

What he is telling you doesn't make sense because it is not the full story. I have no idea what his issues are exactly, or what it is that he is up to when he is not around you. It may be intentional on his part, or it may not be. But you have given this plenty of time and it has not resolved.

Stop imagining what this relationship would be like if it was all that you wanted. Look at what it is now. That is your relationship.

No, you don't know what will happen in the future. Do you like it as it is now? It doesn't sound like it, and you have given it more than enough time to change (this is not about all relationships go through bad patches and you should stick it out - it isn't the right relationship for you).

Your son will cope with your decision to cut this man out of your life (because that is what you should do - and I rarely weigh in on these relationship questions). Don't let him be the excuse. I would probably ask your son to stop talking with him, because I think he is manipulative and I wouldn't want to expose your son to that once you decide to put this man out of your life, as it could get worse.

I normally think that people should give the courtesy of discussing these things in person, but in this case, given how captured you are in this situation, I think an email is fine, especially if it means you will actually do it (otherwise, it is never the right time, and how do you find the words?). Write and say that you've made a new year's resolution to change things in your life - ask him to stop giving you money, tell him you can't see him any more.
posted by AnnaRat at 3:39 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


If he is doing the things just to please himself.....for his ego, mind games etc. I am having hard time believing he is THAT messed up.... That's mean if his intention is that. but its possible too.

Playing head games with you doesn't necessarily mean he's deliberately being mean or cruel... he probably doesn't consciously realize that is what he's doing. Inside his own head he's created rationalizations for every single thing he does. That doesn't make it ok.

He's almost certainly doing these things as a way of getting some complicated need of his met. It just happens to be a way that doesn't sound particularly healthy for him or for you, and is in direct conflict with some of your legitimate, reasonable needs. That part isn't likely to change.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:46 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


In my experience, "complicated" relationships are anything but: long discussions and excuses about all the "beyond my control" reasons for not being together are really just long discussions about the fact that it isn't going to work, we just like to pretend otherwise. When two people want to be together, they find a way to be together. I have no idea why this guy is doing what he is doing, but I do know that he's just not that into you. If he was, he would be with you. It really is that simple. You deserve better than this, just break it off, really, stop being his chew toy and respect yourself enough to get the hell out of this emotional wasteland. This is not love, love feels good.
posted by biscotti at 4:05 PM on January 1, 2011 [9 favorites]


If you really want to get at his motivations, I can think of any number- enough to write a compelling novelette here- but none of them are flattering.

Perhaps he has a bit of a madonna/whore complex going on and has to separate the "chaste motherly" type of woman, in his mind, from his other dalliances. Who knows.

I will say, I have known plenty of men who are willing to financially support a woman and her children yet their sexual interest has waned. It's not that unusual, and the only reason people think so is because of social myths about men wanting sex.

Doesn't mean it's healthy. My guess, from the guys I've known who do this, is that he's very focused on IMAGE. Whether or not he thinks of himself as a good guy (I'm guessing not really) he wants everyone else to think of him as one. So he thinks supporting you and playing daddy is a stellar thing for a guy to do, beyond reproach. He's congratulating himself for it. He thinks it means he's not the bad guy for essentially breaking up with you. Your actual needs play no role in his fantasy of himself as savior.

Guilt complex, I'd bet.

But who cares? You can't change him. Just get out. A warning- this will show you just how pathetic he is, because he'll fight it- he'll manipulate your kid, most likely, and he'll beg and plead and promise to change. You need to really be ready to make a strong, clean break, so take your time and gather your courage.
posted by Nixy at 4:20 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess I will never find out.... and I will wonder forever if I leave him and thats one of the reasons I'm still here hoping because he refuses to give me the closure.

You know when you will find out that he wasn't the one? When you leave him. It will take time but you will come to realize that you deserve better. You will be happier when your emotions are not being manipulated and and having your heart torn apart. You can and will be happy on your own. It's certainly not easy but you must trust that you are strong enough to do this and that you will survive and be stronger and happier for it.
posted by sadtomato at 4:29 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think a missing part of this picture is the two years when you did have a sexual relationship. How was it? How was the rest of your relationship with this man? Did you actually "break up"? How did it change into the situation you are in now in regards to no sex?

Also his relationship with your son seems a bit weird. It's almost like he's more attached to your son than to you?

Why are you letting him support you? What would happen if you stopped taking his support? (not just talked about stopping but actually sending money back). Would he still want to talk to your son? Would he change his mind about you?

What would happen if you cut him off completely? Would he come running back begging you to take him back or would he just leave you alone? Are you afraid that the answer is that he would just leave you alone and that he doesn't really love you? Try it and find out. Cut him off. And if he doesn't chase you that means he just isn't into you as much as you want him to be.
posted by smartypantz at 4:45 PM on January 1, 2011


He can still be a friend to your son, pay for you and you have a boyfriend. Get a job and suggest that.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:15 PM on January 1, 2011


I appreciate everyone here for trying to help me.

It's Jan. 1st and I am here online talkin about my drama. As you suspect, I knew something needs to be done or changed. That's why I came here.

I was always afraid of losing the connection with him so I felt that "as long as he is supporting me, he won't go anywhere" same as he thinks "she wont go anywhere"

I hoped, dreamt, wished and denied. Every reasons(excuses) that I can possibliy think of that he loves me, I took it. But he is not here with me. He is at somewhere else. he texted me earlier to wish a happy new year.

This is going to be harder than it is. Because I've been telling myself "its better with him this way than him completely out of my life" trust me, I asked myself the questions many many times and chose to stay even I'm not 100% fulfilled.

It was only "me" working on it and never "him" and I can't say anything about it because this was my choice to stay with him this way.

Like I said, I don't have any more excuses left. I think I am getting closer to the end of denial stage. After that, it should be acceptance. I can't wait.
posted by painlessheart at 5:22 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


painlessheart, you need to wake up. If your son felt that you were both wholly dependent on this guy for food and shelter, he would have every reason in the world, at 15/16, to not reveal a sexual relationship between them for fear of ... who knows? Being homeless, being poor, you flipping out, on and on. It's just speculation by a stranger on the internet, but given the intense hold he has on you, financially and emotionally, without wanting to have sex ... something is wrong and it's not just that your relationship is temporarily off track.
posted by thinkpiece at 5:34 PM on January 1, 2011 [6 favorites]


i am sorry to hear your life is in turmoil.

+1 with the posters that say check in on your son.

i was reminded of this post on mefi that featured this essay [warning! about molestation]. molesters have all kinds of fucked-up mind games they play on everyone involved. maybe you aren't the one who is being blackmailed with financial support.

i am just some random commenter on the internet you haven't met. you don't need to convince me one way or the other.

but, as the corpse in the library points out, your assumption that your son isn't naive or would be impervious to manipulation (not stupid!) from someone who from your description is very manipulative could be wrong.

please make the vow to support your son, regardless of the cost to yourself in this percieved relationship.

go and ask him if anything has gone on, and let him answer himself.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 5:35 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


to Smartypantz,

He and I shared great sexual chemistry. He even said that the sex is one of our high lights in our relationship (and thats why he needed to cut it because he wouldn't care everything else if we were having sex, so he said)

and no we didnt break up, we took a break because things were going too well and moving so fast. Kind of freaked him out, I guess.

He and i went through therapy, individualy and as a couple both. try to find out why he can not commit. all he know was he tells people he is single when he goes out and he felt that was strange and didnt understand why he was acting that way he did. thats when we started the therapy sessions. he knew it isnt good for me or us. he took 12 steps, he took EMDR, he did what he could. I did too.

The shrink told me to be patient with him. they told me that he will get there someday. they told me that he is trying to be a better man for me. but they also told me when I finally can't wait anymore, I'll know.

I think thats where im at right now.
posted by painlessheart at 5:39 PM on January 1, 2011


Oh, make a remark on the sex....

No sex was suggested by shrinks. Both mine and his.
posted by painlessheart at 5:42 PM on January 1, 2011


And one more thing. I have my own business, I own my house all paid off . i dont need anyone's support financially. what he is doing is like paying for me taking classes, tuitions for my son's tutors, his hobbies, providing me a car, health/life insurance etc. Just to make it clear. some people might think Id be struggled if I dont have his support....
posted by painlessheart at 5:53 PM on January 1, 2011


try to find out why he can not commit.

Super serious, here, the problem is not that the guy "can't commit". If he's financially supporting you and has an ongoing parental relationship with your son, that is commitment. That is the sort of thing that people who say they're "not looking for a commitment right now" are intending to avoid.

Reading the things your ex has supposedly said to you, all of it just sounds really confusing and backwards and way too good to be true. Nobody stops having really awesome sex because it would "ruin your relationship". Romantic relationships are supposed to be based around sex. Nobody breaks up with someone because "things are going too well". If things are going well, that's a positive thing and usually a sign that you should proceed with the relationship. Nobody gets out of a relationship because they are commitment-phobic and then keeps the parts of the relationship that go hand in hand with a strong commitment. You don't break up with someone after three years because "things are moving too fast."

Look, I know exactly how you feel. My last breakup was a lot like this - totally initiated by the guy, with a breakup conversation that largely consisted of how awesome I am and how great our relationship was, but... With the "but" being a lame non-answer that didn't add up to anything meaningful. It's a really shitty way to be broken up with. It's got to be even shittier in a multi-year relationship where there are kids and financial dependency and you feel like family. Trust me, I understand.

But you need to get out! Seriously! You really do! There is no way to rationalize any of this, and it doesn't matter if this was said in therapy or just to you. Therapists aren't magicians, and if someone is bent on lying, they will happily lie right to the therapist's face.
posted by Sara C. at 5:59 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would say carry on as you are because you're not ready to do otherwise.

But he's not just manipulating you. He is manipulating YOUR SON and you are complicit in it.

I think you have to slam him shut with little or no explanation. One bold move. If you have to box up his stuff and ship it to him, do so. No contact, no looking back or you turn into a pillar of salt.

This will not make you feel good, it will make you feel bad. You won't get closure. It will be a long time before you get over it and you won't likely get over it without professional help.

The good news is your strength will gradually return, but telling you that won't motivate you now. You'll believe it when it happens.

But, right now think of it like it was a drug addiction. You don't need to feel good right now, you need to protect yourself and your son.
posted by tel3path at 5:59 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


An outside party needs to check on your son-- a counselor, a physician, someone who is not you needs evaluate his health and safety. It's not just about you, it's about the welfare of a minor.

Sorry to be blunt, I have no opinion about your relationship with this guy.
posted by vincele at 6:05 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Super serious, here, the problem is not that the guy "can't commit". If he's financially supporting you and has an ongoing parental relationship with your son, that is commitment. That is the sort of thing that people who say they're "not looking for a commitment right now" are intending to avoid.

Reading the things your ex has supposedly said to you, all of it just sounds really confusing and backwards and way too good to be true. Nobody stops having really awesome sex because it would "ruin your relationship". Romantic relationships are supposed to be based around sex. Nobody breaks up with someone because "things are going too well". If things are going well, that's a positive thing and usually a sign that you should proceed with the relationship. Nobody gets out of a relationship because they are commitment-phobic and then keeps the parts of the relationship that go hand in hand with a strong commitment. You don't break up with someone after three years because "things are moving too fast."


I agree this doesn't add up. I get from an earlier comment that he was going out and saying he was single. Clearly something happened to initiate the therapy etc. Perhaps you are glossing over some parts that weren't so great for you? Did he cheat on you?

I want to emphasize what everyone is saying about your son:

An outside party needs to check on your son-- a counselor, a physician, someone who is not you needs evaluate his health and safety. It's not just about you, it's about the welfare of a minor.


This situation seems ripe for guilt tripping and manipulation of your son.
posted by smartypantz at 6:23 PM on January 1, 2011


I once had a friend who didn't want to be in a monogamous relationship with a particular woman, but didn't want her to be in a serious relationship with anyone either. For him, it was just that he wanted to date/flirt/have sex with other women as well, and if he was in a monogamous relationship with her, he couldn't do those things. But he liked the idea of her, she was the right look, on the career path he admired, etc. - she was basically some ideal of the type of woman he would marry one day, and he didn't want to let it go because he'd found her so 'early'. The way he explained giving up other girls was like as giving up all other flavors of ice cream, though he really liked chocolate. Only eating one flavor for the next 70 years?

I remember feeling like he was trying to spin it that they were both stuck and suffering, as if he had no agency in the situation - it was mysterious and confusing, it was how he felt, it was painful for both of them. But we were in our young 20s, so I think everyone gets a pass on behaving immaturely. I remember trying to explain that it would help if he was merciful, because he knew that she was only invested in him, and he needed to think of her and end the relationship, because while he could see that they might both be suffering, but she was suffering more. Well, he didn't, and she didn't so much leave, as find another dysfunctional who claimed to love her more than life. Cue ugly breakup with extra drama toppings on that ice cream.

The only thing that strikes me about that experience is that it didn't seem as if anyone learned anything at the time. We're still friends, and he is married, 20ish years later, to another woman who has that look, and a career he admires, who really is his ideal. I can't say if he met his wife back then it would have been different - he might have been stringing her along as well.

Take what you will from this - But I think you hoping that somehow by word or deed that this guy will pull the plug on your drama is taking the hard road up the mountain, because he needs an insight into himself which the doesn't seem to possess. And that's the only thing that would help him either resolve to be in or out, or recognize how this is killing you and mercifully put you out of your misery by cutting you off.
posted by anitanita at 6:26 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dunno what is going on with your guy. It sounds like he wants to be husband to you and father to your son, everything except the actual sex. It also sounds like he _may_ be a guy with an over-developed sense of responsibility, sticking around only because he thinks you and your son need him, not willing to say so in case it causes distress.

If the former is the case then there are a lot of possible reasons. He could be wired so that vanilla consensual heterosex with an adult simply wouldn't work for him. He could have major performance issues stemming from a medical condition such as diabetes. It could be sinister, or just sad. You know he's done therapy over it. Would he be willing to let you discuss the situation with his current or a recent therapist?

He says he doesn't want sex because it makes him and you too close? Can he discuss this and can you discuss it without it turning into him on the defensive and you cast involuntarily into the role of the accuser? What does he mean by too close? Does he get a panic attack after sex? Does too close mean that he gets uncontrollably jealous? Or feel trapped? Disgust? Shame? Feel exploited by you?

For me it is worth negotiating. The thing is if there are no other major drawbacks in being with this guy, it is worth considering if you are willing to stay with him without the sex. Now in this case it sounds like he has a big psychological issue. So that means that you are (probably?) dealing with a guy who is a kinda screwed up. But that is not an automatic one strike and he is out. After all pretty much everybody is a little screwed up. Neither is the lack of sex. If the guy had AIDS and didn't want to have sex with you because of terror that he would give it to you, that would not be inflexible inarguable grounds to dump him from your life. Or if he had diabetes, couldn't usually get it up and was too ashamed to face it and deal with it, that would not be an instantaneous complete drop-him-like-a-rock reflex decisions. Either (probably not applicable) scenario would give your reason to ponder if him-without-sex was better than not-him.

I'm only bringing up these far fetched scenarios because in real life, especially as people get old a great many people have to decide if they will accept a relationship without sex. As frustrating as such a relationship can be, it could be better than no relationship, or a relationship with sex, but with a guy who isn't good for you. Or not.

Maybe start with YOU. Sit down and get clear on what you can accept and what you can't and put it in writing. If the only thing you will settle for is a "normal heterosexual marriage" then you'll know straight off it isn't going to happen. But if you can say, "I'd settle for only solo sex as long as he reassures me that he finds me sexy and that the problem lies with him." Or, "I'd be more than happy to dump him and start supporting myself -in fact, I am itching to start job hunting- but I don't want to ruin my son's relationship with him, I'd rather live in financial debt to him." Then you'll have an idea which direction to start moving.

I think getting an income of your own would be a good thing because then you would know more clearly if you were with him from choice, from inertia, or because you need his support. Would you be tempted to stay with him if you had an annuity that brought in as much as he did?

Would you be tempted to stay with him if you had girlfriends to chat with to replace him? If your son was grown, moved out and not in the picture? Would you stay with him if emergency surgery took away your ovaries and killed your sex drive? You can answer questions about yourself, your needs and your feelings and your breaking points. It's harder to answer questions about him.

Do you think he would be willing to have sex with you as long as he was allowed to keep his own residence with your blessing? It might be that he figures if he had sex with you he'd have to stay the night or worse, he'd have to move back in together?

Also, for a lot of guys (and quite a few women) talking about it doesn't work because they get emotionally off kilter when a threatening subject comes up so they can't have long intimate emotional conversations. They get too distressed to process information. If you want to salvage a relationship with them you have to do it without discussion. That's tricky but not impossible.

Have you communicated clearly what you want: "I want you to fuck me tonight, but after that I would be happy if you went home tonight and I'll be happy if it doesn't happen for another couple of months. But it would make me really happy if we can have sex several times a year." or "I want you to cuddle with me and help me have an orgasm and then I want you to stay the night. And I want you to do this every weekend. I don't actually care if you get naked or get hard." or "I want you to throw yourself at me in an out-of-control frenzy of lust, right now!!" or "I want to give you orgasms, lots and lots of orgasms!" I know you don't want him to feel cornered, but none of these statements include "So you better cooperate!" and can be followed up with "What do you want?" and if necessary a heavy sigh and the mournful comment, "We don't want the same things, do we?"

Here's another question: When you did have sex with him in the past, what happened? Did you cuddle and feel friendly? Have a fight? Did he flee? Get angry? Can you see any reason he might look back at those experiences and not want to repeat them?

But then again, it could easily be that he has found the perfect compromise for him. He has a wife, a son, his self esteem as a provider and no need to trigger the rage/terror reaction that sex (maybe?) produces in him.

It strikes me that you sound like YOU feel trapped. I am guessing you are feeling trapped because you can't turn off the expectation that if he really loved you, he would boink you, and cognitive dissonance is making you queasy. Be careful about that. "If he loved me he would..." is frequently an entirely irrational though pattern because of course everyone who loves loves in a different way. You can love someone romantically without having sex with them and without even wanting to have sex with them.

You could be feeling limerance, in the lost love/yearning phase. So if you decided flatly that you want him in your life even under current conditions, would you be able to drop the yearning and the hunger for a happy ending? Would you be able to drop that yearning and pondering and wanting it to work out if you had just sent him away for good?

Anyway, to wrap it up, all I really suggest is examining if you are holding out for an unrealistic scenario, and what are realistic changes you could make on your own. And, given that you don't feel ready to take the final step yet, even if you want to be ready, give yourself a bit more time. It can be terribly frustrating not to know what you want, but sometimes what we need is to continue in that situation until something happens that makes things clear. In that case, be patient, observe yourself closely and don't be afraid to make some small experiments.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:51 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe he had the wrong shrink or something, but I'm just having a hard time buying that he went through all this therapy of various kinds, and that he really, really wants to change, and yet nothing has improved. If he really, really wanted it to work, he would still be working on it, or he would have enough insight by now to know that it never would work, and he'd do the right thing and break up with you. And a shrink told you to sit around and wait for him to get it together? Or is that just the way you took it because that was what you wanted to hear?

What concerns me the most isn't that he can't really be involved with you, it's that there isn't any progress in that direction. Things are never going to change unless he makes them change, and he's not doing that, as far as I can tell. Either he's content with the situation or he's given up, and neither of those things bodes well for things improving.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 7:01 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please understand that every day you are with this man is a day that you are not available to a man who would give you want you want--sex, intimacy, and a relationship.

It's not like this is "better than nothing." This man doesn't want to be your husband or your boyfriend. You could still have a friendship with him and be free to find a man who can give you the romance you want (except you couldn't, because he's into controlling you for some reason none of us know, but in theory you could).

I disbelieve that his therapist told him not to have sex with you. Anyone who is in treatment for sexual addiction is told not to have sex outside their primary romantic relationship, not to have sex with other people but not their primary partner. Either this guy has the worst therapist ever or he is lying to you--I'm on Team Lying To You.

This man will never give you what you want. Ever. STOP PRETENDING THAT IS GOING TO CHANGE.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:31 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you all.
I've read alot about this type of behavior, There are actually support groups for this type of things and the support groups for their spouses too.

What I've learned from these support groups and articles all suggests not to be intimate with your partner until he/she is completely overcome the issues.

Not having intimate relationship isn't so bad for me. It's probably harder for him than it is for me. When we were intimate, we had sex everyday and were always good. No sex policy happened over night after the suggestion from the shrinks and stayed that way.

Yes he has a psycological issue and some blockages that drives him act that way. It'll be a too long of story so I will skip what exactly that is but he definitely has a major psyc. problems including the committment phobia, romance addiction, co-dependancy etc.

When I first found out about his problem, I told myself to stick with him and be patience. If this was some kind of disorder and someone is leaving me because of my condition, it'd hurt. So I stayed and I thought I love him enough wait for him to fix these issue. Just be supportive. thats how I started back in the Apr. (thats when we stopped being intimate) Sure sex is important but thats just one element of whole thing. That's what I told to myself.

What I am facing right now is, since its been awhile being separated, that I think its time for re-evaluate and make decision because this could go on for ever. And obviously I am frustrated over it cuz nothing has changed since Apr. He told me a couple of times "I feel so good just being with you guys, feel loved and I am happiest man in the world and think I can do this again, then the next morning when I wake up, that feelings are gone and I'd rather be alone" So he is struggling too because he doesn't want to lose the "unconditional" love that hes exparience with me but then he still feel that something is blocking him from being fully in to our relationship. My shrink always told me that he might not get there forever and its not fair for you to just wait. But I waited anyway.

We discussed some of the stuff around the Thanksgiving day, because I kinda gave him ultimatum but ended up crossing out the option so instead, we said "lets just set the boundaries of yours and mine so that you wont feel pushed and I still feel that I am getting security(relationship security). I always thought that he is doing what he is doing because he thinks he is giving me the security so that I shoudn't be unhappy. Like paying things for me and my son every month is enough committment so that I shouldn't complain. But then no matter how much he does all that, I still want more of his time and I want him to come home which he can't do. Could I tell myself he can fuck all the girls if he wants as long as he comes home to me? Or Take his money and be happy about it? Or Just dump him and move on to the next? I know what the logical side of me is saying to myself. I know that I should be happy to be able to make anyone happy. If I could just hate him, itd be easy. He used to receive my love no problem because he just liked me alot. But now he really cares about me and everything stopped. He refuses to receive because that makes him feel pressured. He thinks he is giving best he can, I think I'm giving best I can. It just doesnt make sense we both aren't getting what we want.
posted by painlessheart at 7:53 PM on January 1, 2011


And one more thing. I have my own business, I own my house all paid off . i dont need anyone's support financially. what he is doing is like paying for me taking classes, tuitions for my son's tutors, his hobbies, providing me a car, health/life insurance

You might not need his support, but that list of things that he is providing is substantial. You may still be able to afford it without him, but it would have a significant impact on your disposable income.

But you still need to do it, because you do not have freedom in your life. Sometimes it is better to be a little poorer, but to not owe anyone anything.

I wasn't buying into the hypothesis about him being into your son, but honestly, this money stuff makes me wonder.
posted by AnnaRat at 8:00 PM on January 1, 2011


The feeling here is that this may or may not be about something weird with this guy towards your son. This isn't only about just you and even the remote chance of my son being harmed would make dumping this guy a no brainer.
posted by murrey at 8:22 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or Just dump him and move on to the next?

Good LORD, yes!!! Maybe give him one last chance to explain what it is he's looking for in your relationship. If he can't commit, then yes, DUMP HIM.

This is way more drama than anyone should be dealing with, especially someone with a teenaged son. This whole thread is painful! Tell him what you need, ask him what he can give, and act immediately on what he says.

Honestly, I can't see how this guy could be a good influence on an adolescent in any way. He sounds like an adolescent himself. And that's not even getting into whatever issues he has with dealing with adult women. Yikes.
posted by torticat at 10:17 PM on January 1, 2011


I'm confused. If he's really in an addiction treatment thing, then he would not be having sex with others, unless he was considering that a relapse. (Is he in treatment for sexual addiction to teenage boys? I'll assume not, but please investigate the option as others suggested.)
posted by salvia at 10:43 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


1. You need to disengage, and you need to do so by cutting off all contact with this man, and explaining to your son that the relationship you've had with the guy is now hurting you, and you can no longer allow him into your house or into your life.
2. You need to see a different therapist, specifically one who will help you gain the self-confidence you need to break up with this man for good, cut off all ties, and fight the urge to give in and go back.
3. You need to research and purchase your own car, health insurance, and all the other things this man is currently providing for you.
4. You also need to stop making excuses for the guy. Saying, "But but but but but" does nothing except create a lot of butts, and butts smell, okay?

You know something is wrong. You know things are not equal. You know certain needs of yours are not getting met. It is time to be brave and let go. A man who loves you does not deny you sex while still sleeping with other women. Dump him, and get external support from a therapist and family members to get the man out of your life for good.
posted by patronuscharms at 11:07 PM on January 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let me say it louder:
HE WILL NEVER CHOOSE YOU - also -
YOU WILL NEVER FIGURE OUT HIS FEELINGS FOR YOU."
This.

Let's break it down:
• He is not giving you what you need.
• He refuses to give you what you need.
• He's had three years (so far) to make up his mind (and still nothing)

He however, seems to be getting exactly what he wants (and is willing to pay for):
• a woman he can set up and control (eg: photos) like a trophy in a case, and
• a relationship with her teenage child.

Even if this guy wanted to change (which seems incredibly unlikely—three years!), I don't think he imagines he has much need to change since he may feel that he's literally paying you for exactly the experience he wants.

This is some bizarre Fantasy Island episode for him. He's wasting your time, he's wasting your life.

This spurious relationship you're allowing yourself to be involved in is keeping you from someone out there who will love you the way you deserve to be loved.

Remember when you had your first job in high school and you thought "I am basically selling my life to this company for $5 an hour…"?

This is like what this guy is doing to you, only his version is worse; he's paying your expenses, but instead of just taking your time, he's running your heart and sanity through a meat grinder. In his mind you may be telling him you're okay with being treated horribly in exchange for money.

You and your son deserve so much more!

Don't accept any more money from this guy, change your locks or move, and remove yourself and your son from this creepy situation that is unhealthy for you both.
posted by blueberry at 11:25 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm betting on 10%, 5% or even 1% of the possibility that we are getting back as a couple.
From where I'm sitting it seems you have a ZERO PERCENT possibility.

As in none
as in No chance
as in This guy will never give you what you want/need/deserve—because either he doesn't have it in him, or you are not what he actually wants. Sorry.
He keeps me here in this half in half out relationship with tiny possibility.
He keeps you where he wants because HE is getting exactly what he wants—why would he change if he's already getting 100% of his desires? If you fit into what he wants, it seems it is perhaps only peripherally.
Again, sorry (but really, this guy is jerking you around at an almost gold-medal Olympic level)
posted by blueberry at 11:42 PM on January 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kinda gave him ultimatum but ended up crossing out the option so instead, we said "lets just set the boundaries of yours and mine so that you wont feel pushed and I still feel that I am getting security (relationship security)… Could I tell myself he can fuck all the girls if he wants as long as he comes home to me?
Okay, if you won't leave him for your sake—as it sounds as if you're willing to "settle" to squandering your remaining years in a loveless relationship LLC...

Instead, leave this guy for the sake of your son and your son's future children.

Ignoring (as you seem to be) the other blaring red flag, I wouldn't want my son to be raised by a man who treated his mother anywhere near the way this guy's treating you.

How do you suppose that is teaching your son to behave, or to treat women? Would you want your son to treat his wife the way you're being treated?
posted by blueberry at 12:20 AM on January 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sounds like he might be gay and has a crush on your son?
posted by KogeLiz at 12:31 AM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


also, i might add that you can have sex with females occasionally and still be gay.
Or Bi-sexual.

In any case... yeah, cut the strings
posted by KogeLiz at 12:34 AM on January 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes he has a psycological issue and some blockages that drives him act that way. It'll be a too long of story so I will skip what exactly that is but he definitely has a major psyc. problems including the committment phobia, romance addiction, co-dependancy etc.

When I first found out about his problem, I told myself to stick with him and be patience. If this was some kind of disorder and someone is leaving me because of my condition, it'd hurt. So I stayed and I thought I love him enough wait for him to fix these issue. Just be supportive.


I can imagine how much time and emotional energy you've already put into trying to understand and help this guy, and how frustrating it must be when you're trying to explain all the stuff you've already figured out to people who answer you with "Who cares? He's treating you badly, move on."

But the thing is, he is treating you badly. Putting aside for now the issue of how much his own psychological issues are behind that, or how confused he is, or what he might genuinely want to do, you should still focus on that one indisputable fact about the situation - he is treating you badly.

I'm sure his psychological issues are big ones, so big that the people who've given you advice on how to deal with them are support groups and psychiatrists. As a result, though, it gets really really easy to fall into the trap of medicalising them - "he's not just being a dick, he's ill and I should be supportive! If he caught measles I wouldn't leave him for being spotty, would I?" And no, likely you wouldn't. (Although if he had Ebola, I suspect you'd still want him in quarantine so his illness couldn't damage you and others.)

But he has choices, in a way that someone with measles doesn't have a choice to develop spots. He might not think he has choices, and you might not think he has choices, and the shrink who told you to be patient and wait for him might not think he has choices, because once you've all started looking at this as He's Not Bad, He Just Has Issues, it's oh so very easy to assume that issues beyond his control lead to actions beyond his control. But they don't. When it comes to how his issues affect other people, he has choices.

I get that you want to be supportive. Being patient and non-confrontational might seem like the only way to do that. But honestly, sometimes the most supportive thing you can do for someone is to be the one person in their life who says "This is not the way to treat other human beings - I'm gone."
posted by Catseye at 1:32 AM on January 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


It makes sense that in a long-bad relationship, it's hard to know when to give up. And there you have your guy, saying all these well-meaning or nice-sounding things. It's hard.

The easiest way to end a relationship in these circumstances, I've found, is to find something that you truly believe, a principle about how you should or should not be treated, and then stand by it. During a breakup, things get tough, and something like that can help you remember. So find one behavior that you just will not tolerate or that you absolutely believe you deserve, something that you believe so much that you're willing to draw the line and pick this as your battleground, something that if you can't have it, you might as well not have the relationship.

I agree with many others that his issues are probably so big that they won't shift. But the surest way to find out is to identify some minor request that is something you really believe you deserve in a relationship, (or deserve to not have to put up with), something that if you knew you'd never get your way on, you'd be willing to lose the relationship. Then let him know your request, then let him know that it's a really do-or-die issue for you. Then stick to your guns. That's the trick to this technique, picking something that you'll stick to, so it can't be abstract, it should be something that would make you viscerally reject him if he says no. Something like "he won't even kiss me on the cheek?? What!?! I was crazy to think he'd ever change! And why would I date someone who won't even kiss me on the cheek??"
posted by salvia at 2:13 AM on January 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


By letting him use you like this, you are silently teaching your son that this is an OK way for a man to treat a woman. ("Just pay her bills, and she'll do what you want!") From what I can tell, this man is a pretty big role model for your son. I hope to whatever God might be out there that this isn't who you want your son to turn out like.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:23 AM on January 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


By letting him use you like this, you are silently teaching your son that this is an OK way for a man to treat a woman. ("Just pay her bills, and she'll do what you want!") From what I can tell, this man is a pretty big role model for your son. I hope to whatever God might be out there that this isn't who you want your son to turn out like.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:23 AM on January 2 [2 favorites -] [!]


I am reposting this for emphasis.

Please read it and consider it carefully. This is a man of which you said:
he definitely has a major psyc. problems including the committment phobia, romance addiction, co-dependancy etc.
and although we can give him "credit" for being in therapy and "working" on his issues, this is still YOUR SON'S ADULT MALE ROLE MODEL.

Leaving him so he can work out his "issues" is the best option for you, your son and really if you are to be HONEST WITH YOURSELF it is the best option for this man. You are enabling him which is not helping him with is co-dependancy issues. The weight of his financial support of you is making all of you (including him) miserable. If it helps, you don't have to hate him for what he's doing to you, feel sorry for him if you must, but know that he will never get better if you continue the relationship like this.
posted by smartypantz at 8:41 AM on January 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


When you say he's seeing/having sex with other women, are you sure that they are, in fact, women? Because something in your story has me leaning toward the assumption that he might be gay (perhaps a self-hating gay) and seeing men on the side, and the reason he supports you and your son is either because A) he's always wanted a family and likes playing dad without having to go through the whole pregnancy and diaper-changing bit, plus supporting you two assuages some of the guilt he feels, or B) his family/friends/co-workers don't know he's gay and he is using you and your son as his beard. Does he ever take you out on "dates"? To business dinners or functions? Does he take you and your son to company picnics or outings with his family?
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:05 AM on January 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


"...sometimes the most supportive thing you can do for someone is to be the one person in their life who says "This is not the way to treat other human beings - I'm gone."

-Catseye


Once I started living my life this way, my life became heaps less sad, drama-filled, and a super amazing guy who treats me exactly the way I always believed was possible came into my life and we got married.


I can't nth that statement enough. Sometimes the kindest act you can perform for another is to tell them the truth of their choices and treat them accordingly.


Men who cause you this much emotional anguish don't get an honored place in your heart or in your family.
posted by jbenben at 11:37 AM on January 2, 2011 [10 favorites]


He is not sleeping with other women. He is gay.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 6:30 AM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


He sounds manipulative and you sound very much in denial. Nothing about your situation is normal or tolerable. Get out and cut off all contact, financial support and do not allow your son to contact him and vice versa. You and your son will both survive and be better off without this guy.

Also, every 15/16 year old is stupid / naive compared to a grown man. Please get your son into some therapy for a few sessions to discuss any impact he feels from your breakup.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:22 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


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