Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Am I overreacting or righfully irritated?
March 23, 2012 10:01 PM   Subscribe

What has just happened in my relationship? Am I being unintentionally dramatic and hard on my SO? (long...ugh)

The background: My BF and I have been seeing each other for just over 6 months. We are both in our early 30s and at the point in our lives where we don't want to be in a casual relationship. I have had some real periods of doubt during this time, intermixed with periods where I think it may be able to work.

The issues:
I love to plan, well, pretty much anything, while he constantly flies by the seat of his pants. We live far enough away from each other in an area with terrible traffic that we have mainly seen each other only on weekends. If anything gets planned for those weekends, it is me who plans it 95% of the time. I expressed to him that this bothers me, and his response was that he "doesn't feel like everything needs to be planned out". My reply was that I had no problem with being spontaneous or using a "Plan B", but that I did not always want to be the one taking the reigns. That being said, we almost always have a nice time when we're together.

I want to talk about everything and he is extremely closed off. He has never told me he loves me, aside from the day he asked me to be his girlfriend (three weeks in) and he misunderstood something I said and answered with, "I love you too. That's scary for me because I've never said that before". This threw me SO badly that I didn't have it in me to say, "Uh, yeah...sorry...I actually didn't say 'I love you'". Other than that extremely awkward moment, he's never said much about how he feels about me or our relationship. In fairness, I haven't really said much either, mainly due to the fact that I have been very unsure about how I feel. Any written communication with me, whether text or email, is extremely abrupt - one word or one sentence at the most. It makes me sad. In addition, he has the worst memory of anyone I have ever met. He admits it's bad. He does Not. Remember. Anything. And it makes me crazy.

What has now happened to possibly throw me over the edge:

Last weekend he was downed with a cold and told me he was going to spend the weekend in quarantine. He also did not think he would be able to attend his grandma's birthday party that was happening on Sunday. Suddenly, the night before, he decided he was going to go and asked if I was going to come. Due to other tentative plans I had made with friends, I told him I was not sure I could go and asked what time it was happening. As usual, he had no clue and said he'd text me in the morning. By the time he got in touch with me (in the form of an abrupt email giving me directions to the place the party was being held), I'd pretty much given up on the idea and would have had to hurry to get ready and drive 60 miles to get there. He, on the other hand, clearly seemed to be assuming I was coming and I still didn't even know what time it was happening. Frankly, I was a little irritated and called him and told him that I thought I better sit this one out. There was some tension about this.


We had plans for me to drive up to his place after work today. This morning I got a text message that said "I can either come down there tonight or I'll need a few hours to clean up". My first thought was, "Ew! Living in filth!" and my second thought was "Why didn't you clean up your filth last night if we had already decided I would be coming over?!", followed by "Holy Cats! Your tiny apartment must be super disgusting if you need a few hours to clean it up. Nasty". I also felt that he had essentially done a 180 on our plans and invited himself over. He called me around the time he'd usually be getting home from work and told me that he was having beer with friends and would maybe be able to leave in an hour or an hour and a half (uh, yeah...so clearly he was in no hurry to go home and clean up). This made me feel like he expects me to just hang around and be available whenever. I ended up texting him about 10 minutes later and telling him I thought it would be better if we just did our own thing tonight. He responded with 'Okay, I'll unpack the car" (which (1) I don't believe was true - he would not have been home yet- and (2) would involve nothing more than taking out his bag of laundry that I'm sure he was going to do at my house (3) I believe was just said to be passive aggressive.

Ok, internets: what's my next move? Am I making too big of a deal about all of this? Is it hopeless? If I do end it, how do I keep from being so scared that I chicken out? I am having trouble thinking clearly about this!
posted by couchtater to Human Relations (42 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Stop texting. Have a conversation about this in person or even on the phone...with your voices. Assume goodwill on behalf of all parties. You're only six months in, if you really like this guy, you need to give it time to let all the kinks work themselves out. Long-distance is never super great for that.
posted by amanda at 10:09 PM on March 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


We are both in our early 30s and at the point in our lives where we don't want to be in a casual relationship.

Ask yourself, how sure are you about this statement?
posted by mannequito at 10:13 PM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oof. The first incident was inconsiderate. The second incident started out like maybe you should be a little more flexible, but then he was kind of a consistent jerk throughout the rest of it. Does he want more space, or think you guys spend too much time together? Maybe ask?

The "unpack the car" thing, yeah, there was no reason to say that beyond passive-aggression basically. Even if he'd thrown a few things in the car. Unless he was signalling that he was ready to come over right away if you changed your mind. I imagine he felt hurt, though.

I also think you guys should call each other more. I think if you want things to work, you should give him the benefit of the doubt. That being said, this would and has driven me crazy in the past, so I think you need to be clear about your boundaries and what information you need to be considerate of everyone, and you're already doing that it seems.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:15 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


You need to figure out if these conflicting approaches to life are a deal breaker for you. In a healthy relationship, each side will influence the other toward balance (the super-structured one will learn to relax and live in the moment more, the super-spontaneous one will learn that that there is some freedom in having some guidelines).

People need time to clean up apartments that have nothing to do with living in a pig sty. There might be undone dishes, there might be laundry, there migiht be porn he wants to put away. None of these scream 'man-child unable to take care of himself'. I can understand how they might to someone as orderly as it sounds like you like things.

That said, it sounds like you need to have the 'lets get on the same page with regards to this relationship' conversation, especially if you feel like you're at very different points with it. Some of this will require being vulnerable and laying it on the line 'im a very structured person and it seems like you're not and i feel uncomfortable and nervous when i feel like you dont value my time by not giving me some advance notice' kind of stuff.

Time to set a good precedent, and then figure out if its really as big of a challenge as you've made it. Plenty of successful couples have very different life structure philosophies, but there needs to be some leeway and consideration given on both sides.
posted by softlord at 10:20 PM on March 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, you need to speak more to one another. Particularly if you want this to be more than casual.
posted by mleigh at 10:21 PM on March 23, 2012


My first thought was, "Ew! Living in filth!" and my second thought was "Why didn't you clean up your filth last night if we had already decided I would be coming over?!", followed by "Holy Cats! Your tiny apartment must be super disgusting if you need a few hours to clean it up. Nasty".

That's harsh. It takes me a good couple of hours to clean my whole place, even when it isn't dirty, if I'm planning to mop and do laundry and rearrange things and whatnot -- and that's when I hurry, because I always hurry. Asking for a few hours to clean up his place is completely reasonable and not a sign of the things you're thinking.
posted by davejay at 10:38 PM on March 23, 2012 [32 favorites]


I am much more like your boyfriend than I'm like you, and I think I can tell you from the inside that the kind of disorganized approach to things he is displaying is deep-rooted and very, very difficult to change.

I think you would be good for him, but he would not be good for you.
posted by jamjam at 10:43 PM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


It sounds like there's an awful lot of you being fed up with him. I question whether you're compatible.

If you want to give this a shot, you defInitely need to work on communicating more clearly and honestly with each other.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:50 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I promise I didn't really judge him on the filthy apartment thing like it came across in the original post. That was a backfired approach at silliness. I actually needed some time to get things straightened up today when I thought he was coming over, but the difference is I raced home from work to get it done because I thought he's be on his way over. Sometimes I tend to expect a lot from people because it's what I would do for them. Anyway, this really helps me get my thoughts in order...I appreciate it :-)
posted by couchtater at 10:57 PM on March 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


This morning I got a text message that said "I can either come down there tonight or I'll need a few hours to clean up". My first thought was, "Ew! Living in filth!" and my second thought was "Why didn't you clean up your filth last night if we had already decided I would be coming over?!", followed by "Holy Cats! Your tiny apartment must be super disgusting if you need a few hours to clean it up. Nasty".

Start with the first sentence there, and end up with the last word of the last sentence. I have no idea how you went from 0 to offensive so fast, but THAT is the problem. Stop doing that.
posted by karathrace at 10:57 PM on March 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I am not a big planner. I play it by ear. I got married to a woman who plans out everything. I am more than willing to go along with a plan, I just am not initiating them unless it is something like drive 5 hours to see a family member or go visit friends on west coast. I do not plan what restaurant to go to in three weekends. Whatevs.

I now have 3 terrific kids and one pretty ok EX-wife. While I in no way blame this difference for our breakup, it certainly created a lot of unnecessary tension. I think you should talk with him rather than text, but that will just get you to the point of conflict faster. It will not change either of your style's. You need to decide if you can live with him with this being the way he is. While he can change a little, and probably will more so as he gets older and has specific responsibilities on the weekends such as coaching a kid's soccer match, in general, he will not change nor will you. He needs to decide if he can live with a "planner type".
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:04 PM on March 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Couples have gotten over this set of issues, but that takes willingness and goodwill, and non-judgmental communication. My gut feeling is that because this pushes your buttons so much, and because he's pretty far on the opposite end of a spectrum from you, this'll take more work than you'll be emotionally willing to put in.

It might go be better if you could avoid feeling that your way is good and right, as opposed to your preference and what you find most comfortable. Your way is a fine preference and more culturally appropriate in some contexts. But his way has advantages and in some situations might be more appropriate. So, you may need to see it as one way of being, then explain your way to him and make a request that he meet your preferences at times. Try to avoid judging him or taking it personally. He just has a different approach.

So, for instance, you could explain yourself in phrases like this: "one thing about me is that i really like to plan ahead. i like to make a specific plan about where and when we're going to do things, prepare ahead of time, and then carry out the event. to me, that feels comfortable." on preview: "i have these high standards for myself, and when it comes together at the last minute, i often can't meet my standards, like i didn't think i'd be able to be on time to the birthday party. that's really hard for me." "when i am going to do something, i get all geared up for it, but then if i don't know what's happening, that energy has nowhere to go." "when we make plans, i set aside the time as a special block for doing something, and when that special time ends up not being used, because we didn't have the same start time or plans in mind, then sometimes i imagine that means you don't see my time as valuable, even though i know you're not thinking about it that way." "i'm especially uncomfortable when i'm all geared up to do something but i don't even know what's happening when, and what i should do to prepare. i like to be prepared to do things well." "doing things in a plan-as-you-go way is so hard for me that i would almost rather not do things when they happen like that." (or whatever.) He may not be able to meet your needs here, but you could try explaining them that way.

You'll also feel a lot better if you develop affection for him and his ways by looking for what's advantageous about them, or when you see them as an integral part of this person you love. You can also listen to his version of the sentences above, about why his approach is best for him.

my guess is that even this post will infuriate you ("why should i have to explain that to him??") so it's probably not worth trying. you might be better off finding someone who shares your values here. but if you do think it'd be nice to have an easy-going, spontaneous person like him in your life, then hopefully this will help your communication.
posted by salvia at 11:13 PM on March 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


Honestly, I've known men like this, and never, has it ever been sustainable or have we ever reached an even keel, no matter how many times I effectively communicated what I needed or tried to agree upon what seemed a reasonable compromise, etc. They just always ended up being unreliable and/or unavailable.

Having relationships of any kind with people like this is crazy-making if one likes solid plans. At all. And it's hard to stay on the same page because this type of person is always changing his mind.

I'd say cut your losses-- it's a fundamental difference in lifestyles, priorities, expectations and communication styles. No amount of talking this over with him is going to make him stop acting this way, at his age, especially because he kind of seems ok with it.

He SAYS he loves you, but the way he ACTS is not the way you NEED him to behave in order for you to FEEL loved. I honestly don't see this changing, and I'm sorry you are in this position. I'd get out now. I guarantee this is not the first time a woman has dumped him for the exact same reason. If you're in doubt about that, ask him. He'll tell you. Well, maybe, sort of.
posted by devymetal at 11:27 PM on March 23, 2012 [23 favorites]


It doesn't sound like you really like this guy that much. When you're at a time in your life that you're ready to settle down, you need to be more picky about who you go out with, not less so. This guy is driving you crazy 6 months in. Seems likely to be way worse 20 years from now if you stay.
posted by hazyjane at 11:48 PM on March 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well, in the best case scenario, what you have is opposites attracting... except they're not, very much, and more like opposites irritating. Anyway, there's no such thing as 'rightfully irritated', but maybe I'm saying that because I'm a pretty laid-back, messy, random and vaguely passive Type B person. This is to say, he's never going to become more organized unless he makes a Herculean effort (usually people of the Type B persuasion leave such awareness of time for weddings, funerals and job interviews they/we actually want).

But yes, your needs aren't being met... the only reason I mentioned the above is because I hope you realize he (most likely) isn't doing it on purpose, or to disrespect you-- it's just how he is, it sounds like. Besides, if the best you can say you have together is a 'nice' time, it probably isn't worth it. If he's the kind of guy who said he's never said 'I love you' before and he's over 30, clearly you're simply missing each other's signals 'cause this can't be a person who doesn't feel something for you. He just doesn't express it, generally (and if you go by what he said, more with you than with anyone else, but of course it's not enough).

Anyway, as a Type B person, I know that unless I'm with the right individual, I have a tendency to make Type A people either resent me for not being like them or turn them into my mother (which they also resent). The only person so far I've successfully had a relationship with across the Type A/B divide is my mother. If you in fact don't wish to either resent him or be his mom, I suggest you quit while you can since it sounds like it's not going to be a big loss, as he's an irritating, frustrating, annoying bum when he's not being halfway tolerable. This doesn't sound like a relationship that will progress but rather regress into full-blown resentment if you're not careful.
posted by reenka at 1:04 AM on March 24, 2012


My comment is largely a repeat of the comments above, but with anecdotes on my relationship: I am also a planner, and boyfriend is also a seat-of-his-pants person. So far, we have made it work. Hopefully some of these anecdotes help you.

What the posters up above said is very true: this is a fundamental difference in outlooks and lifestyles, and it's difficult to work around. That said, it is also very likely you'll learn to balance each other out. I used to rather be half an hour early than five minutes late, and prefer plans set in stone about a week (if not more) ahead. Boyfriend preferred (and still does) to be late rather than early (even if VERY late) and loves last minute plans.

Waiting on the boyfriend (who makes me late by the aforementioned 5-10 minutes) have taught me that there are far better (or at least, more important) things to stress about in life than five minutes. On the other hand, when I put my foot down and say "we are getting out the door at THIS time because we are NOT going to be late for [Uber Important Event], he buckles up and listens to me. I might still have to do the check around the house for lights and important items and run through the list of wallet-cellphone-keys for him, but we get there. These are the "little" things that we've both learned to be more relaxed about.

If it actually involves "bigger" things and hurt feelings and both of you can't naturally gravitate towards a middle ground, you need to talk about it. Stop trying to communicate in 140 characters on a cell phone. There is no tone, less context, facial expressions, all the little things that are a part of human conversation, and it's so easy to misconstrue something. At the very least, call him up. And cut out the passive aggression on both ends. You want something, you say it frankly and honestly and wait for the other person to say their piece on what you just said. (I'm taking your word re: your update on how the filth part of your post was hyperbole, but if even any of it came across to him...well, I can't blame him for being unhappy.)

Talk more, text less. Hell, my general rule is 'text only if it's happy, or if unhappy, not about the other person.'

Also, while it's true that you need what you need and if your boyfriend can't give you what you need, then the both of you should part ways, you may want to consider whether your stance in its current state is what you need or what you would ideally want. Some wiggle room to reach a compromise would go a long way here. But only you can decide that.

I've also had my own come to Jesus talk with my guy about bigger, hurt feelings - he blew me off two weekends in a row (not maliciously, but still) and we had a sit down, which I clearly explained that we can compromise on how far away to schedule dates, but I better not get blown off without a Very Good Reason and some communication beforehand. We now make plans between 3-7 days ahead (usually 3-4), open to up-to-night-before changes with allowances for last-minute lateness due to emergencies. Works for the both of us.
posted by Hakaisha at 1:04 AM on March 24, 2012


You also might find this thread helpful.
posted by Hakaisha at 1:11 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sure he's also having second thoughts about this thing and you're starting to feel him pushing back against your efforts to make him stop living for the moment and start scheduling his life in your Outlook calendar.

Tell him you want a planner and he has to become a planner now or you'll start looking for someone else. If he's looking for a way out of this, you'll be giving him one.
posted by pracowity at 1:15 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even if you can nudge him into acting a little bit more to your liking, I'd be worried that he'd lapse back into old ways once you move past the courting stage and into the comfortable stage. And then you'll feel more invested (if you're like me, anyway) and it will be harder to break things off.

Not to say that being a laid-back non-plans kind of person is bad or wrong, just that it is sublimely irritating to people who like to plan things out. I was in a relationship with a similar person some years ago, and it never stopped being a bone of contention between us, despite the length of our relationship. For whatever that anecdote is worth, anyway.
posted by Arethusa at 1:24 AM on March 24, 2012


Some people are saying you need to talk more. I think you need to talk less.

The thing I think is unfair here is that he is effectively requiring you to jump when he snaps his fingers, and only he knows when he will snap them and why.

Although culturally, you look like the nagging, controlling one, you are expressing a reasonable need to know. The tidiness rant, though OTT, I think is your expression of a buildup of other annoyances which are justifiable.

Next time he turns on a dime and requires you to drive 60 miles to his grandmother's birthday, just say "sorry but it's too late now". If he gets mad, let him have his reaction. It is not fair for him to expect you to drop everything and run to catch up with him, even if that is his "personal style". At the very least, you are entitled to rule yourself according to your personal style as much as he is entitled to rule himself by his. But you don't get to rule him and he doesn't get to rule you.

He will either learn to give you more notice or he will move on to someone else who will give him complete control over the flow of all information and action - which is what super super casual people really want in my experience, YMMV.
posted by tel3path at 1:35 AM on March 24, 2012 [26 favorites]


His way of doing things is most likely very ingrained. He probably has some personal values tied up in it, as a way of rationalizing this as a way of life. And he's probably not capable of a higher level of planning ahead. For example, I have someone in my life who because of ADHD can't organize their lives, paperwork, job hunt, dr's appts, etc to have a better life (even for their kid). The value system they built up around this is pretty much "planning ahead is so square and conventional and The Man and shit." (laugh at me for taking out a lawnmower an mowing the lawn at my house that I own); they make friends with people who share that approach and get upset over injustices in the world. But you know what? Sometimes it's nice to have a steady income and health insurance (and get upset over the injustices in the world). But then I remember that they have ADHD and actually CAN'T maintain a steady job.

But we all do this. We all create a value system that rationalizes our way of life and turns our shortcomings into "principled stands". You have a need to plan ahead and you may even have some anxiety around "unplanned ness" that restricts or burdens your friends -- that impedes on their ability to stumble onto the surprises life has to offer when you improvise. You take the jazz out of life. But your value attached to the need to plan ahead is that it's "respectful of other people and their time" and anything less is disrespectful. It would be pretty hard to convince you otherwise.

That's why it's so hard to change or get people to change. Our value systems are based around our strengths and shortcomings.
posted by vitabellosi at 3:49 AM on March 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


This relationship might have a better chance of working if you lived really close to each other. But the distance and the driving are bringing your incompatibility into high relief. And it sounds like the two of you don't like each other enough, or treat each other well enough, for this to be worth pursuing.
posted by jayder at 6:22 AM on March 24, 2012


Honestly, I've known men like this, and never, has it ever been sustainable or have we ever reached an even keel, no matter how many times I effectively communicated what I needed or tried to agree upon what seemed a reasonable compromise, etc. They just always ended up being unreliable and/or unavailable.

I'm a planner. My husband isn't. We get along fine, except for maybe once a year when we fight about it.

Anyway, date nights. If this is going to work, pick one day a week when you know you're going to see each other and set that date aside so that you know you'll see each other then. Yes, it's artificial, but you'll feel like your needs are being met because he'll be sticking to a schedule for you, and you won't have to call up and be like, "Soooo . . . this weekend. Date?"

In my experience, planners--including me--tend to think that the time commitment is evidence of love or affection. If someone stands you up, it's proof they don't really give a damn. I think we see a little bit of that in your follow-up: "the difference is I raced home from work to get it done because I thought he's be on his way over. Sometimes I tend to expect a lot from people because it's what I would do for them. " That's not the way mutual, mature relationships always work. You need some flexibility built in. From what you've told us, this guy does not sound like he's trying to control the situation. I realize that might be a comforting narrative, but I really don't think it's true. It sounds like he just doesn't work the way that you do. You're going to have to meet him halfway.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:04 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


He has never told me he loves me, aside from the day he asked me to be his girlfriend (three weeks in) and he misunderstood something I said and answered with, "I love you too. That's scary for me because I've never said that before"

Oh, and he said he loves you. I'm not sure why you're not counting this. Really, it sounds like you want a more demonstrative guy. And there's nothing wrong with that, but the fact that this guy isn't doesn't make him a jerkbag or anything. It's okay to break up with someone based on simple incompatibility without needing us to tell you his behavior is a big deal.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:07 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


To me, your expectations are too high for this particular guy and it sounds like you want a different guy than the one you have. Laundry lists of incompatibilities and "real periods of doubt" don't spell happily ever after. It sounds hopeless to me unless you both stop with the poor communication and passive-aggressive behavior.
posted by sm1tten at 7:43 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know you were just kidding about his cleaning habits being nasty, but I have found that making jokes like this at the expense of your so is really hurtful. We have all done it (I think), but at one point, my person and I promised not to do this and also not use a certain dismissive tone with each other that we overheard other couples doing. I don't know if this is the guy for you, but in general I think no matter what is happening, being respectful of the other person is sets the tone for how you feel towards the other person. After awhile, I think some people start to believe their own jokes and it makes them dislike their partner.
posted by katinka-katinka at 8:00 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


You guys may simply not be compatible ... or you may just not communicate well. This reminds me of the scene in The Break-up when Jennifer Aniston is asking Vince Vaughn to help with the dishes after a dinner party. They argue back and forth, and he finally says, Oh, all right, I'll help! And she's all like Never mind, don't bother, I wanted you to want to help me wash the dishes, and he is incredulous. "You want me to want to wash the dishes??" They are just coming from two vastly different approaches to life which undoes them (until he grows up!)

Speaks to the wisdom in You Just Don't Understand by Deborah Tannen, an oft-recommended book around here.
posted by thinkpiece at 8:11 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


To piggy bank off of thinkpiece, it might also be worthwhile for you to both take the 5 love languages assessment. My husband is all about acts of service. It took me a long time to realize that his running to the grocery store or doing dishes for me was how he was saying "I love you."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:16 AM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


You seem to be doing an awful lot of mind-reading here. I see a lot of "he said/did x, and so that means he thinks y." I would try to cut down on this - the only way to know what he's thinking is to ask him. If you assume you know what's going on in his head, you'll create conflicts out of thin air.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:47 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah yes, Mr. Unreliable. I was in that situation once and we were able to work it out. It all comes down to this:

You teach people how to treat you.

You have to stop accepting his last minute plans. If he calls you up and wants you to go see his grandma last minute "Sorry, my schedule is already booked. Maybe If I had more notice next time". If he wants to change plans at the last minute, "Changing plans at the last minute for a reason other then an emergency is not polite. We can either go with the scheduled plans, or I will catch you some other time". Do not elaborate or try to defend yourself if he whines. Keep saying "that will not be possible" as many times as you have to.

In other words, teach him that you will not engage with him unless he is reliable and keeps his word. That is your price of admission. He will either want to see you so bad that he will learn to respect your time and schedule as much as his own, or he will leave. Either way you will be better off then you are now.
posted by Shouraku at 8:49 AM on March 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


My reply was that I had no problem with being spontaneous...

I think you lied to him here.
posted by rhizome at 9:09 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are whole families out there like this guy - they grow up like this and learn it and can almost never change, in fact they have a sort of stubborn pride on being late and impulsive. They might even call it operating on Smith Time if they are the Smiths. Dating them when you are the opposite is at first an adventure and then it slowly turns into a nightmare. Run away now (and on time and not embarrassingly late!).
posted by meepmeow at 9:19 AM on March 24, 2012


I have a different POV here. I'm much more like your boyfriend, and I've dated people more like you. I've had experiences where the guy I've dated, the one who plans everything, the one who has to make room in his schedule for me, has made me feel like I'm not that important in his life. Like I'm just another 'activity' he has to schedule. What your boyfriend did (re: the grandmother's birthday party, going out with friends) was inconsiderate, but maybe he wants a girlfriend who doesn't mind changing her plans because she wants to see him that badly. I think you two need to have a frank talk about your expectations of each other, because you might find that he's having some issues with this situation as well. Or you might discover he's an immature man-child, and you can DTMFA and find a guy more compatible.
posted by toerinishuman at 10:21 AM on March 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


You guys are just different. His way is not wrong and yours is not right. They are different. It sounds like you want something different than what he has to give. It sounds like you would be happy with a man who planned dates that you could anticipate and look forward to. A man that communicates his excitement at seeing you and who puts other priorities aside and you first. One man isn't better than the other, it just seems like you want the other. Go get what you want.
posted by Vaike at 10:26 AM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


He has never told me he loves me, aside from the day he asked me to be his girlfriend (three weeks in) and he misunderstood something I said and answered with, "I love you too. That's scary for me because I've never said that before". This threw me SO badly that I didn't have it in me to say, "Uh, yeah...sorry...I actually didn't say 'I love you'". Other than that extremely awkward moment, he's never said much about how he feels about me or our relationship.

This is... bad. You guys are not on the same page and I think you're forcing it. Everything shouldn't feel so tedious, and difficult, and chore-like, and passive-aggressive, especially not six months in, and basic interactions shouldn't take this much work. My feeling is that you should probably end this sooner than later.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 10:33 AM on March 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Enough with the mind-reading nonsense, on both your parts. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. If he wants you to go to his grandmother's birthday, he needs to tell you the details a reasonable time in advance. If you want to go over to his place for a change instead of yours, you need to say that.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:05 PM on March 24, 2012


[Folks, don't be cryptic. Make comments that explain what you are talking about and not just expect people to intuit what you are getting at.]
posted by jessamyn at 12:43 PM on March 24, 2012


Maybe I'm a flake through and through, but it also appears to me that capital-p Planning is actually a character in your relationships/life that you give power over any ability to be spontaneous. "Can't do it. Plans." Is it reasonable to assume that you always have plans for many aspects of your waking hours?

I'm just trying to find some middle ground here, but I imagine it's likely that you two simply aren't compatible on an everyday level, regardless of your chemistry. 6mos is a decent amount of time to figure this out.
posted by rhizome at 1:26 PM on March 24, 2012


It sounds like a lower-quality match to me. It is possible for an Organizer and a Pant-seater to mesh up, but they have to be able to communicate.

I think this is a really telling question: If I do end it, how do I keep from being so scared that I chicken out?

What are you scared of? Do you think he's going to do something to you if you break up with him? If that's the case, there are resources you can talk to for help. Otherwise, I think you're trying to say that you're so afraid of conflict that not only will you not communicate directly with him in order to be in the relationship, you won't do it to be out of it either. The answer to that is plain old spinal fortitude. Either speak up and stay in, or speak up and get out. Drifting along being miserable is not a reasonable option here.

Probably the best outcome would be for you to end it and then spend some time not in a relationship. It sounds like you need some room to think and make some decisions by and for yourself about what you want, what your boundaries and expectations are, and how to stand up for yourself about them.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:32 PM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This isn't about planning/spontaneity or unpacking cars or dirty apartments. This is about you interpreting his actions to mean that you're not worth as much to him as he is to you. You are taking this stuff personally while he's just doing what he does. His spontaneity has nothing to do with what you mean to him. It's almost a certainty that he does this with everyone. You need a conversation like "When you don't make firm plans with me I feel like I don't matter to you." He'll almost definitely say "no, it's nothing like that..." and he may or may not be any different from then on, but for your own sake you need to not take this stuff personally, or find a more compatible partner.
posted by desjardins at 1:35 PM on March 24, 2012


It sounds like a lower-quality match to me. It is possible for an Organizer and a Pant-seater to mesh up, but they have to be able to communicate.

Yeah, good mutual communication (and that means actual conversations, not texting) is 100% key. I tend toward the Organizer side in my relationship, and my partner is mostly a Pant-seater, and it created some conflict for us early on -- but the only way we worked it out was to have a series of conversations in which we both explicitly conveyed our needs/expectations clearly as well as listened to each other respectfully, all with the objective of finding a mutually workable solution.

If you can't imagine sharing those sorts of conversations and objectives with your boyfriend, then I would say that that's a pretty important signal about the real level of seriousness and future potential for your relationship.
posted by scody at 1:52 PM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Having been there (unfortunately) and done that (UNFORTUNATELY) I would say tel3path has it exactly right.

If you are afraid to end this because he once said 'I love you' 5 months ago, don't be. Words are nothing; deeds do the real talking. I sounds to me like he finds you convenient.

In any case, a workable relationship shouldn't be this difficult; certainly it shouldn't be only you doing all the work.
posted by uans at 2:05 PM on March 24, 2012


« Older So I've used Python here and t...   |  I want to do something crafty ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.