break up or not?
April 22, 2012 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Should I work harder for my relationship or is it beyond saving at this point? I don't know if I'm sacrificing too much for something that will never work.

I've been suffering from anxiety and neurosis for about a year now and I just recently started to think if my problems are caused (or worsened) byt my unhealthy relationship. I just don't know if I'm not trying enough or trying too much at this point.

We've been together with my boyfriend for about 4 years now, 3 of those in a live-in relationship. He is my first relationship (I met him when I turned 18) and I believe I'm his as well, at least a first serious one. He's a year older than me and he'll graduate from bussiness studies this spring. I work but I'm planning to go back to school when I have some money gathered.

The first year into our relationship was lovely, and we fought barely ever. We only saw each others on weekends though. I think the first sign of something's-wrong was when we had just moved in together after being a couple for a year that I started having health issues that affected our sex life really badly. Before that everything had gone great but bad UTIs and other things were putting me off and he just didn't get it. He still hasn't. He's still blaming me for not wanting him as soon as I "got what I wanted" and he moved in with me. Once when we were fighting over it he said I was faking all my health issues so that I didn't have to have sex with him. Ouch. And Yeah, RIGHT. Like I would eat 23 differet antibiotics and spend my income on doctor visits just for laughs.

Some time went by and while the sex-issue stayed the same, he started accusing me of spending money and not having any clue of financials. He's a saving type and I'm (I'll admit it) a spending type, and yes, I don't see a problem of eating a little less fancy foods one month so I can get a bag of my dreams, BUT I've never had ANY debt, I didn't even own a credit card, my bank account always has at least a small amount of money before the next paycheck, and I've never asked money from him. He just thinks we should both just, well, save. I don't even know how many times I've come home and hid a shopping bag just so that he wouldn't immedietly start accusing me of spending all our money into something stupid like clothes or cosmetics. I've even tried calling him when I go shopping and see something I like if it's okay that I buy it, and he just tells me to go for it if I really want it or need it, but accuses me of spending anyway when I come home. He pays our rent and I pay most of the food and bills as we've agreed.

Regarding of those issues things were still pretty great and after two years being a couple I proposed to him. Well, he turned me down. First the reason was that his parents didn't approve, when that came out untrue he said he wants to wait till we're ready to get married instantly after. I've proposed a couple of times last year as well, and then the reason for rejection was that he wants to do it himself. "I don't want to be the man that can't even propose, I will do it when it feels right for me." He even insisted that he wants to do it his way after I said I don't need or even want a big movie proposal and him on his knees for it to feel good.

He's very controllive sometimes. He gets embarrased by some things I say and gets mad at me for "making us both look bad". I'm into piercings (I have 2 besides my ears) and haven't gotten any more because after I got my tongue pierced he didn't talk to me for 2 days cause he doesn't like any body modification. He's said that if I got any facial piercing he didn't know if he could still be with me. If he thinks we should do something his way it often means my way being the wrong way of doing it. He argues by accusing me of things, whereas I try to argument and reason my point. I feel like I have to defend myself in everything.

I think we mostly still fight about sex (he thinks we have too little and I agree, but with my health and all this fighting I'm barely in the mood... and he's just blaiming me for not wanting him anymore) and household chores. Our arguments are almost daily.

Am I just being too sensitive or is he being slightly abusive? I think I'm generally more laid back -type of person and he's a little uptight. We've talked about this several times and whenever we have a conversation he makes me feel like I should do more and try harder for us and our household, but then again when I think about it to myself (like now writing this) I just feel like I would have to change my whole personality to fit his dream-wife picture. There are also issues like he's religious and I'm an atheist, he's very old fashioned (like the engagement -thing) and I'm a liberal. He's from a picture perfect happy family and my background is totally different.

On our good days he's wonderful. We laugh, we talk about music, tv, politics, we kiss and cuddle and I just love him. He's supportive of my anxiety and has never been physically even threatening. He's smart and motivated and my parents love him. But I'm still constantly afraid of the next fight and that I'll say something wrong or do something the way he doesn't like and I'll have to explain or defend myself. I've started to think that my neurosises have popped up because I'm constantly critisized but I don't know if I have myself to blame for that or not. Should I just look into the mirror and work harder? Stay or leave?

At this point I don't even know if I want to get married to him anymore...

Thanks for your advice! I really need it.
posted by lleguana to Human Relations (49 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Leave. I couldn't read the details past the part about him dismissing your health challenges. You fight almost daily. You can find something that will make you happier. Even if there are ways you could "try harder," it likely won't work in a relationship like this. Find someone who believes and sympathizes with any health concerns you have, and try with him / her.
posted by salvia at 6:46 PM on April 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


A good partner doesn't make you question yourself as much as you seem to, based on his opinions. I'd say it's time to call this relationship off.
posted by xingcat at 6:54 PM on April 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


DTMFA

You have a medical condition; he's unsympathetic about how it affects you. Especially day-to-day. I've been in a long term relationship with someone who was suffering from medical problems that made sex unfun for her. I understand. There are alternatives to penis-in-vagina sex, and I totally understood when she wasn't up for even that. Dealbreaker: insensitive unsympathetic selfish person.

The financial philosophy is very different between you. Unless you guys win a huge lottery, it isn't likely to change. And even with a huge windfall, the only difference would be what you two would disagree about. Dealbreaker: completely different worldview; "very controlling" habit will just be about something else even if financials become stupidly insanely great.

Turned down commitment? And you're still with him? Yet he's super duper controlling.

You can do loads better.

But I'm still constantly afraid of the next fight and that I'll say something wrong or do something the way he doesn't like and I'll have to explain or defend myself.

DTMFA. This is not a good relationship, and it sounds like it will never be a good relationship unless something stupidly Hollywood contrived like he gets paralyzed or he suffers brain damage and you devote the rest of your life to making his life less uncomfortable and in the end you end up an angel or a mental asylum inductee or something.
posted by porpoise at 6:56 PM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well as far as I can see, you've got a guy here who:
i) Dismisses your serious health issues as fakery
ii) Thinks you're lying about wanting to have sex with him
iii) Accuses of you of spending his money, when you haven't used any of it
iv) Can't deal with you proposing to him and has basically said he'll propose in his own sweet time
You can do soooooooo much better. Please leave.
posted by peacheater at 6:56 PM on April 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think you have answered your own questions. If you have issues that make you wonder, perhaps you need a break from him. It doesn't really matter if I think he is abusive or not if you have a slight idea that he may be abusing you. If you step away from the relationship, you will be able to assess whether or not you are doing the right things to sustain a healthy life. Maybe just move out and live alone. You can decide later if you want to break up with him, but the fact that you would write and wonder if you are sacrificing too much, you may be sacrificing too much.
posted by Yellow at 6:56 PM on April 22, 2012


Wow, this guy has issues. And not just trust issues that are so large they are affecting your relationship, but an issue reconciling reality and fiction. You are worth so much more than this. Leave before you start to think that you're the problem (because NOTHING you describe here is in any way in line with his reactions).
posted by mynameisluka at 6:59 PM on April 22, 2012


DTMFA. You seem to think that because he's not PHYSICALLY abusive, it's okay for him to be EMOTIONALLY abusive. He IS emotionally abusive, and that's NOT okay. He's manipulating you. He will be so. much. better. off. without him. Get out, for your own sanity.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:59 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


At this point I don't even know if I want to get married to him anymore...

Doesn't matter. He's clearly never going to marry you, although maybe he'll get "engaged" to string you along for awhile (and there will then be excuses as to why the wedding date can't ever be firmly set but keeps getting pushed off). But he's never going to marry you. So if marriage is important to you you can leave him now or in however many more years it takes you to get tired of this.
posted by 6550 at 7:01 PM on April 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're clearly not happy. Go.
posted by zadcat at 7:07 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why the two of you are together in the first place. Leave.
posted by mleigh at 7:08 PM on April 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think you already know the answer to the question. The real question is what are the barriers to you quitting this relationship. In other words, the outcome you desire it to leave.

If you work backward from there, what do you need to do to enable that to occur? Whatever you need to do, it's time to trust yourself and move on.
posted by nickrussell at 7:08 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Leave. Leave. Leave. Dear God leave! Look, never mind determining whether he's abusive, he doesn't have to be a monster for you two to not be working out right. You can do SOOOO much better than him. What other people said about why. Do you really want to be bickering about spending habits & be saddled with all this sexual blame 40 years from now? Just give this fishy back to the sea & move on to someone who delights in you & cares for your health.
posted by Ys at 7:13 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think he's abusive, but I do think you are both horribly wrong for each other. You can both do a lot better than each other.
posted by katypickle at 7:24 PM on April 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


You two aren't suited for one another. Being together is making both of you compromise too much about things that matter differently to each of you. You both have needs the others isn't meeting. Leave so you won't hate each other.

It sucks that he doesn't understand your health issues. It sucks for him to go without a healthy sex life (at 23). You like piercings, he doesn't. He's more of a spendthrift than you. You keep asking a guy to marry you when it's pretty clear things aren't going well and expecting him to say yes. Note - the issue isn't the "proposal."

You started dated each other rather young and you're both still figuring out how to make relationships work. This one isn't working. That's OK. Break up and find other people you're better suited to being with.
posted by shoesietart at 7:24 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


lleguana: " I just recently started to think if my problems are caused (or worsened) byt my unhealthy relationship. ... I think the first sign of something's-wrong was when we had just moved in together after being a couple for a year that I started having health issues that affected our sex life really badly. Before that everything had gone great but bad UTIs and other things"

Maybe I'm jumping at shadows, but there may be something here. Are you sure that he isn't causing these issues somehow (not suggesting deliberately, but maybe something he isn't even aware of). More generally, this relationship doesn't look like a keeper to me anyway.
posted by dg at 7:25 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Framing it as "can you try harder or is he abusive" is unproductive, I think. The fact is, this is a lousy relationship, and it has been for some time. It's not a good relationship with one or two issues you need to work on. You guys are clearly incompatible and not a good match.

You don't need him to be abusive in order to justify leaving a bad relationship. The fact that a relationship is a bad relationship is an excellent reason to end it in its own right.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:27 PM on April 22, 2012 [14 favorites]


I think the fact that you want to marry him and he doesn't want to marry you is a pretty big issue worth ending the relationship over.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:27 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regardless of who is at fault, it's clear that your relationship is a) not making you happy, b) isn't making him happy, and c) is getting worse, not better. Unless you can imagine some kind of magical miracle where you both wake up tomorrow morning happy and committed, I'd suggest that you break things off sooner rather than later.

This is guaranteed to be one of those things where later you look back and think, "what took me so long?"
posted by Forktine at 7:34 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why does he have to be abusive in order for you to feel justified in breaking up with him?

And that proposal rejection? Count yourself lucky. Bullet dodged!
posted by jbenben at 7:38 PM on April 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


You lost me at paragraph 4. That he thinks you're capable of lying and faking health problems to avoid having sex with him tells you just how little he thinks of you.

This is not a healthy relationship, and this is not a fixable problem. Neither of you are happy, and staying together is just prolonging the misery.

Please quit begging him to marry you and move on with your life.
posted by Space Kitty at 7:40 PM on April 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


There are like five sentences of good in a wall of text of bad here. You don't sound compatible, nobody's really happy, and he doesn't want to marry you. The only way this relationship would be worth fighting for is if he was willing to fight WITH you, not just fight YOU, and I'm not getting that impression. I don't think you are either. So... What do YOU want to do?
posted by sm1tten at 7:49 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait....DO you want to have sex with him? Aside from vaginal sex, there's a lot of sex you could be having. I'm not sure he's off the mark on questioning your interest in him -- obviously he's taking it too far to suggest you're faking health issues. But sex is fundamental to some people and not having it -- if you're not engaging in any kind of sex --can feel like a big rejection to those kind of people.

But you're all well beyond that issue now. When someone doesn't accept your proposal of marriage--assuming you both believe in marriage-- that's pretty much the end of the relationship. I'm not sure why he hasn't ended the relationship more explicitly yet -- but it seems like he's pretty much pushing you to do it.
posted by vitabellosi at 8:01 PM on April 22, 2012


If this will help you give yourself permission to end this relationship let me say very clearly that his accusing you of "faking" health problems to avoid intercourse is abusive. Okay? You are being abused and shown disrespect. End this relationship.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:02 PM on April 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


You have been dealing with your anxiety and neurosis for a year now. You need someone that can support you, love you, and grow with you. You don't need what you currently have which is an incredibly unhealthy relationship. You are not being treated well (to put it lightly).

Your intuition told you to leave a long time ago when you got the first sign that something was wrong. Please leave. You can do this even if you have to do it on your own. You will be okay. Just leave.
posted by livinglearning at 8:27 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


You are not right for each other, and this is not what a marriage relationship should feel like. Leave.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 8:50 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


He's still blaming me for not wanting him as soon as I "got what I wanted" and he moved in with me. Once when we were fighting over it he said I was faking all my health issues so that I didn't have to have sex with him. Ouch. And Yeah, RIGHT. Like I would eat 23 differet antibiotics and spend my income on doctor visits just for laughs.

And that's where I got on the DTMFA train. This guy sounds like a nightmare, and your relationship doesn't sound like much fun to be in. Not only that, but you two sound very badly matched. The things that are good in your relationship are things that you can definitely find with someone else. But even if you don't, single is better than this.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:54 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


He sounds very controlling, unkind, and manipulative. Would you tolerate this behaviour from a friend or acquaintance?
posted by thylacinthine at 9:06 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


This isn't an abusive relationship, so much as it's a relationship where you're just not compatible with each other. There's nothing in your question weighing in favor of staying together.
posted by jayder at 10:11 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's a reality check from adulthood: being in love with someone isn't a good enough reason to be in a relationship with them. The minimum threshold for a relationship is: is kind to you, treats you well, shares your values. Your boyfriend may be a lovely person, but he is not a lovely boyfriend for you and you should break up.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:27 PM on April 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hi, this is the op. Thank you so much for your comments, I didn't think there would be such a united front for the instant break up but I guess I kind of knew it already.

Some asked why we are together in the first place cause we are such a bad match. Well, when we got together a couple of our mutual friends said that we've never looked any happier than when we are together and really when I say that our good moments are amazing I REALLY mean it. We're just on this giant rollercoaster and the bad moments are as overwhelming as the good ones. I can find as many good things to list about him as I find bad ones. If we only had misery to begin with I wouldn't have asked him to marry me.

Why does he have to be abusive in order for you to feel justified in breaking up with him?

Oh boy, that's not it at all! I'm sorry you got the wrong idea but I didn't mean I was looking for a justified reason just to break up with him. It's just that my biggest fear with this is that I'll look back 10 years from now and 5 boyfriends later and still find myself in same situation where I'm incapable of seeing my own faults and only blame the other half for everything. I can be pretty hard-headed as well and I am a strong character and I've been raised to stand up for myself so I was just thinking if there's any possibility that we are after all a so-called match made in heaven and I'm just too sensitive about everything.


Wait....DO you want to have sex with him?


Yes. Or rather, I would like to want to have it physically as much as I want it mentally. I think that we do have a pretty fair amount of other kind of intimacy in our relationship as far as other than vaginal sex goes but that's just me. Even before all my problems I had a lower sex drive than he does, but I definitely don't want a relationship without any kind of bedroom activity! So ofcourse in this situation I've been trying to come up with alternative ways of intimacy. And like someone said ofcourse I can't expect him to be completely satisfied with that but he's said he wants to be with me and since right now I can't offer him more so... There aren't many possible choises.
posted by lleguana at 11:49 PM on April 22, 2012


We're just on this giant rollercoaster and the bad moments are as overwhelming as the good ones.

A relationship should not be a rollercoaster. There will be highs and lows, indeed, but they're supposed to be tempered by mutual respect, caring, and love.

It's just that my biggest fear with this is that I'll look back 10 years from now and 5 boyfriends later and still find myself in same situation where I'm incapable of seeing my own faults and only blame the other half for everything.

In other words, you're willing to accept the possibility that you share fault. Is your boyfriend willing to do the same? Or is pretty much everything always his fault? (There's also the trick of controlling types only taking "blame" for miniscule stuff, so don't let that fool you.)

You're not accepting fault in the examples you give because you are NOT at fault. You took responsibility to get the UTIs taken care of, you took responsibility by offering compromises (that he didn't/doesn't accept), you took responsibility by proposing to him, you took responsibility by not getting any more piercings despite wanting to, and you continue to take responsibility financially by remaining in the green... what exactly do you think you're doing wrong?

Honestly it sounds like he's setting up everything to be win or lose, black and white, and that is not how relationships work. It is how abusive situations get set up, however: one partner always has to be in control, making the other partner slowly, bit by bit, soul-piece by soul-piece, give up/lose their own control.

As for "looking back 10 years from now," I was in a similar relationship for 8 years, very similar pattern of marriage proposals too. I've mentioned it before on AskMe, but he finally decided to marry me... after his friends convinced him that marriage meant he could sleep around. He had also, recently, become physically abusive, when I never would have thought that possible before. It escalated. Controlling types always do (until/unless they recognize their problem and take responsibility for recovery on their own), because you can never entirely control another person. During the good times, we had loads in common, plenty of fun, friends saw us as the dream couple.

It's been 8 years since I left him, and I'm still single. I've had a couple of short relationships, 6 months and 1 year, the shorter one was with a sweet guy who was just too immature (shame we didn't meet a few years later), and the longer one was with a dude who claimed monogamy but was actually sleeping around. Y'know what? I'm still happier than I ever was in that controlling relationship. There's no one policing my every move – which, wow does that ever help make things easier to achieve, by the way – and I know myself well enough now to know that I'll never get in a relationship like that again. You can learn from this experience and come out stronger.
posted by fraula at 3:44 AM on April 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Woops, correction:
"Or is pretty much everything always his fault?"
I meant to type: "Is pretty much everything always your fault?" i.e. are you the one always having to explain and defend yourself in the relationship.

posted by fraula at 3:46 AM on April 23, 2012


As someone who had dealt with severe UTI's and other issues, I say end the relationship. There are men out there that are capable of empathy, and then there are men (lots of them, sadly) like your boyfriend. Learn to recognize them earlier on and you won't waste years on bad and unsatisfying relationships.

I've started warning men before we even have sex that sex often leads to me pissing blood and that no, I won't be interested in sex during that time (as to commentors saying there are other things you can be doing, chronic pain has a way of killing the mood like you have no idea, and UTI's freaking HURT). One guy curled his lip at me and said "What, so I'm just supposed to take care of myself?". I have never regretted ending that relationship, nor never sleeping with him. In fact, I'm rather fond of the non-memory.

Imagine this guy accepting your proposal. Then imagine developing breast cancer or any severe and chronic illness. Think he's gonna stick around and support you? I've got a friend who developed cancer and had to go on dialysis at the age of 26. Her husband had an affair and dumped her practically on her deathbed. (She got a transplant and has been doing great for years since). These aren't overwrought fantasies, life can get really hard and you should be looking for a partner that will be there for you.

This isn't that partner.
posted by Dynex at 4:14 AM on April 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'd say leave. There are a lot of bad things that don't really sound fixable to me, and you don't really sound very compatible.

However, there is one issue where I'm not sure your take is so balanced:

BUT I've never had ANY debt, I didn't even own a credit card, my bank account always has at least a small amount of money before the next paycheck, and I've never asked money from him.

If this phrasing is an accurate description of your finances, I think there are a lot of people who would be justifiably really nervous about this. (I would definitely avoid dating someone with this spending pattern.) That is, this wording sounds like you are living paycheck to paycheck with no emergency cushion, and very few thoughts about the future. It's good that you have stayed in the green, but it is only a matter of time before something comes up -- especially in this economy conventional wisdom is that you should have several months of salary saved up at the very least.

Also, from the way you described how your finances are divided ("He pays our rent and I pay most of the food and bills as we've agreed."), this likely isn't a lifestyle you could support on just your income. It would be very easy for your boyfriend to feel like he is the only one saving for you as a couple. For example, if you had an emergency, he may feel like you'd expect to borrow from his savings (since you don't have any savings, if this description is accurate), even if you never have yet. I.e. even though you don't have joint finances, he may be looking at your finances as a couple and thinking about just how imbalanced the spending would be if they were joint.

I don't mean any of this as a judgment of you. But I do think that one would need very strong communication skills to make this kind of mismatch in approaches finances work (I personally would not be capable, I think), and it sounds like many other factors are interfering with this communication as well.
posted by advil at 6:12 AM on April 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


This is tough -- I am not on the DTFMA train (yet) because I don't really know. I mean, did he say "you won't sleep with me now that you've got what you want!!" in the heat of the argument? That could be less of an abusive attempt to manipulate you and more of a deep fear ("People only like me when I have things to give them") that he revealed. Do you see what I mean? And the finances thing: yes, I would be freaked out about that in his shoes too. However, the not wanting to marry you thing does seem very odd, so... I don't want to come down hard on either side.

Have you looked into Too Good to Leave Too Bad to Stay? I read it after a AskMe rec and found it really useful as a way to focus in on the good and bad parts of the relationship rollercoaster. Some people say it always suggests breaking up, but in my case it allowed me to see that I really should stick it out.
posted by AmandaA at 6:29 AM on April 23, 2012


I'm sure everyone said it better, but maybe you need numbers to get a clear picture - this is an unhealthy relationship. Anyone that will accuse you of lying about your health issues (he's a doctor? knows more about your health than your doctor?) isn't at all concerned about you. Yeah, you were fun while you were healthy but once a few problems have popped up the relationship now takes work on his part - work he doesn't seem to be thrilled about participating in.

It also seem that you and he are mismatched in many other ways.
posted by _paegan_ at 6:34 AM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


A. Don't marry the first guy you've ever dated (generality)
B. "Traditional" guys like him don't marry atheist girls with pierced tongues. They also don't marry the first girl they've ever dated (generality)
C. Stop proposing multiple times in a year. You got your answer the first time (truth)

He's got plenty of flaws others have pointed out. You can decide what you can deal with, so have fun as long as you're having fun and leave when you're not, because he'll certainly drop you when it's most convenient for him
posted by MangyCarface at 7:10 AM on April 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I agree with what most have said above, although I'd say it doesn't matter what label you slap on it ('abusive' or 'incompatible'), you are unhappy in this relationship and have damned good reasons.

I've just ended a relationship that made me unhappy the majority of the time, although there were great moments too. It's not easy. This idea helps me, so it may you: Think of a painful procedure that you MUST go through in order to get to the happy side of life. Breaking up with this guy is probably that procedure. But! As painful as the procedure is, it will be a lot less painful and a hell of a lot more brief than putting up with a relationship that is Not Good for You.

Good luck.
posted by angrycat at 7:21 AM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


He can be great and some aspects of your relationship can be great and it can still not be a good relationship for you overall.

I don't see where you working harder at it would fix things, but I do see a lot of big, fundamental differences between you two. Changing big aspects of yourself to fit a relationship not only isn't fair but it's flat out not going to work long term.
posted by mrs. taters at 7:28 AM on April 23, 2012


I've been in situations where I told myself that the good outweighed the bad, and that since there was a lot of bad, it meant that the good was very good and worth fighting for.

But sooner or later, you realize something: It sets a really shitty rhythm. You called it a rollercoaster and that's not wrong. It taints the good times because you know bad times are coming.

Somewhere out there is someone who'll give you good times pretty much all the time - there'll be some bumps in the road because there always are, and they'll actually have a healthy way of dealing with things. Extricate yourself from this situation, give yourself time to heal, and then go find them.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:48 AM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


he just didn't get it. He still hasn't. He's still blaming me for not wanting him as soon as I "got what I wanted" and he moved in with me.

This is the point at which the deal should have been broken for you.

Get away from this man as soon as you can. You deserve better treatment.

But I'm still constantly afraid of the next fight and that I'll say something wrong or do something the way he doesn't like and I'll have to explain or defend myself. I've started to think that my neurosises have popped up because I'm constantly critisized but I don't know if I have myself to blame for that or not. Should I just look into the mirror and work harder? Stay or leave?

LEAVE.
posted by caryatid at 9:50 AM on April 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's just that my biggest fear with this is that I'll look back 10 years from now and 5 boyfriends later and still find myself in same situation where I'm incapable of seeing my own faults and only blame the other half for everything.

He accused you of faking illness because you didn't want to have sexual intercourse with him. He's constantly criticizing you.

You're not assigning too much blame to him for this; you're not assigning ENOUGH blame to him for this. Both of those things should be dealbreakers if the other party won't change them.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:12 AM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


he just didn't get it. He still hasn't. He's still blaming me for not wanting him as soon as I "got what I wanted" and he moved in with me.

The message I take away from this is that he didn't believe that you and he "wanted" the same thing from living together -- and, in particular, that what you wanted may have been the companionship, comfort, and convenience of living together, but that those were not equally incentives for him.
posted by endless_forms at 11:26 AM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's just that my biggest fear with this is that I'll look back 10 years from now and 5 boyfriends later and still find myself in same situation where I'm incapable of seeing my own faults and only blame the other half for everything.

It isn't 10 years from now. You're what, 22? You are inventing a pattern of failed relationships that doesn't even exist to justify staying in this relationship.

You are right that you will have new opportunities for perspective on this relationship after this relationship ends. You will have much more opportunity to mature as a human being in the breakup and the period of self-reliance that follows than you have in this relationship.
posted by endless_forms at 11:42 AM on April 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


This doesn't sound like a great match. Mind you, at first I was on your side about the finances, then I realised that in your arrangements you were responsible for the food- so if you fancy a new bag, your boyfriend is actually deprived in some way. It's easy for you to say that you don't mind going without nice food for the sake of a bag- what does he get out of it? Imagine if every few months you had to sleep on a friends couch because your boyfriend couldn't pay all the rent, having spent it on video games...
posted by KateViolet at 1:15 PM on April 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


To me it seems important to highlight the differences between this guy and a Boyfriend Worth Marrying (tm) in the various common relationship situations you mention. This is your first real relationship and so you may not recognize what a Boyfriend Worth Marrying (BWM) would do as opposed to the only boyfriend you've known.

Situation 1: Sexual intercourse is causing chronic UTIs for the lady friend.
BWM - tries to find positions or alternative sexiness to engage in that are less likely to result in pain and antibiotics for you. Enjoys trying to do this for you rather than seeing it as a tribulation, doesn't like seeing you suffer. After sex, reminds you "quick, better go pee now so you don't get a UTI!" or "let me go get you some cranberry juice!" or "don't forget your prophylactic Macrobid, because I want to have more hotness tomorrow!"
This guy - sulks like a child: "you're just making it up because you don't wanna have sex!" Ignores your needs and doesn't care about your health.

Situation 2: Lady friend has a different financial philosophy.
BWM - finds a mature solution to the issue. Agrees on a fair way of dividing shared costs, keeps separate finances, and encourages you to make financially healthy decisions in a positive way, i.e. "hey, did you know you can start a retirement account with just $250? That could be a great way to use your tax refund and I'll show you how to do it if you are interested." As long as you are keeping up your end of the financial deal, when he sees you come home with a new purse, he just smiles and says "that looks pretty on you."
This guy - agrees on a fair way of dividing shared costs, but is unable to keep himself from continuously judging you for what you do with the rest of your own money (it's not "our money" - you're not married yet!) Prefers to give you guilt trips and make condescending, negative statements about how much better he is with money than you.

Situation 3: Different world views regarding marriage proposal.
BWM - when you propose, says, "Honey, you know I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I love that you are the kind of woman who proposes marriage instead of waiting for a man to do it for her. But I'm old fashioned and I really want to propose to you in the romantic kind of way I think you deserve." Then follows through and makes a romantic, epic marriage proposal.
This guy - when you propose, rejects you. Lies about why. Keeps making up different excuses as to why he is saying no, none of which make very much sense ("no, we can't get engaged because we can't get married right this minute!") making it seem as if he actually does not want to get married and just doesn't have the balls to break things off with you.

I don't know if this guy may be emotionally abusive, but I do know that he's being a jerk. It's nice that you're trying to assess what you might be doing wrong in the relationship. I think in a lot of dysfunctional relationships there is more than one person at fault. But to me, it sounds like the main thing you're doing wrong in this case is letting this relationship stay alive.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:31 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mind you, at first I was on your side about the finances, then I realised that in your arrangements you were responsible for the food- so if you fancy a new bag, your boyfriend is actually deprived in some way. It's easy for you to say that you don't mind going without nice food for the sake of a bag- what does he get out of it? Imagine if every few months you had to sleep on a friends couch because your boyfriend couldn't pay all the rent, having spent it on video games...

I meant that IF I were single I would be a lot happier eating less fancy and getting a nice handbag, but of course now that there are two of us that I buy food for I don't do decisions like that. The money from my paycheck always covers for the food we want to have and a little extra (like a restaurant visit 1-2 per month) and the bills, the rest goes for my own things such as shopping and gym and so on. I do have priorities. The main thing I wanted to point out is that the extra that is left after food and bills should automatically go into savings in his opinion.

I know his way of thinking about the safety net some of you mentioned is good, and I respect that, but I also don't like to be judged for every new makeup product I get cause he's also spending some extra money by going to conserts, eating out with friends, hockey games, beer etc. He has a few hudred euros bigger paycheck per month than I do, and if we spend even roughly the same on funs stuff, it would still mean that he could save more than I could.

I hope I made more sense now, the first version was indeed a little shady.
posted by lleguana at 10:21 AM on April 24, 2012


The thing is, it's basically irrelevant if *we* agree with you about finances. You didn't frame the question as being about "how should my boyfriend and I handle our money?" You framed it as being about how you disagree on a number of issues, of which money is only one (and, in my own opinion, far from the most important.) And it sounds like how you disagree ranges from him treating you disrespectfully to downright abusive.

It is both possible and utterly, utterly necessary for a romantic and/or life partner to disagree with you with love and respect that allows you to come to mutually acceptable compromises. Nothing else will do.

You don't have to justify your financial choices in order to justify splitting up with him. You don't have to be perfect to not want to spend your life with him.

Frankly, living paycheck to paycheck and spending money on petty luxuries instead of saving isn't a symptom of being a bad person who deserves to be in a bad relationship and be treated with contempt and accused of withholding sex*. It's a symptom of being young and, perhaps, imperfect. Imperfect people deserve respect too. Or they better, because that's all of us.

Anyway, I'm sure AskMe would looooooove to ply you with financial advice when you want it.

*anytime anyone is behaving like they are entitled to your body, they are wrong, and should be avoided.
posted by endless_forms at 12:18 PM on April 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think it's unhelpful to frame your thoughts about finances as you are, but it really doesn't matter because, frankly, it's just another incompatibility that clearly demonstrates an imbalance in the relationship and that one partner is clearly resentful of the other. In fact, all of your points do that. Possibly because this is your first relationship, you think things need to be really truly beyond awful to have a "good" reason to end it, but you've given reasons enough that either party could or should walk away from this.

Frankly, I could not imagine dating, living with, or trying to marry someone with whom the relationship is this effing hard. You both have tons more growing up to do. I suggest you start doing it sooner rather than later and I think it'd be most effectively accomplished separately.
posted by sm1tten at 8:26 AM on April 25, 2012


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