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New relationship: Should I stay or should I go?
December 28, 2012 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Should I keep working on this relatively new relationship, or throw in the towel?

I wish I was better at knowing when to work on things in a relationship, or call it quits.

I often find myself putting in a lot of effort trying to fix things.

It's hard for me to think clearly about what to do, and I question my decisions endlessly.

I am going through this with a guy I am dating right now.

I really like him and I think he's a great person. But we are having a really rough time and a lot of conflict, and the relationship is only a month old.

We started a relationship about a month ago after dating for a few weeks. Before we decided to make things official, I went on a Mexican beach holiday. There I slept with someone I met. I didn't think it was a big deal because I was not in a relationship, I was still getting to know my now boyfriend.

Well, when I got back from the trip I told my guy. Because I thought it was the right thing to do. He was upset but said he would get over it and we decided to start the relationship anyway. I felt guilty about what happened but wanted to move forward with my guy and be exclusive.

That was about a month ago. Since then, we have been having lots of fights -- big fights about every week or so -- mostly him getting jealous and paranoid and he always brings up what happened on the trip. He also told me that he doesn't feel the same way about me as he did before I went on my trip.

And for some reason I cannot bring myself to break things off with this guy. I am holding out hope that we can make things work, because I want them to work out so bad.

But it's just not working it seems.

I don't think there should be this much fighting in a new relationship and I don't think he has forgiven me for what happened on my trip.

I need to make a decision.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Move on.
posted by greta simone at 7:28 PM on December 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Towel, now. There is a partner out there for you, don't waste your time with this one.
posted by PaulaSchultz at 7:37 PM on December 28, 2012


I don't think there should be this much fighting in a new relationship...

Your instincts are completely correct. There should not be constant fighting at the beginning of the relationship. And it is way, way, way too soon to invest yourself into working on a possibly intractable problem. Dude sounds like a dick, I am sorry to say. Being posessive and controlling? Shaming you? Openly saying that he likes you less? You do not have to put up with that shit. Ever. And a dude being a dick isn't something you should spend time trying to work on, either. It is something you extricate yourself from, and learn to avoid in the future.
posted by griphus at 7:39 PM on December 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


I don't think there should be this much fighting in a new relationship and I don't think he has forgiven me for what happened on my trip.

Both correct. Trust your gut and throw in the towel. He's not actually that great a person if he's so insecure and immature that he's throwing drama before it's been a month.
posted by clavicle at 7:39 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's making you feel bad about your trip because he knows that it bothers you (even though you did nothing wrong) and he likes exploiting that to make it seem like you are undeserving and inferior. Hm, sounds like a jerk!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:46 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


We started a relationship about a month ago ... we are having a really rough time and a lot of conflict,...we have been having lots of fights -- big fights about every week or so

Not worth it. Ditch him.
posted by jacalata at 7:46 PM on December 28, 2012


He's jealous about something you did before you were exclusive? And you've had multiple arguments about it? This is not how a healthy relationship starts. Cut your losses.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:51 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


He can't help being jealous, but he can help being a jerk about it. If you really like him, have a talk and tell him that you did nothing wrong, and his behavior is not acceptable. He either apologizes and changes his behavior or you're gone. You are not a punching bag for his issues.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:56 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, when I got back from the trip I told my guy. Because I thought it was the right thing to do.
...
He also told me that he doesn't feel the same way about me as he did before I went on my trip.


Before you went away, had you both agreed it was ok to sleep with other people? If not, then I would suggest that you hurt this man's feelings and now he doesn't love you as much as he thought he might. It's not his fault.

If you were not explicit before your holiday then it would have been much better if you had been 'tactful, discreet and respectful' and not told your boyfriend when you got back. Telling him may have made you feel better about things, but it didn't help your boyfriend or your relationship.

I can't see where in the OP, is the boyfriend being a jerk. Being a man with upset emotions caused by another's indiscretion is not being a jerk, it is being human.

Say sorry, say goodbye and learn from this sad experience.
posted by Kerasia at 8:06 PM on December 28, 2012 [25 favorites]


I wouldn't have told the guy I slept with someone in Mexico. None of his business and sorta violates the whole "Don't talk about guys you've been before with" rule.

Anyhow, the damage is done. learn from your mistakes, apologize and move on.
posted by eq21 at 8:10 PM on December 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


This won't improve. You don't need to be in a relationship with someone who sees you as "tarnished" or whatever negative loop he has running in his head about you. Best to end it and move on, now, while getting out is easy.

In your position, I would not have told guy I was soon-to-be dating about vacation sex.

Unless you were both into open relationships and talked about sex with other people a lot, I don't think telling him about the vacation sex was the "right" thing to do. If a guy I was dating, but hoping for more with, came home from vacation and told me had slept with someone else, I'd be crushed. I'm not dumping on you, just saying that there are not that many people who could handle this news gracefully if it wasn't a possibility already on the table between the two of you.

I still think you should throw in the towel and that it is uncool for this gut to harp on the issue if he agreed to date you. Move on.
posted by jbenben at 8:16 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's only been a month and you're already arguing this frequently? You're supposed to be in the honeymoon phase. I don't think it was wrong to tell him you slept with someone else - he should make the decision whether or not to get serious knowing all the facts beforehand. But even if he decided he still wanted to try he's clearly not okay with what happened.

I did this once, was seeing a guy but we weren't exclusive and I slept with a few people during that time frame. I told him, he was like "well we weren't exclusive so it's fine" and was actually kind of amused. Things proceeded normally and it was never mentioned again. So not everyone is going to have an issue with it... but this person clearly does. You couldn't have known that before you slept with the dude in Mexico, unfortunately.
posted by Autumn at 8:28 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it's only been a month and you're fighting this much, why do you think it's going to get any better? Dude sounds like a complete loser, DTMFA.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:31 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


What are you getting from this relationship besides pain and stress? Say good-bye.
posted by kmennie at 8:45 PM on December 28, 2012


You're framing this as a chronic problem where you don't know whether to break up with someone.

In this situation, the ball doesn't seem to be in your court at all. It's not for you to decide to stay or go. You fucked up and slept with someone else. It hurt him more than you thought it would, and possibly more than he thought it would. He's feeling jealous and doesn't trust you. You fight a lot because of all this baggage.

It seems to me that it's for him to decide whether he's interested in sticking with you or not. You could make it easier by just ending things, of course. But it doesn't sound like the problem here stems from your inability to decide whether you want to be with him. It sounds like the problem is that you cheated on your boyfriend after like point two seconds, on the first possible opportunity. Or, at least, that's how he sees it.

Also, if you guys don't see eye to eye on something so fundamental as "we were/were not exclusive as of X date", this is never going to work. Just put the guy out of his misery already.
posted by Sara C. at 8:59 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This guy is immature and will secretly seethe over you not being his property. He's gross. Cut your losses and move on.
posted by discopolo at 9:18 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's nothing here to fix in order to make things work -- for him, the damage was too extensively done right from the beginning. Sounds like things were going well between you guys leading up to the Mexico trip -- well enough that your guy got very excited about taking it to the next level in your absence. Then your news about the other dude was dropped, and now even though you guys have coasted off your original momentum into a relationship, he is genuinely conflicted with how you could possibly feel the same way he feels about you AND have sex with someone else just when the pre-relationship phase was in its prime. Some people can weather that kind of disconcordance, while others simply cannot. I'm also in the "cannot weather it" boat... just how some people are wired, that's all.

Being a man with upset emotions caused by another's indiscretion is not being a jerk, it is being human.

Repeated for truth. It doesn't sound like he has bad intentions, but it does sound like he's unlikely to let go of possible evidence that you weren't as into him as he was into you, no matter what you tell him now. He did not have a secure enough start in your relationship to be his best self with you now. Learn from your mistakes and let this one go.
posted by human ecologist at 10:03 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


This fellow created a set of expectations but neglected to confirm you shared them. Your news was most probably a deal breaker for him.
If he were honest he would have politely explained his position and excused himself.
But he did not and both of you are miserable. Your relationship is over. Cut him loose.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:35 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


it sounds like you and this guy may be coming from different places. you thought it was okay to sleep with others until it was formally decided to be exclusive. also, you were open and honest about what happened. he might be a bit more conservative or idealistic than you and was more into dating one person at a time and assumed you were doing the same. or, he at least expected that of you. here's hoping he isn't being sexist. also, while some people would really appreciate your honesty some would rather not know. i'm guessing he would have fallen into the latter category.

i'd try having one last talk, and make it clear this is the last time you will discuss it, and tell him that you two were obviously coming from different places on this and that you can see in hindsight that it would have been better if you had discussed it beforehand rather than assuming you both were on the same page. if he can accept that it was a due to a misunderstanding about what is and isn't ok in dating and not bring it up again then maybe this can work, but if he can't forgive you and stop bringing it up pronto then i'd end it right there. people conduct relationships in differing ways so it isn't always easy to know what is ok with any one person.
posted by wildflower at 10:43 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Worthwhile relationships don't have this "when it's good it's good, but we fight a lot" duality to them. They're good. Period. Of course long lasting relationships take work, but you do it because the good far outweighs the bad. And it's never a question so early.

It sounds like the only reason you're even hesitating is because you feel responsible for the problems (likely because he's made you feel that way), and can't pull the cord without being even more the bad guy. And he'll probably make you feel that way when you end it. But you're not. You're just two people who don't fit.

Every day you put this off is a waste. There's better out there. En it now.
posted by dry white toast at 4:52 AM on December 29, 2012


him getting jealous and paranoid and he always brings up what happened on the trip. He also told me that he doesn't feel the same way about me as he did before I went on my trip.

This isn't someone you want to invest your time in. Dump him.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:59 AM on December 29, 2012


I don't think he has forgiven me for what happened on my trip.

This reads to me that you know that you did something wrong but you're still unable to face up to your actions. "What happened on my trip" is a very neat way for you to distance yourself from the issue where "What I did on my trip" would be a more appropriate way of putting it.

And I'd go further than saying this is about hurt feelings. I think you were unnecessarily cruel to the guy by mentioning this to him in an effort to try and assuage your guilt, putting the onus on him to forgive you.

If you believe you've done something for which you need his forgiveness, you might start by apologising to the guy because I don't see any evidence in your question that you've done so.

Perhaps then can you have a better idea whether this relationship is salvageable.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 6:58 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's a good rule of thumb: if you have more than one fight in the first month, it's time to move on. Working through fights is something you do later, when you've built a relationship that you want to preserve. Why go through the hassle with someone you barely know?
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:14 AM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think there's some ambiguity in how far along your relationship was when this happened.

What was the quality of your relationship before this:

Before we decided to make things official.

Maybe his view of the status of your relationship at the time of your trip was different from your view.
posted by Dansaman at 8:56 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Move on. But for the future: while you didn't do anything wrong, per se, hookups before you become exclusive are strictly on a need-to-know basis (like if, say, you got pregnant, or contracted an STD, or he's outside your house blasting Peter Gabriel). Otherwise, they almost never need to know.
posted by dekathelon at 9:09 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


In The Beginning, it's supposed to be easy. I imagine many of us have tried to push relationships up-hill from the beginning. We try quite hard to make something work that is just not in the cards from either side.

Who knows why we do it. Maybe the hormones are raging, and we try to call lust as love. Maybe we're used to being treated poorly and don't know how easily and fluidly falling in love can be. Perhaps we all spent way too much time watching sitcoms filled with dramatic arcs (which really are about selling us cars and cheeseburgers).

The reality is that there isn't a relationship here. There was dating. You guys have different interpretations of when it started. You're a month in and you're fighting. Not a good sign. And you know it. It sounds like you think you should call it off, and need permission or validation. Well, from the above it seems you have it in spades.

The last thing I'll say on the matter is that some people have dramatic personalities that they learnt as a coping mechanism once-upon-a-time. It sounds like he may be one of those people. Rather than realising it's not the right relationship for him based on your early actions, it seems like he is playing up the drama. Pushing emotional buttons. Afraid of losing you when he's just gotten you. Rather than coming to an agreement about your other activities – either that it doesn't matter or it does – it lives in a limbo, and he may be actively using that.

If that sounds familiar, it's definitely time to go. Drama is not intimacy. It may be for him, but I don't think you want to go down that road.

Keep calm and carry on. It's almost 2013. I suggest you leave all this noise in 2012. But that's just me.
posted by nickrussell at 11:42 AM on December 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think apportioning blame will do much good here. Fact is, he can't get over what happened and your relationship has been derailed and is not a good one now. Your new relationship is not working and it's time to end it.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:22 AM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


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