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Should I break up with my boyfriend?
January 31, 2013 2:52 PM   Subscribe

I'm confused by my boyfriend's criticisms of my personality. I can't tell if they're legitimate problems I should work on in this relationship because I will encounter the same issues with most perceptive guys, or if it's a sign that he'll never fully accept who I am.

We've been together about a month and a half. We were acquaintances for six months prior, and one day he finally confessed his crush to me and asked me out. At the start he moved crazy fast. He made us facebook official on our second date and told me he loved me on our fourth. He showered me with affection, and it was such a refreshing change from my previous relationship. Aside from being concerned about the pace, I was happy and excited too. I am slow to open up but I was gradually feeling less anxious around him, and just kind of letting the connection happen at a natural-for-me pace.

I should mention, for context, that my boyfriend is prone to depression, generally pessimistic and often critical of other people, although I should qualify that by saying there are certain people he only praises. (He is also super smart, adorable in lots of respects, and sweet most of the time.) He told me early on that he felt "euphoric" about us and that I "equal happiness." I remember being concerned at the time he would make me responsible for his happiness, but I also thought maybe it was just early relationship butterflies.

A few weeks ago something changed. He suddenly seemed depressed, he started canceling our plans last minute and making excuses. He did make an effort to reschedule and follow through on most of those commitments, and it's true that this change coincided with an increase in work stress for him. His job was essentially on the line. I also noticed he seemed a bit more distant when we were together but he continued to tell me he loved me.

Initially I asked him if anything was wrong and he was insistent it had nothing to do with me. Then one day he gave me a chilly, rude goodbye in the morning. I couldn't figure out why. Later that day he apologized, unprompted, and said he was feeling vulnerable and scared about where "this might go." I asked him what he meant and he told me that he felt like he barely knew me because I always seem nervous around him. He said I never smile, he's never heard me belly laugh, and I always look like a "scared bird." He told me when we are together he always has a great time but because I seem unhappy he feels like he's just "entertaining himself." He told me he loves me but wants to see me unwind if I am comfortable with that. He said that he is afraid of forcing himself into something when he barely knows me. He also said something I didn't understand about how I'm trying to "force a fake connection" and expecting him to be ideal and never cancel plans (both untrue).

I felt hurt because my shyness is one of my insecurities. But there's definitely a kernel of truth to what he said -- it does takes me longer than most people to open up, to laugh and be goofy. I told him this when we started dating. This was the biggest problem that my last boyfriend had with me. My ex was also very impatient with my social awkwardness and the more he criticized me for not relaxing, the stiffer I became. But I partly chalked that up to him not being the nicest person in general. A couple of my other boyfriends were much more patient with me and I was eventually able to be myself around them. But they were also detached, really laid back guys and I've discovered I'm attracted to guys who are more present and perceptive. They just don't seem to like me, at least the ones I've dated haven't.

To get back to my new relationship, I felt a bit pressured and hurt when he told me all this and mentioned the idea of us possibly breaking up. Something just felt off to me. He talked me out of it, said he really wanted to keep seeing me. That was only about a week ago but since then he's been making more effort -- he hasn't cancelled on me again, he bought me a toothbrush to keep at his place. Last night, though, he was being critical of me again when we were picking a movie to watch.

He said, "I still don't understand your taste. All the movies you've presented me with (he used the word "present") are so serious. Don't you ever watch anything you know goofy or campy or light hearted?" I responded, "Of course, but I didn't realize I was making a presentation to you of my taste or that my taste was on trial. I've just thrown on movies that I've been in the mood for and I guess they happened to be more serious." He teased me that my taste was "hoighty toighty." All of this was delivered in a tone that was somewhere between annoyance and joking, but closer to annoyance, so I wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

This morning he woke up at 8:30 and I was still in bed. I worked until eleven last night and wanted to sleep in since I had the day off. He remarked as he was leaving (this was at 8:30), "You're really not a morning person are you? I've never seen someone who has so much trouble getting out of bed in the morning." I responded, "Whatever, I had a long night last night." He then softened it with, "It's cute."

I feel kind of unfairly criticized. I know I have a tendency to be somewhat sensitive and I can't tell if I'm overreacting. It's also true that I take awhile to open up, so if I break up with him I may just keep encountering this problem with guys I'm attracted to.

Other things to mention. I've been very supportive of him through his daily struggles and we've talked about them at length. The few times I've sent out a feeler for support he hasn't responded. Once I sent him this text: "feeling a bit down today" and didn't get a response back. Another stressful day I sent him, "I need a hug." He didn't respond to that either. I haven't talked that much about my problems so I don't think he could accuse me of asking for too much support, and since he's kind of rebuffed my feelers I've been reluctant to. But again, maybe I'm overreacting?

Also he very rarely asks me any questions about myself, and this is perhaps part of the reason it's been difficult for me to open up around him. He's been *a bit* better about doing that since I mentioned to him that he needs to ask me more questions.

Thoughts?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (82 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Dump him. He's a passive aggressive nitpicking dick and it will only get worse.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:54 PM on January 31, 2013 [131 favorites]


We've been together about a month and a half.

This is not a long time. There's no reason to put with any sort of crap that early in a relationship. Cut your losses and moves on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:58 PM on January 31, 2013 [30 favorites]


Yes, please break up with him.

Reason 1: you are considering breaking up with him. That is a good reason to break up with him.

Reason 2: everything you wrote.

He sounds really obnoxious. He tells you he loves you but also tells you he feels like he doesn't know you? He also sounds like he's either really immature or full of shit or both. Don't waste any more time on him.
posted by phunniemee at 3:00 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh, this was just covered by nacho fries in the thread about warning signs:

"Any over-the-top declarations of adoration in the very early stages of courtship. This usually signals a suitor who wants to overleap the getting-to-know-you phase, and hurry you into some pre-ordained role he has in mind for his fantasy woman.

It's often accompanied by extraordinary levels of attention -- lonnnng effusive emails, all-night phone calls, texts every hour on the hour -- as well as wild-hearted talk of big things to come. It's intoxicating in the moment. But in my experience, this leads to a relationship crash-and-burn when the reality of who I am doesn't match up with the gent's fevered imagining (or when he realizes he's bigged himself up, and can't himself match up to the false image he's promoted)."

He's hit the end stage, dump him! It's only going to get worse.
posted by Dynex at 3:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [77 favorites]


I have been with my boyfriend for almost 7 years now. Want to know a thing neither of us have ever done to each other? Level criticisms of our personalities against one another.

Jettison this b-hole.
posted by kavasa at 3:03 PM on January 31, 2013 [28 favorites]


In my experience, depressed people are too focused on themselves and suck at giving support. They can barely keep themselves going, so they have little to no energy to spend on other people. He wants you to make him happy. If you want a relationship where both parties are equal, then this is the wrong relationship for you. If you want a relationship where it is your job to fulfill the needs of your partner without having him fulfill yours, this relationship is perfect.
posted by fruitopia at 3:05 PM on January 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


I did read your whole question but honestly as a rule-of-thumb based purely on question length if you have that much to say in a "Should I break up?" question after a month and half the answer is almost definitely yes.

That said, having read the question itself, the answer is DEFINITELY yes. The relationship isn't worth it and you are.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:06 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Jettison this b-hole." I agree with this advice. (And nominate JTBH as the replacement for DTMFA).

This is not the person that you want to change for, you are absolutely right in your assessment that he will never be happy with who you are.
posted by HuronBob at 3:07 PM on January 31, 2013 [43 favorites]


You've been together less than two months and things shifted "a few weeks ago"? Good grief, how long were things fun, three weeks? I vote with the masses saying to cut the cord.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:07 PM on January 31, 2013 [15 favorites]


he told me that he felt "euphoric" about us and that I "equal happiness"

Run.

This guy wants you to be the solution to his problems and you never will be. You cannot fix this. Get out.
posted by windykites at 3:11 PM on January 31, 2013 [15 favorites]


Wow, what? This guy sounds like crap. The whole not being a morning person shit? It's 8:30 am and you were working until 11pm the night before. If that were me I would have slept until at LEAST 10am, if not longer.

Regardless, you don't need reasons. This guy's attitude is way wrong, and you know it. Get rid of him ASAP.
posted by two lights above the sea at 3:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


He remarked as he was leaving (this was at 8:30), "You're really not a morning person are you? I've never seen someone who has so much trouble getting out of bed in the morning." I responded, "Whatever, I had a long night last night." He then softened it with, "It's cute."

I feel kind of unfairly criticized.


I'm just going to take this, because this is the least potentially bad of all your examples. It could be that someone who says stuff like this is "just teasing" and this is how he shows affection. But if so...so what? This doesn't go with your personality. You don't feel it's funny and affectionate, you feel criticized. You're not even compatible in friendly banter. Break up with him.

The rest of the examples? They sound really mean. Break up with him.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 3:14 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't know that I see anything in your question to warrant Internet vitriol toward this person or glee about how fast and furiously you should dump him, but it does sound from your description like you and he are not a good match. Some couples don't communicate well. Sometimes that's just a matter of needing an adjustment period—acclimating to each other, so to speak—but other times it's a fundamental misalignment.

For sake of argument, assume those are the two options. Which feels correct in your gut? Is this just an adjustment period (and if so, are you up for that?), or are you and he on fundamentally different wavelengths?
posted by cribcage at 3:15 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, someday you will find someone who understands your vulnerabilities and loves you regardless. Social anxiety or being reserved are not flaws that you need to fix unless they hurt you, and there's no rule that you have to be a goofy, gregarious person if that's not who you are. This guy sounds like a total jerk who wants to break up but doesn't have the guts.

Don't date people who make you feel bad for being who you are.
posted by windykites at 3:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [20 favorites]


It's him, not you.

And really, DTMFA. What jerky criticisms.
posted by bearwife at 3:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's exhibiting a lot of contempt for you.

It's also true that I take awhile to open up, so if I break up with him I may just keep encountering this problem with guys I'm attracted to.

He's the one who moved things along so quickly without taking the time to get to know you. Now he's making you feel bad about moving at your own pace. People have different personalities, there's nothing wrong with wanting to reveal yourself quickly or slowly, but he doesn't respect that you have a different style.

Break up with him. If you encounter another guy who acts this way, don't think of it as a problem so much as something you've encountered before that indicated incompatibility. This early in dating is a good time to find out if you are incompatible.
posted by yohko at 3:17 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


You sound really nice. He sounds like a bad match for you. So what if you're not all sweetness and light? That's not a character flaw -- it's just who you are. Find someone who will appreciate it.
posted by snickerdoodle at 3:17 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


One day you'll meet a guy who likes you because you're shy because he likes you and being slow to open up is part of who you are.

This guy sounds like he's snapping at you because he isn't very happy and not treating you with the respect you deserve. Its far easier to think that you're "too sensitive" rather than believe a person who is being super nice to you is actually a bit of jerk. This is doubly so because often that's how people who don't make the effort to control how they act play off being less than kind.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 3:28 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


The biggest red flag I see here is his not responding to your text messages. That seems rude and inconsiderate at best. All the other stuff, I can't jump to any conclusions about it, but not responding to those messages is just plain wrong. Did you ask him why he didn't respond? That's what you need him for, and if he can't do that, you should find someone else who can provide that.
posted by Dansaman at 3:37 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Tell him to fuck off and don't contact him again. Sounds like a precious twat.
posted by mattoxic at 3:40 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Your boyfriend is a jerk. I got a really visceral angry reaction ready your question.

I feel kind of unfairly criticized.

You are. He is way out of line.

I know I have a tendency to be somewhat sensitive and I can't tell if I'm overreacting.

You're not overreacting, but I totally get the "am I overreacting" thing. It can be hard to trust your gut, but do it for your mental health and well-being. This guy sounds awful.

It's also true that I take awhile to open up, so if I break up with him I may just keep encountering this problem with guys I'm attracted to.

There are other fish in the sea. It's not a pattern, it's just one bad apple, and you've only been together a month and a half. Get out now before he starts treating you even worse and makes it harder for you to leave.

I have a very acerbic sense of humor and I can take a lot of teasing, and I would be bothered by a lot of stuff your d-bag boyfriend is saying. If he doesn't like aspects of your personality, that's fine, but the way he's expressing it is unacceptable.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 3:40 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you're oversensitive, he's pretty abrasive. "Scared bird"? Takes a very, very thick-skinned sort of person to be able to hear that without feeling bad. It's thoughtless and unkind, at best. The other exchanges you describe seem pretty neutral to me, but in the light of his general approach to talking to you I can see why you'd see them in a negative light.

You will both need to be willing to be very patient and work harder on communicating if you want the relationship to continue. He doesn't seem terribly inclined to do that, so that will be even more work on you to convince him to compromise with you.

That seems like a lot of work and hurt for a relationship that's barely two months old. You don't love him (right?). A future with him...well, how does that even sound appealing? Maybe he's good company sometimes, but he doesn't sound like he'd be a good partner for you. Break up! I promise you, there are nice, present, attractive men out there who will take the time to get to know you. And, look at it this way: you like who you are. You're a little worried about it sometimes, but mostly you're okay with who you are. He's not okay with who you are. Do you really want to spend so much time with someone who makes you feel bad about yourself 50% of the time, when being alone would mean that you could spend 100% of your time feeling okay about yourself? Don't invite people into your life who make it worse, just because they claim they love you.
posted by rhythm and booze at 3:41 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Being an introvert is not a defect. Also, it is very possible to find a partner who is both attentive and patient. It sounds like this particular guy may not be able to be that for you at this point in time.

I definitely understand needing time to open up around other people. For me, there have been a few exceptions to this. The most notable was when I met my wife. For whatever reason, I felt safe with her very early on. That's not to say that you have to have that comfort level quickly for someone to be a good match. It's just that a person who is a good match isn't going to make you feel less safe to open up as time goes on.
posted by GeekDad at 3:42 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've been very supportive of him through his daily struggles and we've talked about them at length. The few times I've sent out a feeler for support he hasn't responded.

This is a major problem. He's reduced you to being a tool he uses to make himself feel better. He told you that you equal happiness for him, and you spend a lot of time validating him and supporting him. When it comes to his treatment of you (outside of your symbolic meanings to him), he criticizes you in mean ways about things you have told him are areas you're working on and is notably totally absent when you tell him you need support from him.

This situation is unlikely to improve. He is not even meeting baseline expectations of being decent to you. There are people out there who will treat you well, love you for being you, and will support your efforts to grow and meet your personal goals. This dude isn't it.
posted by quince at 3:44 PM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


It seems as if he's exhibiting Bi-Polar behavior. Is he on any medication?
Maybe he hasn't been diagnosed?
I was in a relationship that nearly destroyed me and it was very, very similiar to what
you are going through.
My advice is to get away as fast as you can. You deserve better.
posted by donaken at 3:58 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


You've only been with him a month and a half and he's already criticizing you? It sounds like he's unhappy and wants someone more easygoing. He should have broken up with you instead of taking the "criticize her personality" route, but okay. Break up with him and find someone who will get to know you without trying to pressure you to open up through criticism. They are out there!
posted by Autumn at 3:59 PM on January 31, 2013


Break up with him. It's been such a short time, and he's running hot and cold. Whatever the underlying cause is of his behavior, you cannot fix it and do not need to.
posted by RainyJay at 4:00 PM on January 31, 2013


JTBH- I think it's unanimous.
posted by bquarters at 4:07 PM on January 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


When someone seems to enjoy "giving you a hard time," there's a simple litmus test for whether it's affectionate banter or cruelty disguised as humor. Give him a hard time. "What's up with those clown shoes, Bozo?" If he laughs it off, then his teasing genuinely has no malice behind it. But if he gets angry and asks who the hell you are to criticize him (either in the moment or later, when he's mad about something else and brings up your "clown-shoes crack") that means that he knows damn well that teasing hurts. That it's intended to hurt, yet leave the victim in a place where to protest is tacitly to invite more pain.

I've never had anyone not get angry when the tables are turned. I no longer believe in "innocent" teasing. It's all passive aggression. Men correctly perceive teasing as cruelty when women "playfully" insult them; I don't know why they think we can't figure out their motivations when they do it to us. Basically, I hear you buying into the idea that a woman who doesn't laugh when a man insults her has no sense of humor. This is an idea that's only trotted out by men who want to be able to hurt women without repercussions.
posted by cirocco at 4:13 PM on January 31, 2013 [49 favorites]


Yeah, I am not one to trot out this out lightly, but cut your losses with this one. When someone makes a lot of grand pronouncements about love and your awesomeness and all of that, without even really getting to know you, it's at the very least a yellow flag. But when that same person turns on a dime and starts criticizing you or implying that you need to change to suit them, it's a red flag.

It's totally normal to feel vulnerable and unsure about a new relationship but he just sounds critical, not open to learning more about you and figuring out where this goes. You feel like something is off because it is. You are not a good fit.

holy passive aggressive, Batman!
posted by sm1tten at 4:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


From the OP:
Thanks for all the great feedback! Part of what makes me stumble is that he tells me he had a fairly stable (until the end) long term relationship with another girl and she was the one who ultimately mistreated and broke up with him. It makes me wonder why I trigger his critical nature but this other girl did not. I've had a few experiences like this where guys who claimed they were always the doormat in their past relationships have ended up mistreating, and it makes me think that something about my personality may invite that kind of treatment from otherwise decent people.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:23 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh, dump him. This sort of nitpicking, trying to change your personality, doesn't get better over time, it usually gets worse.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:25 PM on January 31, 2013


Thanks for all the great feedback! Part of what makes me stumble is that he tells me he had a fairly stable (until the end) long term relationship with another girl and she was the one who ultimately mistreated and broke up with him. It makes me wonder why I trigger his critical nature but this other girl did not.

Well, how do you know he wasn't criticizing that other woman throughout the relationship, too? I think you're mistaken in framing things as if you "trigger" his criticism - this behavior is on him; someone who's going to treat people like this doesn't do it because of how the other person is acting.

For all we know (and I suspect this is likely), his previous girlfriend simply put up with his disrespect longer than you are willing to. Good for you.
posted by DingoMutt at 4:29 PM on January 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


guys who claimed they were always the doormat in their past relationships

I think a lot of times, people who have a tendency to relate horrible things about their past relationships (whether romantic or otherwise) as entirely one-sided are generally pretty bad at recognizing their own bad behavior.

See also: bitches don't like me because I'm too nice!
posted by phunniemee at 4:32 PM on January 31, 2013 [32 favorites]


Classic pre-abuse emotional abusive behaviors, right down to seeing himself as the victim in the (previous) relationship.

Gaslighting and negging you. If you take this statement he made to you:

I always seem nervous around him. He said I never smile, he's never heard me belly laugh, and I always look like a "scared bird." He told me when we are together he always has a great time but because I seem unhappy he feels like he's just "entertaining himself." He told me he loves me but wants to see me unwind if I am comfortable with that. He said that he is afraid of forcing himself into something when he barely knows me. He also said something I didn't understand about how I'm trying to "force a fake connection" and expecting him to be ideal and never cancel plans

Now re-write as follows:

He is always feels nervous around you. He feels like a "scared bird." He's just "entertaining himself." He wants to control your behavior so you pretend to be comfortable when you are not, after you allow this, he will be come more and more controlling because he is externalizing his feelings unto you and you will ultimately be responsible for his unhappiness as you were his 'happiness' (he will then be a victim, as he was in his previous relationship). He is forcing himself into something when he barely knows me. He is trying to "force a fake connection" and he expects himself to be ideal and never can meet his own standards

Does that help?

Suggest you RUN. This is not going to get better.
posted by zia at 4:32 PM on January 31, 2013 [20 favorites]


Don't worry about comparing yourself to his ex's or trying to live up to some revisionist history of his previous relationships he's presented you with.

Imagine if one of your friends was telling you this about their new relationship. What would your advice be to them?
posted by Admira at 4:35 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


"...legitimate problems I should work on in this relationship."

No. No, no, no. This guy is a douchebag and your follow-up comments confirm that.

"...he tells me he had a fairly stable (until the end) long term relationship with another girl and she was the one who ultimately mistreated and broke up with him."

Speaking as someone who's been in the same type of narcissistic, patronizing, passive-aggressive relationship, I call bullshit on this. Please DTMFA already. I'll hold the door while he leaves.
posted by _Mona_ at 4:37 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Part of what makes me stumble is that he tells me he had a fairly stable (until the end) long term relationship with another girl and she was the one who ultimately mistreated and broke up with him.

I'm confused about whether or not you two are living together - I am going to assume not, but the post implies he spent the night last night?

Anyway, given his lightning change from LOVE LOVE LOVE to nitpicking, and the little snippet above, I'm going to bet that he's either found someone else to get twitterpated about, or he's getting back together with his ex.

Dump him.
posted by winna at 4:44 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for all the great feedback! Part of what makes me stumble is that he tells me he had a fairly stable (until the end) long term relationship with another girl and she was the one who ultimately mistreated and broke up with him. It makes me wonder why I trigger his critical nature but this other girl did not. I've had a few experiences like this where guys who claimed they were always the doormat in their past relationships have ended up mistreating, and it makes me think that something about my personality may invite that kind of treatment from otherwise decent people.

Maybe he treated her badly and for whatever reason it manifested itself as her doing whatever she did to "mistreat" him.

Maybe it was a good relationship for a while and it's just because those two personalities clicked. If there's a lot of friction between two people, like there seems to be between you and your boyfriend, it doesn't mean either of them is triggering or inviting hurtful or harmful behavior. Some people just don't gel. They can both be good people, but just not good for each other. I've been in relationships with the wrong person where I was on edge all the time, nagging, fighting, just basically being a b-hole myself. That's not who I am, but that's what the relationship was.

You deserve a relationship where you both bring out the best in each other.
posted by payoto at 4:46 PM on January 31, 2013


Argh, dump him. I'm shy, serious, and NOT a morning person, and my boyfriend has never criticized me for any of these things-- because they're neutral attributes! If he was criticizing you for being too sarcastic or not believing in him enough those could be things to turn over in your head, but these are so, so not.

I've been in relationships with the wrong person where I was on edge all the time, nagging, fighting, just basically being a b-hole myself. That's not who I am, but that's what the relationship was.

Very true. Especially in that it doesn't matter whether he's a negative or bad person or not-- if he makes you feel bad and picks on you for the ways you're not like him, there's an incompatibility.
posted by stoneandstar at 4:50 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


The legitimate problem in this relationship that you should work on is why you would let someone treat you like this. Don't do that anymore.
posted by elizardbits at 4:51 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


I've had a few experiences like this where guys who claimed they were always the doormat in their past relationships have ended up mistreating, and it makes me think that something about my personality may invite that kind of treatment from otherwise decent people.

Oh, gosh. Missed this. People who depict themselves like the eternal victims of their exes are EXACTLY the type of people to passive aggressively nag and pick on their well-meaning partners, because in their minds they're never in the wrong. It was always the ex-girlfriend who mistreated them, of course they never did anything douchey. (Also, even if the ex-girlfriend was really awful, and cheated or said horrible things, that doesn't mean that he wasn't also awful.)
posted by stoneandstar at 4:53 PM on January 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


Thanks for all the great feedback! Part of what makes me stumble is that he tells me he had a fairly stable (until the end) long term relationship with another girl and she was the one who ultimately mistreated and broke up with him. It makes me wonder why I trigger his critical nature but this other girl did not. I've had a few experiences like this where guys who claimed they were always the doormat in their past relationships have ended up mistreating, and it makes me think that something about my personality may invite that kind of treatment from otherwise decent people.

It's not that you invite the treatment, it's that you put up with the treatment. Everybody has people who act like jerks to them sometimes. You're making a choice to date them, though. That's what you need to figure out, instead of trying to figure out why they're acting like jerks to you.
posted by empath at 4:55 PM on January 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


It makes me wonder why I trigger his critical nature but this other girl did not. I've had a few experiences like this where guys who claimed they were always the doormat in their past relationships have ended up mistreating, and it makes me think that something about my personality may invite that kind of treatment from otherwise decent people.

Oh, honey. It's not that you have some kind of inner fault that invites terrible behavior from decent people. It's that they weren't decent people in the first place, and you being a decent person yourself gives them a chance to let that out. Maybe the only reason he didn't nitpick his previous girlfriend was that she intimidated him somehow, and he takes you being polite and respectful to him as a license to unleash his nitpicking.

Anyhow, a guy who immediately interprets your (totally normal, it sounds like) introversion and reservedness as offensive fear and nervousness, and who thinks you can just unwind on his say-so, is a guy who is never going to "get" you. Completely apart from his other behavior, it sounds like he just dislikes a significant part of your personality. So why waste more time?
posted by ostro at 5:04 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


anyone who generates this much drama after only a month and a half of dating? DTMFA.
posted by zdravo at 5:22 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Zia has it. It is textbook pre-abuse behaviour. I'm so sorry. I did enough psych at university to know exactly where this relationship will go if you stay in it as things are.

Thank god you had the fortitude to question his truth. It's not truth. Your niggling suspicions are right. He's a person that will bring great unhappiness and distress to your life. I'm sorry. The first flush of new love isn't meant to be controlling and undermining.
posted by taff at 5:29 PM on January 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


I always seem nervous around him. He said I never smile, he's never heard me belly laugh, and I always look like a "scared bird." He told me when we are together he always has a great time but because I seem unhappy he feels like he's just "entertaining himself." He told me he loves me but wants to see me unwind if I am comfortable with that. He said that he is afraid of forcing himself into something when he barely knows me. He also said something I didn't understand about how I'm trying to "force a fake connection" and expecting him to be ideal and never cancel plans

This paragraph, particularly the line I've bolded, is bothering me a lot and I'm getting a similar feeling from the "morning person" anecdote.

I think it's because the content seems to have a good intention, but the way it's communicated makes it really aggressive. I'm not saying "making it sound aggressive"; the meaning is actually aggressive.

A person who was concerned that their partner was feeling timid or uncomfortable might broach the topic a little differently. They'd say something like "are you okay?" or "you seem uncomfortable and I'd love for us to feel comfortable around each other, what can we do to achieve that?".

His approach is something quite different. You're not overreacting, you're reacting normally to an unfair and aggressive attack.
posted by prettypretty at 5:30 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


if he's being this critical this early on then know it is going to get a whole lot worse as time goes on. telling someone you love them after 4 dates is just silly imo. that's infatuation, rather than love, and if he doesn't know the difference i'd be mighty concerned.

as for thinking his behavior has something to do with you it doesn't at all. all you are hearing about past relationships with guys you've dated is their side so of course they are not going to cop to their own poor behaviors in front of you. btw, doormat = passive-aggressive, most of the time.
posted by wildflower at 5:44 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


People who tell you to be more relaxed, might as well be poking you with a stick every time you drop your guard.

I wouldn't necessarily call this guy the embodiment of evil, but he does sound, as someone said, "abrasive". With abrasiveness often comes a weird sense of entitlement to have someone stick around and be abraded, but you don't have to do that. You really don't.

You also feel pressure, not to do things differently, but to be somehow other than the way you are. Regardless of whether this pressure were coming from you or from him, it's not a good fit.
posted by tel3path at 5:49 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


JTBH (God, I love that)

He sounds really immature and frankly unpleasant. No amount of nice moments will offset all the jerk assery he is throwing at you. Maybe he is a nice guy, but he is a crap boyfriend for you.

Dump the chump.
Find someone with better taste in movies. And who, you know, doesn't suck at being your boyfriend.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 5:53 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Definitely dump him! The thing that had my hackles up right away was how fast he was trying to move this relationship along. Then the more you described him, the worse it sounded. Here's the deal, when you dump him, just dump him. Be nice, be calm, be FIRM. Say it once and go. DO NOT engage with him after you dump him. Something to the tune of "this relationship is not working out for me, and I'll be moving on now. I wish you the best, goodbye." Do not answer his questions about why it didnt work out, do not take his late night phone calls pleading to get back together (I predict this guy is gonna give you hell for trying to leave). I REPEAT do not engage or encourage this in anyway. For your safety and sanity, just break up and move on.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 6:04 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


I did not truly understand what was wrong with the guy who treated me the way your boyfriend is treating you until I read Narcissistic Lovers. Narcissism doesn't necessarily manifest as an over-the-top self-absorption. Instead, you often see it as the behavior of people who cast others in their lives, and replace them with new "actors" and "actresses" whenever they disappoint.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:20 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


It makes me wonder why I trigger his critical nature but this other girl did not.

Here's a different question. Did you think critically about whether that statement is true? And if you didn't, why not?

Maybe you do have direct insight about his prior relationship(s). For instance, maybe you've had occasion to see him interact with his ex, or maybe you have mutual friends who have told you stories. But if you're just taking his word, then you should ask yourself why. People aren't always honest with others about relationship failures. For that matter, people aren't always honest with themselves. It could be that your boyfriend's perception of his last relationship is deeply flawed—and then he communicates his understanding of it to you through whatever new-girlfriend filters, and now you're accepting this Telephone version of events as gospel.
posted by cribcage at 6:44 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


After reading your follow-up - about how you've dated several guys who say they were doormats in previous relationships - I'm wondering if maybe you've been the rebound for some of these guys. I don't know why they would tell you that otherwise, especially in the early stages of getting to know each other. It's typical for a rebounder to express irrationally strong feelings early on, before getting to know whoever it is they're rebounding with, and then this bright and shiny new relationship suddenly collapses like the hollow shell it was. It sounds to me like maybe you're this guy's rebound, and when he developed feelings for you he was just thinking of you as being whatever his ideal girlfriend is, instead of being attracted to you for who you really are.

It's possible that your shy and reserved nature allowed him to project more of what he was imagining onto you than it would be if you had a more outwardly strong personality. That is not your fault, but it is something you should be aware of as you navigate the world of dating. As a fellow reserved woman who takes a while to really open up to someone just getting to know me, I've had that happen to me in the past. More than once I've felt like someone's fantasy girl, and I've felt like those guys weren't actually interested in who I am, moreso who they wanted me to be.

Yes, you should break up with him.
posted by wondermouse at 6:47 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


maybe you have mutual friends who have told you stories.

I wouldn't even take this at face value. Some people who are abusive are really good at making the other person seem like the problem to the outside world.
posted by empath at 6:56 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Part of what makes me stumble is that he tells me he had a fairly stable (until the end) long term relationship with another girl and she was the one who ultimately mistreated and broke up with him."

At a guess, that's because your boyfriend is one of those people who can't bear to have anything on his side of the relationship ledger that makes him The Bad Guy. So he doesn't break things off himself. Everyone knows that dumpers get no sympathy and dumpees get scads of it. Thus, he just berates his partners for not being what he wants, even if the fault-finding makes no sense whatsoever. (How can one person both "equal happiness" while never smiling and looking like a "scared bird"? Step back: you can see that these traits cannot simultaneously exist in the same person.) Eventually, he gets what he was after, consciously or un-: the imperfect woman leaves, and the sympathy prize is his.

It hurts when someone who claims to love you digs at your flaws. It turns every interaction into a referendum on your character. It's demeaning and exhausting. If they don't stop doing it, you go over from hurt to anger. If a display of anger doesn't make them stop, you leave. So if his last girlfriend got angry, acted out, then left -- even if that's an accurate accounting of events -- that still does not necessarily make him an innocent victim in his prior relationship, nor indicate any real commitment to the prior girlfriend. Like you, she might have "equaled happiness" in the beginning, but didn't stick around when she equaled Never Good Enough. Follow her lead and flee like the wind.
posted by cirocco at 7:11 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


One rule that'll do you well in the future: if you are feeling crappy about a relationship at day 45- end it. You need no reason. Good relationships make you feel Good for months and years. There is no redeeming quality that makes a 45 day old relationship full of insecurity, depression, criticism, crazy expectations and useless drama- nothing can make all that worth it.

Be Glad you caught this early. Cut your loses and be serioualy greatful.

Secondly, nothing about your personality is going to wake up the inner jerk inside of nice guys. It is possible that you are unintentionally attracted to dudes like him- that is especially true if this aint your first rodeo where this shit has gone down- but that doesnt mean it's your fault or that you're asking for it- but if his keepshappening, you're going to want to talk to a professional therapist about how to spot them in advance.
posted by Blisterlips at 7:20 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


We were acquaintances for six months prior, and one day he finally confessed his crush to me and asked me out. At the start he moved crazy fast. He made us facebook official on our second date and told me he loved me on our fourth. He showered me with affection, and it was such a refreshing change from my previous relationship.

I knew as soon as I read this what was coming next. People who forge ahead with declaring their love without noticing or caring that you are on the same page are, for whatever reason, not realistic. Sometimes it's doofy idealists who put people on pedestals and expect great things and get all upset when you demonstrate any non-perfections. They fall in love with ideals, not humans. Sometimes it's narcissists who just want someone to make them happy all the time. The issue is that these types of people rush to get involved, and then back off for weird reasons once they start learning about the other person, or they start telling you how you're not living up to their expectations, or both. This is pretty much entirely on them. There's absolutely nothing wrong with liking intense, serious movies, or not belly laughing hardly ever, or sleeping in when you have the opportunity. You seem like a cool, thoughtful, empathic person. I agree that you should JTBH. He's not even making an effort, because he's not really concerned with you as a living, breathing, interesting person.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:25 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


So much good advice has come already in this thread. Just wanted to say one more thing -- the right guy for you will NEVER make you feel this way. You will know when you meet him that he is right for you because you won't feel awkward or shy around him - you'll feel GOOD and graceful and witty and comfortable.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:36 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ouch.

Leave now before it gets any worse.

It will get worse.

You are already questioning fundamental things about yourself and the person you are, and not in a healthy or good way, due to this man.

Run. I wish I had run when I saw eerily similar warning signs in my horribly abusive ex boyfriend. My only regret now is not leaving sooner, after he started showing me his true colors.

I wasted the last three years of my twenties trying to please someone who always had something mean or negative to say about me. It started off with things like sleeping later than he did or talking too much, and quickly escalated to things about my weight, my career choices, my friends, my possessions...

I left four months ago and I will never be the same woman, and not in a good way. He made me worse off in every way except one: now I know not to date narcissistic, manipulative, controlling people.

Don't make the same mistake I did. Even if he isn't an outright abuser (and he sounds like he might be to me) he sounds like someone who doesn't make you feel good about who you are.

Don't date people who don't respect and care for you as you are. You are not a fix-up project. You're a human being who has desires, ideas, and is wonderful in her own right. You don't have to change anything about yourself unless you independently desire to change it, and don't let anyone let you think otherwise.

He kind to yourself. It doesn't sound like your boyfriend (soon to be ex, I hope) is kind to you, and you deserve kindness.
posted by sockermom at 7:38 PM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


This seems like the classic behavior of an emotional abuser -- reel you in close, get to know you well, and then start cutting your soft underbelly. This guy is giving you nothing, taking plenty, and expects you to be his doormat along the way. Flee while you still have perspective, freedom, safety.
posted by acm at 7:40 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


I've geek thinking- and I thini I figured out what's been bugging me about this- it's that you seem to be counting up his behavior to add up dumping him Or keeping him- and seem very passive about your role here.

You dont "owe" him a shot because you went out with him a little. He doesnt have to be aweful for you to break up. Being part of a couple is NOT the default setting you want to be at. The default needs to be you Being a happy person. Good relationships shots up your confidence and challenge you to be a better person, but you have to start out thinking you should have that mind of Good shit before you couple up, so you can walk away with confidence from both bad AND meh relationships.

Forget his boring ass and shitty behavior- what is this relationship doping for you? It's not comforting, Or confortable, it's not established or financially beneficial, youre not excited or having fun like crazy. You're just there because... What? You're not 100% Sure he has fucked up enough to warrent you dumping his ass?
posted by Blisterlips at 7:55 PM on January 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


Hi, anon. I hope you take the advice written here to heart and hear everyone saying that it's not your fault.

I've been where you are before, and it is tough. When you are a shy person, and you feel like you still haven't really revealed your true self to someone, and that someone is still telling you how much they love you, it's like a mix of:

20% Aw, awesome! I'm a person who is loved!
70% But you don't even KNOW me! How can you love ME if I haven't even showed the full extent of who ME is?
10% But what if I never figure out how to open up to someone? At least this guy already loves me....

Please don't spend too much time thinking about how this relationship could be better if you changed yourself, or trying to figure out what is wrong with you. It doesn't have to be this hard. Eventually you will meet someone who you will warm up to quickly, or one who will understand, accept, and encourage your slower pace (<-- this is how my now-husband treated me when we first met, and can I just say how nice it felt to know that this guy was interested enough in finding out who I was at my core to actually stick around and try to win me over?)
posted by coupdefoudre at 8:55 PM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


What you are describing bears shocking similarities to a man I dated for 6 months (he even bought me a toothbrush, too!). After month 2, he became increasingly abusive. Police were involved in our break up, I had to change my locks and phone number, start parking in a new spot at school (because he knew my car), taking new paths to and from classes and work, stop using public transportation for a while...

In short, RUN.
posted by wansac at 8:59 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


You're not the problem, he's the problem.
posted by citron at 9:13 PM on January 31, 2013


"At the start he moved crazy fast. He made us facebook official on our second date and told me he loved me on our fourth".

"Then one day he gave me a chilly, rude goodbye in the morning. I couldn't figure out why. Later that day he apologized, unprompted, and said he was feeling vulnerable and scared about where "this might go".


Uh, he's scared where this might go when he set the pace at the very beginning? I love you on the fourth date?? Now we're deciding to backtrack?!

This, and the not answering your completely acceptable texts where you were reaching out for comfort (and never even got a response back?), seems he's not at all interested in taking care of your needs (you really should ask him why he never responded to your direct and acceptable wants of being comforted, that's what someone who cares about you is there for). Not asking questions about you you are/lack of interest, wanting you to watch more goofy films because that's what he likes, act more happy for him/open/whatever.. Yeah, he doesn't seem to see you as much as an entity, but someone to fulfill his needs and wants and entertain him (he's the one with depression, you're just shy, so you should be able to fix that! That's the dialogue I'm getting from how you said he's been acting towards you). It just sounds like he's trying to change you into what he wants ("morning person" comment sounds like the beginnings of contempt towards you in the relationship, coming from his end).

These things pile up down the line, if you're seeing it at the very beginning that's not a very good sign. It just really seems like a bad indicator of things to come.

Talk to him about these issues you've brought up here, and see how you feel about what he says. Stand up for yourself and speak up if you don't feel like you're being treated the way you want to be treated, otherwise the behavior will continue. Maybe he doesn't realize what he's doing, maybe he does. You won't have any answers until you let him know what your needs are and see how he reacts. If he reacts poorly to you stating your needs, there are many more people out there who will treat you with love and respect. The more you stand up for your feelings and know they are valid, you'll eventually end up weeding out the people who don't appreciate you, because those types usually don't stick around if they're no longer allowed to act however they want with you. It's so hard when you love someone (don't know if that's the case here), but at least you can say you've been honest and can express your feelings and needs when you feel they're not being met.

Good luck, whichever way it works out!
I hope for the best for you.
posted by readygo at 9:53 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


For me, an ideal relationship, especially one this new, should be focused on fun and and caring for and enjoying life with someone. I don't get an especially good feeling about this one.

Initially I asked him if anything was wrong and he was insistent it had nothing to do with me.

I can maybe understand not wanting to talk about work much, but he could still let you in on what he is feeling.

"feeling a bit down today" and didn't get a response back. Another stressful day I sent him, "I need a hug." He didn't respond to that either. I haven't talked that much about my problems so I don't think he could accuse me of asking for too much support, and since he's kind of rebuffed my feelers I've been reluctant to. But again, maybe I'm overreacting?


I don't think so. Sounds like you have a desire to be cared for that is not being met.

I've discovered I'm attracted to guys who are more present and perceptive. They just don't seem to like me, at least the ones I've dated haven't.

This part about a 'discovery' struck me the most. Maybe you experienced what you thought was missing with your past boyfriends? Was it that the attractive guys noticed you more? or you felt a closer connection? Do you really find your boyfriend to be present and perceptive - in a positive way?

I can't tell if they're legitimate problems I should work on in this relationship because I will encounter the same issues with most perceptive guys


It sounds like you may have discovered more about what you want in a relationship, and you wish you were less shy and socially awkward particularly with guys. I'm sure this is something that could considerably improve if you work at it. Your post doesn't give me a good impression that you are moving forward in this relationship. It sounds like you are being quite perceptive and present, and he is not really, except to be critical of you.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:55 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like Donaken I wondered if he might be bi-polar as he sounds a lot like a bi-polar ex of mine. He sounds like he has intense emotions & mood swings.
The criticism of you and others is a sign of his own anxiety & self-hatred/doubts as he attempts to cover up his own issues by convincing himself and you that he's better than other people.
Run away.
posted by goshling at 11:12 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Part of what makes me stumble is that he tells me he had a fairly stable (until the end) long term relationship with another girl and she was the one who ultimately mistreated and broke up with him. It makes me wonder why I trigger his critical nature but this other girl did not. I've had a few experiences like this where guys who claimed they were always the doormat in their past relationships have ended up mistreating, and it makes me think that something about my personality may invite that kind of treatment from otherwise decent people.

1. I dated someone who behaved like your guy for much longer than I should have, but I spent a lot of that time trying to talk him into responding to my needs. We talked and talked and talked until one day I had just had enough of taking care of his needs and ignoring my own. I had literally been housing him rent free for 6 months at risk of eviction myself, doing all of the cleaning and most of the cooking, etc., etc. He had the nerve to say he had tried his best to support *me* and I was crazy for ditching him. So take his assertion that his previous GF mistreated him with a healthy shaker of salt.

2. Agreeing with previous posters that you didn't trigger anything in him, he's probably like this with everyone while telling himself the women are the problem. Maybe you, being an introvert, take to passive aggressive types rather than aggressive aggressive types, or because you're unsure and slow to warm to people end up with the guys who pursue quickly/heavily?

In any case, this is very early to be going through this kind of drama. Good luck, and take care of yourself.
posted by OompaLoompa at 11:17 PM on January 31, 2013


Answer: yes, yes you should.

I haven't even met either of you, and I can tell you're a way nicer person than him.
posted by Salamander at 12:36 AM on February 1, 2013


To address his ex-girlfriend: he probably pulled the same - and worse - stuff with her. She left, which to abusers is often the ultimate betrayal.

Abuse victims are often accused of being the abusive ones themselves after a relationship ends. I'd be sadly willing to bet good money on his ex-girlfriend having endured some pretty rough stuff during her time with him.
posted by sockermom at 1:46 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


guys who claimed they were always the doormat in their past relationships have ended up mistreating, and it makes me think that something about my personality may invite that kind of treatment from otherwise decent people.

Decent people don't mistreat their partner. It's not you, it's them.
posted by ersatz at 2:27 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, OP, I'm so sorry. I feel for you because I've dated this guy before! Twice!

Both times I ended up head-over-heels for them, listening to their problems, looking after when when they were sick, doing everything I could to make it work even though I was often faced with criticism, confusion and disinterest. The last guy used to make a habit of telling me to leave in the mornings as if I was a particularly annoying distraction he was trying to get over; he'd just roll over and say "ok, you should go now, I have to work". I also lost count of the times I'd be lying in bed in my sexiest underwear waiting for them to turn around from their computer, waiting for the smallest acknowledgement, to no avail -- in hindsight, ugh, why the fuck did I put up with that?

OP, I have some advice for you, which seems to be working for me: STOP DATING THESE GUYS. There's probably a reason you're attracted to someone so emotionally unavailable/difficult -- for me, it is primarily fear of rejection coupled with an unhealthy tendency towards wanting to be a Jesus Girlfriend -- but you don't have to try and delve into that if you don't want to (if you do want to, great! I recommend talk therapy and a regimen of volunteering and art classes).

But most importantly, just straight up stop giving these guys the time of day. They tell you they don't deserve you and guess what? They don't! Next time a guy makes you FB official on your second date, thank him for the drink and turn around and walk out of there. Next time someone is rude to you for no reason, don't just take it as given. You deserve someone who will go to the ends of the Earth to spend a little time with you. Someone who tells you they love that you are quiet and that you'd rather spend an evening curled up on the couch with a book, and there's nowhere else they'd rather be. It will be scary and difficult, but it will be worth it in the end. I promise.

Memail me if you want. I have lots of hugs for you.
posted by fight or flight at 3:53 AM on February 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


JTBH

Look, it's not that any one of the things you've brought couldn't be fine by themselves. Moved too fast? A-OK if you were also all-in from the beginning, and now you've been together for several months or years. Some people just work like that. My fiance was all-in, and we've been together years, and it's awesome.

BUT

A guy who's all-in from the beginning, and serious about it, is not going to be that critical of you after a month and a half. That's when they should still be starry-eyed and thinking everything you do is beautiful even when it's not.

Same with the criticisms of personality. If you'd been dating for several months or years, and occasionally, a criticism was voiced in frustration, but the overwhelming majority were loving and supportive? Not a big deal, people's tempers sometimes flare.

But this much crap, after so little time, is quite frankly bullshit. Don't put up with it.
posted by corb at 6:28 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


JTBH / DTMFA.

He set the pace of the relationship, and is now questioning it, and rather than question whether or not the two of you are really compatible, it sounds like he is framing everything as if this is a problem with you that you should fix so you can have the relationship of his dreams that equates happiness. Instead of asking himself "is this the right person for me?" he's asking you "what is wrong with you?"

He's already making you think that there is something wrong with you. Taking a while to open up to someone is not a bad trait at all, and he should be respectful of that.

DTMFA and move on. People need to be in relationships that move at a pace that is natural and comfortable for them--and ones where compatibility issues are not treated as the sole fault of one person.
posted by inertia at 7:40 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Another perspective.

My boyfriend was like this at the beginning. I did not DTMFA. We've been together a year so far.

It's been very rocky. There have been a lot of immaturities, emotional spells, and bs to deal with. It's been great in a lot of ways, but definitely not the "easy" relationship most people speak of here.

I don't know how things will go. I'm happier with him in my life than not. We are doing cool things together. He is very affectionate, and my life is better in a lot of ways. We are way more real with each other, way better friends, and enjoy spending time together more than ever. It's the best relationship I've ever had -- but my past relationships were really REALLY awful.

So... I agree with the advice to dump him, but if you don't take it, the world won't end. You just might have to go through a lot on the way to a real relationship with each other.
posted by 3491again at 9:00 AM on February 1, 2013


another vote for JTBH. He's grossly immature and treating you badly. This is a band-aid relationship. Just rip it off!
posted by Wilder at 9:10 AM on February 1, 2013


You are fine. He is a jerk. He will be a jerk in future relationships, and was one in his past ones. This is also true of your other relationships with other jerks.

Sadly, there are many jerks out there. But there are a lot of wonderful guys too. Dump him, stop self-critiquing and realize that you deserve much, much better, and then go enjoy his absence and your freedom.
posted by bearwife at 10:33 AM on February 1, 2013


The scariest part is how he makes everything your fault and all the focus is on what's wrong with you. Like how he asked you out, he made things official on the second date, and told you he loved you on the fourth - but somehow YOU are the one trying to "force a fake connection" and all the rest of it. Trust me, it will only get worse, to the point where every single thing in his life will be your fault, from his work performance to the dirty dishes he leaves in the sink. You're thinking now that maybe he is right, maybe there are things wrong with you and you will be able to change and make him happy. You may try to change for years. When it gets down to the ridiculous things that you have absolutely no possible control over, it may really dawn on you then that there was never any way that you were going to be able to make him happy with you. By that time, you might have wasted years of your life.

None of these "bad" things he cited about you are bad in reality, there is nothing wrong with you. You will never make him happy with you because there's nothing actually wrong with you. There is something wrong with him that he is projecting on to you. As long as there is something wrong with him, he will never be happy with you. And whatever is wrong with him is not going to go away as long as he projects it on to other people rathe than working on it himself.

he had a ... long term relationship with another girl and she was the one who ultimately mistreated and broke up with him ... guys who claimed they were always the doormat in their past relationships have ended up mistreating,

Guys like this ALWAYS claim that they were the mistreated doormat. This goes hand and hand with the other big cliche, claiming that all their ex girlfriends were totally crazy or unreasonable. All my money is on the bet that he was just as obnoxious to her and she broke up with him when she couldn't take it anymore.
posted by cairdeas at 12:31 PM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


About what a mistreated doormat he was in his past relationship, just think of how he will probably describe his relationship with you to the next contestant: "She was like a scared bird who never laughed. I was always doing everything I could to entertain the two of us and make her comfortable. She was never willing to have fun, and she insisted that we watch serious movies all the time, so I tried to make her happy and agreed to it... I guess I'm just too nice of a guy, sometimes. She was never understanding when I had to work late, and got mad and tried to dump me. I tried to rearrange my schedule and be more accommodating, even bought her a toothbrush to make it more convenient for her to stay at my place. It wasn't enough for her and she dumped me in the end though. It was hard to make her happy but I tried. I know YOU wouldn't mistreat me like that, though..."
posted by cairdeas at 12:41 PM on February 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Dump him. Dump him dump him dump him. I wasn't even halfway through your question before I thought, "She sounds awesome and can do so much better and this guy sounds like a real asshole."

You haven't been together very long and already he's treating you badly. Rudeness and giving you the cold shoulder aren't adult behaviors or healthy relationship behaviors and you don't have to put up with it. GIANT RED FLAG: his need to put the burden for everything on you when it's clearly him who has issues is beyond screwed up. He rushed into this relationship and is trying to force you to be who he wants you to be and not yourself. I can easily see this turning abusive, with him constantly pressuring you and manipulating you, maybe even gaslighting you to get you to do what he wants and be who you're not.

He's a user. He will take everything he can from you and use up everything you give. He will give nothing back. Every bad thing he does or says will have some excuse or rationalization. He hasn't even been with you for 2 months but criticizes you because there are things he doesn't know about you? He complains about stupid things like your taste in movies and the fact that he's never heard you belly laugh? He ignores you? He says hurtful things to you? Nope. Nuh-uh. DTMFA. JTBH!

You sound like a really great person. You can do so much better.
posted by i feel possessed at 6:17 AM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also he very rarely asks me any questions about myself, and this is perhaps part of the reason it's been difficult for me to open up around him.

Red flag right there. Nthing the suggestion to dump this loser.
posted by sunnychef88 at 12:04 AM on March 8, 2013


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