Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Fatal Attraction, how to break free?
February 21, 2013 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I’m Male in my late 20s; I need help figuring out what to do about my relationship, I’ve tried breaking up a few times, but every time I get to it something in my head stops me... What can I do?

We’ve been together 3 months. He’s 2 years younger and neither of us has been in a relationship so things have been difficult. I was always very insecure and very overweight with lots of medical issues which meant I’ve never really had a lot of options or the confidence to pursue anything. His story is that he has had a lot of casual sex with strangers (50-100 apparently) including 3 ways and being in videos. He says he had arranged to be in a 7 way and something snapped in his head were he felt used like an object, damaged and couldn’t let anyone touch him for months. He concluded he doesn’t want to be alone and wants to try something with emotions.

The difficulty is that I don’t trust him, we met online, I’ve never met anyone in his life and I don’t think I will, he keeps making excuses/breaking promises and says he is not out to his family. He has met all my friends and some family. After our second date I removed my online profile but about a month in he was still using several, I asked, he said I could trust him and he was just talking to friends. I said he needed to delete them because I wasn’t happy that they clearly had phones to contact them. He turned it around, asked if I thought he was cheating and said he was hurt I didn’t trust him.

Secondly, he was always very secretive with his phone, I could see over his shoulder a lot of messages from unsaved numbers and one day a message came through from a contact saved as “Hot Guy” I got annoyed and he said he didn’t even know who it was that he saved it when in a bar and was just going to delete it that he has a lot of contacts with nicknames like “Cub” and “Guy”. He always hid his phone when showing/looking at things, I noticed for a second once there were sexual pictures in his phone. He said that they were from his past that I couldn’t see them that they would only hurt me that he would delete them. It kind of hurt that he wouldn’t send me any when he has sent them so many times to strangers.

Thirdly, about 2 months in he was googling something and I seen in the history that the last thing he googled was a website where men meet for sex, it’s not even a dating site, the profile pictures are of genitals and there is no socialising only “local cruising spots”. I asked him why he was using them and he said he was only curious and has never met anyone. I asked had he messaged anyone and he said no that it was the same as porn for him. He said he couldn’t cheat on me or do that to me that he would end things first, I asked about splitting up and he said he didn’t want to that he cared for me a lot that we had come too far and would delete all the sites the next day.

So here we are 3 months in, and something was still not sitting right with me. We both got drunk the other weekend and he passed out in bed. I felt really bad and I don’t know why I did, but something made me look through his phone. He had actually messaged someone online a few weeks ago asking them to send pictures to him. And he had saved one of their dirty pictures to his phone about 10 days before that so I knew he must be using it the whole time we were together. In the phone there were lots of pictures he had taken of himself and of other guys, there were also pictures and videos of him having sex unprotected with men, one in his house with a guy he told me was his friends with, and he said he never took anyone home and he said he always used protection! I can’t get the image out of my head, I haven’t been sleeping and I can’t stop thinking about it, the visual is there when I close my eyes, I get this horrible anxious feeling in my gut and I just want to scream. I created false profiles online and find myself constantly checking to see if he is online, any time his phone goes now I feel destroyed…

He doesn’t know that I know because he will go mad that I’ve broken his privacy and I feel bad about it , plus the last time I mentioned the website he made me feel guilty saying that I don’t trust him and I need to get over my trust issues. I know he has deleted them but I keep thinking he has just made new sites with different usernames.

Aside from the difficulty, we’ve been seeing each other several times a week, having lots of fun, he makes me laugh, we have shared interests, he says for him things are so easy and he really likes me, he wanted to be exclusive first. I feel like I can give a lot to help him change and step away from the big casual sex world he has been in for years, that it’s just going to take time, like he can’t help himself. It hurts that we haven’t been properly intimate and that he insists it is okay for him to watch porn even though I’m not comfortable with that. So, I have no actual proof that he has physically met anyone, but he’s so cold and numb with me, do you think someone leading that sort of life can ever change? I want someone who is affectionate and warm and open, he’s not very emotionally supportive or sympathetic with my needs and it seems everything is on his terms.

I can tell he is comfortable with me but I sometimes think he just enjoys the endless affection, praise, compliments and companionship while not really being attracted to me, he has never instigated kissing or seemed overly excited/out of control the way I do. He says his past means he has lost his sex drive and he needs time for us to build up to having sex, we have done a few sexual things, but infrequently and always me kind of forcing it through being really attracted to him and losing it a bit which makes me feel sleazy cause he stops it. He says he just wants to focus on us fopr now, that he loves me and wants to be there for me when my kidneys fail and my health gets bad, so I feel so guilty and any time I have built up the courage to tell him I don’t want to see him anymore he says something loving like this and I can’t go through with it cause he’s he first guy to ever accept all my issues too. But I’m so anxious all the time when I’m not with him about what he may be doing I’m so hurt but I don’t want to be alone… I’m going crazy! Why can’t I do it, why do I keep wanting to forget and think its my doubt and fear of opening up and wait and retry?

TLDR:
Can someone who has only ever really had casual sex and seems to have an addiction to mechanical impersonal gratification, has little friends and no family bonds move away from that and be traditionally romantic and intimate?

Is it wrong to be uncomfortable with your partner looking at porn and have whole image albums of them naked? How do people string people along when you find it so hard to understand?

Can you learn to trust someone who hides things they know will hurt you from their past, show little sign of actively changing but respond to prompts and demands to change and move forward?

How can you break up with someone who doesn’t like weakness, drama and tears when you know it’s the only way you can do it because it’s the way you are?

Thank you guys so much in advance, i've been here a while and your confidence and support is beyond comparrison... sexy_body100@hotmail.co.uk
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total)
 
You have been together 3 months, and you are hugely anxious and snooping and this relationship isn't meeting your needs. I can't see this getting better for you, and don't suggest you try to figure out how to fix him, because that really never ends well.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 10:43 AM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


This much drama after only 3 months would make all your other questions irrelevant, even if this guy didn't have so many red flags. Which he is veritably festooned with.

Leave and don't look back. Don't have a big teary scene, an don't engage if he turns it into one. Just keep it simple. "This isn't going to work out. I'm leaving."
posted by ook at 10:45 AM on February 21, 2013 [19 favorites]


I feel like I can give a lot to help him change and step away from the big casual sex world he has been in for years, that it’s just going to take time, like he can’t help himself

No you can't. Stop lying to yourself.

You want a 1:1 relationship with a man who will love you for who you are. You want a guy to build a life with.

Your friend isn't there yet, and he may never be.

Put an end to it and find someone who cherishes you for exactly who you are and what you have to offer.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:48 AM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I actually don't think I have ever seen an Ask where the answer was so clearly "end this relationship yesterday". You deserve so much better. The longer you stick it out, the more it will hurt when you inevitably have to leave.
posted by Pomo at 10:54 AM on February 21, 2013 [18 favorites]


Boy howdy, I see why this is so hard for you. Sounds like this guy is manipulating the crap out of you and playing to your good-nature as well as your insecurities. Red flags like crazy! it should not be this difficult to extricate yourself from a relationship after only three months. The fact that is is so hard for you, you have to ask yourself, "why?"
posted by Katine at 10:55 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Your relationship is totally lacking in trust, and for good reason. Run.
posted by Cranberry at 11:03 AM on February 21, 2013


As for the how, cut off all contact, work on yourself, spend time taking care of yourself and doing things you love. All the usual break up advice. If you ever get any niggling doubt, think to yourself, "that guy was playing me" and remember why you named this question after a movie in which a psychotic person is drowned and shot in their ex-lover's house by the end.
posted by Katine at 11:10 AM on February 21, 2013


To be blunt, it sounds like this guy is using you. Maybe not for physical/sexual things, but you're being used nonetheless.
posted by lettuchi at 11:11 AM on February 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


This guy is major bad news. He strings you along with beautiful words and you want to believe him because you are warm-hearted, kind, emotional and insecure.

I suggest you let him go, but also that you find a way to deal with your insecurities until it comes natural to you to see that you are a person worthy of love and respect and warmth. Then you will not give people like this the time of day.

Maybe a spot of therapy for you? Just til you see what is in front of you when you look in the mirror - someone who deserves love and joy and respect and serenity.
posted by miorita at 11:13 AM on February 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


Get rid of him. You're better off alone.

Can someone who has only ever really had casual sex and seems to have an addiction to mechanical impersonal gratification, has little friends and no family bonds move away from that and be traditionally romantic and intimate?

Can they? Sure. Is this guy doing that? No.

Is it wrong to be uncomfortable with your partner looking at porn and have whole image albums of them naked? How do people string people along when you find it so hard to understand?

It is not wrong, but it's not the one correct way either - it's your boundary, you get to set it. Some people are fine with their partners looking at porn and some people aren't. Neither is right or wrong. The right response to being told your partner isn't comfortable with you looking at porn is to try to talk it out and arrive at a compromise, or break up because you have different values.

Can you learn to trust someone who hides things they know will hurt you from their past, show little sign of actively changing but respond to prompts and demands to change and move forward?

Can you? Probably. Should you? No. You can lie to yourself all day until you get to a place where you're convinced you should trust him, but he's not a trustworthy person. Some people genuinely do have trust issues, but some people believe they have trust issues but are really just dating liars. You're pretty clearly in the latter category here. He's preying on your lack of confidence and undermining your faith in yourself.

How can you break up with someone who doesn’t like weakness, drama and tears when you know it’s the only way you can do it because it’s the way you are?

The answer is: Who gives a shit, just do it. It doesn't matter if he's contemptuous when you dump him. You're dumping him.

Why can’t I do it, why do I keep wanting to forget and think its my doubt and fear of opening up and wait and retry?

Because that is what you want to believe. Human beings, we're very good at fooling ourselves. You're fooling yourself. You tell yourself it's significant that he wanted to be exclusive first - you're certain it means that you're different, that he really does care. Except it doesn't mean anything at all if he's on the prowl behind your back. You're ascribing value to empty promises. You try to find encouragement in his words, but you already have objective proof that he's a liar, and he's lying about huge things - his words of encouragement and love have no value. This is like saying, "But he spent a couple grand on me!" It doesn't matter how much he spent if the money is counterfeit.

I mean, the dude had unprotected sex with an unspecified number of strangers, and lied about it.

There's a reason you haven't met any of his friends. There's a reason why he's messaging people on a hookup site. There's a reason why he tells you that you have trust issues when you find him untrustworthy. There's a reason your gut is screaming at you.

Somewhere down the line you'll meet someone sane who likes and accepts you for who you are. But this guy? Just kick his lying, game-playing, trifling ass to the curb. Don't make a song and dance about it - just tell him you don't want to date him anymore, and give no other reasons. If and when he starts putting down a thick layer of bullshit, trying to get you to stay, remember three things:

1. His words are counterfeit money, and
2. Your lack of sexual activity means you're dodging a bullet because he is dangerously unsafe sexually and probably has some fairly nasty diseases, and
3. Seriously, you're better off alone.

You can do this. Clear out his space in your life so that someone fantastic can come fill it. Good luck.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:33 AM on February 21, 2013 [12 favorites]


How can you break up with someone who doesn’t like weakness, drama and tears when you know it’s the only way you can do it because it’s the way you are?

Go ahead anyways. Break up with him in whatever way you can manage short of violence or other utterly inappropriate methods, and to hell with what he thinks about it. From what you say here, he's treating you badly, and you should get him out of your life.

Life is to short to be involved with people who treat you badly.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:35 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


It sounds like your gut feeling is that this guy is dishonest and taking advantage of you, and I think that's almost certainly the case. You already know for sure that he's been dishonest about things (always using protection for example, and that's a hell of a thing to lie about). You've only been together (and I use together very loosely here, since it doesn't seem like he has committed or given very much to you) for 3 months, and already there are multiple "deal-breaker" level issues.

Move on. Focus on taking care of yourself. Find someone worthy of your love and time, because this guy is clearly not that someone. Good luck, you can do it.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 11:36 AM on February 21, 2013


Stop talking to him completely. Go to therapy for yourself and figure out why you are attracted to someone like this, so that you can learn how to avoid repeating the pattern. I'm sure it can be fun at times but the lack of trust and real affection outweigh any of the fun. You sound really unhappy and stressed out right now, I think you will be much happier when you are single & over him. Then you can be available to meet a new partner who responds to your warmth and empathy and emotional depth with genuine kindness and attraction.

It's so much easier to date someone who doesn't need to be changed, who you are just happy with from the beginning. This is because it's impossible to change another person in the way you're describing.

This guy is definitely using you - and he is putting your health in danger as well by having unprotected sex with others, and then presumably having sexual contact with you? Why expose yourself to this risk and heartbreak? Stop talking to him ASAP. If you feel the urge to contact him and you feel "weakness, drama and tears" coming on, break up with a short email, don't see him in person, then block him on your phone, email, and social network pages so you don't see his information and updates and you're not tempted to start a conversation again.

Be accountable: buy a calendar from the drugstore, hang it up in your room and give yourself a gold star sticker on each day that you do not talk to him at all. After a few weeks of gold stars I guarantee 100% that you will already be feeling better. this might sound like a silly or childish thing, but my friends & i have found it really effective to break a habit of talking to someone who just magnetized us/the drama.
posted by zdravo at 11:36 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I saw your previous question about this guy a few weeks ago. Break up. He is using you, and things clearly have not improved. It sounds like he is not attracted to you, so is stringing you along while enjoying your company and care for him, but only when it's convenient for him. He's never going to offer more, he hasn't integrated you into any other parts of his life. He doesn't want want you want, and doesn't want to give you what you need. Tell him it isn't working, and cut off all contact. You can't stay friends with him, I can tell you wouldn't handle it well, and it's usually impossible to get over someone without a period of no contact, even if you do become friends down the road.

Get out now, and find someone who really does care about you and wants the same things. It may take time, but you're better off alone till then than with someone causing you this kind of stress all the time.
posted by catatethebird at 11:45 AM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


When there is a conflict between what someone does and what they say, always believe their actions over their words.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:51 AM on February 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm sorry that you're going through this. I understand it can be hard. Nonetheless, you and this guy are not right for each other, at least right now. If it helps you to think that the break-up is temporary, you can use that as a crutch for now. But this is not a good situation. People are not fixer-uppers like houses. You cannot change him. And the longer you stay, the harder it is going to be to leave. If it's hard to leave now, it's going to be really hard to leave in three months. You should get out now.

As for your specific questions:

"Can someone who has only ever really had casual sex and seems to have an addiction to mechanical impersonal gratification, has little friends and no family bonds move away from that and be traditionally romantic and intimate?" - I don't know and it doesn't really matter. We're not talking about "someone," but this particular guy and right now, that seems to be a problem for him.

"Is it wrong to be uncomfortable with your partner looking at porn and have whole image albums of them naked? How do people string people along when you find it so hard to understand?" - I can't really make a value judgment but if it makes you uncomfortable, you should honor that. People string people along because they're selfish or insensitive. Neither of those are good traits in a partner.

"Can you learn to trust someone who hides things they know will hurt you from their past, show little sign of actively changing but respond to prompts and demands to change and move forward?" - You can learn tons of things. I can learn how to become a chain smoker. That doesn't mean it's a good idea.

"How can you break up with someone who doesn’t like weakness, drama and tears when you know it’s the only way you can do it because it’s the way you are?" - You can break up with someone however you want. Relationships are at-will - they only continue when both parties want them to continue. It's your break-up, you can cry if you want to. But the most important thing is to be very clear - this relationship is not working for me, we should see other people, I am breaking up with you. Drop the mic and get out.
posted by kat518 at 11:51 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, building on what some others have said above - I'd go and get tested for STDs. And then I'd get angry at him - really pissed off. He quite probably, given the pattern of lies and evasion, has risked your health for a lark - what kind of person does that?

About the privacy thing - with someone who is so transparently two-timing you whilst taking you for a ride this is not called violation of privacy, but self-preservation.
posted by miorita at 11:52 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


D, D, DTMFA.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:55 AM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Seconding miorita: if you've had any kind of sexual contact with this guy, you definitely want to get tested; I absolutely guarantee he's continued to have unsafe sex with others throughout your relationship. And if as you say you really haven't been "properly intimate", thank your lucky stars; you've dodged a bullet.
posted by ook at 12:04 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


You have got to end this. He is seriously bad news for you. Bad news for anyone by the sounds of things, including himself, but definitely bad news for you. You deserve better than this guy. You deserve someone who can't wait to introduce you to all of his friends and family. You deserve someone that makes you feel safe and loved, not lied to and suspicious. You deserve someone who isn't putting your health at risk (by lying about continued unprotected sex).

Please. Dump the son of a bitch. Dumping him would be strength, not weakness. To hell with him if he doesn't like the real emotion that comes from having treated someone like crap. Making him uncomfortable by your tears and "drama" in the breakup is the very very least he deserves.

And go get tested. "Properly intimate" or not, there are things his unsafe behaviour could have exposed you to.

My thoughts are with you, friend.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:11 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


You deserve love, kindness, support, safety, and honesty from your partner. I don't just mean this generally, I mean that you specifically deserve these things.

Love yourself enough to leave this Bad News Bear. Just text him or call him and say "I don't want to see you anymore," and then don't see him anymore (that last part is a little difficult, but I know you can do it). Pick up a hobby or two. Get a pet. Start working out.

Start loving yourself. You are special, and you do not deserve this treatment.
posted by k8lin at 12:13 PM on February 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


You do not have any "trust issues"!!! Just because you don't trust someone doesn't mean there is something faulty about your sense of trust - a lot of the time it means that it is in PERFECT working order and you are right! So for fuck's sake start listening to it and stop playing around with these fantasies of him turning into someone with a completely different, trustworthy character, because this is NOT going to happen! This guy is on a collision course with HIV assuming he doesn't already have it (has he been tested or is that another thing you are supposed to "trust" him on) and so are you the longer you keep playing this game. You are pretty much saying that you are so starved for someone to show you a little affection that you are willing to kill yourself for the scraps of it. You need to get some major therapy because you are way more valuable than that. There are other people out there who will be ready to show you love, I promise you.
posted by cairdeas at 12:21 PM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


This makes me so sad, because I have such long experience with these kinds of relationships, where you're lonely and feel unattractive and someone gives you just enough kindness and attention to keep you hanging on for way too long. And you never feel secure or really loved and you walk around hurting and longing all the time.

You deserve so much more than this. You deserve someone who truly loves you and doesn't play these kinds of games. He's not there with you, he's holding you at arms length to feed his ego. You are beautiful, inside and out, just the way you are, and you should find someone who sees that, not someone who feeds your insecurity like this. Trust your instincts and say goodbye to him. Don't settle for someone who doesn't love you.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 12:53 PM on February 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was always very insecure and very overweight with lots of medical issues which meant I’ve never really had a lot of options or the confidence to pursue anything.

This is why you're putting up with this guy's BS. Treat yourself better than you have been and walk away from him, no tears, no drama, just putting yourself first. You deserve it.
posted by headnsouth at 2:06 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Something just occurred to me. It could be the reason that he has not had sex with you yet is because he is HIV positive and doesn't want to tell you. Please insist that he get tested before you go further with him.
posted by cairdeas at 4:24 PM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry you're in this drama filled relationship when you want something else.

This guy might "want" to be monogamous or even serious, but he's not behaving in a way that supports that statement. A trustworthy boyfriend doesn't have to hide his phone.

The phrase you're looking for is probably, "I have had fun with you, but I don't want to see you anymore... I deserve someone who tries to make me happy and doesn't hide me away from the rest if his life." AND THEN YOU HAVE TO CUT OfF CONTACT

The guy is a drama-llama,
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 8:57 PM on February 21, 2013


Get out of there.
posted by ead at 12:05 AM on February 22, 2013


« Older I am looking for easy and inte...   |  I moved to America about a yea... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.