I want to trust my boyfriend but he's making it so hard
December 29, 2008 2:49 PM   Subscribe

I would like some unbiased opinion. Right now I am 4 months into a new relationship which has generally been going well. We get along great, have lots in common, and we have been spending a lot of time together. But I am having a hard time trusting him.

I would like some unbiased opinion.

Right now I am 4 months into a new relationship which has generally been going well. We get along great, have lots in common, and we have been spending a lot of time together – pretty much every night and weekends. I consider him a very important part of my life. Just so you know, we are a gay male couple in our mid 20s. But I am having a hard time trusting him.

There has been a few situations where I feel like my boyfriend has been less than honest with me and evasive. This has contributed to a feeling of me not being able to trust him. Unfortunately, I thought they we had moved past this but it keeps coming back up. Let me explain:

- when we first started dating, he would often talk about his friend, let’s call him x. My boyfriend, x and his partner would watch movies together and hang out, go for lunches, text and call each other. I was rarely at any of these gatherings. I thought he was just a friend. He would housesit for them and take care of their dog (they are a couple). It wasn’t until about a month into dating that I found out that this "friend" was his ex-boyfriend. I was shocked and demanded to know why he didn’t tell me from the beginning. He said he didn’t tell me because “they have moved past it, and now they are just friends, and had been for a couple years.” I told him that I felt it was an unacceptable relationship and that I thought it was weird. Well they ended up getting a fight a few weeks later about him housesitting for them and me not being able to stay there while he did; and they haven’t talked for a couple of months.

- Fast forward to this month, I have been asking my boyfriend about what our New Years plans are for a couple of weeks, since his best friend is in town visiting.

He has been generally avoiding the subject, saying he doesn’t care what we do. Yesterday, 3 days before New years eve, I found out that he actually is going out for dinner plans with his best friend, and his best friend’s parents. He says if I wanted to come they could “change the reservation…” in other words, I wasn’t invited and he had known about this all along.

He wanted me to meet up with him later (and his best friend) after his dinner thing. He says that it’s a tradition and they have done it every year… I demanded to know why he didn’t tell me about these dinner plans when I had been asking him for weeks what he wants to do for New Years Eve.

He initially said he “forgot”… then said he didn’t think New Years was such a big deal to me, and finally that he felt uncomfortable inviting me to this dinner since his friend’s parents would likely pick up the tab for dinner.

I told him that as a couple, he should have asked me what we wanted to do first and then we could make a decision as a couple on what we wanted to do.

What it comes down to, is that I don’t understand why he is acting like this. I feel really left out and excluded, and especially on a night like New Years, I feel like our plans should be priority number one.

In the back on my head, I worry he is cheating on me, but I think this is mostly because of past experiences (I have been cheated on before). I am scared to continue this relationship, worrying about what he is doing all the time and feeling like I am being intrusive because he won’t give up any information. He acts like he has something to hide.

I am in love and I am not sure what to do next. I feel like there are red flags all over the place here. I am scared because I am in love and I have no proof -- but my gut is telling me this isn't right.

We had it out last night over the New years dinner thing, and I ended up feeling like I was being unreasonable and jealous of his close friendship. Any insight would be appreciated… thanks.

Deep down I feel like he is a good guy, but this behavior is unacceptable and I am not sure what to do next.
posted by ninefour to Human Relations (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
"I was shocked and demanded..."
"I demanded..."

Looks like he may be trying to avoid confrontation. Sure, it'll end up having to come out eventually, but putting it off may be better in his mind than taking it on at the moment.

Judging by those quotes up there you may be scaring him aware from telling you the truth about things. He may be leaving out facts and such because he's afraid you'll over react. If he doesn't think you trust him, he's not going to give you unfettered access to every detail of his life. He has to tailor information for you so you won't think it's something else.

That's just my initial though.

My second thought is, if you really can't trust him, you won't be able to have an enjoyable relationship. Get out now before he wastes more of your life.
posted by toekneebullard at 2:58 PM on December 29, 2008


We had it out last night over the New years dinner thing, and I ended up feeling like I was being unreasonable and jealous of his close friendship.

Okay, you're giving us your side of the story and ASKING "Am I justified in being suspicious?" but what you really want us to ANSWER is "Is this guy cheating on me?" The latter we cannot answer without knowing what he said last night during the fight you had. Did you tell him you're concerned about cheating? What was his response? Does he have reason to want to be cheating on you while still maintaining your relationship?
posted by lizzicide at 3:00 PM on December 29, 2008


We had it out last night over the New years dinner thing, and I ended up feeling like I was being unreasonable and jealous of his close friendship.

It would be good to know what the result of this discussion was -- did he recognise how it felt to be in your situation, or was it a 'you're overthinking this' reaction?

No-one can ever really know what's going on in anyone else's relationship. With that caveat, I think open, honest communication (outside the context of an argument) is the missing ingredient here. You need to talk about why he leaves you out of his plans, and why you feel as if there are 'red flags all over the place'. Keep the conversation going so that you can discuss these things without them boiling over into an argument, when no-one is at their best or most rational. And good luck.
posted by impluvium at 3:03 PM on December 29, 2008


It sounds to me like he's approaching situations like he is still single, rather than as part of a couple. Perhaps he sees 4 months as a relatively short and casual relationship, while you are assuming that it's more serious. Neither viewpoint is wrong, they're just different.

You say "I am in love and I am not sure what to do next". The next step is most assuredly to talk with this guy and figure out what HIS priorities are, and how those mesh with yours. He needs to be understanding of your own past and your insecurities, and you need to be understanding of HIS past and HIS insecurities. It's a two-way street. This is the sort of conversation best started when both of you have a cool head.
posted by muddgirl at 3:03 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's impossible to get unbiased advice from people who have only heard one side of the story.
posted by grouse at 3:13 PM on December 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


You guys are on completely different pages. Maybe not even reading the same book. It's time to sit down and really figure out what's going on between the two of you, what he wants out of it, his intentions and comfort zones, and then working out how (if) those mesh with yours.

Based on your description of events alone, I'd say this is an incompatible relationship unlikely to improve for the long-term. But, as others have said, it's difficult to know for sure based on one (upset) side of the story.
posted by batmonkey at 3:29 PM on December 29, 2008


are you sure you're in an exclusive committed relationship with this guy, or that he sees it that way? just guessing, but it wouldn't be the first time I'd heard of where one partner thought things were way more committed than the other one did.
posted by shmegegge at 3:34 PM on December 29, 2008


he says i am overreacting, that i am jealous of his friendship. I told him I am worried he is cheating on me, he says that he is different from the other guys I have dated -- and that he isn't going to hurt me. he thinks because I have been cheated on before, that I am assuming the worst. his excuse for leaving me out of his plans is that "he forgot."

muddgirl: i said the same thing to him last night, that i feel like he is acting like he's still single and not how he should be acting in a relationship. he says that he needs a balance. i told him i think this friendship is out of balance, that he is putting the friendship before his relationship.

i feel like us making new years plans together is a common sense thing and that the fact that he made plans already without me, didn't tell me, -- is a sign of something much worse.
posted by ninefour at 3:36 PM on December 29, 2008


It wasn’t until about a month into dating that I found out that this "friend" was his ex-boyfriend. I was shocked and demanded to know why he didn’t tell me from the beginning. He said he didn’t tell me because “they have moved past it, and now they are just friends, and had been for a couple years.” I told him that I felt it was an unacceptable relationship and that I thought it was weird.
You really haven't heard of people remaining friends with their exes before? It's really not that uncommon, and certainly is not unacceptable. Others can weigh in as to whether it would have been more courteous to let you know, but from my perspective, it sounds like he just figured it was a non-issue, since it had been several years since they dated.

I told him that as a couple, he should have asked me what we wanted to do first and then we could make a decision as a couple on what we wanted to do.

This, and the "shocked and demanded that he..." type statements make me wonder about the kind of communication going on in this relationship. It sounds to me like you are both coming at this with different ideas of what stage of the relationship you're in, and with different expectations. Because of this, you might be freaking out over what he perceives to be relatively small issues.

The New Year's thing is odd to me, but none of the things you're describing sound like red flags; it just sounds like there is a lack of communication going on.
posted by !Jim at 3:36 PM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


we have been spending a lot of time together – pretty much every night and weekends

You've jumped the gun. Seeing each other every night and every weekend is a bit much for such a new relationship.

I told him that I felt it was an unacceptable relationship and that I thought it was weird.

I bet you said, "By authority vested in me by having a four month relationship with you, I declare that your friendship with your ex is unacceptable and weird."

in other words, I wasn’t invited and he had known about this all along.

Anytime you use the phrase "in other words" it means you're assuming the worst in something that is unknowable.

I don’t understand why he is acting like this.

You don't? Seriously? Obviously he is trying to keep his dating life (you) separate from his past flame (the ex) - that doesn't mean that he is screwing around on you, but it does mean that he is possibly emotionally divested from you.

I am scared to continue this relationship

Despite all of the back and forth, "I demanded this," and, "found that unacceptable," this is the first thing you've articulated that makes sense.

You boyfriend is reluctant to cut his ties with the ex. Being friends is one thing, but excluding whoever he is dating from that friendship (I bet the ex doesn't even know you exist) isn't healthy.

I am in love and I am not sure what to do next.

How can you be in love with someone, who of the course of four months, has continued to worry and confuse you?

Deep down I feel like he is a good guy, but this behavior is unacceptable and I am not sure what to do next.

Your problem is that you're too focued on the ends rather than the means. You don't have to *do* anything. You can continue this reltionship, accepting the fact that your boyfriend is going to have this relationship with his ex for which you're not going to be included in... if you can handle that, then suck it up and go along with it.

I don't think you can though, you seem like you're in a place where you find it hard to trust this guy and you'll be endlessly seconding guessing his moves. How long before you're combing through his phone looking for text messages, or spying on his email?

Say to your man, "Look, I'm not comfortable with this. Maybe I'm overreacting a little, but you haven't exactly made it easy for me to accept your "friendship" with your ex because you've been evasive and semi-secretive up until this point. We need to either work this out, or we need to take some time off."
posted by wfrgms at 3:39 PM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


i said the same thing to him last night, that i feel like he is acting like he's still single and not how he should be acting in a relationship.

I'm guessing here, but I don't think this is the conversation muddgirl meant for you to have. When you put it the way you did here, you're basically telling him how you think he should behave. It doesn't sound like you're getting his input on things at all. I mean, read this:

i told him i think this friendship is out of balance, that he is putting the friendship before his relationship.

People have different priorities, and while this relationship is clearly very serious for you, perhaps he isn't so sure. Maybe it's important to him to maintain more independence than you're used to. There's no way for you to know unless you start actually talking to him, instead of handing down mandates.
posted by !Jim at 3:42 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


i thought we were on the same level as to how serious the relationship was. i am sure we are seeing each other exclusively and i have asked him.

i worry this friendships that he has are emotional affairs and i feel sometimes like it's taking away from what we have together.
posted by ninefour at 3:56 PM on December 29, 2008


We get along great, have lots in common, and we have been spending a lot of time together.

The one thing you don't have in common is your own best interests. Act accordingly.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:16 PM on December 29, 2008


Dude, you've been together for four months. FOUR MONTHS. That is nothing.

That is certainly not long enough for you to be dictating whether or not his friendships are "weird" or "unacceptable." That is certainly not long enough for you to be demanding things of him. People can be friends with their exes, whether or not you can handle that is up to you. While it's valid to hold the notion that your significant other should not maintain contact with his exes, keep in mind that it's your problem, not his.

Whether or not he is having an affair, emotionally or physically, is irrelevant. The bottom line is that you don't trust him, and healthy relationships are based on trust, not monogamy, not social status, not hobbies, trust.

i thought we were on the same level as to how serious the relationship was.

You were wrong. Being on the same level in a relationship means much, much, much more than being exclusive. Your view of the relationship is "love" but his may very well be that you two are casually dating, as many people are after only four months.

i worry this friendships that he has are emotional affairs and i feel sometimes like it's taking away from what we have together.

What rules would you impose on his friendships to deem them just friends and not, as you say, an emotional affair? Just kidding, you don't get to impose rules on his friendships! You never will. All you can do is tell him that the closeness he has with this third wheel makes you uncomfortable, and then it's up to him to make changes to the friendship. If you tell him this, remember that he is well within his rights to pick the friend over you.

If you have these rampant jealousy issues now you should just bow out gracefully and spend some time working through your own insecurities. From the outlook you've given here, it seems like you're one boiled rabbit away from a psychological thriller.
posted by coryinabox at 4:22 PM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Four months isn't a long time, so I can understand that he felt awkward asking you to dinner with his best friend's parents, especially since they have the tradition of paying. (And do they know that he's gay? Maybe some of the awkwardness is not wanting to be seen in a gay couple in front of the parents?) He changed his story several times because he knew you'd overreact. It's rational on his part, because you totally overreacted to the ex situation: a month into dating, you have no right to tell him that his friendships are unacceptable and weird.

He's not making it hard for you to trust him. You're making it hard for him to be honest. Stop making him walk on eggshells around you, because it will ruin your relationship faster than any dinners with best friends or ex-boyfriends.
posted by desjardins at 4:50 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


i worry this friendships that he has are emotional affairs and i feel sometimes like it's taking away from what we have together.

Something tells me you don't have a lot of close friends of your own. Rectify this, and you won't be worried about his friends.
posted by desjardins at 4:52 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The problem I can see is that he thinks avoiding conflict is the method to solve the problem that you don't want him to judge himself which friends he wants to have.

I can understand somebody wanting to keep a former boyfriend as his friend.

It's a show-stopper for me if a new boyfriend that can't handle me being friends with an ex-boyfriend. It signals drama and problems down the road for me when the new guy asks me not to see a friend because I see it as he wants to own the control over the relationship and how I relate to other people. So mandates from a boyfriend (candidate) would make me having cold feet.

How long time were they boyfriends? Several years? Is 4 months a short time or a long time for him?
posted by flif at 4:59 PM on December 29, 2008


You're getting a lot of good advice here. In summary: try doing less demanding, assuming, and blaming, and more asking, listening, and sharing what you're feeling.
posted by ottereroticist at 6:44 PM on December 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Here's the deal, though. The problem isn't your boyfriend wanting to hang out with an ex. Its with the boyfriend not telling the whole truth about the person. The answer should be more honesty, not less. People do cheat, and exes are a real source of concern for people. It isn't crazy for him to want the truth on the subject.

I think you should basically work out what you are going to say beforehand and focus on being calm while you explain that while your partner may have not liked the way past discssions about these matters may have gone, you are certain both partners can discuss it rationally now. Say that you think he'd agree that it is normal for anyone to want to figure out where their current partner is at in regards to the partner's ex. Then say that you'd like a brief explanation of where things are at--to have their partner tell him what feelings, if any, they might have for the ex. Then be sure to say that you are certain he'd agree that one can have a partner keep everyone in the loop from here on out.

My experience is that in these situations, a calm rational discussion does two things: it reassures a formerly pressured parther that the topic can be discussed rationally, and it puts a less-than-well-behaved partner in a position where it becomes difficult to tell anything but the truth.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:40 PM on December 29, 2008


One other thing. You should stop thinking about this in terms of having been cheated on before, because what you are asking for commnication and honesty, to which anyone is entitled. Also your partner isn't the people who hurt you.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:48 PM on December 29, 2008


I would say you've got a lot of red flags and I would be worried considering it's only been 4 months. I think it's fine for him to be friends with his ex boyfriends, but there's a reason he's not telling you the truth or avoiding the questions. If he thought his relationship with this ex was just innocent, why would he go to so much trouble being avoiding the questions.

Whether or not he's doing anything inappropriate... the first several months or so of dating should feel like bliss! Not pressure and stress. Something's not right and not clicking well. Perhaps your personalities just don't match. Go find a guy that will make you feel wonderful, instead of insecure.
posted by DorothySmith at 11:35 PM on December 29, 2008


PS. New Years with your partner, should be expected! It doesn't matter if they're best friends, you should have been included or it should have just been a night that the two of you decide together. I would be furious if my partner made plans on New Years that didn't include me! Boooo!
posted by DorothySmith at 11:37 PM on December 29, 2008


thank you everyone for your comments. this thread has really helped.

i am going to try and work on the communication both ways within our relationship and also, I will stop assuming the worst about everything. I will also give him more space.

he can be a very private person sometimes and i think that has something to do with him not initially offering up a lot of information.

however, i do think that spending new year's together is a no-brainer and thankfully he has decided that we will spend part of the evening together and then go out later; after seeing how I upset I was.
posted by ninefour at 12:36 PM on December 30, 2008


if someone i'd been dating for a month told me that one of my freindships was "unacceptable" that person would be dumped immediately.
posted by swbarrett at 12:55 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


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