Is this normal?
April 14, 2010 8:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm currently taking a second break from a relationship with a guy who suffers from Bipolar type I, OCD, paranoia (possibly paranoid schitzophrenia), and ADHD who also has heart problems. We've fought non-stop for most of 7 months and only for the last month or so has there been any extended amount of enjoyable time. Is there anything left in this relationship to salvage?

For the first month, things went well. He was a little more clingy than I liked but I figured it was just because things were new and he would eventually tone it down some. Not at all! In fact, it only got progressively worse. By the second month, we'd both said "I love yous" and things seemed to be going alright. Still too clingy but I was trying to ignore most of it. The third month, he decided it was finally time to let me in on a few little secrets.

He told me he was Bipolar type I, had OCD and ADHD, and suffered from paranoia; he also believes he may be suffering from paranoid schitzophrenia. He's had panic attacks and anxiety attacks (only once with me). He also has heart problems (weird since he's just 24). Ever since he's said this, things have been weird. I know it was a shock to me just because he dropped it out of the sky so suddenly. He said he felt awful about not letting me know upfront and we've had ongoing conversations about it since.

The fourth and fifth months were AWFUL. He was a pure a**hole most of the time; we fought just about non-stop. Not just normal fights but screaming arguments where he's tried to physically restrain me and not let me use my cellphone to call anyone. I've been embarrassed multiple times as he's carried on in public on a few occasions. This finally ended in a break up. We had a HUGE fight one night in his car in which he slapped me and I punched him in the face. He refused to bring me home for a couple hours while he begged me not to leave him. I did anyway.

Probably against my better judgment, I got back together with him. He's tried to improve his behavior, and in many ways, he has. However, I don't feel very attracted to him most of the time. That's wavered from the very beginning. He's a video game nerd; cute but with no sense of style (I'm talking clothes that just turn people off and I'm not a materialistic person at all). I find now, I'm finding other things I don't like about him. His clothes, his lack of cleanliness in his house, his annoying driving habits, the annoying way he says words wrong all the time and uses repetitive phrases. I feel like I''m just finding reasons to pick at the relationship because I'm not happy.

I broke up with him again a few days ago and have told him I don't know that I want to try to work it out. I don't feel like we have some important things in common and are always at odds about the relationship (ex: he says he doesn't feel loved when I'm always refusing his touchy feely gestures vs I keep telling him I don't like that and that it's not in my personality to enjoy it). I really think we both may be happier with other people. I guess I've been running myself ragged too because since we broke up, I've been EXHAUSTED. Sleeping long hours and dragging myself through classes and work. What do I do about this? Are people with mental issues this exhausting in relationship normally? Am I wrong for not wanting to work it out anymore?
posted by Accidental1 to Human Relations (61 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
DTMFA

Sounds like he's a basket case full of drama. Unless you thrive on this, leave and don't look back.
posted by TheBones at 8:34 AM on April 14, 2010


I don't think it's wrong of you to break up with him and I don't think you should try to make it work again. It seems pretty clear to me that he's not the guy for you. Try not to feel too bad - it happens all the time. It's a natural part of dating.
posted by kthxbi at 8:34 AM on April 14, 2010


Do yourself a favour and walk away. It doesn't seem that there's anything in this relationship that benefits you at all, and is just a large heap of hard work.

Also, he hit you? Run, don't walk.
posted by Solomon at 8:37 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think people with mental issues can be varying levels of exhausting, but they are at their maximum when they don't care enough / cannot manage their condition. Something is off here that he does not want to / does not care to / or simply cannot address.

I lean towards DTMFA (assault being the primary factor), but if you want a second option then maybe "Look, get your meds adjusted and seek [additional] therapy and give me a call in a year".
posted by syntheticfaith at 8:39 AM on April 14, 2010


Get thee away.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 8:40 AM on April 14, 2010


My goodness. You need to find someone better for you. I would also think that you might want to take some time to examine what you want out of a relationship and why. I would cut off contact until you have had some time to reflect.
posted by procrastination at 8:41 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


...he's tried to physically restrain me and not let me use my cellphone to call anyone...

...in which he slapped me...

Salvage yourself. Give him back his things. Leave him. Delete and block his phone number. Defriend him on Facebook/Twitter/etc. Tell him, in clear and certain terms, that you want nothing more to do with him.
posted by griphus at 8:45 AM on April 14, 2010


He's restrained you. He's hit you. You've hit him. None of this is normal in relationships. Walk away.
posted by dortmunder at 8:47 AM on April 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


However, I don't feel very attracted to him most of the time.

Well, there you go then.

Am I wrong for not wanting to work it out anymore?

Why would you want to work it out?
posted by ook at 8:47 AM on April 14, 2010


Time to move on. It was time to move on the moment he physically stopped you from using your phone. It was doubleplusgood time to move on when he hit you. Go and never look back. Don't answer his calls, his emails, nothing.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:48 AM on April 14, 2010


Also: Please do not excuse his abusive behavior on the basis of his mental health issues or in any way blame yourself for not "helping" him more.
posted by griphus at 8:51 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hope I'm not coming across like he's an awful guy in general. He's really sweet and caring...just to the point that if I reject it, he gets very upset and feels very rejected. He does have a long history of problems. His mother is bipolar type I and ever since she divorced his father when he was a young child, has been busier with dating men than raising her kids. Same thing with his father and other women. My ex said his father regularly through him around, blamed him for making his life miserable (I assume because he wasn't ready to settle down and be a father), and regularly let my ex know he wasn't the son he wanted. Poor man's been bounced around to a bunch of schools and passed on various family members al his life. He's been on so much medication, it likely has something to do with how far behind he is academically and health-wise. He's mentioned that he was raped by a family member as a child and that it brought on a period of sexual confusion for awhile. I love him but I don't feel very much IN LOVE with him anymore. I don't want to push him off to the side since he's finally getting himself together. He's trying to get into college and make something of himself. He keeps saying he's only doing it for me (not healthy I know). I don't want him to get so depressed that he lets everything drop and returns back to being a loser (I use that term as nicely as possible but it is true).
posted by Accidental1 at 8:55 AM on April 14, 2010


Another vote for: leave him ASAP.

And I hope this doesn't come across as too harsh, but I think the fact that you even question whether or not you should break up with him indicates that you may need a bit of therapy yourself. The guy hit you, there is no excuse for that. Ever.
posted by cottonswab at 8:55 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


He's really sweet and caring...just to the point that if I reject it, he gets very upset and feels very rejected.

?

He's manipulative, not "really sweet and caring."
posted by kmennie at 8:58 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


And believe me, I agree that you can't blame hitting someone etc on a mental disorder(s). I think he's had trouble understanding that and has been using those issues as a way to not take responsibility. He wants to work it out and I've been telling him I don't think its a good idea. I'm truly valuing my space right now. I think I just have problems with second guessing myself since he seems to have legit issues not just one of those guys who are just an a** for the purpose of doing so. Thanks for the support though. I'm feeling better about leaving, the more I read your comments.
posted by Accidental1 at 9:01 AM on April 14, 2010


Kmennie, you're right. He's very manipulative. I'm not saying he's not. I'm saying I think overall, his personality is that of someone who generally means well.
posted by Accidental1 at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2010


So he's really sweet and caring? When? Is it before or after he embarrasses you in public, hits you, holds you prisoner for a few hours without letting you have your phone?
posted by palomar at 9:04 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


You are not responsible for fixing him.
posted by _cave at 9:06 AM on April 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


I don't want him to get so depressed that he lets everything drop and returns back to being a loser

You are not responsible for his life/happiness/anything. Do not ruin your life in an attempt to fix someone else's. He has to fix himself.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:06 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Are people with mental issues this exhausting in relationship normally?

I think only if that person isn't taking control of his or her mental illness through therapy, medication, or some other intervention. You don't mention if he's on medication or going through therapy, but these are key in helping that person form healthy relationships with people.

But if he's hit you, you're not attracted to him, and you generally find him annoying, you need to make this break up the last one you have with him.
posted by too bad you're not me at 9:07 AM on April 14, 2010


Pity is not a basis for a romantic relationship.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:10 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


Palomar, I was referring to the moments in between the fights and carrying on. For example, I don't have my own car right now. He's brought me to, and picked me up from, work numerous times. He's surprised me with flowers or dinner after fights or even just because on good days (not saying that erases his behavior though). He'll stop and help anyone on the street just because (to the point where I've started questioning whether or not he values his safety). Again, I'm not saying this excuses all the bad things. I'm saying I'm not trying to come off like he's this awful person who deserves something awful to be done to him.
posted by Accidental1 at 9:11 AM on April 14, 2010


MexicanYenta, you said the exact same thing as my best friend. I agree with this. Again, I think I'm just having trouble because he has mental issues etc and I've never tried dating anyone like that. Other men, I'd just boot to the curb and keep stepping. This one just threw me for a loop.
posted by Accidental1 at 9:15 AM on April 14, 2010


Then be very nice when you break up with him. It isn't awful to be honest with the guy about whether you want a relationship, in the long term, it's the kindest thing that you can do. And stop accepting favors from him, for goodness sake.
posted by _cave at 9:16 AM on April 14, 2010


In short: Yes, your reaction is normal. Forgetting all the "good stuff vs. bad stuff" stuff, it seems like any hope you had of "chemistry" with this guy is shot. So, yeah - it makes sense for you to break up with him.
posted by Citrus at 9:16 AM on April 14, 2010


This is the kind of thing where the more we tell you, the more you'll feel defensive of your relationship with this guy and feel the need to defend him, so I'm asking--what do you want from us? Permission to break up with him? Granted. Permission to stay with someone who has hit you? Not granted.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:17 AM on April 14, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm still hearing zero reasons why you would or should want to stay with him; mostly you're listing reasons why you would feel guilty for breaking up with him.

Driving you to work or occasionally surprising you with flowers or dinner is just normal expected boyfriend behavior, it's not anywhere near sufficient reason to continue a relationship that isn't making you happy.

Someone can be a not-awful person and still not be worth dating. Move on with your life.
posted by ook at 9:17 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but none of the background information about this guy and his lifetime of troubles is relevant.

A man tried to restrain you from making phone calls, and he hit you. You aren't even very attracted to him. Just because you were "in a relationship" with him for a few months and even "said I love you" does not make you responsible for him or his raft of problems.

Do it quickly.

Keep it simple.

Take a deep breath and move on.

-
posted by General Tonic at 9:19 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stop making excuses for him or for being with him. Do not continue with this relationship or others even remotely like it.
posted by onhazier at 9:20 AM on April 14, 2010


(That came off as really dismissive, and I'm sorry for that, but it's true--we don't know this guy and we don't have to, because you made the decision and it is a completely ok decision for you to make, mental health issues or no, you aren't required to keep dating someone you don't like)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:23 AM on April 14, 2010


internet fraud detective squad, station number 9:

No, I'm not trying to defend the relationship. I'm discussing this with un-biased people. To be completely honest, I don't feel guilty that I broke up with him. I feel like a much needed break has started. I haven't talked to him much in the past few days and I don't miss him. I have no urge to even see him and have declined multiple offers to get lunch etc. So, no I'm not looking for permission. I've made a decision and am just wondering what other people would do with the situation. It's also making it easier for me to not feel like it's my fault for possibly bringing on a depressed phase. That may also be a result of him regularly acting like he may voluntarily commit himself because of something I did/said/whatever.

_cave:

I'm not accepting favors. Those things for the most part, stopped over a month ago. I think I've been trying to distance myself by refusing those favors. And yes, I know they're normal boyfriend favors.
posted by Accidental1 at 9:27 AM on April 14, 2010


Again, I think I'm just having trouble because he has mental issues etc and I've never tried dating anyone like that.

There. Are. No. Excuses. For. Spousal. Abuse. There are no mental health issues which cause someone to strike or restrain someone they claim to love. He should not be dating anyone at all until he (not YOU) has gotten himself under control.
posted by griphus at 9:30 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


As someone with bipolar disorder who has dated someone very similar to the person you're describing, I want to caution you that you're trying to talk yourself out of dumping him because you don't want to be responsible for his (possible) bad reaction.

Take that thought and throw it in the trash where it belongs. You tried to date him, you didn't like it. If he were any other man in the world, you would have left by now. Leave him - he's just like any other man except he's using his past to make you believe he's different. He's not. Think of him as any other man in your past and let him down easy.

After you are out of his life, you are not responsible for anything he does. Period, end of story. Anything he does after you break up with him is his responsibility and ONLY his responsibility. No one else's.

Don't let him beg you to stay by saying he will do harm to himself - that's the oldest threat in the book. And I'm going to sound cold and cruel but even if he does harm himself it's no one's fault but his own. As someone earlier said, it's not up to you to fix him. That is completely on him.

Sorry if I sound hateful, but I don't want you to end up where I am... Just take me as the voice of experience.
posted by patheral at 9:32 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


...he's this awful person who deserves something awful to be done to him.

No, he is not. He is an individual with a serious problem which can be dealt with. Much like any individual with a mental health problem, he deserves to be helped but you are not qualified to provide that help. HOWEVER, if he was in a state of mind to want what is best for you, he would distance himself from you until he was able to be in a state of mind where physically harming you would not be in the list of options of what to do during a mental health nadir. If he is not capable of making that decision, you must do the distancing yourself for your own good.
posted by griphus at 9:33 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


he has mental issues etc and I've never tried dating anyone like that.

I have. Some people with mental illness get better. Yours doesn't sound like one of them. He sounds like one who will wallow in it, and drag you down with him if you stay. And then after you finally do get out of the relationship, you will look back and be horrifically embarrassed at what you did and things you put up with because of him.

Right now, while you're worrying about him, there's some wonderful guy out there sitting in a coffee shop, wondering where he can meet someone like you. But you're not meeting him because you're worrying about Mental Illness Boy. Don't let the wonderful guy get away...don't let years of your life get away, either.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:34 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


End this, and strongly consider seeking therapy for yourself. Step back, stop thinking about him and the relationship, and start thinking about YOU. Consider why you have put up with it for this long, what it is about the relationship that you are trying to defend here, and why you need our validation in the first place. (Hint: it may relate to your own self-esteem or lack there of).
posted by drpynchon at 9:36 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


patheral:

Honestly, I think that's some of the most helpful advice. You're right about that first sentence because that's exactly what I've been feeling I've done the FIRST time I dumped him. Talked myself back into another 2 months of unhappiness.

You don't sound hateful. That is a comment I would normally make about someone who threatened to do something to themselves in an attempt to get their way. Just this one is liable to carry it out. You know he punched a hole in the wall, choked and cut himself the first serious fight we had? I was sitting on the floor wondering what in flaming hell I got into. I should have left that night, looking back on it.
posted by Accidental1 at 9:39 AM on April 14, 2010


Some people with mental illness get better.

I'd like to take issue with your phrasing here (intentional or not.) Some people with mental get better if they actively seek out help and comply with therapy/medication/etc. I'd hate for the OP to get the idea that he may just snap out of it one day.
posted by griphus at 9:39 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, what's the question here? Why would you stay with him? All you've said is that he's sometimes sweet. So what? So is everyone.

Look, if he DIDN'T have various mental problems, it sounds like you'd be about ready to break up with him. You fight all the time, you don't have much in common, you don't see what's worth fighting for in the relationship. So what's the question? We don't have to say DTMFA -- maybe he's not an MF. But we can say DH(im)A.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:42 AM on April 14, 2010


MexicanYenta:

I'm already horrifically embarrassed that I gave this a second chance. I mean, I've dropped guys for WAY less. I shouldn't be having a problem doing this. Do you think that may be what's behind regularly referring to his screwed up background like it's a "please pity me" thing?
posted by Accidental1 at 9:45 AM on April 14, 2010


That may also be a result of him regularly acting like he may voluntarily commit himself because of something I did/said/whatever.
You know he punched a hole in the wall, choked and cut himself the first serious fight we had?

Wait. What? You are not saying things that make this anonymous stranger think that this guy is mostly a good person. You are saying things that make it sound like this guy is trying to use his issues to bludgeon you into doing what he wants you to do. I'm no expert, but there doesn't seem to be anything that you can do for this guy but further exacerbate the situation, even if you tried to do exactly what he wanted all the time. Please don't feel bad about very clearly stating that you don't want to see him anymore.

--glad the favors thing has stopped. You are right for doing what you're doing.
posted by _cave at 9:45 AM on April 14, 2010


You might want to examine why you stay with this guy and keep defending him, as illustrated by your repeated posts. In short, get some therapy for yourself and get the hell away from him. He's abusive and manipulative. Many, many of us come from shitty backgrounds but many, many of us don't use that as justification for poor behavior.
posted by December at 9:53 AM on April 14, 2010


Feeling better about the decision now. My friend told me similar stuff but she's had a history of finding problems with every man in existence so it's hard to count on her to actually have an accurate opinion of someone.

Just curious as to what you all think about this aspect: I met this guy online. I'm kind of laughing a bit at this part because now I'm wondering if I should just stick to traditional dating. I mean I did the online thing just to see what would happen; not to be serious about it. I think I'm cured of that though. Never know what in the world you're actually getting.
posted by Accidental1 at 9:57 AM on April 14, 2010


I met this guy online.

Just as you shouldn't stereotype and write off every person with mental illness due to this one dude, don't write off online dating. You'll find just as many horror stories as "we've been married for eight decades" stories about both, if you look hard enough.

Just remember: broad strokes never help. It's all in the details.
posted by griphus at 9:59 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Accidental1 said: "Just curious as to what you all think about this aspect: I met this guy online."

Plenty of people meet plenty of unsuitable partners in real life. Don't forget that he met you online, too.
posted by Solomon at 10:03 AM on April 14, 2010


It sounds to me like the romantic part of this relationship ended some time ago, but that you still have concern and pity for this guy.

These two things are not necessarily exclusive, and I would say that it's a good thing that you still feel some shred of compassion for this guy.

I would make it absolutely clear to him that the romantic part of your relationship is over -- but not because of his mental issues (which sounds like an accurate and honest assessment from your description above). I'd also offer to go with him to a therapist or psychologist to discuss the issues that the two of you encountered in your relationship so that he can work to improve himself, and avoid a similar situation or relapse in the future.

Even though you don't care for him romantically anymore, you still care about his well-being (congratulations -- you're not a robot!). Setting him on the track to resolving his issues might help you sleep better at night, and help him become a better person.

Caveats: You really need to drive home the "I'm doing this only as a friend" aspect, and should not place yourself in a situation where you're alone together, etc.
posted by schmod at 10:09 AM on April 14, 2010


I'd hate for the OP to get the idea that he may just snap out of it one day.

True. I definitely didn't mean to imply that.


Do you think that may be what's behind regularly referring to his screwed up background like it's a "please pity me" thing?

Kind of. He's manipulating you, and it's working. But even worse, he's manipulating himself. He's giving himself excuses for his bad behavior, so that he can avoid fixing it. "It's not my fault, my parents did this too me!" Well, guess what, everyone's parents did things to them. But a big measure of becoming an adult is overcoming the things your parents did to you. I bet if you posted an Ask.me about "Tell me what horrible things your parents did to you while you were growing up, and what you've done to overcome it", you'd start one of the most intensely discussed conversations on here.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:14 AM on April 14, 2010


As someone with bipolar disorder who has dated someone very similar to the person you're describing, I want to caution you that you're trying to talk yourself out of dumping him because you don't want to be responsible for his (possible) bad reaction.

I agree that she should end the relationship, but I think her concern about what he might do (which is what I'm getting from her post and comments) is a pretty valid one. Is he a danger to himself or to others? Is he going to come after her with a gun? If the answer is "yes", it doesn't mean she shouldn't break up with him (I would say it would be an automatic DTMF already if it is "yes"), but she needs to find a way to dump him in the way that is safest for her. I would recommend calling a counselor hotline and see if they have any advice about how to end a relationship where one party has a mental illness and has already exhibited violence towards the individual that wants to leave.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:18 AM on April 14, 2010


Just curious as to what you all think about this aspect: I met this guy online.

Here's what I'd think: that you're drawing bizarrely inappropriate lessons from this experience.

The lesson is not "don't date people you meet online," it's "don't continue to date people who physically abuse you, punch holes in walls, choke, and cut themselves, or use their medical issues as emotional blackmail."

I should have left that night, looking back on it.

Yes. Yes, you should have.
posted by ook at 10:22 AM on April 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


Oh, and I meant to add this:

I'm already horrifically embarrassed that I gave this a second chance.

Yeah, but that's not even the kind of thing I was talking about. I meant more like this:
We had a HUGE fight one night in his car in which he slapped me and I punched him in the face. He refused to bring me home for a couple hours while he begged me not to leave him.

You know what that sounds like? An episode of "Cops". Think about it - if someone had called the police, you could have ended up on the evening news. Or at the very least, had a whole bunch of strangers staring at you while one or both of you were arrested.

When your relationship starts to sound like an episode of "Jerry Springer", it's time to remove the person from your life completely.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:22 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm going to go the other direction. I think you should keep dating him. You picked up this stray cat out of all the other stray cats on in the internet and now he is your problem to fix. Just because you don't like what his issues are, since they are a diagnosable medical condition, you must stay with him. You must see this through and fix this guy. You just going to throw this cat out on the street for someone else to fix his problems? No. That's not the ethical and moral duty you signed up for when you decided to date him. His family is a mess and that's not his fault so if you stay with him you can probably be all the family he needs plus the romantic and sexual partner he desires. If he hits you, it's due to his medical condition and that's just a side effect of your relationship. Don't take it seriously. When he does nice things for you, that's not a medical condition! That's his true heart. You don't want to break his true heart do you? Besides, I'm sure some day he'll be a great husband and a loving protective father, don't you think?

Now, you know that is all bullshit, right? Your question was, "Is this normal?" No. It's not. It's also not healthy. And you're also not fixing him. What do you get out of this relationship? Loving feelings sandwiched by drama and fear? Is it exciting to take on his problems? Does it make you feel important?

I don't know. I guess I'm a cold, heartless bitch but I feel like I only have one life to live in this world and I'm not going to spend it taking abuse from one individual. You can have sympathy and compassionate feelings toward this guy without dating him. You say you've dumped other guys for less, so you really need to examine why you would stay with this guy. You get no karma points by being someone's emotional and actual punching bag. Good luck.
posted by amanda at 10:32 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dude needs to get actual ongoing treatment and follow through with it before you would even consider staying.

My partner (who I also met online, curiously) had some random moments of assholery in the earlier summery loving days of our relationship, and then things really weird as it became clearer that full-blown mental issues were developing. He's as sweet as a bug usually, but it was like his face would disappear and be replaced with a stoney-walled jerkface who would feel like random people were insulting him personally. Either that, or he would be completely terrified because the entire world could at any time shift into crazy land, where people made cryptic comments that were personally directed towards him.

As these behaviors started popping up more and more frequently, life really sucked. Sometimes he'd be his normal caring self, and sometimes he'd get 86'd from our favorite bar. It took about a year of this (interspersed with some therapy and some prescriptions that were the wrong prescriptions) before things got so bad that he just couldn't hold up under the paranoia and pressure and I took him on a long strange walk down to the E.R. while he had this catatonic robot freakout episode.

I should have tried harder sooner, and I should have made it clearer through my actions that stuff was getting worse and he needed treatment, but I wanted to think he'd get it on his own or something, I don't know. But he finally is on a medication schedule that is working for him-at least enough so he doesn'y get all the crazy feedback from the world. Some days he still doesn't want to go anywhere outside of the safety of the house, but those days are less frequent.

So on one hand, I understand a little of where you're coming from. I think my boyfriend has done some things that a lot of people might think are dealbreakers, but I know that some of that was because the world around him was presented to him in an altered state. I also had enough sheer good times with him that I believed that the good self was the truer self, and I got enough bewildered feedback from him afterward that made me feel like he didn't want to be that paranoid weird person.

But things didn't start getting better until things got so bad that treatment was almost mandatory. The medication he took in the E.R. and the prescription they gave him when he checked out were the first real steps towards sanity and real life for him. And he finally got to a point where he could be okay with taking medication continually, and patient with the time it takes to develop a good prescription regimen.

Mental disorders like this often develop in the early twenties, although there might have been signs before this. Instead of parsing his behaviors (this one's crazy, this one's just rude), just know that he needs to get actual ongoing help, and you are not a psychiatrist.
It's hard to feel romantic love towards a person who is acting like a scared and clingy weirdo. If you still have some nurturing love left in you, use that to tell him that you want him to get better and feel better...not so you can date again, but so he can live his life without the craziness.

Voluntary committal does not sound like a bad idea, to be honest.
posted by brisquette at 10:41 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Other people have given you wise advice.

Is there anything left in this relationship to salvage?

If it helps you to think about it this way, there is no rule against salvaging your happy memories from the first month of what turned in to a bad relationship. That part wasn't a waste, just like any relationship that doesn't work out in the end isn't a waste. It sounds like you know that the relationship is over now, and that putting more into it would be throwing good after bad, just like putting more coins in a slot machine that hit the first time but then it missed the next twenty times. You feel tied to this relationship because it once had a good part, and you want to salvage that good part, well, the memory of the good part is (the payoff and happiness from the first coin) is what there is to salvage. Enjoy that without any guilt but also stop putting your money in something, that moving forward, is not going to be paying you back.
posted by golakers at 10:45 AM on April 14, 2010


You must dump this guy.

You are not a social service agency, you are not a residential treatment program, you are not his parent. You are a young woman who's been dating him for a short time, during which time he's been abusive and manipulative, and you're not even attracted to him, and you don't want to be dating him. There is no reason at all for you to continue to date him, and there are plenty of reasons for you to go beyond merely dumping him and cut off contact altogether.

You can tell him: "you need to get treatment and stay consistent with your treatment before you're suitable for anybody to date. You are a great guy and I hope you're able to get the treatment you need. But I do not want to date you anymore, and I am not going to be involved with trying to help you with your issues anymore."
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:17 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


i have to ask: are you sure you want to have this post up with your username attached instead of as an anonymous post, given that your username appears to be your real (and probably unique) name plus what seems to be your birth date?
posted by lia at 12:43 PM on April 14, 2010


If you decide that you would rather this were anonymous, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on "CONTACT" which is in the bottom right corner. This will allow you to send a message to the administrators of this website, and you can ask them if they will "anonymize" your post here. (If they anonymize it, that will probably require deleting your comments on this thread too.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2010


Why is this even a question? You're still young and you haven't even been dating this guy long enough to be serious. 7 months and done. move on.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:12 PM on April 14, 2010


lia:

good point. I'd forgotten to change it after I made the account.

MexicanYenta:

yeah, I know what you mean. That particular incident was crazy. He was in one of those U-turn spots on a highway. He'd pulled off after having a screaming fit. Since I wasn't cooperating the way he wanted (refusing to respond since he was refusing to bring me home), that's where that fight came in. I tried to call my mom or anybody; he snatched my phone. I got out the car. He actually dragged me back to the car and pushed me in. Then decided to drive off like a nutcase making threats.

Cops would have a field day. I was actually hoping someone passing us would think WTF and call the police.
posted by Accidental1 at 1:23 PM on April 14, 2010


Ah well, she disabled her account. I wanted to say that people who do things totally out of character for themselves (like punching him in the face, as OP noted) often justify that same behavior in their abusers, believing they deserved or provoked it or vice versa because they did the same thing in the heat of the moment.

Especially young people. If anyone else reads this, don't allow this kind of behavior to go on, not in yourself and don't accept it from others. A line crossed can never be uncrossed and it's best not to acclimate yourself to the wrong side of it.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:07 PM on April 14, 2010


Why do people persist in awful, hurtful relationships? It's ok to be single people.
posted by fuq at 1:58 PM on April 17, 2010


Why do people persist in awful, hurtful relationships? It's ok to be single people.

Because it's easy to think that you're unlovable and that it's a miracle when you find someone who says they do love you.

Because you think they'll change.

Because it's easy to extend someone the benefit of the doubt and think that their bad behavior isn't the "real" person you're dating.

Because the occasional high points are so great that you fool yourself into thinking they make up for the numerous low points.

Because breaking up with someone is hard and makes us the bad guy.

Because we like to think of ourselves as good people and we think that means not abandoning someone when they're having problems.

Because it's easy to confuse compassion for someone with romantic feelings.

Because it's easy to internalize someone's hurtful actions and think that you somehow deserve it.

Because when it seems like everyone you know is in a couple you decide it's easier to be unhappy and with someone than to be happy but alone.

Because we are human and sometimes we make bad decisions.

Because sometimes when you realize you've made a bad decision it is hard to admit you were wrong to others and to yourself.

Thankfully, these are all excuses. Nobody deserves to be in an awful, hurtful relationship.
posted by turaho at 11:10 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


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