Old Man Issues
July 10, 2010 4:14 PM   Subscribe

So I'm a very attractive Ivy League bound student who happens to be 18. My boyfriend is a white collar Wall Street professional who happens to be 52..

The ironic thing is, I feel that HE is the one that displays immaturity,not I. He constantly picks at me about how attractive I can be or how 'incredible' he thinks other women look. For example, on a night out, he'll give me a compliment but then add that "if a get my breasts done" I'll look great. Which suggests to me that I'm only average in the meantime. Now I'm a very attractive girl, men fawn over me wherever I go, but he seems indifferent to me looks anyway. He's always far too curious about how attractive other men find me,or if strangers 'approved' of our relationship(we're also an interracial couple,I'm black,he's white).
This drives me up the wall because why does he even care what a stranger passing us on the street thinks?

, but I would NEVER point out any physical flaws about him because what do I have to gain from making him feel self conscious?

I've tried different ways to tell him that I don't like how he constantly critics me, he said I'm being too sensitive. Another thing, he is notoriously difficult to talk to. I understand that discussing politics and religion are verbal gateways to doom but he even becomes aggressive when we discuss casual things like shopping, or movies. It feels like he's shoving his opinions(and they're misinformed crappy opinions at that) down my throat.

All this being said, I still fancy this man more than peaches on a hot day, and him and I have serious plans for our future(getting married,children etc). I don't want to break up, I just want to know f there is a better way to talk to him other than constantly appeasing him.. Also what I would like to know
1) If I'm 18 and realize that there are better ways to disagree with people than resorting to petty name calling, why can he not see that.
2) Why might he care what others(I mean complete strangers) think of him and I?
3) Why does he constantly compare me to other girls, or insist to point out what he considers are my flaws,even when I tell him he's hurting my feelings?.

Any other insight you could provide is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
posted by xbeautychicx to Human Relations (103 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why are you with this guy?

Go off to college, have a good time, meet people who think you are pretty the way you are.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:16 PM on July 10, 2010 [52 favorites]


Your boyfriend sounds like a dick. You can do so much better than someone who suggests you get a boob job, compares you to other women and shows his opinions down your throat.
posted by Hiker at 4:16 PM on July 10, 2010 [66 favorites]


He also happens to be an ass.
Be done with him.
posted by Iteki at 4:20 PM on July 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


This is the thing-he sees you as a trophy, not as a person. You are absolutely right that he is less mature than you, by the way.

This guy is no prize. From what you yourself tell us, he won't listen to what YOU want to talk about, he constantly picks at your appearance, and honestly, who needs that?

Go enjoy school, go enjoy your life, go enjoy being fawned over by men who AREN'T overbearing jerks, and dump this guy.

P.S. For the sake of argument I will assume you are sleeping with this fellow. Here's an experiment: tell him you want to be celibate for a month. If he stays your boyfriend for longer than a week after that, I'll eat my keyboard.

P.P.S. -YOU DESERVE BETTER.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:20 PM on July 10, 2010 [32 favorites]


Have you seen Goodfellas? Ever notice that Janice Rossi, Henry's mistress, dresses so that she matches the couch in the apartment he got for her? She's furniture, a lifestyle accessory.

Your boyfriend wants a compliant accessory, not an independent and opinionated woman. Don't let him make you match the couch.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 4:23 PM on July 10, 2010 [22 favorites]


If he truly loved and cared about you, he wouldn't be comparing you to other girls, nor browbeating you with his inarticulate opinions.

This man is not a keeper, period.
posted by Anima Mundi at 4:23 PM on July 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


1) Because he looks at you like an ornament.
2) See 1)
3) See 2)
posted by holgate at 4:24 PM on July 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


My boyfriend is a white collar Wall Street professional who happens to be 52.

There's no such thing as this. It wasn't as though he just wasn't paying attention much and one day found himself in a relationship with someone less than half his age. I guarantee you that he has a pattern and you're just today's particular shade of paisley.

Do any more digging and you're practically bound to find that you're with someone who could only ever get away with this stuff by dating someone far less experienced/confident/worldly than himself, someone who wouldn't stand a chance with any 50 (or even 40) year-old woman on the planet, because they'd see this sort of treatment for what it is.

1) If I'm 18 and realize that there are better ways to disagree with people than resorting to petty name calling, why can he not see that.

If you're so wise, why are you putting up with this from someone of any age?

2) Why might he care what others(I mean complete strangers) think of him and I?

Because of the real and probably valid things that it communicates to others about himself, which you are only just at the brink of being able to appreciate, and which otherwise he'd be able to keep completely hidden. Going out in public with you is basically like pinning a list of his personal issues to his lapel for all to see.

3) Why does he constantly compare me to other girls, or insist to point out what he considers are my flaws,even when I tell him he's hurting my feelings?.

Because you are sticking around to hear it.
posted by hermitosis at 4:24 PM on July 10, 2010 [38 favorites]


1) Because he is immature
2) Because he is superficial
3) Because he is insecure

This man doesn't sound like he is looking for a partner. He is looking for someone beautiful to help validate his masculinity to every he knows, meets, and sees him on the street. That beautiful person is there only to fulfill this purpose, so why woudl it matter to him how you feel when he treats you poorly?

You are 18...go have fun with people who appreciate you for who you are. Please. Do not waste your energy or your time with this dead end.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 4:26 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


[comment removed - sarcastic answers considered harmful, go to metatalk if you need to]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:26 PM on July 10, 2010


Toss him back. He's no good, and it has nothing to do with his age.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:26 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


1) If I'm 18 and realize that there are better ways to disagree with people than resorting to petty name calling, why can he not see that.

Some people never figure things out. These are people you want to stay with.

2) Why might he care what others(I mean complete strangers) think of him and I?

For the same reason he's probably dating you in the first place- he is into image.

3) Why does he constantly compare me to other girls, or insist to point out what he considers are my flaws,even when I tell him he's hurting my feelings?.

Because you are there to serve his needs, and because his needs have a lot to do with image.

If he cared about you he wouldn't do these things. I am sure you'll have 100 examples of how he cares about you, but if he's 52 and had any dating experience I'm sure he knows how to make women feel cared about. Feeling cared about is not the same thing as being cared about. And if he's being caring some of the time and tearing you down the other time, he's setting you up to try with all of your might for those times you are cared about, which is an incredibly problematic relationship dynamic that happens to characterize abusive partnerships.
posted by emilyd22222 at 4:27 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


So lets just say you go to college, then marry the guy... By the time you have your first kid, he will be approx 57 @ best.... Do you really want to have a husband who would be 75 when his FIRST KID graduates from high school? (and you indicated you want mulitple kids) Not really fair to the kids. And, given what an asshat this guy is now, he is not likely to improve. If you are half what you say you are (bright, attractive, ambitious) you are settling for crumbs when you could have so much more...

BTW, I am an older father, (first child when I was 47) and I decided against having more because of my age. Even 47 seems a reach.

Really, I am in agreement with everything written above, thought I would try to advance the argument using a different tack. I would be MORTIFIED if my daughter ended up with a guy like that.
posted by jcworth at 4:28 PM on July 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


These are NOT people you want to stay with. Sheesh.
posted by emilyd22222 at 4:28 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


For heaven's sake don't get your breasts augmented at this guy's or any other's needling. Drop him like a bad habit and leave him today. You have your whole life in front of you, and he has wasted his chasing material dreams. You're just an extension of those materialistic dreams to him--a thing, with tits. Leave now.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:29 PM on July 10, 2010


Also- some of the best advice my mom ever gave me: If it bothers you now, it will bother you in 20 years. If you can't live with it for decades, get out now and stop wasting your time.
posted by emilyd22222 at 4:29 PM on July 10, 2010 [17 favorites]


You sound like a really confident and smart woman. It sounds like you don't feel very good when you are with him. It sounds like, from what you've written, there are some serious highs and lows with this man. He calls you names, he points out your flaws, he's insecure in public, he get aggressive. That exhausting! That shit takes all your emotional energy. And sure, there are some highs, right? There must be something that makes you come back to this man. Is it compulsive and insatiable? Are you ever satisfied with him? Because if you can't get enough, you don't need it. A healthy adult relationship is not about the highs and lows, it's steady and satisfying.
posted by gillianr at 4:30 PM on July 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


If I tell someone they are hurting my feelings or I dont like something they are doing to me and they continue to do it, well, that tells me they really don't give a shit about me or my feelings.

If it were me, he would be the last person I would marry or have a child with. Those things are hard enough without the added burdens you talk about.

He doesn't deserve you, and you definitely deserve better than to put up with this kind of crap.
It is your divine right to be happy. Remember that.
posted by bookshelves at 4:35 PM on July 10, 2010


Well let me say that I feel that he does have some redeeming qualities. He does say and do very sweet things for me, I just often feel that I cannot talk to him because he's difficult. And I feel self conscious around him because I feel convinced that he's looking at things he finds wrong with me, therefore, I never really relax or get so comfortable around him. I just wanted to know if there is a better way I could talk to him since he's so difficult.
posted by xbeautychicx at 4:37 PM on July 10, 2010


You seem... kind of hung up on your looks. Twice you mention how attractive you are and how men "fawn" over you. Maybe you're only saying this so we get an idea of how unreasonable your boyfriend is being when it insults you, but frankly, it wouldn't matter how beautiful you are as far as this guy is concerned - he'll always be looking for something better. He's just that insecure.

And maybe you could focus a little less on your looks. You might attract a guy who's interested in a little bit more than that.
posted by Evangeline at 4:38 PM on July 10, 2010 [12 favorites]


OK, in hopes that you won't ignore this answer, I'm not going to even discuss your boyfriend here. I know you have feelings for him and some of the answers in this thread are going to be hard to swallow for you.

Let's focus on you.

You're Ivy League bound, intelligent, and planning for the future.

You're hot as fuck and I'm sure your natural breasts are more radiant than any two spheres of silicone ever could hope to be.

Don't you want to be with someone who appreciates these things about you, and respects you for them, and tells you how gorgeous you are and how much he loves looking at you and being with you?

Though every boyfriend you ever have will enjoy looking at other women (like everyone of every gender preference enjoys looking at attractive people), don't you want to be with a man who, when you're with him, treats you like the most beautiful woman in the world? Don't you want someone who is respectful, and into you enough, to focus on you and not other women and couples and strangers when you're together?

Don't you want to be with someone who KNOWS why he picked you to be part of his life, and is thankful to have you?

This guy is out there. You know what, I bet you there are fucking DOZENS of them in your city, you just have to find the who you like best. Seriously, I know from my own cocky experience, if you're a Pretty Young Thing and you have a shred of confidence it is easy to find men. Some of them are douches. Some of them are amazing and will treat you well and you'll be a better person for having dated them.

What kind of guy do you want to date? The choice is yours.
posted by Juliet Banana at 4:41 PM on July 10, 2010 [45 favorites]


What everyone else said about him. He's an asshole. An insecure asshole, no less.

In addition: you also seem insecure. Perhaps that's just my reading, but telling us how so many guys fawn all over you just seems to reek of insecurity.

Maybe you're insecure because your boyfriend is an asshole and is constantly on your case, or maybe the insecurity is why he was attracted to you to begin with.
posted by logicpunk at 4:41 PM on July 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


There isn't a different way to talk to him about this because this isn't a miscommunication: there's no way he's ever going to suddenly realize, "Oh my god! I had no idea it hurt your feelings when I said you should have plastic surgery! I'm so sorry!" He knows he's hurting your feelings, just the same as you know you're sparing his feelings by not pointing out his flaws. You don't point out his flaws because you want to build him up, you want him to feel great, right? He points out your flaws because he wants you to feel vulnerable and insecure and small. He wants you to feel fortunate that he's with you even though you're not his "ideal." It's manipulative and cruel, and it's deeply disrespectful.
posted by Meg_Murry at 4:42 PM on July 10, 2010 [64 favorites]


Not that this would be okay if it's true, but I wonder if he thinks you're conceited and is trying to bring you down a notch.
posted by amro at 4:44 PM on July 10, 2010


I just often feel that I cannot talk to him because he's difficult. And I feel self conscious around him because I feel convinced that he's looking at things he finds wrong with me, therefore, I never really relax or get so comfortable around him

Honey, when it's time to marry and have kids with someone, you need to have someone you can talk to, someone who thinks you are perfect, and someone you feel totally relaxed around. This is NOT THAT GUY. You cannot make him be that guy, because-well, go reread my first post. You are mistaking this for a real relationship. It isn't.

I have seen plenty of May December relationships in my 51 years of living. It works when both partners are respectful and appreciative of each other. I know it hurts to hear this, but because you are young-and that's not a flaw, that's just reality-you don't yet have the life experience to recognize the type of fellow this guy is. And it isn't just about the age, but that has a lot to do with it-he's not mature enough or man enough to want a girl his "equal" but instead wants a young girl that he thinks he can mold and cow into being his fantasy. Please, please, don't be that girl-be the strong young woman who refuses to settle for being an old geezer's toy. You are fine exactly the way YOU ARE. And if he won't appreciate who you are, he's a fool and an idiot and you don't need this.

On the other hand, if you are insecure enough to fall for his blandishments, I truly do feel sorry for you. You have so much to offer in life and so many wonderful things ahead-this man is a DERAIL.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:44 PM on July 10, 2010 [14 favorites]


Just in response to a few comments above, this is not about the guy's age. Speaking as someone whose partner is more than double her age, and who treats her with love and respect, it doesn't matter how old your partner is, if you love them, and they love you back.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:45 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just wanted to know if there is a better way I could talk to him since he's so difficult.

The fact that you're even with him at all, given the age difference, means that he should treat you like gold. GOLD. I know you don't see it this way, but you are basically doing him a HUGE FAVOR by even bothering to talk to him.

But as is so often the case in these situations (and I mean embarrassingly often) he is essentially abusing and underappreciating the value of what you are giving him. That's what makes this whole dilemma so predictable. You have all the power in the situation, but only a dim understanding of how to wield it. He's the US and you're Africa and he's essentially reveling in the staggering availability of your natural resources, which you have seriously undervalued.
posted by hermitosis at 4:45 PM on July 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


HE is the one that displays immaturity,not I. He constantly picks at me about how attractive I can be or how 'incredible' he thinks other women look. For example, on a night out, he'll give me a compliment but then add that "if a get my breasts done" I'll look great. Which suggests to me that I'm only average in the meantime.

That's not immaturity. That's manipulation. Make the person you're with feel bad about themselves, feel insecure. Make them confused. Make them less confident, more likely to depend on you. That's what he's doing. (Probably).

I've tried different ways to tell him that I don't like how he constantly critics me, he said I'm being too sensitive.

Again manipulation.

he even becomes aggressive when we discuss casual things like shopping, or movies. It feels like he's shoving his opinions...down my throat.

Big, big red flag here. Even leaving aside the quality or not of his opinions.

I don't really see why you're with him. The only positive thing you say about him is that you're highly attracted to him. Honestly, you're a smart, attractive young woman: you can easily find other guys that you will also be attracted to, but who are easier to talk to and don't criticise you.

Oh, to your actual questions:

3. Manipulation, as I said above.
What's a better way to talk to him? Definitely don't appease him. Try something like 'I don't like it when you....', or 'when you say such-and-such, I feel....'. [avoid phrases like 'you make me feel this']. If he keeps constantly repeating behaviour that he knows makes you feel bad, well, maybe he's not the right guy for you.
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:45 PM on July 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


By belittling you when you're with him, he's trying to cause you to be as insecure as he is so that you won't leave him. If you let this tactic work, he won't stop - he'll just get worse. Honestly, the belittling, the insecurity and concerns with image coupled with his aggressiveness lead me to wonder whether he's an abuser and whether his behavior will become violent. This might happen, particularly if you remain confident in yourself and continue to have your own opinions.

Get out of this sham relationship. As others have said, go to college, date men closer to your age who aren't looking just for a compliant trophy wife.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 4:47 PM on July 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


An addendum: regardless of the age difference, what kind of confidence can you have in someone who has given every indication that he would drop you as soon as he found someone who'd go under the knife, praise him for his misinformed crappy opinions and follow orders on how to make him look good to his peers? You might have serious plans for your future together, but there's no reason to think he is.
posted by holgate at 4:49 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


...no reason to think he is doing the same. Because this ends in one of a few ways: when you are sufficiently brow-beaten to sacrifice your individuality; when he trades you in for a new model; or when you assert your confident self and walk away. Make it the latter. There's no way that your ambitions and aspirations and independence stays intact otherwise.
posted by holgate at 4:55 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well let me say that I feel that he does have some redeeming qualities

Well, that's all well and good, but there are plenty of men out there with the exact same good qualities who won't do the same shit that he does. He's 52 and you're 18... either 1) he has the maturity of an 18-year-old, which means something's wrong with him, and you shouldn't be with him, or 2) he sees you as an accessory, and you shouldn't be with him. The latter is borne out by his behavior, and the former is too, so it's probably something of a mix between the two.

And if you don't believe these things now, you will. Just wait until you have a few months of college in you.
posted by The Michael The at 4:55 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Meg Murray is a THOUSAND percent on. Not only that, but this is gateway behavior to far more outright controlling behavior, and possibly to abuse.

The reason he's with you, and not a woman near his own age, is that he can control you because of your inexperience. You're flattered an older man has taken an interest in you. You don't know nearly enough about the world and relationships to know that putting down your looks, belittling your opinions, and trying to make you feel shitty about yourself are deliberate behaviors to make you dependent upon him and to make you easier to control.

DTMFA and chalk it up to a life lesson you fortunately learned before you got entangled with him for the rest of your life.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:56 PM on July 10, 2010 [17 favorites]


He does say and do very sweet things for me

There are LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of men in this world who would be willing to do sweet things for you! And the vast majority of them will never make you feel ANY of the following:

I just often feel that I cannot talk to him because he's difficult. And I feel self conscious around him because I feel convinced that he's looking at things he finds wrong with me, therefore, I never really relax or get so comfortable around him.

Picture something for me, just for a second. You are with a man who does sweet things for you, who you can talk to about anything at all, who never makes you feel self-conscious because to him you are absolutely perfect. You are at your most relaxed and comfortable when you are with him, because you have nothing to hide from him.

Do you know that you could have that right now, if you just went and looked for it? And instead you are putting up with this trash.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:56 PM on July 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't know if this is prying, but how long have you been together, if you're 18? There's so many red flags going on here. How old were you when you met?

And I know you don't want to break up with him and that's your choice, but clearly you are smart and know something's not right here. I assure you, I promise you, that there are other guys out there who aren't going to be assholes to you like this dude is. He's an asshole to you, end of story. I just hope you realize it within the next year or two, and not when you're forty and raising a couple of kids who see you treated like dirt and grow up thinking that's OK. I have a good friend who just escaped a relationship like yours - she may even chime in here - and after the break, she's just so much happier.

Seriously. I'm a fair looking, but not overly attractive high school dropout with small boobs who's just now getting a two-year degree at age 26. I would not be with a dude who treated me like that.
posted by kpht at 5:09 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


> therefore, I never really relax or get so comfortable around him.

And you keep going back to him? If you can't fee comfortable around someone, that means your brain is telling your body to bolt. Listen to your brain.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:10 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


There are May/December relationships that work, and then there are May/December relationships in which Mr. or Ms December is too immature, shallow, and bullying to be able to form a functional relationship with someone his or her own age. Your relationship is the latter kind.

Honey, run. I know you asked for "better ways to talk to this man", but if you've been as straightforward and cogent and honest with him as you've been with us, and he's not showing any willingness to work with you to improve things — to say nothing of blaming you for being "too sensitive", he's a lost cause. Once you're up, up and away, you'll wonder why you ever put up with this man and his garbage.
posted by orange swan at 5:11 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm all for May-December romances, but this guy is old enough to be your grandfather and that's just completely creepy. The reason he's dating you is because mature women his own age wouldn't put up with his petty bullshit for more than one date.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:14 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


if he treats you like this, what sort of pressures do you think he'll visit upon your daughters? do you want her to learn about men by the way he talks to you? if it's this bad when your body is as ripe as it'll ever be - why do you think he'll be with you when you're 30?

i can't stress enough that you shouldn't change your body for him. that's not love. one makes improvements on their house, their car, not their lovers.
posted by nadawi at 5:16 PM on July 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


This may sound cynical and horrible, but do you think you would you be with this guy if he had no money?

Because it sounds like he'll dump you for a younger model when your looks start to go or he gets bored whichever comes first. He doesn't sound like he's with you because he loves you for yourself-- he sounds like he's with you because he wants people to envy him for having a young woman that they couldn't get if they didn't have his money or power.

Right now, he's criticizing and belittling you as people above have said because that will make you insecure and more likely to feel that he's the only one who will ever "put up" with you. He's not going to stop doing this because it's *working*-- ie, it keeps you focused on trying to please him, not on finding a more suitable partner.

And it works especially well because as a beautiful woman, you're not used to it: this is why all those "pick up artist" websites tell men to say negative things to beautiful women when hitting on them. It gives them power and confuses you because you're used to everyone falling at your feet and you figure someone must be really powerful if they feel entitled to treat you that way and therefore, you want to try to get them under your power. It's a male version of "hard to get" and it's, as people have said, manipulative.

If this was about love and connection, you *would* be able to talk about anything with him and feel comfortable -- you wouldn't think any topics were "gateways to doom." You'd be having intellectually stimulating conversations and even disagreements might be fun.
posted by Maias at 5:17 PM on July 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


First of all, the issue of your physical attractiveness - it's a non-starter. It seems that you want reassurance that you really are a hottie, and that your boyfriend is wrong about your supposed shortcomings. Well, I'm telling you that it doesn't matter. Whether you're a supermodel or the girl next door, NO man who claims to care for you and your well-being has any right to criticize your appearance. It doesn't matter if your boyfriend is objectively right or wrong about it, he's wrong.

Now see Meg_Murry's post above. You want to know why he mistreats you in these ways, what he has to gain by making you feel inadequate, there's your answer. If the guy was 20, still finding his way in the world, maybe we'd be a little less dismissive. But this man is 57. He's not going to grow out of his insecurity and egotism, his stunted emotional development. There's no potential left in him, nothing more to offer. This is as good as it's ever going to get. You deserve so much better.
posted by keep it under cover at 5:17 PM on July 10, 2010


Him and I have been together since early February, so 5 months. I'm about to be 19 in a couple of weeks. x
posted by xbeautychicx at 5:25 PM on July 10, 2010


Posit: he is trying to undermine your confidence to retain the upper hand in the relationship. You have a lot of power because you are young and attractive, and this is how he has chosen to manage it.

Perhaps, at some level, this is why you like him. If so, what does that say about you?
posted by grobstein at 5:27 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


(I actually don't think the age difference is particularly relevant, except as a source of the pressures felt by your guy. To cast this as about "maturity" or "immaturity" is basically crazy.)
posted by grobstein at 5:28 PM on July 10, 2010


I'm thinking he doesn't happen to be 52 and single. I'm going to wager he's been dumped by many ladies he's dated over the years for same things you're going through now.
posted by inturnaround at 5:29 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


has he introduced you to his friends? his family? his boss? what do your friends/family think?

think of your best friend, imagine she's you and she's dating a guy like your boyfriend - if she told you the things he says about your body, other girls, your opinions - what would your advice be?
posted by nadawi at 5:30 PM on July 10, 2010


I understand why some of you guys may think I'm conceited, but I'm really now. I admit that enduring his remarks and comments has made me a little insecure and self-conscious, but being hung up on my looks is not typically in my nature at all. Like any other healthy minded women, I would like a non-back handed compliment from my guy every now and then. I don't need or want constant admiration though.
posted by xbeautychicx at 5:33 PM on July 10, 2010


After 5 months with someone, you should be able to feel comfortable and relaxed with them. Especially if you are thinking about marriage and kids. If your boyfriend is making you always feel on-edge, this is a big red flag. You deserve so much better!

And also, life is not all about looks. Looks fade, but personality, intelligence and compassion don't.
posted by radioamy at 5:35 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you know his dating history? Did he show respect for previous partners? Does he replace them when they hit 20? How does he treat the other women in his life? All things that might help you decide.
posted by meepmeow at 5:35 PM on July 10, 2010


He sounds like a prick. There's something to be said for dating someone your own age, especially when you are so young. Or at least stay with guys 25 and under for now. It's good to figure out what works and what doesn't with people who are around your own age. It tends to matter less after you're older than 25 (e.g. there's a HUGE maturity difference between 18 and 25, but not as much between 25 and 32). But yeah, a lot of older guys ARE going to see you as a their semi-trophy "hot 18 year old girlfriend". I know you don't think so, but at 18 you are just a kid and you have a LOT of growing to do. Your life is just starting!

Also, if you're about to go to an Ivy League institution you might want to brush up on your English skills. Your grammar and sentence construction skills are atrocious (I'm just being honest). This is just one example of how you're not as smart/mature as you probably think you are.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 5:38 PM on July 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Also may I add he seems very aware of our relationship. As in he holds the opinion that he knows how he may seem like just an older guy who wants a young piece of ass, but he's reassured me that this is not the case with him. I feel that he does want longevity for our relationship but I also feel that he has unrealistic goals of how I should be:looks,behavior etc..
posted by xbeautychicx at 5:40 PM on July 10, 2010


You're Ivy bound? My advice would be to leave the relationship open when you leave--don't feel tied down to this guy, and don't make promises to be monogamous. You're bound to meeting amazing men your age very, very soon. Enjoy what you can of your time together now, but don't worry about your future with him. Because I promise you, girl, you're going to meet some really hot, smart guys very soon who you won't feel the need to change in order to just get the respect that you deserve.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:48 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


However he acts or whatever he says, be aware that your personality is transparent to him. He's almost three times your age, and has been through much more of life, and probably with many women. Likely, he knows you better than you know yourself.
posted by mnemonic at 5:49 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I never really relax or get so comfortable around him."

"I have serious plans for our future(getting married,children etc)."

Yeah, these two sentences should be contradictions, in my book. You want to never be able to relax in your own home?

Hold off on your serious plans for your future until you can actually relax around him.

"I just often feel that I cannot talk to him because he's difficult."

Communication is pretty crucial to a successful marriage. So, again, you can't seriously plan to marry someone until you think you can talk to him.
posted by RobotHero at 6:06 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, lets talk about what's actually happening here.

You've got lots of opportunities to date other men.
You're dating this guy. Why?

Because, among other things, he doesn't fawn over you like you're a perfect goddess. He's also far wealthier, and frankly has more interesting things to say, than his competition. He's dated a lot more girls than you have guys (or girls, I suppose). He been here before.

By all this I mean to say that everything he's doing is with intent and experience. He knows what he's doing here and it works for him.

He snagged you doing this, didn't he?

Anyway, I wouldn't take the relationship too seriously. You're about to go to college, and be surrounded a whole group of interesting people. Constantly running off to gallavant with your 52 year old...save that for your 20's. Learn to be interesting with your peer group now.
posted by effugas at 6:07 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


OMG for real - 5 months? NO ONE should be seriously considering marriage and kids with someone they've known for 5 months (sorry all the folks I am sure will respond that this worked for - but come on).

ESPECIALLY someone who's 18, jesus.

ESPECIALLY someone who's 18 and dating a 52 year old douchebag who will, without a doubt, 100% for sure, dump you the second he meets someone "hotter" or younger who'll put up with his bullshit.

You have YOUR WHOLE LONG GORGEOUS LIFE ahead of you, don't settle for this now. If, in 15 years, you're still single, give him a call and start this up again (hahaha). Please, please, please - go.

Be free, be 18. Have fun and get laid and go to college and end up with some awesome dude who adores you and your real boobs and the belly and the chubby thighs you may have someday.

(PS - can you imagine what this asshole will say about you when you get pregnant and fat and you have cankles and waddle around?)
posted by tristeza at 6:08 PM on July 10, 2010 [13 favorites]


Well let me say that I feel that he does have some redeeming qualities. He does say and do very sweet things for me, I just often feel that I cannot talk to him because he's difficult. And I feel self conscious around him because I feel convinced that he's looking at things he finds wrong with me, therefore, I never really relax or get so comfortable around him. I just wanted to know if there is a better way I could talk to him since he's so difficult.
Well look, he's 53 years old, and so it's really unlikely that he's going to change at this point.

How much do you know about this guy's dating history? If you're just 18 you couldn't have been dating him for long (one would hope!).

Anyway you're 18 and your headed off for college. You'll probably meet lots of great guys your own age. People at your age don't generally stay in relationships that long, there will be plenty of drama and whatnot. Just go with it and have fun. Don't be tied down to some materialistic wall-street A-hole who obsesses about your looks.
posted by delmoi at 6:08 PM on July 10, 2010


I feel that he does want longevity for our relationship but I also feel that he has unrealistic goals of how I should be:looks,behavior etc..

Put more bluntly, his idea of the future is premised upon you shaping up or shipping out. Which is not a healthy dynamic in any relationship, and is seriously unhealthy given the specifics of yours.
posted by holgate at 6:10 PM on July 10, 2010


FWIW (& for future reference), any man who tells you "you're pretty, but..." is essentially a douche. Add "...you need bigger boobs" to that sentence, and you are dealing with an A1, straight-up, super-douche. And to completely frank, a man of his age should know better than to treat his young, gorgeous girlfriend so poorly. You can do better. I can guarantee that 1000%, and I don't know you from Adam. I really hate to pull the age & experience card on you, but you are far too young to be settling down - particularly with this loser. Granted, you are likely to meet many more losers over the next few years in college, but I assure you, you will also meet plenty of real men who will treat you as you so richly deserve.

Kick the MF to the curb and get on with it
posted by East Siberian patchbelly wrangler at 6:12 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Also may I add he seems very aware of our relationship. As in he holds the opinion that he knows how he may seem like just an older guy who wants a young piece of ass, but he's reassured me that this is not the case with him."

Did you really expect that when you said, "Sweetie, are you just with me because you want a young piece of ass?" he'd say, "OMG, you caught me"?

OF COURSE he's reassuring you you're not just a piece of ass!

The more responses you give, the more this has catastrophe written all over it to me. He has got you buying his line to the point that you're arguing his side and willfully closing your eyes to the enormous red flags that are coming up EVEN WHEN YOU'RE DEFENDING HIM AND TRYING TO MAKE HIM LOOK GOOD. I can't even imagine what this relationship looks like to people who AREN'T seeing him through the filter of your approval.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:14 PM on July 10, 2010 [20 favorites]


I dated someone like this. The constantly checking out other women was so frequent that I used to scope out the room whenever we went out, and I would place myself in the sightline of any attractive women. He claimed he was "just being friendly" when he would collect other women's phone numbers when we were out together. Not surprisingly, he was a cheater, as I later found out.

He also had lots of helpful suggestions to make me look hot/sexy/more attractive. I was nothing but a way for him to look better and feel better about himself.

Honestly? Drop this loser. He will not change. Especially at that age. Sorry.
posted by mnb64 at 6:15 PM on July 10, 2010


Also may I add he seems very aware of our relationship. As in he holds the opinion that he knows how he may seem like just an older guy who wants a young piece of ass, but he's reassured me that this is not the case with him. I feel that he does want longevity for our relationship but I also feel that he has unrealistic goals of how I should be:looks,behavior etc..

He's saying one thing and doing another. This is a dead-perfect example of actions speaking louder than words.

If he doesn't just want a young piece of ass, why isn't he interested in intelligent discussion with you? Why does he care so much about what everyone else thinks? Why does he constantly pick at your looks? Why doesn't he care that he's hurting your feelings?

You're looking for some rational reason that would answer this conundrum. The rational reason is that he really wants is a young piece of ass. I'm sorry.
posted by desuetude at 6:15 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


(...is what he really wants is a young piece of ass, I mean.)
posted by desuetude at 6:16 PM on July 10, 2010


Of course he's claiming to be "aware" of your relationship. Of course he's claiming that he's not like all the OTHER men who are performing the exact same actions he is. You are naive enough that such talk can sway you, and is completely aware of that.

My mother used to say, "There is nothing a grown man should find interesting about a teenage girl". She meant, "Teenagers are naive, undeveloped personalities. They have boundaries issues, are easy to manipulate and don't know themselves yet. Grown men who are interested in teenage girls, are not grown men." Thank god that I internalized that lesson when I was a teenager.

Your odds of forming a stable commitment at your age, with an abusive overgrown brat, are virtually zero. Go ahead and get used to that idea. You are guaranteed to meet some other man at college, who would never dream of berating or controlling you, and who wants you for who you are. As opposed to your trophy value.

Look, I am 28 years old. I am much better-looking than I was at 18. But I don't get so many insecure older dudes hitting on me anymore. That's because that, while guys like this are certainly interested in looks, they are more interested in having someone they can control. Someone who is just a breath away from childhood. Men like your "boyfriend" seek women like you, and filter out anyone they don't think they can dominate. You aren't just young and pretty - you are young and easier to intimidate.

No matter how smart and aware you are, you are still a very young person. You do not have the benefit of experience to guide you. However, the people commenting in this thread do. Listen to them.
posted by Coatlicue at 6:18 PM on July 10, 2010 [15 favorites]


I have a feeling you wouldn't tolerate this kind of behavior if your boyfriend was a bus driver. (And likewise he wouldn't be seen with you if you weren't easy on the eyes).

Let me break it down.

I think this situation of yours involves two insecure individuals looking for validation in a comically stereotypical way. You play the role of the smoking hot young armtoy, and he plays the role of the greedy yet powerful Older gent.

You:
Judging by how many times you told us you're attractive tells me that, although you may be, you're extremely insecure about it (the pretty ones are always the most insecure!). Furthermore, the people telling you to find a man who "tells you you're beautiful just the way you are" are missing a point that you might not even be aware of. You see, to you...that sort of talk is common. If you're as beautiful as you think you are, then you've no doubt heard all that. You hear that every day, and you can sense it in the men who stare at you when you walk by. That's boring. You don't want a suck-up, you don't want a sycophant. You're used to being able to control men with your looks, and when you can't - you get interested. You want a challenging partner...and the fact that Captain Asshat "seems indifferent to m[y] looks anyway" intrigues you because its out of the norm for you. Explore that.

Also explore whether you are more attracted to this mans power (his power over you, his social status, his wealth) or the man himself. Which brings us to my bus-driver remark. I'm going to take a guess that you like being able to tell people your boyfriend is a "white collar Wall Street Professional" We certainly didn't need to know that to answer your question. If you enjoy and are intoxicated by his position and his power, you are more likely to put up with his shitty behavior. If you want a powerful, high-status older man, fine...but understand that his reason for wanting you will be just as superfluous.

Him:
Here's a question. What does every single 52 year old man want, but only the rich ones can have? A hot 18 year old girlfriend. My father was a Wall Street Guy, I know Wall Street Guys. Wall Street Guys don't get to Wall Street because they are nice guys - they get there because they crave wealth, influence and prestige. Their charm and ambition sometimes hides their deep insecurities and a destructive competitive streak that can manifest itself in nice cars, multiple houses, and sex-toy women. He feels good about himself when he sees that other people approve of him - and he sees this whenever he walks anywhere with you because he's the guy with the hot chick. His interest in you probably goes no further than this, and the (I'm assuming) sex.

It is likely he understands the business-esque nature of this relationship. You bring beauty and youth to the table (which is valuable to him as an older man whose looks are fading) and he brings status, money and power to the table for you (which is valuable to you because most of your available male peers are using change to pay for Clearasil and saving up enough stamps for a Subway six inch). These relationships exist all over the place...yes...but almost always at a very superficial level.

Oh...and he is mean to you because he knows you are beautiful and have many options, so he wants to take you down a peg so you stay with him. Because he pretends that your beauty doesn't phase him, you feel that you constantly have to work for validation from him...whereas most other guys just give you validation for free. This is a problem on your part. You need a healthy respect for yourself and you need to understand that a guy doesn't need to be an assclown to be a challenging, stimulating partner. You seem smart, so this will likely come in time.

Basically, ask yourself if you are with him because of his prestige and power (which I suspect you are). Its ok to be into someone for this reason - it is the female equivalent of a man liking a woman because she has big tits. Again, its all fine and good...but know that a relationship predicated on such shallow ground is doomed to a very rough ride.

There will also be way hotter guys in college. You're gonna love it.
posted by jnnla at 6:18 PM on July 10, 2010 [51 favorites]


I hesitate to join these threads because if I were in your shoes and people started pointing out flaws in my partner, I'd instantly go on the defensive and cling to what I know are their best attributes, ignoring any negatives (however reasonable) people may bring up.

That being said, I think it's important to recognise two things: firstly, intellligence is rarely as helpful as experience when it comes to relationships. Many very smart people have entered into relationships that are manipulative or harmful, or, more often, just not ideal. This isn't about being smart. At eighteen or nineteen, you won't have had the decades of experience other people have. When people in this thread point out red flags in his behaviour, it's not because you're a fool to have missed them but because people here have wandered down the same path before, and they're hoping you may learn from their errors.

Secondly, I'd like you to think about what it means to love someone. I'll use myself as an example. When I love someone, I value their happiness above my own. I want them to be as joyous about their body as I am (as I genuinely think they are more attractive than anyone else on the planet). I want them to see as much potential in themselves as I see in them. I listen to them because I value what they have to say and respect them completely. I want to make the world light up for them, the way they make it light up for me. From what you've told us (and I'm sure there's much more you haven't, some of it that may redeem him) it doesn't sound like he is trying to make you feel amazing. It doesn't sound like he is listening to you when you express things you're unhappy about.

I hope it all works out for you.
posted by twirlypen at 6:21 PM on July 10, 2010 [18 favorites]


I am pretty and smart and young also, but I do have a couple of years on you.

I used to date guys who would be fun and intellectually stimulating and challenging. Much better than the typical 18-21 year olds. They thought I was hot and they told me that a lot, they liked showing me off. In private I would occasionally get those backhanded compliments, sometimes they criticized and pointed out what they saw as flaws. I decided I liked that they were honest and didn't fawn over me. I had pretty good relationships with those guys that all ended for one or another reason (and I was crazy about each of them at one point, for one or another reason).

Then one time I met this guy who started by not calling, not texting, typical typical... but after encounter number two or three, he started calling. And slipping in genuine compliments to conversation. Soon he said he didn't understand why, but other girls didn't even look tempting to him anymore. Years later we're in love and he has still never said a single (non-constructive) criticism of me. He doesn't dote over me--he's my best friend. We challenge each other and teach each other things.


I'm rambling. Basically I'm trying to say, it's easy to convince yourself those little comments don't matter. Maybe they don't to you. But if you're willing to give yourself a couple more years, I promise you will find many men who are just coming around to the idea of being a responsible partner in a relationship, and you won't have to make excuses.

You're about to meet lots of new people, many of whom will want to give you attention and affection you deserve. You've really got nothing to lose by letting this one go.
posted by ista at 6:21 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


your body will shift and change as you grow older. children will really affect you and the relationship you have with this man. if he is already criticizing your appearance, it will only get worse from here. if he is already ignoring you and dismissing you, it will only get worse from here. if he already has his eye on other women, it will only get worse from here. if you are already self-conscious with him, it will only get worse from here.

i'm so sorry. stay with him as long as you think you need to, but know it will only get worse from here.
posted by gretchin at 6:28 PM on July 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Many people here seem to be hung up on the age thing. The problem isn't his age... it's how he's trying to "mold" you into what he wants you to be.

I've dated older men. Much older men. Not quite the age gap you've got going on, but at least two men who were 25+ years older than me. These relationships were really special for me, and I'll tell you why. These guys were interested in sharing their insights and experiences with me in a way that would enhance my own journey through the world... not dictate what that journey should be. And they were happy to have a window into my experiences as an (at the time) twenty-something. It was always a two-way street. Music, art, culture, and even sex... we were always trying to turn each other on to new things and ideas.

The bonus of a man that age, at least to me, was that they knew who they were and were settled into who they were as people. What they gave to me was good advice and the confidence to follow my dreams and ideas and tackle the scary things in life. They did not dictate, or shame me, or shove their opinions down my throat. They thought I was smart, and lovely, and full of vitality and promise.

So to answer your questions:
1) As I said, once a man is in his late 50's... this is WHO HE IS. If he resorts to petty name calling, then that's just what he does, and it probably won't get better. If he only does it with you, then he doesn't respect you as an equal

2) I think most people are somewhat peripherally aware of what strangers may think... especially when you are in an untraditional pairing. It happens to me still sometimes, and it makes me a little crazy that I even care. You worry about what people are projecting onto you based on their preconceived notions, and it can trigger an internal dialogue about your own insecurities. So... he probably cares so much because he's insecure. It has nothing to do with you personally (other than the fact that people make assumptions about him when he's with you), and everything to do with his own issues.

3) This is a culmination of number one and number two. This is something he does to people because it makes him feel superior and/or in control, and because he is insecure about himself. It's not cool, and it's not because there is something actually something wrong with you. It's because he wants to keep you so focused on your "flaws" that you won't notice his. He's worried that you will suddenly notice the age spots on his face and hands, or the slack skin on his neck, or the thickening of his middle... so he's redirecting the anxiety onto you. He's scared about aging, and not dealing with it in a particularly graceful manner.

So... if you really like this man, just be aware that there is nothing you can do to change the way he behaves. This is who he is. And if who he is makes you feel bad, then you should reconsider your options.
posted by kimdog at 6:33 PM on July 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


You ask, I answer from my experience:

1) If I'm 18 and realize that there are better ways to disagree with people than resorting to petty name calling, why can he not see that.

He can see that he can resort to petty name calling and you will still stay with him.

2) Why might he care what others (I mean complete strangers) think of him and I?

Because he cares as much or more about what other people think than he does about what you think. And he can do this and you still stay with him.

3) Why does he constantly compare me to other girls, or insist to point out what he considers are my flaws, even when I tell him he's hurting my feelings?

Because he can, and still, you stay with him.

By now it's been called to your attention that he has made it to the age he is now and is available for you likely because there is a problem that others have recognized and left, and I'll further that that he has no reason to change because he is getting everything he wants from you. Even if he makes it sound like you're lacking in any way, you are still better than nothing, better than him fixing himself, and better than having to break in a new young girlfriend.

Two more insights...

One: The person that married my husband and I spoke of how our marriage should be "like a long conversation that will always seem too short" - and that's held true. People who love and respect and care about each other, regardless of age differences, don't treat each other the way he's treating you as you describe it, and years and years later, I can't wait to greet him after work with "How was your day, dear?" and hear all about it. And vice versa.

Two: You can't live on peaches.

Okay - three - three insights...

Three: Would you want this man treating your child this way? And would you want your child to see him treat you this way?

Please tell me you'll politely disengage soon and go find someone wonderful, someone who thinks you're like peaches on a hot day, and *insert comfort food of choice* every other day.
posted by peagood at 6:38 PM on July 10, 2010 [14 favorites]


1) If I'm 18 and realize that there are better ways to disagree with people than resorting to petty name calling, why can he not see that.

He's doing it because you put up with it, and it keeps you off balance and scrambling to keep the peace. Would you keep a friend that called you names when you disagreed?

2) Why might he care what others(I mean complete strangers) think of him and I?


Because he's insecure and is trying to gain status by having a hot, young girlfriend.

3) Why does he constantly compare me to other girls, or insist to point out what he considers are my flaws,even when I tell him he's hurting my feelings?.

Control, control, control. There are a ton of guys out there like your boyfriend. They can't have a relationship with someone remotely close to their age, because they are insecure and shallow. They find smart, beautiful, very young women and convince them that they love them, then they dominate them, humiliate them, and parade them around like a trophy. I know that you think he's in this for the long haul, but ask yourself, should you be? Don't you think there's a guy out there who will think you are absolutely beautiful and intelligent, who will love talking to you and making you feel beautiful. There are, they are everywhere, and this guy isn't him.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 6:38 PM on July 10, 2010


I'm coming back to this thread to say one more thing.

I'm a 51 year old woman who is short and fat and shlumpy looking. My husband worships the ground I walk on, chases me around the bedroom like a greyhound goes after a rabbit, and even better, loves me for my brain. He thinks I am beautiful and sexy and brilliant. After almost 27 years of marriage!

THIS is what you should shoot for. Not some rich Wall Street jerk who thinks you need storebought boobs and doesn't want to hear what you have to say. There are plenty of bimbos out there who would be happy with this, who don't mind being arm candy, but YOU have a brain and at some point you will want a partner who appreciates it. I guarandammtee you that sooner rather than later you will grow to hate this man because all he appreciates you for is the status you give him and the (presumably) hot tail he is getting from you. You are no more real and no more precious to him than a RealDoll (tm) would be-it's just that RealDolls are for losers and he can afford a breathing Barbie.

Because, hon, to him you are and will be replaceable just as soon as you are no longer this month's flavor.

How do your folks feel about him? Do they even know you are seeing him? Hmm? Yep, that's what I thought.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:58 PM on July 10, 2010 [22 favorites]


Not to be foul, but girl, get yourself a hot young Ivy League boyfriend that will treat you right, and still be able to get it up in 10 years. Seriously. If you like rich dudes, I'm sure there are plenty at your school. Unless this guy has some kind of amazing personality, which he clearly does not, you could find someone who is everything is and much more in a heartbeat. It made me sad just reading this post, because it seems like he's probably taking advantage of your youth and inexperience. You don't think it now, but 18 is YOUNG. You have way cooler things to do than settle down with some upper middle-aged stockbroker douchebag.
posted by ishotjr at 7:03 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


>> I'm a very attractive Ivy League bound student

Your problem will likely evaporate three to six weeks after you begin college, when you'll find yourself surrounded by thousands of Smart Pretty People.

(Unless you're staying in the same city... in which case, yeah, do read and absorb the postings above. The point is that

a) he's an insensitive jerk; or,
b) he's making the tactical decision to be an insensitive jerk... in an attempt to keep you intrigued and on-your-toes and not-bored... and isn't doing it carefully enough.

In any case, if you don't like what he's doing, tell him to change his ways, or you'll dump him; there are many 52 year-old financiers who'd favor 18-year old hotties, and rather fewer 18-year olds chasing after middle-aged financiers... so you can enjoy plenty of power in this relationship, if you just choose to exert it.)
posted by darth_tedious at 7:13 PM on July 10, 2010


If you're going off to college, he knows there's a built-in expiration date (even if you believe the relationship will survive the next four years), so he's being rotten so he can feel like he's rid of imperfect goods instead of being left behind/"outgrown" when you dump him for a 24 year old comp lit grad student, or your 18 year old hallmate.
posted by availablelight at 7:33 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


BTW, I also bet dollars to doughnuts there's a weird, creepy race/power thing going on for him, too.
posted by tristeza at 7:35 PM on July 10, 2010


Men in their 50's do not date girls in their teens because they enjoy the conversation. You are the hottest pair of breasts attached to a vagina that he can currently get and that is the only way he can identify with a female. When you are a little older, you will see this guy for the creep that he is.
posted by Foam Pants at 7:40 PM on July 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


A 52-year-old dating an 18-year-old turns out to be immature, socially retarded, shallow, and focused on superficial things? Who would have thought?

Sorry, but the guy sounds like a total creep. Break up with him, meet someone closer to your own age at college, and consider seeking therapy for your self esteem and daddy issues.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:42 PM on July 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Previously in your posting history you've also called him your "far too damn aggressive debating boyfriend" who doesn't listen to you. This sucks and you deserve better.

My boyfriend thinks my ideas are interesting and my jokes are funny. He listens intently when I talk, he asks my advice about all kinds of things, and when I give him my advice, he almost always takes it- even if I were to give him advice in front of his male peers, he wouldn't think twice about taking it because he thinks I'm smart and competent. He shows off about me to his friends- tells them funny things I said or proudly explains how I solved little life problems. My friends all comment how, at a party, if I do something charming, they notice that he'll always be watching me and smiling to himself about me. He tells me all the time why he admires me as a person and why he feels lucky to have me in his life. He trusts me enough to tell me things he's worried about and show me his soft spots, and he reassures me and builds me up if I feel sad or neurotic. If I'm being unreasonable or unfair, he stands up for himself and tells me why he dislikes my behaviour in a firm way- he's not a pushover- but always lovingly and respectfully, and he's never mean or hurtful. If he accidentally hurts my feelings, we talk about it frankly and he apologizes sincerely. He tells me he loves me on the phone, even if his friends are in the room. He makes me really good sandwiches and offers me the point of his pizza slice- which as we all know is the best bite of all. Last week he went out at 2am to get me ice cream after I had a bad day. We crack each other up and even though it's a fairly new relationship, I always feel like we're on the same team. Plus, he thinks I'm really pretty, and he tells me so all the time. It's great, and it makes me wonder why I ever put up with indifferent men.

I bet you could also score a nice boyfriend like that, too, and I hope one day you realize that you're worth it.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:51 PM on July 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


Here's the deal:

Are you dating this guy for the present, or for the future?

If it's for the present -- meaning, there's a decent supply of things that happen that you genuinely enjoy (and these things can be totally shallow!) -- great. Go forth and enjoy.

If it's for the future -- meaning, you're suffering through this now, because you think it's going to lead to marriage/kids/white picket fences -- there is no future. There's just not. He's playing a classic game with you, one that really does involve constantly knocking you down to differentiate himself.

That play can only get more intense, and whatever fun it is while dating, it never scales to serious relationships. So, he'll eventually bounce to the next 18 year old.

One of the things you'll find as you get older is that the game really is to manage your own burnout. Losing a relationship that you thought was going to lead to marriage is very hard, and is harder every month you were in it. Don't cut your losses if you're having a good time, but if you're already banking on the future, you're going to be wounded going into what's probably going to be the most fun couple of years of your life.
posted by effugas at 8:38 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Listen, I understand dating guys much older than you. They're smart, they're decisive, they know what they're doing sexually, they have a job, they have money - which doesn't mean you're a gold digger, just that it's a lot more interesting to date a guy with his own place and a car than a guy who has to ask his dad for permission to take the Suburu to the mall on a Saturday night. I get all of that. But at some point, you have to SEE this and acknowledge it instead of complaining that your boyfriend doesn't treat you with respect, or like an equal. And even when you date older guys, you can still find the ones who aren't total douchebags, and are at at least reasonably decent people who treat you with a fair amount of respect.

You are not equals; this is not an equal relationship. You on his arm is the human equivalent of buying a bright red sportscar. He is compensating. He can't handle a relationship with a woman who is his equal, because that woman would tell him to get stuffed when he said something about her 'needing' a boob job.

He cares about what other people think because that is the only reason he is dating you (well, besides sex). He compares you to other women because he is compensating and incredibly insecure. He calls you names because he's a jerk.

It would be a colossal mistake to get married or plan a future with this man. If you want to date him for a little while for whatever reason, fine, but don't get serious, and get out when it stops being fun, which is what it sounds like it is right now.
posted by micawber at 8:43 PM on July 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


DTMFA. And see a therapist about your self-esteem.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:23 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


GET OUT OF THIS RELATIONSHIP IMMEDIATELY.

Please. Seriously. Run now.

Now.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:25 PM on July 10, 2010


A 52 year old who seeks out and chooses to be with an 18 year old is going to be immature. He may have the financial resources, and he may have lived enough years to appear otherwise, but his choice to be with you says otherwise. This has nothing to do with you, so please know that I am not insulting you. Not at all. It says that he lacks the maturity to be with someone in his own age group, and that alone is unfair to you. Let alone the insults.

You're a teenager. Project yourself into the future 22 years. You're now 40 and in the prime of your life and he's 74 years old. And he won't be mellowing with age, most likely, or he'll have moved onto another 18 year old, because he's still emotionally stunted and you've grown up. He doesn't want a grownup, so know that your time with him will be limited and that you will most likely be replaced by a younger model, and probably at a far younger age than 40. If he's insulting now, imagine how he'll be when you reach the ripe old age of, say, 30?

Please get away from him. Find someone your own age who respects and loves you as you are.
posted by FlyByDay at 9:56 PM on July 10, 2010


He compares you to other women because he is compensating and incredibly insecure. He calls you names because he's a jerk.

He compares her to other women because he's making it clear that he could leave her in a heartbeat. He calls her names because other guys wouldn't, and (in his 52 years of experience) that's how he thinks you keep a girl interested in you vs. other guys who are just full of praise.

Ethics rather thoroughly aside, he's not exactly wrong. xbeautychicx is sure still into him.

There is of course the highly reasonable argument that the reason he targets 18 year olds is because even a 21 year old has seen this act before too many times.

(Side note: I don't disagree with you, micawbear. You are explaining who he is, I'm explaining why who he is would behave in this particular manner.)
posted by effugas at 10:05 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just popped in here to say:

You will meet hot guys at your Ivy League college. Many of them will already be more mature than this guy, and will treat you WAY better. And, if it's important to you, many of them will be powerful Wall Street types in the future (or another wealth and power-producing professional, as Ivy Leagues tend to produce.) OR maybe it'll be a poor poet who writes you sonnets and makes your heart sing, but whatever. The point is, your Wall St daddy knows this and is trying to make you feel like crap so you'll stay with him in spite of the parade of hotties you are about to encounter.

Seriously--- imagine the guy you're dating, except 30 years younger. Nicer. Someone who (unlike your guy) is NOT a douche-bag. Able to see you for the goddess you are. Who is also on the path to financial and creative success. Someone who would be able to lift your future toddlers up in the air without his back giving out.

Your chances of getting together with this man of your future will be MUCH MUCH higher if you are single when you go to college.

Repeat after me: "I do not have to date a douche-bag and his OLD BALLS." (There, I said it. You should tell your BF to get ball-rejuvenation surgery and see how HE takes it.)
posted by np312 at 10:07 PM on July 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


he is notoriously difficult to talk to. I understand that discussing politics and religion are verbal gateways to doom but he even becomes aggressive when we discuss casual things like shopping, or movies. It feels like he's shoving his opinions(and they're misinformed crappy opinions at that) down my throat.

I'm surprised more people didn't focus on this part. That sounds like as big a deal as his breast comments.

No matter how rich this guy is (and that's what you mean by "white collar Wall Street professional," right?), he's impoverished when it comes to basic relationship skills.

You can find someone nicer, smarter, better at being a boyfriend, and closer to your age. (Oh, and of course age has to do with it -- I don't know how anyone can suggest otherwise.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:09 PM on July 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The point is, your Wall St daddy knows this and is trying to make you feel like crap so you'll stay with him in spite of the parade of hotties you are about to encounter.

Quoted for truth. He's got to feel threatened by your impending college run.
posted by effugas at 10:40 PM on July 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Have you read The Game, or any PUA material?

This guy is negging you. Hard. And it's because you're a prize. You're probably sick of people fawning over you, and he's got your attention by giving you backhanded compliments.

It's a dickhead move played by people whose only motivation is to score. It's not what real men in a real relationship do. Maybe you think the alternative to someone like him is a simpering fartypants, but I assure you, there are men who can be strong and give you respect when it's due. Your job is to find one.

I don't need or want constant admiration though.

I feel you. I don't want someone who tells me I'm beautiful every ten seconds either, it's annoying. What you want is someone who you know means it even when he isn't saying it.
posted by Cuppatea at 1:52 AM on July 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oh dear.... Soon he'll be gulping down on the cialis. Dump him and have fun in college.
posted by uauage at 4:14 AM on July 11, 2010


All the stuff here aside, the two of you just don't get along! You're not a good match. Everything you like about him is available elsewhere. By the way, embrace who you like and feel comfortable about it - even if it is an older guy, a white guy, etc.
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:49 AM on July 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also may I add he seems very aware of our relationship. As in he holds the opinion that he knows how he may seem like just an older guy who wants a young piece of ass, but he's reassured me that this is not the case with him. I feel that he does want longevity for our relationship...

Speaking as a guy, he's probably lying. Guys learn how to talk to women as we get older; we eventually figure out what lines get good responses and can convincingly deliver those lines. Some of us use this power for good, such as harmlessly buttering up wives or women who we are very serious about (You said you like compliments. Sometimes a compliment is more about saying "I care about you" than the actual compliment).

But as many other have said, this guy's behavior indicates that he views you as a trophy, so I don't think this is harmless buttering up. I think he's telling you exactly what you want to hear because by now he knows what you want to hear. Forget anything he's told you about longevity, and then decide if you want to be in the relationship. Does the equation change?
posted by Tehhund at 5:46 AM on July 11, 2010


from everything you've posted, it seems to me that you can't talk to him, because he doesn't see you as equals. the reason he's hard to talk to is because he's not interested in what you have to say. he seems to treat you more like a pet than a partner.

i'm sorry, i know you've invested emotionally in this guy, but i'm pretty sure you can do better at college.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:15 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also may I add he seems very aware of our relationship. As in he holds the opinion that he knows how he may seem like just an older guy who wants a young piece of ass, but he's reassured me that this is not the case with him

The creepiest guy I know spent two years telling me that he wasn't a creep and that he wasn't trying to make me uncomfortable--all while trampling all over the boundaries that I had repeatedly tried to set up with him-- I was just out of college and was trying to learn how to be grown-up and sophisticated, so I ignored my instincts which were screaming: 'This guy is a CREEP!' because I thought I was just being young and naive to think that. Turns out the reverse was true: my instincts were correct and it was naive to ignore them.

Point is, when a guy like this "reassures" you, it is more likely that he is lying to you in order to keep you where he wants you, and it's a really effective mind-frak to first acknowledge the reality of the situation and then deny that truth.

Also, see Heather Corrina's Why I Deeply Dislike Your Older Boyfriend.
posted by colfax at 6:16 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


( from someone who has dated many jerks)
This guy is a jerk.
STOP DATING JERKS.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:54 AM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks guys, I'm going to follow Infinite Jest's suggestions and keep Peagood's in mind. I'll update soon. x
posted by xbeautychicx at 8:40 AM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Since it hasn't been linked here in this thread, there is an active Metatalk discussion about the veracity of this.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:37 AM on July 11, 2010


When I was 18 I too had a 52 year old boyfriend. He was great, a nearly famous painter who spoke eight languages fluently and had a terrific sense of humor, very little money and a lifetime of fascinating experiences to share. We had a wonderful time together and I have no regrets. It lasted about three months during which we traveled, did all kinds of cool things and met lots of fascinating people. He never promised or suggested any more and I didn't want that anyway. He sure as hell never came up with a "backhanded compliment" or criticized me in any way whatsoever, although he laughed at me when I deserved it, being as I was one of those 18 year olds who know everything. He taught me a lot about food and wine and art and then I left that country, went off to college and never saw him again. When I heard he had died a few years back I cried.

So, okay. IMHO, that was a healthy May - December romance. What you're talking about isn't. Be clear on what you want from this relationship: figure out just what you're getting and what he's getting because frankly, the relationship you're describing isn't going to suddenly turn into a real partnership. No. There's always going to be a stark and uncrossable power divide here and he's demonstrating that every day in the way that he treats you. Oh and yes, as many have said, he treats you this way because he can and because keeping you off balance keeps you with him.

Now I'm 47 years old. I'm sure you don't believe this - I have a kid your age - but you too will be 47 one day and it will happen faster than you think. If I had married my painter lover he'd be dead now and I'd be alone, after spending a decade or so as a nurse. How do I know this? Long story short, a couple years after my romance a friend of mine who is my age did marry him. They were together for a few years and then he replaced her with a younger model while she raised their two kids alone. Those kids were in their teens when their father died after battling cancer for some time. It was rough on them and rough on his ex, who came back to nurse him through dying.

People change a LOT as they age. If you think your boyfriend is going to be the same guy and you're going to be the same girl in even 10 years, think again. 18 year olds and 28 year olds have surprisingly little in common. In 20 years? Forget it. He will then be really an old man, not the middle aged man you're dating now. For many, many people, the years between age 70 and age 80 change them just as much as the years from birth to 10, only backwards and in not as pleasant ways.

Also, you know what? You're 18. I will tell you what my mother told me at that age: relationships are like buses. If the one you're on isn't taking you where you want to go, just get off and wait. Another one will come along in a few minutes.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:40 PM on July 11, 2010 [21 favorites]


I'm going to focus on this line:

I just often feel that I cannot talk to him because he's difficult.

Relationships are built on talking, on clear lines of communication. That's how lovers build stronger connections to each other. Five months into your relationship, your boyfriend should be creating an atmosphere where you feel as if you can talk about anything under the sun with him, even topics that may be a little difficult or awkward.

That's what healthy relationships are like. That's what you should demand from a partner. It's really a bare minimum, like manners and good hygiene.
posted by jason's_planet at 1:01 PM on July 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Late to the thread, but let me simply say your friends can (and should) say and do nice and sweet things for you. A boyfriend should do more, and a future husband, even more-so. I'm not saying he should shower you with presents and compliments, but being "a sweet guy" at times doesn't seem like much compared to what he could do for you. Good luck, and welcome to MetaFilter.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:27 AM on July 12, 2010


After reading this and the Me Ta thread with both your responses and those of other respondants, I think you need a plate of self esteem with some humble pie as dessert.

You need to stand up for yourself and get out of this relationship where your partner doesn't respect you. If you really can't see how much he is disrespecting you, you might want to consider talking this situation over with a therapist or other health professional that you trust.

That said, you also need to realize that your perceived maturity isn't there yet (which is fine at 18). Going to an Ivy League school (or any school at all) does not translate to or correlate with intelligence (ask me how I know...).

I guess to boil it down, the problem at your core is that you haven't quite reached self-actualization (which is, again, fine at 18). I think you are still constructing your image of yourself activly, rather than just being who you are (passive).

I hope this general advice makes sense to you and your situation.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:36 PM on July 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


he'll give me a compliment but then add that "if a get my breasts done" I'll look great.

This guy sounds like a douchebag he's either incredibly insecure or controlling, or both. If you want to stay with him, I'd recommend talking to him frankly about this.

If you don't, you can no doubt find someone who would be happy to be with you without feeling like you should have surgery.
posted by zippy at 10:04 PM on July 12, 2010


he has unrealistic goals of how I should be

This is not how goals are normally applied, unless you're appearing in My Fair Lady.
posted by Sallyfur at 7:54 AM on July 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


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