Should I break up with him?
December 30, 2010 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Am I making the right decision about breaking up with my boyfriend?

I had broken up with a boyfriend of 6.5 years earlier this year. One month later I started spending a lot of time with another guy, and we started dating, and I’m now heavily leaning towards ending the relationship (8 months later). It has been rocky.

He was very affection and paid a lot of attention to me early on, it was unbelievable to me and very different from my last relationship. I had a few hesitations, such as he smoked (I don’t like to be around smoke but he said he would quit), he worked long, late hours during the week and we couldn’t go on dates Friday or Saturday night due to his work schedule. He was not good at making plans and “flaked” out on me early on, several times. He had debt from medical bills several years earlier from an injury, and had bad credit.

I think he put me on a pedestal he should not have…he thought he was not good enough, he did not have a lot of money/degree like my ex boyfriend did. He asked me to give him a chance. He was in foster care for several years and until his adoption he only had his sister as family, who apparently treated him badly. He told me he had abandonment/trust/intimacy issues from this but he’d had therapy. He had gone to boarding school. He had 2 previous relationships both several years long. The last one ended with her overdosing and being in the hospital. They both cheated on him. After 4 months of us dating, he got sick and was taking multiple medications, missed a lot of work, and was in bed for almost one month. During this time, he turned into a totally different person. I understood he was probably scared about not getting a proper diagnosis (and is still unsure), but he totally shut me out, didn’t answer my calls, didn’t even want me to stop by for a movie or dinner in. I was miserable for that month and cried often by myself. Finally, after about one month, he was telling me he was feeling better but wasn’t acting interested in seeing me (although he called me still), and I told him I wasn’t mad, but not stupid either---I knew something was different, and asked if he just wanted to be friends. We talked for an hour during that phone call, and he told me many things. He said he saw me more of as a sister…was not in “relationship mode” (when earlier he said he loved being in a relationship with me)…he said he had no money and had to borrow from his dad and it would be like taking care of a teenager if I stayed with him…he said we were so different in that he smoked/cursed/didn’t attend church, which was all opposite from me…he said he had no business being in a relationship with anyone right now because of all those things.

So we “broke up”. Except that 1-3 times a week for ANOTHER month he texted/called at 2 AM saying things like he missed me, needed me, regretted breaking up, loved me, still wanted to be with me, etc. I finally took a call at 3 AM after a month into because I wanted answers from him. He rationalized all the reasons he mentioned for breaking up by saying he was “going through stuff”. He apologized for everything he put me through and asked for a 2nd chance. I agreed to hang out but said I’m not his girlfriend yet, because I was afraid he might do what he did again when he was sick. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps it was a one time thing due to his illness. I found out he had gone on a dating website and he said it was just stupid fun. He had also met with a girl he lost his virginity too, during the time he kept contacting me. He said that meant nothing. I didn’t completely trust him.

My good friend who is a psychologist said it sounded like he has something going on personality-wise…odd things. Like, calling repeatedly at unavailable times for a month then not returning my calls when I responded to him during day hours (this made me so mad); he said he has OCD; he can’t be in the bathroom with the light on; he can hardly plan anything ever; incredibly spontaneous, but now to the point of irritating me, I don’t know who can live that way; switching off like night and day once he got sick; incredibly indecisive; he had a problem kissing me even when being intimate (this was a problem for me…he was also very slow to start being intimate and I almost thought he might be secretly gay); he’s moved 4 times in less than a year.

Skip 3 weeks later, we’ve only seen each other twice because of his work schedule, which I now remember how frustrating it was. He has a decent job with benefits, but he is staying a good where he works his life away, and I mean come on, we hardly have TIME for a relationship! We had fun hanging out, like friends, but weird stuff happened, too. He called me an a-hole “jokingly”. That really put me off. I remember he had done the same thing to his MOM. He’s almost 30. Who does that? I questioned his values- he said he wasn’t racist but could never ever date a black woman. That seemed close minded to me. He is up to smoking even more than before. He didn’t call me back on his day off when he had asked me to call him after church, then when I called him again later on that night, he said he was playing video games all day and didn’t sound enthused to talk to me or make plans (and he actually had 3 days off). It’s like he only wanted to talk on the phone and not see me! I sent him a message saying I really don’t like what’s going on/I’m doubting your interest once again/maybe we should forget about trying to make it work...maybe I was harsh…he didn’t call for 3 days because he was he was mad about it, and since then I’ve started to try to explain why we may not be so compatible for a long term relationship. I felt better after saying that to him. It’s like he only wants a girlfriend if it’s convenient for his own self. But, I did apologize for hurting his feelings/being insensitive. I don’t want to hurt him but it’ll be worse in the long run for us both if we stay together because we already have had so many problems…we BOTH deserve someone who accepts us each as we are and I know right now that’s not the case.

Maybe I put up with too much.

After all of this, I still believe he is a good person, has a good heart…he is very generous and helps anyone in need, but sometimes at the expense of his own good, I think. He is difficult to understand. All of this screams to me, this is not what I want for a husband or a father of my children. I already spend years being unhappy. My family doesn’t think he is right for me, either.
posted by dt2010 to Human Relations (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It seems like 95% of the things he does reallyreallyREALLY piss you off.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:28 AM on December 30, 2010

I had broken up with a boyfriend of 6.5 years earlier this year. One month later I started spending a lot of time with another guy, and we started dating, and I’m now heavily leaning towards ending the relationship (8 months later).

I think you should focus on you and becoming independent of guys for a while. Once you're comfortable on your own without a boyfriend, start dating.
posted by vincele at 7:29 AM on December 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

You put up with too much. Make a clean break and move on. This guy needs to sort himself out before being in any sort of relationship. Too much strife in such a short period of time for this to work out long-term.
posted by elpea at 7:30 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think this guy is trying to convince you he's a drip, and I think he is right.

There is a better, sweeter, easier person out there. There are lots of them. But you won't be able to find them while you are trying to figure out what's up with Mr. Personality.

Look for someone better and you will likely find them, settle for someone lousy and you will find them too.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:30 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, breaking up is the right decision. Get as far from this guy as you can.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:31 AM on December 30, 2010

Am I making the right decision about breaking up with my boyfriend?

Yes. The rest of the details really don't matter at all. Even if this guy were a saint and never did a thing to drag you down, you're just not into it anymore. A one-person relationship is over already.
posted by phunniemee at 7:32 AM on December 30, 2010

Flip the question on its head and see if you could write a multiple thousand word essay like you did above on why you *should* be with him. That should provide you with an answer.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:35 AM on December 30, 2010 [4 favorites]

Wow. Yes, absolutely the right decision.
posted by jayder at 7:44 AM on December 30, 2010

It seems like most of the askers in these questions feel some sort of moral obligation to continue a relationship, no matter how doomed it might seem. Unless you've been together for ages and/or have kids, there's absolutely nothing wrong with ending a relationship.

Personally, I think it's actually the most prudent to end a relationship as soon as it's apparent that you've reached the point of no return, rather than letting it drag out for months on end. If you do the former, there's a good chance that you'll still remain friends (or at the very least, keep your circle of mutual friends intact), and will be back on your feet, and dating other people pretty shortly thereafter. If you do the latter, it's almost guaranteed to be a nasty breakup, you'll probably ruin your larger social circle, and it'll take you a long time to recover.

And, FWIW, the smoking thing alone would totally be an instant dealbreaker for me.
posted by schmod at 7:44 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

It kind of sounds like you've made up your mind already.
posted by Citrus at 7:56 AM on December 30, 2010

Should I break up with him?

Come on. You've described a completely terrible relationship, one that leaves you unhappy, frustrated and crying for a month. You know what the answer is.
posted by nomadicink at 8:02 AM on December 30, 2010 [5 favorites]

Uh, so why are you with this guy?

Look, just because you end this relationship doesn't mean he's a not a good person. He's just not a good person FOR YOU.

So get rid of him already. You're obviously not happy.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:02 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

This relationship isn't making you happy. The longer you stay with him, the longer it will take you to find someone who will make you happy.
posted by kat518 at 8:05 AM on December 30, 2010

Oh God, break up with him - and don't go back, no matter how hard he tries to manipulate you into going back with him. Block his number and don't talk to him or text him - seriously.

Maybe he really is a good person, but I don't see any sign that he's good for you. (Ha, on preview elsietheeel said the exact same thing.)
posted by mrs. taters at 8:19 AM on December 30, 2010

Someone doesn't have to be a horrible person to not want to spend time with, or be in a relationship with them.

In all such relationships there has to be give and take, compromise even, but a healthy relationship also has to be based on more than desperation and a set of difficult behaviors.

You have said enough, if you have to say anything else four words only: "It is over, goodbye". No more listening, block phone number/email, do not read or listen to messages.
posted by edgeways at 8:44 AM on December 30, 2010

Yes, you are making the right decision about breaking up with him, based on the information included here. You have my blessing; ditch him with impunity and take some time to rebuild yourself after ending your long-term relationship before jumping into the dating pool again.
posted by booknerd at 9:19 AM on December 30, 2010

Why would you even consider being with this guy? He sounds like a nightmare.

I read your question a couple of times trying to figure out why you aren't running away from him as fast as you can. Here's all I came up with:

I still believe he is a good person, has a good heart…he is very generous and helps anyone in need

Good for him. But having a good heart or being a good person does not entitle a person to a relationship. It sounds like the only reason you want to be with this guy is to compensate him for his hard life. That's a nice impulse, but it's not really a viable dating strategy. You have some nice things to say about him in the abstract, but everything you say about his actual behavior makes him seems completely undateable.

Your friends think there's something wrong with him, your family doesn't think he's right for you, your gut agrees, and now so do a bunch of internet strangers. We overuse "DTMFA" around here, but this is the kind of situation it was invented for.
posted by Ragged Richard at 10:01 AM on December 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Richard, you're right. I stayed with him to compensate for his hard life. I really feel the need to alleviate other peoples' problems. Can't keep doing that. It sucks for me.
what? After this relationship, the 6.5 year-long relationship, and many issues with my parents growing up, I'm in therapy just recently...which is going well...and hopefully will be able to avoid this kind of bad decision in the future.
posted by dt2010 at 8:10 PM on December 30, 2010

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