Go with my gut? Hell, I don't even know what my gut is telling me right now...
February 8, 2012 7:29 PM   Subscribe

I realize this post is a little long.....but has anyone ever experienced the following Made-For-TV-Hallmark-Channel episode, or something like it, or know anyone who did? If so, how did you handle it?

I’m a 33 year old gay male from a family with an overbearing mother and a very passive father. Growing up, I never really took any risks. At 15 years of age, I became involved in Emergency Medical Services, came up through the ranks, and became a Paramedic. I’ve practiced, taught, lectured, mentored, precepted, written, published....and am now over it.

2010 was a year of change for me. My grandmother died in April (first time I’d ever lost someone in my family), my parents were forclosed upon (in the house I grew up in), my sister relapsed, and in September, my partner of 5 years left. Granted, I was unfaithful, but admitted my infidelity. I knew why I did what I did, had reached a conclusion, and wanted to work things through. He did not. I’ve learned a lot since then, about myself, about what my relationship really meant, and what I needed at the time.

After the split, my life changed. I lost an incredible amount of weight, became more physically active, started (timidly) going out and meeting other men, and started on the road to what I wanted. In March of 2011, I met a man through an online chat site. He was partnered, “not getting what (he) needed at home”, and stuck in a cycle of alcohol, depression, and stagnation. I just wanted a friend; he wanted to get in the sack. After rebuking his efforts multiple times, I gave in and had sex. It was incredible. After that episode, he wanted more. He learned about things like intimacy, something he admitted he had never felt much of from any of his previous or current partners. He learned that alcohol was an escape, and that he had lost himself during his current relationship (of 10 years.) We grew very close.

Fast forward through time to the present. I have forced myself away from him, and watched him fight to get me back into his life. We have had many conversations about trust, truth, integrity, goals, loyalty, partnership, and so forth. On many occasions, he has referred to me as his “other half”, his “partner.”


In January, he left his current partner to go “find himself.” He begged me to come with him to Montana, with the stipulation that he was going for himself “first.” He continues to state that while he is going to do what is best for him, he wants me “along for the ride” (I didn’t like the choice of words, so he restated that if “our paths were to align, that would be great.”)

He has gone from promising me a ring, to apologizing and stating that no promises can be made until he “figures things out.” He continues to talk to his partner on a daily basis, and refers to his “home” constantly.

I’m not sure how to take this. At one point, I accused him of having his cake and eating it too. He admitted this was a true statement, but again reiterated that he could not promise anything until he figured things out, and that I needed to do what was best for me, and not put him as my sole reason for coming with him.

Now I feel lost. One one hand, he has done everything and anything to show that he is honest and sincere as he always has been with me. He says I make him feel “alive”, that he feels like “I can be myself and you will let me.” However, I have never been a trusting person, and still have quite a few moments of doubt. I have no support from family and very little from friends; he doesn’t either. He is quick to rage if he feels someone is “judging” him. Admittedly, he has been more relaxed since he has been here in Montana; he has gone from drinking almost half a gallon of Bacardi to half a pint in two weeks. He has a job already. He wants to return to the Navy on active duty, as he had 10 years in prior. Sometimes, I catch him referring to future plans with “us” and “we” instead of “I” and “me/myself.”

I feel like I deserve someone single. Someone who can devote their time to me. I am also NOT a trusting person, or a risk taker. I know what I want. I've put a lot of time and effort into learning to trust with him, become more intimate, hell, explore things I've NEVER thought of doing. When my ex left, I erased him from my life-completely (yeah, I don't take rejection or pain very well.) I also realize that in the past, I have been VERY codependent, something I will NEVER do again. Since I have been here with him, I have secured a job, gone out on my own, and made time for “us” as well-all balanced for the most part.

Has anyone ever been in this type of situation? If so, what did you do about it? It’s amazing to me that since he has removed himself from his former environment, he hasn’t gotten all that weepy. It took me about 6 months to realize that my former relationship wasn’t one at all, but more like codependent roommates with benefits. He feels the same way about his.

I’m not sure if I should ride this out and see where it goes, or just jump ship, bail, and close myself off for a while. It took a lot for me to open myself up and trust this guy; we have a better relationship in 1 year than I ever had with my ex in 5.

He says I’m not a “rebound” or a “springboard.” He says the sex is the “best he’s ever had” and that he connects with me “in a way (he’s) never connected before.”

What do you think?
posted by BeastMan78 to Human Relations (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Should you stay with him or bail and close yourself off? Are those really the only two options you can think of? If yes, then get some therapy and figure out why your only choices seem to be staying with a manipulative asshole or becoming a shut-in loner.

There is a middle ground and most of us try to live there. Please join us.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:37 PM on February 8, 2012 [5 favorites]

Cut things off with this guy for the time being. He's told you in many ways that he is not ready for a relationship, and you need to hear that. Don't shut yourself down emotionally, though. You're ending things with this guy so you can go out and find the love you deserve, with someone who makes you a priority. Do whatever you need to do to find that love - I'd suggest starting with therapy.
posted by the essence of class and fanciness at 7:46 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

He wants someone to witness his transformation, a cheerleader, and someone to keep him busy while he's doing things for himself. He's also talking to his partner every day while you've moved yourself out to Montana to be with him.

There isn't a future with this guy, or if there is, this isn't the path to it. Don't close yourself off, just move yourself away from this guy, because he's just using you.
posted by xingcat at 7:48 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

You need to step back from this guy. You need to put yourself first (since that is what he is doing). Make him realize you are a catch and he's an idiot for letting you go. There's the saying "the person with the least interest or investment in the relationship is the one with the most power" Take the power back. It really sounds like he wants to sleep around and not be committed for awhile. Call him on it and cut him off!
posted by biograd08 at 8:52 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have been in this movie.

He's still with the ex, at least emotionally, and they will likely get back together. This guy is a narcissist and he is using you. He will never commit and never be faithful. Sorry.

Yes, evaluate him on his actions, not his words.

Whenever you move to cut him out of your life, he will get over-dramatic and push and beg for you to keep giving yourself to him unconditionally because (a) you've taught him already that eventually you are the type to give in if he pushes and flatters you enough, and (b) he really likes getting what he gets from you for free without having to reciprocate. As in, he likes you because you give, and give, and give, and you so far have been the type to continue to give to him whether he reciprocates or not. Hell, everybody likes a free meal - get it?

You must cut this guy off completely, or he will suck you dry for years to come. Get rid of him. If he pops back up in a year or 3 - refuse to reconnect with him.

Therapy. Open yourself up to finding the type of relationship you dream of and deserve.

This one is not it. RUN.
posted by jbenben at 8:55 PM on February 8, 2012 [5 favorites]

You like this guy a lot, whether he deserves it or not. But look at it this way, he's gone for a while and not making any promises. You shouldn't either. Get dating see what's out there. If, when he comes back, you haven't found someone else who's better for you, and he still wants you exclusively, then awesome! If not, you haven't wasted time. Despite all evidence to the contrary, there are plenty of people who aren't jerks in the world. Try a few of them out, and if you still love your jerk at the end of it all, go with him and be happy.
posted by Garm at 9:24 PM on February 8, 2012

You sound WONDERFUL. Get out there and find someone who deserves you. XO
posted by cyndigo at 10:17 PM on February 8, 2012

no promises can be made until he “figures things out.”

What's there to figure out? You sound like a great person... too bad *he* hasn't figured that out by now. Go find someone who deserves you and appreciates you for who you are!
posted by chatelaine at 12:47 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm late to this one, but here's my take:

The guy's not a narcissist, or an asshole, or manipulative, nor is he 'using' you. It sounds like he still loves his ex of 10 years but he's IN love with you, and he's simply not sure how to handle things.

From what you've said, it sounds like he's actually a pretty nice person who would rather eviscerate himself than have anybody hurt... but he's also deathly afraid of being alone.

Sometimes the internet isn't the best place to go looking for relationship advice, because us strangers are going to give you our cold, calculated (or not) opinions without understanding or having empathy for the dynamic and history between the two of you and between him and his ex. Sometimes you gotta go with the heart, sometimes you gotta go with the head - but if you take these simple concepts to heart AND mind, relationships will figure themselves out:

Honor, Courage, Commitment, Honesty, Integrity, and Communication. A great relationship is as easy as that.
posted by matty at 4:40 PM on February 14, 2012

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