Middle distance relationship, no car, money issues? Here!
November 7, 2013 12:07 PM   Subscribe

30 miles apart, without a car to have date nights and with a boyfriend unwilling to share expenses despite having little money. Result: us not doing much of anything and me feeling guilty and stuck.

My bf lives 30 miles away from me; it takes us about two hours to get to each other's place using public transportation, which doesn’t run at night, really hindering us from spending evenings together. To fix this, he suggests spending the night alternatively at his/my house, which would be good for me too if it wasn't for the fact we still live with our families. (Very common where we live). We’ve done that a few times already, but, try as I may, I don't really feel comfortable with it- I feel like a burden to the family, like I'm invading their personal space and end up feeling awkward and out of place and it’s weird for me both ways. It can definitely be done, but I see it as a 'once in a while' thing, rather than, say, a weekly/once in a fortnight occurrence . By car, instead, it takes about 40/50 minutes and I'd enjoy it if we could spend an evening together and then go back to our respective places at a decent hour- the issue stems from the fact that I have no car nor license. Weird, I know, but I've been in a life threatening accident when I was six and it took me years to get over it…I think I'm mostly okay with that now, but even starting the course for the license now, it'd be a year before I'd be even close to allowed/able to drive to him at night- which is something I'm sure my overprotective bf himself wouldn't be okay with, given the fact he's even worried about me getting home at 6 pm on my own...That brings us to his car- his family only owns one and he says he can't take it 30 miles away in case some health emergency comes up with his not too healthy father- now I get he can't monopolize the family car, but I thought it's generally best to wait for an ambulance, plus the sister married to a nurse lives five minutes away from them and it'd only happen once a month, so I don't understand his complete unwillingness... Anyway I looked for other options and suggested we rent a car, which would cost a really reasonable amount of money, that we’d split in half too- he rejected this too, stating it's too much a responsibility, what happens if the car is damaged etc. I tried to suggest we come to a compromise and handle it by spending a weekend a month at the other's place -which is the less than ideal solution for me- and another weekend a month with a rented car, splitting the costs, which is the less than ideal one for him, but to no avail. I asked him if he could come up with other alternatives, but all he came up with is ‘going on like usual and if you get sick of it, break up with me'. I feel like my shoulders are against a wall and I don't know if I'm just being unreasonable and asking too much or not.

Money is another issue. He's far from rich, doesn't like to ask for money from his parents -which I totally respect-, yet doesn't allow me to pay my share for lunches out, which I've asked to do several times. This leads to me feeling guilty for going out even to get a pizza and us staying in and eating at our places. He doesn't try to find a part time job either, refused a reasonable and well paid one he was offered just because and ends up spending what he has to update his already advanced technological devices. This summer we only managed to go one week end away and that was because I paid for it entirely as a gift for his bday- something he doesn’t like and banned me from doing again. I'm not saying I want expensive gifts, but if we could go on a low-budget weekend trip every three months that'd be great- though that is impossible as of now, because he doesn't have the money, won't ask his family, won't work for it, won't let me pay for it as a gift either. Again, I feel stuck, I can't tell him anything about it because it's a private issue he’s touchy about, but this whole situation of 'just deal with it' is starting to get to me. Am I asking too much? Am I unreasonable? How do I handle these issues?
posted by opalshards to Human Relations (50 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is there any reason you are with this person beyond 'fear of the unknown'?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:11 PM on November 7, 2013 [23 favorites]


This sounds like a whole lot of work for what's supposed to be fun: he's controlling about money, controlling about your actions and unwilling to compromise. Count me in Camp Dump'em.
posted by jamaro at 12:13 PM on November 7, 2013 [27 favorites]


The world is full of guys who either have a job or are willing to look for one. Many of them in a 30-mile radius. You should date one of those instead.
posted by sageleaf at 12:13 PM on November 7, 2013 [19 favorites]


it'd be a year before I'd be even close to allowed/able to drive to him at night- which is something I'm sure my overprotective bf himself wouldn't be okay with

Nope.


He doesn't try to find a part time job either

Nooope.


something he doesn’t like and banned me from doing again.


NOooooope.


but all he came up with is ‘going on like usual and if you get sick of it, break up with me'.

He told you what to do here. Break up with him.
posted by phunniemee at 12:14 PM on November 7, 2013 [90 favorites]


I'm afraid from what you've written about your boyfriend he doesn't sound like much of a catch. You've been incredibly understanding and reasonable. You've suggested that half the time you do what he wants to do and the other times you do what you want to do. He's not willing to meet you half way. He's more interested in spending money on stuff for him than using that money to spend time with you. He's also not willing to work for money and doesn't trust you to get yourself home at 6pm. You can do better than this person. There's someone out there who'd love to spend his time with someone as reasonable and accomodating as you.
posted by Ranting Prophet of DOOM! at 12:16 PM on November 7, 2013 [13 favorites]


Call his bluff and dump him. He's acting like a loser, so treat him like one. He's not worth the effort based on what you've described.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:17 PM on November 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


He doesn't want to do anything with you. Act accordingly.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:18 PM on November 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


won't ask his family, won't work for it, won't let me pay for it as a gift either.

In other words, he rejects all possible solutions to existing problems, preferring instead to keep the status quo, even if it makes you (and him) unhappy. Even if the car and money issues were magically solved tomorrow, this is a pattern that will NOT get any better as your relationship progresses.

I feel stuck, I can't tell him anything about it because it's a private issue he’s touchy about,

You don't just feel stuck; you ARE stuck. And he's stuck you there, and he's not interested in doing anything to make the situation better.

He's showing you who he is, and how much you and your happiness matter to him. This isn't something you'll be able to change, no matter how understanding and sensitive and supportive you may be. I also think you should move on in order to find someone who is actually interested in your company and your feelings, which he pretty clearly isn't.
posted by scody at 12:19 PM on November 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


Am I asking too much?

No.

Am I unreasonable?

Nope.

How do I handle these issues?

Your boyfriend is a manchild who thinks he can ban you from paying for things. He has a misplaced, unwarranted sense of pride, and that pride is more important to him than whether or not you are happy, or the two of you are happy as a couple.

I mean, seriously:

He doesn't try to find a part time job either, refused a reasonable and well paid one he was offered just because and ends up spending what he has to update his already advanced technological devices.

He won't let you pay your share for food, he has no money, and he won't get a job but he will buy lots of expensive toys for himself - expensive toys that he already fucking has, but he wants better ones.

This guy's a sack of shit. You handle these issues by letting them - and him - be someone else's problem.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:26 PM on November 7, 2013 [14 favorites]


something he doesn’t like and banned me from doing again.

I do not think this sort of behavior is healthy in a relationship and particularly in a newish relationship. People should not "ban" other people from doing things and particularly when they are trying in good faith to do something nice for them. You two sound incompatible. I think you deal with this by telling him that there are issues that do not seem to be resolvable and leaving him to find someone you are more compatible with.
posted by jessamyn at 12:30 PM on November 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


Also, is this the same guy from month before last? If it is, don't go back even if he finds another bridge to fall off of. Listen to what your mom said.

If it's a different guy, and I say this with kindness: break up and don't date for a while, your loser-boyfriend detector needs some time to recalibrate.
posted by jamaro at 12:30 PM on November 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I didn't drive until I was in my late 20s because of severe anxiety issues. Once I did start driving, it was not a full year until I was capable of driving at night in a relatively sedate sort of setting. I mean, if you're trying to wrestle rush hour traffic in a major city that's another matter, maybe, but driving is not that hard. Anxiety is definitely hard, but not "you can't be allowed to drive because it happens to be dark out" hard.

I realize a lot of this is potentially cultural stuff and you haven't provided much info about that to help pick out what might or might not be reasonable. But you are definitely going to be capable of being mobile faster than you think, and you deserve someone who is way more on board with this relationship than this guy is. There are places in the world where living with your families as an adult is common. In those places it is also, to the best of my knowledge, normal for adult males to be working with a goal towards being able to support their own households and families at some point. It's not that there's something fundamentally wrong with living with your parents--it's that there is something fundamentally wrong with being an adult, living with your parents, and refusing to get a job or buy a car or do anything else that would move your life and relationship forward into proper adulthood. No matter where that happens, it's being a bum.
posted by Sequence at 12:32 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


How do I handle these issues?

Your boyfriend sounds immature, irresponsible, and inconsiderate. Respectfully, the only issue that you can handle is the length of time you are going to stick around in what sounds like a dead-end relationship.

(And getting your license, but guess what? I'm 30 and I don't have one and I'm fine.)
posted by sm1tten at 12:33 PM on November 7, 2013


I'm guessing that you are both young, maybe still students since you are talking about part-time jobs and borrowing his parent's car.

I don't think it's reasonable to expect his parents to lend their kid the only car they have when there's an ill person at home. No, it's not always best to wait for an ambulance or rely on family members who live nearby. This is where I think you are being unreasonable. This is the only thing that sounds unreasonable to me.

He doesn't sound like he's the slightest bit concerned for your feelings or building a relationship with you. When you're unhappy, his response is "if you get sick of it, break up with me."

You deserve to date someone who cares about your feelings and wants to spend time with you. This guy clearly does not.
posted by inertia at 12:37 PM on November 7, 2013


Dump him dump him dump him DUMP HIM.

One of my best, most-cherished friends is in the process of ending a twenty-year marriage to a man who sounds a LOT like your boyfriend (I'm not sure where you're from, but they're from a South American nation). The divorce process has been unbelievably harrowing because of the EXACT TRAITS that her soon-to-be-ex/your-current-boyfriend share: stubbornness, selfishness, inflexibility, a controlling nature, an unwillingness to budge even a FRACTION of an inch to help make one's partner happy, etc.

Please. Pretty please, with sugar on top: believe me when I say you can do much, much better than this dude, and you will bitterly regret staying with him. If he's this bad over "small" issues (transportation), imagine how awful he'll be over BIG ones.
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:38 PM on November 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


The OP has asked for solutions to her difficulty - not judgment of her decisions and choice in partner.

You both live with your parents.
Therefore, how about getting one of the parents/family members to help in your transportation needs?
posted by Kruger5 at 12:39 PM on November 7, 2013


The OP has asked solutions to her difficulty - not judgment of her decisions and choice in partner.

Incorrect.

Am I asking too much? Am I unreasonable?

No she is not and no she is not.
posted by phunniemee at 12:41 PM on November 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


You have come up with many great ideas for solving your mutual problems, but your BF has NO interest in any problem solving ideas.

Take. The. Hint. Your boyfriend is perfectly happy with things the way they are. He doesn't WANT to change, thus he will not. A man who wants to be with you will move heaven and earth to make it happen. This guy isn't even moving his coaster to make it happen.

I'd say, go about your life as though you currently have no boyfriend. Put the onus on him to come to you.

As for who pays, I'd get bored with shitty pizza dates. Just because that's what he can afford, it's not fair for you to have to move down to his level.

Concentrate on whatever it is that you do for a career (or school) and put boys aside for the time being.

There are awesome guys out there, people who have ambition, jobs, cars, or the ability to overcome small obsticles to increase the happiness of their SOs. Your guy is not one of these guys.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:42 PM on November 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


The one virtue of a long- (or middle-) distance relationship is that you really get to see how your partner deals with problems and barriers in life. You also get a really good idea of how the two of you deal with problems together.

Does your boyfriend have the problem-solving skills and the ability to compromise and work together that you want in a long-term relationship? Take this opportunity to assess, and don't hesitate to act on what you conclude.
posted by snorkmaiden at 12:48 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


You've been above and beyond reasonable - your behavior demonstrates that you are a fabulous girlfriend.
Unfortunately, Little Sir Sad Sack doesn't appreciate you.

He's a dead battery, show him the door.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:55 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


You are being More than reasonable in your willingness to try to find solutions.

Whether or not this is the same depressed guy from your earlier questions, please break up with him and spend a little time getting to know your awesome self. Then try to avoid guys with red flags for depressed-and-unwilling-to-change in the future. This guy may not be depressed, but the unwillingness to work or find solutions to basic problems are red flags for depression (and/or poor boyfriend material).

You deserve a boyfriend who will work With you to try to solve your relationship problems as a team. Banning you from kindnesses, telling you that if you don't like it you can lump it, and just generally making you feel stuck are all Not Okay. You deserve okay; you deserve Awesome.

Figure out what Awesome might look like to you. Hopefully it's not this. Go find that instead.
posted by ldthomps at 12:59 PM on November 7, 2013


And, just to talk a little bit about LDRs and the negotiation process. I think sometimes people have a hard time understanding what a good model of their same thing would look like. I'm in an LDR. I like it. I'm a grown-up and so is my partner. When his car started making bad noises and looked like it was on its last legs and he was hemming and hawing about dealing with it (which is normal, it was a hassle and was expensive) we had a discussion about what our priorities were and how his hassle-avoidance was actually going to turn into relationship avoidance because he wasn't going to be able to visit me. And that I was happy to visit him but not all the time and not just because he didn't want to deal with a thing he was going to have to deal with anyhow. And so we approached the "let's solve the car issue" as a relationship issue and not just "Well you better handle this or NO MORE SNUGGLIN" and it worked out mostly okay.

So as I was reading your post I thought....

- okay they don't have cars
- okay he suggests they take turns at each other's place
- okay she doesn't like that
- okay she suggests he borrows the family car
- okay he can't do that for Good Reasons
- okay she suggested something else
- okay he says no and basically stonewalled at that point and said he's done talking

He opened the door for you to say "This is a dealbreaker" at that point and even before i got to your second paragraph. The guy may have totally real reasons for why he feels the way he does, but it's also okay for you to just not want to deal with those things.
posted by jessamyn at 1:01 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't understand his complete unwillingness

I do. The situation as it stands works for him, and he doesn't want to change.

What you're asking for is not unreasonable, but it is very clearly more than he's willing to give. If that's a dealbreaker for you (and it would be for many, many, people), go ahead and follow his suggestion that you break up with him.
posted by rtha at 1:15 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I read your whole question, truly, and all these answers, but what really stands out to me leapt out from very early in your question -- you feel guilty and stuck.

This relationship is very far from making you happy. At the dating stage, that is a minimum requirement.

Also, money issues, like sex issues, are a classic tell for big relationship problems.

Find someone who makes you feel great. Let this guy make someone else miserable.
posted by bearwife at 1:17 PM on November 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sweet day in the morning why are you even with this loser?!?

Let's start with the physical distance between you: thirty miles. Aw c'mon, thirty whole miles is a 'middle distance relationship'?!? No, I'd say it's dang near right next door, and his unwillingness to cover it says volumes. Refusing to drive 30 miles because he's concerned "in case some emergency comes up with his none too healthy father" is one heck of a silly excuse: does he believe that if something does happen, the first call his parents will make will be to him instead of an ambulance? And after his parents called him, he would drive home and only then would he call the ambulance?

Now for the emotional distance.... The only money he has isn't his, it's his parents; he doesn't have a job, nor does he apparently see the need for one; the only car he has access to also isn't his, it's his parents (leave his sister and her spouse out of this: what they have and where they live is immaterial); he won't pay for anything, and he 'forbids' (!) you from paying; meanwhile he's pushing every single guilt-tripping button he can find and treating you like dirt.

Dump this loser, there are tons of better guys all over the place.
posted by easily confused at 1:19 PM on November 7, 2013 [6 favorites]


Response by poster: I'd like to thank you all for your incredible and incredibly fast input.

Your strongly voiced advice truthfully surprised me, truth be told. Whilst what I wrote is true- I do think that 'you deal with it or you break up with me' piece was told in a moment of discouragement/anger, though, I believe-, this is just a piece of the whole frame- a clearly problematic one. He's smart and caring, creative, poetic, thoughtful and interesting too. He's been really understanding over the difficult situation with my ex (he's the depressed one who attempted suicide, not him, to answer the question some of you asked). Sure, he can be stubborn and is not too flexible, as this situation highlights, but I'm far from perfect too...These past months I've been very often in a low mood, I'm a homebody, I don't deal well with large familiar gatherings...


Yes, we both are University students, low on money. And unfortunately my parents don't drive due to the same accident I had -we were all in that together- so they can't help out...and thank you for all the well wishes on my license getting process!
posted by opalshards at 1:27 PM on November 7, 2013


Maybe I just come from a very different world than everyone else, but many times I had a monogamous "dating" relationship where it was mutually understood to be for the present with no long-term future implied. I have very good memories of many of these relationships. I wonder if today's younger people hamstring their early relationships by trying to size up every situation as if it is expected to go the distance. Why not enjoy some things for what they are? Why so much pressure to conform to "adult" (lifelong) standards?

And what's wrong with going by public transportation every other weekend to visit him? Use the commuting time to study finance or some future topic you will need in the next phase of life.

I don't think this relationship sounds too bad.
posted by 99percentfake at 1:34 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


To address your update, he may be a whole lot of good things, but who cares if it's too hard to enjoy them?

You are in University. This is not your life-partner. You don't HAVE to make it work. How about you move into a more open relationship. If you feel like talking to him or seeing him, you do, but you're open to other things? Other people, other situations.

The amount of time you are investing in this versus what you're getting out of it is asymmetrical. It's not worth it.

You're too close to the situation to see it.

Let's just say that I'll be surprised if you're still together next year. I'll be even MORE surprised if you remember his name in 2026.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2013


Oh, hey, are you dating my ex? Yikes. I put up with that mess for too long. Don't you do the same.

You are not being unreasonable. His family comes first. His comfort zone comes second. His electronic toys come third. You come last.

Please, please, please accept that this is not good. At some level your boyfriend WANTS to live like this. He doesn't want to change. You won't ever move up the list in importance until he wants to change.

I am so sorry - being car-less and in university and in a relationship stinks, all around. But if your significant other doesn't try to make it less sucky . . .
posted by chainsofreedom at 1:45 PM on November 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sure, he can be stubborn and is not too flexible, as this situation highlights, but I'm far from perfect too

EVERYONE is far from perfect. Don't let your immediate inclination to turn the finger of blame on yourself negate or gloss over an important observation about the qualities (both good and bad) that he is bringing to your relationship. Does being smart, creative, and interesting trump being stubborn and inflexible in the long run? Maybe, maybe not. But the objective fact of the matter is that his stubbornness and inflexibility are currently creating significant roadblocks to your ability to spend time together right now, AND he has indicated very clearly that he doesn't actually care that you are unhappy about it and is uninterested in finding a solution. All of this is part of the same package, and will continue to be part of the same package.
posted by scody at 1:47 PM on November 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


He's not overprotective and generous, he's controlling and selfish. If he's truly worried about you doing so much traveling, then he'd (1) get in the damn car and come see you for a weekend or (2) get a job, buy his own car and come see you for a weekend.

You sound young. And in university. Where there are a lot of other young handsome men who are actually caring and generous. It can be hard to end young love, but if his attitude is truly his-way-or-the-highway, it's time to cut things off. Plus, you are in an IDEAL place to learn more about who you are, what you want and what you deserve.
posted by mibo at 1:51 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


He doesn't want to spend money to be with you. He doesn't let you spend money to be with him. When you're the only one in a relationship who is looking for ways for you to spend time together, you really need to question the relationship. Find someone closer or who is more flexible.

You're not a priority for him at all. I'm really sorry.

And as someone who has a phobia about getting my license, too...good luck!
posted by inturnaround at 1:56 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


So i have to wonder reading this, what does this guy actually want from this relationship?

Because it sounds like, and i'm aware i'm being completely uncharitable here, that he pretty much wants a sometimes girlfriend.

With the sometimes being whenever he's in the mood. If he has to stray even an inch from his path he's lost interest because that's not the point.. This dude is hoping to have the platter of food brought to his table, and have someone else actually place it in his mouth. Whenever he rings the bell.

And yet, there's also a really shitty tiresome element of "pride" and machismo here with the "NO, don't pay for anything, that makes me feel and look bad because i'm the man and i'm supposed to be paying for shit!". I don't read this as embarassment or feeling bad about not having money or a job at all, especially with how unwilling he is to actually work for anything. It's entirely posturing.

I would maybe be willing to associate some of his unwillingness to do things with depression if it read like unwillingness to dig and pull yourself out of a hole. But honestly, this just reads like a little kid refusing to eat anything until someone brings him pizza.

And i haven't even gotten to the weird possessive shit with "don't go home alone or drive!". Taken with refusing to let you pay for a trip again or anything else it's hard not to read it as some kind of "i want my girlfriend to be like this". Not really concern or caring, but more bizarre gender roles stuff.

As i said in my lead-in, i think this guy is perfectly happy with this the way it is. I bet if he suddenly got an apartment 10 minutes from your place you could walk to whenever you wanted that he'd quit answering his phone quite a bit of the time or something. He wants the benefits he picked and chose of a relationship(IE sex, snuggling, some slight element of companionship and someone to lean on/complain to, social credibility with his family/friends) without actually having to deal with you on a regular basis. If he actually gave a fuck this would look nothing like this.

And i'm saying this as someone who, at a similar end of highschool/beginning of college age was in a relationship very much like this. The time on public transit was similar. I would take the bus out to her house any time her parents allowed just to hang out with her. Even if all we got to do was watch a couple episodes of anime and eat some pizza or have dinner with her family and hang out for another 30 minutes and then two hour bus ride home. Whenever she could visit my town we'd hang out and i'd give her time to go hang out with her other friends in my area.

I also didn't have any problem with splitting costs or her paying for stuff. And as i said above, i especially associate the "i don't want my girlfriend paying for stuff" thing with gross machismo gender roles bullshit.

If he wanted to see you and actually gave a shit about you he'd be the one dismissing the problems with renting a car even if they could potentially be serious issues because he'd be pushing them in to the back of his mind as "but it doesn't matter, i get to hang out with her!".

This is not what a guy who gives a fuck looks like.

And if he does give a fuck and he's that much of a plan burying negative nancy then well... that's almost worst honestly. And once you meet a few other people who do that same "But tons of negative shit! we can't do ANYTHING because it all has tons of negative reasons why not" stuff to every single thing you bring up, you'll realize how fucking toxic they are and start wanting to murder them.

Seriously though, i've dated shitty people. It might take some time and distance, but eventually you'll look back on this guy and go "God, what a pathetic pile of whiny manure".
posted by emptythought at 2:03 PM on November 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


The reason you are getting a ton of "dump him" advice is because your boyfriend isn't meeting you halfway - literally. He wants to impose your coupled presence on both your families a couple times a month; he won't let you help pay for things that would have a positive impact on your relationship; he won't get a job; he won't drive to you.

There's a lot he's not willing to do, which makes me feel bad. He might be a great boyfriend over the phone/internet but you're missing out... and you know it. That's why you feel bad, too.
posted by sm1tten at 2:20 PM on November 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just have to agree with DUMP HIM! He doesn't trust you to get yourself home at 6pm? Do you feel like that much of a child? Do you LIKE being seen that way? Uh-uh. This guy isn't a good boyfriend.
posted by SarahBellum at 2:32 PM on November 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


Something else I meant to say in my previous comment - the money thing. I agree with emptythought that machismo and pride probably have a lot to do with it, but consider that he doesn't want you to pay for stuff so that he won't feel indebted to you. My personal experience was that my ex didn't want me to plan and pay for vacations because it "wasn't fair to me", but it ended up that he meant, "I don't feel strongly enough about you to make sacrifices, and it makes me feel guilty when you do, so don't do that." This even extended to him TURNING ME DOWN when I started seriously planning to move to his town ("I don't want you to move here for me, you'll be miserable"). Beware.
posted by chainsofreedom at 2:56 PM on November 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


You know, I am sure he is all the things you say he is, and no doubt you are not perfect as none of us are. But that's not the point, to me. The point is, he doesn't make you happy, and frankly he doesn't sound all that interested in making you happy, either.

He could be the most desirable guy in the world but if the relationship is making you miserable -- and I for one would also be miserable if the only way to get together with someone I was seeing was in a way that made me uncomfortable, because they were't willing to find a solution that worked for both of us -- then you. should. end. it. Move on to someone who lights you up.(Whoever that is is likely to be a lot more flexible.)
posted by bearwife at 3:02 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


He seems to reject every potential compromise that you come up with. This just doesn't sound reasonable. I'm going to suggest finding someone who's willing to give a little more.
posted by cnc at 3:27 PM on November 7, 2013


OP, is this the same boyfriend from your previous questions? if so, i think it's maybe time to cut your losses.

even if it isn't, it sounds like your boyfriend has a lot of issues, including control: being banned from doing anything is kind of a big red flag here. it's your money, and you should do as you like with it, whether it's spent on you or those you love.

it also kind of sounds like he's actively avoiding being a part of your relationship. you come up with the ideas of how to get places. you come up with places to go. i realize that this is a one-sided question, but if he's not participating and you're doing most of the thinking, constantly being shot down, well… maybe you'd be happier with someone whom you were more evenly matched with, enthusiasm-wise.

take your cues from him. and then take your leave of him.
posted by koroshiya at 5:02 PM on November 7, 2013


Um, he wouldn't allow you to drive to his house at night if you got your license? That's ridiculous. It's also ridiculous that he won't let you pay for any meals. And "banned" you from buying him a little vacation? WTF? I'd dump him just for his controlling weirdness and say goodbye to the whole issue of trying to visit at the same time.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:02 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


if you get sick of it, break up with me

Sounds like he's already presented you with the solution to this dilemma.
posted by yohko at 5:28 PM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Um, he wouldn't allow you to drive to his house at night if you got your license? That's ridiculous. It's also ridiculous that he won't let you pay for any meals. And "banned" you from buying him a little vacation? WTF? I'd dump him just for his controlling weirdness

Repeated for truth. He doesn't get to allow you to do or ban you from doing anything. End of story. He may have some positives and you some negatives but it is this which causes most of us to tell you to dump him. There is no need for you to have to deal with this kind of thing.
posted by koahiatamadl at 9:09 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think you know it's time to find a new boyfriend, but it's scary. The familiar is always familiar, even if it's unhealthy, it's at least predictable. This guy doesn't care enough about you to bother making any effort to be with you and I have a question for you: If he doesn't work and doesn't have a car or go anyplace to speak of and still lives at home with his parents, what does he do with his time? Video games?

You CAN find another love, someone who will treasure you and break his neck to get to your side every chance he gets. Don't waste any more time with this character - go find someone who will be good to you.
posted by aryma at 9:58 PM on November 7, 2013


Response by poster: Again, thank you all for your input. This truly is an amazing community! I see where you all come from, but, as I say, this is just part of the relationship...And I don't want to give up on it just yet. If you all are right and this proves to be a pattern, I'll of course reconsider my take on it.

UPDATE: we've discussed the issue again last night. I started off saying I'm not really happy with how things are right now and got to the core of the car issue- he was really saddened and discouraged because he states he's been trying to make me happy, to make some efforts for me but he clearly failed and nothing worked and I shouldn't feel this way after nearly eight months together etc. I told him it's not like I don't appreciate his other efforts, but that I need different ones, something that only I am able to know because I don't expect him to be a mindreader, just to listen to me. He did, but still stands on the fact that he's not able to drive here and that it's not because he doesn't want to either- he also added that to him it's just spending time with me that's important, not the logistics, that he's willing to go ahead and sleep on the floor in an empty house near mine that my family owns if I find that less awkward than him sleeping at my place and that my happiness in a relationship with him should not be based on whether or not he has a car available. I replied it's a wish of mine that may look silly to him, but I don't wish for it to be belittled and that even more than the issue itself it's important to me that he shows his willingness to compromise for my happiness. He stated that if that is what I want, he'll do it, just asked me to come up with something that will make me happy that he's actually able to do and he will.

THIS IS WHERE I ASK YOU: where should I go from here, based on this last conversation and keeping in mind I want to see where this is headed? What should I ask for to see if he's serious about it and it's not a pattern? Thank you all.
posted by opalshards at 4:55 AM on November 8, 2013


come up with something that will make me happy that he's actually able to do and he will

He's shot down everything else you've suggested so far. Why would this be different? He doesn't want you driving after dark. He won't drive to you. He won't let you pay for a little weekend away. He won't split the cost of a car rental. It seems to me (still) that there really isn't a whole lot he's actually "able" (that is, willing) to do. The pattern's already there.
posted by rtha at 5:40 AM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


After your update, it sounds like his heart is in the right place, but there are still some big red flags:

he states he's been trying to make me happy

You've told him several times what will make you happy, but he's not doing it.

I shouldn't feel this way after nearly eight months together

This is the most alarming. I don't really care if you've been together for 60 years, never let anyone tell you how you should or should not feel. You feel this way; it's a fact and it's valid. With the wisdom I've learned the heard way, I'd walk away now if I heard this out of someone's mouth.

that my happiness in a relationship with him should not be based on whether or not he has a car available

Once again, you are the ONLY person who decides what makes you happy and how you feel. It's apparent to me, a stranger on the internet, that your happiness is not based on whether he has a car -- rather, your happiness is linked to whether he's willing to make an effort to spend time with you in a comfortable environment, whether it's by car, train or hot air balloon.

I replied it's a wish of mine that may look silly to him, but I don't wish for it to be belittled and that even more than the issue itself it's important to me that he shows his willingness to compromise for my happiness


This is your mantra. It may take some painful time to hold yourself to it, but you have a very strong framework of being true to yourself. Please, please hang on to this and don't let anyone wear it away, ever.

He stated that if that is what I want, he'll do it, just asked me to come up with something that will make me happy that he's actually able to do and he will.

You have already stated things he is actually able to do. He is actually able to take a train, split the cost of a rental car, sleep on a bare floor, let you get yourself home after 6 p.m., and so on and so on. You seem so young and he seems bent on putting all the pressure to make this relationship on you -- it's a disastrous pattern to fall in to. To nix all of your suggestions and then say he's trying and failing is really disingenuous.

From here, I'm sorry to say, it looks like you should maximize your demonstrated ability to insist on your needs from this relationship. If he can't meet them, it's time to move on and find someone who will. (By the way, it sounds like you both cast eight months together as a long time . . . . oh my, what a drop in the bucket that is. You have so much time to meet interesting people who can add so much to your life . . . based on my experience, please let this guy go while you have the advantage of your 20s ahead of you and BEFORE you fall into the traps this relationship is snaring for you.)
posted by mibo at 6:30 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry, I know you posted this update with the thought that it would make the situation seem "better", but all I am seeing is confirmation of my previous assessments.

he was really saddened and discouraged because he states he's been trying to make me happy, to make some efforts for me but he clearly failed and nothing worked

Even if he is not aware of it, this is manipulation. The result is that you feel bad for upsetting him. This makes you more likely to accept the status quo because he gets upset when you don't.

I shouldn't feel this way after nearly eight months together

Oh Lordy, is that a refrain I once knew well! He wants to get you to agree and pull the trigger and break up with him so that he doesn't have to do it. I cannot COUNT the number of conversations with my ex that ended in this way: "This isn't working, we shouldn't be this unhappy, we shouldn't feel this way". Followed by waiting for me to take the next logical step.

He did, but still stands on the fact that he's not able to drive here and that it's not because he doesn't want to either

I hate to pull out this cliche, but if he wanted to, he would. If he wanted to make you happy, he would at least try to do what you asked. If he wanted to spend time with you, he would either get in the car or shell out the money to rent a car, or let you do the paying with minimal complaining. This is NOT me saying "Any and all boyfriends have a manner in which they SHOULD behave", it is me saying that people do what they want. He is doing what he wants. Which is not coming to see you.

He stated that if that is what I want, he'll do it, just asked me to come up with something that will make me happy that he's actually able to do and he will.

You did come up with something. Why all the complaining beforehand? You'd told him many times before this conversation what would make you happy. You told him at the BEGINNING of this conversation what would make you happy. He still went through that entire song and dance even though his position was "whatever makes you happy, I want to do it". Why?

Unfortunately, it is because this is the dynamic he wants. He wants you to be SO GRATEFUL that he is coming to see you that you bend to his every whim. I used to sit around and be SICK over traffic delays, weather, train schedules, because I knew that if anything went wrong on my ex's trip up to visit me, he would NEVER NEVER NEVER come again. I knew this because even getting him to come visit me, even once, was an entire process almost EXACTLY the same as the conversation you had with your boyfriend.

Again, I am so sorry. MeMail me if you want someone to talk to one-on-one about this. Even if your boyfriend isn't aware that he is doing this, it is a poisonous dynamic that is hard to recognize when you are in it.
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:33 AM on November 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


So I'll nth that your relationship dynamic in general should be examined more carefully because he sounds a little chauvinist and whiny, and possibly even controlling.

But with respect to the car/traveling issue ONLY, your update seems to point to a possible solution: He comes over and sleeps in the empty nearby house. Assuming your family is okay with this, you guys can pack a sleeping bag and a mat, and it really doesn't seem so bad. He seems to agree that he would like to spend time with you in the evenings, and is willing to do it this way. You get what you wanted -- more time together without awkward family sleepovers -- and he doesn't need to worry about the hassle of the car.

HOWEVER, the tone of your original posts and updates point to you being disappointed and upset with the way he treats you in general. And, the way he wants to handle money would be a big dealbreaker for the culture most mefites come from. I know that's what gave me the automatic "dump him!" response, but I'm just a stranger on the internet, I don't know you.

What should I ask for to see if he's serious about it and it's not a pattern?

I'm sorry, but there's no magic test that will tell you if you have a good boyfriend. This is something you've got to think about. You probably already know the answer.

(Off-topic aside: The practical aspects of learning to drive will take way less than a year, and would probably be a good life skill to have regardless of who you're dating.)
posted by tinymegalo at 12:20 PM on November 8, 2013


I wrote a whole long answer, but deleted it, because I think chainsofreedom really hit the nail on the head here.

This guy is a manipulator. You express that you're upset about an issue in the relationship, he tries to make you feel bad with the "woe is me, I tried to make you happy but nothing works..." bullshit. You offer solutions, he shoots them down, and then tells you to come up with more. That's his idea of compromise?

I shouldn't feel this way after nearly eight months together etc.

This is a huge red flag. You are entitled to your feelings, and no one you are in a relationship with should ever tell you that your feelings are invalid.
posted by inertia at 12:58 PM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Your boyfriend isn't allowed to "ban" you from anything. Dump his ass. You can do better.
posted by ravioli at 3:46 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


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