Not marriage material
May 12, 2015 6:20 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend made a joke about men not wanting to marry me. I can't stop thinking about it and feeling terrible as a result.

I recently completed a significant milestone. It's something I've worked my whole life on. In fact, I told my boyfriend last night while we were falling asleep that I wrote in my diary as a really young girl that I wouldn't get married until I completed this goal. I was laughing when I told the story. It wasn't heavy or hinty - I thought it was cute and kind of neat. He responded pretty quickly and said, "Well, it's not like anyone is clammoring to put a ring on it." I laughed and then I kind of realized what he said. It felt like a punch in the stomach. I didn't react much beyond that but he did apologize and say that was unnecessarily cruel of him to say. I said that it was true and not cruel, just a fact. We chatted for a few minutes and he fell asleep.

I'm in my 30s and we have been together for two years. The truth is that I'd love to be married but I have a chronic disease that will make me a burden on a spouse. So I understand intellectually that I am not marriage material. It just hurt having it put in my face like that by a guy I love. And my story frames it as a choice when really it's not - I proposed to a guy a long time ago that I was with for a long time and he said he didn't believe in marriage. Now he is marrying the girl he dated after me at the end of this month.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about what my boyfriend said to me. I waited until he fell asleep and cried myself to sleep. I cried all morning until I went to work. I feel really bad and I'm not sure what to do (or not do) with these bad feelings. Does this mean I should just break up with him? Stop telling him stuff that's so personal? Tell him how hurt I am? Should I just get over it - he was just joking - and move on and forget about it? I feel sad and diminished over something I don't have - at a time when I should be celebrating a huge achievement. Help me sort this out, metafilter.
posted by sockermom to Human Relations (111 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I have no context regarding his usual behavior, but that is a magnificently dickish thing to say, and a giant red flag.

You deserve better. And a chronic disease does not, I repeat, does not render you unmarryable. My spouse and I have mental and emotional problems out the wazoo. We take care of each other. I know people with major physical disabilities and also happy marriages.

Also, congratulations on whatever the achievement was! The tiny potato knew you could do it.
posted by missrachael at 6:25 AM on May 12, 2015 [145 favorites]

What an asshole comment. There is no chronic disease that renders you not marriage material. It may be harder for you to find the right person, but there is someone out there. This dickweed isn't him. Stop wasting your time with someone who is not only cruel, but does not see a future with you.
posted by amro at 6:28 AM on May 12, 2015 [36 favorites]

Yes on telling him how hurt you are. Absolutely tell him.

I have a chronic disease. It didn't stop my spouse from proposing.
posted by Neekee at 6:29 AM on May 12, 2015 [25 favorites]

Someone who would be that cruel to you does not deserve to be in your bed.

Congratulations on your achievement!
posted by kimberussell at 6:29 AM on May 12, 2015 [26 favorites]

I'm so sorry he said that to you. What an awful thing to say. The most charitable interpretation is if you have kind of one of those 'harsh jokey' relationships where kidding tends to bite. If that's the case, personally, I think the world bites hard enough, but some people are comfortable with that. He also could be responding to this attitude:

The truth is that I'd love to be married but I have a chronic disease that will make me a burden on a spouse. So I understand intellectually that I am not marriage material.

That's awful. I don't know what chronic disease it is, obviously, but lots of people have deep relationships and get married with chronic diseases and that you think this is a closed door is presenting yourself with an unnecessarily limited view of your own future. As far as being a burden, we're all burdens at different times and in different ways--this one thing doesn't mean a fundamentally unequal relationship. It might be unequal in one way but equal in many other ways, and in other ways, you may wind up bearing some burden on their behalf. That's the 'for better or for worse' part.

If he is otherwise a kind and generous person and if he did indeed feel very badly I think talk to him about it and consider seeing a therapist to broaden your view a bit of what your future might hold -- it's unknown to all of us, our futures.

If he is kind of generally a bit of a dick and you might be settling out of a sense of having limited options, eating a dinner of your choice while reading a favorite book and listening to music of your own choice is infinitely preferable to staying with a guy who says things that make you cry yourself to sleep.

I hope you feel better soon. It was an incredibly hurtful thing to say and it is understandable that you're upset.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:31 AM on May 12, 2015 [17 favorites]

Before you dump his ass or stop letting him into your heart, maybe talk a bit more, starting with, "You know, yeah, maybe I shouldn't have been so quick to say that was just a fact - you apologized and I know you didn't mean to hurt me, but that really hit me where I live. Just because it's true doesn't mean it doesn't hurt." And then maybe delve a little bit into why you let him off the hook and why it hurt and what you actually want. Why does your chronic disease make you too burdensome for a spouse when you are evidently acceptable longterm girlfriend material?
posted by gingerest at 6:31 AM on May 12, 2015 [74 favorites]

This guy just told you that he's not good enough for you. You can do better. You can be with someone who is madly in love with you. If you have been in a lot of shitty relationships in your life, you might tend to accept whatever shitty scraps of affection people toss at you. That's not all there is out there. I promise.

Stop telling him stuff that's so personal?

That thought is so heartbreaking. I don't think a person's impulse should ever be to stop sharing personal stuff with their partner if they are in a healthy relationship.

I feel sad and diminished over something I don't have - at a time when I should be celebrating a huge achievement.

I hope you are able to celebrate your huge achievement regardless of what he said. You have so much value. You should be treasured. You deserve a partner that is head over heels in love and devoted to you.
posted by kate blank at 6:33 AM on May 12, 2015 [36 favorites]

He made a Freudian slip and revealed his true feelings about you when he said that. That's why you still feel so terrible in the wake of it -- it wasn't a joke. You deserve way better and unless he's willing to grovel for the next few months to make it up to you, he's not worth your time anymore. No one who truly loves you would ever say something that cruel or that glib after you tell them something personal in the midst of celebrating a big milestone.
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:33 AM on May 12, 2015 [106 favorites]

Have you told him how much what he said hurt you? His reaction to knowing that is what determines if it was an asshole comment or just a stupid unthoughtful comments? If he's normally a nice caring guy a one off comment, said without thought and with actual caring that he hurt you when he finds out might fly. He may have been fending off what he thought was an attempt to get a marriage proposal unthinkingly, or he may be an asshole. If this is part of a series of stupid asshole comments he's an asshole & doesn't care he hurt you or tries to make excuses then you may want to red flag the comment.

Either way you have a right to be hurt by it, and I think you should talk to him about how the comment hurt.

Also congratulations on your achievement, go celebrate anyway.
posted by wwax at 6:35 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

Definitely let him know how hurt you are. How he responds will tell you everything about him. We have all said wrong and hurtful things before, but not everyone cares enough to make it right after.

And congratulations on your accomplishment!
posted by Dip Flash at 6:36 AM on May 12, 2015 [7 favorites]

If you live together, couples therapy for a few sessions to unpack this.

If you do not live together, you can take some time apart to calm down and gain some perspective.

I feel CERTAIN you can do better than someone who might say that phrase to you while sharing a bed with you. What is he doing with you if he doesn't think of you as marriage material?

Anyway. You are marriage material and commitment worthy! I'm so sorry you had to find out that your boyfriend isn't commitment worthy in this way.

Many hugs and congratulations on your achievement! I could spin a true and comforting story about how that now you have fulfilled this promise to yourself, the universe is giving you the opportunity to find the right partner and get married.

In fact, that's just what's happened, if you really think about it. It's a huge blessing. Embrace it. Make way for a better relationship. Start with putting yourself first. Start with taking some time apart.
posted by jbenben at 6:38 AM on May 12, 2015 [14 favorites]

Stop talking to him about serious stuff when he is trying to fall asleep!

Look, I feel your pain. I repeatedly take myself off the market as well because there are certain things in my life that make me feel like I am not marriage material. It's a cop out. I'm in therapy for it. Get therapy. And once you start feeling better about yourself through therapy, trade the boyfriend in for a more marriage-friendly model. Because, your reaction to his sleepy, thoughtless comment shows that you really do want to be somebody's wife. Trying and failing is better than never trying at all.
posted by myselfasme at 6:38 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

. I said that it was true and not cruel, just a fact.

Whether you are marry-able or not is most certainly not any kind of objective fact that can be true or not.

You are well smart enough to know that. You are well acquainted with what facts are and aren't. This is not one, and you know it. The only question is, why would you think it was? Sounds like imposter syndrome to me - you don't trust yourself as an authority here, in your own life, on your own value.

Congrats, by the way!
posted by Dashy at 6:42 AM on May 12, 2015 [13 favorites]

Do you want to be married to him? That may be the question to think about here. That may be what was so exceptionally hurtful here. He said in so many words that he does not want to be married to you. It may have been a joke, but it may have revealed different outlooks on this relationship. It is absolutely worth it to let him know that it hurt to hear that, and ask whether he thinks this relationship is not ever going to move on to marriage.

I agree with the others that a chronic illness is just one facet of you and your life and marriage isn't about avoiding burdens. It's ideally about people shouldering the burdens they each bring to the relationship together. You absolutely deserve that, and if you want to be married, you are marriage material. Congratulations on your achievement!
posted by goggie at 6:42 AM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]

It's obviously a hurtful thing to say, and you should explain to him why it was so hurtful, but I think you should also ask him what exactly he meant by that. I think the generous interpretation would be to assume that he meant "No one is putting a ring on your finger because we are in a committed loving relationship, and though I'm not ready to propose just yet, if anyone is going to, it's going to be me." Give him a chance to appreciate how painful that comment was and why, and give him a chance to explain.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:44 AM on May 12, 2015 [14 favorites]

Congratulations on your milestone, and on the achievement that is not smothering him with a pillow on the spot.

That seems like a comment coming from something in him that is...troubled, or conflicted, or working something out. I don't know what it is. I wonder if uncovering it would help him not be a dick in the future. That's his job, though.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:45 AM on May 12, 2015 [9 favorites]

And: when people tell you who they are ... believe them.
posted by Dashy at 6:48 AM on May 12, 2015 [38 favorites]

I feel like if you can't have a serious conversation with him about how hurt you were, that's the red flag. Someone could care about you very much, want to stay with you, etc, but be hinky about marriage for personal reasons (that's been me in a very good long-term relationship) and just have had a [stupid, cruel, inexcusable] "marriage OMG" response, and if so, that person would fall all over themselves trying to make you feel better. If you think a conversation would be unsatisfactory, or if you have one and he gets all defensive and jerky, then you really are in DTMFA territory.

As to not being marriage material - I'm not sure what chronic disease would make you not marriage material but would make you serious relationship material. Conceivably something where you wouldn't want a spouse to get roped into really brutal care in the end stages so you wanted them to be able to walk easily, or you wanted to protect them financially from the Medicare spend-down? (I think about this; something unpleasant runs in my family although I might not get it.) Maybe you are a bad bet financially because you are likely to be unable to work for long periods? That is a consideration, I admit, but it doesn't ipso facto make you unmarriageable; it just means that you need to have a serious financial plan.
posted by Frowner at 6:49 AM on May 12, 2015 [23 favorites]

I didn't react much beyond that but he did apologize and say that was unnecessarily cruel of him to say. I said that it was true and not cruel, just a fact.

It's not a fact, it's an opinion. And even if it were objectively true, whether something is factual has nothing to do with whether it's cruel. Are you familiar with the saying, "Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?" Many things that are true are neither necessary or kind. (And I should reiterate for emphasis: in this instance, it's not even true.)

Tell him, again, how much it hurt you. He won't know, otherwise. Best case scenario: he takes it to heart, resolves never to say anything hurtful again, and is wonderful to you from now on. Worst case scenario: it's just the first of many awful things he says to you, in which case you know what to do.

Congratulations on reaching your milestone, by the way. You deserve to be proud, and you deserve to feel good about yourself, and you deserve to be supported by people who love you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:49 AM on May 12, 2015 [9 favorites]

Another vote for this being deeply cruel and a red flag.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:50 AM on May 12, 2015 [11 favorites]

Also, don't be the cool girl here - I wasted a lot of my youth being all "oh, yes, you can say mean worm's-eye-view things about me because after all they are true" and looking back it just ate away at me and reinforced my own bad feelings. Other people shouldn't be able to make the worse possible interpretation of your life right to your face just because it is "true" for some values of true.

Kathleen Hanna said in an interview a few years back that she kind of regretted all the stuff she did in riot grrrl where she, like, wrote "SLUT" on her stomach while performing. She said something like "I felt like I would win if I just said the mean thing first before other people could say it, but it was like thinking I could win by punching myself in the face before someone else could do it".
posted by Frowner at 6:53 AM on May 12, 2015 [109 favorites]

you are absolutely desirable and marriageable, sockermom.

A husband is with you through thick and thin. In sickness and in health. He knows that, when he "puts a ring on it."

This guy your with? This guy is not husband material.
posted by royalsong at 6:53 AM on May 12, 2015 [10 favorites]

Yes, definitely tell him how hurt you were by what he said, and give him a chance to explain or apologize. And please take note of how he responds to finding out that his comment hurt you - is he horrified to learn that he hurt you, and sincerely apologetic? Or does he get defensive or mad at you for being hurt?

I've gotten the sense from your other posts that this is generally a good relationship. I hope that he was just being thoughtless and didn't mean for it to be such a hurtful statement (though I am not surprised you were upset; I would have been upset too). I know you've been in an abusive relationship in the past. Please make sure you are not seeing abusive patterns emerge here, but give him a chance to apologize. Hugs to you. I'm sorry you went through feeling so hurt!
posted by aka burlap at 7:03 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

This was cruel & hurtful, ruining what should have been a joyous moment for *both* of you, but especially you. Is this achievement something that would make him jealous? Because, as I read this, my first thought was that he was trying to rain on your parade. Understandably, you shrugged it off as a defense mechanism. As everyone else has said above, it's not a fact at all & is an incredibly shitty thing to say. You deserve better treatment, &, as an isolated incident, makes me wonder if he preys upon your insecurities. Now, maybe he is normally amazing & he just made a bad joke, but I would absolutely talk to him about it. If you want to stay with him, then couple's counseling is a good idea because this is a huge deal. If you don't want to stay with him, breakup with him because you do have options, even if it doesn't feel like it. You have a long life ahead of you that should be full of love, support, & laughter. If he can't give you that, then surround yourself with people who can. Congratulations on your achievement & good luck!
posted by katemcd at 7:03 AM on May 12, 2015 [5 favorites]

Stop wasting your time with this dickhead. To be this cruel to you means he does not even respect you. That's worse that anything in a relationship.

And everybody is marriage material.
posted by Kwadeng at 7:04 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

You are a lovely, kind, accomplished person and anyone would be lucky to have you as a partner.

You need to tell him how what he said made you feel and see what he says. I think it's possible that with all the changes occurring in your life, he doesn't realize you want to be married right now and genuinely meant no harm, but at this point he needs to be forced to have a conversation. Here is your opportunity to make him talk about the future of your relationship in a real way. He needs to take a stand about what you mean to him and how he sees the future. I don't think you necessarily need to DTMFA, but you do need to make clear what you want and give him a chance to tell you what he wants in return. If your wants don't match, well, then at least you'll know.

I hope you know that what came out of his mouth says way more about him than about you. Hugs.
posted by something something at 7:04 AM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

People are being way too judgmental here. They have no significant information about your relationship, and should not be trusted to give you advice about who is and who is not a good partner for you. Your boyfriend didn't necessarily reveal anything fundamental about how he feels about you in this one, single, and (as described) isolated comment.

Your boyfriend said a very mean and hurtful thing. At this point, you haven't fully addressed that with him. You also, it seems independently, have opinions about yourself and your marriageability that seem to make you feel particularly sensitive to his mean and hurtful comment. Your boyfriend is not responsible for those opinions you have about yourself (unless he is, but that is information you did not provide to us.) If your boyfriend doesn't know that you are worried you will never get married, you should certainly tell him when you discuss his comment.

Overall, this situation makes me sad because I think you are doing yourself an injustice regarding your "marriageability."
posted by OmieWise at 7:05 AM on May 12, 2015 [11 favorites]

Separate to this statement that might just be a slip of the tongue, has he celebrated your achievement? Is this a one-time event where he hasn't celebrated your achievement, or does he often undercut or downplay your achievements? Because you might be overreacting to this statement because it's part of a longer pattern and in this case sticking out at you because it's objectively such a big achievement that you can't find a way to rationalise his dismissal/criticism of your achievements. (And assuming that you are supportive and celebratory of his achievements too.)

It might be a totally different thing going on, but that's a dynamic that I had happening repeatedly in my relationship, complete with a chronic illness, and I thought a very supportive partner until I started verifying the "cute" conversations and supportive actions we were having about my projects with friends and later a therapist and realised they weren't.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:08 AM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]

I read this and felt very sad for you. Then I realized who wrote it and I am even sadder. That someone who is so consistently kind and thoughtful on the green could consider themselves ineligible for a life partnership is really tragic.

What you say to your boyfriend now is less important than what you keep saying to yourself. You are marriage material if you want to be. Stop selling yourself short.
posted by chaiminda at 7:18 AM on May 12, 2015 [104 favorites]

Your boyfriend didn't necessarily reveal anything fundamental about how he feels about you in this one, single, and (as described) isolated comment.

Well, maybe, but he revealed that he's the sort to blurt out thoughtless, insensitive and hurtful things -- something he agreed was unnecessarily cruel -- to the person he's supposed to love. I'm far from perfect, but I can't recall saying something so mean.

I don't believe it means sockermom should necessarily go the DTMFA route right now -- I could see maybe giving him the benefit of the doubt for having blurted out something that came out incredibly wrong and he feels terrible about it, and goes out of his way to apologize and make amends. But sockermom, you're utterly within your rights to tell him how hurt you were, and that you deserve better, and to see if he does take those necessary steps to soothe your hurt. And do go forward with the attitude that he'd darn well be lucky to marry you, and if he doesn't share that attitude, then you should find someone who will.

Congratulations on your achievement, too!
posted by Gelatin at 7:21 AM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]

Sometimes good people say lousy things, and sometimes they are just mean. I think where it goes from here is what will tell you that.

My thoughts are that it might be helpful if you went back to him and said look, I have been thinking about that discussion we had. I made a mistake agreeing with you; it's not actually true that I am not marriage material and that is also something I think I might want in my life. Also, I know you apologized but the cruelty in your comment is really still cutting me. Can we talk about this?

And if you don't get a kind, compassionate response from someone who wants to be with you...then yeah, I would dump him. A partner is someone who wants to be with you and thinks people who don't are crazy.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:25 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

I know you have been in a physically abusive relationship in the past. Some people who have been in such relationships later have difficulty calibrating what is not okay behavior in their subsequent non-physically-abusive relationships. I'm not sure if that's what's going on with you, but in case it is: this comment is not okay.

I am worried about how readily you declare that you are unmarriageable. Not so much because of the marriage part, but because of how it fits the script of internalizing hurtful words:

Partner: says shitty thing about person
Person: that hurt, but it is true so I can't call them out!

The truth or non-truth of the shitty thing is irrelevant. The only important part is that when a partner says something that hurt you, you tell them that it hurt you.

How they respond will show you how to proceed. If they respond defensively, that is a bad sign. (A good response would be to own the fact that they hurt you and to apologize for that hurt.)
posted by ocherdraco at 7:33 AM on May 12, 2015 [28 favorites]

Just tell him how hurtful it was and see how he reacts.

(The reason I'm advising you to communicate about it is, I have some experience with a kind man who occasionally slips up because he's trying to be funny. My own husband made a stupid comment once about an aspect of my appearance... he used to have the very bad habit of saying stuff he thought was funny without thinking it through... and this incident was one of the last times it ever happened. I actually screamed. Worked like a charm.)

What your guy said was either terribly thoughtless or terribly cruel. Find out which. If it's the first one, make sure he doesn't do it again. If it's the second one, DTMFA.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:45 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

He knows it was cruel. Come on, guys, enough with the stretching. In what universe is saying this not cruel? He even admitted it was cruel a moment later. There's no charitable explanation here and no jumping to conclusions. To him, the idea of you getting married is a funny joke. It is what he said.

I think you reacted in such a way as to minimize the pain and laugh it off, which may not have been optimal but is a common shocked and defensive reaction in the moment, but I question the wisdom of going to him and having a Big Talk and couples therapy about how hurt you are. That only works if really doesn't knows you aren't hurt- he knows- and if he cares- questionable if he said this in the first place.

I would be tempted to talk, but not from a somewhat weak (IMO) place of "can we talk about how hurt I am" but from a vey blunt place of, "What the hell?!" And poke back at his sore spots. And buy him an Emily Post book and leave it on his pillow, he'll get the message. Talking back to him on his level will make him understand better than staying on your more gentle, sensitive level IME.

However, this really just sucks and I'm so sorry for you. The idea of you trying to laugh it off and then crying- that's just straight up awful and no one should have to deal with that at home.
posted by quincunx at 7:45 AM on May 12, 2015 [16 favorites]

Terrible thing to say, also absolutely not true. I've been dating a 30 year old with a chronic disease for two years, and if either of us wanted marriage at this point it'd definitely be on the table. I don't know how best to respond with your existing bf but you're entertaining beliefs that are far too hard on yourself, selling yourself short.

Also congratulations on the thing!
posted by ead at 7:56 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Congrats on your milestone, I'm sorry your guy was not just not awesome about this but also sort of a cad. Because I think it may help to normal-center this a little. In a mutually supportive relationship a partner would be all "GO YOU THAT IS GREAT" so it's not just that he said something shitty but that he was also just not awesome about it. Sucks and I am sorry.

People who have been in bad relationships or who grew up with parents who modeled bad relationships can often have a hard time seeing what the range of normal can look like. And this can be especially true if you have things that are particular to you that may make you "adjust" for normal, like whatever your health issue is.

You also, it seems independently, have opinions about yourself and your marriageability that seem to make you feel particularly sensitive to his mean and hurtful comment.

This is absolutely true. I think there are two things to unpack. People have given you great advice on bringing this up with your guy at another time and trying to work out your own feelings about the situation (Do you want to marry this guy? Could you start that conversation?). And also I think there's some work on the "Everyone deserves love and commitment" perspective that would probably make you more able to ask for what you want within the boundaries of your relationship.

I have, in the past, been a person who wanted to keep my SO up at night when he was tired and cranky talking about complex things. It's not a recipe for success. It's possible this was a one-time slip up on his part. But a conversation that you approach as (nominally) equals at a better time should go a lot better. And you can be more clear about how hurt you were and about what you'd like going forward with this.

You being a "burden" on a spouse is negative self-talk as is the "just a fact" stuff. You deserve better. You may be able to get that out of your current relationship, or you may not, but getting a better grip on how these things should go will help you advocate better for your own interests here. Good luck.
posted by jessamyn at 7:57 AM on May 12, 2015 [17 favorites]

You sound like a wonderful, thoughtful, and kind human being who is not only marriage material, but a real catch. I've loved your writing here on the green. And congratulations - you did the thing! You did it! By your own standards, you can get married now.

So you've got it backwards. You're as marriageable as ever - and even more so because of your achievement. On the other hand, your boyfriend has, with a cruel slip of the tongue, demonstrated that he is not marriage material for you.
posted by Questolicious at 7:59 AM on May 12, 2015 [22 favorites]

My husband of 15 years has HIV. He was marriage material (and had HIV) when I met him 24 years ago and he still is today. There is no such thing as being unmarriageable.

I'm so sorry for your good thing being dumped on. That really sucks and if this happened to my best friend, I would tell her that we need to have a massive celebration for said milestone. As for the boyfriend, it was cruel, it was untrue and it was a bright red flag.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:06 AM on May 12, 2015 [20 favorites]

What the actual fuck. This guy is a sadist, end of story. What an asshole.
posted by Button-down sock at 8:09 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Ugh. This sucks that he said that to you, and that apparently enough people have said it to you in one way or another that you've started to believe it!

I mean really the Most charitable interpretation is that he panicked because he thought you were literally proposing to him right then and there (or expecting him to propose right then and there) and reacted out of blind sheer anxiety to make sure that completely unexpected thing didn't happen right now.

See how even that interpretation isn't super-charitable? And I'm much more inclined to think, from your previous posts, that instead he said it to take you down a peg. Because he just seems like the kind of guy who can't quiiiiiiite not.

Look, I've been through the thing with the partner whose feet are in his mouth more often than on the floor, so I know this sort of stuff doesn't mean he's a bad person. But there are a lot of people out there who really manage not to hurt feelings and offend people when they're supposed to be congratulating them. It's okay to want the kind of relationship where saying shitty things to your partner on his or her best days is verboten.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:11 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

You are such a bright spot on this site. I feel like it is so unfair that you feel unmarriageable, when you have the kind heart and wisdom that most people dream of finding in a marriage.

I am worried about you. I am worried that after 2 years you're so uncomfortable with being vulnerable to this person. I'm worried that he said something so cruel and you said it was true. I'm worried that this relationship maybe doesn't feel safe for you or nurture your self esteem in the way a good relationship should.

I think that maybe a big step back from this guy and a week or two of space to figure out your feelings about this is warranted.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:22 AM on May 12, 2015 [76 favorites]

I read this and felt very sad for you. Then I realized who wrote it and I am even sadder. That someone who is so consistently kind and thoughtful on the green could consider themselves ineligible for a life partnership is really tragic.

You are such a bright spot on this site. I feel like it is so unfair that you feel unmarriageable, when you have the kind heart and wisdom that most people dream of finding in a marriage.

This and this.

You are a catch.


Don't settle.
posted by pennypiper at 8:29 AM on May 12, 2015 [35 favorites]

I didn't react much beyond that but he did apologize and say that was unnecessarily cruel of him to say. I said that it was true and not cruel, just a fact. We chatted for a few minutes and he fell asleep.

Wait what? You agreed with him? Does he fully realize that you understood his comment to mean that "no-one is clamoring to put a ring on it because you have a chronic disease that would make you a burden on a spouse?" and that's the "fact" you agreed with?

Or did he just say it unthinkingly as a teasing zinger, not really meaning it as a specific commentary on your health situation, realizing too late that he put his foot in it and that it implied something crueler than he meant? Still oafish of him to tease you on a sensitive subject, but dumb things come out of mouths sometimes; it's a peril of intimacy.

I strongly recommend that you check in to see if you two are on the same page with what happened there. And yes, absolutely tell him that it upset you and why.
posted by desuetude at 8:40 AM on May 12, 2015

I'm quite familiar with what you share of yourself on the green... And I agree, you are certainly marriage material... I know you love this man... And are doing a lot of work on yourself... I would talk with your therapist and see if I could explore this idea more. You might find a deep fulfillment in being a wife and having a husband.
posted by flink at 8:43 AM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Sorry for being unclear. The thing I agreed with was simply that "no one is clamoring to put a ring" on my finger. I have told him once before that I think I'm not really marriage material because of my illness - which is stable now but will decline again and will require lots of caregiving - but I don't think he was really referring to that. I put it in the question for context on me and my thoughts about things, and perhaps so that it would flesh out why it was so upsetting to me to hear him say what he did.

Thanks for the support. I really appreciate it.
posted by sockermom at 8:44 AM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]

I've known people who engage in pretty much constant ribbing, and the occasional overly painful jest is pretty much going to happen at some point (especially with younger couples, where people are still learning where the line is by occasionally tripping over it). The relationships that work, or at least don't spectacularly burst into flames, are where both partners enjoy the slightly adversarial relationship, give as good as they get, celebrate each others achievements, and apologize without equivocation when the line is crossed.

It sounds like he at least didn't say "Chill, just joking!" But I do find it odd that when you said it wasn't cruel, but true, he didn't step up and stand up for you and doesn't seem to have celebrated your success. This could be for many reasons: maybe he was embarrassed by his quip and just wanted to move on (understandable, if not perfect), thought your response was just a joke as well, wanted to argue but was afraid of giving the impression he wanted to marry you and he's not there (for whatever reason), he's a bit emotionally dim, or he's actually a jerk. Most of these aren't great, but not really awful either.

And part of your reaction may be that with the milestone you're thinking of the future, and what you want. Stressful, by it does not invalidate your feelings or make his joke any funnier/less cruel. It does mean now is a good time for a talk, if he's worth it. Your experience with him may give you a better idea what's going on in his head, and if it's worth the time.

If you're feeling too vulnerable right now/don't trust him with your feelings, hold off while you enjoy your milestone. You've earned the right to celebrate yourself. Call up a few friends and set up a night out today/tomorrow (and if you need some social support, don't be afraid to specify that to your friends). Or have a relaxing evening alone and bingewatch whatever you want. Just focus on you right now.

Mentally set a date within the next week. The shorter time frame will ideally let you push your pain down for now and let you enjoy yourself/heal a little bit. Then sit down by yourself and think about you want in a relationship (not just this one, but any). Determine if you can trust your current SO to engage in a respectful and serious conversation about it, even if ultimately you want different things. If not, there is your answer. But if you can, it could either help you guys grow closer, or let you part ways and find a partner that knows what a catch you are.
posted by ghost phoneme at 8:48 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

I, too, went "oh, ouch" when I read your post and then got even more upset on your behalf when I realized who had posted it. You are so not wrong to be angry and hurt and upset, and you need to tell your boyfriend this. What he said was not okay and at the absolute least it speaks to a really amazing level of not checking in with your feelings or paying attention to them on the part of your boyfriend. Like, I am sitting here thinking how could he not know what things you feel so strongly about? How could he be so careless with your sensitivities and sore spots?

You're such a kind, thoughtful, wise person. I am always pleased to read your posts here on the green because they are sensitive and speak to a level of having carefully listened to what the poster is saying, how the poster is feeling, and what you think might help best. I find it hard to imagine that you haven't talked about how important this achievement is to you in the past, and I find it harder to imagine that you haven't talked about your insecurities with your partner before. If you haven't felt able to bring them up, judging from your behavior here as a poster I would guess that he hasn't made you feel safe enough to relax and trust him, and that should be a major red flag in and of itself. Either way, maybe take a step back and evaluate how you feel about him right now. I would have such a hard time trusting someone again who hurt me when I was vulnerable and open like that, even by mistake--and in the past, when I have shrugged it off and kept making myself vulnerable, the same people just kept hitting me in the same spots over and over again. You deserve to have a partner who builds you up, not knocks you down.

Whatever your achievement was, congratulations! You are amazing, and I am so sad and angry for you that anyone could make you feel otherwise. Value yourself, okay? A chronic disease makes no difference--you're still a wonderful person besides it.

Just for detail: I do not have a chronic disease, but I had a good friend who does have a chronic and degenerative disease. This person was awesome--funny and smart and determined in all the best ways, and they moved away a year ago and I really miss them. If I hadn't been in a relationship I would have seriously considered asking them out, but the timing wasn't good. The chronic disease was never a factor that entered my consideration, even though I know it was something my friend thought about.

You are a valuable, desirable person, disease or not. I hope you find someone who values you as much as this community does, whether or not that winds up being your current boyfriend.
posted by sciatrix at 9:05 AM on May 12, 2015 [20 favorites]

sockermom, I have been reading your comments here on the green for a couple of years, and I think I'm justified in writing that you seem to be serious relationship/marriage material to me.

Tons of people are married to people with chronic illnesses. Tons of people are also married to people who are boring, mean, neurotic, narcissistic ... etc. Marriageability != quality of person.

...he did apologize and say that was unnecessarily cruel of him to say...

No need for the qualifier of "unnecessarily." A romantic partner of a couple of years saying in effect "no one really wants to marry you" to their partner? Uh-uh. Not acceptable. That's locker room banter from one guy to another, at best, and even then it's abusive.

You deserve better and you did NOTHING to cause him to be this way. If he wants to s--t all over his prospects for happiness, it's his problem. And I think that's in effect what he's doing. If he wants to do otherwise, he should probably get some therapy... on his own dime.

FWIW, in "similar-boat" news, I'm currently shedding a couple of newish "friend" relationships because it became clear to me over time that I was selling myself short. I can't believe I'm back here again, but at least it takes a lot less time for me to get myself the hell out than it used to.

You'll be in my thoughts today because I think you and I have faced some of the same stuff. Whatever you do/don't do about the situation is your business. Just know you have a loving community here on the green.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 9:21 AM on May 12, 2015 [8 favorites]

My partner has a chronic disease and I'd say yes if they proposed. What a nasty thing to say.
posted by Phalene at 9:23 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

Hi, been married for 15 years to someone with chronic illness. It's a pain sometimes, but not a huge deal, because I like and lover her.

Over the course of those 15 years, we've sometimes blurted out really stupid stuff that wound up hurting one another. The important part is that we talked about, apologized and learned from it.

So it's hard to say what to do in this specific instance. The specific context and dynamics of the relationship matter a lot. If this was a rare occurrence, then probably no big deal. If it happens a lot, then definitely reconsider the relationship.

Either way, tell him that you're feeling hurt and why. His response should help you gauge what his real feelings are.

Finally, don't consider yourself unmarriageable because you have a chronic condition. Leave open the possibility that someone will love just the way you are.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:26 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Your reaction is telling you that despoite what your "logic" tells you about your "marriageability", you want to be married. Well if that's what you want, your logic is wrong and you should definitly have a conversation with this guy about if the relationship is headed towards marriage and if not, them dump him and crank up some Beyonce - Irreplaceable and gear up to move on.

There seems to be a rash fo questions from women lately with guys wondering if they are ever going to get married and bothered that they are not yet married. I think you just need to be really straightforward with guys about how you do want to be married in your future and don't take mealy mouthed bullshit answers like "oh well I don't belive in marriage" or "yea maybe I'm on the fence" or whatever. Don't waste your time on chumps dangling carrots. Dump and move on ruthlessly.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:29 AM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]

Fuck this guy. FUCK THIS GUY. He said it was "unnecessarily cruel" not "Anyone would be happy to throw a ring on it." FUCK THIS GUY, except really, stop actually fucking him. He does not deserve you.
posted by corb at 9:39 AM on May 12, 2015 [26 favorites]

My sister-in-law has a chronic wasting disease and considered herself "unmarriageable" because if she were to get married then she would likely no longer qualify for disability assistance.

She met a guy and he felt so strongly about her that he became a registered caregiver (training and licensing) so he could support her through her illness.

They did get married, once they had set up for it.
posted by bookdragoness at 9:40 AM on May 12, 2015 [8 favorites]

I would go to a store and buy myself a fancy ring, even if it's costume jewelry (they even sell lab grown emeralds and other such baubles at Walmart!) and put it on my finger and when he asks where I got it, say, "well, never you mind, Bubba! You don't want to marry me anyway, and you're just my sleeping partner, so why would you care?" I used to buy myself flowers and put them on my desk at work, and you wouldn't believe how attractive that suddenly made me to everyone. "Who sent you flowers? Ooohh!" My guy at the time didn't believe in sending flowers, he thought they were a waste of money, but I believed I deserved them.

Some people just hate to see someone happy, and think it's their job to burst someone's bubble so they won't get a big head (and maybe realize they aren't themselves such a catch and leave them?).

I do trade zingers back and forth with my husband, but he knows what lines not to cross and this would be one of them. So either draw a bright line and talk to him about it, give him a chance to make it up to you, and move on, or take some time off and see if you breathe a bit easier with a week or two to yourself. Part of having moved on from an abusive relationships is giving yourself the agency to do whatever you want the next time. Frankly, I would take option two and take a break (letting him know why, but being firm on some space so you can think about it without him trying to influence you).

P.S. I just enspousened you.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:44 AM on May 12, 2015 [17 favorites]

He said it was "unnecessarily cruel" not "Anyone would be happy to throw a ring on it."

Yeah. I feel like this comment reveals that he sees himself as a "catch" and you're just some lady who's lucky to be blessed with his company. He should feel lucky to have you as his partner, and even if he doesn't want to get married ever, telling your significant other you don't want to get married in THOSE words isn't anything you'd ever consider saying to someone you valued and cared about and thought highly of.
posted by Asparagus at 9:46 AM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]

I am seeing someone with a chronic condition, who is trying to get on disability. I would never think he was unmarriageable, let alone say it.

In fact, if he said something like, "I've accomplished this goal and now I can get married," the first thing out of my mouth would be something about how happy I was that we could start moving toward a future together. And I haven't been seeing him nearly as long as you've been with your boyfriend. I only say this to point out that his comment is completely beyond the pale. Disability shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

You seem like a wonderful person and have helped so many on the green, especially those enduring abuse. I hate to think of you enduring it again and this is what I would consider verbal abuse. You deserve better and should dump him.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 9:55 AM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]

A comment this heartless and cruel would be reason enough for me to start packing my shit the very next day. This is well beyond the realm of normal thoughtless comments, especially if he isn't bringing you breakfast in bed for the next month to apologize for it. You deserve much, much, much better. And congratulations on your milestone!
posted by dialetheia at 9:56 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

I suggest you speak with him and see how he feels about marriage and being with you in the long term. People can have loving, committed, long term relationships but have a contempt for marriage.
posted by just another scurvy brother at 9:57 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

which is stable now but will decline again and will require lots of caregiving

This describes 90% of human beings, unless they are lucky enough to live in perfect health and end their lives with a sudden death. When my husband is old and sick, he will still be just as worthy of our marriage as he is now.

If you had a friend whose partner had a chronic illness, would you describe them as a "burden?" I don't think you would. Please try to be as nice to yourself as you are to other people.
posted by chaiminda at 9:57 AM on May 12, 2015 [22 favorites]

First and foremost: I've always respected your writing on the Green, even in the few times we've disagreed. I have a great amount of respect for you and celebrate your accomplishment! Go you!

Coming from the perspective of someone who sometimes says unintentionally cruel things, and almost immediately recognizes it afterward: I would say bring it up and see how he deals with it. Thankfully I have very forgiving friends and family, so that when I blurt something out and then almost immediately say, "Oh my God, that's not what I meant!" (because 9 times out of 10, what I meant to say and what came out are NOT the same thing), they realize that it was unintentional. If I had said something like that to you, I would not only apologize profusely, but also do something nice to celebrate your accomplishment - take you to dinner, buy you flowers, whatever your special things are.

I have lost friends over this and completely understand when they drop out of my life. I'm not excusing it and work really hard to try to pause and make sure all the words are the ones I actually want to use, to try to really convey what I want to say - but I understand people who don't want to be around me. If it were my partner, though, I would hope that I have demonstrated enough care and love in the other 99% of the time that they could feel comfortable bringing it up with me. If I had said something like this and somehow not realized how hurt you were, the moment you brought it up I would be apologizing profusely and trying to find a way to make it up to you.
posted by RogueTech at 10:17 AM on May 12, 2015 [8 favorites]

It sounds like a flippant thoughtless comment. What pisses me off is that when you said it was true, he agreed and fell sound asleep!

Also, he may not be clamoring to put a ring on it. (Or maybe he is secretly and you just don't know.) But if he isn't, it has zero bearing on whether or not you are "marriage material" and will one day marry if that's what you want. That's between you and the next guy. This is your life and your destiny.
posted by semacd at 10:20 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Definitely talk to him about this. What he said was not cool.

Argue back against any negative "I am not worthy" type of thoughts. You are wonderful and worthy of all good things, including marriage if you should want it.

Recall that whether something is a blessing or a burden depends on perspective. Is a child a blessing or a burden? Is winning the lottery a blessing or a burden? If someone left a basket of kittens at your door, would it be a blessing or a burden? Life is not so black and white. We all have our baggage.
posted by zennie at 10:28 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Congratulations on your accomplishment!

-- someone joyously, gratefully, lovingly married to someone with chronic disease
posted by hmo at 10:59 AM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Chronic debilitating arthritis since age 6. Happily married 21 years. I call bullocks on his comments.
posted by harrietthespy at 11:04 AM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Well, I, for one, am a bit disappointed. I clicked on this link thinking, "oooh, I bet sockermom has some good advice for this person." And then I realized you wrote it and it made me sad.

I have a couple things to ask:

- did your boyfriend celebrate your achievement in a meaningful way? I mean, really, this is such a huge thing in your life that I hope he got you flowers, took you to dinner and bragged on you to anyone who would listen. If he didn't then does he ever celebrate your achievements? Or is he the jealous type?

- what, exactly was his apology like? Did he give you a big hug and say he was so very sorry? or did he say something like "I'm just an asshole."? (which is not an apology and makes exactly no one feel better, btw)

- are you scared to bring it back up with him? I mean, emotionally scared. Are you scared that he will somehow try to defend himself or put it back on you which will hurt you even more?

You don't have to answer these questions on the green, just something to think about.

I am so sad for you that he has taken the thunder away from your achievement. And if that was his intent then I'm mad for you as well.

Memail if you want to talk anything over. You are good people, sockermom. You shouldn't be spending your day crying over something that the person who is supposed to love you said in such an important moment.
posted by dawkins_7 at 12:21 PM on May 12, 2015 [21 favorites]

Congratulations on your milestone! A dear friend of mine is married to a woman with MS and has weathered the storm with her, two kids, serious relapses, and all.
posted by yarly at 1:23 PM on May 12, 2015

Best answer: I said that it was true and not cruel, just a fact.

The truth is that I'd love to be married but I have a chronic disease that will make me a burden on a spouse. So I understand intellectually that I am not marriage material.

I have told him once before that I think I'm not really marriage material because of my illness.

Oh man ... sockermom, I've seen you give such spot-on, compassionate advice on this site so many times and it makes me sad (and weirdly mad on your behalf!) to see that you're not doing the same for yourself. I can't imagine you saying things like this to someone else who'd come to the green with this question - I can't imagine you encouraging someone else to believe they were unmarriable, regardless of circumstances, or telling them it was okay for their SO to talk to them like that.

Nthing that this absolutely was a cruel thing to say. I have no idea if this is part of a pattern or just a one-off, terrible but stupid comment, but I bet you do know. If you are otherwise happy in this relationship, I think you should bring this up with him again, let him know how much he hurt you, and talk it out. If you are feeling like this is part of a bigger pattern ... well, imagine what the sockermom on AskMe would say, and listen to her.

Your feelings are valid, you deserve to voice them - and you absolutely ARE marriage material. Please extend to yourself the same compassion and care that you give to others on Metafilter - you deserve it.

And way to go on your achievement!
posted by DingoMutt at 3:31 PM on May 12, 2015 [14 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, man. Count me among the many pained to read this. You're so obviously a gem to all of us here. You have unusual insight, kindness, compassion, intelligence - we all recoil at the idea that someone would be hurtful to someone as special as you are, after all you've been through, and all the work you've done to get through it (from which you've then drawn from to help so many...).

It's a fucking shame, is what it is, and you deserve better than this.

I don't care if it was a single comment. It's an indication of a mind leagues beneath yours. To have that kind of cruelty, deliberate or not, just there, at the surface, just in a moment of vulnerability and happiness and trust… he's not the kind of person you are. You can do better. You need an equal.

I hope this isn't presumptuous (ach, I know it is, I'm sorry in advance) - I can't put my finger on it, or pick out specific comments, this is from my memory, just an impression, here - but some of what you've said about this relationship here has suggested (to me) that on some level, being with him has involved a kind of compromise. Maybe one made in pursuit of healing. The impression I've had is that he's someone who's been nice enough, available, there in ways (though he's clearly shown himself to be unable to be supportive on what should have been a fucking amazing day, in fact he found it within himself to shoot you with a poison arrow, just now. This is an important event.). But my sense is that some key element has been missing. I'm not sure what it is - intimacy, perhaps, or a real intellectual connection - but my impression is that something that should be there might not be there.

I'm very sorry if my impression is wrong, it obviously absolutely could be, I don't mean to second-guess you. But is it possible that after the storm of your past relationship, this felt like it was good enough? Even just with what happened here, I don't think it's good enough, at all.

As for men in general wanting to marry you or not. Your ex, more than likely, wasn't cooked yet. Especially with men, readiness to marry - maturity - is the critical thing; it's less about loving a particular woman "enough". Your ex just wasn't there yet. (This one, well.)

As for whether you are "marriage material". 1000% yes, for the reasons I and others have stated.

I have a friend with a progressive degenerative disease who's married to a man who thinks she's the moon and the stars. He cherishes her, really he does. He respects her mind and strengths, too. He's an equal to her, and he actively supports her growth as a person. He knows what's ahead, and he's up for it. Even though he's a man. (I say that because I wonder whether, like me and others who've dealt with past abuse, you might struggle with believing a man really could be devoted to a partner, in the ways women are trained up to be. It turns out they can.) Marriage, even with what you know is coming, is possible, for you. I think you should reserve it for someone who's worth it.

Congratulations on achieving your milestone. We are all with you.
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:36 PM on May 12, 2015 [22 favorites]

From a guy who has himself said many shitty things: this was a shitty thing to say, and you deserve better.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:45 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

well... I would feel rotten, too. Here you are celebrating a major achievement (apparently without his participation) and then he has to burst your bubble by telling you you're undesirable?

and then he apologizes but the damage is done, because now you feel undesirable and you don't know if your relationship meant what you thought it meant.


I want better for you than this, sockermom. if you want to get married, what is he going to do to demonstrate that he's marriage material? Looks like he needs to up his game, or he could find himself with a bad case of being single and lonely.

congratulations on your achievement. i wish you all the cupcakes with sparklers on 'em, and all the sprinkles too.
posted by tel3path at 3:46 PM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

When you are the caregiver for a spouse you care deeply about, that you love, it's not a burden.

It's not easy, certainly. It might be the hardest thing you've ever done. But it's not a burden.

If someone would see you as a burden, that person is not marriage material for you! (and you might want to consider if they are relationship material)

Having a boyfriend isn't necessarily better than not having a boyfriend. If he wouldn't care for you when you are ill, you might want to think about if you'd be better off spending your time building solid friendships with people who would be there for you if you needed them. It's very stressful to be dealing with even a minor illness around someone who doesn't want to be around you when you are sick. On the other hand, maybe you want to just enjoy having this guy around while you are well and can have a good time with him -- that's fine too!
posted by yohko at 3:55 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

"I recently completed a significant milestone. It's something I've worked my whole life on... I wrote in my diary as a really young girl that I wouldn't get married until I completed this goal."... "The truth is that I'd love to be married but..."

Big Congrats!!! I'm sorry to hear what your awful, small minded, jealous little hater of a boyfriend said to ruin such a joyous occasion. Clearly, he is not on team you at all. And Dashy's 100% right: believe people when they tell you who they are, absolutely.

I'm with DingoMutt: "imagine what the sockermom on AskMe would say, and listen to her." The sockermom we on MeFi all know and love would never tell a person with a chronic health condition that she'll never be able to get married. Instead, she would kindly show them how to see right through that type of ableist bullshit. DTMFA and don't settle, boo. Keep being awesome, and stay positive!
posted by hush at 3:55 PM on May 12, 2015 [6 favorites]

The thing I agreed with was simply that "no one is clamoring to put a ring" on my finger.

But you were agreeing that *he* wasn't clamoring. That's the thing that's hurtful, it's that in addition to 'no one' in general it's him in the specific.

I don't know. Again, I'm really sorry and with everyone else I wish you congratulations on your achievement and deeply appreciate your contributions to this site, and don't like to hear about someone being a dick to you.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:12 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

I think a person's truly awesome achievements can really bring out the worst in an insecure partner who may already feel you're on the brink of being too good for him. My own abusive ex was pretty much the opposite of supportive when I was achieving milestones toward my dream job while he did jack shit, and made undermining comments which really hurt me because I believed them at the time. In retrospect it was obvious he was grasping at straws to bring me down to his level once it became clear to him that my professional trajectory was much more promising than his own. My successes seemed to, in his mind, highlight and make him feel defensive about his own failures. Any of this sound applicable to you?

Long story short, we broke up and I haven't looked back since. You don't have to take shit like this, really.
posted by Argyle_Sock_Puppet at 4:59 PM on May 12, 2015 [7 favorites]

Well, now you have three pieces of valuable information. Your boyfriend is an asshole, doesn't want to marry you and has revealed himself as being unworthy of being married himself. You may have a chronic illness but his disgusting attitude is a far greater impediment to anyone wanting to marry him, as far as I'm concerned. The only correct response to what he said was "Well, if that's how you feel, I guess we're done here." Please leave, you sound amazing and you deserve so much better.
posted by Jubey at 5:28 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I love you. You're one of my favorite people on the site. I'm sad that the person who is supposed to be a rock for you said something so cutting and unkind. It's especially bad that he did it when you were feeling so happy. That's a classic abuser move by the way - bring you down when you're feeling up. It doesn't matter how you reacted in the moment - after absorbing such a blow, you were just fighting for equilibrium.

Everyone above has said it already but I'll add to the chorus: You're neat and smart and beautiful and someone some day will get that about you and will be amazed at his great fortune that he finally found you. That guy isn't the guy you're with, most likely. You hold your head up high and bid him goodbye. He blew it.

I got married for the first and only time at 44 and it happened very suddenly. You just never know. I hope you are feeling the love from all your friends here on the green and I hope you feel our arms hugging you. And congratulations on your accomplishment!
posted by Kangaroo at 5:50 PM on May 12, 2015 [15 favorites]

Best answer: You're too smart to think we are all liars. He is the one who ain't marriage material, and I'm sorry he showed his showed his true colors in such a vicious way.

There will be a person who loves you for all of who you are, and doesn't think the idea of spending his life with you is a funny joke. Quite the opposite, he will know spending his life with you is the most important thing he wants to do.

Tell that jerk we're furious he hurt our friend.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 6:04 PM on May 12, 2015 [17 favorites]

I'm 100% in agreement with everyone who thinks you've been very badly mistreated, sockermom - and you, of all people, don't deserve it.

As your partner, he should have been happy and excited for you and whipped you into a big hug and a happy dance for having met your goal - most of us never do meet our BIG goals, so CONGRATULATIONS are in order, indeed - you've done something to be proud of!

It's hard - very hard - to believe this guy could say such a downright MEAN thing to you. I might have been able to believe that it was just a mistake, a silly little slip, where he didn't realize how much his smart mouth would hurt you, but the fact that he didn't immediately jump up and apologize and explain his way out of it locks it down, to me, that he's a jerk, not just a bumbling fool.

Please don't think that you don't deserve someone to love - and marry - just because you have a chronic illness - even if it's a terrible chronic illness. If you were so desperately ill that you had only a week to live, you'd still be marriage material! Your heart is big and generous and you deserve someone who truly loves you.

As someone said above, even a good book or movie and a nice meal alone would be an improvement over this kind of relationship. Sometimes - often - we stay with a situation because it's just too much effort to make the changes we know we need to make, but if and when you're ready to move on to something better, if you need help to do so, I know you have a good solid "family" here and wherever you are someone here would be willing to help. If you're in the Spokane, WA area, memail me - we can figure it out.

Don't let this person diminish you any more; give him a chance, if you really feel you want to, to be shocked and horrified that you're really upset and SHOW you he's absolutely in love with you, but if not - take care of yourself because you're a very special person.

And BTW - everyone has a chronic illness - some of us just don't know it yet.
posted by aryma at 8:05 PM on May 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks all. It means a lot to hear this, particularly because telling my flesh friends stuff like this freaks me out. I am really still so cautious about what I share in person because of my past abuse I think.

Unfortunately talking about it did NOT go well and he got angry with me. He also did not apologize until after I said for a third or fourth time that my feelings were hurt. He told me it was just a joke and it was my problem and he wasn't going to help me feel better about it.

I spent the rest of the day feeling like crud and will deal with this when I see him again next week. I need some space right now. As does he. He turned off his phone and will not talk to me.

This seems like it could be the very weird ending to what was otherwise a pretty healthy relationship with what I thought was great communication.
posted by sockermom at 8:17 PM on May 12, 2015 [11 favorites]

He told me it was just a joke and it was my problem and he wasn't going to help me feel better about it.

I'm so sorry. In my experience, when people are over-the-top defensive like this, it's motivated by a deep guilt over what they've done and knowing they're wrong.

A friend of mine dates a guy who "coincidentally" happens to pick a fight with her over nothing whenever something great happens in her life, because he's a sad, angry, immature, jealous person and can't stand to see others thriving. I wonder if this "joke" was a version of that jealous lashing out? Who wants to go through life tied to a sack of potatoes like that?
posted by sallybrown at 8:28 PM on May 12, 2015 [23 favorites]

Wow. Tells you everything you need to know about this guy, doesn't it?
posted by Ndwright at 8:28 PM on May 12, 2015 [15 favorites]

Wow, his reaction speaks volumes. It does not have to be like this. You deserve so much better. He's showing you no empathy. It often takes quite a long time to see that side of someone, if they have one. You guys have been together for almost two years, right? It took my ex two and a half years to go from laid-back FWB to jealous, possessive psycho.

I am now even madder on your behalf. He's acting like he doesn't care whether or not he loses you. I don't care whether it was just a joke or not -- you make a joke that hurts someone, you apologize. Just like when you step on someone's foot by accident. Just because it's an accident doesn't mean it's "just your problem."

You're a treasure here on MeFi and we know you are to be cherished. Screw that guy.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 8:31 PM on May 12, 2015 [23 favorites]

He is most inconsiderate, you deserve better.
posted by just another scurvy brother at 8:42 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm so sorry. He is not worthy of your love.
posted by Asparagus at 8:46 PM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, I'm just flabbergasted that HE is angry at YOU. To use an analogy from another poster, that's like stepping on someone's foot and being angry at them for saying "Ow."
posted by Asparagus at 8:51 PM on May 12, 2015 [13 favorites]

I said that it was true and not cruel, just a fact.

That's not a fact. Honestly, I'm sadder that you sort of accepted and agreed to the idea that this was a fact than I am about what he said. I agree with those who are urging you to question how quickly you've accepted your own self-determination of "unmarriagability."

At the same time, what he said is definitely cause to say "Your comment hurt and made me wonder about how you envision our future. It's time to have a serious conversation about where you see this going."

The truth is that I'd love to be married but I have a chronic disease that will make me a burden on a spouse.

I hope you can get over this thinking. I'm married to someone with a chronic disease; knew it when I met him and don't at all regret marrying him. I work with a woman who has a severely debilitating chronic disease who got married, and last year gave birth to an adorable baby. Nothing about having a chronic disease makes you a "burden," or unmarriageable. It's a complication, but damn, life is full of complications, some known, some unknown, and many more as you get older. There's no reason to say this about yourself.
posted by Miko at 9:05 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

what was otherwise a pretty healthy relationship

If this is how it ends, it was never a healthy relationship. Stand by yourself.
posted by Miko at 9:09 PM on May 12, 2015 [17 favorites]

Oh, sockermom, I feel for you. I have a chronic illness that is really going to hit the fan in a matter of years, and I consider marriage to be off the table. Not because I'm not worthy, but because it's going to be a LOT to deal with and I would rather face it on my own than deal with the fallout of having someone I loved and trusted bail on me when the going got rough. I can handle illness, but I can't handle someone leaving me over it when I need them the most.

So I just read your update and I am telling you: You have dodged a bullet. This person likely would not have been there for you when you needed him. His actions, while cruel, will lead to positive outcomes: There is no mistaking where this person's heart is. This makes it easier to leave.

I am reading the comments about marrying with a chronic illness and I find them heartening. My father had the same illness I have and my mother spent many years caring for him until the very end, and she still says that she would have done it forever if she could have. You have demonstrated yourself to be warm, compassionate, and caring. I have every reason to believe that if you wish to seek a commitment, this will not stand in your way.
posted by mochapickle at 9:10 PM on May 12, 2015 [23 favorites]

I'm sorry it went that way, and hope you can find comforts and distractions this week. Wishing you clarity and strength.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:43 PM on May 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

I too am sorry that it went that way. I'm super proud of you though for having the conversation, and for repeating yourself until you felt heard. Take care of yourself this week. Turn your own phone off and go about your own business. Hugs to you.

And congratulations on your big accomplishment. Be sure to celebrate it for yourself.
posted by vignettist at 10:59 PM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Your boyfriend is a narcissist and abuser. Here's why.

1. He said it a time when you were celebrating your own achievements. This is his way of punishing you for focusing on your happiness instead of his happiness. It's also prevents you from looking back on this milestone with any happiness. He just wants you to worry only about him.

2. When you believe you are unmarriageable, you are DEPENDENT on him. You are less likely to look for ways to escape. Instead you'll just rationalize and cover up his flaws. You would do anything to hang onto him. Why would you leave when no one else will bother with you?

3. He comes out looking superior to you (the assumption is that he is marriageable and chooses to be with you, when he can have anyone else). Now he's the judge of what people are worth and you're doubting yourself and he's the only one cool enough and smart enough to look at things objectively. That's what abusers want you to think, anyway.

4. He gets out of it by making a quick apology. I bet if you talk with him again he'll brush it off like a fly sitting on his shoulder.

I'm just stunned by the sheer cleverness and elegance of it all.

You showed him your insecurities, your vulnerabilities, and he jumped on it like a true predator.
posted by cmcmcm at 11:12 PM on May 12, 2015 [25 favorites]

I read this and was, like a lot of posters, sad and shocked because you are one of the shining lights of the Green, such an obviously caring, brilliant, compassionate, insightful person who anyone would be lucky to be partnered to. As one of the assholes of the green, I'm super fucking pissed off on your behalf that this turd has been gaslighting you about your own worth to the extent that he made you believe that the cruel, untrue thing he said to you was just "a fact" and that when you said that out loud, he, of course, refused to contradict you.

Fuck this guy. Fuck him being a coward who stayed in a love relationship while refusing to say that he loved you, fuck him for making you caretake his emotional needs while making you feel like your life situation was "a burden." Fuck him for being a petulant jerk who unloaded this devastating thing on you when you were celebrating a life milestone. Just fuck him.

Also, if it helps, my mom had a serious, chronic condition that first presented (in life-threatening form) in her mid twenties. She and my father got together when she was about 5 years older than you are right now, they had a kid, and they had a 35 year long, happy, loving, devoted marriage until she passed away last year from the chronic illness she'd dealt with for most of her life. I want to echo all the other mefites here who have loved ones and/or who are themselves chronically ill or disabled and say: you are not "not marriage material." You are not going to be "a burden" to the partner you find after getting rid of this man. And the guy you proposed to? "I don't believe in marriage" is a pretty common belief for people to hold in their early twenties and it's one that a lot of those firm nonbelievers shed once they hit actual adulthood. Please don't take your ex's upcoming marriage, horrible as the timing is, as any kind of objective proof that you're not meant for marriage. You deserve so, so much better, and the step of throwing off the crap people who are keeping you from getting there hurts, but I have faith that you will get there. You are loved and valued by so many people here. Please keep that knowledge close.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 12:07 AM on May 13, 2015 [21 favorites]

I think in good relationships, how people respond to challenges and opportunities is in many ways more important than the unrehearsed, off the cuff stuff.

Your hopefully soon to be ex has failed spectacularly on both counts. Definitely hold out for someone that respects your distress, however "valid" they feel it is. Couples help each other face problems. These people are out there 100%, it's worth searching for, you deserve it. Best of luck my friend,
posted by smoke at 3:27 AM on May 13, 2015 [6 favorites]

I just want to add to the chorus of people who are saying, "You deserve so much better." This guy sounds like a brass-plated jerk and you are well rid of him.

Please don't think your illness means that you should settle for crumbs (or crumby guys!). Plenty of women with serious illnesses get married and have long, happy relationships.

You deserve a relationship where you are loved and cherished.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:49 AM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

It was a mean and inconsiderate thing to say. But sometimes people slip up and don't exactly mean what they've said. But then when you talked to him, rather than apologize and try to make you feel better, he got defensive.

It's not particularly caring or considerate behavior.

In this situation I would leave, unless I were with him purely to pass the time. You can absolutely find a boyfriend who cares about how you feel.

And you know what, you could find a guy who would not only care about how you feel but would also want to marry you. When my boyfriend and I have discussed marriage this has come up--what if one of us gets a debilitating burdensome issue later in life? The consensus is that we'd stick by each other. Nobody knows what's going to happen. My grandmother had MS and my grandpa loved her and took care of her until she was bedridden and sick and a burden and it was hard, but he was with her until she died. I also worked with a woman who had MS and her husband was much the same, though in both cases obviously things were not easy. And I've seen lots of other couples (who I won't detail) stick by each other through old age and illness and horrible stressful life-ending diseases.

It wasn't just a cruel and careless comment your boyfriend made, but it was also just stupid. Nobody knows what's going to happen. Whenever anyone marries anyone it should be with the expectation that somehow or another you're both going to die and it might not be an easy life or death.
posted by Polychrome at 6:08 AM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

I was willing to give this guy a pass for misspeaking before he doubled down. But trying to argue you out of hurt feelings is not something adults do in healthy relationships, and you have zero obligation to stick around and try to teach him that. Count me among the ranks here, this guy sucks.
posted by almostmanda at 6:55 AM on May 13, 2015 [11 favorites]

Unfortunately talking about it did NOT go well and he got angry with me. He also did not apologize until after I said for a third or fourth time that my feelings were hurt. He told me it was just a joke and it was my problem and he wasn't going to help me feel better about it.

Aw, no. I'm so sorry. Those words speak volumes, and nothing well of him at all. I withdraw my earlier tentative stance; this wasn't an example of him blurting out something awful and unintended, but rather him showing you his true colors.

You deserve far, far better than that. I'm sorry he proved unworthy of you, sockermom, and in such a hurtful manner, but I am sure you will do much better without him.
posted by Gelatin at 7:24 AM on May 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

Oh, sockermom. I'm so sorry this is what he turns out to be. So he wasn't trying to be funny after all; he was trying to be cruel. You deserve better. Being single would be better than being with someone who tears you down.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:58 AM on May 13, 2015 [5 favorites]

Count me as one of the people who sees the name "sockermom" and immediately thinks of adjectives like kind, compassionate, thoughtful, supportive, insightful, and strong. Anyone would be profoundly lucky to have someone like you as a life partner. You deserve someone who realizes that, and who would never be okay with feeling like he had hurt you even unintentionally. And you deserve a partner who's more than just a good person; you deserve someone who is passionate about building a life with you, who feels pride in your accomplishments, and lights up at the thought of marrying you.
posted by treachery, faith, and the great river at 8:49 AM on May 13, 2015 [21 favorites]

Oh geez. Well, that sucks. I was secretly really hoping he was more in the "shit, that is so not what I meant" category and would try to fix it. :( I vote in favor of self care and you celebrating your major milestone, because you are awesome and deserve cupcakes with sparklers and sprinkles, or whatever your happy thing is.
posted by RogueTech at 9:29 AM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

He told me it was just a joke and it was my problem and he wasn't going to help me feel better about it.

That's not how apologies work. Release him back into the wild so he can be with his own kind.
posted by French Fry at 10:54 AM on May 13, 2015 [27 favorites]

This seems like it could be the very weird ending to what was otherwise a pretty healthy relationship with what I thought was great communication

Well, I'd say he's doing a great job of communicating how he feels about you in all this! I think he has been very truthful about his feelings with you. Better to know than to go on with the truth hidden.

The thing about great communication is that it really gives you insight into a person -- it's not something that can hold up a relationship on it's own, if what is in that person's head turns out not to be the sort of thing you want in your life.
posted by yohko at 5:05 PM on May 13, 2015

Let me throw some Amy Poehler at you:

"Only hang around people that are positive and make you feel good. Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good, kick them to the curb. And the earlier you start in your life the better. The minute anybody makes you feel weird and non-included or not supported, you know, either beat it or tell them to beat it."
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 6:01 PM on May 13, 2015 [11 favorites]

I hope you can find positive stuff in this. I hope this doesn't make you feel the least bit cruddy or second guess yourself. It's okay to be hurt, but I hope it doesn't affect your self worth.

Many of the people posting above, including myself, spent time - substantial time - with dickheads and then lighter versions of dickheads and then chameleon dickheads and surprise! dickheads on our journey to either blissful aloneness or non-dickheads or a combination. I hope in any sad moments that might follow you peruse the green, your own postings, and find some strength in other people's stories as well as your own, and you go ahead and feel as sad as you like, but don't turn that inward on yourself.

The worst thing that could come out of this is that you feel bad about yourself. Feeling hurt is okay and normal--but you are not the asshole here in any way, shape, or form.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:26 PM on May 13, 2015 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Ouch. I'm so sorry that a shitty interpersonal thing is coloring your experience of your long-dreamt-of achievement. That's a real shame.

I am the kind of person who likes to look for the positive aspects in any situation. Even really awful, utterly shitty situations can have benefit, for instance if there is something valuable to be learned. Here's what I see in this one.

In your wise and compassionate writings on the green, you have shared much about the terrible history of your past abusive relationship, which included emotional as well as physical abuse. It is not blaming the victim to say that, as you were in and experiencing that relationship, the person who you were at the time started out *not knowing* what was abuse--not recognizing or honoring the initial boundary violations, not capable for whatever reason of claiming and defending her core value.

That terrible, devastating prior relationship ended up teaching you many things--about your boundaries and why you need to defend them, about your core value and its immense richness.

In this current incident, your boyfriend's awful remark devalued you. Devalued you in general human terms (about your worth as a life partner) and devalued you specifically in the context of an important achievement.

Here's the silver lining: however hurtful this is--more on that in a sec--you aren't buying it. You ARE NOT buying it.

That's huge, and an enormous indication of how far you've come from the past. In fact you can look on this as ANOTHER achievement alongside the other big event in your life.

You deserve better and you know it in a way that you just didn't before. You are on the right track. Keep going.

About the hurt. One of the most valuable concepts I learned in the past few years, wrestling with the dysfunction in my own marriage, is that when someone feels hurt or angry--rather than sad or disappointed--it's because they're interpreting some difficult situations as a negative reflection on themselves. They are reading it in a way that diminishes their own sense of their own value. I think that's what's going on with the "marriage matieral" part--if you yourself think that you're "lesser than" in this regard, well, that remark really hits that sensitive spot.

Take it as a sign that this is your next piece of work to do. The chorus of people telling you that you are in fact worthy of that kind of love may help!

Don't let his failing (to be compassionate, to value you) turn into your failing (to be marriageable, to pick a really loving boyfriend.) Focus on your value, your wonderful life achievement, AND the achievement that this painful incident highlights, which is that you have learned exactly how much better you deserve.

Let yourself be sad and disappointed, but turn that hurt around into the growth you need to do the next great thing.

Best wishes from another admirer.
posted by Sublimity at 3:48 AM on May 14, 2015 [29 favorites]

I was reading this question this morning and when I saw who had asked it, I put my phone down and sobbed with grief. I'm sitting here writing this with tears still in my eyes because you are such a caring, thoughtful, supportive person and one of the most emotionally generous people I know. It honestly breaks my heart to think that in your moment of victory and accomplishment this person tried to take that joy away from you. You deserve to celebrate your milestone, and I dearly hope that you still do, as I will on your behalf for achieving so much in the last few years. Don't let this, or anything else, taint your victories.

In your own time, at your own pace, perhaps, but I hope that you still take the time to sit and marvel at crossing something off of your life list that has been there since you were a young girl writing in your diary. That is dedication and perseverance and commitment on a level that few people have, and so I urge you to relish in your big achievement and give it the time and significance it deserves. This is huge! I am genuinely thrilled for you.

You are such a warm and considerate person and your advice to many others on this site has been a source of inspiration and healing for me, so I hope that you will take the outpouring of support in the spirit that we all mean it. You are so dear to us, and such an asset to this community. Everyone deserves to be loved and supported and raised up and to be surrounded like people that welcome you for who you are. There is nothing about you—not your health, not your past, not one thing—that renders you an exception to that rule. Fill your life with people who make you feel more than, not less than. We're here. There are more of us out there. Don't let anyone take that away from you.
posted by hindmost at 8:45 AM on May 14, 2015 [7 favorites]

For a frame of reference I have had pretty serious braindead-for-days dealings with depression, and once I hinted I might be a burden to my husband and he actually got mad at me for even thinking it.

On a different subject, why does he think what he said is funny? Like if you actually were indeed not marriage material (not true!), why would it be funny to point it out? Was he maybe just trying to be witty and instead said something mean? This is an actual question, I don't get the joke.

And moreover, I don't know, I feel like the things we say to people we love can hurt in ways we can't predict, but then we should care and it should be our concern that 1. the person we love is hurt and 2. we unintentionally had a part in that hurt. Why does he think having no intention means one is not responsible? You can go to prison for unwittingly committing a crime. You can get fired for a mistake at work even if you didn't mean to make it. The consequences of our actions are real whatever our initial intentions.
posted by Tarumba at 12:15 PM on May 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, congratulations :)

I hope your success makes you as happy as you hoped it would!
posted by Tarumba at 12:17 PM on May 14, 2015

Response by poster: I just wanted to thank everyone for the support. It really helps to know I am part of this community, and that I have friends here that really care for me and wish me well. Thanks.
posted by sockermom at 9:13 AM on May 19, 2015 [27 favorites]

When I read your post, I thought "Oh, he didn't even mean it, 'twas a silly joke and he probably has no idea it even hurt her." After all, I recently did something similar to your BF - made fun of my partner when he told me something personal while we were in bed together. But I felt TERRIBLE once I realized he was hurt (he was quite hurt, in fact) and I made a huge mental note to keep my stupid humor to myself the next time he opens up to me like that. Etcetera.

But now I see your follow-up comment about how he "got angry with" you for... being offended? And now he's giving you the silent treatment?

Thank goodness this happened 2 years into your relationship, when you are still a free agent and can ditch this person. Which you certainly should do. We find out so much about people in times of conflict, or times when they are burdened with the ego-bruising, self-lowering task of recognizing their mistakes and apologizing for them. This person is NOT a true partner if he cannot apologize for the pain he has caused you. And frankly, after two years, he should be extremely eager to marry you OR stop wasting your time.
posted by Guinevere at 9:27 AM on June 8, 2015

Best answer: Was just thinking of you and hoping you are feeling supported and loved these days.
posted by barnone at 2:29 PM on June 9, 2015 [7 favorites]

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