Should I stay and help or should I go?
May 18, 2016 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Hello! I really need help on this one.

So...about 16 months ago I met this really nice guy who actually made me feel good to be in a relationship. We are from the same hometown. At first it started off long distance. Then I decided to move back home. Things were going great at first. We had even mentioned marriage. I remember thanking God each day from bringing him into my life. I get I love , good mornings, and good nights every night! He checks on me all through the day everyday and says things that keeps me smiling. We read the bible together, take walks in the park, and trys to do something every weekend. To this day we still do that. But ..things are changing.

Before I explain what changed let me tell you a little about him. My boyfriend was THE MAN OF THE HOUSE in every relationship he has been in, meaning he brought home the bacon, cooked, cleaned, paid bills, spoiled his woman and all! He was the guy in the family who took care of every one. When I met him he was a bit sick.... Which turned out to be major. He had to quit working, be hospitalized a couple times, and under go emergency heart surgery all within 6 months. He can't get any financial assistance, not even disability, nor can he return to his job as a delivery driver. He went from make $40,000 a year to nothing. He couldn't visit the doctor nor buy meds like he needed to! I saw the depression in him and really felt bad for him. I help as much as I could. We still say our good mornings, good nights , and I love yous each day if we are not mad at each other.

What changed about him.... He seemed to have gotten on this emotional roller coaster. One day we are enjoying each other, by the end of the week, he feels like we are not in a relationship, angry, and gets very stubborn to the point he wont talk to me. For the past 8 months he's been breaking up with me at least once a month for either dumb reasons or no reason at all! One day he wanted to take me shoe shopping. We had a designated time we planned to leave. I was running late because I had a sick grandson I had to get back to his mom because he was very ill and needed to go to the emergency room. I was 2 hours late getting to my boyfriend but as soon as I realized I was gonna be late I made sure I told him wat i was doing. Well wen I made it to him he was REALLY angry! He literally went off on me like I was a 2 year old who wet my diaper! Seriously!! I was embarrassed because he did me that way in front of his mom. He told me I should not put off my time with him for nobody! Third time he has said that. Not even kids and told me my life was screwed up! No lie! Thats what he said. So for a week we didn't talk. I found myself going back to him.

When we are good, we're good. But when its bad, its bad. My mother's day was lovely. This past weekend we went on a dinner and movie date. We were late, again, but this time it was on him. He has this friend (older female) who had stopped by to talk and even tho I had arrived to leave for our date, he continued to talk, for over an hour! I was very angry. I that were me he would still be going off on me. Anyway, he apologized then we left for the date. During the date my kids called and to go home. ( I have all teenagers). I got my mom to take them home. Afterwards we went home and boy did he blow up! He was upset because my kids called! Our date never got interrupted. We both said we enjoyed our date! So I'm wondering whats the big deal about a phone call.... And it's was my kids!!! Of course just yesterday he says we are done. His once a month ritual. I view him as controlling. I report my every move to him. He tells me to my face that he don't trust me because he has trust issues. I told him it hurts my feelings when he accuse me of cheating. I have never cheated nor attempted to. He apologies and says it will happen again because of his trust issues. He also tells me he dont want me. He can't be told anything! To him im always wrong and can't get nothing right. If I'm not marching to his tune, im doing things the wrong way. I love the affection he gives me but he's controlling. We spend everyday together. I feel like im walking on eggshells trying not to piss him off. I never consider my feelings.

I stayed as long as I have because I really think counseling could help him. But he dont see his issues. Im really thinking about moving on because this can't be happiness. What your intake on this???
posted by Sippi15 to Human Relations (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's not happiness. DTMF.
Emotional abuse warning signs
posted by Karaage at 9:13 AM on May 18, 2016 [26 favorites]

You are worth so much more than how this guy is treating you.

There is a comment that was made here on metafilter a while back about a Poopshake. You can click through and read it here. Long story short, you wouldn't drink a milkshake if you knew it had poop in it. The same is true of relationships. No matter how delicious that milkshake might be (no matter how good the relationship is when it's good), the bad parts are enough to make the whole thing bad.

I'm sorry this relationship that started out so well has turned into such a Poopshake, but if you stay with this man he's only going to bring you down and make you completely miserable. I think your assessment of this is spot on: this isn't happiness. It's time to break up.
posted by phunniemee at 9:13 AM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think none of this gets any better and only gets worse. He's showing you who he is. He's not the sweet person you knew long distance. He's this rage monster that snaps at you for doing completely normal things because they inconvenience him.

It's common for people like this to hide their true face when you're in the "job interview" phase of a relationship. But as time goes on, the mask falls off and you see who they really are.

Move on. If he can't even acknowledge he has problems, then nothing can ever or will ever change. The only person who can is you...and that's by getting up and out of this toxic relationship.
posted by inturnaround at 9:14 AM on May 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

No. Leave this man. You can find someone who treats you a whole hell of a lot better.
posted by rachaelfaith at 9:15 AM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thank you all sooo much!
posted by Sippi15 at 9:17 AM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

The first part of your answer made me think of what my Dad went through when he got sick. It's really hard for men to lose "power" and have to depend on others, especially if they're used to being "heads" of homes. But the more I read...NOPE. This man is not loving towards you, not kind towards you, not considerate of your feelings and the needs of your family. He's abusing you emotionally and taking advantage of you, I'm sorry to say. You deserve so much better. I hope you find it. Take care of yourself!
posted by jhope71 at 9:18 AM on May 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

Completely aside from the very good points made above about emotional abuse, and about how a relationship isn't about a good day minus bad day equation, this guy is really sick and needs to focus on himself.

When shit got real, it turns out you two are terrible for each other. It's probably nobody's fault. It probably wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't sick (except for the GIANT RED FLAG about how he I guess used to work and do all the cooking and cleaning while his girlfriends sat around doing nooooothing? That's not a thing to aspire to. Being nothing but a sex-bot is not a life. You're pretty much seeing the real him now, what you got in the beginning was a charade.). But he is, and he is not capable of managing this stress. Make the right decision for both of you and bow out, he'll have to call in favors from all those people he did everything for before.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:29 AM on May 18, 2016

At the beginning of your post, I was thinking, oh -- this dude is depressed about his illness and job stuff and if Sippi15 has the patience to work with him, I'm sure it will work out.

But then I got to the abusive stuff. And no. no. no. no. You deserve better. Your grown kids want you to have better. And you should set an example for your grandkids that you (and they) deserve better.

If the controlling, yelling, jealousy/trust issues, double standards, etc. is new since the illness, there might be hope, but you need to get yourself out of that situation and wait for him to realize his own issues and get help before you consider giving him another chance.

If it's always been there, but maybe it's just coming to the surface now, then I don't think that there is hope here, and you should get yourself out and not come back.

But the trick right now is to get yourself out. DTMFA.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:35 AM on May 18, 2016 [8 favorites]

He was upset because my kids called!

Do you really need to say more than this?

Move on. Show your kids how an adult handles this.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:36 AM on May 18, 2016 [15 favorites]

I've lost several jobs in the past. My wife is struggling with a chronic illness. We have been in dire financial straits many times. We have always treated each other with respect and kindness, or at least apologized sincerely for the few times when we have slipped and not lived up to that bare minimum standard. We appreciate the other person's support and work hard to correct the situation that is causing us difficulty. He is not treating you the way you should treat a stranger, much less a life partner.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:42 AM on May 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

Thanks! I was really beginning to question myself and thought that I was screwing up this relationship when I have done absolutely nothing but try to be there for him despite the bad things!
posted by Sippi15 at 9:45 AM on May 18, 2016 [6 favorites]

And please understand that this is not a "bad fit" or a someone temporarily feeling sad--this is ABUSE. He is abusive.
posted by blueberry at 10:07 AM on May 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

This must be really hard, and I've been with someone who had health issues that impacted whether he wanted to be in a relationship with me, so I know how much it hurts.

But this is kind of all over the place, emotionally.

For one thing, you guys have been together for almost a year and a half, and it sounds like you have been very close and serious (moving to be with him, talking marriage, etc). And yet now that things are hard, you're looking to bail. And from his perspective, now that this relationship can't look how he expects relationships to look, he's looking to bail. That doesn't really match the seriousness-level of the relationship. Which is a big red flag for me.

Another thing is that it seems from the way you're describing this that the source of conflict is stuff like who was late, whose friend stopped to talk to who, who got a phone call, etc. Like... this is third date kind of stuff. Not "forever" kind of stuff. I get that as tensions escalate, something small can set things off. But no way would I be putting up with those kinds of temper tantrums over such petty nonsense from my partner of over a year. At this point, you are supposed to be on the same team. Which doesn't mean you never fight, but it does mean that fights should be about something real, not "UGH YOU RUINED OUR DATE YOU RUINER" type garbage.

One thing I learned from being with someone who was having a health crisis that shook him to the core on a fundamental level is that it's nobody's fault. Sometimes things don't work out. Sometimes the timing just isn't right, or they simply can't be with you in the way you'd hoped. My (long since ex!) boyfriend was bipolar, and while I was prepared to double down and help him, make it work, be there for whatever he needed, etc. he just couldn't be with me. And it often translated to him treating me like crap, and me putting up with it in the name of wanting the relationship to live. But the bottom line was that he didn't want the relationship to live, which is why he sabotaged it in little ways that are strikingly similar to what's going on with you (for example ruining dates, getting into petty fights over nothing, etc). Bottom line, you can't make someone want the relationship to live, even if they are the one who needs help and you want to give that help.

So I'm tempted to tell you this isn't going to work out. I'm not sure if you should "go", in the sense of ending things, going no contact, etc. Because it sounds like this guy might need you for day to day help, material support, etc. But I do think it's probably time to see what is actually happening, clear the air, and see this as something that is winding down rather than being in it for the long haul.
posted by Sara C. at 10:12 AM on May 18, 2016

he brought home the bacon, cooked, cleaned, paid bills, spoiled his woman and all! He was the guy in the family who took care of every one

I suspect that this is HIS story, but that if one were to ask his exes, they might have a slightly different tale to tell.

However, even if he was a bona fide, certified saint in every past relationship, it doesn't mean that you now somehow need to be a fall guy and scapegoat for whatever anger and control issues he has suddenly acquired, and that you should just accept the abuse because he says he was good to other women in the past.

I report my every move to him. He tells me to my face that he don't trust me because he has trust issues. I told him it hurts my feelings when he accuse me of cheating. I have never cheated nor attempted to. He apologies and says it will happen again because of his trust issues.

The control, and "trust issues" and accusations of cheating are all absolutely classic abusive behavior, and signs that this will get worse. If you are in the US, I suggest calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 to discuss this with people who are very familiar with the problems you are describing. I wish you the best, and I hope you drop him quickly with as little drama as possible before it becomes even more difficult and dangerous to get out. But please talk to the folks at the hotline first, who will be able to give you good advice regarding your personal living situation, etc.
posted by taz at 10:20 AM on May 18, 2016 [5 favorites]

Thanks! I will give them a call!
posted by Sippi15 at 10:32 AM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

gets very stubborn to the point he wont talk to me. For the past 8 months he's been breaking up with me at least once a month for either dumb reasons or no reason at all!

I didn't need to read past this, but I did. No, come on now. You know this isn't working. This isn't how partnerships work. (Reading further, I also see he's controlling and mean, and the part about objecting to your kids calling you is downright frightening, classic isolation-abuse stuff.) You don't need this in your life. (And I disagree that his "needing" you is any kind of factor that you need to consider. He may or may not need you, but that's seriously NOT your problem.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:43 AM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

You are a nice person, you are concerned about him. Your post is mostly about him. He's taking advantage of that. Are you better off with him or without him? Without. Things can change - they can get worse, and that's the trend. Take care of yourself, value yourself. You deserve so much better than this.
posted by theora55 at 11:03 AM on May 18, 2016

Great, he broke up with you. Now block him on your cell phone, email and however else he can get ahold of you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:11 AM on May 18, 2016 [7 favorites]

This is abuse. And furthermore, it sounds completely exhausting. Cut this guy off ASAP.
posted by helloimjennsco at 12:51 PM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

For the past 8 months he's been breaking up with me at least once a month....
When we're good, we're good.

These two statements oppose each other. For over half your relationship with him, he's been dumping you at least monthly, and that's not ever 'good'. This time, give him exactly what he keeps saying he wants: DTMFA, and never go back.

Illness does not give someone the right to abuse their partner --- or their kid or anybody else, for that matter: nothing gives him the right to abuse you, to belittle you and attempt to control you, or to demand exclusive rights to your time and attention.

For heaven's sake, it isn't worth wasting another minute of your time on anyone who thinks a sick child who needs to be taken to the emergency room is less important his own stupid shoe-shopping.
posted by easily confused at 2:36 PM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

I totally agree! I mostly definitely can do better
posted by Sippi15 at 3:16 PM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

You perceive him as controlling, but he is not controlling you. You are free to leave the relationship at any time. You have not said as much, but I sense that you have two issues that are keeping you put at this time: 1) You like him (most of the time) and do not want to be alone, and 2) his ill health makes you feel like you are "abandoning" him if you end it.

Temper tantrums are normal for people who have poor coping skills or limited emotional intelligence. I want to try to give you a good guess at what is going through his mind. Because he relies on physical labor to do his job, he is very upset because his illness threatens his income, his prospects for future employment, and...he wants to cherish you, but he can't. Men have mental health issues that extend beyond the bounds of poor self-control. I want you to consider that his poor self-control is almost certainly due to the twin terrors of anxiety and depression that color the existence of almost every woman's life. Stanley Kowalski was an ape, but he had very strong positive emotions for Blanche Dubois in a way that I'm certain this man does for you.

So, I think your relationship is over. I urge you to sit down with him and tell him that you love him very much, and that you know that he loves you very much, but that it just isn't going to work. Follow your intuition out the door. When he contacts you to reconcile, be polite but firm. You may want to go back to him, because you are human. Wait. Take a step back and ask yourself what will happen, because you should be able to predict it with 100% accuracy once the intense feelings of missing him have waned. It is very difficult to change your behavior. It is impossible to change someone else's behavior.

Everybody here who supports you in your decision--me included--will not have to deal with the almost certain unpleasantness that you are about to go through. Bless you for being the light in his life for as long as it lasted.

If you have second thoughts about breaking it off, you will need to address his blow-ups, your doubts, and what it is that both of you want out of the relationship in the future. I don't think anyone here can fix him or what you perceive to be broken about your relationship. Here's the best I can do for guidance: he needs mental healthcare, you will need a roadmap out of any situation when it becomes intolerable (a simple, "I would be happy to discuss this when you calm down, but I refuse to be berated, especially in public" will do), you will have to ask yourself what you can and cannot tolerate and enforce those boundaries once they are set. None of this is easy, and all of it requires effort on your part that is completely optional.

I apologize if this comes across as callous, provocative, or condescending. Every response I have read this far seems to feel your pain in such a way that it is amplified. I hear a faint twinge of affection in the background, and I wanted to tune into it so that you had at least one reminder that your love for each other is real, but imperfect. That is because he is not perfect. Neither are you. Both of you are human.
posted by Mr. Fig at 5:02 PM on May 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

All of the responses has actually provided me with comfort because I started blaming myself for this damaged relationship. I did all I could to make it work and I did that to the best of my knowledge but Mr. Fig, your response won me over! You completely analyzed my situation ! I dont like telling a story without both sides being heard but I am dealing with someone who doesn't think he have issues. He tells me I need counseling but he doesn't. I noticed that in conversations we have will always end with his point of view. Once he gets his point across, he doesn't want to hear anymore. He yells at me like im his child. That's no way to treat someone you love. In January my first cousin passed away. I was soo hurt by her passing. He was not sympathetic of my pain at all. He fought with me the entire day before her funeral because I was spending too much time away from him. Just recently the state awarded me custody of her youngest son. Of course you know he chewed me out for accepting the child. Im convinced, this can not go on any long. I chose to walk away for good. Thanks everyone!
posted by Sippi15 at 5:24 PM on May 18, 2016 [8 favorites]

Woah woah this is nuts, get out of there!
posted by ead at 8:44 PM on May 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

Yes, you deserve better--so do all the people in your immediate family, who have no control over your decision to be in a relationship with him, but are suffering, too. An abusive partner can wreck a lot of relationships before they're done. So don't forget to make some form of amends to the people in your life who have gotten short shrift because of his demands on you. Even if you tried to cover it up, believe me: they noticed and it hurt.
posted by Scram at 8:08 AM on May 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

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