stocking items for the boyfriend in my fridge
July 11, 2016 5:20 PM   Subscribe

I work from home most days and lately my boyfriend has gotten into the habit of working from my place as well or hanging out with me at other times at my invitation and his pleasure. I love this and am happy to have him around. Since he is over here so frequently, he has requested that I stock some of his favorite things regularly in the fridge for snacking/meals and most of them I'm happy to do so except for this - bottled water.

I feel it's such a waste of money and everyone should be drinking tap water since we pay municipal taxes to have city water and it's good water- it's not gross or overly metallic like in some parts of the country. BC of my stance on bottled water I loathe the idea of stocking it even though I love him but I've gone ahead and done it at least once so far. The other day he commented that I was running low and I said you know if it's that important to you, YOU could always buy some and bring it over here. And he got upset and felt that my attitude was bean counting and not very loving. If it's somehow relevant, he earns less than me - about 62% of my wage and his housing expenses are comparable to mine plus he has addl expenses i don't (he has children) that draw down his available funds. What's the right thing to do here? Should I keep buying bottled water against my kneejerk GRAR resentment of doing so (I can afford it no problem) and try to find a way to change my attitude and be more loving about it or should he be buying it and bringing it over since it's important to him? We've never tested the shoe on the other foot bc I don't often hang out at his place bc its not in a convenient location and he has roommates vs i live alone so I'm not sure what he would do in reverse if there was something I wished he'd stock that he wasn't too keen on. I honestly can't tell if i am being unreasonable here or he is. I know if he was an ordinary guest it would be outrageous of him to expect me to stock things he prefers especially if I am not keen on them but then again if we were married and he asked me to pick it up at the grocery store on my next visit I'd do so without question bc hey we are married and I don't get to veto his choices for our shared space using our shared income. Help!
posted by TestamentToGrace to Human Relations (90 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Could you try a Brita pitcher? Maybe that's a compromise. You're still drinking tap water, but it tastes purer and better.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:24 PM on July 11, 2016 [53 favorites]

If you hate bottled water so much, why not compromise and get a Brita filter or equivalent for your tap? It's your apartment and you are offering other snacks-- he can deal with it. It's not like you're refusing to deal with an allergy, it's bottled water! It's a reasonable compromise.
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:25 PM on July 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

You don't have a shared income, though. He is still a guest in your house and IMO it was a bit presumptuous of him to ask you to stock his favorite snacks.

Bottled water is a waste of money. Let him buy it.
posted by pintapicasso at 5:26 PM on July 11, 2016 [136 favorites]

Placing stock orders with you was already forward. He can supply the water he prefers, you are not being unreasonable.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:26 PM on July 11, 2016 [65 favorites]

Is it about the bottles or the water? Can you just ask him to save the bottles and refill them with tap water (or filtered water)?

People who really like bottled water get extremely fucking weird about the availability of bottled water so I wouldn't try to logic him out of this unless you really want to get into it.
posted by griphus at 5:28 PM on July 11, 2016 [11 favorites]

I find it odd that he would ask you to stock snacks for him, like you are his mother. Ask him to buy his own bottled water.
posted by pando11 at 5:29 PM on July 11, 2016 [84 favorites]

Yeah, Brita, Brita, Brita. Or other filtration device/system of your choice.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 5:29 PM on July 11, 2016

he's using your house as a free office space and restaurant, he can buy his own fucking water. a 6-pack of gallon poland spring jugs is under $10.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:30 PM on July 11, 2016 [111 favorites]

Also on a more general basis: he is a guest in your house. Expect of him what you would of a guest who has some leeway, not a permanent life partner until you get to that stage.
posted by griphus at 5:30 PM on July 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

You are not married. You're not living together. You're not obligated to feed him or stock food for him. For him to accuse you of bean counting while happily shoveling whatever free stuff you got him down his throat is absurd and screams loser manchild.

He is a guest in your home. If he doesn't like what you stock at your fucking expense, and then has the chutzpah to complain about it, tell him to feed himself.
posted by Karaage at 5:30 PM on July 11, 2016 [76 favorites]

Also: you get to veto his choices anytime. I suggest you read this emotional labor thread because you are emotionally laboring a ton and not even realizing it.
posted by pando11 at 5:34 PM on July 11, 2016 [60 favorites]

I don't get to veto his choices for our shared space using our shared income.

What? Why not? I get this is a hypothetical and you're not married but even married people get to have opinions and vetoes. Like, the only option isn't bottled water or not bottled water. There are filtration systems, etc., and why does his desire for bottled water supersede your desire not to destroy the environment?

That goes the same for your current situation. I would never, ever have asked my boyfriend to stock snacks for me! If I wanted snacks at a house that wasn't mine but that I was spending copious amounts of time at, I would buy them my damned self.

Sorry, I seem a little salty because it's ridiculous for a grown person to demand these things, regardless of the "income disparity." He's a grown up. He can budget for his snacks. Would he be paying for them if he was at his house! Yes, yes he would.
posted by cooker girl at 5:36 PM on July 11, 2016 [52 favorites]

Bottled water is cheap. Soooooo cheap. Kirkland water at Costco is practically free. He can probably afford it. How long have you been dating this guy and is this the only thing he pushes you on? Keep checking in on that topic with yourself.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:38 PM on July 11, 2016 [47 favorites]

Ok yes, he is being obnoxious. I would almost rather maim myself than point out to someone they are "running out" of something frivolous they are gifting me. BUT your question presumes you are ok with buying some snacks for him. SO to that I say, you need to communicate your thoughts to him. If you dislike bottled water for environmental reasons, then you should tell him that. I think the, "Well you bring it" was a little passive aggressive because you weren't being clear about why you didn't want to buy it. If you don't want to buy it, you probably don't want him to bring it either, right?
You could offer to get a water filter if he doesn't like the taste of tap. I think a Britta kept in the fridge would work, maybe even with a chilled mug for him. Sometimes when people like bottled water it's because they keep it in in the fridge and drink it super cold. Basically, if you can find a different way to offer acceptable water, I think that's very gracious of you and you've more than done your part.
posted by areaperson at 5:42 PM on July 11, 2016 [6 favorites]

Don't buy the bottled water. He's an adult that has children. He should be able to purchase it himself. Offer a Brita, maybe.

And if he gets upset again, ask him if this is gonna become a thing. Because if it is, I'd just shut the whole providing specific snacks for him thing down and make it clear he better step it up a bit in the relationship.
posted by AtoBtoA at 5:43 PM on July 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I don't love this. And my general instinct is to accommodate guests, be a good hostess etc.

I think what's not sitting right with me is this: he got upset and felt that my attitude was bean counting and not very loving. This, after you've stocked snacks he likes (by the way, did you OFFER to do this? Or did he ask?), strikes me as very bitchy and entitled and ungrateful. And bottled water is CHEAP, so if anyone is bean counting... it's not you.

Go ahead and read that emotional labor thread someone linked above. Think about what this guy thinks he is entitled to from you, and what he gives in return.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:45 PM on July 11, 2016 [46 favorites]

I'm imagining being in your boyfriend's shoes. And you know what? There is no way I'd demand that you provide an unending supply of my very special snacks and water. In fact, I would make sure to bring YOUR favorite snacks when I visited as a thank you for providing a great quiet place to work away from my roommates.

But maybe that's because I have been socialized to think about the needs of others periodically?
posted by mcduff at 5:47 PM on July 11, 2016 [98 favorites]

I would almost rather maim myself than point out to someone they are "running out" of something frivolous they are gifting me.

yeah, so much the same. also i feel like if he's gonna take a pretty high level stand (it's not "loving" of you? what?) on something this hilariously fucking trivial, there are going to be a lot more instances of whiny entitled bullshit in the future.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:49 PM on July 11, 2016 [19 favorites]

What bothers me most isn't his request for bottled water (although I share your v values on this and prefer not to buy it, especially for home use), but rather his response to your desire not to buy it. WHO exactly is counting beans here? Funny that it comes out the way it does, when you are being generous with your space and time by buying things he likes. This doesn't sound like the right balance of work and appreciation to me.
posted by spindrifter at 5:50 PM on July 11, 2016 [14 favorites]

Here's the way the conversation could have gone, from another perspective, with him being a really stand-up guy:
Him: Hey babe, I love hanging out here, but I miss my thingamabobs and whodaddys. Would you mind if I bring some over and keep them in your fridge? Also some whachamacallits in case I get a craving.?
You: Sure thing, honey. No problem.

Alternately, with you being a tad more proactive:
Him: Hey babe, I love hanging out here, but I miss my thingamabobs and whodaddys. Would you mind getting some the next time you go shopping? Also some whachamacallits in case I get a craving?
You: Tell you what, I'll set aside some fridge space for you and you can stock it with whatever you like. I really love having you here and want you to be comfortable.

So, no, don't buy bottled water for him. Stand up for the environment and offer a filter (in a loving and welcoming way.)
posted by SLC Mom at 5:53 PM on July 11, 2016 [19 favorites]

I have another take on this!

Get one of those refillable 5 gallon bottles and fill it with the reverse osmosis filtered water from a machine. Keep a pitcher or glass bottle in the fridge for him. Done.

Even if your municipal water tap is AWESOME, the pipes it comes through may not be. Once you've been involved with plumbing and seen the inside of pipes, you start looking at ways to insure your water is clean and free of contaminants. The compromise is a refillable water bottle from a reputable machine. I think I pay $1.25 per 5 gallons. Totally worth the peace of mind!!
posted by jbenben at 5:53 PM on July 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

It'd kind of you to be willing to work out a compromise. Brita pitcher seems like the natural solution to me.
posted by mchorn at 5:54 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I agree with others that this request is not reasonable or respectful of you (the way you describe it) and I'm actually a little worried about you after checking your posting history and seeing that you recently got out of an abusive relationship. You shouldn't be with anyone who is not treating you VERY well.
posted by bearette at 5:54 PM on July 11, 2016 [38 favorites]

Why is the "loving" thing to accommodate him utterly and completely? You're stocking his favorite snacks for goodness sake. Is he always this demanding and inflexible?
posted by Mavri at 5:55 PM on July 11, 2016 [10 favorites]

Hey. So, a month ago you posted that you had just gotten out of a 20-year relationship that was "physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive." When something like that happens to a person, it can really skew their sense of what is normal and what's okay. Your new boyfriend is testing the boundaries of what he can get away with. Don't acquiesce on the water. Take note of how he treats you (is HIS fridge stocked for you?) but I'd honestly consider this a huge red flag and nope out of this pretty fast. Maybe he's not even the wrong person for you, but this level of intimacy (monopolizing your time, demanding snacks you are fundamentally opposed to) is happening way too soon.
posted by kate blank at 5:58 PM on July 11, 2016 [134 favorites]

If he were a vegan you wouldn't expect him to accommodate your request for beef jerky, right? It's OK to have an ethical stance on bottled water as a waste of resources and to not want to spend your money on it or have it in your house. If you want to offer him something, I think a Brita would be more than accommodating. He's working in your house, eating food you buy fercrissakes.

And you know what, even if you guys WERE married it's okay to say "look, this isn't something I really want to spend my money on and I think we should explore alternatives."
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 5:58 PM on July 11, 2016 [15 favorites]

Oh, wait. I just read to the end. Too bad about this guy :(

The right thing to do is mentally put him on probation and then dump him without drama or rancor if he keeps acting entitled. You can try explaining it to him once or twice, but he's just kinda manipulative and I don't think he's gonna hear you when you explain why it's wrong to be so presumptuous. His attitude is the deal breaker, his preference for filtered water is not the issue.
posted by jbenben at 5:59 PM on July 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Hey OP, I hadn't thought to check your posting history before either but now that I have I just want to give you a big hug and remind you (I know you know it in your heart, but it is easy to forget when you are in love) that just because a man tells you that you're bad for not doing what he wants DOESN'T MEAN IT'S TRUE.

(and by the way I also don't drink straight from the tap... but if I were your partner I would bring over a damn Brita filter or $8 flat from Costco, not insult you and make demands! Jeez.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:00 PM on July 11, 2016 [21 favorites]

Forget everything I wrote and I agree w Kate blank entirely.
posted by griphus at 6:01 PM on July 11, 2016

I love this idea of him gifting you a Brita pitcher, it does seem like a lovely compromise.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:03 PM on July 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

So using your time, apartment that you've paid for, electricity, car space? isn't enough, he now demands you stock his snacks at your expense and bottled water. What next, pick up his laundry and wipe his bottom? Most people in your situation would be asking him to chip in for rent and electricity, instead, you double down and cater for all his nutritional needs too. I'd kick this entitled asshole to the curb but something tells me you won't do that.

He's trying to see how much he can get out of you and how far he can push you. Prepare very soon for him to tell you that he might as well just move in (on your dime of course) and then you'll have your very own pet man child to support, cook and clean up after. This should be the honeymoon period and the way he's acting now says things are only going to get way way worse.
posted by Jubey at 6:04 PM on July 11, 2016 [33 favorites]

oh yeah if this is the same guy? or a guy who knows all about the last guy? just launch him right into the fucking sun.
posted by poffin boffin at 6:07 PM on July 11, 2016 [54 favorites]

None of your reasons why you should do this hold water for me. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) If he can't afford bottled water then he shouldn't be drinking it. He shouldn't be expecting you to subsidize it for him.

In all seriousness, your boyfriend is being ungrateful and maybe also an ass. It's not a requirement that you stock things for him, it's something you did to be kind and generous. The recipient of such really doesn't get to dictate a list and then get pissy as fuck to boot over your not wanting to provide an item AND on top of that instead of restocking his own water he mentioned it to you like it was... your job to provide bottled water?

Hell no.
posted by sm1tten at 6:10 PM on July 11, 2016 [7 favorites]

Stocking specific foods for a partner who doesn't live with you, especially if you are the one physically getting them and/or paying, is a kind gesture and should be appreciated as such. You're keeping food in your kitchen for him? Food that isn't for you? More than one type of food? THAT'S REALLY FUCKING NICE. That's already above and beyond what most partners do or expect! If I were dating someone who always had my preferred brand of trail mix, even just one bag, I'd be completely smitten and bragging about my awesome generous partner to everyone within earshot. Who does this doofus think you are, the backstage crew at a Van Halen concert?

It's not about the bottled water, any more than the Van Halen rider was about brown M&Ms. You're doing something really generous for him, and instead of realizing how lucky he is, he's trying to convince you it's not enough. That's a bad sign. You deserve to have your kindness recognized and appreciated.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:14 PM on July 11, 2016 [32 favorites]

It matters to you. It's your place. Also, you are not a vending machine. You were completely reasonable to tell him he can bring water over if it was important to him. And for him to suggest that that somehow wasn't loving is ridiculous. People who love each other frequently disagree and that's just fine.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:17 PM on July 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm married. I have a Thing about bottled water which is about exactly your thing. My husband doesn't.

We have a Britta filter and my husband takes charge of it and its filters. AND he pours me water out of it cause it's cold. And he says nothing like told you so. Because he's an adult and I'm not his mommy against whom he rebels. He takes care of me too.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:22 PM on July 11, 2016 [14 favorites]

If you have a talk with him about this that turns out really well, and it turns out there are lots of other things you didn't include in the text of your question that makes this not unbelievably boorish behavior and boundary-pushing gaslighting crap, there are good compromises for this specific issue.

He can purchase a nice glass or acrylic water bottle, maybe more than one. He can purchase the filtering pitcher that he likes, or even one of those doohickeys that go over the faucet. You can reorganize the fridge to make space for these things and also, you know, allow him to make changes to your water situation in your own home. He gets filtered water and bottles from which to drink it, he gets fridge space to keep them very cold, you aren't contributing to landfills. He is responsible for washing and refilling his own bottles. If your preference changes in future, you can buy your own bottle to keep next to his, and take turns buying replacement filters.
posted by Mizu at 6:23 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

The way to let your host know that they're running out of something you've been eating goes like this:

"Hey, I wanted to let you know that I ate a bunch of your [delicious favorite snack] that I also love, I really appreciate you keeping this here for me and I don't want to eat the last one or anything. I've kind of been inhaling these things because they're totally cracktastic, can I replace them for you or at least chip in on some more?"

Consider how far off his response is from this and make decisions accordingly.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:25 PM on July 11, 2016 [18 favorites]

My boyfriend and I keep a few treats for each other at our houses. The way we do it (note: we split expenses 50-50 in general) is to go grocery shopping together regularly and pick up the stuff then. We each buy our own treats, regardless of whose house they end up being stored at, and shared stuff is split 50-50, again regardless of where it's stored. It works pretty well for us.

Aside from that suggestion, I'll agree with others that asking you to pay for (let alone make the effort to keep it stocked regularly, on your own!!) treats for him is unreasonable, and particularly concerning if you have a history of acquiescing to unreasonable demands in relationships.
posted by randomnity at 6:34 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing those above who talk about emotional labor, him being demanding, you're not his mom, etc.

But putting that aside, if this were a squabble within a generally healthy cohabiting relationship--have you ever talked about your feelings about bottled water? Does he know that that's what's happening for you?

In situations like this, if he really prefers bottled water despite understanding all the factors, I think it's helpful not to be judgy. Don't nag him, and make it clear that you don't care if he drinks bottled water, but you're just not comfortable (based on your own quirks) providing it.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:52 PM on July 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

He wants bottled water? DTMFA!!! (Just kidding.)

I honestly can't tell if i am being unreasonable here or he is.

Hey, you're both being a little quirky -- and I say this with love, as a quirky person in a relationship with another quirky person. Ask yourself whether this is the hill you really want to die on. Only you can answer that.
posted by phoenix_rising at 6:57 PM on July 11, 2016

Another compromise route that we use because our water is good: Get a water cooler and one of those big bottles (19L) or a couple of the smaller ones (~10l). Then just refill the jug from the tap (we have to use our bathtub faucet). This gets one fridge cold water without the water jug taking up fridge space and without the water taking on fridge taste. We then dispense the water it assorted containers depending on where we are using the water.

However your boyfriend should be buying all this.
posted by Mitheral at 7:07 PM on July 11, 2016

Others have hit on this already, but why does it not bother him that this bothers you? That, to me, is much bigger than asking for food to be stocked (which is already a red flag). Here's another way to think about it: he's not willing to consider how to work with you on this, knowing that it's part of your moral calculus about life. Do you think this would be the only time this comes up? What happens when there are things that are more than a passing inconvenience?

My wife and I have differences of opinion regarding what kinds of economic hills to defend. I would feel like an ass if I tried to make one of my wife's heart-felt issues a negotiable because I was thirsty for something or felt slightly inconvenienced. This is a really big deal that empathy is not being expressed for your position, to the point that he's asking you to violate a principle. We can't make other people sign on to our moral concerns (although it's nice when they do), but we certainly can ask that people don't press us to compromise our carefully considered values, even if they don't agree with them.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:12 PM on July 11, 2016 [12 favorites]

kate blank already said it all, perfectly, but it bears repeating: you have had 20+ years of brutal training to always and unthinkingly put a man's needs before your own, which is going to leave some traces - so, good job recognizing this is a situation that merits asking for perspective, and please consider that, for all that it's just water, he is asking you to compromise your principles for his comfort. Even within marriage that is something you are allowed to question without it being "vetoing his choices."
posted by gingerest at 7:17 PM on July 11, 2016 [37 favorites]

The other day he commented that I was running low and I said you know if it's that important to you, YOU could always buy some and bring it over here. And he got upset and felt that my attitude was bean counting and not very loving.

gingerbeer and I have lived together since 2002-ish and married since 2004-ish (long story) and I still buy my own fucking snacks because I am a grownup who can buy the snacks she knows her sweetie doesn't eat. I mean, if she's going to the store for regular shared stuff she will ask if there's anything else I want (and vice-versa) but in general, we are responsible for our own individual snacks that the other person doesn't eat or like or whatever.

Your boyfriend is being unreasonable and kind of a pill about this.
posted by rtha at 7:28 PM on July 11, 2016 [14 favorites]

Have you shared with him how unhappy it makes you to buy bottled water? Maybe he just didn't realize it was a big deal.
posted by samthemander at 7:31 PM on July 11, 2016

The other day he commented that I was running low and I said...

There's your flag right there. You aren't running low, he is.

The situation you're describing is so alien to me that I can't really offer any further help. I remember once my girlfriend bought some biscuits that she knew I liked before I went there, and I was really touched. She is vegetarian by personal choice and I always buy vegetarian foods for her and cook either completely that way or two different meals.

You buying things he likes is lovely of you. Him asking you buy things, particularly things that you object to, without clearly offering to pay for them is extremely unreasonable. Accusing you of bean-counting when you point out how ridiculous it is to buy bottled water is a smoke-screen for his sense of entitlement. I would say that it's a big red flag you need to take notice of...
posted by tillsbury at 7:35 PM on July 11, 2016 [12 favorites]

Why in god's name does he expect you to buy him food for free and then complain if you don't? I mean what the FUCK? If he wasn't dating you, either he'd buy his own damn bottled water or he'd go without it, but for him to WHINE when you VERY REASOABLY ask him why he doesn't buy his own bottled water if he cares so much? Seriously, this guy is garbage.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:43 PM on July 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: No, this guy is NOT garbage. He does many kind things for me and has helped me immensely in getting out of my previous situation. He picks up the tab plenty when we go out and even brings over breakfast he's stopped to pick up now and then. It's just we don't agree on this issue and both had trouble seeing the other's pov. But the unanimous chorus here that I'm not out of line to ask him to pick up his own water is helpful. Although the filter idea is nice too. And I like taking care of a fellow ..I just dont want it to be demanded I guess. And we've known each other for a few years now and I consider him to be my best friend ..I'm not sure if that changes the acceptability of his expectations and requests.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 7:57 PM on July 11, 2016

"And he got upset and felt that my attitude was bean counting and not very loving."

Too the fuck bad. It's not very loving to demand that someone else provide not just snacks but bottle water for your grown ass. And more to the point, it's a dick move to complain about bean counting and a loving attitude because someone else hasn't done you enough of a favor.
posted by klangklangston at 8:08 PM on July 11, 2016 [19 favorites]

You both sound like lovely people. I bet he was caught off guard when you told him to get his own water and made a dumb-but-forgivable knee-jerk response.

One key to a great relationship is communication. If you feel that this is worth pursuing, sit him down gently and let him know that you feel pretty strongly about this. Not in a confrontational way, but just a "hey this is how I feel" way. It's on you to set clear boundaries about what you're willing and not willing to get for him. You might not understand his preference for bottled water, and he may not understand your opposition to it, but that's ok as long as you guys come to a compromise that you're both happy about.
posted by phoenix_rising at 8:16 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Doing nice things sometimes or in some areas doesn't excuse acting like an ass in others. Try looking up the famous poop milkshake comment.

If this was a one-off misunderstanding, that's one thing. But if it's part of a pattern of him feeling entitled to have you take care of things he can perfectly well do himself, then you deserve way better.
posted by ktkt at 8:22 PM on July 11, 2016 [9 favorites]

And I like taking care of a fellow ..I just don't want it to be demanded I guess. And we've known each other for a few years now and I consider him to be my best friend ..I'm not sure if that changes the acceptability of his expectations and requests.

I don't think it does? I mean, sure, kate blank notes it's too soon in the relationship for the level of intimacy implied by his demands, but I don't think that is changed by your having known each other for several years. And it doesn't actually excuse, as you say, demanding that you take care of him, and getting "upset" when you decline. It's wonderful that he's helped you leave your previous situation, but, please, be careful that you haven't just leaped from one cage to another.

It may seem contradictory to say this when I'm advocating for you to be less unquestioningly giving, but "kind things" and help in perilous circumstances are minimum requirements of a loving relationship. Truly, you aren't obliged to cater to him, much less to compromise your personal beliefs, to merit his attention, affection, or assistance - that's all stuff a loving partner gives you because your happiness and safety are central to his well-being. When you love someone, you value them for who they are, not for what they provide.
posted by gingerest at 8:27 PM on July 11, 2016 [14 favorites]

Lots of good advice here about boundaries and what's reasonable etc. so I'm going to take a different focus.

Nowhere in your post that I see do you explain why he needs bottled water. Not that one's partner must justify every little preference, but you have some perfectly reasonable objections; it's a waste of money, it doesn't taste better. If you wanted you could also add that bottled water is awful for the environment (tons of unnecessary plastic compared to tap water) and is at best only equally safe and at worst actually more likely to have bacterial growth (sits on a shelf, no chlorine depending on brand). What counterargument in favor of you stocking a product you dislike does he have other than "I want it?" This isn't exactly the same as keeping an extra jar of his preferred brand of peanut butter or something else no reasonable person would object to. You have moderately strong feelings about something. Does he acknowledge that at all?
posted by Wretch729 at 8:30 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I guess what I'm saying is if he had a reason, something like "I have anxiety about tap water, I know it's irrational but this is just a thing that makes my life easier." I'd be much more sympathetic. No reason besides unconsidered preference just seems like entitlement to me.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:34 PM on July 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's awesome that he's kind to you and does nice things for you. You are kind to him and do nice things for him. The thing is, he doesn't get to tell you what nice things you have to do for him. You can keep on being a kind person and a good girlfriend, and that doesn't mean buying bottles of water. He can ask you for a favor, and you could win "girlfriend points" by doing it, but if you're not allowed to say no, it's not a request, and any apparent good feelings of being nice to him are in some sense just maintaining a status quo, and he wouldn't notice you being nice or kind or giving or loving, it would just be business as usual. So if it would feel like a big deal to you, and it would be largely unacknowledged by him (because hey, all fridges spontaneously generate bottle of water!) then it's really not worth it, and it's time to have a chat.
posted by aimedwander at 8:35 PM on July 11, 2016 [29 favorites]

if we were married and he asked me to pick it up at the grocery store on my next visit I'd do so without question bc hey we are married and I don't get to veto his choices for our shared space using our shared income

What? No, sure you do. Expert source: me, who has been married almost 20 years.

I do almost all the shopping for the Corpse household, but if Mr Corpse wanted, oh, I don't know, Smuckers jam made from high-fructose corn syrup, I would either bring home a different brand or not bring any home at all.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:35 PM on July 11, 2016 [9 favorites]

There isn't that much information in your post about the whole relationship but...just remember, people don't just show you who they are when they do something nice for you that they want to do, or when you do things for them that they want you to do. They show you who they are also are when there's something you don't want to do or they don't want to do.

The fact that he turned a simple ask on your part into a bean counting discussion is just one piece of information but it could be a significant one.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:45 PM on July 11, 2016 [16 favorites]

Britta for you, Kleen Kanteen for him. He gets bottled water and you don't have to always stock bottled water.
posted by carsonb at 8:57 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

No, this guy is NOT garbage.

A guy can be perfectly normal, kind, and nice, and still be too mired in sexist entitled expectations to make a good partner, especially for someone just out of a 20-year abusive relationship. I remember several of your past questions - and I'm so so glad that you're out of the relationship you were in before.

He does many kind things for me and has helped me immensely in getting out of my previous situation.

But this does not give him carte blanche to demand things of you. I think you may still be missing the point - people here aren't so much upset that he wants bottled water, they're upset that his reaction to a very very very minor disagreement was to go "nuclear option" on you and call your reluctance to cater to his minor whims "not very loving." That's a harsh, cruel thing to say to a person over some bottled water (especially, I believe, in the context of your religious background.)

And we've known each other for a few years now and I consider him to be my best friend ..I'm not sure if that changes the acceptability of his expectations and requests.

Well, in a way it does - when my BFF says, "I would prefer not to do [x]", I take them seriously, because they're my best friend. We figure out a compromise that works for both of us, or I live without [x], because the friendship is more valuable. So it's arguably actually LESS acceptable for him to be demanding things.

I'd do so without question bc hey we are married and I don't get to veto his choices for our shared space using our shared income. [. . .] And I like taking care of a fellow

In the kindest way, I'm concerned that between your past relationship and the socio-cultural expectations of your religious background (and the general sexism of American society), you are not yet in the head-space to understand healthy boundaries and relationships. For all that this guy helped you out of your previous horrible relationship, it doesn't mean that he's good for you, or good for you right now - and that doesn't make him a Bad Person, necessarily, either. I think you could benefit from taking a break from all romantic relationships and digging deep into understanding and defining yourself as an individual of value in God's eyes and your own, regardless of whether you are partnered with a man.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:07 PM on July 11, 2016 [38 favorites]

Controlling and boundary pushing people usually only control their romantic partners . You haven't been in a relationship with him for years. Pretend, for this situation, that you only just met. Then judge if he's being reasonable. White knights are a thing. He may not be everything you think he is as a partner. I'm worried about you when you use the language of taking care of someone. It feels like you haven't worked out your own worth and healthy boundaries.

He can buy his own water filter and reusable water bottle for use at your place. Save the environment and the world. He's the one with a vested interest, he's the one with kids who want a future.
posted by taff at 9:13 PM on July 11, 2016 [7 favorites]

I'm alarmed that when you don't want to keep buying this product (even if you didn't have good reasons, which you do), he blows it up into you being "not loving." That's manipulative BS. Loving doesn't mean "you do what I want."
posted by lakeroon at 9:28 PM on July 11, 2016 [34 favorites]

And he got upset and felt that my attitude was bean counting and not very loving.

Uh, by the same measure, he is also bean counting and not being very loving, no?

He needs to not resort to turning an incredibly minor disagreement over groceries into some sort of bullshit manipulative character assassination rather than just compromising like a fucking adult.
posted by desuetude at 11:06 PM on July 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Hi, OP.

I just want to say that I see folks on this thread I almost never ever see on AskMe, and each one of them wrote a super kind answer breaking down why this demanding thing is a red flag. I'm blown away by the thoughtfulness and quality and tone of these answers.

That said

Sadly, someone like this I had known even longer was my best friend and became a boyfriend... Turned out up close he was hands down the worst person I have EVER been truly personally close with. The blinders I had on when I chose him as a partner were epic. Words fail me. It was so bad.

I learned a lot about my progress as a person trying to heal from an abusive childhood, but I wish I had wised up the first time something like this happened. I was so dumb and in love.

posted by jbenben at 11:06 PM on July 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Now that I've slept on it and read more of the answers, I'd like to add: you can always say no. It doesn't matter what the request is, how long you've known each other, or how much else you agree on. You never, ever lose or waive your veto power. The strength of a relationship may be built in the yeses, but it's proven in the nos. If you aren't happy with how you work through disagreements together, or if you don't feel comfortable disagreeing, it's a sign that something's not right.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:57 AM on July 12, 2016 [30 favorites]

I am also glad he has been helpful as you left your previous relationship; that's great.

And while he is probably not garbage, he appears pretty selfish/childish.

he has requested that I stock some of his favorite things regularly in the fridge for snacking/meals

This is a bit of a red flag. He requested you buy him snackies? Why on earth can he not provide his own considering he's a guest?

Worse, he got upset and felt that my attitude was bean counting and not very loving.

This is a GIANT red flag. You, as gracious host, are bean counting because you ran low on a product you don't even want to buy? He actually got upset because you were running low on his environmentally wasteful special water? This is something children do. I take that back; my own children wouldn't even do this. Then he said you weren't very loving because of this?

This is a person who goes from 0 to 100 WAY TOO QUICKLY when they're inconvenienced.

So to your question of is he being unreasonable, the answer is resoundingly HELL YES HE IS BEING UNREASONABLE and you may want to reconsider offering him the use of your home so he can get away from his roommates, and I'd like to float the question of how old is he and he still has roommates? I ask because I dated a 50 year old who also lived with a bunch of guys and it turned out he was not a very mature man.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:29 AM on July 12, 2016 [19 favorites]

Best answer: I mostly agree with the other posts.

Having said that - All we have is a very specific description, so all we can do is to tear him apart and to judge him for how wrong he was.

To reframe your question - it sounds like the real issue is that you have differing opinions on what bottled water means to you both, without realizing it. I don't think you're disagreeing on the same thing - I think you're disagreeing on different things.

For him, it sounds like bottled water is kind of a necessity/staple, like salt or pepper. For you, it sounds like a nice but not necessary thing, like apple juice.

A: "Could you buy some salt? I noticed that you've been running out" (understandable.)
B: "Why can't you buy the salt if you want it?" (Sounds very petty indeed.)

A: "Can you buy some apple juice? I noticed that you've been running out" (very presumptuous, at least to me.)
B: "Why can't you buy the apple juice if you want it? (Sounds pretty reasonable.)

It sounds like there's a mismatch in terms of intention and communication.
Perhaps you might start by explaining these two examples and ask him how he feels about water - is water like apple juice, or like salt to him? And how about to you - which is water like to you?
posted by suedehead at 4:58 AM on July 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

I've read through this whole thread, and I think suedehead may be on the right track with this comment:
For him, it sounds like bottled water is kind of a necessity/staple, like salt or pepper. For you, it sounds like a nice but not necessary thing, like apple juice.

As others have said, the proper compromise move is probably to get a Brita filter/pitcher and keep it in the fridge if he likes the filtered water cool (I do, and I do that).

One comment - if you are both in Northern Virginia like me - I think our water, while treated and safe to drink, tastes nasty right out of the tap without running it through a Brita filter. If he is like me I can see why he may have gotten into the habit of drinking bottled water. However, I think it is unreasonable of him to expect you to stock it for him. I think you getting a Brita filter/pitcher is a good compromise (and you may find you like it better yourself!), but if he still wants bottled water after you have done that, then he should stock that himself.
posted by gudrun at 5:35 AM on July 12, 2016

He helped you leave your abusive partner of 20 years - a month ago? Ok... I can see why you might appreciate him. Maybe you feel indebted to him. But it really does take a bit of time to undo the kind of learning that happens in a relationship like the one you left. To recalibrate your sense of what is normal, what your boundaries are, and to learn to feel ok about your own self and space, and taking care of it (with boundaries).

That relationship with your ex is still resonating into this one, lending it its intensity, maybe in the gratitude you might feel, or the closeness that is offered after a particular kind of need or loneliness...

This guy may be wonderful, but it is still a really good idea to be careful. To say no when it needs to be said. So that you can ground your giving in a more fully realized and solid independence. So that you know that the *reason* you're giving is because you *want* to, not because it's a hangover from old habits.

Seems like this is all happening kind of fast... Any way to keep seeing him but maybe slow it down a little? To give yourself time to make sense of everything? It'll probably take longer than one month. (For me, it took a couple of years, after five. After 20... definitely more than a month.) Hurtling *right* into a relationship with the guy who saved you from a bad one doesn't give you space to really breathe or process what's happening. You need to understand history to avoid repeating it...

Maybe it'd be good to really dig into ideas that will help with clarifying all of that, so you can more clearly recognize which demands are ok, which aren't, and *choose* your response to them. And to recognize any old patterns that might come up, in you or in your boyfriend. You really need to build up that resource within yourself. Even if he's great. Because this issue is red flaggy.

(Why does he do that, Bancroft; Codependent no more, Beatty; Too good to leave, too bad to stay, Kirshenbaum (will help with noticing flags and green lights); The verbally abusive relationship, Evans.)

So anyway, with the water issue... I have reason to believe my pipes have some lead in them, and a filtration system that properly addresses this costs more than bottled water. Like it's cheap :/ if he wants this water, he just needs to pay.

Also, that crap shouldn't be taking up half your fridge. Where are you putting your food? See what I mean, you want to be accommodating, because you identify with that and you're grateful, but it means you have *less space for your own food*. Priority check, your **need** to eat food *every day* is more important than his **preference** for a certain kind of water on the weekend. If you value yourself appropriately .

Please check out some of those books?

He can bring his own water, keep it in the ***garage**** (or unobtrusive place in the pantry) , and use **ice** to make it cold, if he wants it cold.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:37 AM on July 12, 2016 [23 favorites]

JFC I can't even

he's coming to your house during the day and he expects you to buy him shit


Kick his ass to the kerb stat.
posted by disconnect at 7:15 AM on July 12, 2016 [11 favorites]

I really think the bottled water is a red herring here.

The crux of the question to me is, what should you do about a man who (at the one month mark already!) feels so entitled to your kindness that he will make nasty personal accusations when you put a limit on what you're comfortable with doing for him in your own home.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:17 AM on July 12, 2016 [39 favorites]

Best answer: I actually want to apologize for the possible implication that you don't know yourself or are somehow completely confused - you *did* recognize there is a problem, that's why you asked this question, to know how to deal with it; your self-preserving instinct is so clear in your update:

And I like taking care of a fellow ..I just dont want it to be demanded I guess.

Right. Exactly correct diagnosis (IMO & the O of others here).

The reason I think we are suggesting caution is because of this:

And we've known each other for a few years now and I consider him to be my best friend ..

The desire for closeness can just make things wonky, and the patterns that drive our strategies for getting it are so deep and ingrained, that it just does take some unpacking. And space for that unpacking. Especially after a time like you've had. And I think you know as well as I do how slippery this kind of slope can be, if we're not really, really careful. You see a little flag, and then maybe find a way to explain it away, because you want a best friend, so very much.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:02 AM on July 12, 2016 [7 favorites]

Best answer: (And of course you can be naturally giving and kind, without being codependent. You want to be a good host, good partner; you're a good person - that's wonderful. It's just that it's exactly this quality that can complicate things, when the comfort with, habit of, setting boundaries isn't so solid, and when the experience of someone taking advantage of it is still so fresh.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:12 AM on July 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Clear a space on a shelf & a plastic container in the fridge. Show them to him & go here is where you can put your snacks & bottled water. Feel free to bring any supplies you want.

It's Ok to stock some things he likes anyway, but you are not a restaurant he does not get to demand what you keep for him.
posted by wwax at 9:32 AM on July 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hi again - I answered your previous AskMe, and am so happy for you that you're now out of your abusive relationship. I got out of mine 8 years ago, and I just want to share with you some of what I experienced between my divorce and my current relationship, in case it resonates or is useful to you.

In relationships between my ex-husband and my fiance, I dated a few people who saw my vulnerability and wanted to save me, take advantage of me, or some combination of the above. I found it very difficult to recalibrate after 6 years with a man who treated me so poorly that I saw any crumb of kindness as a feast. I had set the very lowest bar (doesn't hit, shout at, belittle, or shame me), and I was so eager to reward my new boyfriend(s) for not being my ex - showering upon them the carefully-constructed meals and effusive affection which my ex had criticized (as two examples), lapping up the praise I got from them. Here's the hard thing: a lot of people, maybe even most people, when faced with a partner who is willing to do anything for them, will ask everything of them. I learned to say no with kindness and firmness, accept the grousing and fussing from them in response to not getting their way, and expect that - unlike the ex, who was immovable and unempathetic (I think at least in part because he knew I would back down and took pleasure in seeing me acquiesce) - a new partner should have the capacity to accept not getting their way and respect me more for standing up for myself, even when we disagree. Because they see me as an autonomous person with my own needs and desires - an equal partner in an equal partnership to which we both bring both gifts and needs. Having boundaries is a good thing. It's ok to say no even if it feels a bit selfish. Even if rationally it isn't such a big deal. Because the point of the matter should be that he cares more for you - human, fallible, lovable you - than he does about having [thing].

One more little tidbit, because his reaction to the absence of bottled water in your fridge dinged a bell for me - do you happen to know why his previous relationship ended (presumably with the mother of his children)? Some people get into relationships because they want a new parent figure/carer. People like you and me, who have been in abusive relationships, fall easily into the New Mommy or New Daddy role, and people who have those kinds of issues can fall easily into expecting that kind of treatment (being Mommy or Daddy's little prince or princess). It can work for some couples, but for people with a history of being mistreated, it worries me. Putting someone else's needs ahead of our own is a slippery slope. Just something to ponder, if it resonates.
posted by pammeke at 9:43 AM on July 12, 2016 [41 favorites]

I want to nth pammeke's comment about single parents who get into relationships because they want parenting help. I was in a relationship with a man with two young children and fell into that very role. It's really easy when you're someone who wants to please, likes children and is used to getting crumbs. It wasn't pretty. At one point he even called me by the nanny's name. Luckily I'm out, but something in your post reminded me of that relationship, which made me wonder if part of this is that you are willing to buy things for him because he has kids and you don't. I did this a lot, even as I watched him irresponsibly spend his money. Being the gf or stepmom is a really tough job and especially so for people who have weak boundaries or are prone to feeling guilty or being manipulated. Just be aware that that can happen. I agree with commenters that he's being manipulative. I think the phrase is that he's gaslighting you into thinking you did something wrong. You didn't. People have recommended the early posts on Baggage Reclaim on here for help in firming up your boundaries. I found them inspiring. Good luck!
posted by kewpiesockpuppetdoll at 10:06 AM on July 12, 2016

You've got plenty of great responses above.

I just wanted to add my 2 cents as someone who does not drink tap water. I have digestive health issues and tap water doesn't work for me - the chlorine plus fluoride make me burp all day, it's so attractive. And I'm always thirsty, so I drink a lot of water. However, I have never ever demanded bottled water from anyone, not even my significant other. I'll bring my own anywhere I go. And if staying with someone, I politely ask where I can put the rest. It's nice of them to buy it for me, but I absolutely do not demand it, especially not from someone who drinks tap water.

Something seems off about him being demanding about it.
posted by Neekee at 3:01 PM on July 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

You are in a space where you need and deserve a partner who is super good at boundaries and loving communication. Even if it's just one totally isolated act, your partner has just shown he's not great at these things.

I venture to say that a truly loving best friend would tell you, "don't jump right into any relationship a month after escaping years of abuse". The fact that this guy didn't give you more space to heal again reinforces that he's just not awesome with boundaries.
posted by Ausamor at 8:10 PM on July 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

To give a slightly different perspective:
I have a serious reaction from drinking tap water - whether it's bottled tap water. filtered tap water or straight from the tap. My throat gets tight and itchy, and I suddenly feel super dehydrated and flushed, and it will even go to a migraine if I keep drinking it. This started a few years ago, but until then I was militant about using a Brita and never buying bottled if I could help it.

HOWEVER...I just went to stay for a night with my best friend from high school. She asked if there was anything she could get for me. I said we'd figure it out there, and when I got in, we walked to the store and I bought myself a brand of bottled water I can drink. She and her husband make at LEAST 4-5x what I make, and they actually offered so they could make me more comfortable. But because it's something that many consider a luxury, I bought it for myself.

YMMV, but that's how I'd want someone else to handle it. Hell, I would do the same as my friend and ask what they wanted me to get for them. But if she showed up at my place and gave me a list of things to stock for her, that would be pretty rude (and that's where most commenters focused on with their answers). And if she made a passive aggressive comment about running low on something, I'd call her out on it and we'd figure out how to resolve it together.

I can see that you want this to be a special thing for your partner. But it's really okay to set limits and ask him to buy his own water if it makes a difference to him.

The real issue is having the difficult conversation about the emotional labour you're doing and the expectations he has of you and your home. That conversation is WAY more important than who buys the bottled water.
posted by guster4lovers at 11:40 PM on July 12, 2016

Should I keep buying bottled water against my kneejerk GRAR resentment of doing so (I can afford it no problem) and try to find a way to change my attitude and be more loving about it

YES. If you're going to stock up your fridge, then buy the water as well.

This being said, why can't he bloody buy his own groceries?
posted by Kwadeng at 12:18 AM on July 13, 2016

I'm back in because I've been thinking about this question and I finally remembered:

About five years ago, an ex-bf got in touch with me and we rekindled our relationship. We had let things fall apart in our 20's, 25 years had passed and we began dating. It got very serious very quickly, even though I live in Boston and he lived in NY. We alternated weekends at each others' houses (except he shared a place with roomies; I have my own place with my kids).

Whenever he was coming for the weekend, I would happily buy foods I knew he liked. Pretzels, good sandwich stuff, teas, coffees, chips, stuff that we could all eat. He never asked me to buy this stuff initially but began requesting expensive craft beer, which annoyed me slightly because I don't drink and I thought if he wanted it so badly he should buy it himself.

But what I came back in to say because in hindsight it said so much about his lack of character was that when I went to visit him, he never had anything special for ME. Not only did he not get me the coffee I love or special gluten-free anything (I have Celiac disease) but he wouldn't even have coffee or tea (despite knowing I am a person who cannot speak until I've had coffee) and once he had no toilet paper. Sidenote: his place was filthy and I'd drive four hours for an unmade bed and just -- I mean yuck -- everywhere.

So I may be reading WAY too much into your question, but to me, I see a pattern. Someone who expects you to do things for you, who gets pissed when you don't do a thing they're already over the line asking for -- in my experience, this turns out to be a very selfish and emotionally immature person. Someone who will end up wanting to be taken care of. Someone who keeps score and notes all the things you don't do for them and it all kind of blows up eventually when you get sick of it.

This MAY NOT be your case, but the more I think about it, it may be and this is an early warning sign.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 5:36 AM on July 13, 2016 [9 favorites]

Your boyfriend is a mental juvenile. You are not obliged to buy shit and even if you were, bottled water is extremely environmentally unfriendly.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:36 PM on July 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Update: we reached a compromise. He's given me $$ to cover the water and
I've agreed to pick it up on my grocery runs so it is here for him. And if I happen to forget sometimes he will not freak out (which is part of my reluctance to take responsibility for things bc i have some ADD tendencies and in my last relationship if i fell down on a task that was assigned to me there was hell to pay). And to help with the emotional labor aspect of it he's agreed to go on my grocery shopping runs with me occasionally so it's not all on my shoulders to do the labor of stocking the fridge here where we spend most of our time together. He just didn't understand why I so refused to budge on this "small" issue that mattered to him when i'm so generous with my time, money, and efforts on so many other things that i decide to to all on my own to please him (bake fancy cakes, plan amazing trips, etc) and when I already go to the grocery store every week anyway. It seemed like I was trying to just be difficult to him or nickle and dime him. And i was stuck on the manners principle of the issue where you don't obligate other people who are hosting you to do your labor and cover your expenses for you. I still think bottled water is stupid and wasteful but as someone upthread earlier asked me- is this the hill you want to die on- and i guess the answer is NO.

and i still stick with the "if we were married i would never veto my spouse's grocery requests" bc my husband used to do that to me, even though i was the primary breadwinner and it felt very controlling and gross. Unless your purchase is really sick and twisted I'm not going to tell my spouse ever what is or is not allowed in our fridge/pantry nor refuse to pick it up for him if i am at the store anyway. But we are not spouses yet -we've only been seeing each other for about 2 years (yes, there was overlap; no judging please - if I hadn't met my boyfriend I would have NEVER had the courage to get out of my abusive marriage).
posted by TestamentToGrace at 10:58 AM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wow, that's really big of your boyfriend to go grocery shopping with you occasionally so he can help you spend even more of your money on him. Maybe he'll let you buy him beer and cigarettes too, so he can relax while you bake him cakes and plan his trips!

If you ask me, he saw you with your ex and thought, "Why should that guy get to take advantage of a woman. It should be me doing it instead." Your post has more red flags than China. This is not the reassuring update you seem to think it is.
posted by Jubey at 4:36 PM on July 14, 2016 [27 favorites]

> And to help with the emotional labor aspect of it he's agreed to go on my grocery shopping runs with me occasionally so it's not all on my shoulders to do the labor of stocking the fridge

It still is, you'll just occasionally have company.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:53 PM on July 14, 2016 [22 favorites]

I’m willing to bet that something about the path this thread took, particularly at first rubbed you the wrong way, and I think that response was entirely appropriate. I think you’ve been profoundly poorly served by here by all of the posters criticizing your instincts and telling you to attempt to replace them with theirs.

Your instincts are working just fine. You recognized that this situation was getting unhealthy in an unexamined way, you looked to figure out what about the context of the situation was causing the unhealthy dynamics, and now you’ve come up with an good solution that is yours. I'm still concerned for you about just how much this dude is getting from you in terms of your attention and emotional labor (Please do read that thread!), but you are seriously doing an incredibly impressive job of navigating this for being so quickly out of such a terrible relationship. Is he also doing amazing things for you? Do you feel like you can expect that of him like you should in a healthy relationship? Whatever he has done for you, you don't owe this man your unhappiness and you are worth a healthy relationship with someone who values you as much as you value them.

One of the primary was in which women in particular are oppressed in relationships is in being socialized to not trust their instincts, to devalue them, and to consider them irrational. This only serves one purpose, to make women more vulnerable and manipulate-able. You're instincts seem to be just fine, trust and develop them!
posted by Blasdelb at 2:07 AM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

Thank you for your update, OP! One last thing, as someone who has been in similar shoes: I found that my natural setting as far as "things I go out of my way to do for my partner" shifted over the first few years after I left my abusive ex-husband. I was so used to going over & above for the ex in a futile effort to please him (he slowly raised the bar higher & higher until my naturally giving nature was overtaken by a constant and desperate effort to either get the praise he used to give me or avoid the wrath I was so frequently the target of), that going over & above felt natural for a while. Slowly I have come back to my me-ness (I *like* doing special things for my partner, I *love* sharing my talents, skills, and affection). I have come back to my home base of "this feels comfortable, this is something I am giving freely" versus "this is more than what feels comfortable to me, this is not coming naturally and it doesn't make me happy" - and feeling at ease expressing that to my partner without worrying that he'll find my stance unacceptable (going back to my previous comment that he should care more for me - human, fallible, lovable me - than he does about having [thing]). As Blasdelb says above, trust your instincts - they are good! You do you.
posted by pammeke at 9:48 AM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Your update only made things worse, honestly. He doesn't sound like an equal partner to you. Please, please re-read your words and truly think about if a friend were saying them to you, how you would advise them. This person is demanding that you buy them things simply BECAUSE they are already taking advantage of your kindness and hanging out at your house a lot. That is not how things work! I don't get to invite myself to a friend's house and then get mad when they don't have the snacks I like. Offering to go shopping with my friend WHILE THEY SPEND MONEY ON ME is not generosity on my part. Additionally, if I said to this friend, "Well this is dumb, you're usually really generous to me. Remember how you got me a birthday present, and took me out to dinner, and you always call to check on me? Well it's weird that you won't also extend yourself to keep my favorite food on hand at your house." That makes no sense, honey. None. This is not how nice, polite, loving partners act and I'm so sad for you that you think it is. You deserve better! You deserve someone who says, "Hey I know you don't love bottled water but since I'm around so much I'm going to stock up on some. Can I keep it at your place, and pick up some of those sodas you like too?" THAT is what good partners do.

I'm sorry you're going through this and I hope you soon recognize you deserve better!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 10:17 AM on July 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

"if we were married i would never veto my spouse's grocery requests"

This was bothering me, it felt as if you were volunteering to be bullied and placing a lot of second-class-citizen burden on the concept of being someone's wife vs a mere girlfriend. And then I started thinking about it, and I realized I would never veto my spouse's grocery requests either.

That's not because I'll do anything he tells me, though - it's because by the time we got married we'd been together 3 years, and we'd already adapted to each other's beliefs and values about how we wanted the household to run. Things like this question came up all the time - in my house it would be, whole milk or 2%, and is it worth the money to get organic lettuce, and cans of seltzer vs 2liter vs soda siphon. But one of the reasons he's my husband not my ex-boyfriend is because I wouldn't have to veto his grocery requests, because we've had discussions until we agree on what we think is worth spending money on and what isn't. Part of the weirdness of your situation is the timing - you didn't question his drinking of the last batch of bottled water, which would have been a good time to discuss how you feel that it's a waste of plastic and resources and to see whether filtered water is an acceptable alternative. So my net conclusion is still the same. Talk with him, early and often - as soon as something bothers you a little bit, bring it up. Not "please don't do that, it bothers me" but "why do you do that, is it important to you? Is this negotiable?" and you can start coming to compromises on little issues, while they're still little and haven't compounded into a general behavior pattern.
posted by aimedwander at 11:52 AM on July 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just a final update. I realize there will be lots of judging but the context matters I think so I give up trying to hide it and brace for the shaming of Metafilter. I've known my BF for 3 years and when I say he helped me get the courage to leave my abusive husband what I mean is I left my husband to be with my boyfriend. There has been overlap between the two relationships for the past 2 years. He was also in a bad long term marriage and now has a divorce pending as well. So we aren't strangers making crazy requests and this isn't a rebound relationship just after i ran away from an abusive ex. We're very close. But I do think I have struggles with boundaries and I do think he is a bit of a boundary pushers so we have some stuff to work on.

That said, thanks for all the direct and honest feedback. I really appreciate it.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 1:33 PM on August 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

« Older Please help me select quality bed linens   |   Seeking songs to laugh at kids by. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.