What should I do about my relationship?
October 19, 2017 4:52 AM   Subscribe

I have been dating my boyfriend for 6 months. We are both in our early thirties. I have had a lot of doubts since the beginning of our relationship. There are aspects about him that I really like. He is very passionate with me. He is very knowledgeable about music, literature, philosophy. I like men who are easy-going, knowledgeable, ‘alternative’ and a bit rebel. He is all of that. The problem is that he does drugs.

He does weed everyday. And he does hard drugs sometimes. I don’t know the frequency, but once every few weeks. Because of his being high he has sometimes been absent from work. He talks a lot about drugs and they seem to be an important part of his life. Me, on the contrary, have never done drugs and I’m not interested in trying.

There’s also another problem, he is somehow violent and has been in many fights throughout his life. He claims that he has done it just to defend himself and his friends. However, I believe he seeks these fights sometimes for the 'excitment'. The fact that he has beaten people up is disturbing to me. He has never been violent to me but sometimes I notice that when we argue he tends to be a bit verbally aggressive. He raises his voice, uses swear words and becomes defensive and argumentative. He doesn’t discuss things calmly and with rational arguments, he gets loud and irrational. For this reason, I normally just avoid talking about things that I know upset him. Also, I am afraid that he might turn violent once we are closer or live together.

As I write this, I realize how big of a problem all this is and how I should be running away from him. However, I have feelings for him and I think we connect well otherwise. When things are good, I have a great time with him and we can talk for hours. Also, I have had problems with accepting men the way they are and I have ended so many short term relationships because I saw in these men aspects that I didn’t like. So I’m trying to work on being more accepting and tolerant. However, in this case, I think that being accepting and tolerant would be a mistake. I know that the best solution would be to end this relationship. However, I find myself doubting because I get along with him well. Because he cares about me and I care about him. And because I sometimes have the feeling that with my love maybe he could find a way out of this. I have the feeling that deep down he is a good man and he’s just lost. But when I think things rationally, I realize this is all delusional. My gut tells me that he’s not at all right for me and that he might harm me one day. I’m looking for the potential father of my children. And I don’t think that he’s the right person for that. He doesn't have the sense of responsibility and maturity that parenthood requires and I don't think he will get there soon. Also, I feel that pretending that I can change him is naïve and I shouldn’t give myself the burden of being his ‘rescuer’. What is your view?
posted by Fromthesouth to Human Relations (46 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My view is that you’ve already answered your own questions. Correctly.
posted by veggieboy at 4:58 AM on October 19, 2017 [73 favorites]

Now is not the time to be accepting and tolerant. While I understand the attraction of passion and alternative people I don't think that is what this is. This sounds more like you want to prove something to yourself and perhaps see yourself as the person who can change his wild ways--the sooner you end this the better. Limerence is not love and will fade quicker if you go no contact.
posted by waving at 5:03 AM on October 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

DTMFA. With your short and precious life, you do not have time for his bullshit.
posted by corb at 5:04 AM on October 19, 2017 [17 favorites]

Yes i think veggieboy is right. You already know tje answer. Run, and fast.
posted by chasles at 5:12 AM on October 19, 2017

DTMFA. Your sense of connection with him should not impact your thinking - we are wired to connect, and it can easily happen with people who are not good for us.
posted by bunderful at 5:15 AM on October 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

Noooo. Bad plan. I mean this in the nicest possible terms, but "I can save him from his wild lifestyle with the sheer force of love!" is ludicrous. And cliche.

Drugs is an acceptable deal breaker. Especially hard drugs. As is getting in fights. As is getting in arguments with you in the six months (!!!!!) that make you feel so uncomfortable.

This is the kind of relationship that just never ends well. Get out while you can.
posted by Jacen at 5:15 AM on October 19, 2017 [11 favorites]

I’m looking for the potential father of my children. And I don’t think that he’s the right person for that. He doesn't have the sense of responsibility and maturity that parenthood requires and I don't think he will get there soon. Also, I feel that pretending that I can change him is naïve and I shouldn’t give myself the burden of being his ‘rescuer’.

You have this Internet stranger's permission to DTMFA immediately.
posted by nerdfish at 5:16 AM on October 19, 2017 [13 favorites]

^^^^^ All of those people up there. They are right. Completely right. Feel secure enough in your self to remove yourself from this relationship.
posted by giraffeneckbattle at 5:19 AM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

He will hurt physically; he is already hurting you emotionally. This is a classic abused partner situation, which you are finally beginning to see. Do not move in with him. Cut him out of your life now, to protect your own safety and sanity. Please take care of yourself.
posted by mermayd at 5:22 AM on October 19, 2017 [12 favorites]

Please go. Go, go, go. If you stay you'll look back at this moment and regret the additional wasted time with him. There are people out there who are good and kind all the time, not just some of the time. The longer you are with someone like this, the more you'll see the bad stuff.
posted by something something at 5:24 AM on October 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

You can't save him, you can't change him. Get out, safely.
posted by runincircles at 5:38 AM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

He is in his thirties, not likely to change, and it is not your job to change him so he can be the partner he should be. All the time you are with him you are missing out on living your life, and meeting other people who will deal with issues in a calm and rational way. Please get out now and live the life you are capable of.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 5:44 AM on October 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

I think this statement -- "I normally just avoid talking about things that I know upset him" -- is the kernel of an abusive dynamic. If you can't communicate productively about things that upset him, you cannot be authentic in the relationship. If you ignore the uniform DTMFA advice in this thread (spoiler alert: unwise!), then this is what you have to resolve-- the inability to communicate about upsetting topics.
posted by Doc_Sock at 5:44 AM on October 19, 2017 [29 favorites]

The longer you wait to leave the more you will delay leaving because of how long you've been with him. Leave now. You know this is not the guy for you long term. Early 30s is past the age where the stuff you're describing is a phase/will be matured out of. Sure, people change, but people also don't change. Don't gamble on what kind of person he is.
posted by OmieWise at 5:45 AM on October 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

Plenty of people will have more and more cogent things to say then me about his drug use and apparent fondness for violence, but to address the guardian angel complex- You are not the first one to believe that all a damaged man needs is the love of a good woman to save him. As a recovering member of that club, let me ask you-what happened to all the women in his past who felt the same way; because you are not the first. You're noticing that you're already changing your behavior and actions to placate him and avoid confrontations, since he's already argumentative and emotionally abusive (hurling obscenities and yelling is meant to cause fear-that's abuse). He knows this as well, and you will become the reason for these episodes, "since you should have done a better job not upsetting him." That heady feeling of hours long conversations and connections is real, and it becomes even more potent when it's interspersed with the uncertainty and worry that he's introduced. Really, in a way we become addicted to those chemicals like with any other drugs, and stay longer than we should chasing the diminishing returns as the limerance fades and episodes of tension increase. Please listen to your gut and extricate yourself now.
posted by jacy at 5:46 AM on October 19, 2017 [9 favorites]

I sometimes have the feeling that with my love maybe he could find a way out of this.

And if he'd shown any sign at all of wanting that to be a way to go, maybe that might have some chance of happening.

He talks a lot about drugs and they seem to be an important part of his life.

So there you have it.

posted by flabdablet at 5:54 AM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

For some perspective from someone for whom drug use (even daily drug use) is not necessarily a dealbreaker - the fact that the drug use sometimes interferes with work, and (much more importantly) the aggression in his interactions with you and history of violence, are the huge red flags.

For me, "uses drugs daily" can be fine as long as you can handle it without it having a significant negative impact on your life or it turning you into an asshole around your loved ones (and missing work because of drug use does not count as handling it, in my book). I get that drug use is a huge dealbreaker for some people but I also think that framing drugs as a big issue in and of itself distracts from the really scary abusive stuff you've mentioned, particularly when he's angry. That is what would have me running.

If he smoked weed every day and was an absolute high-functioning darling otherwise? That would be okay for me, but that's not what's going on here.
posted by terretu at 6:05 AM on October 19, 2017 [14 favorites]

When things are good

Nothing you can write after this phrase justifies the implications of using this phrase.
posted by French Fry at 6:07 AM on October 19, 2017 [16 favorites]

You have described someone where the positives (have similar interests, can talk for hours, enjoy one another's company, care about one another) are all foundational to friendships and relationships. All the negatives you have described are pretty solid reasons for why this can't be the relationship that you want.

The relationships you've previously ended shouldn't give more weight to not ending this one. It is reasonable to be tolerant of things you might not prefer but ultimately don't really matter (like how someone dresses, their haircut or preferred brand of toothpaste). Some things you absolutely should not tolerate, though, like if someone has an anger problem that scares you or an addiction to drugs that will not make the lifestyle you want possible. "Tolerating" these things, in the hopes that his behavior will change, is also not really tolerating these things at all but is actually just overlooking them. Tolerating means accepting someone as they are without trying to change them. You want him to be different to how he is. That isn't likely to happen and also isn't a good foundation for a relationship anyway. All the things you like about him are making you want to overlook what you don't like about him, like the relationship would be perfect if he just were a little different, but he isn't different, he's this way.
posted by Polychrome at 6:07 AM on October 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

You are correct in your thinking that is naive to think you can change him with your love. Love never changed any addict or drug user. Love has nothing to do with it. Your boyfriend is angry, violent, and a drug user. If you had a daughter, would you want her to date someone like this? Getting to fights with others would be an absolute deal-breaker for me -- this is not normal behavior. It's crazy and scary.

Respect your intuition and common sense and get out now. It's better to be alone than with a guy like this and nothing good will come by staying with him.

You are in control of your life. You (mostly) get to decide your life's course. Leaving this bad relationship shows that you have respect for yourself, and confidence that you can have a relationship with an emotionally stable person.
posted by loveandhappiness at 6:12 AM on October 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

You can love someone and have that not be enough. I was in a nearly identical relationship as you in my early 30s and although I'm delighted I had that boyfriend in my life, factors related to his weed use (like blowing our rent budget, etc., being aggressive - opposite of what the image is of the laid-back pot smoker), and a basic incompatibility issue of me not using/being more typical as opposed to his rebel, brought us to a cops-at-the-door breakup once we were living together. There's still so much I love about him even though we aren't in touch - but that wasn't enough. I don't see your situation ending well either. Trust me... it's way easier to end a relationship before you live together.
posted by biggreenplant at 6:14 AM on October 19, 2017

Poop milkshake. There are so many people out there in the world who will care about you and who you can love, without any (let alone all) of these negatives.
posted by Mchelly at 6:15 AM on October 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

I once ended a very similar relationship after a few months. On the surface of things, he was a loving man who was well-read, 'woke' and capable of being very kind and thoughtful, but after the usual three-month love-in, a pattern emerged of regular drug use and self-medication with alcohol, strange arguments that seemed to erupt out of nowhere, the odd sense that he enjoyed the drama, references to violent incidents in his past, untreated mental health issues and a feeling of unease in his company despite his reassurances.

After backing away from the relationship with a 'just not feeling it, sorry' breakup, I can honestly say that after a week or two of feeling down, missing the affection and the attention, I have never looked back. I am so glad that I listened to my gut instincts and I think you will be too. Please look after yourself. All the best.
posted by doornoise at 6:15 AM on October 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

I dated a guy who did drugs, drank a lot, and was part of a family of drug takers and drug dealers. It ended with us in court, with me getting a restraining order.

He is still, by far, the most "romantic" partner I ever had, the most sensual, the most indulgent, asked me to marry him with a large diamond ring. He broke into my into my apartment when I broke up with him. I was in college.

Fear of your partner is always present in an abusive relationship. It is never present in a healthy relationship, even one that has its up and downs.

You don't have to "be accepting" of shit. Don't accept shit; relationship rule #1.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 6:20 AM on October 19, 2017 [11 favorites]

I have a very liberal view of drugs and think that doing drugs, particularly weed, can be part of a normal and healthy life. However, missing work due to hard drugs is not good and portends bad things down the road.

That said, this: I normally just avoid talking about things that I know upset him. Also, I am afraid that he might turn violent once we are closer or live together is really the biggest issue here and is a horrible dynamic that will leave you hurt, resentful, afraid, and other bad things.

Move on friend.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:29 AM on October 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

PS I support legalized marijuana. Weed isn't the problem here. The problem is that your boyfriend is abusive.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 6:30 AM on October 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's okay to want someone better. Especially when "better" means you want someone who doesn't scare you. It doesn't make you a bad person or shallow to want these things for yourself.

Most of all, it's okay to trust yourself that this man isn't the right person for you. No matter why. You have well-reasoned fears that you will regret staying with him. Listen and trust your judgment.
posted by gladly at 6:36 AM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

If your best friend was dating him, what would you tell her to do?
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:45 AM on October 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

You know to dump him now, so just do that. However, I want to pass along as someone who was in an abusive marriage and then a really shitty years-long relationship:

It's never bad all the time. But... if the bad consists of any.single.behavior. you find alarming, that's all you need to end things. Just the one screaming match, just the one anything because nobody is a total shithead 24/7/365 in a relationship. Even the most horrible abusers are sometimes sweet and caring and they bake cakes and take the kids on bike rides, and we have this tendency to look at that and get really confused and internally scream, "Why can't they be like this ALL the time?"

The truth is, it doesn't matter why they can't always keep their shit together; what matters is that they DON'T, and that's enough reason to end things.

End things.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 6:47 AM on October 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh heavens above, if you're looking to have children, this is not the father you want to give them. Sure, some people do change for the better because they've had a child and woken up, but many others do not, and it's not fair to your potential future children to take that chance.

There are so many stories here on the green and elsewhere about people whose childhoods were made worse because of drug-using, bad-tempered fathers. And the law gives parents, even awful ones, even ones you've divorced, a lot of power over their children's lives.

Think: would you want this guy to be YOUR father? If you want kids, then have them with someone who is stable, sober, and even-tempered - or have them with a sperm donor who won't be involved. Having a good dad - or being a 100% single mom - is easier for you and the kids than having a bad one.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:11 AM on October 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

"Dear AskMe,

I have been with my boyfriend 5 years and have recently gotten pregnant. The problem is that my boyfriend does drugs and gets into fights, and keeps losing jobs because of his inability to stop doing drugs. I am terrified of raising this baby on my own. Also, the other night we had a huge argument because I am tired and stressed and he shoved me. I know that statistics show that abusive men tend to escalate abuse when their partners are pregnant but there's so much good in my boyfriend I never thought it would happen to me. How do I get out of this and care for my baby? I'm terrified he will get visitation if I leave, and will be caring for our child while high, or end up in jail for one of his fights. What do I do?"

This is future you. Love IS NOT ENOUGH for these issues. It just is not.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:13 AM on October 19, 2017 [17 favorites]

A practical angle to consider as well: A person who seeks out hard drugs and gets into fights will in all likelihood cause the very expensive, time-sucking court system to become part of your life, too.
posted by JulesER at 7:17 AM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

You need to get out, as everyone said, but be prepared for backlash. I was involved with a guy like this, and when I broke up with him, he stalked and threatened me. This was decades ago, so the word “stalking” wasn’t really in use and I don’t think the police would have taken it seriously. I realized later I was lucky he didn’t kill me. So yes, get out, but make sure you’re aware of resources in your area in case he turns his violence on you. Fortunately, those resources exist now. Please use them if you need them. Maybe you won’t, but be prepared.

The man I was involved with eventually killed himself. I felt sorry for him, but I could not have saved him even if I’d been willing to throw my life away to do so. You can’t save this guy either.
posted by FencingGal at 7:32 AM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Tolerant and accepting is great, but I don't think you need to be tolerant and accepting of a VIOLENT DRUG ADDICT, especially as a romantic partner. It's really okay to have higher standards than that, even if this guy may have nice qualities too.

When I've had friends who I'd say are "too picky" with romantic partners, it tends to be things like only being willing to date people of a particular hair color or expecting to be able to date someone of model-level attractiveness when the person being choosy was most definitely not model-level attractive. Not situations like this.
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:36 AM on October 19, 2017

My gut tells me that he’s not at all right for me and that he might harm me one day.

Not only should you leave him, but in the future, you should remember to always trust your gut.
posted by Gray Skies at 8:36 AM on October 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

The problem is not that he uses drugs, or that he's loud, or that he's been in fights.

The problem is that you romanticize danger, think he needs saving from himself, and want to change him through the force of your love.
posted by desuetude at 9:18 AM on October 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

You understand clearly that your question is chock-full of red flags. He is an addict. His drug use significantly affects his ability to manage his life. Addiction can be overcome, but he does not want to stop using drugs. I normally just avoid talking about things that I know upset him. Also, I am afraid that he might turn violent once we are closer or live together. That fear is the part of you that has observed signs of violence in his behavior towards you; pay attention to it.

You know you can't save someone from themselves. If a person wants help changing, you can help them, but he is pretty clear about not wanting to change. And addiction and violence have a strong likelihood of getting worse.

I would tell him that you don't want to be in a relationship with him while he is using drugs other than infrequent recreational use of alcohol and marijuana, and while he engages in violent behavior. If nothing else, he is at risk of arrest & jail. I think you should end the relationship. I think you know you should end the relationship because it's very unlikely to lead to the life you want.
posted by theora55 at 9:50 AM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

There’s also another problem, he is somehow violent and has been in many fights throughout his life.

Oh nooooo. Well, I'll just tell you my experience - I have similar taste to you and out of this population, have dated two men who had drug problems, and both of them had issues with anger and violence (they are also the only two). To clarify, neither of them showed violence TOWARD ME, only other people - my first impression was that they escaped their problems through drugs, but were generally happy and bouncy people. But eventually the dysfunctional anger did come out because it was a defense mechanism for whatever was causing the drug addiction. If you think about it this makes sense and seems to be true of your boyfriend. Drugs are bandaid number one, anger is bandaid number two. That's why I consider regular drug use a very serious deal breaker now.

I'd say none of it was obvious at first. There was a clear pattern of development: "oh they're lovely if it weren't for the drugs, if only there wasn't that," and then "oh, the drugs are hiding their massive emotional problems that are expressed through violence, got it." It's sure to come up sooner or later - 6 months is on the long side but I'm sure you'll see it. Maybe he's just very impressed by you, but the angry behavior in relationships is coming, especially if the violence is so openly there already toward other people. People can't hold in whatever makes them have fist fights with others over and over for that long in an intimate relationship.

You should be careful - I'd be very honest with yourself and try to end it now, maybe enlisting in support from others. People with these issues of course hurt the people they are dating emotionally. Don't get into a headspace where you feel it's your fault, because that will make it harder to leave. I'd leave now before you're embroiled.
posted by karmachameleon at 10:06 AM on October 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

Let's put everything else aside (the drugs, the violence, the early stages of an escalating abusive situation) because the above posters have covered it all. Here is another factor.

At 30+, as a woman who intends to have children, you cannot afford to waste time on someone who you have already decided is not father material.

Leave before either a) he unintentionally becomes your children's abusive father, or b) you miss your window.
posted by windykites at 3:52 PM on October 19, 2017 [4 favorites]

Also, I feel that pretending that I can change him is naïve and I shouldn’t give myself the burden of being his ‘rescuer’.

Correct. He doesn't want to be rescued. Dump him. There are surely other people out there who love philosophy and music and aren't violent, self-destructive drug addicts.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:16 PM on October 19, 2017

This is a solid nope. I'm sorry, but you'll be best off stopping things now.
posted by Miko at 9:06 PM on October 19, 2017

The man is a violent drug addict, so you've come to the right place to hear this over and over again: DTMFA
posted by Kwadeng at 1:37 AM on October 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Somewhere, not far away, there's a genuinely decent dude out there who doesn't need rescuing, who is ready to be a good dad, who would never hurt a fly, and who would treat you with love, respect and the gentleness you deserve.

Go find him.
posted by Jilder at 5:37 AM on October 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

posted by james33 at 6:20 AM on October 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

" I like men who are easy-going, knowledgeable, ‘alternative’ and a bit rebel."


"I have the feeling that deep down he is a good man and he’s just lost."

Oh no. This is an easy way to get suckered into an abusive relationship.
posted by GiveUpNed at 1:23 PM on October 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you for helping me see with more clarity and for encouraging me to protect myself. I really appreciate that you took some of your time to help me.
posted by Fromthesouth at 5:05 AM on October 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

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