now what?
October 3, 2022 9:05 AM   Subscribe

This is a follow up to my last question. I am on mobile so apologies for no link.

My partner was planning to give notice at his horrible abusive job today. However he ended up having to go to work both days this weekend due to deadlines. He had a call scheduled with someone at corporate about one of the deadlines and ended up texting his notice to his boss because he was going to have to tell the contact at corporate that he was giving notice and felt it would be unprofessional not to let his boss know first. He had his resignation letter typed and ready to hand in today.

His boss was upset but seemed to understand. Boss then called the corporate contact and let her know, so by the time my partner had his scheduled call with Corporate Lady she knew the situation.

Somehow, somehow Corporate Lady managed to talk my partner off the ledge and begged him to stay another month and promised him the moon that things would get better. Partner was already planning to give one month's notice so he agreed. He called me from work and told me this. He already had had a phone interview for a new job on Friday that he was basically a shoo-in for, so he had an escape plan, and now he was throwing it out the window.

I was skeptical. We went out to dinner Saturday night and had a great evening (it was originally supposed to be a celebratory "fuck that job" dinner).

Sunday he had to go into work again. I woke up and wasn't feeling well, so I decided to take it easy. He got home early afternoon and immediately started to pick at me for being lazy. He said the house was a mess and he didn't want to live like this and the least I could do while he was in this shitty spot at work was be more proactive about cleaning up.

I have to admit that I am a slob and he is a neat freak. I also have to clarify here that the house wasn't a disaster that looked like we were hoarders. There was some clutter on the coffee table that was mine, and pet hair on the couches and rugs. He said he didn't understand why I couldn't find it in me to at least vacuum instead of sitting around on my phone, as he put it. His tone was nasty and passive aggressive.

I got frustrated because we had LITERALLY just had a talk on Friday about how this job was making him miserable and making life at home hard. I got up and started cleaning so he'd stop his ranting. He then accused me of stomping around like I was throwing a tantrum. I admit I was angry - he had a fucking escape plan for this job, he caved to pressure from corporate, went to work, and came home and immediately started picking at me. Obviously being at work had put him in a bad place again. However, I was NOT stomping. I just wanted him to stop picking at me.

This turned into a massive fight where he threatened to leave me multiple times because he "couldn't live in filth" anymore and said that I keep asking what I can do to make life easier for him and this is something I could do. (Please note that I offered to take on more chores at home at one point and he refused as he claimed it would make him feel like a burden.)

I have abandonment issues. I have CPTSD. I grew up in a house where my father blamed me for anything and everything that he was unhappy about. I panicked when he threatened to leave, but I was also furious that he came home from work, on a Sunday, from a job he was fully committed to leaving two days ago and got sucked back into, and within 5 minutes started being nasty to me.

The fight escalated and I am willing to own my part in that. I have anger management issues that I am working on in therapy, but he triggered the hell out of me in two areas. It turned into a screaming match, he started to pack a bag, I freaked out, then I threatened to go stay with a friend (who is also his colleague, but she's my only friend in town), and then we just kept screaming nasty insults at each other. I completely relapsed and threatened self harm. I am very ashamed that I let myself lose control like that. It is manipulative and not okay.

However - not to justify my part in this ugliness - he came home from a job he hated where he had literally had to go in 7 days a week, after he had an escape plan and got talked out of it, and IMMEDIATELY started taking shit out on me. I do not think that is acceptable, and I said that. He started the fight. He criticized me for being a slob and when I got up to clean he criticized HOW I was cleaning by claiming I was stomping around.

Finally I ended up locking myself in the bathroom because I really wasn't feeling well on top of the fighting and I was seriously considering telling him to fuck off forever. I had to pee, and then (TMI alert I'm sorry), I noticed I was bleeding. Heavily. Really heavily.

I take my birth control pills continuously so I don't get periods. I have PCOS. The blood was surprising and the amount of it was really scary.

I left the bathroom and told him that something was very wrong, I was bleeding heavily and needed to go to urgent care. Immediately his anger dropped and he said he'd drive me. I refused. I didn't want to put him out because I was afraid he'd throw that in my face later.

Turns out urgent care wasn't open, it was too late in the evening and we live in the boonies with no 24/7 options. I thought of going to the hospital and maybe I should have but weirdly enough even though I was bleeding heavily and very upset about the fight, my feelings of malaise and back pain I'd been experiencing all day had completely disappeared. I kind of suspected that maybe I'd popped an ovarian cyst - it's happened before.

He got me upstairs to bed and gave me the heating pad and made me tea and left me alone. I could hear the fucking vacuum going so I guess he decided to clean.

I came downstairs later and he looked very worried. He told me to forget the fight. He says he can't take his frustration out at work so he takes it out on me (NO SHIT). I said that's not okay and not something he'd tolerate from me. He disagreed. He says that's normal in relationships (wut). (I'm starting to wonder if this is why he and his ex split up.)

I'm sitting at urgent care now. They have examined me and think my hunch about a popped cyst is correct. They want to do an ultrasound. They have an imaging dept so I'm just waiting now. My partner is texting me asking me for updates. He seems very scared.

I don't know what the fuck to do now. I love him. He doesn't act like this normally. He's a completely different person that I do not recognize, and it's because of this fucking job. HE HAD AN ESCAPE PLAN. Even if the other job doesn't pan out we can survive a few months while he job hunts. Corporate Lady said a bunch of shit to convince him it would get better and he just folded. And obviously things aren't going to get better there overnight, so he still hates it, he hates working 7 days a week, and he took it out on me.

This is not a person I recognize. This is a stranger. And I doubt the job will get better, honestly.

I feel horrible and ashamed for escalating the fight and threatening self harm. That is inexcusable no matter what he was doing. I feel horrible and ashamed that I am a slob. I don't see mess. I'm one of those people. I've been trying to be kind to him all this time, not take his moods personally. Whenever I go out to the drugstore or the supermarket or even the gas station I stop and buy him a treat that I think he would like. I try to keep the kitchen stocked with things he likes to eat. I came here asking for advice for what more I could do for him. I didn't know that my messiness was bothering him so much. I honestly thought that my ways of being kind were helping. I told him I'd support him if he quit.

I feel like this is my fault and I also feel like he was really horrible to me yesterday. I don't want to leave but if this keeps happening I can't stay. Also who's to say that one day he'll decide I'm too much of a slob and therefore unsupportive and leave me.

Why oh why did he agree to stay at this job?

I'm being called in for my ultrasound. Please, any suggestions or advice or ideas for how to fix this would be appreciated.
posted by nayantara to Human Relations (27 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: posters request -- frimble

Hey - for real: This is not problem with your partner's work life. It's a problem with your partner. The way you fix this is to leave him and find someone who treats you like a person they love, not like a burden or a drudge or an emotional punching bag.

If you were my RL friend I'd already have the couch made up for you and the tea pot on the boil. Go somewhere you feel safe and wanted, and leave this jerk behind you to clean up his own messes.
posted by invincible summer at 9:14 AM on October 3, 2022 [22 favorites]

I woke up and wasn't feeling well, so I decided to take it easy. He got home early afternoon and immediately started to pick at me for being lazy.

This happened to me with a roommate once (except I was just tired from staying up meeting a deadline). That's when I moved out. He went and got therapy.
posted by aniola at 9:22 AM on October 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I don’t want to comment on this specific fight because it sounds very messy and your partner sounds kind of impossible to deal with, but I will give you this advice for the future:

If someone is having a really hard time, it’s great to ask them what you can do, but you do need to be a little intuitive as well. It doesn’t surprise me that he demurred when you offered to do all the cooking and cleaning because it is a rather big offer, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a huge help to do extra things around the house anyway. Basically everyone likes coming home to a clean house, you can do little things like this to support your partner without making it into a whole Thing. But maybe not for this guy.
posted by cakelite at 9:30 AM on October 3, 2022 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: I promise not to threadsit but I just want to mention that I have been with my partner for nearly 15 years and I have never, ever experienced this kind of behavior with him. I understand the concept of the sunk cost fallacy but I don't want to throw in the towel. He saw me through a major mental health crisis in 2019-early 2020 that required a stint in the psych ward and an intensive outpatient therapy program. I was a nightmare to deal with before I got help and he stayed when he would have had every right to leave. He didn't deserve what I was doing at that time. I was the one ruining our home life. I feel like it's my turn to return the favor. Is that stupid?

I'll back off now. Ultrasound confirms a cyst pop. Apparently a rather large one. Now waiting for blood work to check my hormone levels.
posted by nayantara at 9:35 AM on October 3, 2022

Best answer: Is your partner in any sort of therapy? Would he be willing to go? Because being able to say, after the fight, that his behaviour was a problem is a good sign, there.

Between this and your last question, I guess I have to ask: Do you think he's in some form of mental health crisis? The sudden changes in mood, the odd behaviours at work, etc all make it sound like he needs more support than you can give him.
posted by sagc at 9:39 AM on October 3, 2022 [4 favorites]

He went so far as to give notice and had an interview and then cancelled it?!?! Gotta echo the person above who said it's not a job problem it's a partner problem. I think you feel unsafe and sad right now because you know on a deep level this isn't working for you.

I think it's really telling that after he torpedoed his own escape plan he came home super irritated (with himself for being a pushover and not enforcing his own boundary, pretty much) and then took it out on you because you were the closest Non-Him person in the vicinity that he could vent at.

Maybe it's time to go stay with a friend or family member for a bit and see how you feel when you have some distance from him and from the household? It's supposed to be you two against the problem (abusive job/burnout) and I don't see how he's holding up his end of that with the way he handled the process of giving notice and then changing his mind about the interview.

I don't think you were ruining the home life when you went through a health crisis that necessitated intensive outpatient care. I think you were sick and struggling to recover and probably at that time you couldn't behave or function like you were recovered yet. These things happen. He can choose where he works, what notice he gives, what interviews he attends or cancels. You couldn't choose to skip your mental health crisis, on the other hand. Work is an ongoing part of daily life; having an acute health crisis, we hope, is not. Just because he stuck with you during that doesn't mean you should let him treat you this way. If he needs mental health support himself, he needs to step up and draw a boundary at work so he can get that, or just get more rest in general.

I hope you feel better soon...ovarian cysts are super painful, I've had that happen with one suddenly bursting and I would have been in no shape to have a fight or even a serious discussion in the moment. It's no joke.
posted by zdravo at 9:43 AM on October 3, 2022 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Is there any way you can stay with a friend for a few days - making it clear to your partner that you are not leaving - but just so you can both think through what you need in order to make things work. That may mean you have to be willing to leave if he won't either leave the job, or stop taking it out on you.
Hopefully if he realises its got to that stage he will prioritize you over the job (which honestly sounds like it is really hurting him mentally) and follow through on the resignation.
posted by crocomancer at 10:05 AM on October 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I also want to push back a little on the idea that you somehow owe him an equal amount of suffering because he stood by you during one rough time.

That is a thing that happened, and you can be grateful for it, and at the same time demand that he not take his crap out on you and be ready to step out if he does. Suppose you did treat him very badly when you were in a mental health crisis, and he took it and stayed; that doesn't mean it's okay to treat your partner very badly. It's absolutely not okay.

And there is a certain amount of inertia to this; if he has found that somehow he feels better about his life when he treats you badly, he will go on treating you badly until you stop him. Often the only way to stop someone in this kind of a spiral is to show them you're ready to walk if they let it continue.
posted by invincible summer at 10:08 AM on October 3, 2022 [11 favorites]

Giving up doing an interview for a job they don't have yet because they're going to stay a few more weeks in a job they hate is an excuse. A super weird one. No one starts immediately in any new job after interviewing, even if they get hired into it, which is always and forever an if until there's ink on an offer letter.

He's making weird choices, and you miserable.

There's zero reason why he can't go to that interview as scheduled.
posted by phunniemee at 10:12 AM on October 3, 2022 [19 favorites]

Best answer: I read it as he did have the interview on Friday. He also agreed to stay at his company one more month, which he was planning on doing anyway as a notice period.

It seems things are still in motion for him to leave existing job if he continues with the interview process.
posted by jello at 10:19 AM on October 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Exactly. Why not do the interview?

People are giving you good advice, but can I just say, right now, fellow-human, you're in the ER with bleeding. It's scary. Please, put your partner's issues aside just for now, and focus on getting yourself taken care of. All the other stuff can surely wait at least a few hours.
posted by praemunire at 10:20 AM on October 3, 2022 [7 favorites]

Best answer: If you've been together 15 years, he knows what your approach to chores is. You've been "good enough" (ugh, but) for 15 years, so whether or not the cleanliness issue upsets him, it's not your fault. He could have sat you down for a quiet dinner and discussed a cleaning schedule.

All the rest is a part of his current crisis. He needs to get a handle on it. Ideally, you would make him seeking mental health support a condition of moving forward. In terms that should be familiar to you, his job has him in constant fight-or-flight mode. There's no way up and out without addressing that. This is what that looks like. It's not okay, but since it is new I think it is all right to continue to work with him on it.

In terms of a six-week plan, I think this is a great point for couples counselling.

In terms of today, I think a few nights apart would go a long way towards providing clarity. I also think if you're not in therapy, you should re-enter therapy because this will trigger your cPTSD and it's not a bad idea to get your own toolkit and supports set up.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:21 AM on October 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Good for you for defending yourself. Seriously. I see you pushing back over and over until it literally hurt you to do so, and then you STILL took care of yourself. I just want to say, bravo, that's amazing. You held on to your position, which was RIGHT. If you are sick and have a cyst, you cannot clean. Your health trumps his job stress. That's obvious. It's so obvious even he can see it in hindsight.

You are not wrong, you just have to make some hard choices. I'm really sorry this is happening to you.
posted by stockpuppet at 10:24 AM on October 3, 2022 [9 favorites]

Best answer: I have a friend. We were close for a long time. Then she needed some space, so she pushed me away and told me she didn't know how long it would take. It took a very long time. We're good now. She asked me why I was still there when she had treated me the way she did. I explained to her that our relationship had built up a lot of positive experiences over the years, and it was like she had spent a bunch of them. Our relationship withstood the pressure because of that long, positive shared history.

Check in with your past self, check in with your future self. Figure out now what you want your boundaries to be. Let your partner know what those boundaries are. And trust yourself.
posted by aniola at 10:59 AM on October 3, 2022 [4 favorites]

First and foremost, I hope you're okay. It's pretty awful that you have to manage him and your own medical crisis at the same time.

I feel like it's my turn to return the favor. Is that stupid?

Are you saying he's agreed to inpatient treatment, because that would be spectacular news and it would be fair for you to support him through that and see what happens when he's released.

But I'm guessing that's not what you mean.

You're saying this is unlike him but you've written before about him triggering you with nastiness about cleaning, triggering your abandonment issues, and basically interacting with you as if he does not understand or give a shit that you have previous trauma except that he appears to find useful as a lever in this relationship. To me, someone who has worried about you before, it sounds just like him.

You've also said over and over that he will not change. He won't participate in therapy, he won't get treatment for his own physical and emotional issues, he won't learn new communication styles, he's so change-averse he can't even leave his job after making a really clear commitment to you and himself that he was going to do so. You say you guys have been together for 15 years so I assume he's not a young man still learning to be a grown-up.

He sounds like a man who feels real confident that your abandonment issues mean you'll never leave and he can always manipulate you with them. You have indicated repeatedly that you will excuse him for this rather than leave, and you will always fault yourself far more than half for any altercation even if all you are doing is defending yourself from his abusive behavior, so that it can always be your fault and not his.

You've now had this situation come to a dramatic enough head that if you were going to make a stand, now would be it. I mostly don't think this guy is a stone-cold predator who went out looking for a women he could control and abuse so he could be emotionally stunted with no repercussions; I think he's got some issues and found something that felt accommodating and comfortable and controllable via certain amounts of below-the-radar abuse that maybe is normal for him from his family of origin.

But the current situation is beyond excuses. He should be appalled right now. He should be AGHAST at his behavior. He should be saying "I'll make sure you've got everything you need when you're released from the hospital because that takes priority, but I am not forgetting or excusing the way I've been treating you and I am taking a specific list of actions that I will bullet-point for you now to prove my recognition of how bad this has gotten and what I'm going to do to improve it."

I suspect this is not what he's doing. He's going to brush it all under the rug with the convenient excuse of your medical emergency and right this minute is watching your responses like a snake to see if you're going to press the topic so he can attack first and keep you off-balance. He can apparently only feel better if he's making you feel bad. We've pointed out to you in the past that these are choices he's making, because they feel good. You can and should be offended by that, and right now maybe more importantly you should try to see it coming before he does it again, because you're in a really vulnerable state right now and that makes an abuser volatile.

The only way I can see this relationship reaching a reasonable quality is to completely tear it apart and rebuild with multiple therapists involved and wildly enthusiastic consent and participation from him - all by his widdle self, not you doing the enthusiasm on his behalf - and initiation to say "I don't want it to be this way anymore, I want us to make this better and I want to do that work, I would love to do that work". (This is something he should have initiated long ago, it's something he should have wanted to do in order to be a functional part of your support team.)

But he's not even sitting in the ER waiting room, is he? Or in the car in the parking lot? He's at work, isn't he?

He should leave for a while, at least until he's left this job. He threatened it and he claims he can't live with a bit of clutter and pet hair, he should follow through. I think you need to take the time he's gone to hold aside the abandonment fears as best you can and examine if you'd really prefer not to be alone if that means signing on to a relationship that will not get better if he decides it shouldn't. And that's been his decision so far.

It's not abandonment if you break up with him. It's also not abandonment if he's never really been there for you unconditionally, and it sure sounds like his list of conditions is extensive. Food for thought.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:02 AM on October 3, 2022 [10 favorites]

Best answer: I'm not going to jump on the DTMFA train. I think this is salvagable, but you and he need to talk and communicate. It's time for a chat. Can you start by just asking him 'why did you decide to stay'? It might be fears about money; it might be a masculine protector thing; it might be laziness; it might be optimism. You don't know, and need that bit of insight to figure out what's next.

If he hasn't cancelled Friday's interview, he should definitely still go, even if you beg him to go, just for you. I think he needs to see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.

It would be really helpful if you two could go to some couples counseling - mostly so you can learn how to talk to each other. It sounds like you both trigger each other a bit too much.
posted by hydra77 at 11:07 AM on October 3, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I think: a) therapy for him, b) he quits his job, and c) try to stay away from him until (a) and (c). (I don't see a reason to immediately end your generally-happy 15-year relationship, for pete's sake. But I DO see a reason that he needs to show you that he's addressing his issues.)
posted by nosila at 11:17 AM on October 3, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: You know, it is not necessary to assign blame to decide that you do not like who you are in a given situation. You are doing and saying things you are ashamed of in a situation that makes you miserable. A way to approach finding a solution here would be to think about what kind of situation would allow you to be the best version of yourself, and then figure out what you - and not anyone else, not your boyfriend, not your boyfriend's company, just you - need to do to reach that situation. Maybe you need to go stay with a friend for a few nights. Maybe you need to tell your boyfriend that either you do some couple's counseling or you move out. Maybe you need to decide that as long as he's in this job, he's your roommate and he can be respectful or he can move out. There are a lot of possibilities, but you can't control him, you can only control you. Figure out who you are and who you want to be. Then go be that.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:28 AM on October 3, 2022 [12 favorites]

Response by poster: Sorry, I wasn't clear before. He had a phone interview this past Friday, three days ago, with a recruiter, for a job he had applied for in a fit of desperation last Thursday. The phone interview went really well, they are very interested in moving things along with him (he actually used to work for this company before so he is a known entity and he left on good terms), and he's not going to stop seeing the interview process through. He just rescinded his notice at his current job. If gets this new job, he will strongly consider taking it - the only thing that makes it NOT a no brainer for him is we'd have to move again (not a problem for me, I WFH), we'd be moving back to a higher COL area, and he would have a hellish commute, which could well lead to burnout of a different kind. He hasn't cancelled any interviews or told the recruiter no thanks, he just rescinded his notice at the current job, and so that leaves him psychologically in the same place he was at before and I think that is foolish because they're not going to turn this place around in one month.
posted by nayantara at 11:55 AM on October 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: He didn't deserve what I was doing at that time. I was the one ruining our home life. I feel like it's my turn to return the favor. Is that stupid?

It's not stupid, it's an understandable impulse. But it's not quite that simple. You can use it to be empathetic to his situation, without also enduring poor treatment. Especially, as someone pointed out, he's resisting getting help, whereas you are getting some.

So, for example, you can be empathetic that getting treatment can be scary, but still insist he gets help or you will go stay with friends for the time being (or whatever).

Also, with the escape plan, I think this is where you could channel your empathy: just because the job situation should get better soon doesn't mean he'll be fully back to 100% now. So focusing on "escape plan," isn't helpful (although I completely understand feeling like you can't win!). You don't go from being in crisis to fully recovered because there's a light at the end of the tunnel. However, more importantly his behavior still wasn't acceptable, regardless of escape plan. So try to let that latter part go. There's not a magical solution that will get him to a better place in the snap of fingers, it'll take time and work.

You can also use it to help be more forgiving to yourself. As you said, he didn't deserve your treatment when you were triggered. Even if you could have been tidier, you don't deserve that treatment either.

It may help to reframe things too, and to include your therapist as you work through the reframing. Based on how work is going, it doesn't sound like your partner has the healthiest boundaries (which may or may not extend to other areas of his life). I suspect for a while he's been the "emotionally healthy one." Maybe he was healthier, relatively speaking (or just not in an environment that triggered him), but that's not the same thing as healthy. And now that you're getting to a better place, that means the relationship should be changing. It really sucks that he's in a crappy place while this is going on, but it is what it is. It may be that individual therapy for each of you and couples therapy (with a third therapist) would be a good idea.
posted by ghost phoneme at 12:07 PM on October 3, 2022

He said the house was a mess and he didn't want to live like this and the least I could do [...] was be more proactive about cleaning up.

He said he didn't understand why I couldn't find it in me to at least vacuum instead of sitting around on my phone

he threatened to leave me multiple times because he "couldn't live in filth" anymore
If you decide you want to stay with this guy, there are only 2 ways to sustain this relationship:

1) Hire a cleaner

2) Live separately

If a cleaner is hired, he should pay them *well* for cleaning the place to his specifications.

Living apart would mean you would each have your own place and could *choose* to visit the other person's space. You could relax, and he wouldn't have to "live in filth" as he so charmingly says.

It would be more expensive, but might be worth it if you want to stay in this relationship. And if you decide to leave, that would then be easier too.
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:57 PM on October 3, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: One thing jumps out at me: being talked off the ledge (and agreeing to try a few more weeks) is not a super-rare event. Since your partner is continuing to interview at the other company, and he only agreed to a 1-month period at his current job, the difference between his actual situation on Friday versus Sunday was not THAT large. Yet it led to this meltdown. That indicates to me that he was extremely close to melting down, and any little thing would set him over the edge.

Even if Corporate Lady hadn't talked him off the ledge, there are many little things that might happen over the next few months, as he goes through the intense period of quitting and then the stress of starting a new job. Are all of them going to tip him into being nasty towards you?

When I've seen people (including myself) quit a stressful/abusive job, it often takes months to recover. There's an initial couple days of euphoric liberation, and then a period of working through the resentment and trauma. If he doesn't get help from a therapist, there's a risk that he will keep melting down at you regularly during that period.

It comes through so sincerely that you want him to return to being a supportive partner, and you were hoping that him giving notice was the key to unlocking that permanently. However, that needs to come from him learning new techniques for not taking his work frustrations out on you. It can't come from pining your hopes on things going according to plan with his boss, coworkers, corporate, and future job.

I also wonder if your growing success and independence is causing him to feel off-kilter. You were previously struggling, and he was the calm one who held things together, the high-functioning one in the more powerful position. Now you're thriving at work and he's emotionally struggling, and he's responding by attacking your housekeeping skills and saying he wants to reject you. Even if he leaves this toxic job and goes to a new job (which will come with its own stresses), is he going to be happy with a power dynamic of equality between you, where you both acknowledge that each of you is more skilled than the other in some ways? I hope the answer is yes, but I have a little spidey sense about it. Therapy could help him with that too.
posted by cheesecake at 1:26 PM on October 3, 2022 [6 favorites]

I know this might not be financially or logistically feasible, but in addition to your partner getting their own therapist, it seems like the two of you could benefit from seeing a couples counsellor. They may be able to give both of you better strategies to deal with these kinds of situations, and also just having a neutral third party might make it easier for both of you to air your concerns.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:18 PM on October 3, 2022

This is the part that jumped out at me:

He says he can't take his frustration out at work so he takes it out on me (NO SHIT). I said that's not okay and not something he'd tolerate from me. He disagreed. He says that's normal in relationships (wut).

That's completely not ok. The fact that he thinks it's ok is really disturbing. Maybe he was just being defensive in the moment (still not great but he was clearly very dysregulated) but if that's what he really believes, I would insist on couples counseling if I wanted to save the relationship. This seems like relationships 101, right? Of course it's not ok to take external frustrations out on your partner???
posted by omnie at 8:43 PM on October 3, 2022 [3 favorites]

It seems to me that your partner's job is killing your happiness by proxy. Your partner needs to get out of the job or things are likely to get worse rather than better. This is hardly an unusual situation for couples to find themselves in (I know, that doesn't make it easier). He needs to commit to getting out of his job and stick to that and, until then, you both need to be alert for things getting ugly and find a way to forestall it. No, it's not OK for him to take his frustrations with work out on you - not even a little bit. But you're both humans and humans have trouble compartmentalising their feelings completely, so some spillover is always going to happen. It's not OK, but it's hardly unique to you.

The only thing that suggests to me your relationship is in serious trouble is that he's texting you while you're in the hospital - why the fuck isn't he sitting beside you holding your hand? Unless he's texting you from the car park because you told him to leave, this is not OK.
posted by dg at 10:37 PM on October 3, 2022

Response by poster: I have received a sincere apology for his behavior, he has accepted that he is on the verge of a full blown mental health crisis, and I showed him how to search for therapists on Psychology Today. He is taking a mental health day tomorrow and will be using it to therapist hunt and job hunt.

I'm on the mend from my cyst.

Thanks all.
posted by nayantara at 9:14 PM on October 4, 2022 [11 favorites]

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