is the fat lady singing?
June 3, 2008 6:14 PM   Subscribe

is this relationship worth saving? (of course, a lot more inside.)

been dating a guy for the last 2.5 months (spend pretty much all weekend nearly every weekend and sometimes a day or two during the week if he's not out of town for work). we have amazing chemistry, so much fun together, the most insanely awesome sex. all the good things.

he prides himself on being a "good person," caring, nurturing, conscientious. on our first date, he and i talked about our recent failed relationships, what we had learned from them, how we wanted to grow from the things that went wrong; we discovered that we shared the same views and values in regard to relationships and how to make them succeed and how we were looking to find someone who was willing to put the work into having a successful relationship. he's super loving and lovey-dovey and has told me he feels lucky i'm with him. for the first time ever, i wasn't obsessing or overanalyzing a relationship, and felt really secure about his feelings for me.

about a month into dating in which things were fantastic, he suddenly broke up with me based on some unfounded assumptions he was making about how i felt about him and whether i really wanted to be with him as well as some fears and insecurities he was projecting onto me. we cleared things up and got back together and the last month and a half things seemed to only get better and better, better than any relationship i've ever been in.

until this weekend when it seems like an almost exact repeat of what happened before happened again, except more intense because our relationship has progressed. it ended with me going to his house to try to get to the bottom of what was going on and ended in him yelling at me for invading his space and not respecting him and freaking him out because he'd never been so angry and that we were SO OVER.

wtf. how did we go from being all loving and lovey-dovey friday night to being over on sunday night? i'm starting to suspect that this might have been a pattern with his ex (he'd only just a couple of weekends ago told me how she didn't feel secure about his feelings for her and it affected their relationship—but now i'm beginning to see why she wouldn't) that he's repeating with me. as with the last time we broke up, i wrote him a really long email discussing what happened, asking some questions—sort of that post-fight dissection. the last time i did this, we got back together because he said he really thought i was amazing for caring enough to put so much thought into trying to figure out what happened and trying to make sure we both grew from the experience. this time i called him out on things that he's said, both in regard to making relationships work and also in relation to himself and how he claimed to be always conscientious and striving to grow and improve, but that contrasted with the fact that he had in fact not been communicating or doing the work that is needed to ensure that our relationships succeeds, etc.

it seems we'll go along swimmingly and then all of a sudden, he will fixate on some small thing, pick me apart for it, and then blow it up into a reason for why we shouldn't be together, why we don't work. a lot of it is wrapped up in the fact that, for the first time for both of us, we are dating people completely not our usual "types." he works for an ecological consulting firm, used to be an organic farmer, and is very interested in yoga, meditation, alternative spiritual/enlightening paths, climbing, surfing, skating, and dated girls who were very athletic, didn't wear makeup, weren't into clothes and jewelry, etc.—you get the picture. whereas i'm a designer who works in the graphic, fashion, trend, and extreme sports industries, and the things that inform those industries. the thing is, on the surface, we might not have a ton in common (although i think we've definitely been learning from sharing our interests with each other), i think we do share a lot of the same basic values about what constitutes a quality life and how to treat people, etc, which is why i think things have worked so well for us. not to mention we also just have a crazy amount of that magical thing called chemistry.

i feel like 99% of the time, things are amazing with us. is this relationship worth saving? i mean, assuming there will be an opportunity to save it—he seemed pretty furious our last fight and sounded pretty definitive when he was yelling that we were done. help give me some perspective, because it is, i'd at least like to think i've learned something from this.

(lots of details left out, obviously, for the sake of length. feel free to ask any questions for clarification about anything.)
posted by violetk to Human Relations (48 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
i would back off. my guess is that you're more serious about the relationship than he is, and he senses that, and is feeling overwhelmed by this sense of responsibility for your happiness. (never mind that he -isn't- responsible for your happiness, but men get this way.) his way of coping is to fixate on the tiny thing and then blow up, because he's displacing all his frustrations onto that tiny thing. therefore, it really isn't about where to have dinner or what movie to watch, it's about the ten thousand other little things he's uncomfortable with. why is he uncomfortable? because the relationship is new, and maybe he's meeting other women he's interested in, and isn't ready to commit, and is maybe immature, or maybe he's just not that into you.

let him cool off, then in a week or so maybe check in. my bet is that if you get back together again, it will be the same thing over and over again, because you are probably just not on the same page, emotionally, so it's up to you (and him) to decide how much it's worth it.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:26 PM on June 3, 2008


I think it sounds like it's definitely worth saving. I think it more depends on the time you want to invest into saving it. It sounds like maybe a third party would help like a relationship counselor.
posted by zephyr_words at 6:28 PM on June 3, 2008


Best answer: Does he have any problems with depression, or any other types of mental illness?

Whether or not he is depressed, he's taking out his insecurities on you, and that has to stop, if you get back together. I'm not saying a man or a woman isn't allowed to freak out a little bit every now and then, but this behavior of "picking you apart" has me worried it's not going to be an every now and then thing.

And really, the fact that he's done this twice smacks of bad things for the future. Believe what this guy is telling you with his actions, not just his words.
posted by Issithe at 6:30 PM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Speaking as someone who let someone else do this "we're on, we're off" thing to me for, oh, about two years a long time ago: I'm just going to say that when you really care about someone and think they're perfect for you and you're perfect for them, and they keep pushing you away and then apologizing and taking you back, it becomes very, very painful. No amount of chemistry makes up for a partner's unpredictable ambivalence and emotional cruelty. I know he's only done this twice, but you haven't been together all that long so twice seems like a lot. I'm also not sure there's a way to fix it, especially if it's a pattern he followed with his ex. I think it's less painful in the long run to cut the cord now than to continue to give more of yourself and find out it's never going to be enough.
posted by katie at 6:34 PM on June 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Response by poster: because the relationship is new, and maybe he's meeting other women he's interested in, and isn't ready to commit, and is maybe immature, or maybe he's just not that into you.

(hi, i know it's lame to respond a lot after asking the Q, but i felt it was important to clarify this.)

two weeks after he met me, he actually broke things off with everyone else he was dating (about a half dozen other women). i didn't feel ready at the time to jump right into another relationship only because i was still feeling a little raw around the edges from a bad break up not long before, and i told him so—but we both agreed that we really had something worth exploring. my sense has never been that he wasn't that into me—in fact, quite the opposite which is a big thing for me to feel, which is why, with him, i'd never felt the usual attendant insecurities i usually had in a relationship.
posted by violetk at 6:34 PM on June 3, 2008


I know you weren't being remotely literal with the "99.9% great" - but maybe it's helpful to think of it that way. You see him weekends, it's been 2 1/2 months - so that's ten weekends. And on two of those weekends he dumped you (so 20% of the time he's breaking up with you) and then on top of that there are all the times "he will fixate on some small thing, pick me apart for it, and then blow it up into a reason for why we shouldn't be together". and because you went to his house to talk to him he'd "never been so angry"? that would scare me. you don't need this.
posted by moxiedoll at 6:36 PM on June 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Walk away and start over. My gut reaction is there is just way more going on there than he is telling you, and while it would be nice to peel away the layers and find the person you've fallen in love with, the reality is he'll keep hurting you in the process. This kind of behavior doesn't go away without huge work, and quite frankly you can't make yourself his relationship counselor if he doesn't want you to be that person.

Speaking as someone who has been there, done that, and then moved on to find incredible happiness with the right person.
posted by drmarcj at 6:39 PM on June 3, 2008


Response by poster: nd then on top of that there are all the times "he will fixate on some small thing, pick me apart for it, and then blow it up into a reason for why we shouldn't be together".

(sorry again. i'll stop after this!)

he's only done it the two times leading up to the two break ups. like, i said, all the rest of the time, things are great.
posted by violetk at 6:39 PM on June 3, 2008


Best answer: suddenly broke up with me based on some unfounded assumptions

Oh lordy. What a drama king. I'd stay away from him. Too much work. Imagine this happening every two months for the next ten years. If you got back together, I'd suggest making a deal that 1. if someone was assuming something, they'd bloody well ask before taking any action, 2. a policy of honesty about how people felt 3. that tantrums were unacceptable, but asking for some quiet time in a loving and respectful way was fine.

Otherwise, seriously, you can do better than this.

Unless of course, you're both under 20, in which case, this might be entirely normal.
posted by b33j at 6:40 PM on June 3, 2008


moxiedoll speaks wise words, which I echo.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:41 PM on June 3, 2008


Based on the dating filter past, I'm guessing you perhaps worry a wee bit too much about relationships. It does not seem like anything too alarming has happened, and it does seem like you want to keep it going and make it work. I would give it some more time. Try talking to him about these things, but keep it in perspective: relationships are sometime a bit rocky in the early stages. If things have not levelled off somewhat in a couple of months, re-examine the situation again.
posted by ornate insect at 6:44 PM on June 3, 2008


> he suddenly broke up with me based on some unfounded assumptions he was making about how i felt about him and whether i really wanted to be with him as well as some fears and insecurities he was projecting onto me.

Everyone makes wrong assumptions and projects feelings sometimes -- but he suddenly broke up because of them? I wouldn't bother with that in a relationship. He acts and/or reacts before he openly seeks your thoughts. Major warning bells. Just be friends. This is going nowhere unless you like drama. You'll get more.
posted by Listener at 6:46 PM on June 3, 2008


Best answer: It is one thing to have faith in someone's feelings for you, and quite another to have faith in their ability to act with intent on those feelings.

I don't know how you can ever have faith in this man's ability to treat this relationship with a steady hand. Sure, if you want, give it one more go if he's up for it, but for God's sake: three strikes, you're out.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:52 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seconding everyone except zephyr - to be blunt, who calls in a relationship counselor for a relationship still measured in a handful of weeks? If you need professional help when you're still in the honeymoon stage, it's all downhill from there.

Back off. Talk, instead of email. See if you can get to the root of this. Everybody has their freakouts (I know I had mine when dating my now-wife), but making a repeating pattern like that so early on may be a red flag. Observe his actions. Is he willing to turn a freakout into a productive discussion after a bit of time to cool down? If it always ends in shouting and tears, that's a big sign that he's got some emotional growing to do.

In a relationship long ago, I had a similar experience, where a girlfriend and I kept having these awful conversations about how she wasn't happy in the relationship. They'd unspool the same way each time, and slowly I realized I was never getting any insight into how my behavior could make a difference - for example that it'd be nice if I did x instead of y or suggesting going on more walks or whatever - it wasn't about me. It was about her.

Eventually I told her that I wasn't going to have that same conversation with her again. And we didn't - it was the end of us. I saw that no matter how much I loved her, she was deeply unhappy with herself, and perhaps with me, in a way she couldn't articulate. When you can't explain what's wrong, you can't even try to repair it.
posted by canine epigram at 6:53 PM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Run, fast, before his crazy becomes your crazy. No matter how great he is the rest of the time, can you imagine trying to keep your psyche in working order after years of monthly breakups? How deadened your emotional responses would be? No matter how much you like or love him, he's not going to get better.
posted by bunnytricks at 6:55 PM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


freaking him out because he'd never been so angry

it seems we'll go along swimmingly and then all of a sudden, he will fixate on some small thing, pick me apart for it, and then blow it up into a reason for why we shouldn't be together, why we don't work.

yelling that we were done

It sounds like you guys got pretty serious quickly. The "I'm so lucky to have found you let's spend a lot of time together" then 180 breakup extremes raise some flags with me. Too intense. Too much drama.

The yelling, the never having been "so angry," the picking you apart, that, I don't like. I know you said he "only" does it when he's about to break up with you, but it's too much for 2.5 months. Two dramatic, angry breakups are too much for that time period--and not just DESPITE the honeymoon in between but ESPECIALLY considering the honeymoon in between.
posted by Pax at 7:08 PM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


To go from "lovey-dovey" to "so-over" then back together again, then over again, in the space of two months is a big red flag that says "You Are Dating A Crazy Person!"... Get out now before you become any more emotionally invested.
posted by amyms at 7:10 PM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I guess there's no harm in talking, so long as you're really talking instead of smoothing things over, and you're prepared to walk. But I've acted like your boyfriend in a couple of past relationships, and those relationships couldn't have been saved. It was a combination of being in a really bad place personally (in ways I couldn't explain to the other person), and the other person and I just not being compatible (in ways I couldn't explain to myself).
posted by crabintheocean at 7:15 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


he suddenly broke up with me based on some unfounded assumptions he was making about how i felt about him and whether i really wanted to be with him as well as some fears and insecurities he was projecting onto me

Run. run so far away.

He's basically got no personality of his own. On your first date he reflected what you were saying back to you, his idea of being a good person is to act the way other people want him to all the time, he has a problem with your image being different from his and basically is incapable of actually seeing you as a separate person.

Creating a persona is hard work and he's cracking under the strain. Healthy adults recognize that it's OK to have their own opinions and that other people will love you anyway. They don't freak out when a 2 month relationship gets a bit overwhelming. They say things like "we've been hanging out a lot and I've been neglecting other parts of my life, I need to spend this weekend catching up with friends/ visiting my Mom/ watching re-runs of Friends with my cat".
posted by fshgrl at 7:16 PM on June 3, 2008 [5 favorites]


Based on what you've said, I don't think the relationship is worth saving. He's made it clear he'll take his ball and go home whenever he feels like it, and then expect you to be there when he comes back. No deal. That's not worth investing yourself in.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:25 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Despite the crazy drama, I do see potential here. Chemistry is pretty hard to find, and new relationships can be full of insecurity and heightened emotions and the ensuing oddball behavior. So he might just be one of those people who early in a relationship have freakouts where one little thing makes them wonder whether they can really marry that person. If he's one of those, he needs to learn to chill or he'll never see a relationship through to any fruition, but it can be learned.

Try one more time, and just be the calm, steady one. But make it absolutely clear to him that if he ever pulls this shit again, it will be over. And why. And if he ever does do it again, keep your promise. If he's really willing to lose you, then good riddance.

Also, it's possible to feel secure and still act clingy/smothering. Is there any chance that's happening? I just wonder because of the invading-his-space comment. If so, he might be running away from that.
posted by n'muakolo at 7:58 PM on June 3, 2008


Best answer: In my experience, generally when things go from great to horrible that quickly it's because of one thing and one thing only: FEAR.

Sometimes when people find themselves happy with someone and sensing potential, it can be the scariest thing of all. Whether consciously or not, those kinds of ups and downs are often our flight responses trying to sabotage stuff. Either because we're feeling stronger things than we're ready to feel or because we're afraid that those great times are too good to last so we force them to end before we can get so attached that we could be even more deeply hurt and disappointed.

It's like ripping off a bandaid before you've even been wounded enough to need one.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:59 PM on June 3, 2008 [6 favorites]


Don't date crazy people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:01 PM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


On average, he's doing this every five weeks.

How do you really feel about performing major relationship maintenance every five weeks?
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:23 PM on June 3, 2008


Yeah, I hate to pile on to the guy because as someone above already mentioned we only have your side of the story but if your side of the story happens to be true? Get out now while you only have a few months invested. This is not appropriate behavior from an adult. It seems so forgivable when you're in the middle of it or when you've never experienced it before but once you've been through it yourself you recognize it immediately as the huge warning signal that it is.

This guy has broken up with you out of the blue TWICE in two months. Is he still in high school? No? Then there's no excuse for so much drama so early in the relationship.
posted by lysistrata at 8:24 PM on June 3, 2008


we'll go along swimmingly and then all of a sudden, he will fixate on some small thing, pick me apart for it, and then blow it up into a reason for why we shouldn't be together, why we don't work.

Sounds like a Taquito Moment - a seemingly innocuous detail that suddenly acts as a crystallisation point or symbol of a deeper, unvocalised or unconscious resistance to the other person or the relationship.

Also, what's with the massive dissonance between the self-espoused caring, nurturing, meditating, yoga-ing goodguy & the freakazoid flipouts? I'd suggest you pay more attention to what he does than what he says about himself.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:30 PM on June 3, 2008


What everyone else said. Run now. What he says and what he does is not the same. Your description of his behaviour and his description of his interests, "mediation, spiritial paths..." strike me as incongruous to say the least.
posted by allthingsbright at 8:53 PM on June 3, 2008


He was dating 6 girls at once? He broke up with all of them just to be with you? Then he broke up with you for no reason but got back with you because of an email? It seems like he's too flaky or too f*ed up to date.


In the future, if someone breaks up with you, don't go to their house. I know he was being bizarre, but going and knocking on his door is inappropriate and a bit threatening. Send an email, leave a phone message (one!), then let it go.
posted by sondrialiac at 9:53 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, did you start dating the guy I broke up with a couple months ago? The fellow I was seeing was also madly into yoga and being all "enlightened", but then there were a couple of episodes where he went apeshite on me, accusing me of a sleeping with someone I glanced at for like a millisecond when we were out together. It scared the hell out of me. Turns out he had been in a long relationship with a woman who repeatedly cheated on him and had major trust issues. Damaged goods. I ran, I ran so far away, and haven't looked back.
posted by medeine at 9:59 PM on June 3, 2008


Re-read what miss lynnster has to say. I would think really hard before you just take the flippant advice of DMTFA off of a forum. It's worth saving if you think it's worth it. It sounds like your smart enough to figure this out on your own. Of course this guy has problems, but I haven't met a person yet who doesn't have any problems. Most people I know have some kind of nagging problem that effects them severely sometimes. Give it a whirl and see where it goes. The worst that can happen is this guy is going to end before you get the chance to anyway.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:08 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: hi guys, thanks a lot for all your comments! this has really given me some food for thought.

here are some clarifications:

Based on the dating filter past, I'm guessing you perhaps worry a wee bit too much about relationships.

yeah, i did in my past relationships, but as i said, this was the first time that i actually really didn't once things got past the question of whether i should even be dating anyone yet when i met him. it was really a revelation for me to feel so at ease for once.

What he says and what he does is not the same. Your description of his behaviour and his description of his interests, "mediation, spiritial paths..." strike me as incongruous to say the least.

in general, on a day to day basis, he is actually very caring and thoughtful and nurturing. i always felt taken care of when i was with him. i just realized after this last break-up that it wasn't translating to the bigger things like doing what needed to be done to stay on track in the relationship—so yeah, at a certain point, there was some hypocrisy in his behaviour vs the beliefs he espoused.

Also, it's possible to feel secure and still act clingy/smothering. Is there any chance that's happening? I just wonder because of the invading-his-space comment. If so, he might be running away from that.

no, i'm not a clingy/smothering type person. i do like to have a lot of time to myself as well and have never had a problem when he's asked to have some time to himself. when he started acting weird again, and i recognized that what was happening was almost the exact same thing which led to our first break up is when i had to be like, hey, this is freaking me out, are we okay, etc.

He was dating 6 girls at once? He broke up with all of them just to be with you?

this sounds like you think he had like 6 girlfriends going. no, he was single and dating. he was going out on dates with about a handful of girls, but none of them seriously and only one of them with any regularity, but after he met me, he broke things off with her.

In the future, if someone breaks up with you, don't go to their house.

we weren't broken up yet when i went over to his house. i went over to try to get to the bottom of what was going on because i didn't want the next call i got from him to be another break up without any discussion of the problem like he did the first time.
posted by violetk at 10:45 PM on June 3, 2008


it's not central to the question, but on the topic of showing up at his place to have a Relationship Talk, i think most guys aren't all that keen on being put on the spot with those kinds of talks at the best of times, but showing up (unannounced?) to hit him with a whole load of "I just wanna know where this is going" etc is *exactly* the kind of thing that i think would really really piss off a typical sort of guy, especially relatively early in a relationship.

i mean, he was probably watching football or meditating or playing video games or scratching his butt or whatever he does to relax at home, only to suddenly be confronted with *argh* Relationship Drama!1!! ~ generally best probably to ring & organise a talk in a neutral space, at a mutually convenient time, imho.

on the bright side, maybe his anger was just an overreaction to that kind of annoying invasion, and it might blow over...?

posted by UbuRoivas at 11:22 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would think really hard before you just take the flippant advice of DMTFA off of a forum.

Technically he already dumped her - twice.


The guy clearly has some serious issues. Maybe you could talk to him when he's not in a crazy mood. If he can acknowledge and agree to work on his problems then he might be worth the effort but if he's in complete denial about his crazy paranoia and insecurities then it will just suck the life out of you trying to be with this person
posted by missmagenta at 12:31 AM on June 4, 2008


Best answer: In fact that fat lady has already sang. The question is whether you are up for another round. From what you said, your (now ex) bf is very mercurial and it would be reasonable to expect: a. he will come back and want to get back together and b. he will break up with you again and c. it will hurt more next time. I suggest you not sign up for it again unless he 1. recognizes he has a pattern, 2. acknowledges it as dysfunctional, 3. agrees to work on it and 4. does work on it.

Otherwise the drama rollercoaster does not seem worth it. Please let us know what you decide and how it goes.
posted by zia at 5:39 AM on June 4, 2008


Yep. No questions about it. When it comes to relationships you don't want to be with a "wacko" because, it just gets very messy indeed. A bit like their universe.
posted by smartcookie at 6:54 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


My read is moxiedoll's take is correct. There's been so much drama already in a relationship that is 2.5 months old. He is either very insecure and this has gone way too fast for him, or he feeds off the drama and that isn't healthy.
The comment about him mirroring your personality on the first few dates rings true to me too.

If it were me, and I am not you, I'd count myself lucky to be out of it and go find someone else who is better for you. Good luck.
posted by arcticseal at 6:57 AM on June 4, 2008


cuh-razy! run.

look, you have to understand that, as dumb as it seems, sometimes conventional wisdom about relationships is 100% correct, and you ignore it to your own peril. here, conventional wisdom says "if the first two months aren't basically easy and wonderful, there is no hope, no matter how much chemistry there is when things are not dramatic."

and with respect to the facts, think about it this way. there are two possibilities to explain his behavior. one: he was actually unhappy with the relationship well before the two breakups, which means that things weren't actually as peachy-keen and full of good will as you think. instead, he was hiding his major, very negative feelings about the relationship from you. two: the breakups were sudden, unaccountable freak-outs, which happened twice in the span of two months.

both one and two suggest that there's something fundamentally wrong with him, the relationship, or both.
posted by footnote at 7:15 AM on June 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


DTMFA

(I am not your doctor)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:06 AM on June 4, 2008


It's summer. Crazy-pants are out of fashion.

You don't need this in your life. You can find great chemistry with someone who doesn’t dump you every forth weekend.
posted by French Fry at 9:45 AM on June 4, 2008


You could make lots of generalisations but I thought these were pretty rock solid...
-Relationships are hard enough as it is. If you're repeating the same problem, then you're really wasting your time.
-True fairytales end miserably.

There are many things you could have learnt but you seem to be defending a current relationship rather than taking stock of one that's old.

Having been in a long term relationship with a crazy person I can quite honestly tell you this sentence "when he started acting weird again, and i recognized that what was happening was almost the exact same thing which led to our first break up " made my blood run cold.
And I'm wondering what's stupider - pretending not to see the problem or seeing it but pretending it's not a problem. If I can come to a conclusion on that your relationship will have taught me something at least :)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 11:11 AM on June 4, 2008


we weren't broken up yet when i went over to his house.

And he started screaming at you!?!?!? I was giving him too much credit, then. I am a full believer that if someone screams at you for doing something normal, then you probably shouldn't be with them.

Also, that feeling of trust and calm really needs to be earned. Some people are really good at faking that feeling and making out feel safe, which feels great, but it's not real. The only way you can build genuine trust with someone is by being with them and relying on them over time. I am confident that some day you will feel that with someone and it will be real. Just keep trying, hang in there, and don't lose hope!
posted by sondrialiac at 12:02 PM on June 4, 2008


(fixed)

Some people are really good at faking that feeling and making you feel safe, which feels great, but it's not real.
posted by sondrialiac at 12:03 PM on June 4, 2008


This is reminding me of the relationship I had with someone who had both borderline personality disorder and PTSD, and who tended to test the loyalty (not in a calculating, deliberate way, but in a panicky, reactionary way) of friends and lovers by causing drama of the sort that tended to involve a lot of noise and insecurity and the occasional "I never want to see you again!" or "Forget my phone number!"

It's not worth it.

No matter how good the good times, how sweet the make-up, how contrite, how thoughtful or generous the rest of the time, it is not worth it. That's the relationship that taught me the true meaning of "actions speak louder than words." If you feel a need to punish yourself or learn a lot of lessons about why personal boundaries are important, stay in the relationship. Otherwise, run, Forrest, run!
posted by notashroom at 2:05 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure 2.5 months is long enough to properly gauge chemistry in a relationship.

Because nobody else seems to have addressed it: If you totally cut the amazing sex out of the equation, do you feel more inclined, less inclined, or the same about salvaging the relationship?
posted by jabberjaw at 3:21 PM on June 4, 2008


Response by poster: I'm not sure 2.5 months is long enough to properly gauge chemistry in a relationship.

it appears you have a different definition of chemistry than i do. for me, chemistry is almost always an instant thing for me and you either have it or you don't. and it isn't just about sex. it's a whole mix of things.
posted by violetk at 3:48 PM on June 4, 2008


Best answer: If he wants to stay with you, he needs to learn to bring fears, concerns, problems to you in a reasonable fashion so you can discuss and resolve them, rather than stew on them until he throws an absolute shitfit, and leaves you running around to patch things up.

If he's prepared to change how he engages with you when he's worried about something then, yes, the relationship can, perhaps, be a long and happy one. If he can't learn how to do that, well, the only way to keep it is for you to keep clearing up after his tantrums. Is he worth enough that you want to do that for the next ten years? Twenty years?

I speak, incidentally, as someone who had to learn how to improve my skills in that area, and did. So it's quite possible, but only if he wants to.
posted by rodgerd at 4:18 PM on June 4, 2008


violetk: agreed! Sorry if it was in any way insulting - we have totally different definitions of chemistry (but I agree isn't just about sex).
posted by jabberjaw at 4:19 PM on June 4, 2008


we'll go along swimmingly and then all of a sudden, he will fixate on some small thing, pick me apart for it, and then blow it up into a reason for why we shouldn't be together, why we don't work.

This seems to me to be a control issue. There's a conventional wisdom that says we should mistrust the "too much-too soon" relationships. There are a lot of aspects of this in what you've revealed about your relationship - you spend a LOT of time together for mature adults in a new relationship, he makes you "feel protected," you have "insanely awesome sex." None of these would necessarily ring an alarm bell except for his sudden anger. Beware the sudden anger!

The "small thing" that he picks you apart for - is it the same thing? Is it different this time? Did you "fix" it last time?

"the last time i did this, we got back together because he said he really thought i was amazing for caring enough to put so much thought into trying to figure out what happened"

So he broke up with you in a sudden fit of anger - and stayed broken up with you until you put the effort into communicating with him. What did he do to make up for the break up? If you go back to him this time with a similar offering, then you can pretty much count on this happening every time he feels out of control. It smacks of emotional abuse - so please be careful.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:31 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


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