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Walking on eggshells with boyfriend. Why is he like this?

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Old 12-09-2009, 11:36 PM   #1
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Unhappy Walking on eggshells with boyfriend. Why is he like this?

This is long. Just had to vent and get it off my chest.

First of all, I realize this is an unhealthy situation. I realize that I'm being codependent and what he's doing is mentally abusive and I know I should end it. However, when you're in a situation like this, it's easier said than done. I'm hoping that if I know *why* he is like this, it might be a bit easier for me to let go.

My boyfriend of a year is an officer in the Army. He has a very stressful job, and has been in Iraq for two months now. However these problems have existed for our entire relationship, the distance hasn't created any new issues.

Ever since I've known him, he's been kind of a quiet type. I figured he was just shy, and I'm somewhat shy at first, so I can understand this. However, a month or two into our relationship, I realized that he wasn't just shy and slow to warm up, he just has a brooding negative personality.

The only way he shows any kind of affection is by buying me gifts (he bought me a Wii, I get flowers every few weeks, jewelry, and any little thing). I do not ask for the gifts, and I would MUCH rather get an enthusiastic hug from him than an expensive gift. I literally have to ask him to hug me more, he huffs if I try to cuddle on the couch, and I'm surprised if I get any random act of affection from him (a spontaneous "I love you" or holding my hand, etc). We have a decent sex life, but it's a wam bam thank you ma'am type of thing. The only way he knows how to show his love is by buying presents.

But the real problem is this. He's so easily angered. He's deeply insecure and jealous. If another guy is in my presence in an entirely innocent situation (hanging out with my friend and her boyfriend, for example), he gets upset. He says he can't trust me and that I'm replacing him with another man. It's exhausting trying to explain myself constantly. I am not a cheater, it's deeply against my morals, but somehow I can't prove this to him. I promised him that I would be entirely faithful to him for the deployment and he shouldn't even have to worry about it. He said "I expect the worst, hope for the best."

Furthermore, he's easily angered at really insignificant things. I interrupted a story he was telling the other day, and it infuriated him. If I miss a phone call or if I'm late or if I forget something that he's told me or if I even begin to suggest that I'm at all frustrated with him, he gets mad. An he doesn't even stay to discuss it, he just leaves. He'll leave me alone in his apartment, or if he's at my apartment he'll go home. He's left me at his uncle's house.

I am NOT a fighter. I have had relationships where we never had a single big blow out fight. So whenever he gets upset over these tiny things, I find myself apologizing profusely. Desperately trying to salvage the peace. Even though I know perfectly well that it's his own darn fault for being mad about a stupid insignificant thing, I apologize. If I stand up and say "get over it," he leaves.

Besides all of that, he's just always in an unhappy mood. Now that he's in Iraq, he calls every other day or so, and I wait for his calls, I love hearing from him. I'm bursting with things to tell him, and to tell him I love him. He complains about work, complains how he's tired, and if I ever try to tell him a story or anything, he says "well, I need to get back to work." I always feel defeated and disappointed after his calls.

I know he loves me. He always talks about getting married, he sends very sweet notes about how much he loves me and misses me. He had a lockett made with our names engraved on it and our favorite picture of us inside it. Just little gestures like that let me know that he loves me. But at the same time, I've never felt satisfied. If he loves me, why can't he be happy to talk to me? Why does he constantly criticise me and pick at me? I don't need expensive gifts, it would make my world if just one day he could call and sound enthusiastic to talk to me and say "I love you so much!"

I know I'm half the problem just for staying with him. I have my own securities. My mother was a late-stage alcoholic, and I grew up trying to be more important in her life than her drink...an uphill battle. Also, like many of us here, I have self-confidence issues. I KNOW I don't deserve this, but at the same time, a little piece of me is so amazed that somebody would love me that I feel like I can endure anything as long as he'll still love me.

I've read dozens of stories of women with men just like mine. But I don't understand why. Why is he like this?

Again, I know this is unhealthy and that he will not change. I know I need to end it, but when you truly care about a person, it's hard to let them go....even if they are hurting you.

Sorry for the novel.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:01 AM   #2
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What was his life like before you met him? What is the relationship between his parents like? What is his relationship with each of them like? Alot of what we do in relationships, we learn from the relationships around us, and it's very, very difficult to break certain patterns.

I've been in a relationship with a man that was similar to who you describe, and I had to leave for my own mental and emotional health. It broke his heart, and I live with the guilt of that, but at the same time, we were NOT happy together. I've come to the conclusion that he was simply not able to be what I needed, and I couldn't be happy trying to be what he wanted. At the end of the day, sometimes the answer to "why" is "just because."

Good luck.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:28 AM   #3
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Whew........I think that when there this way ~they make ya feel like we are doing the wrong ~which is why your always apologizing and not eager to leave him....It's definetly abuse Proboly coming from his past..Childhood perhaps ~I am telling you unless they get help or help thereselves it will never change. My hubby was similair when he use to drink...(WHICH He quit THANK GOD) Now he is a super human being...But it took 19 years. If your willing to wait that long ~then hang in there...But sometimes they never change. ~I will not tell you to leave him~cause I stayed and I am very happy now...But Sometimes Those situtaions get unsafe~I had a few unsafe moments in my lifetime...And you know you have been there....JUst stay safe.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:31 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mkendrick View Post
...I'm hoping that if I know *why* he is like this, it might be a bit easier for me to let go...
Here's my opinion, for what it's worth (which isn't much - I don't know enough about you to give really good advice, so this is just my impression of what you have said. If what I say doesn't apply to your situation, you should disregard everything I say).

Knowing why isn't going to make it easier to leave, it will just make it more difficult. I think maybe you're looking for a reason to stay, not a reason to leave - hoping that the explanation will be good enough for you to be able to justify or overlook it.

Thing is, there's no justification for emotional abuse. Nothing that can make it ok.

I'm not saying you must leave him. I don't know enough about your situation to give you that kind of advice, but I do trust your instinct to leave. If you believe (as you stated) that you should leave him, then you should leave him.

I know it may sound hypocritical, but I wouldn't trust your instinct to stay quite as much as your instinct to leave. I think women tend to be so empathetic that they can turn OFF their self-protective instincts. I don't know if this is your situation, just pointing out that it's a common one.

I do think that counseling would help. Ideally for you both, but even for yourself. If you're really looking for the strength to leave, counseling (even without him, maybe especially without him) would probably help more than trying to understand his issues.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:16 AM   #5
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Unfortunately, the only person who could really tell you "why" is your boyfriend - and even he might not be able to explain it, it may just be the only way he knows. I completely understand wanting answers, my only two serious relationships both ended in ways that left me wondering. I love what Serendipity said, that sometimes the only answer is "just because." So true. Frustrating but true.

I'd suggest though, that you focus on YOU, and not him. ( I know it's hard.) You said you know he loves you, but you've never felt satisfied. If his way of loving you isn't giving you what you need, and if it isn't something he's willing to work on (really talk about, consider counseling, etc) - in the end, what matters is YOU aren't getting what you need, regardless of the reasons. You have to believe that there will be someone else out there who CAN give that to you. It's scary I know...thinking of letting go of what you have, not knowing who else is out there. But just think, there could be someone great who would make you really happy by loving you in the way that you want - and you could be missing out on that by staying in this relationship that isn't fullfilling to you.

There's this quote that I love: "I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency to not to only see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism." It's from Elizabeth Gilbert's book, "Eat, Pray, Love" (excellent read!). Someone told it to me when I was going through a rough breakup, and it really put into perspective why I've put up with some of the things I have in relationships.

I hope you find some encouragement and support out of all the comments, even if we can't provide the answers you want. Best wishes for deciding what you want to do in this situation.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:38 AM   #6
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I have to agree with Kaplods, that perhaps you are looking more for a reason to stay than for a reason to leave. And honestly, at the end of the day....does it *matter* why he's this way? Really? So many times, we women fall in love with someone for who we wish they were (or what their potential is, as Untamed points out), rather than who they are. We have these romantic notions that our love can heal someone, can turn him into what we want/need him to be. Essentially, we have fallen in love with a fantasy of who we wish the person to be.

The best piece of advice I ever got regarding relationships was this: "When someone tells you who they are, believe them." His actions are telling you that he is incapable of being the partner that you need. Will he always be this way? I don't know. But I do know that love rarely heals a grown person, and that adults rarely change the essence of who they are. Maybe he just needs time to grow up, I don't know. But honestly, this seems like it would lead to a pretty unhappy, unsatisfying life for you if you were to continue on with this man. You know him and I don't, so only you will know whether or not any of these posts apply to your particular situation.

Best wishes to you. You sound like a mature, loving person and you deserve the same in a partner.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkendrick View Post
...First of all, I realize this is an unhealthy situation. I realize that I'm being codependent and what he's doing is mentally abusive and I know I should end it. However, when you're in a situation like this, it's easier said than done. I'm hoping that if I know *why* he is like this, it might be a bit easier for me to let go....Again, I know this is unhealthy and that he will not change. I know I need to end it, but when you truly care about a person, it's hard to let them go....even if they are hurting you...
As usual, I think that kaplods has offered sound advise.

I cannot tell you why your boyfriend is acting this way. But I can tell you two "rules" that I have always gone by:

1. Accept people the way they are, you cannot change them. If you are in a relationship and are not happy with your partner the way that they are, then you have to move on.

2. No matter what your heart says, you must listen to your head too. You start and end the post saying that you know that your relationship is not healthy and that he is being abusive. Even though it was so hard, I ended a few relationships because I wasn't being treated right. The funny thing is, I did it because I didn't want other people to see me being treated this way, not necessarily because I was "strong". I cried and was very upset after those break-ups, but it allowed me to be free to find the right man.

The bottom line is that you DESERVE to be treated right and should settle for nothing less! The only thing that is stopping you from being happy is you. You know that he is being abusive and that he will not change, so now you just have to have the courage to follow though. I hope that this and what others have said in someway helps.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:34 AM   #8
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I agree with all of the above and would SERIOUSLY ask you to look into yourself and PLEASE get the book " Codependant Nomore" it is a good start in some self analysis and I am currently on a personal quest & this book is helped greatly, girl please get your- ship- togather while you are still young and have other avenues available.......I believe in you and you should too, but get the book/
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Windchime View Post
I have to agree with Kaplods, that perhaps you are looking more for a reason to stay than for a reason to leave. And honestly, at the end of the day....does it *matter* why he's this way? Really? So many times, we women fall in love with someone for who we wish they were (or what their potential is, as Untamed points out), rather than who they are. We have these romantic notions that our love can heal someone, can turn him into what we want/need him to be. Essentially, we have fallen in love with a fantasy of who we wish the person to be.

The best piece of advice I ever got regarding relationships was this: "When someone tells you who they are, believe them." His actions are telling you that he is incapable of being the partner that you need. Will he always be this way? I don't know. But I do know that love rarely heals a grown person, and that adults rarely change the essence of who they are. Maybe he just needs time to grow up, I don't know. But honestly, this seems like it would lead to a pretty unhappy, unsatisfying life for you if you were to continue on with this man. You know him and I don't, so only you will know whether or not any of these posts apply to your particular situation.

Best wishes to you. You sound like a mature, loving person and you deserve the same in a partner.
this was my thinking, really well said.

take it from someone who has stayed too long in more than one unsatisfying situation, you deserve better, don't be afraid to seek it out. make your life a happy one.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:32 AM   #10
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OMG you are a beautiful girl! Wow!! And you seem very sweet, from reading your post. Don't let any guy change that for you. Years of this behavior from the person who is supposed to love you will take all that away from you and make you angry and resentful. Don't allow that. Many of us women aren't taught what to accept or allow. We just muddle thru and hope for the best, and go by what we SAW as kids, and unfortunately that isn't always best. That isn't what we should do. We need to step back, make a list of what's important while looking for a relationship. Then look for those things in the people we meet, look for someone who has those qualities.

If when you are with him, he doesn't BOOST your self-esteem, doesn't ADD to your happiness then he IS NOT the one you are supposed to be with!!! Listen to yourself. You answered your own questions all throughout your post, like the other poster said. You begin and end it with the truth. The middle is your way of saying "I feel really bad for him, want so badly to find an excuse for his behavior and pray he will change."

I've always been heavy. And I always was on the lookout for people to do this to me. Luckily I've left them if there was ANY sign of it. I cannot stand for people to drag other people down. You wouldn't even be writing about anything like this if he was Mr. Right. You see? When you are really in love with someone who is good for you, and things are great, you are praising all the great things he does.

He may even want to change. But I'm very sorry to tell you, he won't. He can't. It's his personality. It's innate. It's what life molded him to be and you can't remold him like play-doh, even though we have all wanted to do that to people in our lives. There are wayyyy too many other people in this world who are happy, optimistic, giving, caring, empathetic, loving and behave this way because it's innate for them. But it's not for him. Or you would have seen it.

There are lots of men out there who would love to date a girl like you. But only a handful of them are YOUR type. Sit down and figure out YOUR type. We all are drawn to people for certain reasons. You are probably drawn to him initially because he WON'T give love as much as you want, like your mom did. It's so true what one poster said. We mimic past relationships in our future ones. Dr. Phil says (can you tell I like the doc?) that we feel a huge rush of 'love' when we find someone very much like either parent to be in a relationship with. It's like a euphoria which makes it hard for us to see the rest. You feel a certain way while you are with them, but what it is, is like deja vue for you. You've been there before. You've been treated this way before. This is familiar, you know this behavior, good or bad, it's so nice to already know someone, or something because you've been there before. But once you get perspective, you see that just because you recognize it, it doesn't mean you should stay there and live like that. Change your future. Demand more of anyone who wants to be involved with you. Once I saw something in someone I was dating that I couldn't tolerate, not working at a good job, not showing affection, not doing things the way I wanted to live, or if they made me feel bad instead of good, that was it for me. They cried and they tried to get me to come back but I knew I had to stop it then. And I was young back then, 19, 20. It's about clarity. I had seen this when I was a child and swore I wouldn't live that way. I want to crave being with my husband, and when he is gone to work, I miss him. If that wasn't the case, what's the point???

You must find someone that once they are added to your life, your life shines brighter and smells better and looks dreamier and sounds beautiful and hugs you with warmth every day that he is present with you and is darker once he drives to work. If that isn't true with this man you are with, please step back and see it for what it is.

Make a list of pros and cons. If you are honest, I bet the cons win. It's not a really a bad thing (once you grieve for a bit over a lost relationship), it's not a catastrophe. It just 'is'. Just like the other poster who said it's 'just because.' That is so true. Are you happier and better when you are sitting there with him? It sounds like no. You are being stifled in your bubbly personality, in the way you want your daily life to be. You can't force him to see life like you do. I bet that's why he likes you so much. He is drawn to your light because his is dim and unhappy. When you leave, he'll find someone else to do this with. Then they'll be complaining of the same problems months from now. And you would see that it wasn't you, it's HIM with any girl. It's how he does relationships because it's just how he is. He can't help it.

DO NOT LET ANYONE, MAN OR FRIEND OR PARENT OR ANYONE ELSE, STIFLE YOU, RESTRICT YOU, DERAIL YOU, OR HOLD YOU BACK IN ANY WAY. IF ANYONE IS TOXIC TO YOUR HAPPINESS, THEY MUST BE PLACED BEHIND A BOUNDRY LINE. YOUR HAPPY TIMES ARE WITH THE PEOPLE WHO ARE INSIDE THE BOUNDRY LINE, PEOPLE WHO ADD TO IT. THE OTHERS NEED TO BE HELD AT ARM'S LENGTH AND NOT ALLOWED IN BECAUSE THEY DIM YOUR HAPPY TIMES. AND THAT'S NO WAY TO LIVE.

Dr. Phil says we train people in how to treat us. He says that if we allow rudeness, hatefulness, etc and we are apologizing for ridiculous things that make THEM unhappy then we are training the other person to see that what they are doing works! They are making US apologize and feel bad for irrelevant things just because THEY WANT US TO FEEL LESS THAN. IF WE FEEL LESS THAN, THEN WE'LL BE HAPPY TO HAVE ANYONE IN OUR LIFE. WE WILL VALUE THEM BECAUSE WHO COULD LOVE US IF WE ARE SO LOW?

Do not let this happen to you. Please. My mother did and I watched it the whole time I was growing up. My dad never called her names, never hit her or us, but he was ALWAYS DISAPPOINTED IN HER AND SOMETIMES IN US. BUT ALMOST ALWAYS IN HER. And she always felt bad, like she wasn't good enough. He did that so he would feel bigger and better. Since when is it win-lose in any relationship? I want win-win! It's not right to climb higher by stepping on someone you love. (Can you all tell I've read Codependant No More and almost all of Melody Beattie's books. She is great, look her up! One is so good we call it 'The Book' in our family, lol!)

Please take some time off of the relationship. When you do, he will throw a fit. Allow the fit. Remember this isn't about you. Or anything you've just told him at that moment. It's about HIS issues. Don't let those rub off on you. Let him have his issues to himself. Tell him exactly this. Say I won't allow myself to be sadder when I'm with you than I am alone. That is a huge sign that he is taking from you, not giving to you. Love, support, light. You can't let it leave you because you date someone. You shouldn't ever worry or fret because of a man or his behavior. Claim your right for a joyous, wonderfully creative, abundant life. If he doesn't fit, move on.

You can do this. Take a deep breath. Imagine in your mind, sad, quiet, emotionally lonely, regretful, dark days if you stay. But happy, bright, colorful, free, fun, blissful days are in your future if you allow yourself to find it. With or without a boyfriend, if you surround yourself with friends who have a great positive outlook, you will begin to see what we are all saying to you about this situation. The more he wants you to be ONLY with him, the more he convinces you that you NEED him and would be so alone without him. It's insecurites he has, he isn't evil (sorry if I make it sound that way!) But I just know your life will be better without this situation in it! (Sorry to be so adamant and sorta of sound like I'm angry, but I am telling you, I've seen the beginning of this, the middle years and the end. My parents are not together anymore. My mother, after 30 years, realized that she could not change him, could not help him to be better, could not expect change from him, he is what he is. And she wasn't willing to live that way anymore. Don't waste time. You only get one life. Make sure it's the absolute very best life you can live.

One more thing. Dr. Phil has always said that, say in my parent's situation, that people are how they are wayyy before we came along. Way before they had kids, way before they got married, etc. It is their personality to be sullen, to be insecure, to be quiet, to be demanding, to get mad at little things. It's not you causing these things. And when you leave him, these same things will happen with the next girl. It is just the way he is. Can you imagine living that way for 30 years? Never feeling good enough, always wondering what is wrong with him, why does he do things, poor thing had to have a rough childhood, I guess that's why. Well it's not his fault, I'll stay and maybe be able to help him. It's because of this or of that or the other thing, yeah, that's what it is. Poor guy, can't change. NO. Don't do this. Be more clever than that and don't be fooled. Let another girl do it but not you. You love yourself too much to allow any mistreatment of the life God gave you.

Good luck, and please update this thread. I'm praying for your clear thought and I know God has an extremely meaningful life planned for you. Feel free to PM me anytime if you wanna just talk.

Big hugsss to you!
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:24 AM   #11
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Selina, you are gorgeous inside and out. What a wonderful, thoughtful post.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:01 PM   #12
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I think you already know the answer. This just doesn't sound like the right man for you. My only advice would be to wait until he is home from Iraq before making the decision. This is because he is in a stressful situation, now. I don't think his personality will change from what you are saying. You ask, why is he like this ? Doesn't matter, this is his personality.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:35 AM   #13
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Do Not, Do Not, Do Not!!! Bring A Baby Into This Relationship!!!!!!!!!!!

It Will Not Make Things Better!
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:20 AM   #14
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I know a lot of people have given you advice but from one girl who was in a relationship with someone she loved but it was the wrong relationship....

A relationship should make you feel good and the person you are with should support you. They shouldn't make you feel like you are less than. You should feel loved, supported and should really feel like you have a partner in life. I didn't learn that lesson until I found the right person that made me feel like that.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:31 PM   #15
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mkendrick - 24 years ago, at 18, I met a man at college who's now been my husband for just over 20 years. We dated for 4 years, and I grew a pretty thick skin to the little personal jabs. I got used to a frequent but unsatisfying sex life. The night before our wedding, I didn't sleep a wink, and I came pretty close to not going down the aisle because I knew down deep that this wasn't the right match. I put off having kids for 10 years, despite his wanting them. Now, I've got a son with him, who's 10, and guess what? The little personal jabs are nastier, and now directed at us both. I've got a thick skin; my son doesn't. And he's growing up seeing us as a "model" for a future relationship. He tries to treat me the same way his dad does BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT HE SEES.

I don't have any issues with the possessiveness or jealousy that you do, but you need to ask yourself really hard questions about whether you want to build a life and a home with this guy. Litmus test: How will you feel if one of your children is in a relationship like the one you're in? If the thought makes you choke down vomit, don't wait.
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