Is this a normal “cooling off” period or silent treatment/emotional abuse?
I have been dating a man for just over a year. We broke up at one point for three months because he got cold feet about the relationship. (He’s been divorced for a number of years and hasn’t had a committed relationship in that time, only dated minimally. He said what he had with me “seemed too good to be true.”) He came back to me, wanting to get back together, and I accepted. He wanted to be in an exclusive relationship and see each other every weekend, which we had been doing before, and I agreed. By the way, I’m in my late 30s, and he’s a little over 20 years older.
Here’s our dating schedule: we go out Friday night, usually a movie and/or dinner, occasionally attend an event or go out of town for something. Then I spend the night at his house. On Saturday we just do fun things, watch TV, etc. Sometimes we go out Saturday nights; sometimes we stay in. Sundays, he makes me breakfast, and then I usually leave around 2 p.m. He’s a self-employed lawyer, and he has a routine where he likes to go into his office Sunday afternoons and work. Sometimes on Sunday evenings, he has to look over files because he has court Mondays or watch cop videos. I’ve kind of gotten used to his routine. We rarely see each other during the week unless he invites me to go to an event or sometimes out to dinner.
I am involved in community theater, and we both enjoy going to plays every few weeks. This past Sunday night, we tried something new at the theater: a cabaret where local patrons could sign up to sing, read, do a performance based on a theme. It’s just a new idea we’re trying to garner interest in what the theater has to offer. It was set up a month ago, and I invited my boyfriend to come. He questioned why it was scheduled on a Sunday night. I told him the director set it up. I assumed he would come because 1) I had invited him a month ahead (plenty of notice) and 2) he would figure it was important to me. Hell, I’ve watched several football games with him, which is something I wouldn’t do on my own, but I enjoy doing it with him, because it’s with him.
So Sunday as I was getting ready to leave his house around 2 p.m., I asked if he were coming after he worked in his office. He said probably not, and he thought the idea of the cabaret was “kinda lame,” which hurt my feelings. I didn’t know what to say. Again, I guess I assumed he knew it was important to me. I told him I was going to read some poetry I had written (I have two graduate degrees in writing, and I teach.) He urged me to have fun.
I was so hurt I didn’t know what to do. I texted him about half an hour later and told him the event was important to me and I was sorry he thought it was “kinda lame.”
He texted back and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know how you felt about it.” Then half an hour later, he texted again, “I’ll come by if you would like, but it’s not a good day for me.”
I didn’t respond because I was still hurt. Later, I sent him another message, right before the event: “If I hadn’t wanted you to come, I wouldn’t have invited you a month ago. I was hoping you’d want to come. So much for that.”
He responded a little while later, after the event, “If I had understood this event was important to you, I would have to have rearranged my activities on Saturday.” We had spent Saturday at his house as normal, just watching TV.
Today, Tuesday, after we didn’t communicate all day yesterday, I sent him a message in the afternoon: “I don’t think this silence is doing either of us—or our relationship any good.”
He replied a couple of hours later, “I’ve been kinda ill about the events of Sunday, and felt like I needed some time to cool off before we talked further.”
Tonight, I texted him over an hour ago: “Can we just talk and get this over with?” I was hoping he’d call me, and we could discuss the matter and get it behind us. No response as of yet.
First, was I wrong to be hurt about him not going with me? I’m asking because, obviously, I’m very close to the issue. Second, is this a normal “cooling off” period or silent treatment/emotional abuse/manipulation? It’s now been two days, and the absence of communication hurts immensely.
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.