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ImNotHere's avatar

What can I say to my boyfriend so we may resolve this horrible fight?

Asked by ImNotHere (444points) October 25th, 2010

I’ve been seeing a man for about 2 months (He just turned 29 and I’m 21) and it’s been starting to get pretty serious. We see each other often and he’s told me recently he wants me to consider his apartment a second ‘home’. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t already have strong feelings for him and he’s expressed through words and actions that he feels the same. I love falling asleep in his arms and umm…yeah. Did I mention I really like him?

This next part may make him look bad but please keep in mind I’m upset with him right now…

Tonight we had a bitter argument which I regret to say was not our first one. He has a tendency to be hyper-critical and sometimes this turns into him severely brow beating me for minor infractions (not making the bed to his standards, forgetting to turn out the closet light etc.) He knows he has this tendency but just chalks it up to his personality and being a perfectionist. I’ve been trying hard to improve for him but sometimes I just feel like it’s never enough and I get very down on myself because of his criticism and feeling inadequate. :(

The argument tonight was because he was making digs at me about how he thinks i’m irresponsible. He said I didn’t have proper “life skills” whatever that means and blamed my parents for not raising me right as a child. I was hurt and angry that he said this and was quite fed up with him acting like this again so I said something insensitive back. When he said he’d never had a girlfriend so irresponsible I retorted with a comment about how it wasn’t very ‘responsible’ of his ex to cheat on him with his friend then.

I know what I said was wrong, but I was so furious and hurt by his criticism I didn’t think.. (Also not the first time he’s said insensitive things about me or my family who he hasn’t met) He became very angry with me and refused to speak to me except for some very bitter texts and now I don’t know what to do. I’ve offered him so many sincere apologies and attempts to make it right between us (despite thinking he was wrong to treat me disrespectfully in the first place) that I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m afraid he’s going to leave me but part of me thinks I should just leave him if he’s going to be so difficult to get along with properly.

I’m really torn up about this. I’m starting to really fall for his man and would be devastated that one fight can ruin everything between us. Have any of you ever been in a similar situation? If so how were you able to resolve it?

How do I get a very stubborn man to see the error of his ways and get his forgiveness? I’ve offered him a sincere apology, expressed that I care for him and want to make it right between us and acknowledged my wrongdoing in the situation. What else can a girl do? I’m doing the best I can… :(

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39 Answers

shilolo's avatar

I think that it is a real stretch to expect that you will be able to change him. Unless you feel like you are willing to acquiesce to him and absorb a constant barrage of minor criticisms for the remainder of your relationship, then I think you are on the right track in thinking that breaking things off might be best. If someone were constantly browbeating me, and making me feel miserable as a consequence, I wouldn’t put up with it for too long. But hey, that’s just me.

perspicacious's avatar

My initial reaction is to say leave him. Yeah, that’s my second reaction too.

augustlan's avatar

You can’t live your life trying to jump through hoops in order to please someone whose standards are so different from your own. Don’t try to change him, but more importantly, don’t try to change yourself. Find someone who loves and appreciates you as you are. Your life will be so much more pleasant, I guarantee it. Spoken from the voice of experience.

deni's avatar

What you said to him was no worse than what he said to you. A relationship shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself. You should be with someone who likes you for who you are and what you do, and isn’t constantly trying to change you into someone you’re not. I’d break up with him now.

Also, he told you your parents didn’t raise you right? He should be apologizing to you!!!

I’ve never been in a situation like this, because if my “boyfriend” complained I didn’t make the bed right, then…that’s obnoxious and I’m outta there before it can even become a relationship.

CaptainHarley's avatar

With very rare exceptions, what you see is what you get in relationships. If you dislike this tendency in him now, think what it will be like after ten years of the same. My recommendation is that you find someone less perfectionistic.

Nullo's avatar

There really isn’t anything that you can do once you’ve apologized. It’s up to him, now, to decide to accept your apology.

lillycoyote's avatar

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a whole lot of patience with these scenarios, so I’m not going to sound very compassionate… but, you’re with a guy who browbeats you because you don’t make the bed right or forget to turn off the closet light? He has no right to treat you that way and you’re not only a doormat to put up with it but these are the kind of guys, if you stick with them, stand a good chance of ending up beating the crap out of you eventually. He’s not going to change. You’re dating him. When you’re dating people or early in the relationship, guys, everyone, are on their best behavior or at least trying to control their worst qualities. Not only is this guy not going to get any better, in my opinion, the worst is probably yet to come, so as @perspicacsious said: “My initial reaction is to say leave him. Yeah, that’s my second reaction too.” Or, tell him to make his own damn bed and turn off the closet light his own damn self if he’s so goddam perfect and superior, and then leave him.

Plucky's avatar

I agree with @perspicacious and @lillycoyote comments. I truly believe that it will get a lot worse. This is the making of a really bad relationship.

ImNotHere's avatar

How’s this for a breakup letter? (Mind you it’s a rough draft and incomplete)

Dear Alan,
I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with you very much. But I’m starting to fear we may not be right for one another at this point in our lives. It would be foolish for me to deny that I am starting to have very strong feelings for you which is why it hurts me so very much to acknowledge this.

I hope you can forgive me for the unkind thing I said to you tonight. Even though I said it out of my own hurt, it was reprehensible and I didn’t mean to cause you any pain. I hope you know that I do feel deep empathy for your heartbreak because even though I’ve never revealed the extent of it, I’ve also hurt by someone I loved deeply. I sincerely hope you can come find some peace and your heart heals stronger and better than before.

The truth is Alan, I am who I am, and I know just who I am. And despite how I feel for you, I fear you can never love me the way I need to be loved. I’m not a perfectionist or a great linear thinker, I rarely do things the same way every time, I hate structure but adhere to it only out of necessity and try to thwart it whenever possible. I never pretended to be something I’m not. I’m my own person who needs to be loved, respected and valued for what makes me special; rather than criticized, deconstructed and trained into a woman I’m not.

We both deserve to be happy, yourself included. Thank you so much for your time, generosity,kindness and hospitality. The time I’ve spent with you has been wonderful and I’ll never forget it as long as I live. Honestly, I…

lillycoyote's avatar

@BringsTheNight :-) It makes me so, so happy that you are going to go ahead and get out of this relationship! As to the letter… I don’t think you owe him that much nor do I think it’s a good idea to pour so much out or to give him so many opportunities to address the issues and possible change your mind. Do you know what I mean? You’re sweet; he’s an abuser. I thinks it’s best just to assert yourself and make a quick, clear, razor-sharp exit out of this thing. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but these kind of guys are weasels and manipulators and the letter, as written, in my opinion, and it’s just my opinion, gives him too much room to weasel his way back in and makes you sound soft enough for him to do it. It’s getting a little late for me so I seem to be at a loss to tell you exactly how to make the “quick, clear, razor-sharp exit” that I myself have advised. Hopefully someone else here can do better for you, or maybe in the morning I can put my money where my mouth is and think of something. Does any of this make sense? Like I said, it’s getting late and sometimes I fluther away when I really should have been in bed hours ago. But, really, I am so glad that you are determined to get out of this thing. Love is not always enough. You clearly deserve a better man and a better relationship than this one.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Do not let yourself be sweet talked out of your decision. Be true to yourself. This guy sounds like he has all the earmarks of a controlling personality.

partyparty's avatar

I agree with @BarnacleBill Your friend has a very controlling attitude towards you.
I would get out of the relationship as soon as possible. I know you care for him, but you have only known him a short time, and his controlling tendencies will only get worse with time.
You deserve better. Good luck

LuckyGuy's avatar

Run, don’t walk, from this relationship. Don’t let him trick you into staying.
You letter sounds great so far. (It might even be a little too kind.) You need to say something about no further contact.

I have some suggestions for you on the day you send or deliver the breakup note.
1) Say nothing about it until you are ready to walk out the door. Have all your things out of there and then delliver the message in one of two ways:
a) move everything out and leave a note on the table. Easiest
b) have a friend pick you up after you have your planned face-to-ace. Set the time beforehand. This will be harder but will force you to do it.
2) You do not need to make any further excuses. Just repeat “I am leaving.” “We both deserve better.” “I am leaving.” ... and get the heck out of there.
3) Return (or offer to return) the high value objects he purchased. You don’t have to but it does show some class and also proves you are serious.
4) Get your computer cleaned and change your computer passwords. A control freak might have keylogger installed on his own computer and/or put one on yours..

Good luck to you.

rts486's avatar

I recommend breaking up with him. He’s not going to change and your situation is only going to become worst as time passes. There are plenty of guys out there who can give you the same good feelings without the negative.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

You’re not going to “get him to see the error of his ways”. The one who will be changed here is you. You’ll give up more and more of your autonomy, your self-respect, your will and ability to “be who you are”, and you will attempt to be more and more of what he wants (at least what he says he wants) and belittled and humbled more and more, little by little, every day. You are the one who will be ground down by his constant, grinding, hard criticisms (for now) and very likely by physical means at a later date, when he knows that he can get away with it and have you hide your own bruises because of your own shame that you let him do it to you.

Sociopaths—like him—can be incredibly charming at times to get people to like them; it’s how they start to dig in the hooks to get themselves installed in positions of power where they can manipulate more and more freely.

I’m sorry—for you—but I’ve seen this question posed too many ways, from too many women (almost invariably women, but sometimes men, too) for far too many years (like before we even knew there would be an Internet) to have any doubt how this will turn out if you stay with him. Your only hope, as others have already said quite well, is to steel yourself and leave. Grieve afterward if you have to, but leave and don’t go back. Whatever he says to get you back, he’ll revert back later to who he really is, and hurt you worse.

If you can’t leave because you “love him too much”, then you should start a hidden bank account somewhere—and keep it hidden forever, even to the point of having statements sent to someone you trust, such as your parents or a lifelong friend—against the day when you will be forced to flee for your life and start over again. I’m not kidding.

chyna's avatar

I don’t see the break up note as necessary, it could come back to haunt you, so I wouldn’t give/send it. You have only been with him 2 months and he is treating you this bad already, I would run away from the situation and not ever go back. Sounds like he is obsessive/compulsive, having the bed made correctly, etc. and wants you to be the same way. That kind of person never changes, only becomes worse. As everyone else has said, don’t let him weasel his way back in your life.

lemming's avatar

Don’t be surprised if he keeps calling you and messaging you when you finally leave. I was in a very, very similar situation six months ago, and after I left I had to change my number and various accounts (even fluther!) because he kept calling and messaging me. I guess he just thought he was entitled to me. Don’t fight with him, because if you fight you will probably make up. Just leave, you don’t need to explain yourself. I’m so relieved that guy is gone!!! But he took six months of my life.

lemming's avatar

But before he won’t leave you alone, he will make you feel like your making a big mistake.

Austinlad's avatar

All excellent advice above with which I heartily concur. I think you need to put your desire for this guy aside and look at the big picture. This is a guy who has control issues and who isn’t likely to change. Walk away and find—or wait to be found by—someone who loves you for who you are.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Make sure you clearly state: “Please do not contact me any more. My mind is made up. We both will be happier if this relationship is ended now.”
Keep a notebook and document when you said that, ( email, letter, .jpg of the letter, etc.) and then keep track of every attempt he makes to contact you thereafter. Confide in at least one other friend he does not know and let that person have a copy of the records.
Seriously, use another computer for this. If he is technically savvy he might be reading everything you read and write.

Let’s hope you never need it, but you never know. It might be useful in court.
In 6 months you will look back at this time and know that you made the right decision.

josie's avatar

I would be careful about getting too serious about someone who thinks you should change a whole lot of stuff about yourself in order to gain their approval. A good relationship starts with mutual esteem, and then on occasion, the partners may discover ways to make themselves even more appealing to each other. This is an example of voluntary personal improvement, which is good. Behavior modification through coercion is not good.
Find another guy.

92elements's avatar

you don’t he is already set in his ways and inflexible you need to be with someone you can grow with

Trillian's avatar

Watch Sleeping With the Enemy.

llewis's avatar

As I read your question info I got a BIG RED FLAG – ABUSER ALERT!!! Don’t just break up – RUN FAST AND FAR!!! And preferably someplace where he can never find you!

And yes, as @Trillian says, watch Sleeping With The Enemy! And reading through the rest of the responses it looks like I’m not the only one seeing red flags.

GladysMensch's avatar

Here’s a little story that my sister heard while staying at a shelter for battered women. A woman makes her husband a breakfast of two scrambled eggs. The husband throws the eggs on the floor and says “I wanted them poached.” The next day she makes them poached. He throws them on the floor and says “I wanted them scrambled.” The third day she makes one poached and one scrambled. He throws them on the floor and says “You scrambled the wrong one.”

GladysMensch's avatar

One more thing, This guy is 29 and you’re 21. I know that lots of people get together with age differences. However, there’s often a huge difference in maturity (or life experience) between 21 and 29. I know I was very different at those ages. Add that to the fact that you’ve only been dating for two months, and this guy is treating you like crap. I think this guy isn’t looking for a partner, he’s looking for a victim.

Trillian's avatar

“I think this guy isn’t looking for a partner, he’s looking for a victim.” Fuckin’ A.

Plucky's avatar

@BringsTheNight That’s an honest and respectful letter. I’m very happy that you’ve decided to do what you need to do. I know this is difficult and it really does “suck” ..but you deserve better. Please don’t let him sweet talk you into staying together.

And, @worriedguy made excellent suggestions in both of his posts.

I wish you the best. You can do it :)

Kardamom's avatar

You should run for your life away from this man now. Don’t send him any goodbye/apology letters, or else you will still be playing into his crap: blaming you for everything. And if you send him an apology letter, he will use that against you later on. Just leave. The only explanation you owe him is to tell him that you are not suited to each other, then LEAVE!

This guy is already an emotional abuser and he’s likely to become a physical abuser. Why on earth would you want to put up with that kind of crap? The longer you stay with him, the harder it will be for you to leave him. You have let yourself believe that you are in love with him. When in reality, he’s just manipulated your feelings. Leave now! Don’t call him, don’t write to him, don’t text him, don’t visit him, don’t talk to his friends or relatives to check up on him. Just leave and don’t look back.

Please have a look at this information that tells you how to spot a potential abuser and how to deal with an abusive person to escape. Your boyfriend shows lots and lots of signs of being an abuser. Don’t be blind to the red flags. Leave now!

You might consider getting a few sessions with a counselor to find out why you were willing to continue in the situation and how to avoid it in the future. Please be cafeful. And good luck to you in the future.

Coloma's avatar

Run now, and run fast!

Extreme perectionism is symptomatic of OCD, narcissism and a host of other controlling personalities.

Take it from us older and wiser folks….you arn’t going to change him and if you look away from his controlling behaviors your self esteem is going to be in the toilet by the time you finally do leave the guy.

This trait will NOT..I repeat, will NOT get better.

If there is something you don’t like about a person when you are dating them it will either stay the same, or, more likely get WORSE as time goes on.

Control freaks are abusers, lace up your walking shoes girlfriend!

GingerMinx's avatar

You can not change other people, only yourself. This man is always goign to be mentally and emotionally abusive to you. He is goign to want to control your life. You must decide if you can live with that or not.

ImNotHere's avatar

Thank you so much guys. I hope you don’t think I’m an idiot for doubting myself like this. It’s just so hard to admit that the person you’re with maybe isn’t the best person after all… There’s so much more to this as well but I won’t bore you with that and I don’t think it would make you your answers any different anyway. :p

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It is understandable how you feel. I think we have all felt the same way in some past relationship. It is really hard to break off a relationship when you really love certain aspects about the person. The reality is that, as many have said, reality starts to seep out after time. Some irritations can be worked through. In your case, the boyfriend would have to be willing to change his ways or your ability to accept things for the way they are.

And yes, it is a major disappointment to realize that one’s first impressions were way off base, but that is no reason to stick it out. Trust me…when you find the right person, even if he is not The One, you will realize how wise it was to walk away from this guy.

ImNotHere's avatar

I just wish I could hate him as much as he probably hates me right now…

chyna's avatar

Don’t hate him, just move on. Hate takes too much out of you.

Nullo's avatar

Yeah, hate just festers. You’re better off forgiving and moving on.

ImNotHere's avatar

I know I know. :-/ I really don’t have it in me to hate even if I’m angry. Right now I’m just really missing him even though I know I shouldn’t. It was a pretty intense relationship and for a while it was pretty good. We’re not officially broken up yet. He doesn’t want to speak to me until Thursday night after he’s had his therapist appointment. I don’t know why I’m grieving him so much at 7 in the morning. I know he’s being reprehensible but I keep dwelling on his good qualities that make me care about him and all the things I’ll miss about him. But I’m also smart enough to know that love isn’t supposed to hurt and that relationships are supposed to elevate you, not denigrate you. I think it just really hurts that it’s ending like this. I feel like every breakup I’ve had has been messy and humiliating to one or both parties, after everything we shared I guess it’s hard to accept that he’s a broken person who I could never make happy and could never make me happy. So why do I miss him terribly?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

You’re normal. That’s why you grieve at something that you think “might have been” and “had such possibility”. I can almost guarantee that he won’t feel the same as you. It might manifest in some of the same ways; that is, he might cry, he might seem anguished, he might shout and seem very contrite. But where you feel a great sadness, I think what he’s feeling is a blow to his ego. “How could she turn me down?”

That’s why we advise you to harden yourself to the things he might tell you and promise. He’s trying to manipulate; you’re just being normal and wanting to believe that when people look in your eyes and say things very seriously that they mean what they say and speak truth. You want to believe that when people tell you things that they feel, that the feelings are similar to the feelings you have when you use the same words. With many of these manipulators that’s just not so. You’re speaking different languages.

So be normal. Grieve. Get over him however you can. But realize that he’s not normal, and stay away from him. Good luck.

wundayatta's avatar

“He’s a broken person who I could never make happy.”

It’s not your job to make him happy, and you couldn’t do it, anyway. His feelings are his feelings and he’s the only one who can change them. This goes for you, too. He can’t make you happy. Only you can do that.

The pain of a breakup is fine. You do not need to tell yourself you shouldn’t feel it. I think it’s much better if you do feel it. But because it hurts, that doesn’t mean the answer is to go back to him. The answer is to rebuild yourself independently.

You may feel bad about yourself because you were inadequate in the relationship. You may feel like you don’t deserve a compassionate, respectful partner. You may feel bad about yourself for reasons having to do with a lot of other things.

Those are the things that I would work on if I were you. Self-esteem comes from inside only. You can not get it from the outside. You can get positive reinforcement from the outside and that helps, but ultimately, you’re the only one who can take that reinforcement in and believe it and believe, for real, that you have worth.

I’ve been spending the last three years of my life trying to build some self-esteem. Therapy helped. Support groups helped. Fluther helped (gave me positive reinforcement). At the beginning, I didn’t believe any positive word anyone here said. I would deny anything. I would attack myself as if I were the most hideous, immoral person on earth.

I still do those things, but I understand now what is going on, and so I let those thoughts slip away. They aren’t helpful to me, so why hold onto them? I can’t change my thoughts. I can only acknowledge them, hold onto the good ones, and let the bad ones go.

That’s one technique for getting through something like a break-up. When I was at my worst, I was looking to women to prop up my self-esteem. I’d find one who was willing to fall in love with me, and I’d feel good. Then I’d freak out, knowing she would leave me (that’s what I thought I knew), and push her away, and then we would break up and I’d be thrown into hell. Which I took very seriously, not knowing any better.

This is what we do to ourselves. This is how our emotions manipulate us. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic as it is for me, but it’s still there. The trick is learning how to feel your emotions without letting them make you do stupid stuff or stuff that is bad for you. Without going for the quick fix. Love is like a drug. It makes you so high. When you lose it or push it away, you have to crash. You don’t have to let the crash make you stupid.

One way of not being stupid is to learn from the experience. Understand yourself and others better. Learn the signs of an abuser. Learn the signs of low self-esteem. Learn these symptoms and the next time you see them happening, do something about them. You don’t want them to rule your life. That’s hell. In my case, a hell so bad, that when I couldn’t see any possibility of getting out, I was ready to die. That’s extreme and had to do with mental problems, but I have learned a lot from that experience, as bad as it was. I can’t begin to tell you how much I learned.

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