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MoeSchmoe's avatar

Relationship pickle... please help?

Asked by MoeSchmoe (27points) November 23rd, 2010

I have never done something like this before, but I could really use the advice.
My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year and a half, and it has been absolutely fantastic. We have been through so much together, and he is truly caring and loving.
Until recently.
For the last month, he has been very grumpy, said hurtful things, and has basically made me apologize and fix the hurtful situations that he causes.
Now, we have been in arguments before, and we work through them and they make us stronger. I know that we can last, and I know he truly loves me, but we can only last if he puts forth the effort. I love him with all of my heart, but I don’t want to be hurt by him just because he always wants to be right and make me fix these situations that he causes. My question is this: What can I do to make him realize that I don’t want to ever be without him, but I will not be treated so disrespectfully anymore?

P.S. I have already told him that we need to cool down and think about things, and that I will be here when he wants to talk. We both clarified that we are not breaking up or taking a break, just getting some time to think clearly.

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12 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

Has anything changed recently for him? If it’s a sudden change, there is most likely something that is causing it. It could be stress, medical issues, financial concerns, etc. If it is something like that, dealing with whatever that problem is could help.

If nothing has changed recently, it could be a number of things in regards to how he feels about the relationship. Talking about it using ‘I’ and ‘me’ instead of ‘you’ and ‘your’ could help. If you start putting it about him, he will get defensive. Instead, you can say things like “I feel hurt when this is said or when this happens”. If that doesn’t work, just flat out tell him that you want to be with him but you don’t want him treating you the way he has been recently and give him specific examples of what has changed.

MoeSchmoe's avatar

That is a very helpful response, Seaofclouds! Thank you :)

He has been stressing about his schooling for this past semester. He is on a full ride, but could potentially lose it. He is a very intelligent person, but this one class is almost killing him. I know he is stressed about that, and I have tried to address that, but he pushes me farther away. He will even flip out randomly when it comes to little things, such as homework, a drink not on a coaster, my tone of voice. He says he loves me with all of his heart, we have engagement rings, wedding plans, future plans… Lately, though, I’m afraid of losing him due to his actions.

Seaofclouds's avatar

It sounds like he needs to learn how to properly handle his stress. Unfortunately, that’s something that takes time and will be really hard for him to do if he’s feeling really stressed at this time. Perhaps the best thing you can do right now is, when he starts getting angry, calmly saying something like “I know your really stressed out about school and your scholarship, but I don’t like it when you talk to me like that. I will help you if you let me.” Then walk away and let him regroup and calm down. I hope things get better soon.

augustlan's avatar

If this stress is a temporary thing, and you really want to be together, you may have to just ride this bad time out. That doesn’t mean you should stand there and take whatever he’s dishing out, though. Do exactly what @Seaofclouds suggested: Tell him up front that you love him, and don’t want to leave him, but that you will not accept being treated badly. The next time he starts up, say “I’ll be back when you’re calmer” and walk out of the room. That will likely defuse the situation before it gets out of hand.

Be careful, though… life will always have its stresses. If he doesn’t handle them well and takes it out on you, that’s not a great situation. If this escalates, be ready to walk out the door if you think you might be in danger. Sooner or later, he’s going to have to learn how to handle stress in a more productive way. Good luck to you!

BarnacleBill's avatar

18 months into a relationship is where the rubber hits the road. Sometimes, the newness of the relationship wears off for one of the individuals, and they begin to take the relationship for granted and act as they would if they were on their own.

Stop apologizing for him. He needs to apologize for himself. If he’s acting in a manner towards others that requires you feel like you need to do a “clean-up on aisle 9”, this is probably a red flag that you need to pay attention to. He needs to own the consequences of his own behavior.

School is no excuse to be abusive or rude to others. If school triggers this, then work will trigger this, someone cuttting him of in traffic will trigger this, not getting a parking spot will trigger this. Think long and hard about whether or not you want to spend the rest of your life making excuses for his behavior or walking on eggshells because you don’t know if something happened and he’s going to go off on you.

AdamF's avatar

Some general advice.

The way a person acts is far more informative about a person’s feelings than the words they say.

Never ever put up with someone treating you in a way that you would not treat them.

Don’t let your own love, or desire to be loved, hide the truth about another person.

Listen to your closest friends/family who know your relationship (assuming your friends are reliable emotionally smart people). If they are questioning why you are with him, listen.

The problem dosn’t seem to be “making him realize that you never want to be without him”. He knows. Everything you are writing makes this pretty clear. Sounds like you are shifting the responsibility onto yourself for this situation.

Get some real space. Usually this means enough space to feel strong again as an individual. It’s only from a position of strength that you can really judge if he is right for you, and strength comes with time. This might mean no contact till you’re ready.

Loving someone beyond anything imaginable is only half the equation. What matters is that both of you feel as strongly as each other about each other.

You use words like “hurtful”, “disrespect”, and describe his blaming you for problems he creates. That indicates that he’s not in the same ballpark as you are. And if he is, that’s not the kind of love you should be looking for.

Sounds to me like you deserve better.

When too people are right for each other, it’s a joy and its easy the vast majority of the time. True love is happiness, and you don’t sound happy.

john65pennington's avatar

I have always thought that men have their “time of the month”, just like women.

You have a head full of sense. stay on the same course you are on and it will work itself out.

marinelife's avatar

You cannot change someone else’s behavior. Ever.

So, unless your boyfriend comes to his senses on his own, things will not change.

You can, after the time to think, sit him down and point out examples of what you are upset about. Start out by saying “when you do this, it makes me feel X” (fill in the blank). Genuinely tell him how you feel and ask him why he is doing what he does.

Then listen carefully to what he says. His answer will tell you whether there is some underlying cause or he is just that way.

Then you have a decision to make. I would think if he cannot or will not change that behavior that that is a deal breaker.

wundayatta's avatar

A sudden change of behavior that includes irritability and unwillingness to engage constructively could be an indication that he has started using. If he is under a lot of stress, he may have starting taking something to calm himself down or speed himself up. Has he been spending a lot more nights up late? Does he say he’s working hard on his class and has to stay up late? Does he take unexplained trips or spend more time out of the house than he used to?

I hope this is not the case, but it could be something to look for. But not in a paranoid way. Just be observant.

Additionally, sometimes a lot of stress can trigger various forms of mental illness. Symptoms can include irritability. Was there a period of time before this that he was on top of the world? Does he have periods of time where he is really down on himself and thinks he’s incapable of doing this? This is a wild stretch, but I just wanted to make sure the bases are covered. Again, I hope this is not the case.

snowberry's avatar

Another important thing you should say is “What happened to you 2 minutes before I walked in the room?” This puts the onus squarely on him. It says, “It’s not about me, Bub!” in a non-confrontational sort of way.

Supacase's avatar

You say you have engagement rings… I suggest premarital counseling. This needs to be resolved before you walk down the aisle.

jca's avatar

you say he makes you apologize and fix the hurtful situations that he causes. I would stop apologizing because when you apologize for something you are taking responsibility for it. if he causes it, why should you apologize for it? to appease him? that’s a bad habit. It sounds to me like he has lost respect for you for some reason, and that’s not a good situation to be in. He seems to think or to know that he can badmouth you and act nasty, and that’s bullshit. I think by accepting that you are showing lack of self esteem. He should either start being more respectful, or I would not tolerate that if i were you, and I would leave him.

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