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Shegrin's avatar

He says that if he didn't want me, he would simply leave. But how can I tell him that what he is doing is not enough?

Asked by Shegrin (1187points) March 28th, 2011

We dated after high school, then lost touch for 20 years. Last year, we found each other again, and within a month, we were engaged. Now we live together in my house. I have decided to get teaching certification (on top of B.A.) so I can steadily provide for us. While I’m in school, he works full time and then some to pay the bills. He’s really good at what he does (builds stages and sets) but he wouldn’t have that job if I hadn’t introduced him to the right people. He’s paying MY bills, not his own.
My problem is, he is more intimate with his online gaming community than he is with me. My friend comes over in a dress and gets a huge reaction from him. He picks fights with me about dinner. He only tries to be cute or funny when he thinks I’m upset with him. Then he tries for about a minute. He’s a man of his word, so I know that when he says he would be gone if he wasn’t interested he means it, but WTH? Why is this so impossible? I’m supposed to be happy in a relationship (vs. being alone for 13 years), but this is so hard to enjoy with his behavior, or lack thereof. Suggestions? Comments?

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21 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

After only a month of dating,you got engaged/moved in? Hardly enough time to really know someone.A twenty year time gap leaves alot of room for people to “change”.;)
You can’t go home again
I would probably be thinking of moving out if things did not improve after telling him in a straightforward way what your problem is.

squirbel's avatar

You are settling.

Leave him, because there is a man out there who will treat you like the queen that you are.

ninjaapantz's avatar

Age doesn’t make a person mature. Intimacy & infatuation doesn’t equal love but you can love someone within an instant too. Your experience or lack there of, of a relationship – doesn’t reflect on ones ability to love, nor of one’s maturity. To be mature is a choice we consciously make & how we show love is also a choice.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s who he is. It’ll only get worse. Decide if you can live with it or not.

mazzkat's avatar

You can’t change someone – loving someone means loving their faults too. Or at the very least accepting them. When I moved in with my boyfriend, we had a very rough 3 months, but as long as you can get past that and see the relationship and your significant other for what they are, you know exactly how you feel and whether you want to stay or not.

It sounds like he might be taking you for granted and if that’s the case tell him you want a break; this will hopefully make him rethink the way he treats you. Time is what you need, it helps everyone to think things over.

Dog's avatar

The question here is not really how to get him to change. The answer to that is you can’t change him. You are trying to mold sand into granite.

The question is why you, an intelligent and ambitious woman, are willing to tether yourself someone who you do not respect who, by actions described above, does not return your love.

I strongly advise not marrying him. When you marry the worst comes out. So what you are seeing is the tip of the iceberg. Is a dress and a party worth being miserable?

Please respect yourself enough to get out. He will never be the man you need.

robmandu's avatar

What does this guy do that you actually like?

You got him his great job which I guess he couldn’t have done without help. You dress up nice but he doesn’t seem to notice. You have the best attitude about dinner. You apparently don’t feel the need “to be cute or funny… for about a minute” when he’s upset with you.

The thing is, we’re only getting your side of the story here. And it’s mostly about how he sucks at meeting your expectations. Do you think there’s any possibility at all that he may feel the same kind of things from his side? Like, why do you suggest dinner at a restaurant he doesn’t like (just a possible example)? Or are you sure you even hear the compliments he’s making? Are you really listening to him?

I haven’t heard anything of the motivations he might have for the behaviors you describe. If you don’t know his motivations, then you don’t know him.

So… I agree with others above. This isn’t the foundation either of you want for a marriage. Maybe you’d be doing him the favor if you broke up. No man wants to be chained to a shrew.

Oh, and last point: MARRIAGE IS HARD. It will be one of the hardest things you ever do. Any one who tells you different is selling you something. But, it is totally worth it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Think back to how he was in HS….I know now, that the kid I fell madly in love with and dated for a year and a half in HS would NOT be my ideal of adult marriage material. We had no worries, no responsibilities. Just a lot of love and fun.

Shegrin's avatar

@robmandu A shrew? Really? So, because he does all the stuff I mentioned and leaves me feeling neglected I am the bad guy here? Please explain.

Shegrin's avatar

There is a lot more to this story, but too many of you would read into it that I’m making excuses. Not the case. I will say that even though he tends to ignore me, when we go out he tells strangers what’s great about me. That’s how I find out. It bugs me that he won’t say these things to me, but at least he said them.

john65pennington's avatar

Currently, you are just sampling what a married life will be with this person. It appears he has a roaming eye and I think you know it.

Its time for you to set the record straight with him. It’s called communication. Find a nice, quiet place and tell it like it is.

He is not the only fish in the sea. If this does not work out, keep casting. There are a lot of hungry fish in the sea. jp

Shegrin's avatar

Also, let me clarify. I am not seeking change. I know I can’t change him. I just want to know if men typically “communicate” the way he does. It’s frustrating, but if I understand where it’s going, I can handle it. I said nothing about wanting to change him.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Shegrin -The men I have associated with typically do not communicate in the way you describe and I never would have stuck around had they acted as you describe.

ninjaapantz's avatar

There’s nothing typical about disregarding your partners feelings. It just speaks of the persons character. There’s lots of men that are caring & masculine at the same time. Same goes for a woman – there’s allot of woman that can be assertive without loosing their femininity. Without respect there is not much love.

Dog's avatar

I can see where you said he is paying your bills. But honestly your relationship sounds more like roommates or good friends in a mutually beneficial situation.

The thing is you are in a preview of marriage. It is a small glimpse of what will be. I think it is a recipe for disaster to marry him. In many ways you are stuck in high school here. You are trying to change him and he is not capable or ready to be a loving partner as he values buddies and games more than his woman. Both of these mindsets are typical high school.

As everyone here is saying marriage is hard work. It is well worth waiting for someone to come along who is ready because even when it is an ideal partnership it is a lot of work. My spouse is my soul mate. It was a second marriage for us both. We were solid going into the marriage but still we sometimes struggle and have to work through stuff and a couple of times we both briefly wondered if we had made a mistake.

You should be in happy near-perfect mode now. The fact that you aren’t is a huge red flag.

john65pennington's avatar

My daughter was in a similar situation for five years with a man like you have described. She tells me that he does not know how to show affection and this was the main reason for their breakup. My daughter is a huggy person and he is not. He is an excellent provider for my daughter and her 17 year old son, but she tell me this is not enough.

Well, they have been separated for about three months and she has dated other people. I think her love is with this non-huggy person. Wife and I have advised her that some people cannot help themselves in this department. Its either in their genes or from a lousy set of parents.

My daughter is willing to except his fault and we expect her to be back with him just any day. I think the separation time period has made both of them think of how much they truly do need each other…........faults and all.

robmandu's avatar

@all, Let’s be clear. None of us can tell anything about @Shegrin‘s relationship from the single brief paragraph in the original question. Nor could we even after 20 followup posts. Relationships are complicated for one. And we don’t have the fiancé‘s side of the story at all, either.

@Shegrin, I wasn’t trying to say you are a shrew. I was trying to say you might be a shrew. I don’t know. You’re obviously unhappy. But I can only talk to the few expectations you chose to share with us. You say a few nice things about the guy, but it’s almost as if they’re there to add credence to your negative statements… so you’ll seem fair and balanced.

I realize that might be an unfair assessment. Thing is, that’s all you can get with such little info provided. The folks who reply completely taking your side, calling you a queen and whatnot, are also making an unfair assessment, just in your favor.

Fluther is great fun. And the people here have amazing insights, generate colorful discussions, and pretty much make the world a better place. But if you really think you can make lifetime relationship decisions by sharing superficial information – none that makes you look bad by the way; isn’t that telling? – with an anonymous internet Q&A forum, then you’re doomed for failure, whatever the endeavor.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My husband doesn’t do that…he does not go nuts when a nicely dressed female comes into view. He has other faults, but I can work around them.

robmandu's avatar

À propos to my original point.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Wait… you dated after high school, lost touch for 20 years, and are now together again? That would put you, what, roughly in your 40’s? I’m sorry, but this sounds like a question a very young 20 something would ask. My advice is to put on your big girl panties and make a decision about where you are in your life, and what you want out of life, then act on it.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

After a few decades of working with hundreds of men, he sounds more like a boy than a grown man. I know it would get on my nerves too if a grown man resorted to clowning as his way of dealing with uncomfortable situations or conflict instead of acknowledging/addressing them. I also agree with others who say he probably is who he is by now and you have to either accept that in him or find a man you communicate better or more similar with.

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