Basically been in a Long Distance Relationship/Friend With Benefits-like scenario with my partner for over a year (October 2017 till fairly recently). We’re both guys in our fairly late twenties (him, 27, South Wales UK), (me, 30, Birmingham UK).
I suffer from social anxiety, panic attacks and can find it hard to connect with people, so been trying out online dating. Had a message from this cute guy on Plenty of Fish, who sounded like a very sweet person with a lot of ideals. After 2 weeks of chatting over WhatsApp, we met. I travelled from Birmingham to Cardiff on the train where we met. He had tickets for both of us for the rest of the journey towards Swansea, which was thoughful of him.
Spent the night at his place (he lives alone), and we hit off brilliantly. Felt like he really understood me and could easily open up to him. He has anxiety too, so knows what it was it’s like. Didn’t bother him I was quiet. Had so much in common - gaming, being cuddly, not being party-goers, preferring quiet places, walks in the country-side etc. He has a pet Husky, too. He said he never felt that connection with anyone before, including his previous Ex’s and I felt the same. We did get sorta sexual, but not full on sex. I remember the day after I had to leave to go back home, I was crying in his arms and he said he never felt emotions through anyone’s tears before. Was so sweet! He told me he had problems showing affection in public, due to the way his parents treated him in the past. They were never understanding of the fact he had social awkwardness and it sorta messed him up later in life. He doesn’t work either, which I felt may have been a problem if we ever had a proper committed relationship.
Before meeting up again, he asked if I wanted to be his boyfriend. He told me on the first meet he loved me. A bit soon I thought, but felt like I developed strong feelings for him, so accepted. Spent roughly every fortnight going down to his to spend a night or two and continued enjoying our time together. Mostly spending time gaming, having sex, watching movies, going for a few odd walks with dog and meals out and some shopping together. We didn’t text or call everyday and sometimes would go a few days without hearing from him, but his actions showed he was interested, considering it was him who often asked me to come down and see him.
There were, however, some problems. Sometimes he’d get frustrated with me when I was socially awkward in public. He would get down and annoyed about it after. It could be something simple as me stumbling on my words with someone I was speaking to in public, or me sounding nervous on the phone ringing up a Taxi to take us to a restaurant. I know it would be nice not to have social anxiety at all, but felt he was being unfair since no one else seemed to get like that with me. In fact, throughout our time together, I felt he was getting somewhat controlling. Not so much telling me who I can and cannot see, but just little things like saying he doesn’t like the washing powder I use for my clothes, a risk of getting angry if I didn’t stay up late to watch another film with him (even if I’m tired) and preferring I don’t say Hello to people in public in case I mess up (examples). Things like encouraging me to keep clean and brushing my teeth I understand as in those instances it felt like he cared and wouldn’t want him to have had to mother me.
Another thing that was I felt I had to be careful what I say around him, especially over text. At times if I said one little thing wrong it could set him off and it would trigger events of his traumatic past, which I can kinda understand. This could sometimes lead to me being careful of what I do when I’m around him being worried about making mistakes, such as him getting annoyed how long it might take me to do a meal for us in the microwave (not really a ‘fast’ person), or me forgetting to close the living room door. Rarely, my boyfriend came down to see me and was often me seeing him. I work 5 days a week, and while I love him, I admit it was getting exhausting travelling all that way. He at least split the bill when we ordered food, or occasionally he paid for the whole thing to make up for the cost of me going down to see him.
What hasn’t made it easy is the one time he came down to see me (March 2018), I told my mum about it (she never knew I was seeing someone and she lives down the road from me), and after I told her about him, she thought he’s using me and that I should be careful. This made me feel bad and I told my boyfriend about it while he was down at mine and it upset him (I had to go off to work while I left him in my place alone - a risky move admittedly since he could have turned out not to be trustworthy and I know my mum would have been furious if she came across him alone in my place). My mum never met him before and we felt it was unfair for her to make judgements like that - part of it was because my mum disliked the fact he didn’t work. And yet it was the first time during this LDR I was doubting things. My partner did say my mum was one of the reasons he hardly came down to see me because of her thinking he was using me.
One other issue we’ve been facing is how I would struggle to get hard for long or struggle to ‘finish’ when were engaging in sex. I admit I have problems with porn-like addiction. I don’t look at it everyday - once or twice a week, but when I do I can go off for ages and may not get to sleep till 5am. Managed not to look at it when I was with my boyfriend thankfully, but it does understandbly upset him and make him feel unattractive if I can’t orgasm, or stay hard for him for long. I do feel it’s my fault in a way as the masturbation during porn probably doesn’t help and he’s encouraged me to try go NoFap. However, since I tended to go down to see him after work, have often been tired and exhausted and struggle to get too aroused when we’ve had sex. He does though show me a lot of meaning and love through our intimate activities.
Despite all this, I was beginning to feel like this probably isn’t going to work, especially after he confessed over text that he had met up with one of his Ex’s in January this year and was hoping, sexually, things would have got somewhere with him due to him being frustrated not getting me constantly hard around him. He did say I was the one he actually loved and has said one of the things he loves about me is the control he has over me. Have wondered if that could have been a red flag, or just the fact he’s been tired of letting his friends use and push him around that he found it refreshing to be with someone who didn’t boss him around.
I’ve never been a particularly great communicator. My decision of should I be with him, or not be with him was difficult. I knew most times I was around him I was thinking that ‘yeah do want to be with him’, but then when I was away from him, I was thinking all the reasons I should break it off with him.
Then, during late February this year, he was getting quite irritable and became quite rude in one or two of his texts which caused me to suddenly go quiet. I eventually had the bravery to tell him what he did - I’ve always been afraid to tell someone what they’ve done - and he then sent a ‘bye’ text. Which did kinda shock me and thought it was quite cold of him, but had decided not to respond to the text and took it as though I was dumped. (He did something similar before - apparently because one of his friend’s dogs had died and I never realised until he reached out to me after a week of silence).
In a way, he admittedly sorta did me a favour as I wasn’t sure of this LDR/FwB anymore. We didn’t contact each other for the next few weeks and I did feel down and was missing him. Still had feelings for him, but also felt a sense of relief. I felt bad that I ignored his ‘bye’ text, but felt like it was best to stay No Contact.
Then, he texted me this Sunday after 3 weeks of not hearing from him saying he’s been thinking about me everyday and it hurts him missing me. He said he’s sorry if he feels like he takes me for granted and said he wouldn’t cuddle his arms around me tightly if I meant nothing to him. Then said he would do anything to get me back together with him, such as going for a walk along the beach with him
and his dog.
Suddenly feel like some of the feelings I might have lost for him have come back and now just feel confused and unsure what to do. :/
For now, chose not to respond to his text. But I did end up liking one of his messages which he would have got a notified for. Do you think I should respond, and what should I say? My heart is saying ‘go on give it another go’, but my mind is saying that ‘you’re just wasting your time’. I think if we lived closer together, I may have given it another try. But the exhaustion of going down to see him all the time, the fact he’s not working, and some of his controlling-like behaviour is making me not want to continue with him. It’s so hard. Never felt a connection like that before. :( He’s always made time for me, very affectionate, has good morals (like hating it when people leave other people’s places in a mess), got lots in common, share similar view points, very open with me and while my mum’s never been sure of him, my sister has met him before and she thinks he treats me well.
Could it be possible I’m just being a little bit dismissive towards him? After all, it’s true no one is perfect. Even in healthy relationships, things may not always go smoothly and couples can sometimes say things they don’t mean. Plus, when he’s in a good mood he’s all sweet and lovely and the issues above are less of a problem. We’ve never had any really serious arguments and he’s never hit me. Also, certainly the first few months or so, I was feeling sure he was the one I likely wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
I appreciated I have likely contributed to some issues of this LDR, such as not getting hard for him and not always being honest about where I see things going with us. Not being able to stand up to my mum and defend my partner probably put a fair bit of pressure on the both of us in this LDR. She didn’t really want me to have kept seeing him. Some of my partner’s control and irritability I think comes from his past and I feel due to some of the toxic friends he has. Have never met his friends before (am kinda glad I haven’t, though he’s told them about me). I worry about him as he deserves happiness and want him to have a great life. Just feel quite stuck at the moment.
I appreciate any help, and sorry the post was so long!