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Baffled by Boyfriend's Behavior??


vanessa23
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I recently met a wonderful man and we have fallen in love. Our relationship has been going well for the most part and we've been spending lots of time together and having a lot of fun. I've never been in love before (although I thought I was in past relationships) and he just so sweet. He adores me and tells me all the time how beautiful I am and that I am his dream girl. I felt like he was my dream guy for a while but I've found out that he is not as perfect as I thought he was. He has this habit that is confusing and irritating me a little bit and I want to know everyone's opinion on it.

 

Shortly after we told each other we were in love, when we were in the company of his friends or alone he would pull out pictures of other women he knew on facebook to show me and his friends and comment on how beautiful they are. He did this in front of me and his friends and asked their opinions on it inlcuding mine. At the time I had no problem and said I thought they were pretty, but I asked him afterwards why he wanted to point it out to me. He said he just wants to be honest about everything. I told him at that point that we should define our relationship as casual or exclusive because if he wants me to be okay with him looking at women then we would be casual and I would do the same. He told me he strongly didn't like the idea of me looking at other men and said it would really bother him so we agreed that we wouldn't do that let alone point that out to each other.

 

So time went by and he started doing it again, and told me about this woman he used to talk with for hours at night and asked me if I want to see her facebook pictures. I was like sure, and then he kept telling me that she is so beautiful and a wonderful woman and what do I think of her?? I was getting annoyed not because I was jealous but because I felt it was disrespectful to me. I feel like I have no problem with him looking at other women, but pointing it out to me and putting it in my face is rude. I don't do that with him, I'm not looking at other men and saying how hot they are and what he thinks?!

 

He laughed at me and said its cute that I'm jealous and it reassuring b/c it means I love him so much. I told him its not an issue of jealousy but an issue of respect. I know I am beautiful and secure in myself which is exactly why I find it innapropriate to be okay with my man asking me these questions. He told me that I should know that I am the most beautiful and I should be okay with it. SO I asked him that if he knew I thought he was the most attractive man to me then he should be okay with me checking out other guys just because he is the best looking one?? And of course he didn't like this idea.

 

The thing is he seems like a jealous person, like I was just talking to some guy friends and he told me that it made him very jealous because he comes from a culture where if there is a couple, the woman doesn't usually talk to men. I'm having a hard time with this because I love him a lot but I feel like he is expecting me to be okay with him looking at women while I shouldn't be looking at other men. I've talked to him and he promised he wouldn't do it again but he said that last time as well. What do you guys think? Why would a person keep pointing out other women to his girfriend and asking her opinion?

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I wouldn't be ok with this behavior either. I agree that it's a respect issue and it horribly rude of him. It's probably a tad jealousy as well, but he is pushing it upon you. Men are going to look at other women and women are going to look at other men. What they do with that information is up to them and their personality, morals, etc.

 

I don't like the fact that if you give him the 180 approach (ask him how he would feel if you were doing that to him) and he is upset by that. That's hypocrisy and a double standard. What's good for the goose should be good for the gander.

 

I'm sorry you're in this situation. I think that if he doesn't knock it off you should look elsewhere for a man that really is devoted to you and respects you. You don't deserve to be treated like a mere friend if the relationship is clearly more than that.

 

Best of luck to you.

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I think that your feelings about this are understandable. It may happen that he thinks another woman is nice looking (or that you find another man good looking), but it's not necessary for him to spend time discussing it with you in that manner, or showing you photos of other women. I would find it strange and disrespectful on his part, too.

I don't know, but i think that no girl/woman would want her boyfriend to be dwelling on the appearance of someone else, to that extent. It seems out of place. (Same for guys / vice versa).

It's not a nice thing to do, and i hope he will be able to understand it from your perspective.

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This really doesn't sound good. Your boyfriend sounds like a thoughtless, insecure manipulator. He's deliberately trying to make you jealous, perhaps as a defense mechanism called "projection," wherein the person who's experiencing a negative emotion about an issue deals with it by telling themselves that really it's someone else who has a problem with the issue at hand. He's jealous of your affection, and doesn't want to share you with anyone, so he sets you up to express jealousy yourself. Neatly making it look like you're the one who has a problem.

 

This is a sign of immaturity at best, and quite possibly a tendency towards deceptive, manipulative, controlling behavior. You mention that he comes from a rather paternalistic culture, which may account in part for this passive-aggressive way of conveying to you the idea that talking to/thinking about members of the opposite sex is a no-no.

 

But whether or not his behavior is stemming at least in part from his cultural background, his behavior is absolutely inappropriate. You're right to call it disrespectful. I think it's worse than merely disrespectful -- I think it's passive-aggressive, controlling and manipulative too. These are serious red flags. It's not the looking at other women in and of itself that is so awful -- it's the way he's doing it deliberately in order to elicit certain reactions from you. Yikes. Yuck.

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The part I find disturbing, is that he is actually carrying pictures around, of women from FaceBook, he likely has never met in real life. And I wonder if these women from FaceBook would be happy in knowing he has their pictures in his pockets....

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Guys,

Thanks for your responses, it really helps to hear everyone's perspectives.

 

I feel like it is totally normal for girls and guys in relationships to look at other people and find them attractive but like brokenpogostick said its what they do with that information. I did feel like it was strange behaviour, like why did he have to keep pointing it out to me?

 

Last night he showed me on facebook a girl he met here at our college and wanted to ask me if she was a well known actress and showed me her video. She was pretty and he showed me that he left a comment on her page saying her performance was 'fabulous.' He didnt mention her appearance or ask me but the idea that he was showing me girls that he was checking out and asking about them again made me angry and I expressed that I thought he was being really rude and inconsiderate especially since we discussed this before. He laughed and then apologized saying he was just asking me if I knew her or not but I felt like he was doing what he did before again without being obvious about it.

 

He apoglogized and said he wouldn't do it again and I explained that I we promised we wouldn't do this anymore but he argued that he didn't say she was pretty he was just asking me a question. I'm starting to feel like this is slightly manipulative and my feelings for him are changing a little. I agree with uholala that it could be projection and if it is then thats a major red flag. I'm grateful for everyones responses and I think that I will be taking the relationship more cautiously from this point forward.

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i dated a guy like this. we would be on a date, i would ask him an innocuous question like, 'did you see xxxxxxx movie?' he would say, 'yes, i really liked it. i saw it on my 3rd date with my exgf.' (ok, totally unnecessary information!!) he would do this ALL the time. it was weird so i stopped dating him. he dated my roommate and did the same thing to her! odd.

 

anyways, your guy is, at the very least, extremely insecure. that he has to keep talking about these women and making himself seem desireable. ok, i get that those women are beautiful, i'm sure you are too, but why does he have to keep talking about it? personally, he doesn't sound like the perfect guy to me! i'd tell him if he keeps up this sort of talk, you're going to move on.

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Guys,

 

He apoglogized and said he wouldn't do it again and I explained that I we promised we wouldn't do this anymore but he argued that he didn't say she was pretty he was just asking me a question. I'm starting to feel like this is slightly manipulative and my feelings for him are changing a little.

 

He knew exactly what he was doing. And he left a comment for the actress on a webpage? That's just lame -- what on earth did he hope to accomplish? He doesn't sound like a reasonable person who's able to control his own emotions and impulses, let alone be respectful of others' reasonable needs and wishes. If he left the comment thinking it would make a difference to the actress, he's a deluded dork; showing you the comment makes him a nasty little manipulator. Who wants to date a delusional, dorky, nasty manipulator? I'm not surprised your feelings for him are changing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi guys,

Its been a while since my last post and the thing is that I talked things over with my boyfriend and everything was fine for a while. He was respectful and stopped pointing out other women to me and telling me that they are beautiful, asking me what I think etc… I started to trust him and felt that he truly understood how much it bothered me and would not want to do that to me anymore. My feelings for him returned and everything was beautiful for a while we got along so well and love being together. Recently however he kind of started it up again and I’m confused and very frustrated as to why he is doing this again.

 

He started showing me his friends on face book again and showing me the women he knows, except he wasn’t telling me about their appearance. I didn’t mind at first but he kept showing me many girls, actually most of his friends are women and the things he was writing to them and they often tell him things like “I miss you and can’t wait to talk with you!” I brushed it off and didn’t think much of it but he has been annoying me with something else as well.

 

We made a plan to go to a city a few hours away, and he told me about this girl in another city and that we should bring her with us to hang out for our trip. We didn’t end up going on that trip because I was busy but now he was saying that we should travel to NYC. He said it would just be the two of us but yesterday he showed me a message to one of his friends saying wants to meet her there and wants to bring another girl with us from another city close by. The girl from NYC wrote to him saying that she ‘can’t wait to see him and spend the whole day with him!” She said she would cancel the trip if he wasn’t coming so let her know asap. I feel disrespected, like why does he want to spend our time together with other women when he is with me? I wouldn’t plan a trip somewhere and then suggest we spend it with a guy that I know. He also knows another girl that lives not too far from us and last night he showed me her pictures and told me that he thought she was beautiful! He then proceeded to speak to her online in front of me and invited her to come and visit him anytime she wants. I felt angry and needed some space so I left and when I came back he asked me if I could drive him to see her. I got irritated and told him that I don’t feel comfortable with that and furthermore he doesn’t even like me talking to other men so how could I feel good about taking him to see other women? He agreed and said he wouldn’t do it again but I feel so confused as to his behaviors.

 

The most confusing part is when we are on campus he doesn’t flirt or talk with other women. He doesn't ask me to hang out with other women on campus with him. He always wants to spend time most of his time with me and tells me that I am the love of his life. He has even talked about marriage! He stopped pointing out other women except for what he did last night and the night before. He has so many great qualities, he’s intelligent, handsome, popular and our personalities are very similar. I feel frustrated because I feel like he tries to make me jealous sometimes by doing something like this. I've told him I felt like he tries to make me jealous and he denies it and felt so frustrated that I would think that of him and that I don't trust him.

 

I don’t see him actually pursuing other women or wanting relationships with him, he always wants to be with me and if I am away from him for even an hour he misses me so much. He doesn't talk to other women or meet with them alone and it seems that if he does he would want to do it in front of me! I told him to go to NYC alone with these women if he wants, even encouraged him, ( I wanted to see his motivation) and he said he would never do that and wants me there too otherwise he wouldn’t be happy. I feel confused, why he does this? I know others have said in the past posts that its insecurity on his part and I’ve talked to him about it and he changed but then went to this? I love him so much I don’t know what to do, its really frustrating me and it would be great to hear what everyone thinks.

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Your confusion is understandable. This is the kind of behavior that can drive you crazy - you start to wonder whether YOU are the crazy one. Honestly, I would leave this guy.

 

You say he's intelligent. Ok fine, but campuses are full of intelligent guys. He's handsome and popular? So what? Is that going to leave you feeling emotionally and spiritually fulfilled? Nope.

 

1. He has double standards based on gender

If he holds himself to different standards than you on this issue, what other culture-based double standards is he going to hold you to?

 

2. He laughs at your pain

I know it's hard for you to see this right now. He wants you to think that he's laughing because it's such an insignificant issue. But it's not insignificant to you, is it? And he knows that, doesn't he? So why does he laugh? And do you really think this is the last time he's going to laugh at your pain?

 

3. He showers you with compliments but insults you through his behavior.

You know that actions speak louder than words. Listen to his actions. Anyone can recite mushy lines.

 

Also, remember that you THOUGHT you were in love before. Can you find any consistent patterns between your previous relationship and this one? Did your previous boyfriend shower you with compliments and pretend to be something he wasn't?

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He seems to want a lot of attention, and to keep you insecure so that he feels wanted, a sick game, even if he can't help himself. He's not likely to change easily. It's kind of selfish because whatever he gets out of it, he does at the expense of making you unhappy. That is not a healthy relationship. If you two got married, he'd probably get even worse as the years went by, because he'd need attention even more, to prove to himself that he's 'loveable' and 'wanted'. Its very childish. I wouldnt be able to stand it, myself. Are you willing to put up with it yourself, knowing its at your expense? You deserve better than that.

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Really, this is your guide. And as Offplanet says: he wants attention, he wants to keep you insecure, and he's demonstrated he's unlikely to stop because he ENJOYS your frustration. That validates him.

 

While talking through an issue is a first step, the subsequent action is the next test. He didn't pass.

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There are a number of thoughts/ comments I have

 

- when you told him that you don't like him telling you about these other women, you managed to make him stop for a while, but you never learned why he behaved in this way, i.e you only "cured the symptom, not the disease"

 

- do you think it is possible that he is fantasizing about a threesome with other women and is trying to figure out what type of woman you might go for?

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There are a number of thoughts/ comments I have

 

- when you told him that you don't like him telling you about these other women, you managed to make him stop for a while, but you never learned why he behaved in this way, i.e you only "cured the symptom, not the disease"

 

- do you think it is possible that he is fantasizing about a threesome with other women and is trying to figure out what type of woman you might go for?

 

Or do you think it's possible that he's keeping his options open and letting you know he's got other possibilities?

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Thank you for all your comments guys, I've been trying to distance myself from this relationship but its hard because we had so many great times and he can be really sweet. Today we had an argument and ever since I have been questioning if I am being insecure or not. I don’t think I am but he is making me feel like it is my issue and telling me that I have a problem with jealousy. I feel so confused right now.

 

Today he checked his voicemail in front of me and one of the girls I mentioned before left a message on his cell phone saying ‘she can’t wait to talk to him and misses him!’ I looked at him and asked who it was and he said it was the girl he wanted me to drive him to see. He got excited and asked me if I knew how to check phone numbers from voicemail so he could call her back. I felt let down and frustrated again because of how he wanted to call her back in front of me.

 

We got into an argument and he told me that while he understands my ‘jealousy’ it makes him feel pressured and he feels like he doesn’t have the freedom to do what he wants. He told me that he should be free to have female friends and see them and he wished that I would trust him. He said the girl on the voicemail is married so I shouldn't worry but he also told me earlier that she has been in love with two other men during the course of her 'difficult' marriage. I told him it hurts me when he expresses interest in other women and shows me their pictures, comments on them and wants to have me drive him to see them or have them come with us on our trips that are supposed to be for us. He told me that if they were men he would hang out with them too, and that they are just friends. He told me that I am jealous and he wouldn’t talk to or see other women if I insisted but it makes him feel pressured and restricted.

 

I began to question myself and I feel a little bit disoriented right now. I feel like I’m not sure about everything that has happened. I felt for sure like he was trying to make me jealous but now he is telling me that I am the one having jealousy issues and he feels pressured and I need to trust him more. Do you guys think that it could just be me? I feel like I would not hang out with male friends in front of him or emphasize it because the first time I did that he got mad about it and told me flat out he was jealous. He is now telling me its okay if I have male friends as long as I don’t hang out with them but that he is okay if I talk to them. I feel so confused, I feel like unsure of everything that’s happened and I don’t know why. I want to trust him to have friends that are female but I always get uncomfortable having friends that are male because I feel like it would hurt him.

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I'm sorry that you're feeling this way right now hun.

 

I can't help but wonder, what's with the double standard? He's allowed to speak to women and hang out with them whenever he feels and yet you are only allowed to talk to men.

 

How can he expect you to trust him when he is not making you feel reassured that you are the only one? Asking you to drop him off to see one of his girlfriends? I'm sorry, but that just seems rude to me. If he really wants to go see her, then he is free to do so on his own. Rather than making you feel comfortable about everything, he is clearly placing all blame on you stating you are jealous and over protective.

 

Why not set a date with one of your guy friends, and show him pictures of your friend while you're at it. "Isn't he so hot"? If I were you, I would give him a dose of his own medicine.

 

Hang in there sweetie.

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Jd118- Thanks for your reply it helps so much. He doesn't usually hang out with other women but he makes lots of suggestions for us to do that and wants me with him. I'd rather not be there with him because he did that once on one of our dates and we spent the whole time with him talking to an old female friend in his language while I sat there and felt excluded. I talked to a man that was there with us and then afterwards my boyfriend told me that it made him jealous that I was talking to the other guy! I told him that I wasn't crazy about what he did that day either.

 

He wanted me to come with him to see this woman but I'm afraid the same thing will happen like on the other date, and I hated the feeling last time. I have considered showing him pictures of other guys and make comments but it feels so wrong for me, I just can't bring myself to do it because I know how it makes me feel and even though he did that to me I wouldn't want to make anyone feel like that. I'm pretty sure he would be annoyed if I asked him to drive me to see another man if we were on a date. I feel so much better, I just wonder why he is telling me that I have strong jealousy?

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We got into an argument and he told me that while he understands my ‘jealousy’ it makes him feel pressured and he feels like he doesn’t have the freedom to do what he wants. He told me that he should be free to have female friends and see them and he wished that I would trust him. He said the girl on the voicemail is married so I shouldn't worry but he also told me earlier that she has been in love with two other men during the course of her 'difficult' marriage. ... it makes him feel pressured and restricted.

 

So I wasn't exactly sure what this was about before, but now I'm pretty sure. He wants to show you he that he controls his life, not you. So he passive agressively pushes your buttons because he knows that this bothers you. He call you jealous, insecure, pressuring, to make you back off. You are off balance and he wanted you to be. He planned it that way. You played into what he wanted and he was probably smirking on the inside (and maybe on the outside too).

 

It sounds like you have someone with a genderized double-standard view of relationships. Men can play; women must stay. Additionally, he has little to no empathy let alone sympathy for your feelings. That's why telling him how you feel over and over is ineffective. He doesn't really care.

 

I think you might have a narcissist on your hands. I hope not, but I wouldn't be surprised if he is one. I don't really think you are in an emotional place to remedy this situation right now. So, do all you can to gather the facts and fight. Yup ... fight. What's clouding your judgement right now is your continual desire to accommodate even though you are miserable. Stop that. If you can't leave him, keep letting him know what your standards and values are. Don't let him reduce this to jealousy. Don't let him question yourself for a second. Fight for what you want and eventually you will get what you need - whether it's a change in him or (more likely) a change in relationship status.

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Thank you for your advice Ms. Darcy, I think you are right on spot and I didn't think of the situation this way before. I think he does have a double standard of relationships because as I mentioned before he comes from a culture where women who are married are under social pressure not to speak to men. I am not sure if it is the same for the men.

 

I think the fact that we fell in love and also that I still have feelings, even though I now have negative feelings I also have the echo of what was once beautiful, makes it difficult to see things clearly. I know that I am right about this and I know I don't have a jealousy issue, I never had one in previous relationships and by nature I am not a jealous person. I think fighting it is the best idea, not fighting with him but definitely outlining what will happen between us if he doesn't recognize that his behaviours are not acceptable to me in my culture.

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First of all I can't stand it when people claim they're being "honest" as an excuse for being tactless/selfish/manipulative and disrespectful. I think he is behaving in all of these ways.

 

I am a big fan of couples having friends of the opposite sex, and deciding, together, what the boundaries are, which might vary by couple. For me, the boundary would be that one on one time with a friend of the opposite sex is fine, as long as it is not a date (like a romantic dinner on a friday night) or time spent alone in the person's private home (with some exceptions). That's my boundary and in fact it's an unspoken boundary because although we've both spent one on one time with our friends, neither of us has ever crossed the line or asked to cross the line (except once and that was quickly resolved). I share my boundary just to show that it's something you have to think about if either of you have friends of the opposite sex, and probably discuss as to general comfort levels.

 

I would not be comfortable with your bf's behavior because it really has nothing to do with his friendships - it has to do with him trying to provoke a reaction in you with his comments, oversharing, and wanting you to know how much other women desire him. Ick.

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