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Boyfriend refuses to call me a nickname because it belonged to his last girlfriend.


happyhands

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I recently have been fighting with my boyfriend of almost 4 years about calling me baby. I know it's a nickname he and his last long term girlfriend (of also 4 years) used on each other and I've known for all 4 years of us going out because he once told me during a fight. I never tried to use the word with him after I discovered this except for a couple of times. And twice in our relationship he accidentally called me baby and I acknowledged it with excitement and happiness but could tell on his face, he realized what he had said after he said it and it didn't sit right with him. I was disappointed. So we continued on with me being too nervous to use the word and with him purposely avoiding the word.

 

Recently, I have been feeling cheated out of something and a word that I adore very much that I would like to occasionally use with my lover. I thought that 4 years of going out would make it easier to start using the word. I at first approached it nicely and told him I wanted to begin using this word occassionally. But I was basically ignored and told it would NEVER happen.

 

Now we have been visciously fighting for days meanwhile I have made so many good points and he refuses to call me this name. At one point, I compromised that he could call me babe instead of baby, but he wouldn't go for it. It was too "similar".

 

His explanation for why he cannot and will not ever call me this name is because it is her name to him. He said they often called each other baby instead of their actual names so to him it is her name. He says it would remind him of happy memories with her and there is no need for that. I explained he could build new memories with me and surely after using the word enough times with me, he should be able to associate me with the word rather than her. But he thinks I want to "Steal" the word from him and her. He thinks I want to erase his memories and his memories are who he is and the past did happen and I can't change it. I keep explaining I don't want to change the past or erase anything. He will still have his memories but it's a very common loving word among relationships and surely he could use the name with me and eventually think of me as his baby without demeaning his past relationship or being reminded of it. He has been unfairly stubborn and said he knows himself and for the rest of his life he will always think of her as "baby" and it will NEVER EVER be ours or anyone else's and if I use it, he will always think of her everytime. This kind of talk hurt me deeply and has made me concerned. I want to hear someone's opinion on what he has said to me.

 

On top of that, he asked me if I would ever date another boy with his name or use our nicknames in the future and I told him if I fell in love and enough time had passed, yes of course I would. I wouldn't have any restrictions or reservations to hold me back in my relationship like the one he has. He was very angry by this answer and said he would never date another girl with my name. And yet, I pointed out that he dated a girl with a VERY similar name to his ex's and he seemed to have trouble winding his way out of that...

 

When I told him the nickname we currently have for each other is similar to baby and that's why I made it up and started calling him that, he got so vehemently angry and said he wouldn't be able to use the word anymore because it will now remind him of her and how devious I was to steal their word by warping it. He was able to throw away our nickname that he loves in a few seconds BUT cannot and will not get rid of their nickname. He has told me I will not "win" no matter how persistent and that I will not get what I want like "I always do" and no matter what he will never forget her when hearing that name.

 

I have told him now many times in this fight which has been dragged out for days, that the nickname WAS her name but is not her name anymore so I don't understand why he is using present tense and why he hasn't forgotten the name or at least lost the value of the name by now since it's been 4 years and he is with me now. I just don't understand because it would be so simple for me to use a name if I am over a relationship from my past and even if it had been a good relationship, I wouldn't have issues with using an old nickname for a new lover if he wanted me to. I would feel indifferent to the word and even excited to build a new memory with the word. He seems to want to keep the word sacred and private for his first love forever. I find it abnormal.

 

All in all, I have told him I am concerned by this and don't know if we have made any progress in our relationship and perhaps aren't right for each other because this makes me highly uncomfortable and is too strange to me. Am I overeacting? I know he's half being being stubborn but also keeping this word special to him with someone else. I'm not sure what to do because this whole situation disturbs me and I don't see why he cannot simply use the word sometimes without thinking of her. He says he is incapable of doing that and knows himself. Can I hear someone's thoughts? Hopefully you had the patience to read all this! Thank you!

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wow, you guys are fighting over a nickname???? really, is it worth it? I understand if his ex's name was Sara and your name is Sara as well, and he didn't want to call you Sara because of his ex. that would be ridiculous. but honestly, i would let "baby" slide, and go and apologize to your "sugar-bum" right now!!! really, i don't see the point in ruining a good relationship over this.

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I think both of you have serious issues in your relationship if there is all this fighting over a word. Sounds like he can't let go of the past and I wonder if he still has feelings for the ex. As for you, I am not quite sure why you are making such a big deal out of being called baby. If he doesn't want to then he doesn't want to. You can't force someone to do something they don't want to do.

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So what are you really fighting about?

 

And you have even gone so far as to suggest breaking up, so it ain't about the nickname.

 

You both need to start getting honest and get whatever is on your minds OUT.

 

Seriously, what is bothering you so much that you've hung on to this for days? Have you been thinking of breaking up with him for a while?

 

Interesting too that his last relationship ended after 4 years...right about where you two are now. Maybe old issues coming up?

 

But it ain't about "baby".

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So what are you really fighting about?

 

And you have even gone so far as to suggest breaking up, so it ain't about the nickname.

 

You both need to start getting honest and get whatever is on your minds OUT.

 

Seriously, what is bothering you so much that you've hung on to this for days? Have you been thinking of breaking up with him for a while?

 

Interesting too that his last relationship ended after 4 years...right about where you two are now. Maybe old issues coming up?

 

But it ain't about "baby".

 

exactly!!!! what are you guys REALLY fighting about?

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Sounds like he can't let go of the past and I wonder if he still has feelings for the ex. As for you, I am not quite sure why you are making such a big deal out of being called baby. If he doesn't want to then he doesn't want to.

 

I imagine that if she too feels the former (bolded part) is true, it would explain the latter (bolded part).

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My two cents:

 

One, it does seem weird that he is so attached to a nickname that is fairly common like "baby" rather than something completely made up specific to the relationship. It's even weirder that he would absolutely refuse to date another girl with a same/similar name even after a long time has passed. That's really restricting yourself if you date people with popular names. His strong reactions not only to just the name, but to similar names is odd. However, having said that, he does seem to be a very sentimental guy and it seems that's just the way he is. You've known that for 4 years.

 

Two, knowing that he's like that for four years, you need to either accept it or determine if it's a dealbreaker. How is he about other things? If he's loving to you and you feel loved about other things, it seems like forcing him to use "baby" when he's clearly uncomfortable is unfair. I understand the need to know that he loves you enough to overcome this, but everyone has their own special memories they want to keep. I think you should work on building new special memories with him (perhaps a special pet name specific to the relationship) rather than fight over this word. But if it is very important to you, you have to decide whether it's worth losing him over.

 

Good luck!

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I can completely understand why he doesn't want to use a name that can only conjure up those happy memories he talks about and that will hurt - of course it will.

 

I think you are wrong in this case and trying to force him to do something that will cause him pain is totally wrong - why would you want to do that? It almost looks as if you are competing with his ex and want to win.

 

I cannot agree that he is wrong, or stubborn or childish over this. Most people get upset if they are called by an ex's pet name and you want to force it. Let him alone over this.

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Thank you. You are all being helpful. I don't mind letting go of the word. I should have mentioned that in the post. If it comes down to it, I can let it go, but I'm not sure I can let go of the reaction he had and how awfully he has been speaking to me and treating me for this. He doesn't seem to mind me walking out of his life over a nickname! It's just that the reaction he had has hurt me and confused me. It makes me feel he's not over his ex even though he assures me he is and seems to act like it. I'm so confused.

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Personally I'm amazed that someone would consider the term "baby" a nickname. It's a term of endearment. I can't imagine refusing to call a future partner "darling" or "honey" or something. Seems odd to me. I always thought nicknames, by definition, were personalized. As opposed to, y'know, generic as hell. *shrug*

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Thank you. You are all being helpful. I don't mind letting go of the word. I should have mentioned that in the post. If it comes down to it, I can let it go, but I'm not sure I can let go of the reaction he had and how awfully he has been speaking to me and treating me for this. He doesn't seem to mind me walking out of his life over a nickname! It's just that the reaction he had has hurt me and confused me. It makes me feel he's not over his ex even though he assures me he is and seems to act like it. I'm so confused.

 

That's understandable.

 

It's also understandable that he may have dug in his heels excessively if he felt you were trying to force him to do something. He might not care about it as much as you think, but once horns are locked: people get ugly.

 

I still think something started all this beyond the nickname thing.

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Thank you. You are all being helpful. I don't mind letting go of the word. I should have mentioned that in the post. If it comes down to it, I can let it go, but I'm not sure I can let go of the reaction he had and how awfully he has been speaking to me and treating me for this. He doesn't seem to mind me walking out of his life over a nickname! It's just that the reaction he had has hurt me and confused me. It makes me feel he's not over his ex even though he assures me he is and seems to act like it. I'm so confused.

 

Hold on.

 

You threaten to walk out of his life over a nickname and you are angry because he will let you!! I think you need to think that one through.

 

The fact that he doesn't want to call you by an ex's name doesn't mean that he isn't over her. But she isn't erased from his memory banks as if she never existed. Pain may go away or diminish and you might get over it but you don't want to be constantly reminded of it.

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It seems like you two are gridlocked over:

 

Him: A matter of principal... In principal, he isn't wrong. If something was really special to you, regardless if you prefer something/someone else, it's your right to keep the memory. But he isn't being sensitive to your feelings.

 

You: A matter of if he really loves me he would... Emotionally, you aren't wrong either because I would be upset and insecure if my guy held onto something for an ex so stubbornly that he's willing to lose you over it. But you're not respecting his past/wishes.

 

One of you needs to step down. Hopefully it's of some comfort for you to know that he would do the same for you, so it's not specific to that ex. It's just the way he is or a matter of principal for him.

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Well it's not like we don't have other problems. Our relationship is usually quite awful but we haven't fought as much in quite a while. But recently I somehow started this fight without realizing I did (usually it's me asking him nicely to do something and he says something awful to me in response which makes me start a fight because he treats my thoughts and feelings like they don't matter.) And now here we are and he is telling me he has no respect for me because I create fights all the time so he feels he can treat me like garbage. And yet we haven't fought about anything other than taking the shoes off when entering the house in the past few months. He seems to not to notice or recognize all the progress we had made recently and only harps on our past. On top of that, he has resorted to name calling and screaming at me til I cry without caring if I am crying. He has huge anger issues and I am upset because I have been talking to him like an adult for days about this and listening to him put me down and start bringing up other unrelated fights from our past rather than speak to me like an adult about this one. He has been ignoring me or screaming at me til I cry. So YES, there are many other reasons why I was threatening to end the relationship but I wanted to know about the particular topic that started everything itself and whether I should forgive his awful behavior and forget and realize it was wrong of me to get so determined over.

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Thank you. You are all being helpful. I don't mind letting go of the word. I should have mentioned that in the post. If it comes down to it, I can let it go, but I'm not sure I can let go of the reaction he had and how awfully he has been speaking to me and treating me for this. He doesn't seem to mind me walking out of his life over a nickname! It's just that the reaction he had has hurt me and confused me. It makes me feel he's not over his ex even though he assures me he is and seems to act like it. I'm so confused.

 

It sounds like you BOTH were very reactive to it, don't you think? You sounded like you were on a mission to 'prove him wrong' and argue out of his reasons. And then you threatened to walk. ... You need to take responsibility for your role in the reaction honey.

 

Also, four years of dating is a long time. How old are you both? Are you planning on marrying or have specific plans for the future together?

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I don't buy the entire using a (fairly common) term of endearment will constantly remind you of an ex. I've used similar terms of endearments with my current boyfriend, and I've definitely used them with exes in the past (baby, darling, sweetheart, etc.) If he is truly over his ex, he wouldn't even be thinking about associating such a common term with her. He should be associating it with you.

 

It's one thing to associate something fairly uncommon (like if her name is Anna calling her Anna-bear), but what he is doing is like saying he can't order you a gin and tonic (as opposed to a less generic drink) because it reminds him of his ex.

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I kinda get where the OP is coming with this...

 

It's not the stupid nickname she's worried about. It's the fact that her boyfriend gets super duper defensive about it, and that would worry me greatly as well. On top of that, he seems to be extremely disrespectful and hurtful to the OP and not even caring if she's upset.

 

I wonder if he's talking to his ex regularly as well? I'm sorry, but after 4 years of deep love, memories and intimacy, a friendship is highly unlikely between him and her.

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Oh on one more note, he has a nack of saying things to which that later he responds with "come on, I wasn't serious. are you nuts?" With this situation, he told me that every time someone says the word baby around him whether its an infant or on tv, he alway thinks of her. So I said, if we had a BABY in the future, I would have to know that everytime I mention our baby, you would think of her?! And at the time he said it he acted serious and now is saying I am nuts for believing him. I don't know what to think but I know he wants to hurt me so that even I can't think of the word baby without pain!

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