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Out of nowhere, uncharacteristic behavior from him? The end nearing?


misssmithviii

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He knows I get a bit down during the holiday season, and this one in particular would be especially saddening because I would spend it virtually alone. It was just me and my toddler daughter - now don't get me wrong, I love her like crazy and I'm glad I could make her happy. What I mean to say is it's my first holiday season without any adult interaction, no get together, no party, no family... just us. Which is difficult in more ways than one being a young single mother. It's been a depressing reminder.

 

Well during the past week, my boyfriend spent most of his time with his family, only seeing me for a couple hours when everyone would fall asleep to come over for a little. I wasn't resentful by any means, just generally a little down because I knew if we had more time under our belts that it would be okay to bring my little one to these family events. Granted I was invited, but she's just now getting over the pain of losing her father in her life and I'm hesitant to throw her into another family situation surrounded by strangers. Plus, it's only 5 months... I don't want her creating attachments that won't last - she's been through enough already. This concept was well-received by him and he expressed that he looks forward to the day it's different.

 

Sounds okay right? Well since his family has been in town, he's been acting somewhat differently. My therapist remarked that this being his first relationship could have a lot to do with him not knowing how to distribute his time and that he very well could be subconsciously conflicted about how to allot his time.

 

It's been a lot of choosing to spend time with them over me, to which I was eager to encourage and support. Yes, a little sadness remained but I didn't push it on him at all. In fact, I found it weird the other night when it was his older brother's last night in town and he came to see me. I saw his brother text him, paused the movie, kissed my boyfriend and smiled telling him he should go spend the rest of the night with him. I don't mean to sound entitled but a little gratefulness would've been appreciated, considering we both know how lonely I've been this past week. Instead, I was met with a nonchalant kiss goodbye.

 

Tonight we had been talking about spending time together and all throughout work I've been excited. He texted me shortly after I got off work that his best friends were in town, this was their last night and he was canceling plans with me.

 

I didn't react right away because my immediate reaction was irrational and filled with pain. After a quick emergency call to my therapist, I called Chris and expressed my feelings. I assured him that I wasn't telling him he 'couldn't' go because I don't presume to dictate his life (nor would I want to, that would make me respect him and myself less) but I wanted to let him know that I've been feeling back-burnered. Before I could finish, he nearly blew up at me, accusing me of trying to tell him not to hang out with people he considers family and that I was acting like he was choosing them over me. I calmly replied, "well are you?" To which he couldn't immediately respond.

 

I realize this man isn't used to a relationship, but getting angry, defensive and accusatory when all I said was that I'm inevitably hurt and feeling dismissed for our first holiday season together and I would appreciate it if he'd acknowledge my pain and maybe promise to make it up to me.

 

Again, uncharacteristic of the sweet, nice guy I've come to love, he had this defeatist attitude and said things like "I can never do anything right with you" (which is bogus and if you only knew how much I do to show him my gratitude and adoration for merely having him in my life at all you'd agree like my therapist does) and just... gave up.

 

He turned it around on me and said, "well I *was planning on seeing you later..."

 

Ugh... that's how it's been this past week. He spends time with everybody else, his texts and responses to me have been less enthusiastic, and it feels like he sees me for a little out of obligation and once those people aren't available anymore. I feel unimportant - that was my last remark before we hung up.

 

I don't even know how to move forward. This completely threw me off track and with all the relationships I've been in before, I can honestly say with my personality - his behavior tonight is a HUGE red flag for me.

 

What do I do? I'm giving him space, haven't harassed or followed up with any texts or anything because I don't want to intrude on his time with his friends... but when he does pencil me into his day planner, I don't even know how to act. I feel like his anger at my pain has taken a huge chunk out of my admiration, respect and confidence in us - key things I believe must remain prevalent for a healthy relationship to thrive.

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I'm sorry to hear you're having a rough holiday season. I remember what it's like being a young single mom with a toddler and no family or friends nearby. I think several things are at play here. One, it doesn't so much sound like your boyfriend is rejecting you on purpose, but it sounds like the relationship is fairly new and he's pretty young. So for him the holidays are about going out and having fun and connecting with people he doesn't normally get as much time to socialize with. He invited you to these get-togethers and you said no, but he isn't yet so connected to you and your daughter emotionally that you both take priority in his life over already established family and friends. That's something most relationships go through to one degree or another although the holidays definitely throw that sort of issue on to the table a lot faster than they might at other times of the year. He also sounds fairly young and emotionally not that mature. Yes, he could be more empathic and a bit more understanding when you're disappointed. He knew that it would upset you before he called and that's why he's defensive now. He likely feels a bit guilty that you're stuck inside with a toddler while he's out and rather than just fully own it and fully communicate with you he lashed out. Again that happens, but it is a red flag to the degree that it shows a lack of maturity and communication skills that could become a problem.

 

And that brings us to the third issue, which is having read your history with men I'm going to tell you that you might think about finding adult interaction through parent groups and by taking your daughter to kid and family-friendly activities. Don't depend so much on a guy to bring you that adult interaction so much as reaching out to find friends. Try to make friends with other mothers and kids, look online for groups in your area, possibly even for single moms and dads. Create a network of friends and activities that get you and your daughter out of the house, get you both interacting with others and get you not sitting at home waiting for a guy to bring the entertainment and interaction to you. Focus more on having a great Christmas with your daughter and less on whether some guy is there or not.

 

I say that again as someone who's been in your shoes once upon a time. When I stopped worrying about what a guy was or wasn't doing and just started focusing on building a good life with me and my kids filled with friends and fun things we did together I found a lot less drama. If a guy I was dating couldn't make it over to see me I didn't care so much, because I had play dates lined up where I and other parents like myself could sit and talk while our kids played together. Added bonus, it weeded out the guys who weren't emotionally or otherwise ready to really be there for me and my kids. And we didn't care so much, because we had plenty of other people in our lives.

 

Anyways that's my thoughts on the topic for what it's worth. You and your daughter need to be your priority no matter what though, so make sure you still have a happy holiday with her.

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Thank you so much for this advice... it really means a lot to hear this from someone who's been through this before.

 

I agree. But as is defining of me as a person, not finding him reliable or dependable would mean not loving him truly. So I guess I have to pull my feelings back... reign them in.

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You are a young woman with heavy responsibilities on your shoulders.

 

He is a young man who doesn't sound ready for that.

 

I think you could ease some of the pressure and tension by making sure you really work hard to develop strong connections outside of romantic relationships. How come you and your daughter were all alone?? New city??

 

It may not be that it is uncharacteristic of him - just that when things start to get a little more serious, as they tend to do when real life events and challenges happen - you are seeing more of what he is about.

 

And I won't even comment negatively about him. Because he doesn't sound like a bad guy. Just not a guy ready for a woman who is at the place in life you are at. Age and experience in relationships not even playing a part in this.

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I'm sorry this happened. I know what it's like to try to explain to someone that his actions hurt you and have to see him getting defensive. I agree with the poster who said he was probably feeling guilty so he lashed out at you.

I don't think it has to do with his age or his experience. One of the most thoughtful guys I've ever been in a relationship with was younger than me (at the time I was 22 and he was 21), a virgin when we first met, I was his first ever g/f and yet, he was always there for me....more than any other guy before or after him. We're actually still friends (he's married now and his wife is also a dear friend to me).

I think that your guy is a bit immature for his age...25 years old in this time and age isn't that young, in my opinion. I'm afraid it is a red flag that he became defensive and angry, not so much for this particular situation, but for the future.

You're a mature girl and a mother. He just isn't as mature as you are and I don't know if he'll ever be or it's just something in his personality (I've met MANY 40yo guys, with lots of experience, who are still immature).

I agree with Paulette that you should find friends and other things to do so you don't wait around for him to entertain you but that's just for your sake..I don't think it matters for this relationship. I just feel you need more than this guy can give you, I'm sorry to say.

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