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Didn't spend Christmas together...


cluelessk

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Okay, I've posted here before but I can't find my thread for background... I am livid, shaking mad right now and don't know what to do. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years. Last year, we didn't spend Thanksgiving or Christmas together, which bothered me but he felt it was too soon (though, quick background, we had been together 8 months and I was practically living at his place at that point). He has issues with his family, claiming that they are toxic/there's a lot of fighting, etc and that he doesn't want to "expose" me to that. I have been briefly introduced to both of his brothers (who live in the same town - one lives NEXT DOOR!!!) incidentally, in passing, while I was pulling into his driveway one day and the brothers were outside talking. Nothing more than a "this is cluelessk, have a great day" kind of way. Very awkward and weird, because I also teach in their town and had one of the brother's sons as a student one year! My boyfriend owns a two family with his mother - she lives on the first floor, he lives on the second. In the entire time we've been together I have spent maybe a total of one hour talking to her, spaced out over time and bumping into her. I feel completely and totally hidden away and have brought this up to him. His response is mostly "well I know what's best here and you don't" kind of a thing. It feels very dismissive.

 

When the topic of holidays came up this year, I made it very clear that I wanted to spend time with him over Christmas. Both of our families celebrate on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so I suggested he could join my family for part of the day for one of them, since he wants to keep me away from his family. I also thought this was a good compromise because he constantly complains about them as well and doesn't seem to want to spend time with them himself. He told me he had to see what his family's plans were first, then he'd get back to me. ??? Obviously contradicting everything he's ever said about them and how he says feels about spending time with them...

 

Well, his family just made their plans this week and it was only for Christmas Eve. They were to all go to his mother's apartment. No plans for actual Christmas Day. He told me he'd see how he was feeling on Christmas Day and if he felt okay, he'd join my family for our celebration. My boyfriend has a disability that is aggravated by either standing or sitting up straight (such as at a dinner, like his family's xmas eve party last night) for too long. It causes him great pain and he is unable to stand/walk when it gets aggravated. Well, sure enough I get a text message this morning that he is not feeling well and won't be joining me. This has happened at least a dozen times now when he's committed to seeing my family at other times (i.e. casual get togethers like cookouts or birthday parties) or has said he'd join me at friends' parties (he's actually never met any of my friends because he's never been feeling well...). However, in all of these instances, I have gone to his place afterwards and he's always all about having sex. So, obviously, he was feeling okay enough for that...

 

What makes me angry the most is that I feel like he never had any intentions of coming to my family's today. When I saw him yesterday morning, he gave me a present for my parents and told me to wish them a Merry Christmas. Um, if he had any intention of coming over Christmas Day, wouldn't he have waited to do that himself?

 

I'm sorry this is more of a vent than anything else... I am so ready to walk on this one and just want to make sure I'm not being unreasonable.

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Ugh, sorry to hear your Christmas didn't go so well. I'm a little concerned about the general pattern of him not wanting to spend time with your family and friends after 2 years together or wanting you to spend time with his family. You said they are toxic and dysfunctional, so maybe he is trying to shield you from them.... but then why turn down offers to meet yours? Have you two talked about marriage/long term relationships - does he see a future with you? do you see a future with him? Because it seems to me after 2 years together that he would have met your family and friends many times by now, spent some holidays together, etc....

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Not wanting you to meet his dysfunctional family seems logical on the surface, but it doesn't explain why he won't spend time with your family and/or friends. If the rest of the relationship is good, this doesn't have to be a deal breaker -- but it sure as hell warrants a discussion about expectations in this particular area. Do either of your families celebrate New Year's? Perhaps that could be a second chance for family interaction.

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I could understand wanting to keep you from an unhealthy or toxic family dynamic, but the fact that he very clearly also avoids spending time with your family is concerning. Has he ever met any of your friends or family members? After two years, it would trouble me a lot if my boyfriend were unwilling to integrate into my life.

 

You need to take back a big step back and re-evaluate this, I feel. There is a reason he's keeping you and himself so separate from your respective personal worlds; you need to have a very open, honest and non-confrontational conversation with him about it. It's obviously not solely because of a health issue. There is something else at play, and as his girlfriend, you have a right to know what that is.

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Hi all - thanks for responding. Yes, I can totally get behind him feeling like his own family is toxic and him wanting to shield me from that. We are older - I am 36 and divorced, he is 40 and never married. I wasn't married long but I did get divorced because my ex-MIL had a serious diagnosed mental health disorder that she refused to continue to get treatment for. It took a huge toll on my relationship with my ex and soon after we were married, things escalated quickly to the point where I didn't feel physically safe around her anymore. I expressed my concerns to my ex-husband, he did nothing about it, so I felt my only choice was to leave, again, for my own physical safety. I was completely upfront with my boyfriend about this but explained that it was also an extremely unique situation, and honestly, that I probably shouldn't have even married my ex in the first place knowing what I knew. My boyfriend now says he wants to "protect me" because my ex husband never did but, again, I feel like what happened in my marriage is completely unique to that situation.

 

So along those lines, yes, we have discussed marriage. He says he's "not in a rush" to get married, that he's not sure if he wants to marry me because he likes to take things slow and he's cautious. He even went so far as to tell me that I shouldn't want to get married any time soon because I "just got divorced" (I had been divorced for just over a year when we met and had only been married for a year!). I personally think it's a red flag when someone tells you what you should/shouldn't want out of life!

 

He has met my parents twice. My grandfather grew up in his town so he was interested in meeting him. He has spent time with my grandfather a handful of times. I told my boyfriend early on that my grandfather is 86, gets confused easily and doesn't understand why I am not with my first husband anymore! So, anyone I bring near to my grandfather has to be serious about me because I obviously love my grandfather and don't want to cause him more confusion/pain by bringing around random men who aren't going to stick around. he was all on board with this initially yet he hasn't wanted to visit my grandfather in months and it broke my heart tonight when my grandfather asked me where he was and I had no good excuse.

 

I haven't met any of his friends either. He says because we are older all of his friends have kids, etc. and are too busy to meet up. I don't know if it's a gender thing, but all of my friends are married with kids as well but we all still seem to be able to get together for various occasions??? He insists I haven't met anyone because he doesn't really hang out with them either and it would be "unnatural and awkward" if he invited his friends and their wives over. I don't see the big deal??

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Meh, just based on what you've told us, I'd take a pass on this guy. IMHO, after 2 years, you two should be a bit more "intertwined" in each others' lives. I remember feeling weird when I was dating a guy for 3 months and he told me he went to a housewarming party for a friend. I expressed concern that I wasn't invited because I thought after 3 months, I should be his plus-one to these types of casual events. It eventually came out that he didn't see a future with me. So we broke up that night. Granted, I know maybe I sound crazy to you wanting to be invited to a friend's housewarming after 2 months, but he said pretty much what you said right here: " He insists I haven't met anyone because he doesn't really hang out with them either and it would be "unnatural and awkward" if he invited his friends and their wives over. I don't see the big deal??" So, that was weird.

 

Does he have a full time job? How does he work if he can't sit or stand for a long period of time (and as you mentioned, somehow his back is ok enough for sex??) He sounds kind of self-centered to me, just based on what you've told us. Maybe he's a great guy in other ways, but I see some red flags here.

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Thanks Annie - you have some great insights, I appreciate it!

 

He is a personal trainer!!! Lol. He was a professional weightlifter before he got sick with his condition ten years ago. He only works part time and sees about three - five clients a day. He has a small gym he trains his clients out of that is next to his house, so he will typically space out his day so that he can get a good break in between. For some clients that he's had since the beginning he also does video conferencing/Skype for their sessions.

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I would reconsider his commitment to you. Keeping you from family to shield you I can see maybe he could be embarrassed about some things there he doesn't want you to know about. Keeping you from friends seems like excuses there, and being 40 and not sure he wants to get married. You can do better and find someone more serious. I can't stand guys that keep things in limbo because they can't admit they can't commit to you!

 

I think you should take those people up on their offer and spend New Years with them.

 

Lisa

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You having met none of his friends is another big red flag.

 

I would wager that he either doesn't really have any, or he's brought another woman around them and wouldn't be able to explain who you are. The latter happened to a good friend of mine. Her boyfriend of two years also refused to bring her to any family or friend functions. She later found out that was because he had another woman who his family/friends knew as his girlfriend. They really had no idea he was even dating my friend.

 

Sorry to say it, but there are signs he's hiding something. I would not be tolerant of a guy who keeps me entirely separate from his personal life, and actively avoids being part of mine.

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This is a great point MissCanuck: "or he's brought another woman around them and wouldn't be able to explain who you are." This is my biggest concern. We do spend a lot of our time together but he does have a very very close female friend and I am afraid he might've spent today with HER. He does have a female friend he is very close with.She is recently going through a divorce he is there for her 24/7... insists there is nothing there but I'm not so sure.

 

Thanks for your input!

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That is suspicious he is getting closer with his female friend. That sadly happened to a friend of mine but eight years after dating! The guy claimed he was helping her through a break up but in reality was having an affair with her. He only saw my friend on the weekends and refused to live with her or marry her!

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MissCanuck - in your friends case, just curious how much time did she spend with the guy? Like during the week/weekend? I'm just trying to piece things together... it's making more sense to me now...

 

I honestly can't remember exactly, since it was well over 10 years ago now. But I know it was frequent enough, and that both women had spent plenty of time in his house. She didn't have any idea there might be someone else until about a 1.5 years in. I can't say for sure what made her Spidey Senses tingle but there were things not adding up. She had met his family and a couple friends one or two times, at the beginning of the relationship. Turns out that this was when he was broken up with Girl #1. He met my friend (Girl #2) in that time, and they began a relationship. Then, he actually reconciled with Girl #1, but failed to inform my friend. He then started bringing Girl #1 back around his family and friends and they just assumed my friend was a rebound/fling and didn't make much of the fact that they never heard about or saw her again.

 

He too claimed to my friend that he didn't really get along with his family (which was actually not true at all) and that he had grown apart from his friends (also not true) so that was why he never invited her to get together with them. In short, he did a lot of lying to cover up his double life.

 

Your man might not be doing so, but his behaviour is awfully peculiar. I take it you have never met this close female friend of his?

 

I just don't get a good feeling about this guy, OP. I think you really need to ask yourself why you are with someone who is so evasive and resistant to letting you into his private world.

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Thanks everyone - MissCanuck and Lisa, I'm so sorry to hear about your friends. Those stories are heartbreaking.

 

I honestly don't know why I stay - low self-esteem and a huge sense of loneliness I guess. Even though I have friends, they are all married with kids and it can be hard to relate to them most of the time. I'm thankful that they include me in things but it's lonely to not be able to relate. I'm an introvert so it's been difficult for me to motivate myself to get out and meet new people.

 

I haven't met his female friend, even though I asked to more than a few times. He says they aren't really that close, she's only been calling because of the recent divorce and getting back into the dating scene and looking for his advice on what's "normal" these days since she hasn't dated in 10+ years. The irony is, she lives in my town! I've suggested maybe the three of us could meet up for coffee sometime, nothing. I don't think he is seeing her physically and if it weren't for the fact that his mother lives in the house and that his brother lives next door, I would definitely be 100% sold that I was the side girlfriend. We do spend about six nights a week together though, both during the weekend and the week so I don't know when he'd fit her in. Plus, his family is constantly seeing my car in his driveway so... I am concerned though that this is an emotional type of affair and it could progress.

 

He says he is serious and committed to me and the fact that we've babysat his nephews together (only twice though) should tell me that he is committed and wanting me to spend time with the "fun" part of his family. Meanwhile, he has four nephews - three from one brother and one from the other. The nephews we've babysat included my ex-student so I feel like he is only including me because this nephew has asked to see me. I haven't met the other nephew from the other brother, despite the fact that he attends the school I teach in.

 

I tried calling him about an hour ago... he didn't pick up but texted back to say he needed rest... yet he's been texting me telling me what he's watching on Netflix... ??? I bet she's there.

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ck, only two words come to mind:

 

Get Rid

 

I realize you are lonely and your self esteem is low.

 

But he is either hiding something (another woman?) or fears commitment (and views introducing you to friends and family as a step towards that)..... but whatever it is remaining with this turkey is lowering your self esteem even further ... and being with the wrong person (which he is!) often causes one to feel even lonlier than they otherwise would feel if actually alone, on their own without relationship.

 

My new year's prayer for you is that you get stronger and realize your value and worth.

 

Personally, I would not only feel terribly hurt by his behavior, but insulted and humiliated.

 

I would have left a very long time ago.

 

Best of luck ck, and good wishes for a much happier 2017.

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I don't think the Christmas thing is weird - maybe he gets grumpy and depressed around Christmas. I know I do.

 

Also, the not wanting to get married thing isn't weird at all either. Nothing wrong with that.

 

However, not having met any of his friends after two years is a bit strange. When I get a new bird I can't wait to show her off to my mates.

 

You spend six nights a week together? That sounds legit. Almost sounds too much, if anything. Does this not tell you he's down the line? Also, if he has these health problems then that could be making him a bit moody.

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I don't think the Christmas thing is weird - maybe he gets grumpy and depressed around Christmas. I know I do.

 

However, not having met any of his friends after two years is a bit strange. When I get a new bird I can't wait to show her off to my mates.

 

Yeah me too Z.... sometimes anyway.

 

Agree about the not introducing to friends ..... AND, avoiding meeting her family.

 

Something's not jiving.

 

First few months I understand but it's been two years.

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So he is there for his female friend 24-7, yet they're not that close? Right. Makes perfect sense. (note sarcasm) Is she an ex or something?

 

OP, the more you write, the more I wonder if there's something significant about himself that he hasn't told you and he's worried his friends and family will blow his cover. Could be why he's avoiding your family too. He doesn't want to look like the Bad Guy if he's hiding something and your own family finds out.

 

Whatever his reason, the bottom line is that he is not going to integrate you into his life in the way you would like, and he won't allow you to integrate him into yours either. This would personally not work for me. I would not like to be in a relationship that I felt was being kept hidden from everyone.

 

A future together is more or less impossible at this rate. How can a marriage or having a family work? Would he expect to not tell anyone he's married or has a child? Would he want to just run down to the courthouse in a hush-hush ceremony, just the two of you, and not turn up to celebrate with a few people? If you became pregnant, would his parents even know they're about to become grandparents? Would he invite any of his friends to meet his new baby in the hospital? Does this sound like the life you want? Despite his words, his actions are screaming that he's not looking for the type of future that you are.

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I don't think the Christmas thing is weird - maybe he gets grumpy and depressed around Christmas. I know I do.

 

Also, the not wanting to get married thing isn't weird at all either. Nothing wrong with that.

 

However, not having met any of his friends after two years is a bit strange. When I get a new bird I can't wait to show her off to my mates.

 

You spend six nights a week together? That sounds legit. Almost sounds too much, if anything. Does this not tell you he's down the line? Also, if he has these health problems then that could be making him a bit moody.

 

Zaphod, I liked your post before you added last paragraph.

 

Hell, my dad was home every night, was always there for "us" (his kids), but had a whole n'other life neither my mom nor us knew anything about. (although *I* strongly suspected).

 

Needless to say, it all came out and my parents finally divorced.

 

That's a different thread but my point is that often times things are just never what they appear to be no matter how much time is spent together.

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"A future together is more or less impossible at this rate. How can a marriage or having a family work? Would he expect to not tell anyone he's married or has a child? Would he want to just run down to the courthouse in a hush-hush ceremony, just the two of you, and not turn up to celebrate with a few people? If you became pregnant, would his parents even know they're about to become grandparents? Would he invite any of his friends to meet his new baby in the hospital? Does this sound like the life you want? Despite his words, his actions are screaming that he's not looking for the type of future that you are."

 

I really like and agree with this practical approach. Also having been ambivalent about marrying my (now ex boyfriend) and gone back and forth and made us both crazy -I'd say get out now if it's been 2 years and he's also not integrating you into his life.

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Zaphod, I liked your post before you added last paragraph.

 

I always do that. I wait until I've got the internet points then I edit a really crappy paragraph on afterwards to confuse people.

 

I get your point though. One never knows (although it seems like you did).

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