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Being Taken Advantage of, or all in my Mind?


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oh god wow.


when has a large quantity of something at someone's place turned into an "all you can grab offering"? first her stuff, now theirs...who goes around people's houses thinking where there's plenty of something it means take it?


he isn't clueless. he knows you don't just take stuff from people and pocket it.


gah. am i the only one who would be ending this? he thinks it's okay to take stuff that isn't his. apparently, it's a habit. "Dear John, the starfruit was too much?"

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I did not ask to take any fruit nor did they offer. A no offer does not mean you get to shove it in your handbag when no one is looking. And an excess doesn't mean you're entitled to it.


Thus I rest my case regarding my pens and power bars.


What case? It's entirely your right to feel the way you do. Convincing ENA of your position is probably your least important job in this manner.


Your most important job is making a decision. I can count at least half a dozen strategies that have been suggested for you to approach your bf and (in a different way) your friends regarding your concerns.


I think it's up to you to pick one and run with it. And to try to approach the situation calmly/without yelling at him.

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OP, In your endeavor to communicate in a level-headed fashion, it may help you to focus only on the facts and your specific wants and needs. Avoid motivation, meaning, social norms and standards. Just you and your preferences, and his acts and how they are similar or different than your preferences. And that as a result of the combination of similar and different, you are sorting out how this works for you.

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I'm not trying to make judgements here but ... well, I'm speechless.


If I raised a child who felt this way, I would feel like I failed.


For awhile I worked for someone who was slow or very late paying those who freelanced for her (and payed low rates), but would be take every opportunity to donate to the latest causes and use it as self promotion. She played the "hero" while short changing those loyal to her. Maybe that is the essence of Naomi's comment? He mooches and steals on the one hand, and donates to homeless on the other? Maybe he has a Robin Hood complex?

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I see your point about different values -- I would rather my fiancee give to a legit homeless person (one truly in need) than contribute to my groceries, but that's just me. Then again, my fiancee always contributes to food and never just takes stuff without asking, especially if it's something he knows I have very little of or something I might want for my lunches at work. Yeah, he'll snag a shot of my bourbon or whiskey (I'm not a huge drinker at all, but somehow have a ton of liquor hanging around) without asking, but he knows it's something I'm not likely to care about. I make sure to have extra protein bars (I eat one almost every day) so that, when he spends the night here and needs to jet off to work super early, I can give him one -- along with a cup of coffee -- for the road. He would never dig in the box, take out three or four, and pocket them. He wouldn't even ask to. I can't even fathom it.



I'm not sure if you were addressing me, in this comment, but since you are referencing a concept I put out here (i.e., I would value an SO giving to someone in great need over paying for my groceries, or at least I would count that as very high in the "pro" column, which Naomi doesn't seem to be doing), I hope it's not presumptuous to respond in kind.


I'm trying to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. I'm sort of playing the Devil's Advocate. Even Naomi said that her impression of this fruit display appeared to be "an offering." And that it appeared these people took in a lot of fruit from other people who had more than they could deal with, so it may have conveyed a sense of, "We have more than enough, we're overflowing, we're spreading the bounty around" feeling. I wasn't there, but those social cues missing here, it's hard to outright condemn what he did without more context. I can see being in a situation where that COULD be socially okay, dependent on a lot of factors, and we all know that the tiny window of accuracy we have about situations on ENA is a humble one.


So I'm thinking, in the best case scenario, what could this be? What might it be? And I think since Naomi said these things about the scene almost to give him a little leading edge, I'm inclined to think there was something about the situation that may have been ambiguous. Which would mean it's not an open-and-shut case of "What the hell do you think you're doing, you oblivious, self-entitled snitch?"


I'm not saying I would behave that way unless I was given very explicit signs that I could help myself, including verbal encouragement. That is my social code, and I think it's most people's. So I would feel uncomfortable too, if my partner did such a thing. Very taken aback. But the question is, is this and this alone enough to break up a relationship for, and I'm saying, if you isolate this in a petri dish without considering the good qualities this person has that compensate, it's going to be a skewed evaluation. I don't think him wanting to help homeless people as well as paying for many of their outing expenses plus the fact that he is happy to offer her anything in his own kitchen, including a handful of power bars if he had them (whether she likes his provisions or not) is a sign of a person who is just a glutton or a taker, or even someone with a Robin Hood complex. He doesn't sound cheap to me. He seems to have different ideas from Naomi about the nature of giving, and the significance of different forms of giving. To me, it signals someone who is just generous to a fault and perhaps wrongly projects those mores onto other people in situations without giving it enough consideration or being that aware. Which is in the "con" column, I grant you that. We all would want our partners to be sensitive to other people's boundaries, and it's something to not overlook if he isn't.


BUT, she's said he's a "great guy" and they click in so many ways, so I'm trying to place this in the context of a whole relationship picture. And also, what is the degree of the infraction, based on all the circumstantial details and the vibes.


But it seems like Naomi wants people to tell her something. She seems to want people to tell her they agree he's an unclassy guy who is also cheap. She is so rubbed the wrong way about this, that it seems the liking him part is almost an intellectual parenthetical. And when that's happening, it's never a good sign. If you have to remind yourself what you like about a person to try to overcome what you can't stand, and if you need other people to give you the green light to call it off because they agree with your sense of unacceptability, it's pretty much on a downhill course from there. Nothing that great can survive when you are beating off thoughts that you don't respect your partner.


But this post at very least gives me a chance to congratulate you on your engagement, BG! You of all people deserve to be happily off this crazy merry-go-round! I'm so happy for you, and wish you a wonderful life together. Maybe there's hope for me, yet.

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And I just wanted to add...I'm not clear what Naomi is telling HIM, as these issues arise. It seems like something happens she doesn't like, she blows up at him in a poorly communicated way, then comes here to stew over it. Was the fruit issue discussed? Was it discussed in the context of all the other irritations?


Have you sat down with him, Naomi, and said, "There's a running theme, it seems, with you feeling that if you see someone has a stock of something -- be it pens in my vase, or granola bars in my cabinet, or bananas on my table, or fruit in this person's livingroom, that you feel somehow that you're free to just take it. I want to understand that more, because it very much puts me off, it's disturbing to me. It suggests that you somehow assume you're entitled to something without checking in with the other person or people (aside from asking about the granola bars), as if it's already yours to lay claim to it. I was not raised this way and I feel there is an implied boundary between my stuff and other people's stuff, until they invite me to make their stuff my stuff. Maybe you can explain to me where you're coming from on this, because it conflicts with the behavior I respect, which is not to assume things about other people's possessions, that they are up for grabs."


I would lay the case out with HIM -- because here, you're not processing or interacting with the person who has a method to this madness, whatever that may be. You're just expressing your disdain here, but you will not get clarity until you actually engage with him in a productive, non-accusatory way with him. And not days and days later -- as soon as you can, fresh with the incident.

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