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I snapped at my fiance and he has vowed to change his personality dramatically


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I have been going through a motivational slump off-late, and it hit me a few days ago when I saw how I had wasted the weekend. I text my Mom to share this with her, and my Dad chimes in and gives me a long sermon about what would help my mental woes. While it was all good, healthy stuff he was telling me, I was really not in the head space to listen to any of it and I was kind of worn out by the call.

 

I video call my fiance and joke about how Dads are always the ones to give us the "Dad talk" when we go to them with problems. His Dad is kind of similar, and we share a couple of jokes. My fiance has always been a very humorous, laid-back, loving personality. Although we live around 1000 miles apart, we talk so much throughout the day and he always greets me so lovingly that the distance isn't as palpable.

 

Now during this phone call, he asks me what my Dad said. I start to tell him about how my Dad suggests waking up early in the morning. He starts to make a joke alluding to how I am a late-riser, which I am. He makes a couple more jokes which I do not even remember, but by now I start to get a little miffed and I tell him "It's late, go to sleep if you are feeling sleepy." I know that's a very passive aggressive way of saying I did not want to talk.

 

A little while later, my phone starts acting up and I explain to him what's going on how this is a recurring phenomenon. My history with poor-quality phones is kind of a running joke with him and my family, so he starts laughing and joking about this one. By now, I am really annoyed and I repeat the same line as before, and I am sure my face looks pissed, too. After that, I have basically checked out of the conversation, telling him to go to sleep.

 

He senses this, then abruptly says good night and cuts the call and I go to bed.The whole of the next day, I decide to not text him as I am still a little angry from our previous conversation. Finally, the day after, thinking this is a silly conflict to be mad about, I message him. He says he had wanted to give me space and just let me be the previous day. I ask him if he is mad. He says he isn't, just realized he needs to be more serious about a lot of things.

 

I notice a tonal shift later in the day when we talk. Not wanting to push this under the carpet, I open up the conversation again, admitting that while I was definitely annoyed and some of my rage may have been spawned from a bad mood, I would never want to hurt him this way. He says it's nothing to do with me and he's just reflecting on how he needs to be more serious in life in general. I do not know if this is a permanent change or a phase. I do not want to tell him how to behave, but I miss his old self. Any advice?

 

Edit: A couple of details I forgot to mention: I apologized to him during the last conversation. I told him I fully remembered how I reacted, and I am sorry I caused this hurt and this reflection. I also told him I am not going to dictate his behavior, but humor is part of who he is, and that I do not want to be the person who caused it to wane. I repeatedly said sorry and that I should not have behaved that way.

Also, in the past, I always tell him that I am either not in the mood for a joke, or that he is taking it too far. I prefer to be tactful in communication. This time, I was having a low moment and was not in the most rational frame of mind. While I was at fault, it's not a behavioral pattern.

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I didn't ask him to change his personality at all. He has made this choice apparently, after some self-reflection.

 

Yes, but he won’t be able to maintain that . You don’t go from laid back to serious and stay that way. It’s like you don’t go from an anxiety ridden upset person to laid-back and stay that way. People’s personalities don’t change like this.

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That's what I am hoping for. I don't want him to change the essence of who he is, the person I fell in love with, and I feel awful it was triggered by me. Like I said, I had an off-moment and I was short with him. I knew I should have been more self-aware and stopped being so awful, but in the moment I was could not get over the fact he was making light of everything I was telling him.

I apologized to him repeatedly yesterday. He still feels very different from his previous self. Maybe I am panicking, but I just want someone to talk to, and I do not want to tell someone whom we know in common.

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I would let it drop and don't mention it anymore. You've since apologized so move on.

 

In the future, if you're in a foul mood, try to exercise self control and you'll be ok. And, remain patient. Pick your battles. If he's jokey, let him joke for a bit and then get off the subject. Be tactful and peaceful. No sense quibbling over something like this.

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I agree with you, I need to exercise better patience. Trust me, I am typically a lot more patient and try to be more calm than I was in this situation. He does joke around often and I playfully go along with it. This time, I was in a genuinely low mood. My approach is always be gentle with someone who is in a fragile state of mind, and not bring them down with jokes at their expense. I kind of expected that my partner would think the same: maybe I should have been more direct.

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I agree with you, I need to exercise better patience. Trust me, I am typically a lot more patient and try to be more calm than I was in this situation. He does joke around often and I playfully go along with it. This time, I was in a genuinely low mood. My approach is always be gentle with someone who is in a fragile state of mind, and not bring them down with jokes at their expense. I kind of expected that my partner would think the same: maybe I should have been more direct.

 

So that's an issue -expecting your partner -someone who is not you -to react as you do. I'm a type A married to a type B -he thinks I overreact; I think he underreacts -sometimes I do a double take because he's soooo laid back it comes across as not caring and of course he probably thinks I overreact when his reaction would be "oh well I'm just not going to get all riled up about it". Also I love your approach but it presumes you know if someone is in a fragile state of mind -you might not - and of course jokes at someone's expense that are mean spirited are typically not funny at all even if someone is not fragile.

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I agree with you, I need to exercise better patience. Trust me, I am typically a lot more patient and try to be more calm than I was in this situation. He does joke around often and I playfully go along with it. This time, I was in a genuinely low mood. My approach is always be gentle with someone who is in a fragile state of mind, and not bring them down with jokes at their expense. I kind of expected that my partner would think the same: maybe I should have been more direct.

 

There are times when I'm not in the mood for jokes either so I tell my husband nicely that while I appreciate his humor, there is a time and place for it and it's not now. I think if you say it tactfully instead of saying he needs to go to sleep, your message will go over more gently and he'll respond respectfully. It's not always what you say, it's how you say it. You can be direct as long as you're kind while doing it. You might want to try saying this: "Thank you for trying to cheer me up with your jokes but I'm not in the right mindset for jokes right now. I'm tired and will go to sleep soon. Or, I'm going to unwind so I'll talk you you later." Say something like that in a nice way so you're not telling him to go to sleep since he's an early bird.

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What does he need to be more serious about? I'm not getting the impression he's cracking jokes at a funeral or pushing the boundaries at a work function. Why whine about your phone like he's IT? Do you make a habit of complaining about things like "wasting a weekend," your sleep or productivity issues, or your phone lagging? Real question, not trying to be an ass.

 

Because that's generally when you're inviting uncomfortable jokes or unwanted feedback. People don't really want to hear negative comments regardless of how self-directed and relatively benign it may be. This is what happens when you lose good faith in an honest gripe. Which really there's something to be said for. You should feel like you can go to your partner and be provided with open ears, a shut mouth, and as necessary a warm shoulder. But just as he may need to pace his humor a bit, you may need to pace the winging a bit. Don't know. But it's certainly the impression I get.

 

As others have said, stop bringing it up. If you're real with yourself and there indeed are comments you could just healthily internalize rather than blurt, practice that. If who he was previous really was who he is, it'll come back out.

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No, I do not make a habit of complaining, and I do not see why you got that impression. And I typically take jokes in good spirit and can laugh at myself to an extent. But this time, I had told him at the beginning of the call how I was feeling a little low. When he feels low, I do not engage in any ribbing either, so it's not like I am expecting something from him that I do not practice myself. Even otherwise, I have never reacted this way in the past.

 

I don't bring it up any more. I recognize that even if the change does happen, it's on me. It's just a bitter pill to swallow and that one off-day could have triggered something like that. I am typically more even-tempered than that. In fact, I tried my best not to let on that day just how low I was feeling: maybe that could have caused this misunderstanding too.

 

Also, he's in the past cracked jokes in some inappropriate places, like work functions-- his words. I have never judged him.

 

As for pacing my whining, yes I get it. I have this constant cycle of introspection where I am always concerned I am complaining too much and not doing enough. I even try to withhold my complaining most times.

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Why are you both living so far apart? Is this relationship ever going to bridge itself?

 

He'll bounce back to being himself when he starts to see you bounce back to yourself. Just let him be himself by going back to your usual self. Stop tiptoeing around each other. He already knows what you think about him changing and you've already expressed some regret. Do not dwell. It's not good for you and it's not good for the relationship. He'll also start to think you're unhappy overall (an unhappy person) and this is an unhappy relationship.

 

Also, it's a good idea to keep the private conversations between yourself and dad or yourself and mum to yourself. You're creating problems just by not being discreet alone. If you're having a bad day, chalk it up to a bad day and stop being sorry for it. Hung out in your pjs all weekend? So what. Maybe you deserved it. If you didn't, still so what. It's your weekend and you may do as you please. Appreciate your mum and dad. Don't complain or badmouth them to a third party, even your bf, if you know that it's all in good faith and your parents are thinking the best of you. It's poor form and doesn't look so good on you.

 

Move on from this and stay positive. This was just a bad day. Let it fade away and on to the next.

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Why are you both living so far apart? Is this relationship ever going to bridge itself?

 

He'll bounce back to being himself when he starts to see you bounce back to yourself. Just let him be himself by going back to your usual self. Stop tiptoeing around each other. He already knows what you think about him changing and you've already expressed some regret. Do not dwell. It's not good for you and it's not good for the relationship. He'll also start to think you're unhappy overall (an unhappy person) and this is an unhappy relationship.

 

Also, it's a good idea to keep the private conversations between yourself and dad or yourself and mum to yourself. You're creating problems just by not being discreet alone. If you're having a bad day, chalk it up to a bad day and stop being sorry for it. Appreciate your mum and dad. Don't complain or badmouth them to a third party, even your bf, if you know that it's all in good faith and your parents are thinking the best of you. It's poor form and reflects on how low you think of yourself.

 

Move on from this and stay positive. This was just a bad day. Let it fade away and on to the next.

 

Hi Rose, thank you for your comments.

 

We both live far apart because we had both settled into our careers when we began dating, but we knew each other platonically from high school. We are both trying to move in together, looking for jobs in locations favorable for both of us.

I agree with what you are saying. I have bad anxiety, something which he is aware of and something I am working working on. Especially when my actions hurt someone, I tend to worry A LOT. I understand this is not good for the relationship. I am trying to teach myself to be better.

Also, I realize how disrespectful talking about my dad was. I was just so worn out at that point that I needed to vent, but I was aware of how unethical I was being. I typically try to be a lot more discreet than that. But I realize I have also been airing my frustrations a lot more openly since we started seeing each other, just out of trust.

 

I hope things change. This is the second day since we started talking. I do notice a difference in some of his language/expression, as if he is drawing back. While I am not forcing anything on him, I am still being my loving self with him in how we communicate. Maybe this will take things back to the way they were, maybe it won't. If it doesn't, I am just the biggest idiot on the planet.

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By now, I am really annoyed and I repeat the same line as before, and I am sure my face looks pissed, too. After that, I have basically checked out of the conversation, telling him to go to sleep.

 

He senses this, then abruptly says good night and cuts the call and I go to bed.The whole of the next day, I decide to not text him as I am still a little angry from our previous conversation. Finally, the day after, thinking this is a silly conflict to be mad about, I message him. He says he had wanted to give me space and just let me be the previous day. I ask him if he is mad. He says he isn't, just realized he needs to be more serious about a lot of things.

 

I notice a tonal shift later in the day when we talk. Not wanting to push this under the carpet, I open up the conversation again, admitting that while I was definitely annoyed and some of my rage may have been spawned from a bad mood, I would never want to hurt him this way. He says it's nothing to do with me and he's just reflecting on how he needs to be more serious in life in general. I do not know if this is a permanent change or a phase. I do not want to tell him how to behave, but I miss his old self. Any advice?

 

I think you might be more upset because the lighthearted joking that your family and boyfriend does is shedding light on something true. And you don't like this about yourself or like that they are right.

 

You made a "thing" out of it by instead of saying "you know, it reallt bothers me when people joke about it. do you think maybe there could be a break from joking about it?" you got snappy with him and then didn't call the next day.

 

So

1) Stop being passive- aggressive

2) Say what you mean directly instead

3) And work on these things people joke about. Sometimes people joke because they don't know what other way to bring it up to the person so its non confrontational. You should not change for other people but these are basic life skills. if people can't reach you because your phone is crap - invest in a better one - it makes you unreliable and get the heck up early and go to bed early.

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Both of you should be able to express yourselves naturally (be yourselves around each other). If he chooses to evolve, keep in mind that this is entirely his choice. No one is forcing anyone to do something. Don't carry that weight or burden of something that isn't yours to carry or control. You're absorbing way too much responsibility. Treat each other as capable people and as equals. Everything will fall into place.

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By now, I am really annoyed and I repeat the same line as before, and I am sure my face looks pissed, too. After that, I have basically checked out of the conversation, telling him to go to sleep.

 

He senses this, then abruptly says good night and cuts the call and I go to bed.The whole of the next day, I decide to not text him as I am still a little angry from our previous conversation. Finally, the day after, thinking this is a silly conflict to be mad about, I message him. He says he had wanted to give me space and just let me be the previous day. I ask him if he is mad. He says he isn't, just realized he needs to be more serious about a lot of things.

 

I notice a tonal shift later in the day when we talk. Not wanting to push this under the carpet, I open up the conversation again, admitting that while I was definitely annoyed and some of my rage may have been spawned from a bad mood, I would never want to hurt him this way. He says it's nothing to do with me and he's just reflecting on how he needs to be more serious in life in general. I do not know if this is a permanent change or a phase. I do not want to tell him how to behave, but I miss his old self. Any advice?

 

I think you might be more upset because the lighthearted joking that your family and boyfriend does is shedding light on something true. And you don't like this about yourself or like that they are right.

 

You made a "thing" out of it by instead of saying "you know, it reallt bothers me when people joke about it. do you think maybe there could be a break from joking about it?" you got snappy with him and then didn't call the next day.

 

So

1) Stop being passive- aggressive

2) Say what you mean directly instead

3) And work on these things people joke about. Sometimes people joke because they don't know what other way to bring it up to the person so its non confrontational. You should not change for other people but these are basic life skills. if people can't reach you because your phone is crap - invest in a better one - it makes you unreliable and get the heck up early and go to bed early.

 

Thanks for your comments, you might be right.

 

1. and 2. As I mentioned in other comments, I am a lot more direct typically and if I do not like something he is saying to me, I am upfront about it. At the same time, I am typically a lot more playful and laid-back when he is joking around. Honestly, he can get carried away with the ribbing often, but I let it slide because I hate turning everything into a conflict. This day was just a bad day.

 

3. I have been trying to work on these things people joke about. Especially the getting up late and the deal with the phone. Most times, I know they are right and so I take it in good stride. But this time, I was describing something completely different and hoping he would listen. It just caught me off-guard when he went on laughing about it. I know it sound stupid as hell now. At that point, I was so mentally drained out I did not act rationally. But that's not excusing my behavior, just trying to explain it's not a pattern.

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At the moment, that's what I thought. He was being himself by joking around, my most natural response was to be miffed. Honestly, this did not seem be such a serious conflict at the time that would warrant this sort of a response. I guess I need to learn conflict resolution better. I have typically been way more submissive in past conflicts with other people, but have been learning to stand up for myself more often. Maybe this rubbed off on me too much? I do not know. I have overthought this to the point where my head is starting to ache.

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At the moment, that's what I thought. He was being himself by joking around, my most natural response was to be miffed. Honestly, this did not seem be such a serious conflict at the time that would warrant this sort of a response. I guess I need to learn conflict resolution better. I have typically been way more submissive in past conflicts with other people, but have been learning to stand up for myself more often. Maybe this rubbed off on me too much? I do not know. I have overthought this to the point where my head is starting to ache.

 

It was amplified because you did not talk to him the next day to punish him. If you had called him as your usual friendly self the next day and said "hey, i was a little short last night.I am trying to turn over a new leaf, so let's not joke about my lateness for awhile. Fair?"

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It was amplified because you did not talk to him the next day to punish him. If you had called him as your usual friendly self the next day and said "hey, i was a little short last night.I am trying to turn over a new leaf, so let's not joke about my lateness for awhile. Fair?"

 

Sorry it came across that way, but I didn't refrain from messaging him to punish him. Only because I was a little upset and needed to cool off. He apparently wanted to give me space too.

But will certainly use this principle in the future. Thanks a lot.

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It sounds like your father is concerned about you but they are approaching it in a way you find offensive.

I have always believed I am not good enough for my partner: writing in my diary today made me realize I am such a piece of . It's bad enough that I am extremely dumb and ugly and suffer from anxiety. Now he knows I am a too, after the way I snapped at him a few days ago. Why can't I just die? Who will miss me anyway? I am a fat slob whom no one will love. He is the one person who truly loved me, now I have pushed him away too. No one will ever love me again. I am better off dead so that I do not punish anyone.
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  • 1 year later...
On 10/30/2019 at 11:19 PM, putter said:

 

Sorry it came across that way, but I didn't refrain from messaging him to punish him. Only because I was a little upset and needed to cool off. He apparently wanted to give me space too.

But will certainly use this principle in the future. Thanks a lot.

What happens if you were married?  You can't "cool off" by not seeing/talking to your husband for a few days. You need to learn new coping mechanisms and learn them RIGHT NOW.   Sure, deciding to leave a topic until you go have a nice hot shower or a good night's sleep, but stonewalling your spouse is the worst thing you can do.  Healthy couples can decide to leave a topic and revisit it later, but in the meantime, watch a movie together, have normal conversations just not about that, etc.  Either learn to go take a jog (but even that can be done at the wrong time), or learn to have productive conversations, learn what to let go, and maybe there are things you need to turn a mirror to yourself for some growth. 

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