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SO Conflict - Need Advice on Hanging Up/Blocking


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I need a bit of advice.

 

As a background, my boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 3 years, with the initial 2 years in person (we moved in together soon after dating) and 8 months of long-distance. Recently I finished my undergraduate degree and moved across the country to be with him (he moved initially for graduate school and I finished my degree before following). We have signed a lease together for the following year. Recently however, due to COVID-19 we have been doing long-distance again. We expect to see each other in 2 weeks.

 

I want to make it clear that we love each other and I really would like to make this relationship work - I can imagine a future with him that is pleasant and enjoyable.

 

However, when we call it is really frustrating because whenever I let him know that one of his actions makes me feel unhappy, he immediately starts being reactive. He will start talking over me, being defensive even when I say that it doesn't need to blow up and that we need to both cool down. After talking over me, he will then say all of this stuff that I'm doing 'wrong' (even though most of the things I did not even do or say, he assumes it) and then suddenly hangs up on me. He will block me over all platforms and shut off his phone. I am forced to send him emails so that I can communicate with him (I know, this seems so childish to me). I will send a dozen emails emphasizing how I love him and I always have to apologize even if the initial conversation was just simply me letting him know that something didn't make me feel so great. He will say 'you always make my day worse'. This happens for an entire day and it's interfering with other aspects of my life (e.g. work). It will be until he suddenly gives in and unblocks me and picks up. And unless I say sorry for doing wrong, he will do the cycle over again and hang up. And then we will finally make up and he says sorry for XYZ and says that he promises it won't happen again.

 

He will hang up and block every few days. It makes me feel like I'm not in control of even how I can communicate with him (I can't even let him know of something that I don't like!). I've told him blocking and hanging up and not picking up is disrespectful to me and feels immature. He always says that he's sorry.

 

Recently, I've been telling him that saying sorry might not be enough because it constantly happens and it doesn't seem like it means much. He starts constantly arguing with me about this now too saying "sorry is never enough for you huh?"

 

I feel like I've run out of options. I really don't like what is happening but cherish our relationship during normal times. I would really appreciate some advice on what to do!

Edited by cadonling
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So, why would he stop the hanging up and blocking? Look at how you react:

" I will send a dozen emails emphasizing how I love him and I always have to apologize "

 

He treats you poorly and you react by telling him how much you love him. Why would he want to stop? You reward him for this behavior.

 

You have two choices; tell him to knock it off and mean it. Stop rewarding his bad behavior and let him know the next time he does it you will no longer beg him to be nice to you. You will simply walk away and IF he chooses to conduct himself like a loving partner he is free to contact you. Otherwise, it's over.

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Sorry to hear this. Was it this bad when you were living together? How old is he? His reaction sounds quite immature. You should be able to have discussions but they should not be thrown out as a list of "things you do that make me unhappy".

 

You also should not bombard him with emails. If things get heated, excuse yourself from the conversation and say you have to go and you'll talk later. Sadly you "want to make it work", but he clearly does not.

 

You need to pull way back and stop chasing and clinging so hard to a guy who sounds like a real tool.

my boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 3 years, with the initial 2 years in person (we moved in together after dating) and 8 months of long-distance.

 

I will send a dozen emails emphasizing

 

He will hang up and block every few days.

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Cadonling.

 

"And unless I say sorry for doing wrong, he will do the cycle over again and hang up"

 

I can't for the life of me see what there is to love about that. What makes you think the future with him will be "pleasant and enjoyable". He IS disrespectful and immature.

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So, why would he stop the hanging up and blocking? Look at how you react:

" I will send a dozen emails emphasizing how I love him and I always have to apologize "

 

He treats you poorly and you react by telling him how much you love him. Why would he want to stop? You reward him for this behavior.

 

You have two choices; tell him to knock it off and mean it. Stop rewarding his bad behavior and let him know the next time he does it you will no longer beg him to be nice to you. You will simply walk away and IF he chooses to conduct himself like a loving partner he is free to contact you. Otherwise, it's over.

 

I think the reason that I do so is because I know that he is really stubborn. If I don't email him and apologize to him, he won't unblock me and he will never be the one to initiate the call. I know he is someone who really enjoys his alone time and could probably go a month without contacting anybody.

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"If I don't email him and apologize to him, he won't unblock me and he will never be the one to initiate the call."

 

He sounds real loving.

 

What has his enjoying his alone time (most of us do enjoy alone time) have to do with anything?

 

So you envisage the future with a petulant man, who dishes out the silent treatment and would have no trouble with not contacting you for a month.

 

So, what virtues has he got that make you feel you want to stay in this "relationship".

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I think the reason that I do so is because I know that he is really stubborn. If I don't email him and apologize to him, he won't unblock me and he will never be the one to initiate the call. I know he is someone who really enjoys his alone time and could probably go a month without contacting anybody.

 

Do you realize you are rewarding his behavior? And that he has no reason to stop? When he does something and you tell him you love him, he will conclude you love what he is doing.

 

My ex told me this...he said he behaved the way he did because I kept coming back and I said I loved him. So he figured I liked the way he treated me.

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Cadonling.

 

"And unless I say sorry for doing wrong, he will do the cycle over again and hang up"

 

I can't for the life of me see what there is to love about that. What makes you think the future with him will be "pleasant and enjoyable". He IS disrespectful and immature.

 

I agree. There is not much to love about that. However, I know that the future with him is probably more 'pleasant and enjoyable' because when he is in-person, things are typically much better. He is more respectful. However, he is terrible at communicating long-distance. I guess I am hoping that the next two weeks blow over and things return to normal. However, knowing that there are other periods that we will inevitably have to do long-distance, I would like him to re-consider his actions of hanging up/blocking so that this doesn't happen in the future again.

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Define "much better" Candonling. And as I asked, what are the virtues/advantages that make you feel you want to continue with this person?

 

You asked in your OP:

 

" I would really appreciate some advice on what to do!"

 

Advice is being provided and I can do no better than quite Wiseman:

 

"You need to pull way back and stop chasing and clinging so hard to a guy who sounds like a real tool."

 

I am guessing you are young, OP. You will find someone who will treat you as you deserve to be treated.

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He wants it to happen, you have no control over that. He doesn't care if it bothers you otherwise he would not do it. It's that simple.

 

If you have to explain, complain, send dozens of emails to ask someone not to be an ass, you need to reconsider things.

 

Talk to trusted adults, family and friends about what is going on. Do not follow him around like a puppy, pursue your own future, education, and goals.

I would like him to re-consider his actions of hanging up/blocking so that this doesn't happen in the future again.
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It sounds like he's got quite comfortable with disrespecting you. Why not turn that around and give him the gift of calling his bluff by allowing him to stew, along with sending the message that you're comfortable with respecting yourself.

 

He'll either sink or swim, but you'll have your answer.

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And, OP, what would these actions be exactly.

 

"whenever I let him know that one of his actions makes me feel unhappy, he immediately starts being reactive"

 

So, leaving the phone and distance out of this altogether, when you are together what makes you think he won't be reactive when you let him know an action of his makes you unhappy?

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I want to make it clear that we love each other and I really would like to make this relationship work - I can imagine a future with him that is pleasant and enjoyable.

 

You say this and then you go in to a list of really good reasons why this relationship is not pleasant and not enjoyable. But I get it, we all do it. I think sometimes when we are in relationships with someone we love, like a friend, family or significant other, we want the relationship to work so we think about the good things. However it clouds our judgement because it delays our ability to take action. I believe that in your case, you need to call it quits and stop wasting your time on an emotionally immature adult when you could be working on yourself to finding a mature partner who listens to your worries and want to be proactive in correcting his mistakes.

 

As much as you both love each other, your relationship can't last on just love. It survive on a whole host of things - communication for one.

Also I am not sure if he loves you as you say... he treats you pretty crappy. There are people out there who love the idea of a relationship, but they don't love the maintenance part of it, which is a lot work in maintaining a healthy and loving relationship.

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And, OP, what would these actions be exactly.

 

"whenever I let him know that one of his actions makes me feel unhappy, he immediately starts being reactive"

 

So, leaving the phone and distance out of this altogether, when you are together what makes you think he won't be reactive when you let him know an action of his makes you unhappy?

 

I'll give an example of an action. Today when we finally both had time to talk after a long day, we were chatting about some relatively exciting things and divulging into things that we wanted to share with each other about our days. His housemate walks in and immediately starts talking (without saying excuse me, sorry to interrupt) and picks up a conversation with him while talking over me, even though his housemate knew I was there and speaking with him. This is a bad habit that always occurs with his housemate, but regardless is not something that I can do anything about because I am not dating this person. It happened again today, so I let him know that I didn't enjoy being interrupted and talked over and that I would like for him to let the individual know next time that we are having a conversation when this individual starts creating a conversation over ours. I told him that I didn't like being interrupted especially when this roommate does it every 15 minutes on topics that seem like they could wait (legitimately a conversation his roomate started with: "oh, this is an interesting muffine. Hmm that's an interesting glaze that they put on. What do you think it is? I really enjoy X type of muffins") This is when he became reactive and defensive asking why I always had to bring things up that were wrong and why I couldn't just ignore it. Subsequently, as expected, he hung up. Was I overreacting?

 

 

To answer your second question, typically in person I am able to discuss things with him more calmly because we can both sit down, non-verbal cues, touch, there is no space for hanging up etc. Not to say that he isn't ever reactive but we are typically able to settle things much better.

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Imagine 40 more years of this treatment from him.

 

Does that make you feel warm, loved, content? Or does it sound kind of awful?

 

As I said before, he will not stop doing something that gives him pleasure and that rewards him with declarations of love from you. He has zero motivation to stop when you keep rewarding him.

 

So, are you going to start with the dozens of emails begging him to talk to you and declaring your love?

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As Bolt said (and it gives me the chills):

 

"Imagine 40 more years of this treatment from him.

"

 

No, OP, you were not over-reacting, at all.

 

Total disrespect. And leaving that aside a total lack of basic manners.

 

Any respectful person would say (to interruptor): "Sorry, but I am talking right now to my GF".

 

Surely you are seeing what he is really like OP. He has no respect for you. I wonder does he even like you, leaving love out of the equation altogether.

 

Could I add:

 

Forget the lease, and get yourself a life. You have a good education. Life has much to offer you. Why hitch your wagon to this ignorant boor. I ask.

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He has zero empathy for you and how things feel for you. For that matter you are punished for voicing them and then he goes even further to try to condition you by shutting you out.

You in turn do all the work to get the relationship back on track, just to recreate the same drama over and over.

You stated that if you didn't make all the effort you may very well not hear from him. That he very much enjoys his time alone, without you. I can't help but think he creates this dust up so he has a reason to block and create distance, because after all this dynamic seems to work for him and you reward him for it.

You are pretty good at articulating how you want to be treated and what you do not like, but you have basically become a lion with no teeth if you are too afraid to actually back those words up with some actions. Instead you chase him, call him and apologize.

If what you are doing isn't working then you need to stop and give some serious thought to what you might do differently.

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He treats you terribly. I'm appalled that you'd consider looking again at this person let alone moving across the country to be with him. Please do not move. If you move, make sure you have an exit plan and some money set aside to put a deposit at least on a place of your own. Have a contingency plan.

 

Do you have anyone - any support - in that other new city or state or province across the country? Do you have friends or family there?

 

If not, please look into protecting yourself and having a plan B or at least enough funds set aside for it.

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He treats you terribly. I'm appalled that you'd consider looking again at this person let alone moving across the country to be with him. Please do not move. If you move, make sure you have an exit plan and some money set aside to put a deposit at least on a place of your own. Have a contingency plan.

 

Do you have anyone - any support - in that other new city or state or province across the country? Do you have friends or family there?

 

If not, please look into protecting yourself and having a plan B or at least enough funds set aside for it.

 

Thank you everyone for the advice! I have decided that I will not contact him until he contacts me. If he apologizes, I would like to stand my ground and tell him that this can't happen again or else this will not work out. However, when I bring up that sorry may not be enough he typically responds with something along the lines of "sorry is never enough for you." I would like to avoid having that same 'sorry is never enough for you' conversation over again. Is there something else that I can do or say to ameliorate the situation? Typically in the past few years of our relationship, we have both always tried to work things out for us (we have both done things that were hurtful and worked through them so that they have not happened again), and I am hoping there is another way I can reason with him that blocking/hanging up is disrespectful and should not be an option. I just don't know why this specific thing keeps happening and I can't reason with him through it. Perhaps it because of the separation/isolation?? No clue

 

Also, Rose Mosse: I have already moved across the country, as I finished my degree a few months ago. However, due to COVID-19, he had to visit his family for the month, hence our long-distance. The situation was not the same before I moved, and not moving is no longer an option. I was hoping to see if the relationship would work when he gets back in 2 weeks, but this month of long-distance (with the hangups/blocking) has been driving me crazy.

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He uses that line because it works. Just like hanging up and blocking works.

 

You can let him know how you feel. He is welcome to continue trying to manipulate you or he can behave like a mature adult. His choice.

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You reply . . 'You're correct. I am not looking to be appeased by an empty apology. I am looking for genuine empathy, understanding and actions that back up the words. 'Sorry' just to shut me up and make it go away isn't enough anymore.

We keep repeating the same cycle I need you to want to work with me to make some health changes in order for this relationship to continue.

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Thanks for explaining a bit more. The verbal approach doesn't seem to work with him. I think he's tired of your words. They're coming in all forms - text, emails, I am not sure what else and although I don't know your relationship too well, there seem to be a lot of complaints coming from you. It's too much, if you don't mind me saying. If someone really bothers you so much to the point where you can't have a decent conversation and might be afraid of a roommate joining in the conversation, maybe it's time to rethink whether you should be dating this person at all.

 

I think he's overwhelmed and now full of contempt for you and that's unfortunate. It appears he ridicules you also. You keep wanting to persuade him in the verbal variety but it won't work.

 

Stop completely. My advice is to stop with the words and persuasions for awhile and take a breather.

 

He knows how to push your buttons and get you to grovel and beg and persuade even more - that's by picking at you also and ridiculing you verbally. Stop giving him more material to play with. What he's doing is childish and manipulative. If you are set on staying with this person or being in a relationship, you're going to have to change how you think and stop giving him the satisfaction of toying with you or coming across as easily irritated or tough to please.

 

If he wants to work it out with you, he will. You don't have to say anything anymore. Let him have his time with his family and parents and don't pester him while he's there. He deserves that time with his family also. Stop responding to abusive and rude texts. If he wants to continue blocking you, let him. As soon as he sees he doesn't get a reaction out of you, I highly doubt he'll keep doing it. He's the only one playing merry go round with himself and I think after awhile he'll realize what a fool he is because no one's looking at him doing his little dance. I think he's also reacting to you in a negative way. He doesn't want you to keep picking at him.

 

In the meantime instead of expending all that energy trying to devise ways to create arguments and persuasions, look inward and start having some sincere conversations with yourself about what you're doing there - there meaning geographically. Why are you spending so much energy hyper-focusing on this one person? Both of you are important to each other but you may be missing out and completely imbalanced in your support network. Start socializing with others a bit more and make new friends in your town. Find hobby groups and interest groups or find a hobby by yourself that you're interested in. Take a step back and start balancing all your energy a bit more, put things in perspective.

 

In my mind, the verbal onslaught and constant texts or arguments just have to stop. The complaints need to be siphoned or sifted through. Pick your battles. One of you has to be the bigger person and just stop that flow. If you don't want to be disrespected or entertain that behaviour, simply stop. Practice gratitude in all your relationships. Don't respond to negative behaviour and practice gratitude for the big and small things and the blessings you do have in the relationship. You may find over time you'll outgrow this person and that's fine too. Keep growing forwards.

Edited by Rose Mosse
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I would like him to re-consider his actions of hanging up/blocking so that this doesn't happen in the future again.

 

I don't know how old you are but, in my '50s, I know for a fact that people don't just ''re-consider'' unless they have something to lose. He knows he won't lose you over this, so, why would he change anything?

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It's ironic that whenever you lecture him on not hanging up and blocking, he hangs up and blocks you. You need to stop that cycle.

 

If he is rude on the phone just terminate the conversation. Lecturing as if you're his mother teaching him manners is a bad dynamic for you. Just. Stop.

 

You need to know when to cut your losses. Stop chasing, begging, lecturing, mothering, emailing, etc. You need to respect yourself first before others will.

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He has zero empathy for you and how things feel for you. For that matter you are punished for voicing them and then he goes even further to try to condition you by shutting you out.

You in turn do all the work to get the relationship back on track, just to recreate the same drama over and over.

You stated that if you didn't make all the effort you may very well not hear from him. That he very much enjoys his time alone, without you. I can't help but think he creates this dust up so he has a reason to block and create distance, because after all this dynamic seems to work for him and you reward him for it.

You are pretty good at articulating how you want to be treated and what you do not like, but you have basically become a lion with no teeth if you are too afraid to actually back those words up with some actions. Instead you chase him, call him and apologize.

If what you are doing isn't working then you need to stop and give some serious thought to what you might do differently.

 

Cadonling. Exactly what Reinvent is saying.

 

Try not to deceive yourself. He has no respect for you and respect is the foundation of everything.

 

I also echo fully all Rose's advice to you. He treats you terribly.

 

You must ask, what huge advantage does this relationship hold for you that you would be prepared to tolerate his behaviour?

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