Boyfriend is acting erratic and doing hurtful things, not sure why.

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  • #943731 Reply
    Anonymous Girl

    Let me preface this by saying that I have posted on this forum before, but want to be anonymous to keep things private. Here is some background information: My boyfriend and I are both in our thirties and live together. We have been together for 3 years. I have made it very clear from the beginning what I want/need in a relationship (want marriage, a family etc. and being in my late thirties, crunched a little on time). He has assured me that this is what he wants too and he wants a life and a future with me. Also, I’ll mention this because I do think it impacts things: I am a full time teacher and he has not worked for two years (wanted to switch jobs, but hasn’t been able to find what he wants/having a hard time with the career switch). I feel like I have been supportive of his situation and he is still able to pay for his half of things because of money he has saved so I don’t know how much I can really say. I feel like this situation has changed his behavior and how he treats me,

    We have gone through good and bad in this relationship but I thought things were getting better. We moved to a larger apartment to have more space which I thought was helping. I also thought we were resolving conflict better. Then last night happened and I feel frustrated, hurt, and confused.

    I am on spring break (much needed as a new teacher). The break had been going well, we celebrated our 3rd anniversary earlier in the week and I went to spend time with family for an event. My bf acted sweet, wanting to spend time cuddling and holding me the morning before I went. I thought everything was good. When I was with my family, he answered my calls but never texted or called me first, which isn’t alarming but unusual since he usually always checks in. I thought maybe he just needed a day or two to himself. We had no conflict over the phone.I came home last night a little later than planned but communicated to him when I was coming. It was 830 and I just wanted to eat my dinner and relax by watching some tv after a 45 minute drive. I wanted to watch the bachelor since I had been trying to watch the episode all week.

    Little did I know what chaos would ensue. I know my boyfriend hates most reality tv and while I invite him to watch it sometimes/sit with me to watch it together, he is in no way forced, frequently leaves the room or does other things. We have two tvs so I am not keeping him from watching his own stuff. He threw what I would describe as a fit, initially acting like he was okay with watching it (reluctantly) and then saying he wasn’t. I said fine, why don’t we watch in separate rooms and watch the ghostbuster movie we’ve been planning to watch after. He complained that he didnt want to watch a movie in the “middle of the night” (the time would have been around 1030 I guess that’s now the middle of the night) and that he wanted to go to bed by 11 even though it was a friday night. Keep in mind, he regularly stays up until 12,1 etc, but will sometimes blame me for us being up “too late” since I am a bit of a night owl. If you choose to stay up with me watching a sporting event or movie that you want to see I dont see how that is my fault.

    Unfortunately this isnt the first time we have fought over tv. He complains about me always picking shows to watch and I have offered compromises (watch on separate tvs, take turns picking shows or movies each night etc) and he still bitches. We do have stuff we like to watch together like our sports team, certain movies etc. I feel this is a completely stupid thing to be fighting about but in the case of last night he picked a fight again and took things way too far.

    I went to the bedroom to change into my pjs and he was in there still huffy with his dinner turning on a movie. I basically said what is your problem? We were fine before I left, in fact you acted like you did not want me to leave. What gives? Are you cheating on me or something? (Yes, I realize this was out of line and I don’t believe that he is, but I just was fed up and this was ridiculous. The context was why are you acting so erratic)

    He responded by saying No but I wish I did cheat. I said where the f did that come from? Why are you acting like such an a$$? He said shut the f up. I said no, you disrupted my night and came at me for no reason. He left and went out to his car (which he has done more than once but hasnt done in several months) and I did not see it in the parking lot. Proceeded to stay there and not answer my texts for 4 hours which just basically said this is messed up I dont understand why this is happening, Can you come inside and talk, etc. All he sent was one text about nobody gets to have an opinion other than you (referring to me).

    He comes in after 3am and I am still awake and upset. I asked where he was, said he was out in his car. I said we need to talk about this tomorrow. This is not okay and I dont want to live my life like this. He said okay i guess we will talk tomorrow. Basically showed no remorse.

    Several minutes later, I get in bed and turn on my show that I never got to watch thinking he is asleep since he is turned over and not moving. After a couple minutes of watching he says turn this show off or I am not going to stay here. I essentially said wtf I thought you were asleep and you arent watching, I am just trying to relax and get some sleep. Also you are not my dad. He said yeah I know your dad died years ago and no one has told you the word “no” since. I told him it was completely fucked up to bring up my dad like that and that no parent controls what their adult children watch and to drop it. That this was psycho and controlling. I turned on a different show and he went to sleep.

    All of this messed up my night, potentially my day today as I have had very little sleep and my friend called about a car issue at 9 and I havent been able to get back to sleep. He is still sleeping but I need to have a conversation with him and need to make a decision about the relationship. I’ve invested a lot in this but need to find out what is really going on. I was wondering if anyone can offer advice or suggestions of what to say or ask him to find out the truth or what can be done about the relationship moving forward.

    #943746 Reply

    If this is truly uncharacteristic, he doesn’t usually fight with you like that, he doesn’t speak down to you, say mean things or take his anger out on you, then typically erratic behavior may mean mental health issues, addiction, substance abuse, or cheating. But since you’ve glossed over “good and bad but you thought things were getting better” without much detail, it sounds more like this is how the relationship dynamic is. Maybe with more space it’s more tolerable and peaceful day to day, but there isn’t any forward momentum if you’re in your late 30s and have been together 3 years and there’s no wedding plans on the horizon. Living together isn’t all that different from being married, either. If you’re fighting now in ways that don’t resolve anything, being married won’t magically change that.

    He may be getting depressed from his lack of employment, but he’s also a fully grown man which means he should be taking steps to do what he needs to do to be happier and not taking his anger and frustration out on you. Being supportive of him in tough times is not the same as you being a doormat or punching bag. You shouldn’t have accused him of cheating, though. Your fight was obviously not really about TV, but it was a low blow. That doesn’t mean you should take on all the blame and effort to “fix”, just recognize you’re both in an unhealthy dynamic together.

    He can also say he wants the same things as you in life, but he’s taking zero action to make them happen. That means he’s inconsistent, which is a huge red flag. In actions, he’s showing you that exactly the relationship you have right now (living together but not engaged or married) is what he wants. Yes, many men want to feel like they are winning and have their lives settled before taking the next step, but if it’s holding him back this much at your age, then he’s too immature to be in this with you. A mature man who is ready isn’t going to let his professional frustration bleed into his relationship so much that he’s ruining it. So don’t make any excuses for him. My perspective on that comes from dating men who sound similar, had professional difficulties yet said they wanted something serious, but never took next steps (even once they got back on the job track the way they wanted). And years later, they are still not married. I had a VERY different experience when a man was ready to get married. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, he’s wasting your time, you don’t know exactly where you stand… then your gut is probably right.

    It is not all on you to need to figure out the right words to get him to tell you the truth, either. Again, he’s a grown man, if he can’t be honest with you on his own then do you really want to marry someone whose communication skills are that bad? This shouldn’t fly, as he’s not 22 years old.

    #943747 Reply

    Yup, is this really how you want to spend the rest of your life?

    #943786 Reply

    He needs to get a job so he feels like a man again and quits picking stupid fights because he doesn’t feel good about himself.

    #943787 Reply
    Liz Lemon

    You glossed over the 2 years of unemployment but that’s huge. What’s he been doing for 2 years? How has he been spending his time? The longer he’s unemployed, the harder it will be to get a job (I have a family member going through this, trust me).

    Agree with Emma that he probably doesn’t feel very good about not working. That’s generally a big deal for men, and a blow to their ego if they aren’t working. It’s not a question of having money saved up either (although it’s a terrible idea to burn through your savings because you’re sitting around on your butt not working– again, my family member did this and emptied his savings and 401K, and now he’s screwed).

    Overall I agree with Maddie, though, her post was very succinct. Sounds like this behavior is an unhealthy pattern between you two. And, if you are in your late 30s and want kids, have been with this guy 3 years and there’s no plan for marriage…I really don’t think it’s gonna happen. (Honestly I’m sorry to say I don’t think it SHOULD happen, this guy is not in a good place and you don’t have a healthy relationship dynamic from what you’ve described).

    #943788 Reply

    you want to start a family with someone who is not employed ? someone who rather leave the house when you argue than work on resolving the conflict.
    You don’t know where he went and I think he went to see his side chick, this is why he started an argument so he could leave the house…

    #943835 Reply

    My advice is SPACE. In all cases such as this, the space will bring the answers and clarity.

    #943875 Reply


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