This topic contains 5 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Maddie 4 months ago.
January 20, 2022 at 7:02 pm #930791
Something is bothering me and I’m not sure if I’m over-reacting, or maybe being too sensitive or insecure, or if you would feel the same way too.
We have been together for a little bit more than 2 years, it’s going pretty well except this one thing. He will (most of the time) pay attention to my feelings and emotions but he is pretty much always dismissive of my opinions on random topics.
I’m going to express an opinion and immediately he proceeds to dismiss it, explains why I think wrong, why it can’t be true, or that I’m over-thinking, or being too anxious, or too much. Thing is, if I then show him an article/video/book from an expert that explains and shares my opinions, he will agree with it. As long as it is coming from somebody else, he won’t automatically fight it and will actually listen and often agree.
Same if I express some concerns about his or our safety in any kind of situation, he will fight it and dismiss me, but if his parents call him to tell him exactly the same, he will admit it is true and that they are right, and he will then take the right measure.
That makes me really sad. Sometimes I don’t even express myself because I don’t feel like going online to prove that I might not be right but my point is valid. I wonder why does he act like this all the time, does he think I am stupid or that I have limited intelligence? Or is it a way of telling me I get on his nerves ? It seems that I cannot say anything without having him immediately contradict me.
I hope my post makes sense, sorry English is not my native language and I can’t seem to think straight today.January 22, 2022 at 1:47 pm #930827
T from NY
I know you’ve been together for two years. But don’t let that alone determine your future. What he does sounds EXHAUSTING. Worse, it doesn’t appear you feel SEEN. And feeling someone sees you, hears you, and respects you are the bedrock of a healthy, beautiful, committed relationship.
My point is just this – I went through a lot of trauma as a girl and young woman. When I finally became courageous enough to leave my abusive marriage, and then eventually started dating – I found myself being so impressed if a guy was just nice to me. Like baseline civil behavior. Thankfully after adopting a radical self-live program it takes so much more to impress me, or entice me to commit. We choose the type of relationships we are in. And I feel your self speaking to you that you want to be seen, heard, respected and more valued. It’s my opinion he will not change. People rarely do. But it’s up to you how you want to live your life and if you can overlook this because everything else he provides is good enough to make you peaceful. I wish you courage to get quiet with yourself and your decisions going forward.January 24, 2022 at 1:44 pm #930860
This is a personality flaw. He was likely treated this way himself in childhood, from one or both parents.
It is very hard to change a trait of one’s personality, especially for someone who doesn’t see anything wrong with his or her behavior.
You need to decide if you can deal with this for decades to come and let it roll off your back, or if it’s a deal breaker.January 24, 2022 at 7:12 pm #930878
I suggest when you are calm you talk it through with him. Explain your observations with specific examples, how it makes you feel and ask how you two could maybe work on it. If he listens, try’s etc, he’s a keeper. If he doesn’t, then you need to decide. He might not even be aware or perceive his behavior as something else. He is not a mind reader. In along relationship, give him a chance to work on it.January 25, 2022 at 2:44 pm #930899
Thank you all, you gave me food for thought.
T, your answer really echoed with my own situation. I appreciate your input, you nailed it. I’ve been very impressed with my current partner because he was so nice to me when I met him. After leaving a long-term abusive relationship, I stayed alone for 6 years to try and heal, and then I met him, and he was so lovely, and that was so new to me. Sometimes I think if I’ve had other parents and another love history, we would not be together, because being nice would not be enough. But then I wonder, I’m not perfect, he is not either, but we are both willing to discuss it and try to improve ourselves to be better partner. So should I give up now, give it another try after discussing this matter with him… ? I don’t know. It is a difficult choice. You are right, it is exhausting. Mentally and emotionnally draining. I was so sad and now I am so angry with him. So angry. After posting here, I lost patience and had a discussion with him but I was so emotional and agitated, we never really got to finish it.
He was horrified when I told him who he made me feel, I don’t think he realized his behavior pattern. He admitted he can sometimes be an “arrogant bastard” and that his brother is exactly the same. So he understands how it is to live with a person behaving that way and how unpleasant it is. He couldn’t say why he acts like this, at first he tried to say it’s just a habit of him to question everything but I don’t believe it is the core of the problem. Later on, he admitted again that he thinks he is not smart at all (I don’t share this opinion, I think he is smart, otherwise I wouldn’t be with him).
He obviously lacks self-confidence but I no longer feel ok being the recipient of his lack of confidence. I’m not overly confident either but I still know how to behave, be polite and nice. We are currently filling an application for him to sponsor me and I’m not sure we should go forward. I need time to evaluate and think about our relation. But then, wouldn’t be an endless quest to look for somebody “better”? When good is good enough? Especially when I don’t consider myself as good enough, I’m a work in constant progress too.
Andrea, this is what I wonder. He seems to have marvelous parents but how did he end up like that then? Why such a lack of confidence, why this need of always dismiss other people ? I’m not sure he can change, but I think he would be willing to try. I have to find out if he still wants a long term for us or not. I think we reached a point where we need to sit and have an honest talk about our future. In our application, one of the question is ” when did you find out he or she the one ?” and he laughed when he read that. Maybe because it is a little overly dramatic or romantic, but still. I started to doubt if he considers me as the one or not.
Tallspicy, definitely a good advice. I know he will listen, I know he doesn’t want to do anything to hurt me, but I’m not sure he will be able to change without working on himself, probably with the help of a psychologist to get to the roots of his behavior. And I don’t see him agreeing or seeing the point of a psychologist. So I guess we might get stuck there.January 25, 2022 at 9:30 pm #930904
You sound like you have a good perspective here. I agree with you that he may need professional help and you’re going to need a little time to see if he takes what you said to heart and wants to address it within himself. Not change for YOU, but change because he is already aware that he has this problem (he’s had it since long before you met) and he’s ready to address it for himself. If he’s all talk and no action or only starts doing the bare minimum to convince you to stay, then the change you need to see won’t actually happen and you’ll need to figure out what’s next for you.
“this is what I wonder. He seems to have marvelous parents but how did he end up like that then?” It’s very easy for someone to seem great from the outside. And I’m sure his parents have good qualities. But as you’re seeing here, being nice doesn’t necessarily mean being emotionally healthy. If his parents are nice but overbearing, for example, never gave him any independence or let him make his own decisions (or his own mistakes!), overly involved in his life even as an adult, that can lead to insecurity and immaturity. If his brother is this same way, then it’s very likely there was something inconsistent or overbearing in the family dynamic, creating boundaries issues and unhealthy power dynamics, even if it wasn’t on purpose (and often, it’s not on purpose, the parents just act how they learned from their parents, it’s all they know).
To focus back on you instead of him, “But then, wouldn’t be an endless quest to look for somebody “better”? When good is good enough? Especially when I don’t consider myself as good enough, I’m a work in constant progress too.” There’s a difference between “good enough” and “good fit for you.” Good enough is more about not dismissing someone because of superficial stuff, like height, has a job and is stable but not rich, doesn’t share all your hobbies, isn’t “perfect” but in ways that aren’t that important for commitment. Maybe you don’t get everything on your perfect “nice to have” list, but you have a good connection and the partner doesn’t have anything that falls on your dealbreaker list and is a stable and consistent person. However, some things that should be on your dealbreaker list are: mutual respect, doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself, doesn’t make you feel unheard or unsupported, doesn’t make you feel bad in general… couples can have disagreements and fights and that is okay and normal, but feeling small due to your partner’s lack of respect isn’t “good enough!” It isn’t healthy and shouldn’t be acceptable, which is why you’re feeling strong emotions now that you’re finally dealing with it.
I can see how him and his family may seem much healthier compared to you coming out of abusive past situations, but it doesn’t mean they’re actually healthy. Or even if they are healthy, it doesn’t make it the best match for you. It sounds more like you don’t believe you deserve better because of what you’ve been through and seeing yourself as a work in progress, rather than you’re happy in this situation. Were you able to get therapy in those years you were single and recovering from the abusive situation? You may need to see someone with a different approach to help you heal further because the amount you were second-guessing yourself in the first post is typical for people who have suffered past abuse and automatically doubt themselves when something feels off… you were probably conditioned to do that in the past and your own insecurity and acceptance of behaviors that feel wrong to you may be related to you still not quite feeling you can trust yourself after everything you went through prior to meeting your boyfriend.
I wish you luck here, and hope he’s a good guy ready to grow up and work this out with you. I’m glad he didn’t see it as a normal cultural misogyny thing and at least could recognize what was happening and where it’s coming from. It’s good first steps.