I Feel Trapped!!

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  • #788772 Reply


    I’m quite anxious at the position I have now found myself in. I feel stuck and trapped. I’d appreciate some sound advice please. My boyfriend and I have been together for 2years. It’s been a bumpy road but we’ve mostly managed to pull through. We come from totally different backgrounds and we ourselves are quite different but I’ve always been confident in our love for each other. Last year we got an apartment and it’s kind of slowly revealing just how different our priorities are. My partner comes from a prominent family so he’s pretty much used to always getting what he wants. I’ve never really seen it as a problem because well, I can’t change his family nor his upbringing. There was a bit of a divide within his family so he decided to move away from them and do his own thing. I was more than happy to support him through that transition hence agreeing to get a place together. Since he no longer has the financial backing from working for his family, everything falls on our own incomes. We’re both entrepreneurs. I’m in the entertainment and food industry so my cheques are more frequent and pretty much guaranteed. He’s in construction and mining so his cheques rely on securing deals and he only gets paid once the work has been done. Work has unfortunately been slow on his end for the past few months. It just so happens that we had just started on simple renovations on our place. I expressed to him in the beginning that I’m not really looking to do much since my goal is to be out the apartment and into a house by atleast 2years. He seemed to understand this and agreed. Lately though with the renovations, he’s been not only picking stuff that I feel is way out of our budget considering it’s really my income seeing us through right now, but he seems to also have no sense of compromise for tough situations. I’m starting to worry that if I go along with it, I might find myself living in an apartment for more years than I’d like to because he would have an excuse that we’ve practically made it a home. He still insists we do our groceries at a lux store when we can simply get the same things at a local supermarket. He still wants to continue having the leisure of calling in a private chef on the few weekends we host lunch for our friends or when my kids are over- I feel we can cook the meals ourselves. Anytime I suggest a financial savvy compromise, he sulks and makes me feel as though I’m being cheap or that I’m against his ideas. He’s super sensitive too so I never know how to tread. I have 2 kids outside of the relationship, they live with their dad since he’s closer to their schools. I’m worried that I won’t be able to save as much as I was able to for them. To be honest, it’s not so much about the money more than it is the principles. Im not much of a materialistic person. For me a kettle is a kettle. For him, it NEEDS to be some fancy designer one (I find it to be quite silly considering the objective is boiled water- which brand or no brand will happen if we just plug the thing in..???) Things such as that is what we spend our days disagreeing about. Im actually starting to feel like I’m living a double life. On the one hand, I’m wanting to be a good responsible mom who’s always able to teach her kids good financial behavior. On the other, I have a partner who’s never had to make any kind of compromise his whole life and even with his new financial situation, still doesn’t see the need to. I love my boyfriend but I feel like I’m going crazy and that I actually have three kids!!

    #788773 Reply


    Perhaps try an alternative benefit: every penny saved by changing brands goes into a holiday fund.
    Perhaps try make it a challenge: I bet I can do the shopping cheaper than you can.
    Or maybe just be honest and express your concerns and ask if he’d be happy for you to explore the less expensive options.

    #788777 Reply


    Money is the number one cause of divorces. And long-term relationships. So you’ve got a pretty big problem here and the answer unfortunately may be you two are incompatible. He’s used to living one way with money being no issue for whatever he wants, and at this point in your lives that is no longer the case and might not ever be. You have very different standards of living.

    It boils down to having a heart to heart with him to see if he is willing to recognize the issues you two are facing and if he’s willing to meet you halfway in working through them. He won’t change overnight, but it’s possible he can change over time. But it will require a lot of communication and give and take from both of you.You may have to bend a bit for him – like have a private chef come and cook for your parties here and there, if it’s not going to put you in a financial bind.

    if he isn’t willing, then you are best off facing that while you may love each other, you are not compatible for being a couple – living together or marriage. I”m sure that’s not what you want to hear, but that’s the reality. Don’t let yourself get pulled into purchases and situations you aren’t comfortable with. Don’t foot the bill for what he wants to be left holding the bag, because unless something changes, right now you’re on course for a break-up and you don’t want to be left with debt for things he demanded but can’t pay for. You have children you have to consider as well as yourself. You may need to split up which means one of you will need to move out. You have to start facing that possibility.

    But talk with him… I really hope he loves you enough to work this out with you, and I hope he’s capable of changing.

    #788784 Reply


    Thank you so much. I think I can try to find a way to address the issue, although I know it certainly won’t be easy. You know when a person is so set on their ways that very little can change them? He’s that kind of person. . I guess apart of me feeling “trapped” is also that I’ve brought up the possibility of us maybe being incompatible. I guess the relationship has taught me that it is possible to be deeply inlove with someone but just not be compatible. Whenever I mention this to him, he says that I like being negative about our relationship. That I’m always looking for a reason to stir up trouble where there isn’t. This relationship has left me with so many questions about myself.I find myself wondering if I’m really not the problem. If I know how to even relationship. Maybe being financially fluid is how everyone does it and I’m just being cheap? My gut though says that I’m doing just fine. That I’m set in my ways of being a responsible mom and that that’s ok. All these questions And mixed feelings end up overwhelming me and I find that I have spells of feeling trapped and also sometimes like I’m “settling.” Are there relationships where two people just get each other about EVERYTHING??

    #788785 Reply


    I’m sorry but I don’t see this working, not just because of the money, but his response to you expressing your concerns. He sounds selfish, inflexible entitled and unwilling to listed to your views and communicate and compromise. Terrible traits for a happy long term relationship.

    #788792 Reply


    I’ve been where you are although my ex husband didn’t care about brands or what have you, its just that he would spend it willy nilly, such as on golf, eating out, etc. and couldn’t seem to consider the “broader picture” in relation to family goals such as our kids college fund, home, retirement, etc.

    He thankfully gave me the role of handling the finances early in our marriage because he knew I was better at it, however it didn’t help when he was still bound and determined to spend money on things we didn’t need nor want without at least discussing it with me first! For instance, he bounced a check buying one of those exercise bicycles that he used maybe twice and ended up being one more thing I needed to dust. This is when I opened up his “own account” and gave him an allowance so he could spend it how he saw fit but it had to be stretched out over two weeks (pay days)…he was always broke within a week! Another doozy was around our 10th year of marriage where he took out a loan behind my back! BTW his “allowance” was $1,000 a month ($500 cash and $500 capped credit card) at that time and he spent all of it on himself, whereas I spent it on ALL of us such as bills, household, kids (clothes/school/activities), vacations, etc.

    Bottom line, it was 20+ years of constant financial frustration that will not change! If the two of you aren’t on the same page in major key areas like this, its going to be a very tough relationship! When I left my ex and no longer had to deal with it, its was LOVELY to no longer have to deal with the day-to-day but I still had to contend with financing our eldest son when he went to college where his dad reneged half way and stopped supporting him so I had to pick up his slack!!! Never ever ever ever again will I be with “a spender”—they are too exhausting!!!

    #788805 Reply


    Gail, I’m with Jo and Lane. With this new information you’ve provided, I’d say it’s time to call this off. A good relationship isn’t that hard, it flows. It’s certainly got challenges here and there but mainly there’s an ease and comfort. You both build each other up and support each other’s growth. To answer your question, no there are not relationships where both parties get every single thing about each other and are 100% on the same page. Each person is a world unlike no other so being perfectly aligned would not only be impossible, it would be boring.

    You’ve now been gaslighted enough over 2 years that you constantly question yourself. Stay in this and you will completely lose yourself.

    I think you posted here because you know something is very wrong and you know it’s time to break up with this guy, as hard as that’s going to be. Your instincts about that are right. He sounds entitled and self-absorbed and not very concerned with your wellbeing. If you’re making more money and/or bringing in money more consistently, he might be using you since he’s broken away from his family source of financial support.

    You feel trapped… because you are. Good news. You’ve got the get out of jail card in your back pocket. Time to use it.

    There IS someone out there who will be a lot easier to be with and who will appreciate you as you are.

    #788813 Reply


    You have all been so much great help. I think I mainly just needed to know I’m not crazy and/or imagining all of this. I really appreciate all your sound advice. Thank you so much.

    #788815 Reply


    I don’t think you’ve been gaslighted and I don’t think it’s fair to say that. I do think that you were deeply incompatible about how you view money, which is super important in a relationship because compatibility generally is more important than chemistry. I think this particularly concerning is that he is perfectly OK using your money, which I really don’t like. There’s an interim step if you want it. Which is to tell him that he’s not able to spend your money on the things he wants to spend it on he’s got earn his own money for those things. See how he reacts to that, because he might just not be aware of where funds come and go andIt could be a way to test to see if he’s willing to pay for his own things. If he’s not, cut him loose you deserve better.

    #788817 Reply


    I also feel he is not gaslighting as his responses sound very similar to how my bf would react when we didnt knew each other that well. That has a lot to do with huis brain that understands happy and not happy while he has a hard time describing other emotions.
    But i do believe its ridiculous he is using your money now. But is he doing that to the way you describe. Or have both of you saved up and now he is using it? And not in a way you like. Like you said: a kettle is a kettle for you and he wants private wining and dining. That would make me very nervous as well. Like dining on the Titanic.
    So im not totally sure its as black and white you are describing. But never the less dont see this as fixable. Unless he really understands what a healthy lifestyle means to you and what you need to feel financially secure for yourself and your children. He needs to learn to live on a budget and feel what its like to count every penny

    #788828 Reply


    From Psychology Today magazine, here are some signs of gaslighting:

    no longer feeling like the person you used to be.
    being more anxious and less confident than you used to be.
    often wondering if you’re being too sensitive.
    feeling like everything you do is wrong.
    always thinking it’s your fault when things go wrong.
    apologizing often.

    Gail, only you know how you feel and if this description of gaslighting applies to you. That’s all that matters.

    #788834 Reply


    I definitely feel I administer atleast 4 of those signs at times. But I’m also not one to shift or blame someone else for how I feel. I just really needed to know whether I’m in a healthy situation, that’s maybe an occurrence in a lot of other relationships- I’m learning that it’s not and that obviously means something is wrong. I definitely don’t want to be teaching a grown man what it means to maneuver through tough times. I think I already knew what I have to do, I just needed some assurance from a neutral perspective. He’s not a terrible guy, definitely not. I don’t think he does anything to me with the sole purpose of hurting me or manipulating me. I think we’re just two completely different people who love each other but are maybe not great for each other. It’s really sad because I can’t pin it down to one specific terrible thing he does, but just a host of little things that end up amounting to quite a bit.

    #788836 Reply


    It’s a lot easier to leave when a guy is a straight-up a-hole. It’s usually the case that the guy isn’t all bad and there are certainly good times. And in some instances someone can be gaslighting you without it being a deliberate premeditated thing. It’s just how they operate. But don’t get hung up on the term. What’s happening in the relationship isn’t feeling good to you and is making you doubt and question yourself.

    I don’t read you as shifting blame and I’m sure he’s not a terrible person or you would have left already. I think you’re here trying to get a clearer, more objective picture of what’s going on.

    It seems the bottom line is a lack of compatibility on practical matters that just can’t be resolved, sadly. You’re just very different people. Better to find out now at 2 years in than later, or after getting married when it gets very messy to get out of it. I”m sorry it’s not turning out the way you want.

    #788840 Reply


    Gaslighting is when someone is manipulated into thinking they are not sane. This is not that. He just does not agree with you on how to spend. This is a disagreement and perspective difference. Not compromising is not compromising, it is not gaslighting. Please stop using very severe descriptions , when they are not the case, and it is that they are just not compatible. No need to make him a monster.

    You are not being gaslit.

    #788841 Reply


    But, I think he is immature and you are not compatible and don’t work well together. That is enough to end it.

    #788848 Reply


    I understand he isn’t doing any one terrible thing but he does seem to have a couple of terrible personality traits which manifest themselves in a variety of ways. He seems selfish. He seems unwilling to discuss things and compromise. No-one is perfect, but they would be deal breakers for me.

    #788862 Reply


    LOL… Tallspicy believe it or not, there’s more than just your definition of gaslighting that is valid. You’re referring to the scenario from the classic film called Gaslight where the husband was deliberately making the wife believe she was insane so he could get her committed. That’s the worst kind of gaslighting and an extreme example.

    See the article I posted from Psychology Today that outlines the other hallmarks of gaslighting. Gaslighting shows up different ways in different relationships.

    You and I often don’t agree, so let’s just leave it there. This is Gail’s post.

    #788863 Reply


    K is right: Money IS the #1 cause of divorce – or, in your case, the breakup of a relationship.

    Differences in spending habits are not always related to differences in backgrounds, though. Let’s say (for the sake of argument) you BOTH came from financially-strapped backgrounds. In adulthood, HE might react to having very little money while growing up by scrimping and saving every little penny to the point of being miserly and YOU might suppress those same memories by going to Nordstrom and spending $100 (or more than what you have in the bank) on a the same pair of socks that your next-door neighbor paid $2 at Target Boutique (one of my work friends complimented me on a vest I wore one day and when I told him I had bought it at Target, he told me that whenever you buy clothes at Target, you should refer to it as “Tar-zhay (emphasis on the second syllable) Boutique,” so I do :) ).

    Differences in your backgrounds are extremely hard to overcome, though – even when the situation doesn’t involve money.

    Real-life example:

    My first husband was a Fundamental Southern Baptist. I am a Catholic.

    I thought that wouldn’t be a problem when we got married because it was just a difference in the mechanics of how we worshipped God – and I was non-practicing, anyway.

    I soon learned that the difference was more than mechanical. It was a difference in – well, philosophy – your outlook on the world – that shaped your thinking in the process of your parents’ raising you.

    You can’t take a guy who was raised to believe that dancing is “vertical adultery looking for horizontal opportunity,” that drinking at ANY level is a sin and that even the most intelligent and well-educated woman is inferior to the dumbest man in the universe…pair him with a girl who had never been told that women’s options were limited (whose father and stepmother were attorneys and whose mother was a registered nurse), who didn’t drink much but not only didn’t think it was a sin, but who refused to allow said husband’s minister come into her house and search her kitchen for alcohol and who didn’t care that said minister decreed that anyone who went to his junior/senior (referred to as “prom” today, I believe) would never be allowed to speak in HIS church again…and expect them to be able to overcome those kinds of HUGE differences and create a happy life together.

    This is a long way of telling you that I know – from bitter experience – that a relationship between two people of VERY different backgrounds will never result in a happy life for both of them. One MIGHT be happy, but the other one will live a life of quiet desperation that he/she covers up by putting on a happy mask and never showing others the misery inside.

    That might be an existence, but it certainly isn’t a life.

    Listen to Lane. Listen to Jo. Listen to K.

    Find someone who shares your outlook on and approach to life.

    Be happy.

    #788864 Reply


    PS – Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors (including the Faulknerian sentence that IS the seventh paragraph.

    I’ve been sick for over two weeks and I’m trying to work and think at the same time (:) ) and my “a” key is sticking, so I might have missed a few things in my proofreading.



    #788866 Reply


    Paige, i hope you feel better soon. This has been going on for a while now so doesnt sound good.
    Ok, im all for ehat most ladies said but i do want to give a slightly different scenario based on the fact that: you are together for a while now and planned to buy a house etc, so serious enough. Is there any chance you wrote this a bit too much in your favour to get support? Because it could have gone like this:
    He had good jobs until recently and was able to put a decent amount aside to do some renovations. You have put in some as wel but although your money is more frequent its way less than what he makes with his projects. Now he is housebound and has time to do it. And making a project of it. And since both of you never sat down to decide what it will be, he started and well he likes some fancy stuff. Meanwhile you never told him what really bothered you: that he is not sensible with his money but so you put your anger in little things like why did you but this, why did you buy that? So all he hears is protesting from you while he is trying to make the place which you agreed upon and saved up for.
    So now money is running a bit low on his part and he feels confident he is back at new projects in a few months. So he doesnt see future problems.
    And the having a chef actually only happened once because it was your birthday.
    So im saying you could be passive agressive In how you handle issues. He might nog have a clue. So before breaking up you might have some good talks about what is bothering you and what he can do to reassure you. Really i went from financial irresponsible to 100% financially debtfree in 6 months. Just learning how to budget since 1 i was never taught and 2 i always had truckloads of money. Its a skill mot everone has. But he has to see this as something he has to change.
    Im not saying above scenario is true. I could be 100% wrong but i do wanted to give it a shot since the guy seems like a good guy.

    #788867 Reply


    Also sorry for the typo’s: mine come from the size of the phone

    #788869 Reply


    I read your post and the comments and I’m at a loss where all the gas lighting conversation has come from! I think what you have is a clear difference in economic backgrounds and the fact he has not yet realized he can no longer live the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed! The things that stood out for me though were the fact he’s set in his ways, won’t compromise and you two spend a lot of time disagreeing about these things. If I were you I would sit down and make out a budget. Put everything down on paper. And don’t come at it from an emotional standpoint. Come at it very matter of fact. For example, “Honey I think we’re both on the same page about wanting to be out of this apartment and into a house of our own in 2 years. But I’ve been looking at the numbers and if we’re not saving $X each month we’re not going to get there. And currently with the amount $Y we’ve spent on renovations and the extra money $Z we’re spending by calling in a private chef will make it probably 2.5 years before we can afford to move. I know you’ve never had to make compromises before but our financial situation is different now.” Then ask him for his opinion, his ideas, etc. on how to make this work. Come at it that you two are a team working together to get to a common goal and it’s not you vs. him or you getting what you want vs. him getting what he wants. 

    Also I think you need to show your appreciation for the work he’s doing on the renovations either hiring it out and supervising or doing it himself. There is a lot of work involved dealing with contractors and supplies and still a lot of stress working and doing it yourself. Make him feel appreciated and make his input on the financial budget and building a down payment for a house feel like you his opinion really matters. Maybe you are the one dead set on moving in 2 years and he’s not in a hurry. Find out what motivates him. Like does he want a man cave or huge big screen tv or a big yard with a garden? Find his motivation and show him the sooner the two of you can work together to meet your goals the sooner he gets this perk he wants!! 

    #788870 Reply


    Paige, very sorry to hear you’re ill I hope it’s not the CV-19. Get well quickly.

    #788871 Reply


    Thanks, K and Newbie. I broke down and called my primary care doctor for a phone consultation. Considering it’s almost 5:30, I don’t think she’ll call back until tomorrow, but at least I’ll find out if she thinks I need to come to the office or if she believes she can diagnose me over the phone.

    I kind of suspect it’s bronchitis because I haven’t had a fever, but the coughing has been horrendous and I feel like I’ll have to die to get better. LOL

    Thank you again for your concern (and I sincerely mean that). :)

    #788874 Reply


    Maybe a few sessions with a therapist could help. This is a big topic to cover and may need a 3rd party perspective.

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