Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
72

Ask Polly: My Boyfriend Won't Stop Raging About My Sexual History

hooorseDear Polly,

Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.

I've been dating a guy for about four months. We’re madly in love, despite being different in more ways than we are alike. Politics, education, socio-economic status, religion—you name it, we’re on almost opposite ends of the spectrum. However, we’re best friends through and through. A month or so into our relationship, he sat me down and shed a tear telling me how in love and how certain he was that he wanted to marry me. I am right there, too. Then shit started to get weird.

One night at a party, he got so angry about my friend and I laughing about this idiot we knew in high school who would whip out his dick and wave it around at us, that he ended up storming out of the party, walking five miles home, screaming at me about my sexual past (never happened with the dick-whipper-outer by the way), and then sleeping on the couch. In the morning I was like “WTF” and he was like, “I hate that you have a past.” Lots of tears (his), and lots of “processing," and we were fine.

A week later, it started hurting when he peed. Shit shit shit shit shit. A year and a half ago, I had a horrific genital herpes outbreak. Since then, I’ve been tested in all possible ways, four different times, and doctors continue to say that it’s HSV-1 (the cold sore kind) that sometimes “jumps” for a one-time genital outbreak, never again to resurface. I even went to the doctor for the whole battery of tests a week into this relationship and she was dismissive about it—saying it would probably never come back. I should have said something to him a long time before I did, but as soon as it became apparent what was going on downstairs with him, I came clean. Cue three weeks of (semi-righteous) chaos.

He said that a) I’m dishonest and he can’t trust me because I didn’t disclose my “status” earlier and b) it’s hard to get over my sketchy past when it’s “on his dick.” It’s pretty easy for me to go into periods of self-loathing (though I do work every single day to get better about this—and your column is a huge contributor, BTW). Regardless, I cried and apologized and told him I’ll do anything to gain his trust again.

In the past few weeks, he’s had random outbursts where he’ll assume that I’m cheating on him and that I’m a terrible person who just fucks guys and hands out herpes. What provokes him is either nothing at all, or my getting a random Facebook inbox from some idiot I slept with over a decade ago—which I never so much as acknowledge. But I waver between being understanding and accommodating because I DID hurt him profoundly, and being absolutely appalled. I’ve never cheated, nor will I ever cheat. Not my thing, and, as I told him, one of the awesome things I have to offer in a relationship. (It’s worth noting that in the midst of all of this tumult, we managed to get back on track and skip while holding hands through fields of rainbows and shit.)

So as all of this was going on, I’d sit down with the intention of asking you what the fuck to do. But then I’d hear you saying something like (and obviously in a much more clever and perceptive way) that there are red flags everywhere in this situation and I’d realize I already knew the answer.

The reason I wrote today is because he’s 1,100 miles away, yet we’re at it again. Did I mention that he plays independent professional baseball every summer in some random town (he swears this is his last year), and will be gone for the next 90 days? We’re doing this long-distance thing, and one week in, shit hits the fan. Things were great. I’m at home doing the “Polly Thing” and cultivating the best parts of my life and worshipping at the great temple of ME so that I can be even better on the other end of this separation.

But this morning, out of nowhere, he said, “I have to ask you: have you been talking to XX and XX (past idiot boyfriends) while I’ve been gone?” After assuring him that I’ve blocked them completely out of my life as he requested several times before, I straight up burst into tears. “I’m sitting here thinking about you, sending you little gifts and letters, and listening to your god damn baseball games on the radio EVERY NIGHT, and you’re accusing me of cheating on you?!”

Then it hit my psychology-major brain like a zap from the Milgram machine. Borderline Fucking Personality Disorder. Yes, I know that a psychology undergrad doesn’t mean even close to a shit, but check this out:

1. Borderlines tend to “split” between idealizing someone (“I’m 100% sure I want to marry you”) and thinking they’re a terrible person (“You lied and I got herpes; there’s nothing you wouldn’t lie about”).

2. Borderlines think in black and white. (“You’ve been with more people than me, you’re a ho-bag who can never be trusted.” and then “We’re perfect for each other and we’re going to be together forever.”)

3. Borderlines fly into rages over small things (can you say “dick-waving incident”?)

4. The Borderline credo is “I hate you, don’t leave me.” This morning, in the same breath he was telling me that he could never trust me, he told me how afraid he was that I was going to leave him.

And so on.

I know. Therapy, therapy, therapy (although at $250/month and a $5,000 deductible paired with non-covered mental health services, Obamacare is making that a hard pill to swallow). And I know, RED FLAGS WAVING IN MY FACE, no my face IS a red flag.

But I love him. So now what?

Sincerely,

Red Flag Face



Dear Red Flag Face,

Fuck. We really should've covered this material way back at the beginning of class. Right after our opening segment on "Kicking Tepid Men To The Curb, or How To Come On His Hampton Blouse And Move On," we should've studied "Dangerous Dudes Who Look Like The Cure To Tepid Guys But Who Secretly Want To Control You And Turn You Into An Obedient Dream Barbie."

Because, after years and years of fucking around with tepid dudes, guess what? Your immune system is susceptible to more than genital herpes; it’s susceptible to super-intense non-tepid guys who will look you right in the eyes and say, "YOU ARE EVERYTHING I'VE EVER DREAMED OF." Typically, they'll do this within minutes of meeting you. Typically, you won't notice that this is insane, because you've finally landed in the middle of the fairy tale of your little girl fantasies. Typically, it will take months if not years to extract yourself from this situation, because you want love and this looks just like love and you feel love inside and you don't want to go back to kicking around with lukewarm, flinchy deadbeats again.

And if you have a little self-hatred onboard (Hello, almost every smart person alive!) you are particularly susceptible to this kind of a guy. His abandonment issues seem adorable. You will heal everything! His black-and-white thinking feels like home. Wasn't your dad a little like that? Didn't your mom fly into rages over nothing? His love for you in spite of recognizing what a hateful slut you are feels just about right. Don't you feel the same way about yourself? Haven't you worked hard to love yourself in spite of the fact that, at your core, you're just a hateful slut?

When you fall for someone who needs needs needs you, and worries that you'll leave at any moment—but who also hates you for having existed before you met him, in a different town where you could (and will!) track down your scummy ex-boyfriends? That reflects your still very fragile, incomplete relationship with yourself. You haven't accepted yourself yet: you're still afraid, still at war, still unsure of what you're entitled to. Basically, you're in danger, because you're not ready for a mature relationship yet. You sort of long for a codependent "You Are The Everything" love, replete with unhealthy boundaries and spitty outbursts over shit that makes no sense.

But let's be fair: Even people who are pretty together will fall for this. It's not all that easy to resist someone who swears YOU ARE THE ONE, cries about it, tells you everything, shows you his soft, vulnerable center. But when he shifts into anger? That's not just unpleasant, it's dangerous. And does any of it really make sense? I'm not sure it does. When a boyfriend is angry at you all the time for reasons that don't make sense? That's not a relationship that's going to last.

I get that picking up herpes is not exactly ideal for him. You should've said something, clearly. But here you are. You're at the very start of a relationship with a guy who—I’m not going to diagnose him with a personality disorder from here, but let's just say he has abandonment issues, is very jealous, is very sensitive about your past (but somehow I doubt you're his first girlfriend), and is prone to angry outbursts to the point where you already feel like you're walking on eggshells, and you're starting to burst into tears after placating him for too long. This doesn't look good. Not only doesn't it look good, but it looks a little dangerous. This is the kind of guy who can do a lot of damage to your self esteem, even with the best of intentions. This is a guy who tells you, "It's hard to get over your sketchy past when it's on my dick."

That statement is just wrong. If you weren't angry at yourself for your so-called sketchy past, you wouldn't stand for that; it doesn't take sleeping around like crazy to pick something up, least of all some oral herpes that made the jump or whatever the fuck. And if you broke up with him right now, what would happen? Would you become that slut who gave him herpes? Would that be his story? Think about the kind of guy who says things like that. Is that him? And if that is him, is that really a guy you want to align yourself with? Because if you heard some random dude talking that way, you wouldn't in a million years dream of dating him.

Let's not even talk about the fact that men who freak out about slutty pasts usually have some pretty fucked up regressive patriarchal notions floating around in their heads about glorious, unsullied vaginas, untouched by humpy, filthy, foul competitor dogs like themselves. No. Saying, "Your slutty past has fouled up my dick"? That alone is more than a red flag. That's an invitation to suffering. That's an invitation that says, "You matter mostly in relation to how good you make me look and feel, and therefore you will be blamed for every single way you fuck with my life, even as I beg you to never, ever leave me." That's an invitation from an overgrown, confused, pissed off guy. God bless him. He will grow up at some point, I'm sure he will. Look with clear eyes on who he is now, though, because you're going to get deeper and deeper into this stuff as you stay, and commit, and move in together. You're going to get stuck and you already know there's a problem here.

Can you imagine someone who would be much better for him? A sweet little unsullied girl? Devoted, with no past? Doesn't that say something? Let him have HER instead. Bless him and let him go find his Dream Girl Without a Past.

Let me tell you a story that once felt like a fairy tale. I had just ended a relationship with a lovable man-child. Sweet, idealistic, all clumsy affection and big bear paws and an Unfrozen Caveman inability to deal with mundane realities of life. On our second night together, his stereo woke us up, blasting "Garbage Man" by G. Love (great song, by the way). "Shit, sorry, it keeps doing that," he said. Yes, his stereo was waking him up EVERY NIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, and gosh, what could he possibly do to fix it? Keep in mind the stereo was resting on a cardboard box, and we were sleeping on a futon covered in a sleeping bag.

So he was very young and a little immature. A work in progress, that's all. Not tepid, just not ready yet. But he really made me want A Mature Guy Who Knew Exactly What He Wanted.

So I broke up with him and went to a party one night and ended up talking to a very intense man who looked me right in the eyes and asked me heavy questions about my relationship with my mother. It was exhilarating! He was so sure, the first night we met, that we were destined to be together forever and ever! This was a change! This was romantic! This was How It's Supposed To Go!

I moved in with him three months later, and it was immediately clear that I'd made a big mistake. He didn't know how to relax. He acted fascinated by me but didn't really seem to be listening to anything I said, and his responses to important subjects were always strangely combative or evasive. Even in regular, benign conversations, I always felt like I was being subtly batted around and rerouted and cut off at the pass. He was a nice person, and I loved him. He was also the kind of guy who said things like "Whoa. Are you sure you want to eat that?" when I sliced a slab of cheese off the block. I was not a shrinking violet, either. "Yes, I will ALWAYS eat ALL of the fucking cheese, so simmer down about it," was my answer. But I was jittery and apologetic around him in other ways. He wanted to be soft and kind, but he had anger issues that he struggled with. He drove like a maniac. He was a magnet for other full-of-rage assholes, in their cars, on the street. One guy chased us through a neighborhood and then blocked our exit, and even then, my boyfriend—fearing for his life—was condescending and combative.

One day, furious that someone had parked in "his" spot—ON THE STREET!—he pulled his car up to the bumper of the other car, so that they were touching. As we walked up to our front porch, I pictured leading two little kids by the hand, across the street, while this guy lost his shit over something incredibly small and stupid. I thought about how that would feel, to always be calming the kids down, reassuring them that daddy just had a really bad temper, that daddy just got unaccountably mad over some stupid tiny things that don't matter.

It's nice to be in love. The stakes are really fucking high, though. You can't align yourself with an emotional terrorist. You can't. It's too hard. You might ALMOST be able to pull it off for a few months, from a distance. But once you're in deeper? You're living together, you're thinking about marriage, the wedding is being planned, you're pregnant, and he’s freaking out over something tiny, and you feel like you can't back out anymore?

The hothead boyfriend of mine punched me in the eye, hard, when I tried to wake him up to talk to him one night when we were arguing. Nothing like that happened before, and he was immediately apologetic, and nothing like that happened for the next two months it took to break up with him. We went to couples' therapy and he apologized, over and over and over. But look: His instinct, when I grabbed his shoulder to shake him awake, was to pound a fist into the side of my head, hard enough to give me a black eye. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT? I felt sad for him, because I knew a lot of his anger wasn't a conscious choice, and I didn't want to abandon him. I thought he would be so lonely without me. Wrong! He got married less than a year later, and divorced a year after that. Then he found another girlfriend. Women will always like him. He works on himself pretty hard, and honestly, he has a big heart. I wish him nothing but happiness. But if I'd stayed with him, he would've made me miserable.

He's a good example for you to hear about, Red Flag Face. Because even though he's a really lovable person, he didn't make sense to me. His concerns, his emotions, his rage unsettled me. Nothing added up. I was not the right woman for him; I was only going to piss him off.

I don't think you're right for this guy. I think he knows that, too. You both want it to work very badly. Me and the intense guy REALLY wanted to be THE ANSWER for each other. But we weren't.

You have more growing to do, so you'll feel stronger and more independent and you'll naturally be the MOST attracted to men who support your strength and independence. I'm sorry! I know you're in love. But even if you decide to stay with him, I don't think this stuff is about to go away. You need to find someone who's more like you, that's all, someone who says things that make simple sense to you, who doesn't freak out about stuff that feels wrong to you, who makes many of the same choices you've made—good and bad—and who understands, quickly, when you explain them, because he can relate. A guy who's more like you would never blink an eye at your so-called slutty past, and he'd never guilt you repeatedly over something you were explicitly instructed by a doctor not to worry about. A guy who's more like you would still be upset about the STD, but he wouldn't keep throwing it in your face like it proved something about what an untrustworthy whore you are.

I hate to discourage two people in love. But the stakes are really high. You know something is wrong and you need to trust your feelings and be brave about this. Being in love is really nice. But being in love with someone who makes sense, who is calm and supportive and confident, who accepts exactly who you are right now, who doesn't want you to change a thing, who doesn't blame you for being a regular, flawed human being with a rich past and rich future? That feels amazing. It's a love that includes feeling GREAT about who you are, with all of your little dents and shortcomings, with all of your big thoughts and dreams and insecurities and secret fears.

It's smart to say no to something that doesn't feel right, that can't feel right, no matter how hard you try. You need to show yourself that you won't sell yourself short and settle for someone who can never accept you, flaws and all. Being strong will be tough, but it will feel good. You might be lonely, but you'll know from now on you won't settle for anyone who isn't good to you.

If you're apologizing like crazy and it's still not ok, that tells you a lot. Stop apologizing for yourself. True love doesn't demand an apology.

Polly





Do you want to swap your giant red flags out for beautiful handcrafted tapestries made from the finest horse hair? Write to Polly and discuss!

Heather Havrilesky (aka Polly Esther) is The Awl's existential advice columnist. She's also a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine, and is the author of the memoir Disaster Preparedness (Riverhead 2011). She blogs here about scratchy pants, personality disorders, and aged cheeses.

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72 Comments / Post A Comment

katherine (#10,025)

I don't know, I feel like "sexism" is a better explanation for this guy's issues (oh man, I'm sure High School Jerk would love to hear that dick-whipping-out is tantamount to having sex with someone!) than "backseat diagnosing, but don't worry guys I studied psychology this one time in college." Doesn't change the fact that LW should dump him yesterday, but there's a trend of ascribing to mental illness violent and/or crap behavior that is better ascribed to misogyny (exhibit A: Elliot Rodgers), which ends up throwing people — specifically, women — who struggle with mental illness under the bus while tacitly letting men off the hook. (Sorry for the mixed metaphor.) I wish that had been addressed instead of just let sit there.

chevyvan (#201,691)

@katherine There is a form of therapy for abusers that is focused on patriarchy and misogyny (the root cause of abuse) rather than "anger management." The hypothesis is: if you re-socialize abusive men to the idea that they are not entitled to power/control/possession/violence over the women in their lives, that women are equal to men, then it will be more affective than just focusing on anger. It's based on the Duluth Model. Good stuff:
http://www.theduluthmodel.org/pdf/PowerandControl.pdf

And yes, what the LW is experiencing is psychological abuse. LW, PLEASE GET OUT NOW. It's only going to get worse. I'm so sorry.

Rumpy (#257,282)

@katherine This guy is abusive, period. They come in all flavours – from macho dudes to feminism spouting sensitive gender-fluid dudes. The problem is not with their emotions – it is with their thinking. They are abusive. They want power over not power with. Their abusive behaviour serves them and gets the results they seek – ie fear and control.

Brunhilde (#1,225)

Ruuuunnnnnnnnn!!!!! Okay, now off to read past the second paragraph of your letter.

Am I the only one who isn't totally convinced he didn't get herpes elsewhere and his first outbreak just happened to occur after they started dating?

skyslang (#11,283)

@antarctica starts here Or the he does't even really have herpes? I mean, a burning sensation could mean a lot of things. It could also be a psychosomatic response to perceived infidelity. The LW doesn't mention a diagnosis.

katherine (#10,025)

@skyslang Or given that the usual time before a first herpes outbreak is apparently about two weeks, that on his part it isn't just "perceived" infidelity? I am not a doctor (actually, this is kind of hypocritical of me given my comment above), but given that this guy has already proven himself to be sexist and a jerk and preoccupied with cheating… it's not impossible, you know?

skyslang (#11,283)

@katherine Oh I was saying that he's having a psychosomatic reaction to the idea of her cheating on him, i.e., the burning sensation was all in his head because he could not stop thinking about her sleeping with other dudes. I once had a boyfriend who reacted the same way. He got these weird STI symptoms and would accuse me of cheating…but the doctor could not find a thing wrong with him.

BoatGirl (#245,744)

@katherine I'm with you. Once I hit the bit about how his "summer job" is to be off playing indi-pro baseball (whatever that means), I just assumed that he's not so loyal.
Regardless, sounds like a total jerk, and 1100 miles away is the best distance from which to break up with someone.

surprise (#201,658)

@antarctica starts here
I dated two dudes in a row and the same thing happened with both of them. (I stopped dating for a while after that and asked myself some hard questions about how I was selecting dudes…)

One day, out of the blue, he would accuse me of cheating on him, and a week or so later I found out he had cheated on me. WTF?

It's like he was torn between admission and keeping the secret so the truth came out as an accusation? I dunno, but I ran like hell from both of them. And eventually found someone awesome.

RobotsNeedLove (#236,743)

@antarctica starts here I don't have genital herpes and I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure "burning when you pee" is not a defining symptom. Does he have even HAVE an outbreak? Has he been to the doc?

So, unless we're missing something, it sounds like this dickbag may be punishing her for something her didn't do. NATCH.

A Snood Mood (#1,737)

@antarctica starts here Yuuuup. I dated a guy who sounds just like the LW's boyfriend, he was convinced I was cheating all the time when I wasn't. Turns out HE was the one cheating, and projected all his guilt onto me as anger. I think he was convinced if he was doing it then everyone was, or something.

holdup!holdmyphone! (#274,038)

I know from experience, because I used to be one: baseball players are raging assholes. On the other hand, RFF, you're an asshole for giving this dude herpes. Seems like you're made for each other.

Pity_Kitty@twitter (#278,286)

@holdup!holdmyphone!

"Since then, I’ve been tested in all possible ways, four different times, and doctors continue to say that it’s HSV-1 (the cold sore kind) that sometimes “jumps” for a one-time genital outbreak, never again to resurface. I even went to the doctor for the whole battery of tests a week into this relationship and she was dismissive about it—saying it would probably never come back."

What an unpleasant, unsympathetic response.

stinapag (#10,293)

@Pity_Kitty@twitter Well, he did say something about being an asshole.

holdup!holdmyphone! (#274,038)

@Pity_Kitty@twitter why should i feel sympathetic about this? that's polly's job. they're both jerks!

IBentMyWookie (#133)

*whoopiinghostmollyyouindangergirl.gif*

(but the stuff about not disclosing your Herpes was hella awful. That one thing he's right to be pissed about)

Bulu349 (#278,157)

Wow, I can so relate to all of this. BPD is real and works in very subtle ways. It took me a year with my ex (and lots and lots of therapy) to figure out why his emotions would soar high and then dip low. Why he was talking marriage one month in, and his angry outbursts at the minor setbacks. Why he "couldn't live without me" one moment then shun me for days at the slightest transgression. Yet most of the time he treated me like a queen and we had some really fun, loving times together. I thought he was just a confused, sad, complicated man that needed me to just love him harder and he would miraculously come out of it one day and everything would be wonderful. But it wont, I assure you.

It was an extremely difficult experience to detach myself from that relationship, but I know now if I would have stayed I'd be miserable and a shadow of myself. It's hard to explain the toll constant emotional abuse takes on someone. I know now how some of my own neediness played into the situation, and I work constantly to build up my life so that I can recognize the signs and won't allow someone like him in again. I send you strength, LW, in whatever you decide to do.

GiantsCauseway (#5,314)

@Bulu349 I second ALL of your emotions. I dated this guy for a couple of years too, with the added complications of him being an alcoholic in recovery (who somehow justified smoking tons of pot, which only made his BPD worse in my opinion), and a non-American in search of a green card. I thank the lord above for that last bit – it was only when we got to the "marry me or I'm going to get kicked out of the country" stage that I was able to say "You know what then? Beat it. I'll drive you to the airport." Otherwise I don't know if I'd have had the strength to give him the heave-ho.

Just wanna point out that MULTIPLE doctors told her she did not have genital herpes for all these people jumping on her for not disclosing.

jfruh (#713)

@antarctica starts here yeah re: herpes I'm not a doctor but if I heard from doctors what LW says she heard from doctors I would very much believe that I don't have the "real" kind of herpes!

peaceful_andy (#278,179)

@antarctica starts here
I think that either the LW misinterpreted what the doctors said and/or the doctors provided misleading information.
clearly, the LW had genital herpes by her own admission and has HSV-1.
we tend to think that HSV-1 causes oral herpes (cold sores) and HSV-2 causes genital herpes because that is their typical predilection, but in reality both can cause both.
In fact, recent research has shown that HSV-1 is now a MORE common cause of genital herpes than HSV-2 (most likely because of increased practice of oral sex, which is how HSV-1 genital herpes is probably contracted in most cases). The good news is that unlike with HSV-2, HSV-1 genital herpes usually only causes a single outbreak (only 15% in one study for example get repeated outbreaks, so it's not always just a "one-time jump" either).
p.s. to LW, regardless of above, agree with Polly and everyone else about the overall advice… just want to clear up some misconceptions about HSV-1 for everyone
p.p.s. I would advise against trying to diagnose people in your life with psychological conditions or personality disorders. If you look hard enough almost everyone you come across will meet some of the criteria for personality disorders and putting people into these labels tends to oversimplify the situation (in my opinion).
p.p.p.s. I would avoid blaming Obamacare for the lack of insurance coverage for mental health services. There are many pros/cons of the affordable care act, but at least in terms of mental health the bill requires if anything expanded mental health coverage than was required previously.

@peaceful_andy OFF-TOPIC I have to chime in to say that in my case at least, Obamacare made mental health care both more expensive and less accessible. But your mileage may vary.

needsmoresalt (#242,163)

@antarctica starts here I agree with you about Obamacare! It's really important to actually read the details of the policy you purchase from an insurance marketplace, because many doctor's offices and insurance companies won't be much help. But mental health services are required to be covered by any policy that's sold on an ACA marketplace. Even if you have a high deductible, I would check to see if there's a specific provision regarding therapy/counseling in your policy.

peaceful_andy (#278,179)

@Subway Suicide@twitter
I think it is incorrect to say that Obamacare is what made your mental health care more expensive and less accessible. It's an example of false attribution. Your insurance company made it this way (or that you switched insurances at the time of Obamacare). There is nothing in the ACA that would directly lead to this as again the ACA requires if anything increased provisions for mental health coverage.

jalmondale (#278,169)

Get out now. Immediately. I have been there, done that (and seen a roommate do the same), and you are headed for a world of misery if you stay. Literally, I thought you might be talking about my ex until you got to the part about baseball.

The big takeaway for me was realizing that no, you do not love this dude. You love the persona he created for four months. But it's just a persona, he can't keep it up forever, and now you're finally meeting the real person under that facade. And he is a shitty person who makes you cry. It's rough because he looks the same as the guy you fell in love with, he sounds the same, but he's not the same – that guy is gone (he never really existed), and you need to get out of this relationship.

dontannoyme (#24,319)

@jalmondale Here is the poem that captures that:

I can't forgive you
Even if I could, you wouldn't pardon me for seeing through you
And yet I cannot cure myself of love
For what I thought you were before I knew you.

Wendy Cope

VaricellaSundry (#248,088)

@jalmondale I thought up until the baseball thing that she was talking about my ex too! It literally sounded like the same guy to me also. So I'm throwing my chips on the Dump His Ass pile. Also, be prepared for some serious tantrum-throwing on his end if you reject him. This long-distance situation actually presents you with a prime opportunity to break it off, and deal with his inevitable backlash via phone (which you can hang up and turn off) and email or text, which is a written record that may come in handy if he ever starts to harrass you in person. Speaking of which, please know that when you start to loosen yourself from his grip he might ramp up the boundary violating and control by showing up at your house unexpectedly, or reaching out to your Team You to either mine information he can try to use against you, or to play baby-bird-with-a-broken-wing at them to manipulate pity out of them. Don't hesitate to call the police if he harrasses you, and let people close to you know that you're breaking it off. I wish I had at least considered calling the police much sooner than I did with my ex-who-was-exactly-fucking-like-this, because shit got scary and it was difficult to see it as dangerous while it was happening. I mean, you love and care about (and still trust even) the version of him that he initially sold you, and that version was not a stalker. But the real him very well might be. Wish you the best of luck. And seriously, dump his ass. In a year, you'll not only wonder what took you so long, but you'll start to remember even more red flags that you missed, and it will become an incredibly valuable lesson in fine-tuning your horseshit alarm system. *HUG*

BeenThereDoneThat (#258,177)

@jalmondale hard to believe that te petsona they create isn't real…

LW, the guy is cheating on you. He is projecting his guilt onto you.

If he's out of town playing baseball, he's almost surely messing around. That's what baseball players do. The girls he sleeps with are called "road beef."

commanderbanana (#167,624)

DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMPPPPPPPPP HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIM.

Dump him. Dump him. Dump him.

And while you're at it, find a therapist and figure out how you got to in luuuuuuurve and BFFsters 4eva in four months.

charlsiekate (#231,720)

@commanderbanana The four months thing is the part I can't get over either. Because, reading the letter, I have a hard time figuring out when he was great. It seems like he was always terrible. That being said, I've dated some terrible people, so I'm not judging, I just don't see when this guy ever made LW happy.

baorange (#272,037)

Regardless of the source/reason/impetus, this guy's fast-forwarding behavior is classic for an emotionally unavailable man. I have been down this road myself, and, like you, knew what I should do and what was probably healthy, but took many, many months longer to actually cut it off. I regret that because the cutting off part was much easier than the miserable wind down that came before it. Just do it. He's very clearly not good enough for you. You will find someone much better. I needed to hear that in black and white, and I wish someone like Polly had told me. Take this VERY CLEAR sign from the universe, thank your lucky stars, and move on TODAY!!!

garlicmustardweed (#264,986)

I just broke off a friendship with a pouty, entitled, angry, somewhat misogynistic man-child like this one. He would also tell me that I was "perfect" and I'd swoon, and then the next day tell me how ignorant/out-of-touch/privileged/(__fill in insult here__) I was, and I'd despair. Because part of me believed him. And I didn't want to exit the relationship because of MY problem. BUT! Whatever armchair diagnosis you want to give him (and I similarly thought my friend from BPD), he is most definitely a dangerously immature hothead. And you don't need that turned against you, even if you think deep down you can handle it or you deserve the awful comments (you shouldn't have to and you don't). If he has a problem with you and cares about you, he should be able to do it calmly and thoughtfully. Otherwise he's just testing you to see how much abuse you'll take, and he'll dish out more until YOU'RE the one that throws in the towel.

Like the Dali Lama said when asked what a person should do when it is late at night, and there seems to be a bogey man chasing you — his short and easy answer: "RUN!" I find it interesting that you don't mention what he does for a living. If he is true to type, he probably doesn't do well at jobs, as he can't treat others with any respect more than he shows you. (It is after all, hard to treat people with respect when you' re paranoid that everyone around you is out to get you, by cheating on you, or by getting the promotion you deserve and all that.) Should you stay in the relationship, you will find out that he also creates crisis after crisis. Better to leave now, before you have a lease, or worse than that, a kid or two. Go have fun. Learn to be a killer ping pong player; or learn to play the accordion; take an art class. Have fun. There are not as many heterosexual guys as women out there, so maybe you won't find "Mr Right." But believe me, life is not worth living if you are cemented into a crisis-filled relationship with Mr Wrong.

@Carol Sterritt@twitter She says in the article that he plays baseball and is out of town for about 90 days every year because of it.

@Carol Sterritt@twitter There is absolutely no shortage of heterosexual men in the world.

TheTardis (#266,926)

LW is being alone so much more worse then being in this relationship with him? Like Polly said, you haven't gotten to a good place with yourself. If you truly believed you weren't a "hateful slut" you wouldn't put up with the nonsense. Deep down you feel like you've found someone to love you in spite of you being "awful". Been there done that. This man is going to destroy your self esteem and whatever sense of self you have. Please know that you deserve better, random strangers on the internet can see your goodness and want better for you. Please want better for yourself. Trust us he is not the only man who could love you. I'm wishing you strength so you can end this relationship.

In my personal experience, the only men who have been 'sketched out' by my past partners were either weirdly fundamentalist/sexist or huge sluts themselves.

PolarSamovar (#263,661)

Dear Red Flag, what is your question? Is it not obvious that you need to break up with this scary, angry, misogynistic man? Or it's obvious, but it's so hard when you love him and the good things have been so very good?

You don't have to stay with people just because you love them. He is bad for you. Any relationship you could have with him will be miserable. I think you know this.

Suspecting he has BPD is only going to make things worse for you. We tend to think that if there's a diagnosis, it could change. But he won't change fundamentally. Once the shiny-new wears off, what do you have? A guy you have little in common with (see: different in every way), who is volatile, jealous, angry, and thinks it's OK to hurt you on purpose. WTH is there to stick around for?!

The danger of sticking around until the shiny-new wears off, then breaking up once the awful outweighs the shine, is that we humans bond so intensely. If you wait to break up, you will be more deeply attached to him; it will hurt more, not less, and in the meantime he is undermining your sense of self-worth and your equilibrium, which will also make it harder for you to detach later.

It's your job to take care of yourself. If it's too painful to dump him yourself, pretend you're your friend, and you're helping her break up with a scary, angry, misogynistic guy. Breaking up is the kind, protective, loving thing to do for yourself. You can do it.

But — and I don't mean to scare you or impugn the guy more than I already have, but — do it cleanly, firmly, and all at once. Guys similar to this have been known to stalk/rage at/call thousands of times crying and begging/do scary things to women who break up with them. Tell him it's over and then stop taking his calls, or this could draw out into an ordeal.

Take care of yourself, Red Flag.

Myrtle (#9,838)

Polly's Futon Boy got a pass for punching, it seems to me. Fist to face= Out of His Place.

PolarSamovar (#263,661)

In terms of therapy, you can go to someone and say, "I need to break up with a messed-up boyfriend, and I need backup."

You probably don't need years of inner work; you spotted that this relationship was not OK pretty early. But it seems like you could use practical tools for *how* to deal with the situation. Taking concrete steps to take care of yourself will build your confidence and sense of your own worth like nothing else. I recommend it!

chevyvan (#201,691)

@PolarSamovar I feel like, in these situations, it's the rational people that think they can rationalize their way into saving the relationship, and it never works. If they could only get therapy, if they could only make their partner see the truth, if I could just explain better, if, if if… The problem is that the other person isn't concerned with being rational. They are concerned with controlling and manipulating, and it's difficult to handle when it's coming at you.

So yes, I like your suggestion. The LW has her head on straight, she just needs to have confidence that YES, IT'S HIM and not her. If she needs a therapist, a friend, whoever, to back her up, that's great. But she should tell someone what's happening. Her boyfriend would love it if she was isolated from her friends and family. It's easier to control that way.

Myrtle (#9,838)

And for authentic Borderline Personality Disorder: I was marginally involved in a situation between a couple that quickly went supernova when the guy ran his usual Narcissistic, Bipolar game (medically diagnosed) on an unsuspecting "extra" woman, who we learned was BPD. That BP male, a professional victim we'd tolerated, got his game handed back to him by the BPD, on fire. It was scary though.
There is new research and therapies -DBT- for Borderlines who are motivated to change. Psychcentral dot com is curated by a doctor, dbtself help dot com, and behavioral tech dot org feature the work of Marsha Linehan, PhD. A revelation for BPD's to find the thing that hurts so much can be addressed, and it may even be helpful for Bipolar.

To quote a very special man: DTMFA

amockingbird (#2,015)

Run. Get out, block his number, cut out mutual friends if they don't get that this guy is trouble. I'm kinda amazed I'm the first person to say this guy is abusive, because this guy is fucking textbook abusive. He is messing with your head, making you insecure, making you cut yourself off from friends, and he is abusing you. People wonder how smart, capable women end up in abusive relationships and it's because these guys are smart and charming and know how to pick a victim and how to break her down so she is too broken and confused to run. When it's good, you feel amazing, he's wonderful and funny and charming and everything is golden. Then it all goes to hell and you're rocky and scared, but he's nice again soon and that's like balm on a wound, it feels so good you start to forget and think it wasn't so bad after all. Yes, yes it was. He hasn't hit you yet, and he may never get to that point. My abusive ex only hit me a couple times, the way he kept me unstable but sure I was damaged goods that no one else would want caused long term damage I'm still dealing with over a decade later. Please, get out before you're so messed up by him you wonder if you don't just deserve to be treated like shit.

Olive (#278,228)

LW, you don't need hundreds of dollars worth of therapy right this minute. Instead, call a shelter or get a couple of books on emotional and physical abuse, to be read where he can never find out about them. Make yourself as safe as you can and stay away from him. He may not have been physically violent, but tantruming at you in public is very scary, bold, humiliating behavior. Once you do some research you may realize that he is escalating to physical violence. (Crazy driving that puts you in fear is a big one!) You may also realize that many of the things he says are IDENTICAL to what every other abuser says. I am so very concerned for you. Your love story's arc feels very familiar to me, but your timeline is much shorter than I experienced. You really don't want to find out where he will take it next. His problems don't really have anything to do with you personally. He may believe that he loves you, but he apparently is not capable of sustaining the loving behavior. That isn't something you can change for him.

Rumpy (#257,282)

This could be my story (except for the baseball). Except for the part where I spent over 15 years with an extremely emotionally abusive asshole who was extremely adept at charm and covert manipulation. I was upfront with him I had herpes. He managed to contract it – even though my two previous 3 year long boyfriends had not. How long was I the subject of intense psychological aggression aka "resentment" : 14 1/2 years. He, too was super charming and full of love for the first 6 months of our relationship. Then the pouting, sulking, hostility, blame started. And every single time he had a herpes attack he was horrible to me for at least a week. Am I sure that I even transmitted it to him ? Well – he kept me very separated from his ex or anyone he knew when he was with her – so there was no one to tell me. But he DID give me HPV which led to a precancerous condition that I had to get biopsies and laser surgery for. I can't tell you how many times he RAGED at me about the herpes – how he could never have sex with another person again for as long as he lived because he wouldn't want to give them such a horrible LIFE CHANGING DISEASE (he had approx 4 attacks per year, max). And that after I found out I had herpes (age 17 from a long term partner) that I should have never had sex with another person for the REST OF MY LIFE either.

You have found yourself a classic abuser. Please read "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft as you run far, far away with no forwarding address. An abusive man-baby can insidiously ruin your life – no joke. RUN, NOW ! There is no fixing this person, he is pretending to "love you" but it is an awful, awful trick.

Cait (#278,250)

Dear LW – You know the thing, everyone is saying the thing, you said the thing: you gotta go. Here's the good part. The fact you already know what you need to know, and you're calling things by their right names, means you already have the strength to do what has to be done. Whether you think you do or not. You do.

I feel like Gavin de Becker's book 'Gift of Fear' is trotted out way too often in these kind of situations. He spent a lot of that book reiterating crap we already know by now about these kind of dudes and their warning signs. So blah blah blah, you already know all of that, clearly.

However, there are one or two brilliantly useful chapters in 'Gift of Fear'. The ones where where he tells us how, in exact terms, to tell these dudes it's over, it's over for real, you're not their enemy but 'over' means 'over,' and what to do if they don't like it. That for me was invaluable. Because I wouldn't have found myself in the damned situations with these dudes if I had the scripts in the first place. I know you know what I mean.

And I don't know how many times I've whipped out that book when a girlfriend was in tears because some douchestick wouldn't leave her the fuck alone after she'd told him to go away. I was like, here, right here. See this, see this paragraph. Pick up your phone, type in those words right there, hit send, change your outgoing voice mail to this, etc. It provides an exact, clear, factual method for handling these poor, angry, misogynistic, dangerous, mothereffing zombies.

So get it. Use it. You don't need theory. You know theory. You need action messages and scripts. The book provides that. That book and those scripts will also keep you from having to go through this again. Because we both know this probably isn't the first time you've floundered with this kind of red flag situation. But I promise you can make it your last.

And final note. I was in your situation. With the dude who needed me to never have existed in human form before his vast sea of angry love discovered me and animated me and gave me a life. So yeah, I was to have had no life before him, no past, he couldn't handle it. And you know what the cruelest trick that game plays on you if you stay too long? It can actually change your own memory. Of reality. Of your reality. Of your own life. That's one of the things that can happen when you stay too long.

I learned how to edit what I said so that he didn't blow up, or seeth, or gaze at me funny and ask what I was leaving out. Which meant I learned how to edit what I thought, so that before the words came out of my mouth I didn't have to reshape them first. And in order to edit what I thought, I learned how to think different thoughts. Which meant my malleable, agreeable mind, which was just trying to serve me and do what it thought I needed it to, actually edited the story of my life before him into a different movie reel. So that by the time he and I broke up the final time (after 15 billion breakups), I spent a year re-remembering my own life. To this day, I have some difficulties, and I have a timeline I've written out that helps me.

So, sister, don't do that to yourself. You deserve better. I deserve better. We all deserve better. If you think you might have some blame towards yourself for 'complicity' for letting him into your life up to this point, that's nothing compared to realizing you actually encouraged your brain to create a different narrative of your own life in order to try to 'manage' him. The brain is a beautiful, mysterious, fantastic thing, and our memories and our stories are who we are. Keep yours. They're the only ones you have.

Pity_Kitty@twitter (#278,286)

@Cait This made me a bit teary. I recently, two years after the breakup, went through and created a chronological list of what happened when, minor disagreements, what had triggered things, and couldn't believe why I was there. I'd edited out most of it – I had made myself really quickly able to forget these things so that I could apologise more quickly the next time I upset her or did something wrong. Putting it all together was shocking, and yes, I didn't remember so many things, what had been going on around it, when things had happened, what the real triggers were.

Totally winning now, btw :-D

garlicmustardweed (#264,986)

@Cait My goodness. The thought editing. I do some basic verbal editing with most of my acquaintances; I think most of us socially competent people tailor conversations . . .but what you described is exactly what happens with my abusive friend. I would just eliminate whole series of thoughts and lines of conversations for fear of judgement, or fear of angry reprisal. And I started internalizing those edits. You described it so well. Congratulations to us for being on the flip side of those relationships. I hope LW can feel similarly liberated.

chevyvan (#201,691)

@Pity_Kitty@twitter Wow…Yeah, I've been there too. The relationship post-mortem phase when I realized how much I covered for him. How much he embarrassed me in public. How much energy I used up trying to make the world a bed of rose petals for him. How every social gathering ended with him telling me that my friends didn't pay enough attention to him. It makes you sick to your stomach.

Cait (#278,250)

@Pity_Kitty@twitter and @garlicmustardweed and @chevyvan – Oh, wow. I figured if the thought editing was a phenomenon I could observe and deconstruct, there had to be other people who saw their minds became a foreign land under manipulative circumstances too. I'm glad to know (but sad to know) so many of us can relate. It's definitely one of those things that unless you've lived it, just doesn't make sense to anyone else. Internalizing those edits is a good way to put it. My mind just created a different story of my past for me, my sexual past, my everything past. I understand so much better now all those studies about the fallibility of memory in court cases and how personal memory can be altered by outside influences and the need to conform to power.

Also, hells yeah to the flipside and the winning now. When I left 6 years ago, the phrase that got me through my first year out was, "The best revenge is a life well lived." Not exactly that I wanted revenge, but that I was not going to allow that relationship to take away my future. I was going to go out and kick ass and take names. And I have. With the help of friends, family, healthy love, and a strategically timed round of PTSD therapy. I have.

One of the things the PTSD therapist gave me was the ability to say that maybe my experience could be used to help others some day. I rolled my eyes so many times at him and thought what a cutesy kind of cop out therapy-speak thing to say. Until I was able to help girlfriends send dipsticks firmly away, and able to witness plainly to my experience in such a way that others relate and gain strength from it. It also helped me forgive the guy, really actually forgive him, and most importantly myself.

LW, may you get out now, ahead of the storm, and know your own strength. You truly are in front of this just by the fact you’ve seen it coming. Your mind is phenomenal for having presented you with the truth that this dude is bad bad news, even possibly dangerous news. You don’t need to piece it together later. You know it now.

Your mind wouldn’t give you the facts if you couldn’t handle and act on the them, no matter how inadequate you may feel at this particular moment. Grab that power and go with it. You can turn the love you feel like have for him now into forgiveness later. That's when I healed, when the love there had been between us was transmuted into forgiveness and release. Leaving hurts. Just know that the feelings will have a new direction to flow and a new purpose now. Let what is beautiful release you from what is bondage. God bless you.

Antilamentation (#272,956)

LW, no. No. No. No. No. No.

That is what my gut is saying when I read your letter. Just look at what this relationship is doing to your self esteem. He wants you to keep apologizing for being a real human being who (like other real human beings) has a sexual and emotional history. This isn't love. This is control.

Yes, it wasn't cool that you didn't warn him about the herpes. (I wonder why you didn't? You say you should have, so why didn't you? I would spend a bit of time pondering that – not in a self-hating/scouring kind of way. But because it's useful information. If you understand yourself, that gives you more tools to handle things differently in the future. It can also be a bit of a diagnostic. Imagine if you were with someone who you felt you could tell about this part of you? A close friend, partner, etc. How do you hope they'd respond? What would that look like? Are there enough of those sorts of people in your life? If not, why, and how do you find more of them?)

But even if you didn't warn him and now he's feeling hurt, look at what he's hurt about. It's not that you felt you couldn't tell him for some reason, and he's hurt and wants to understand why, in order to see if you can rebuild trust together. It's not even so much that you took an informed choice away from him in terms of the two of you sleeping together. It's that part of your past which he can't control – your previous sexual history – is "sketchy" and "on his dick"?! WHAT.

You don't owe this guy the opportunity to slut shame you at every opportunity now. It's one thing to be sorry for not telling him in advance (rightfully.) It's another thing to be sorry that you have a sexual history to tell him about. Do you see the difference?

As for diagnosing him as having BPD (or not)… Well, it might give you a handle on how you see the situation, and you might want to think about what brought you into this relationship and holds you there (again, not in a self-hating way, but as useful information about where you are at the moment. If you go to therapy, you might want to look at that.) But if he does have BPD, then he has to want to do a lot of work in therapy to try and overcome his wild emotional swings, splitting, etc. Does he want to do that? You don't give any sign that he does. So honestly, I don't really see how this information is going to help you in terms of the relationship becoming better. You can't single-handedly lift someone else out of a personality disorder. They have to do the heavy lifting for themselves, and often with professional help.

Consider, please, that you do both you and him no favors if you stay in this relationship in such a way that you facilitate his continued abusive behavior towards women (slut shaming! Controlling!) As long as you keep apologizing to him for being yourself, you both get to avoid reality – him that other people have independent existences to himself, and that can actually be healthy and OK. You that you aren't a horrible person who deserves to be punished and regarded with suspicion at every turn.

Honestly, I'd say get out. Get out and also get help from friends, because if he is suspicious and controlling now, he may make it hard to leave.

garlicmustardweed (#264,986)

I'm surprised that this hasn't come up earlier, but LW should really watch the Kevin Smith film CHASING AMY, which is a great commentary on men who have a problem with their new girlfriends sexual history. I know guys who relate to this movie in a very uncomfortable way. (I watched it with my husband, who has had less sexual partners than me, and I think he too related on some level). Anyway, so guys having problems with a woman's sexual history is a common problem of a misogynistic society. HOWEVER, the difference between your dude/Ben Afflack's character in this film, and most sensible, sensitive, mature men is that the latter category GET THE F OVER IT AND JUST STOP ASKING/BRINGING IT UP.

KarenUhOh (#19)

Pardon my Victorian conceit, but why the hell would anyone want to get involved with someone who expresses plaintive heartache as resident "on his dick"?

beetnemesis (#247,919)

The herpes sucks, and I'd be annoyed too, but even if you cut that part out, it's obvious the guy is an asshole. DTMFA

twinkiecowboy (#235,093)

You're already long distance. It's the perfect time to break up. Rip that band-aid off. You know it's not going to get better. It already sounds pretty scary. I would stop trying to diagnose him– that sounds like the first step towards you trying to "fix" him. You're not his psychologist, you're his girlfriend and that's not your job. We should show up to relationships in relatively good mental health, or at least be working on our issues. He doesn't even seem aware of his issues.

I've seen couples go through similar situations with STDs and handle it infinitely better than your guy did. It's not impossible to find someone who won't slut-shame you for the rest of your life for contracting a very common dermatological condition that, stigma aside, is really not that big of a deal. Sure, you could've disclosed even though your doctors told you it was unnecessary, but you know what? These kinds of fuck-ups are par for the course in the early stages of a relationship. You find out a lot about your partner by the way you work through them together. I think you know what you need to do. Be safe.

olaholla (#278,341)

At first, I really thought we might have dated the same man. I am three years out of a relationship with a version of this man. Anyone who loves you one minute and hates your past the next is in need of something that all the love and devotion in the world can't give them.

Putting aside whatever wrongs have been done, the simple truth is you will spend the rest of your life apologizing with a nutjob like this. You will never, ever, EVER be able to be fully forgiven. In fact, you staying with him functions as proof, to him, that you are contrite enough, devoted enough, in love enough that his bouts of insanity and shaming can be overlooked when it comes to your pride.

Get out, for the love of god, right now. I'm sorry. It won't end well.

Jolly (#245,185)

Borderline Personality Disorder, Shitty Boyfriend Disorder, does it even fucking matter? Dump this abusive asshole ASAP.

Rrredrover (#278,380)

Oh my gosh, I can't believe how therapeutic it was for me to read this and all the comments. I was in a relationship VERY similar to all of these. Jolly has it right with the Borderline Personality Disorder. Mostly, I am still shocked at how hard it is to get out of a relationship with someone who is so effective at manipulation and I am a very strong woman. Sociopaths are able to sniff out our deepest fears and play on them.

Leave him, it's not easy, it won't be fun, leave him because it's the right thing for YOU. Choose You. Good luck!

Gilgongo (#242,982)

I know (from a good friend that was in almost this EXACT situation… minus the baseball) that you need to break up with this guy right now no matter how in love with him you are. As someone above pointed out, it doesn't matter WHY he's this way. He is… and it will only get worse.

ashley76 (#280,524)

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jaloopy (#281,616)

The sex is amazing and one of the reasons that you have stayed this long and questioned your abilities to accurately pinpoint him as abusive and controlling… am I right? The highs and lows? Like the others, until I read the baseball thing, I thought you were describing my ex. I was terrified of him 90% of the time (what he knew about me, what he could tell other people about me, how he could ruin my career (we were in the same field) and the other 10% we were having amazing, "loving" mind-blowing sex. I know it's hard to walk away from-know that you will probably will have great amazing fun sex again that's good but that you won't have sex that *INTENSE* ever again if you stay away from crazy/controlling assholes like this. But if sex comes with constant self-doubt, walking on eggshells, and anxiety is it really worth it?
Also have HV1 that jumps-no one should make you feel like this about it. I had another very loving BF to whom I disclosed it to and who was terrified of getting it from me but didn't like wearing condoms. He was constantly convinced he had gotten it and that it was burning when he peed. Multiple STD tests said negative. If they are convinced/terrified they are going to get your STI, partners can convince themselves of having STI symptoms that just aren't there. Tell him or anyone else who gives you shit about this yet continues to have unprotected sex with you to knock it the fuck off.

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Suga Caine@facebook (#285,694)

@Gloria Brown@facebook

Yeah okay fuckhead.

Suga Caine@facebook (#285,694)

Reading this, I didn't just think "just like me ex" it actually put fear back into me, fear that I thought I had fully let go of years ago.
Fast love, can and up right, but rarely. The first month with my ex, whom I have permanently nicknamed 'Fuckface' as speaking his name brings back too much to handle, the first month was great. I was happy, he was happy, he listened, we cuddled, he wanted to spend all his time with me, I wanted to spend all my time with him.

I think it was about three or four months in that I really registered that something was wrong. It started with complaints about me talking to my male best friends all the time, eventually turned into, him requesting I don't communicate with them in his presence, and eventually, I wasn't allowed to talk to them at all. For some stupid reason I thought at the time, 'maybe it is wrong to talk to boys all the time when I'm in a relationship' (reminder that these were my best friends for years and still are to this day after they thankfully forgave me).

Point is, I listened, against my better judgement because he made it clear that he didn't understand and couldn't handle that I had male friends, he cried, he apologised for feeling that way of course, and made me feel bad for having those friends.

Before a year was up with this guy (yeah I stayed stupidly), we had developed a system of rules. We would argue all the time about them. Rules he wanted to enforce were ones like, no drinking unless he was with me. I refused and we (sort of) compromised on not getting 'drunk' unless we were together. Of course I was always held to this rule and he wasn't.

This was uncomfortable for my fun loving social personality, but I loved him (thought I loved him) so I put up with the bad to enjoy the 'good' (which I now realise was never worth calling 'good').

Now here comes the really fucked up part:

So this relationship lasted over two years, I was constantly questioning whether I deserved the paranoia, whether it was justified, whether I should have to explain my every move. It progressed to the point where physical abuse was a routine for us *cringe at that word* fighting frequently involved silently attacking each other so that others in the house wouldn't hear and tell us for the millionth time we needed to break up, him briefly choking me even at times in an attempt to silence me at times, when in the day time, and away from people who knew us however, the abuse was loud, obvious and impossible to ignore, had the cops come out a million times, and every time I stupidly denied any abuse and claimed that the multiple observers had it wrong.

Now, something worth noting, I didn't enjoy the fighting, the abuse, the many many necklaces deliberately broken by him pulling them off my neck. But when it was all over, he cried, he apologised, he said he wasn't good enough for me and that no matter how he tried he would never be good enough for me. He didn't simply say these things because they were dead right, he said them because it brought out my natural mothering instincts and had me desperate to comfort him, encourage him to do better, look after him. In fact he said many times I was his 'guardian angel, guiding him through the right path of life'. I was going to fix him! I knew I could do it, just had to love him more, and prove he could trust me (even though I never cheated and never would have). It was going to get better. I knew it.

I want to note here that during all of this, he made out with a girl I knew, possibly other girls too who just seemed to smile at him way too much….these girls by the way were 'one of the boys' (something I was no longer allowed to be with my friends) and when I was in their company with Fuckface and his mates if I got involved in the conversation…after a few minutes I would notice he had gone quiet, look over, and there he is with a stare worse than a serial killer, grinding his teeth and clenching his fists.

I in fact decided after awhile of this, that if I read a book while they talked for hours and hours, then everyone was happy….. (But was I really?)

Even while reading my book, knowing I was in trouble if I looked up and was social, they would flirt over the top of me while I pretended to read and just listened really in shock.

It all started to change somewhere around the time I started work in a unisex clothes store and was questioned EVERY DAY without fail on if I spoke to any males, how many, and then asked for a word for word recreation of the entire conversation or conversations (don't have that great of a memory if I wanted to).
I decided I was done with explaining myself like I was always in trouble, when I'd never done anything to ruin his trust in the whole relationship. I decided I was sick of feeling the need to lie about seeing friends and being out of the house when he wanted me at my house for no other reason than to know I wasn't having fun without him. I decided I was sick of being who he had morphed me into.

I let me out. The real me, the me I never knew before this experience. I told him very briefly, what I was doing, who I was with, when I was likely to contact him next (generally a few hours time), and told him if he wanted to sook about it, to call kids help line because I wasn't answering my phone until I got home.

Oh god the phone calls really started. I'm surprised he didn't bring Optus down with service interruptions. But I stuck to my guns, I did what I wanted, (which were all legitimate activities for someone who's 'taken'), when I wanted, and God yeah he cried and yelled and complained over the phone when I did get home. Like you wouldn't believe. But I knew I hadn't done anything wrong by normal standards. I basically would tell him to speed his sooking up because I was ready to say goodnight.

I don't think it's a coincidence at all that we broke up a month or two later.

The very last straw was when he kicked my car in, threatened to slit my dogs throat and my (female) best friends 12 year old and 14 year old brothers simply because we had an almost family type friendship.

I called the cops for the dint in my car, they turned up, he and his friend lied and said I had hit him before he kicked my car in. The cops said the only way we can charge him, is if we charge you too.

Their advice: LEAVE AND NEVER LOOK BACK.

finally….thank The Lord! I listened, I broke free of the chains.

Now I know that was a HUGE post, and that I probably didn't need to explain it in such detail. More importantly you may read this and look at your boyfriend and think, 'he will never be like that'. Maybe you feel offended that I compare your story to mine? But I can tell you with confidence, the end result if you stay, while it may not be the same as it was for me, will be more and more horrifying the longer you stay.

It will only get worse, I promise you that, and I would bet money on it. And this isn't a failure on your behalf. It's not specifically his either (though in my opinion more his than yours).

The problem is that you both doubt yourselves and have self hatred towards yourself.

He does not believe that he is good enough for you to stick around. He believes he has to keep you there. The way he keeps you there is to make you feel bad about yourself, so that you feel the need to be better for him.

You. You have so many doubts about yourself. You do not love yourself. You do not respect yourself. You do not realise that you deserve trust, respect and a life free from abuse (emotional or otherwise). And the biggest one is that you do not believe you can be happy on your own.

As it was said above, you are particularly venerable to this kind of guy. You're seeking love to prove to yourself that you are worthy of love. He is seeking someone to prove he is worthy too. But you just have different approaches to it.

He may never learn. Many years on as far as I've heard through the grape vine, my ex is VERY much the same person although for some reason he had someone contact me to attempt to convince me he'd changed. :| (weird)

BUT YOU, you will learn. I know you will. I know you will break free. And I know that because even if you don't listen to anyone here, or anyone else for a long time, eventually you WILL figure it out for yourself. Eventually you will accept that while neither of you need to be blamed, the ONLY reason you two care for each other so much is because you're both attempting to fill that hole in your heart where someone who truly loves you is supposed to be. You mentioned that you don't have much in common except loving each other…..this is why that strange phenomenon has occurred. I know you will realise this because your intelligence shines through your post. Hold onto that.

Eventually you WILL realise that you need to learn to be single AND happy AND loving yourself regardless of what anyone has to say about you (Tip- fake it till you make it) before you can find a true match who really makes you happy. Someone who WANTS to be with you because you make each other happier, not someone who is with you because they NEED you to be happy. (Note the huge difference)

Now, you can go right ahead and tell me I'm wrong and it won't bother me. Who knows, I might be, I'm only reading your side of the story, but I doubt it highly.

If you do read this though, and have made if this far through my post…. PLEASE remember what I have said. THINK deeply about it. If, after heavy thought, you do decide to ignore my advice and say that I'm wrong, don't forget! Because like I said, you are almost guaranteed to not agree with me because I said so….but watch for the signs, watch for the imbalances and most importantly, know that God loves you and wants a better life for you. It doesn't matter what you have done in the past, it doesn't matter what has been done to you, said to you, even said by you…. In the eyes of God, you are just as valuable as always.

I think most of you are American? In Australia we have plastic notes for our money, if it goes through the wash, it's fine, through the dryer, is fine, gets drenched, it's fine, you can't rip it with your fingers….pretty much unless you cut it up with scissors or burn it, it will retain its shape and therefore retain it's value.

Same as you girl, and any one else reading this. No matter how old you are, no matter what has happened to you. You are worthy of REAL love. Don't accept bullshit. You deserve the best. Love to all..! <3

Suga Caine@facebook (#285,694)

@Suga Caine@facebook

Sorry, just wanted to add that the only reason I didn't really mention copping shit over my past is that I stupidly lost my virginity to this idiot.

Although, to be honest, I still copped A LOT for any male I had ever associated with, dated, or were friends with. It was hell on earth.

Saying hello to a male that I knew when passing by them turned into a physical fight later on when we were alone. Insecure people DO NOT need a good reason to be insecure, they just are and it's a battle they can only win on their own. Do not ever blame yourself for his insecurities.

For the record my partner whom I live with and have signed a lease agreement with has a much larger past than me. I think it's a fairly male thing to stress about their girlfriends past as he very occasionally mentions, possibly because I'm still friends on Facebook with two of the old 'friends with benefits', (wrong? Maybe, but I don't keep in contact, they know I'm happy with him, it was never emotional beyond a friendship and they know I'm not ever coming back for sex) mostly in the beginning, but even though we'd both rather neither of us had a sexual history and of course it's not much of a turn on to think on it….but I barely ever think on it, and neither does he. It's not worth worrying about.

The positive way to look back on your history is though…for me, I would be a completely different, awkward, unsure person if my past experiences hadn't taught me who I really am….and I know he wouldn't be the same either. That history, is history and it shaped us into two people who were now equipped to turn our great chemistry into a strong positive relationship that we both benefit from.

We were both happy while single, even if we were a tad lonely at times, and we both recognised that this was worth throwing our happy single lives out to try to make something even better, together.

I strongly believe you can only find true happiness with a partner, if you are truly happy on your own first.

Promise I'm done this time, lol.

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