Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

In a dilemma about boyfriend - please advise

(38 Posts)
OhWesternWind Tue 05-Mar-13 10:52:36

I've been posting about this situation on the dating thread, and have had some brilliant support and advice on there. But I feel really torn about what to do, and I'd really appreciate any views or advice.

The background is that I've been seeing a man since last September. He's generally really lovely, we get on very very well and he said at new year that he loved me, I met his family and he met mine, children all got on really well, all was looking really good.

The downside is that he suffers from depression and has had a lot going on health-wise (apart from the depression) and with his family. He is also starting up his own business, due to open this week, and that has caused him a huge amount of stress. He doesn't deal with stress very well and tends to retreat and push me away when he is feeling low. But I have spent a lot of time and energy supporting him and listening to him about what he's had going on. He will not take ADs or go back to his counsellor.

I have also been feeling unsure recently about his feelings for me as he was quite reticent about telling me he loves me, but when I asked him about it towards the end of January and again at the end of last month he said he does love me, even though I gave him the opportunity to say he doesn't, iyswim. But he is very bad at expressing his feelings, giving compliments, being romantic and those things do matter to me even though they are a bit superficial.

We have recently had a problem when I was going through a difficult time and I asked him to come over to give me some support. He was lovely, said he would, arranged a time and then just didn't show, no phone call or anything. It turned out that he had had a crisis to do with his business and had not felt up to coming over to see me. I texted him to say I was really unhappy about this, wouldn't put up with being treated this way, and all I got back was "You are right in what you say". Anyway, after this I saw him on Sunday night and we had a good time out, talking and laughing. I told him again that his behaviour wasn't on but didn't go on and on about it. At the end of the night though he drove me home and wouldn't come in, didn't give me a kiss either which has never happened before.

We were texting last night and it felt like he was being a bit short with me, so I said I was going, but then I thought, no, I'll speak to him about this and ask him what is going on. So I phoned him up and we had a conversation where he was saying basically that he is fucked up, he is hard work, everything in his life is going wrong, he feels horribly guilty about how he's treated me but he doesn't have space in his head to deal with it, and so on.

I said to him that I am not looking for a lifelong commitment from him, all I want is to have a good time with him and know I'm wanted and loved. I have a horror of foisting myself on people when I'm not wanted and I don't want to get into that situation here. But I just don't know what's going on or what to do. I am supposed to meet him on Wednesday - I said I wasn't going to meet him but then changed my mind.

I am hoping that once his business is open then he will be less stressed and things will get better. He's coming to the end of a long series of difficult events - operations, family bereavements etc, and once the business is open I really hope that he can start to get back on an even keel. I don't know if this is just wishful thinking or if it's worth hanging on for another couple of weeks to see what happens. It's not a long time in the grand scheme of things.

But otherwise I am pretty much coming to the end of my patience with the constant drama and upset. It makes me feel very anxious and insecure which I hate. I never feel like I know where I am with him. I just want something straightforward and good and this does seem very much like hard work a lot of the time. However, I do think I love this man and we have a very, very good time when we are together.

What do you think I should do?

He is telling you who he is - you need to listen.

He expects support from you, and won't give you any when you need it.

There will ALWAYS be something going on in his life which he will use as an excuse not to treat you as you deserve.

If he can't get it right 4 months in, do you want to be in the same situation 4 years in?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Mar-13 11:02:23

I think, for a boyfriend of less than six months standing, he's far too much like hard work. If you want a good time, find someone with fewer problems.

He is a dramallama. He is also not very in to you. Sounds like he only cares about how much care and support he can GET from you, while not willing to give much.

I would be very sceptical, but perhaps give it a couple of weeks.

SueFawley Tue 05-Mar-13 11:20:51

I agree with all the other replies.
This will not get better.
I think he very much cares about himself more than he cares about you.

As for opening his business, most of the time, the stress doesn't get easier in the first few months. It can be very stressful for the first couple of years.

At 6 months in you should be feeling cherished and wonderful.
Surely you deserve better? Someone who is there for you too, and who does give you compliments and can be romantic now and then.

If you really want to give it a bit longer, how about just till the end of this month? But there's something about all his problems and his reluctance to deal proactively with them, and his lack of support for you that's making feel a bit cynical, like there's more going on here.
What's his previous history of relationships like? Any chance he has commitment issues?

AnyFucker Tue 05-Mar-13 11:26:37

It's this much hard work so early on ?

Doesn't bode well. He sounds like a taker, and when he needs to step up to give, he is nowhere to be seen.

Expect further "excuses" to mitigate his emotional unavailability and self-absorption.

Whether you continue to swallow them is, of course, entirely up to you.

SueFawley Tue 05-Mar-13 11:30:56

AF has nailed it. That's what I was looking for when I said I was feeling cynical about all of his excuses. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. He's emotionally unavailable. That's it. And it never gets better with EU people. Just do some googling or ask on here, you will be led a very un merry dance by this guy.

howdidithappen Tue 05-Mar-13 11:32:59

I'm a bloke and from my perspective I'm telling you to run a mile.

Do you really want to live like this for the forseeable future ? A relationship is a two way thing and he is just currently taking. As the others have said above this is your honeymoon period, its should not be like this.

Call it a day and move on for your own sanity.

ElvisIsKing Tue 05-Mar-13 11:35:47

I'm afraid I agree with all the other posters sad

He also sounds like he's been distancing himself a bit recently, could he be trying to let you down gently?

Sorry you are going through this but you don't have to put up with it, there are so many (good) people out there to choose from

TheUndesireable Tue 05-Mar-13 11:42:43

Agree with everyone else, way too much hard work for so early on. You're compromising too much i.e him not being romantic even though its important to you - this will lead to resentment and you wanting to change him. The depression sounds like very hard work too.

Agree with Onthebottom he is telling you who he is. Listen and think carefully if that is who you want to be with.

piratecat Tue 05-Mar-13 11:45:11

If it's the same dilemma i read about before/after xmas op, then i really think you are just repeating the same stuff.

The stuff where you get jack shit and he gets away with it.

WHY are you still bothering, he's shown what he's like under stress, in a crisis. He doesn't give a toss about you!!

If you have issues of foisting yourself on people then that's only being exacerbated by his non commital. In fact issues or not, NOONE would put up with this!!!

Bloody hell, cut your losses and dump him. And take a few months off from dating - to be prepared to put this much effort into making a selfish man 'love'you suggests that you are pretty desperate not to be single, and that's a bad way to approach dating, because not only do you overlook obvious indications that a man is a bad bet (selfish, lazy, uninterested, obnoxious, shit in bed or just really ugly) but you give out signals to all the cocklodgers and abusers out there that you will put up with almost anything from a man, just to be able to say you Have A Partner.

I couldn't agree more with everyone else.
I've been here and done this and it gets better for a while, then worse, then better, etc.... and it's a cycle that happens again and again.
I've wasted a good couple of years of my life on someone like this. Time to let go!
Cut and run now and find someone else.

mmmuffins Tue 05-Mar-13 12:04:25

From what you've written OP, I think this is a pretty clear case of "he's just not that into you."

Time to move on.

cestlavielife Tue 05-Mar-13 12:12:18

"He doesn't deal with stress very well ...He will not take ADs or go back to his counsellor."

his problem then!
dont take it on.

Dallasty Tue 05-Mar-13 12:30:48

..i'm a guy, and TBH this chap sounds like a selfish idiiot kid. "Me me me" springs to mind....ditch him and then see his attitude temporarily change.

dippymother Tue 05-Mar-13 12:49:03

Ditto everything said here. Like Hellsbellsmelons, I've been there and done that. Life was a rollercoaster with him and he's now repeating that behaviour with the next gf.

Anniegetyourgun Tue 05-Mar-13 13:09:10

I'm sure I've said before (could it have even been to the same poster?) that feeling you can't walk away from a relationship you've invested time and money in is like standing in front of a slot machine, posting in one coin after another, feeling sure that eventually you must hit the jackpot because all that money has gone in, right? However, as anyone who doesn't have a gambling addiction will tell you, these machines are designed to pay out less than is put in. It is in their nature, and all the logic and hope in the world isn't going to change that.

People aren't machines, and they can over-ride their programming (up to a point); but only if they want to and are prepared to work very hard on themselves. Yon emotional vampire has made it quite clear he is not interested in working on himself (no ADs, no counsellor). Instead you're supposed to do the running around while he, basically, stays the same.

In short, this relationship is pretty much a perfect illustration of the saying "flogging a dead horse". But you've flogged it for hours, surely it's going to get up soon? Er, no. It really isn't.

(Ooh look, I got two metaphors in that post. Go me!)

TheUndesireable Tue 05-Mar-13 13:19:13

Love that analogy Annie

lubeybooby Tue 05-Mar-13 13:38:58

"He doesn't deal with stress very well ...He will not take ADs or go back to his counsellor."

This is the dealbreaker for me.

I am massively supportive if someone is trying to get help

Especially for depression which is so treatable with a little patience, possibly meds, possibly counsellor, etc. If someone has a tough time for example finding the right medication or counsellor then that's different and my support would be unfailing.

Refusing help though, is to actively choose to live with it

Not a choice I could ever support.

KirstyWirsty Tue 05-Mar-13 13:56:50

OWW do you feel any differently now ?

OhWesternWind Tue 05-Mar-13 14:15:53

Thank you all for your replies.

Kirsty I am very reluctant to write what I am feeling on this thread in the light of all the replies! However, the relationship I'm in doesn't really feel like the one most replies have written about, but I think I am just going to come across as defensive or as in denial.

The problem with writing a post like this is that it's arisen due to a particular situation happening, which has been a negative one. But before (and after) that, there have been many, many good things happening, which I've not talked about in a lot of detail but which have been the largest part of the relationship. I do feel that there is a lot of good in our relationship, a lot of values shared and I also believe that he does have feelings for me.

Neither do I think I am just desperate to have "a partner" so I will put up with anything. That's definitely not the case, but maybe I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt where other people wouldn't. Why? I don't know. I'd do it with most people, though, not just someone I was in a relationship with.

More talking and more thinking for me on this one.

DIYapprentice Tue 05-Mar-13 14:29:03

More talking and more thinking for me on this one.

Why? What's the point? He's told you who he is.

He can't handle stress yet he's started his own business? That's just a ludicrous thing to do - owning your own business is ALWAYS stressful.

So you can have a good laugh with him when he's in a good mood. Well, that's the basis of a friendship, not of a relationship.

Let him go. For his sake as well as yours.

kallima Tue 05-Mar-13 14:37:02

OP, that anxiety you are experiencing? That is your body's way of telling you that something isn't right for you in this relationship. Listen to it. Don't try and get rid of it by trying harder or being extra understanding. It won't work and you will lose respect for yourself in the process.

I'm speaking from experience here.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now