To have my 'bad egg' sensors in full warning mode, and so ruin a friend's happiness?(44 Posts)
Back story : My friend ('Sue') is quite vulnerable, out of quite a loveless marriage, two teenaged kids, no contact with their dad. She is not the best at keeping the place tidy and clean though it is acceptable, looks 'lived in'.
She has been chatting online with a guy (I'll call him Simon) for a few weeks and they met last week and are 'head over heels'. He has been round to her place daily since, she says they are 'completely in love'. He has aspergers and she thinks she has characteristics of aspergers. I only mention this because it may allow for alternative explanations of his behaviour, not because I am suggesting 'all aspergers people are bad' or anything.
So since Sunday on her facebook pictures have been appearing, before and after pics of her rooms. First pics she put up and it was a bathroom makeover. I thought nothing of it until someone commented that it looked nicer and her response was 'Thanks. Simon suggested I needed more bathroom storage so we did it, and of course he was right!' My first instinct was - you have known this guy 3 days and he is 'suggesting' changes to your house?
Since then - we are only on Wednesday - He has been posting pics on HIS facebook page (I see them because he tags her). One was of her undersink cupboard before and after he reorganised it. Todays was of mess on the kitchen floor and dust piles, he photographed it beforehand, then the dust pile, then the after picture. All her friends are commenting 'He's a keeper!' and she is like 'I know, right?!' (they are American so perhaps naturally less cynical than me??)
My instinct is that this is WAY off in the first week of a relationship. He is writing supportive stuff under it, like, 'You work all day, let me take care of this for you' but I have red flags in meltdown. He has known her face to face less than a week. If he was quietly helping out at home I'd think that was possibly a bit anal or controlling but I am really uncomfortable about the way he is posting his (very new) girlfriend's messy house pics and how marvellous he has been sorting it out. It seems immensely controlling to me.
Should I say anything? All I have said so far is 'take it slow'. She is ecstatically happy. I am concerned she says she is hopelessly in love after a 5 day relationship. This has disaster written all over it to me.
Am I being weird getting red flags over this? And am I being unreasonable to want to tell her what it is that concerns me? I bet she won't listen anyway...
Yanbu, that's all pretty strange. She's clearly happy letting him dictate the house cleanliness - and feels it's such a massive success that Facebook need to see messy cupboards and dustpiles (which feels like shaming to me) - but she'll be less thrilled when the house is clean and he moves on to 'tidying' other areas of her life, perhaps with 'before' pictures as well.
Hopefully, by the time they enter their second week and the mopping has lost its appeal things might settle down and be OK. Even if they don't, all you can do is be there for her. People can be pretty resistant to relationship advice.
My DS has Aspergers. He also has an annoying knack of pointing out the solutions to problems just like this, even if he is in someone else's house. Of course whether they act on his recommendations is up to them. I don't think the new boyfriend mentioning stuff is an issue, how your friend reacts may be. I know at times DS can point out what is blindingly obvious, once I have been told it. Perhaps your friend feels this way about his suggestions and is happy for him to reorganize things.
By the way my DS is called Simon but is only 14 so its not him. Perhaps it is a Simon thing though 😀
DH is a compulsive tidier. He managed to hold it in for several months after we met, but eventually it overwhelmed him.
TBH if a person is this way inclined, it's actually better to know sooner or later. It can
and often is be a massive irritant. She can decide if it gets on her tits and worse case her under sink cupboard is a happier place.
I can see why you are getting red flag warnings.
But I think Yabu to say anything. I have aspergers so recognise some behaviours. But You are looking at their relationship from a NT point of view.
Until you meet him and meet him and see them together, I would keep up with 'be careful' advice and support
sunnymeg he isn't really called Simon
He also isn't just pointing out solutions but going ahead and doing them. It's actually worse than I thought, looking at her page he has cleaned out the kitchen cupboards and reorganised them and the upstairs storage. I think it possibly is a 'black and white thinking in autism' issue but if he is overstepping boundaries within this first week 'correcting' her house, what the heck would he be like 5 years down the line?
One of his posts describes how on their 5th date (4 days into their relationship) he decided to organise her pantry but it was hard because she had 18 packs of different sorts of pasta and some were only half used. Again he puts a smiley to take the sting away and I am thinking 'ffs stop humiliating this woman in the guise of being a Really Nice Helpful Guy.'
There are some red flags, but he could just be an obsessive tidier, and I honestly have no idea what is normal to post on Facebook these days.
I'd wait a bit for more info before saying anything to friend. (Other than general statements like "Take it slow" and reminding her that it is always better to get to know someone well before taking any risks.)
But the boundaries are for her to set. Not you.
Unless she feels he is over stepping boundaries, they are not being over stepped.
curren. Even though there are 2 kids? Albeit teens.
I don't think he's humiliating her - she's sharing the photos as well. If she didn't want them on Facebook, she'd just tell him, no? Or untag herself?
I understand your concerns but if they're happy I wouldn't say anything to her. My dad as Aspergers and it's very easy to look in from the outside and say some of his behaviour is wrong - it's not, it's just he doesn't think the same way other people think. So sometimes his choices/words are odd to others.
Yep. But of course that's just my opinion.
All relationships are different. I would love my mil to come round and randomly tidy my house. Many people would hate that. My boundaries are different.
Whilst I can see the behaviour is unusual, it's not definitely sinister.
Putting things in Facebook isn't an issue. Because lots of people put all sorts of crap on it.
I definitely think you should continue to support her. But telling her his behaviour is a red flag, isn't right imo.
And as someone with aspergers, it's pretty shitty when someone not involved starts telling you your behaviour isn't normal and warning people. Especially when everyone directly involved is happy with what's going on.
Besides which, do you really expect her to say 'oh Squashy says he really a controlling boyfriend. I am happy with him and the situation. But since she says it's not right I will finish with him'
It's likely that she will decide she is happy and stay with him and possibly distance herself from you. Then if it turns out you are right, she will be more isolated.
I'm going against the grain here but I don't see the problem. What do you worry is going to happen? I don't see how the pasta comment is humiliating. I understand you want to look after your friend but if she is happy for him to do this then I don't see the issue. Maybe she even said to him 'I hate my house being so messy' or something
Perhaps she'll dump him once he's tidied the entire house? He sounds quite useful at the moment. Once she gets past this honeymoon phase, she might realise it'd be easier to get a cleaner.
If he's not intending to humiliate her and she doesn't feel humiliated, there isn't a problem. You are projecting your, perfectly understandable feelings, about privacy, pride, responsibility, humiliation etc.
Maybe your friend's sense of identity isn't tied up with the tidiness of her house in the way yours perhaps is? She just sees 'silly messy house, tidier, plus a sweet domestic bonding activity with new partner, what fun!'
If their boundaries are not offended by this, there's not necessarily any indication that he will overstep other boundaries - or that she won't pull him up sharpish if he does.
Just stay in touch, listen, make yourself available.
And you can't 'ruin her happiness' if she ignores you - don't flatter yourself that you're at the centre of the story of her life. You stand to lose a friendship if you're tactless, that's all.
curren no, I thought maybe it would put her a little more on guard if I raised a note of caution. I am concerned that she is not long out of a pretty awful marriage but is diving so deep into a very full on relationship with a guy who appears too good to be true, and she has two rather traumatised young teens (who got put in care when the previous relationship was at its worst) but she isn't (apparently) guarded at all. I'd be worried whatever guy he was that it's too much too fast too soon, but the organising and tidying seemed to me a potential problem. If they are so perfect for each other, how come her housekeeping is so imperfect to him? Doesn't that mean they aren't actually perfect, if he can't even hold off on organising her cupboards for a few DAYS after they meet?
Lottie no indeed I am definitely peripheral.
I told her 'take it slowly ' and she immediately bounced back with 'i understand your concern, thanks, but he's helping me as I'd got behind on my housekeeping, he's being a partner not a controller'. I confess I am relieved to find she has considered a controlling aspect. However not sure if I am reassured by her message really. She is a grown up and there's nothing I can do except be around if it goes wrong. Hopefully it will be fine.
Maybe he just enjoys tidying and offered to help her? It's not necessarily a red flag - she's not bothered by it, so I would just leave it or you'll upset her.
All he's done is tidy her cupboards!
I think most people have done that though. Gone from one relationship to another so quickly.
Fwiw, I think me and dh are perfect for eachother. But we aren't the same person. I am tider than him. I aren't bothered about having a home cooked meal every night. He is bothered by that. I wear unironed clothes, he won't. We still fit together and are very happy.
Being a good fit, doesn't mean your view on everything is the same. You can be different but compliment each other.
So you have mentioned it already?
Why ask if ywbu to mention it if you already have?
You have mentioned it once, doing so again is over stepping the mark.
Some people from the outside would see that as controlling behaviour. Repeating something until the person agrees with you.
I am not sayi. You are controlling her, but things can look different from the outside.
I would love someone to come round and reorganize all my cupboards and clean the house...
Seriously though it is a bit odd, but I'm sure if he gets on her nerves eventually then she will send him packing and at least she will have a tidy house in the bargain!
I'm afraid I want a Simon. That kind of thing isn't a priority for me so outsourcing it sounds lovely. Wait till you have seen them together, then decide if he is controlling.
If they are so perfect for each other, how come her housekeeping is so imperfect to him?
Perhaps he likes houskeeping and is happier with a partner who doesn't take much of an interest in meddling with the way he sorts the towels according to colour, or whatever.
I agree with lottie here, not all women see their housekeeping as something that affects their self-esteem.
There's no need for immediate action as long as she isn't considering any serious decisions, like marriage or moving away from her job to be with him, or something like that.
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