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Making it okay after behaving badly

(39 Posts)
jackanora Sat 07-Nov-15 19:42:19

My last serious relationship ended very, very, very badly and left me uite damaged and although I did all the right things and have had plenty of time, I have found myself being awful to my new boyfriend.

He is very new (seeing since August) and I have really behaved appalingly at times. I have apologised, but I am not sure if it's too late.

The first month I never made time to see him and would cancel plans at the last minute. After a night together I could not shove him out of the door fast enough. I even carried on dating other people (although we weren't exclusive I definitely wasn't honest about it and he would be very upset if he knew). After being so hard to get and dismissive, in the second month I flipped to being ultra clingy and pushing and testing him. Massive drama over very small things. Finishing one day because I felt his text was a "bit off".

He is a chilled out and understanding guy and he patiently talked me back from the edge of madness each time and wasn't judgemental and just discussed it until I felt better. My friends have also been amazing and have let me know it's understandable to be affected after what I have been through but that I musn't let my past sabotage my future.

I have much better control now and feel much calmer and more stable and he and I are still seeing each other and have made it exclusive.

The problem is really that I worry, despite what he says about not being fussed over it all, that maybe the damage is done and it's too late now. He says he wants to continue seeing each other but he is much less enthusiastic, calls less, ends text conversations faster and I've only seen him twice this month because he's not making time anymore.

I realise it's completely my own fault, but do you think the damage is done and can't be undone? I know he has been kind and supportive and is a great guy but at the same time I have been in the doghouse for a month now, which he denies, but which I most definitely am and I really wanted advice on how best to play it.

I am a really good girlfriend, not clingy or needy or dramatic and I have just behaved like someone else. I am not sure what came over me, I was just scared.

kerbs Sat 07-Nov-15 20:07:28

Perhaps he enjoyed a challenge, who knows? Can you tell if he's as keen when you actually see him?

I know a few unpleasant women who have adoring partners, and some lovely women who are single.

Goingtobeawesome Sat 07-Nov-15 20:10:05

If you feel he's punishing you for how you were then I'd finish things with him.

jackanora Sat 07-Nov-15 20:14:12

I don't think he's punishing me. I think he's either genuinely put off or..he secretly liked it when I wasn't in it

kerbs Sat 07-Nov-15 20:18:11

I think the latter OP. Perhaps you're in a better place to meet someone else now you've had your crazy spell.

jackanora Sat 07-Nov-15 20:39:24

I'm not sure how to tell which confused. I, reluctantly, think it might be a bit of both.

TheMarxistMinx Sat 07-Nov-15 20:42:53

Maybe he does like you and wants to continue but now feels he has to take a step back and be a bit more guarded. I'm not surprised he is cooler towards you, it may take some time for him to feel more secure. It's up to you to stay grounded and rational and prove your not some drama llama. If you can't be patient you can't fix it.

kerbs Sat 07-Nov-15 20:48:13

When you say that you've only seen him twice this month, do you mean November?

jackanora Sat 07-Nov-15 21:01:27

I mean in the past 30 days. We saw each other a lot more before that. We also hardly talk as well as it's not the best. He does instigate and I also sometimes instigate but am trying to give him space.

I have asked him outright about it (gently) and he's said as Marxist says that he is a bit guarded and knows he has taken a step back but wants to continue with me and is sure he does and likes me a lot.

I can be patient, but was just a bit worried that sometimes men like unnatainable women and now I am happy to let him into my life and be a normal girlfriend he's not as interested.

Is it a case of time will tell which is true?

jackanora Sat 07-Nov-15 21:04:33

Two things to mention. First being he knew me before so he does know I am not generally mad so he has a baseline to work from there.

Also he's got a similar past to me and has been through a really bad time with the last woman 18 months ago and I am wondering if maybe a part of him is doing his own version of my behavior? As in pushing me away?

He does seem to balk at funny things and be a bit up and down himself. He's distanced himself from me on every level in the last two months and yet when I tried to walk away he really did not want that.

TheMarxistMinx Sat 07-Nov-15 21:14:18

It doesn't matter which it is your reaction should be the same. Respect his need for space. If you do so it should tell him 3 things. You understand why he feels the need to question things, you can act calm even when not getting things your way and lastly you are not needy but getting on with your life.

jackanora Sat 07-Nov-15 21:20:08

I think what makes it difficult is that he's admitting he's pulled back a little but he's not admitted that he's taking space.

So he says the reason he's not had time to see me for the past three weeks is genuinely not having time. All the while he is sending messages that he needs to see me more and misses me but he's obviously not.

It's obvious no one is that busy and it's the elephant in the room. If he just said he needed a little space I'd have a clear pathway of what to do (give it to him) but when he's just not saying it I'm left wondering how long I am meant to be okay with a boyfriends I never see or talk to. He won't let me walk away, so I feel a bit confused.

I agree though I need to be calm, but obviously can't continue like this either

TheMarxistMinx Sat 07-Nov-15 21:52:48

But pulling back is evidenced by his actions. His actions are consistent with his words. For how many weeks was he patient with you? Maybe you just need to be calm, consistent for a while, get busy enjoying other aspects of your life and see if he starts to want to see you more.

jackanora Sat 07-Nov-15 22:03:20

It's difficult to say accurately. For the first 4 or 5 weeks he was chasing me and I was being quite dismissive. For the next 6 - 8 week or so he was putting up with me swinging from very clingly to dumping him over absolutely nothing and getting very emotional and he was patient all the way through that, just listened and tried to clear it up right away. Slowly over that 6 -8 weeks though he gradually called and saw me less and now I have been "normal" for about 3 weeks with no blowups but haven't actually seen him in that time. I know this makes me sound awful and you probably won't blame him but it genuinely wasn't intentional and I've never behaved like it before.

I will take that advice and leave it another 3 - 4 weeks and see if things slowly improve and will be really calm in that time.

kerbs Sat 07-Nov-15 22:09:38

Could the lack of blow-ups be the result of not seeing him? perhaps he really doesn't bring out the best in you.

I think you should do nothing for a while, but don't expect too much.

Lexia123 Sat 07-Nov-15 22:10:44

I really feel for you OP, I did some of the things you described in your post. Mine was due to anxiety and being badly hurt in my last relationship, and possibly like you, testing the boundaries.

The fact that he does want to stay with you is positive. Perhaps you can stay in contact and respect his space, but continue to do things for yourself as I am sure you are not a needy person and have your own friends and interests.

I know it's hard. I see a therapist (been going for 18months before my relationship upsets), and she did say that it suited my partner that I was a bit ambivalent early on, and when I formed an attachment and began to look to the future, it made him panic a bit. the old " be careful what you wish for".

Try and give him the space and time to come to you, don't push.

jackanora Sat 07-Nov-15 22:17:32

It could be kerbs, but to be honest the relationship anxiety is trigerred when we are apart. When he's with me, or was with me, I was totally chilled and calm and cool and laughing and in the moment and we were having and amazing time and the blowups almost always ocurred 72 hours later?!! I would just be happy for 2 - 3 days lookign forward to the next date and would then invent reasons to break up with him that were pretty off the wall.

Thanks Lexia for saying you'd done similar. It's pretty awful and doesn't help the self esteem. I'm not generally speaking a needy person and the irony is that with my ex boyfriends they always said I was the mos chilled girlfriend they'd ever had. The last one just completely messed with my head and left me not trusting myself anymore.

What you say about it suiting him when you were ambivalent and panicking when you got serious is i fear the case here if I listen to my gut.

Lexia123 Sat 07-Nov-15 22:40:20

Sadly I believe "what you fear, you create". (Dr Phil quote ;-)

It's utterly heartbreaking but your situation sounds more hopeful than mine. Try not to think of it that way. Do all you can to talk and come to an understanding.

jackanora Sat 07-Nov-15 22:56:12

Honestly Lexia, I am not going to be devastated if it's over. I really like him (very, very much) and think we'd be great toether if wecould both just relax; but it's really the limbo I hate more than anything.

I will just try and focus on other things, give it a month or so and see how many times he sees me. We've not seen each other at all since the last big blowout so maybe we will turn a corner after that.

I have said sorry, eaten humble pie and am now being patient. It's very difficult to get back to a place where you feel not embarrassed or on parole anymore though

jackanora Mon 09-Nov-15 14:08:01

Thanks everyone for the help. I took a long step back over the weekend and have identified that while I have been a little mental at times I have always generally been trigerred by something and he does make me feel a little confused and up and down.

I had a long read at various internet sites and think he might be emotionally unavailable. Or at least patrially so. In some ways he's not and in other ways he is.

Now all of that might of course be six of one and half a dozen of the other (I have given him cause to be wary) but he also might just be EA.

Positives are that he is consistent, always replies to messages immediately, would always be available for a call, is interested in me knowing his friends, he's open with his life and on social media, he's considerate of me most of the time, he's very much a cuddler and isn't just after sex and he is absolutely not into anyone but me.

Negatives are that he subtly seems to panic when I get too keen, he doesn't instigate communication every day, he has gone a long time without seeing me, he is quite hard to pin down for dates and he most definitely pulls away for a few days after we have been particularly close as if it panicks him a bit.

So I do think in fairness these behaviors have contributed to me feeling off kilter and might be partly to blame.

I had a chat with him about this last night and he admits to being a little EA and says he's a bit wary is all and he knows it so it's not invented in my head. He wants to stay with me long term, and I do quite like him but obviously it's an issue if his EA behavior makes me feel insecure and sparks feelings of panic.

In my shoes would you try and practice a little detachment and patience? Or are people that are a little EA always a waste of emotional investment?

Cabrinha Mon 09-Nov-15 14:17:49

I mean this kindly, but you're totally screwed up right now.
And if your interpretation of him is correct, so is he. Screwed up, rather than a wrong 'un.
Personally I think you should both walk away and sort yourselves out in counselling. But that's easier said than done!
But I do think you should both consider relationship counselling together, because it's a mess at the moment.

jackanora Mon 09-Nov-15 14:33:01

I've had three years of counselling so I think I do just have to get back on the horse rather than waste more of my life

arsenaltilidie Mon 09-Nov-15 14:47:49

This train wreck of a relationship is only 3 months old.

I think you need to end this relationship for good and go your separate ways.

Your exe was a host of drama.
This one was drama free but you created the drama.
Now he is being offish you are drawn to him because of the drama/'elephant in the room'.

From the outside it looks like you are one of those people that crave drama in their relationships.

Cabrinha Mon 09-Nov-15 14:56:49

Being back on the horse is why I suggested you both so relationship counselling.
You may have done some individual counselling before, but you surely recognise you have a way to go on the journey still, given your behaviour in this relationship so far?

It's only because you say he knew you before you got together that I'm not saying drop it entirely. Because I think the fact he's put up with your previous behaviour suggests he either gets off on it (and will encourage it) or has screwy boundaries of his own.

Tbh, even if yin leave all the drabs aside and simply posted "I've met a new guy, he's only made time to see me twice in a month, there's no real reason for that" I think most people would say "he's just not that into you - move on".

jackanora Mon 09-Nov-15 14:59:02

I really dont crave drama at all but I can see it's easy to make that leap from one situation.

If you look through my username I posted on someone else's thread about my previous partner, who caused this sense of instability and relationship anxiety in me.

I was in a very happy LTR with children and a happy home and he left me via text message without any sign it was coming. That's a very, very short version as the reality was much worse and more traumatic, but when that happens to you, trust and attachment becomes very difficult.

I realise you read things like that and presume nothing like that could ever happen to you, but if you have a husband or partner who you completely love and trust and have a family with - try and imagine him disappearing tonight and never coming back and being completely unconcerned or uninterested in you ever again. It's something few can imagine and the affect it has on you is probably impossible to understand unles you have been there.

That's not to say I don't deserve to find a way through it to love and trust someone again. I have just not got to grips with it just yet and am trying.

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