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To not know what a normal relationship feels like

(21 Posts)
whatdididotodeservethis Sat 15-Apr-17 09:03:27

I'm 31 and don't think I've ever experienced a 'normal' healthy relationship with the opposite sex.

I got married to an abusive arse at 18 and had 3 children. I left him about 6 years ago and have dated quite abit in between. In that time I've only been in love once with someone I met abroad and we were long distance for 1.5 years. I broke up with him because of the distance but I loved him very much.

We had a great relationship, he was supportive, caring, honest, romantic but as we only saw each other every few months and were always on holiday when we did, I know it wasn't a realistic representation of a normal relationship and would probably have been very different had we lived together.

After that relationship ended I met someone and we have been seeing each other for about a year. We get along great most of the time but I have a lot of reservations about him but I'm not sure if my expectations are skewed. We work in the same field and I respect him a lot and he's been so supportive of my career. He can be affectionate, is great in bed and and I fancy him but at the same time can be distant, is a workaholic and can be very blunt at times (e.g I need to lose weight which I do but don't need to be told).

He is Nigerian and has quite strong cultural views (I.e women raise children and cook and clean while the man provides). He's also very religious but doesn't force his views on me (I'm an atheist). His family expect him to get married this year and we have discussed this as he doesn't want to be with me unless we plan to marry, however his family have to approve of me first.

I don't know if I want to marry him. Is it normal to be so unsure? He'll say things that upset me but I don't know if it's me being unreasonable. An example is yesterday afternoon I called him briefly and said I'd call him later to talk properly. He said no, we'll speak tomorrow, we've already talked today. My parents invited him to have Easter dinner but he didn't want to go because he's not sure what plans he has that day yet.

He doesn't ever take me out on dates and doesn't say he loves me unless I say it first. No sweet messages during the day, I often call him first and we only see each other once a week as I can't get childcare and he doesn't like to travel the 10 minute train journey to my house. He often works online when we are together (he's a writer) and doesn't tell me I'm beautiful because 'it's been established that he thinks I'm beautiful'. For Christmas I bought a few things that we for a hobby of his, he went out and got me 40 cigarettes when he found out I'd bought him something.

It's not the swept off my feet romantic relationship I was in before, it's very practical but is this what a normal committed relationship looks like? I'm becoming resentful of his inability to be romantic. We've discussed this before an he only does things if they are practical and can't see the point in little gestures etc. I also feel like his cultural values come before mine.

There is an element of me wanting the security of a marriage but at the same time, am I settling? Is this relationship normal and
Healthy? I'm so confused.

NotOneThingButAnother Sat 15-Apr-17 09:51:12

Lots of red flags there, yes there are cultural differences, but he's also an arse. Please don't do this to yourself.

Blackbird82 Sat 15-Apr-17 10:00:54

Cultural differences aside, it certainly doesn't sound normal or healthy.

I wouldn't want to be with someone who treated me like that.

whatdididotodeservethis Sat 15-Apr-17 10:16:28

What are the red flags? Could it be a case of I'm overly romantic and he's just not?

Funnyonion17 Sat 15-Apr-17 10:22:22

You aren't equals. He thinks he can make all the decisions and over ride you on requests to discuss something, reasoning that you've already spoke once. I would stay well clear, i mean cigarettes for Christmas!!

whatdididotodeservethis Sat 15-Apr-17 10:25:32

His reasoning for the cigarettes were that it was something he knew I 'needed'. In the sense that I would have to buy them anyway.

He will talk to me about things but you're right, my opinion is often over ruled by his views.

LornaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Apr-17 11:46:44


We're just sending this over to relationships for the OP.


TheNaze73 Sun 16-Apr-17 14:45:05

He doesn't sound right for you. There are so many red flags here, you deserve more than you'll get from this

Sn0tnose Sun 16-Apr-17 14:47:59

Every paragraph you've written is jam packed full of red flags. There's a massive difference between not being romantic and being a selfish, domineering, uncaring arse. Not regularly telling you how beautiful he thinks you are wouldn't necessarily be a red flag. Many people aren't romantic and still manage to have wonderful, fulfilling relationships.
But what you've written is a description of a man who simply doesn't care about you and your needs/wants, and is not painting a picture of a relationship which is either healthy or committed. Obviously, what you've written is just a snapshot of your life, but if you were my friend, I'd be begging you not to even consider a relationship with this man, and certainly not marriage.

What will happen if his family disapprove of him marrying you? Will he leave you and find someone more 'suitable'? Have you discussed the role he'll play in bringing up your DC if you do marry? Will he expect his cultural values to take precedence over your parenting choices?

we only see each other once a week as I can't get childcare and he doesn't like to travel the 10 minute train journey to my house Bollocks to that! He can't be bothered to put himself out for ten minutes in a day to see you more often?

My parents invited him to have Easter dinner but he didn't want to go because he's not sure what plans he has that day yet So his family's opinion of you is a deal breaker to him but he doesn't really give a shit what your family think of him and he'd rather not make plans with them until he knows whether he's going to get any better offers? What would happen if you were to marry? Would plans with your family always take second place?

I think that if you continue with this relationship, you'll be in for a very hard life.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Sun 16-Apr-17 14:52:12

No, you're not being Overly Romantic. He sounds quite selfish, and a bit controlling. I am past the hearts and flowers stage of life (old bat emoticon) but my partner is considerate. Buys things for birthdays that I like/have shown an interest in.Puts himself out for me, ie will help with stuff that I struggle with, as I do in reverse. He won't get on the train for ten minutes? Sod that for a game of soldiers....sorry what.

Wormulonian Sun 16-Apr-17 14:52:50

You deserve better and I think you know it. This is not a normal relationship - he doesn't sound as if he respects you or cherishes you. He sounds controlling - you wil be subserviant. How does he treat your DC ? I would be considering their needs first.

whateverlovemeans Sun 16-Apr-17 15:08:13

The fact you don't see the red flags is the biggest red flag of all! This is a mismatch of epic proportions! Run!

Moanyoldcow Sun 16-Apr-17 19:25:00

Fucking hell! Run! The man is using you. There is no real strength of feeling for you from him. He didn't manage to but you a Christmas present a matter of 4 months ago but is now expecting you to agree to marry him?

Run for the fucking hills.

whatdididotodeservethis Sun 16-Apr-17 19:32:07

Worm, your words struck a chord, I certainly don't feel cherished. I wouldn't really know what that feels like though. He would marry who his parents thought was suitable, I'm aware of this.

He is OK with my DC, he chats with them but won't come on day trips etc. We have talked about how we would work as a 'family' and I made it clear he would have to treat my children as his own. He agreed to this in a financial sense (I.e he would pay for things they need) but I'm not sure if he would be there emotionally. We do have different parenting styles but my boys are older now so I wouldn't want him to discipline them anyway. He said everyone would have to start pulling their weight in the house if he moved in and to be fair I would agree to this as my DC currently don't do any chores.

I can't see what he does that is controlling. I think he is quite manipulative but not controlling. That's why I find it difficult to work out my feelings. On the one hand I know I can call him and he'll always pick up and be supportive, always pays for dinner, parking when I visit etc, talks about a future but then on the other hand will make excuses that he's busy working which would be fine if it wasn't 99% of the time I ask him to come over and I don't really feel like a priority in his life. It does upset me that he doesn't really want to join in family events but I think that would change with marriage (his culture very much sees it as joining two families).

I wish I could see things clearly but I'm surprised you guys picked up so much from what I've said. I'm an idiot when it comes to men blush

NotTheFordType Sun 16-Apr-17 19:35:41

Cultural differences my fat backside. I had a 4yr LTR with a Nigerian guy, he would never have treated me like this.

This guy is the definition of "he's just not that into you".

whatdididotodeservethis Sun 16-Apr-17 20:58:32

I've just ended things. Thanks for all of your comments. I discussed them with him and it told me all I needed to know.

He's an arsehole!!!

FrenchLavender Mon 17-Apr-17 00:47:46

I think he sounds awful.

NotOneThingButAnother Mon 17-Apr-17 12:48:53

What - well done!

whatdididotodeservethis Mon 17-Apr-17 15:07:19

Thanks Notone, I don't know why I needed so many people to tell me he's a dick for me to realise.

The clincher for me was when I mentioned last night about us never going out together. He said fine but I would have to pay half. I agree with splitting the bill but the way he said it was like taking me out was a chore that he would agree to if it shuts me up (not what he said but how he made me feel.

Also, he didn't want to come over today as there are things he'd rather do (his words) then listed how much work he has to do. I can understand if he said he's busy at the moment and can we do another day but he never offers any solid plans, it's only if he feels like it.

He also mentioned last night how his ex girlfriend comes after his family and work (in that order). I asked where I came and he said it's not my business to know that.

I just said it was over and blocked him. He emailed saying 'I understand and I'm happy for you'. Man I wasted a whole year caring about this fool angryangryangry

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 17-Apr-17 15:17:24


Am heartened to read that you've ended this so called relationship with this chancer.

I would suggest you enrol on Womens Aid Freedom Programme and do that programme in person. Also read the sticky at the top of the Relationships thread.

I would also carefully examine what you have learnt about relationships to date and start unlearning all the rubbish through counselling. What sort of a relationship example did your own parents show you?.

whatdididotodeservethis Mon 17-Apr-17 17:58:21

Thanks Atilla,

I haven't done the freedom programme but I know I can spot an abuser after spending 6 years of hell with my ex husband.

I don't think this guy is abusive, just an uncaring arsehole.

I had a shit example growing up, my dad doesn't treat my mum well but I feel Ive learned a lot since leaving my ex.

I do have low self esteem which is why I guess I stuck with this guy so long. He was very intelligent so managed to spin things to make me think he cared when he clearly didn't. I guess I was willing to settle with just ok because my exH set the bar so low.

I read the pinned post and it's very true that a level 8 arsehole is no better than a level 10.

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