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Where is our relationship of two years headed?

By August 20, 2009 - 11:44am
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Hello everyone! Another crazy question for everyone. My guy and I have been together for over 2 years. During this time it has been quite the roller coaster. I was previously married for 10 years and my ex-husband and I grew apart. Our children spend equal time with both of us. My ex, his live-in girlfriend and I are all very nice to each other. As a result, our kids are well adjusted and happy. We all work together to make their lives as stress-free as possible. Our children are 8,9, 11, and 12. They are awesome! My b-f and I have lived together for over 2 years. He has always been nice to my children, but doesn't have much to do with them. He works on his cars and motorcyles all the time and doesn't interact a whole lot with them. He doesn't go out with friends, although his friends will come over and hang out. He is somewhat of a loner. Anyway, I treat him very good, and the man wants for nothing (or so I would like to think). I'm always open to new things or ready for intimacy any time! I do not go out with my friends either- it's just kind of something we have always done- if we go out, then it's always us together. Today at our gym a friend of mine asked if she could "steal" me for Saturday nite to go out. He said that he wasn't mad and didn't care, but if it were me then I would freak out and start drama. Honestly, I could care less about going out drinking with other people. Earlier this morning at the gym when we were working out, there was a new girl working out (in phenomenal shape) and my guy and his friend kept looking at and making small talk with her. I felt so sick and angry. I thought it was really disrespectful, seeing that I was there and he barely spoke to me. I made it a point to go talk to her and introduce myself, telling her she looked amazing. I didn't forget to mention that my guy and I are fitness buffs too, and that was him that was working out earlier. When I got home that's when he started everything about the going out with my girlfriend, and that he really didn't care what I did. I asked him what his whole point was, seeing that I wasn't planning to go out anyway. He said he didn't know, that he just knew that I would be jealous if the situation were reversed, because I'm always jealous and worried. There are quite a few stunts that he has pulled to make me this way, so no big surprise there. He has done everything from send text messages to sending pics to girls he works with to forgetting our anniversary then acting like it was no big deal. I'm just so tired of being nice to him and being everything I can be while he is sucking the happiness out of me. I wonder if I am wallowing in self-pity or if I really do have a reason to question him. This morning before the gym when I brough him breakfast, he was looking at a picture of a girl on his phone that was not me! Also, I don't mention my ex and neither do the kids. They all play sports and he could care less about going to any of their games. My ex's g-f is awesome. She is super involved with all the kids and I'm really happy that my ex is with someone so wonderful. Why is my dude such a selfish pinhead? I know I should just pick up and go but I don't know where to begin or what to say without seeming like a drama queen (he would say that I'm trying to start something). Thanks for your help in advance!!

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If I bring up any of these things, I am automatically accused of being jealous. The people he is texting are in the 17-19 age range, and he is 31. I think this is inappropriate. I understand about having friends, but the pictures he sends to these girls aren't sexual, they are more like cute things like puppies and bunnies. Weird? Yet I am the one who is insecure?? He always tells me that I'm being ridiculous and that he would never cheat on me. I don't know....

August 20, 2009 - 1:51pm
(reply to fitgirl)

It will be interesting to hear from other women, so I'll same some room for other's to comment! From what you describe, at the very least it does not sound like he has your best interests at heart, and I hope you feel that you deserve someone who does not accuse you of being jealous, insecure or tell you that you're ridiculous. That does not sound like a fun or healthy relationship to me. It is VERY concerning that he is texting much younger girls; especially "under age" girls (under 18) is unlawful and very scary behavior.

What is your gut telling you to do? How much more "evidence" do you need?

August 20, 2009 - 2:01pm

Both of these are possible and normal, but again, do not have a place in a healthy relationship. They are both forms of manipulation, deceit and jealousy (trying to "make" someone jealous is controlling).

Ideally, if the other person is doing these things because they are upset, needing attention, or otherwise unhappy, they have the responsibility to openly communicate their needs.

Everyone is different with "flirting", and it may/may not have a place in a relationship; what matters most is how both people feel about it, and what purpose it is playing in the relationship. Is the purpose of flirting to get the others' attention, to make them jealous or hurt? If so, it has the purpose of manipulating, hurting and controlling the other person.

Your second question: who are these girls you are referring to? It is wonderful for both individuals to have friends outside the relationship, regardless of gender. This demands mutual trust, of course. Again, it depends on the purpose and manner in which he is texting and sending pictures. Is the purpose to hurt you, make you feel insecure, jealous, manipulated? Are these just friends that he is having fun with, or are the texts/pictures containing subtle "flirty" messages that make you feel uncomfortable?

Whatever your answers to the above questions, your next step is to talk with your boyfriend, and tell him your feelings are hurt by his behavior with flirting and texting girls. See what his response is. Does he make you feel more hurt, or silly, or ridiculous for bringing this up? Does he say that he didn't mean to hurt your feelings, and is he open with who these friends are, and his purpose in communicating with them? Does he say that his flirting did get out of hand, or that he didn't mean for you to see? Or, does he put you down and suggest you are "too jealous"? His reaction to your honest feelings will be telling; your feelings can also not be manipulative or controlling, either! (You can not change his behavior; you can only tell him how his behavior makes you feel).

hope that helps!

August 20, 2009 - 1:05pm

Also, is it normal for a man to be texting and sending pictures to girls that are not his girlfriend?

August 20, 2009 - 12:23pm

Do you think it is possible to play another person to be jealous? In other words, to try to deliberately make someone jealous or angry by talking to a sexy stranger in front of your girlfriend, while you ignore your girlfriend? I guess what I'm getting at is that I would never do anything like openly flirt right in front of my boyfriend. I just think it's inconsiderate.

August 20, 2009 - 12:22pm

I'm sorry you are going through this difficult decision right now, but am I reading this correctly that your brain has made up its mind...your heart is not far along...and you are just looking for that last bit of reason to stay or go?

Of course, no one can tell you what to do, but we can sure ask you some questions. From what you describe, your current boyfriend has some negative traits that you are unsure if you want in your life anymore; I'm sure he also has some positive traits. In any relationship, as you know, it really comes down to what you want; what type of relationship do you feel you deserve. What is best for you and your awesome children? You can even make a list: how do you want to feel in a relationship most of the time? What type of person do you want in your life as a partner? Only you can answer these questions, but hopefully some of the words you use would include a person and life that makes you feel happy, joyful, fulfilled, respected, loved, healthy and connected.

A few red flags are concerning:
1. Many people think that "jealousy" or "isolation" (not seeing other friends) are acts of true love, whereas they are actually acts of power and control in an unhealthy relationship. Not allowing an adult to see friends (or using jealousy to manipulate the situation), to dictate who they see and when, can lead to more controlling behaviors: what they wear, what they read, where they go. Healthy adult relationships do not use jealousy to get the others' attention; it is not used as a reason to justify actions to isolate the other from their friends. When a healthy relationship includes friends (of both genders) in a relationship, it creates trust, respect and perspective. A relationship still includes two individuals who need to be interesting and curious about the world around them; to have outside involvement with others, their community and their environment.
2. How he treats your children. You already sound very concerned and disappointed by this, and how wonderful that you have a good role model in how another person who has a non-biological relationship with them should be treating them. Your ex's girlfriend is truly interested in them and their lives, and I believe you should expect nothing less from your partner.

Laslty, here is a wonderful chart on what a Healthy Relationship entails:
- The Equality Wheel is the ideal partnership/relationship, and contains fundamental elements for a healthy relationship:
(Scroll down to "Equality Wheel" and click on underlined word: English)
You can also read what a relationship looks like that is dominated by power and control, by scrolling down to "Power and Control Wheel" and click on underlined word: English)

I hope you find the happiness that you are looking for! You sound like a very strong and smart woman, with amazing children, and we wish you the best. One woman shared a great quote from a previous post: "I have found that people treat you the way you let them, not the way you deserve."

August 20, 2009 - 12:11pm
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