|March 10, 2002
We met in November, became
exclusive in Dec. Lots of chemistry; everyone noticed the way he
looked at me. Brian called daily, dated intensely until he left town
to visit family around the Holidays. I heard nothing for weeks - then
he called apologizing for not calling, missed me, etc. He came back
and things were great for 2 weeks until his birthday. I could feel him
withdraw, although I made a nice dinner. The next day, he called late.
I left a message: something's wrong, not sure what but not going to
stay to find out. We each left town for our respective destinations.
When I returned, he called, saying he'd been a jerk, he was sorry,
missed me, wants to be together. Called every other day, saying I miss
you, I'm lonely, etc. You played it well.
He admits he's vain, likes attention from women but apparently doesn't
act out. He didn't cheat on his ex or me.
Assuming this is true, this is excellent. He recently saved a
woman from a would-be carjacking. He lived in the sticks, married due
to pregnancy. His ex was hospitalized for depression and gained 100
lbs. He felt trapped and unappreciated for 20 years.
Ouchhh! He's sad over losing his nice
house, separated 1 year (dated a lot), divorced for 2. One off/on
relationship. She wanted more commitment; he didn't with her. Both
women were a little older than he is. He works long hours, commutes
long hours, has been with the same company a zillion years and dealt
with his divorce grief by piling up credit card debt. I think women
pursue him; he had to pursue me. He told me I could have any man I
wanted and I sensed inadequacy? Fear? Not
inadequate enough to keep from chasing you! And, fear, of course!
Aren't you afraid too?
I'm the first younger woman he dated (by 6 years). I'm divorced, no
kids, in good shape physically and financially, have an advanced
degree while he doesn't. I have lots of friends and interests. We're
both attractive, have high energy levels and enjoy lots of the same
things; we have fun together. I'm ACOA; returned to AlAnon 6 months
ago after I realized the man I was dating drank too much. I broke up
with him. He told me that before we met. Brian's drinking too was
becoming a problem. Not good. He told me
I was good for him and that he was drinking less and wanted to be a
better person(?). Sounds like he wasn't happy
with where his drinking was going. Red flag, but don't toss him out
For Xmas, he bought wine and a card that said he didn't know what to
get me, I already have everything but he'd get something. NADA. He was
away for Vday; sent flowers. His card said he missed me, wants it to
last, sorry he's away, he'd make it up to me. He also said that each
call, but DID nothing. I didn't spend much but got neat gifts he
treasured. He told me that he could really surprise me with how
considerate and generous he could be. I told him I was looking
forward to that. (I never saw it.) Unlike most guys, he never bought
little gifts; no postcards while away; no restaurants with
reservations. Once, he called while shopping and asked what I'd like;
he bought nothing for me and said nothing about it.
Yuk. Another time he invited me over. It
was great that he wanted to see me, but it was dinner time. He had no
food (after vacation) and made no arrangements. I'd been shopping so
went to my car to get something; I knew it was a "rescue" but didn't
know what else to do - didn't want to make waves, laughed it off. He
said he let me do too much, owes me, wants to pay me back for all I've
done, and he should do more. (I said nothing, but silently agreed.)
Good for you for being a lady and laughing it
off, but the spending stuff is a red flag.
I have a cat, so we're at my
house more; I have good food and wine. We eat here too often; he
brought food and wine over at first but stopped. I said nothing but
was getting resentful lately. Is he cheap, tacky, can't afford, or I'm
not a priority? A very good question. I
said nothing about this as it's a new relationship and I was trying to
let it flow. Was I too passive, should I have spoken up sooner?
Yes. Certainly open your mouth, though I fully
understand why you didn't. This is the kind of thing that may come up
in a "chat" later on.
Two weekends ago, we had a
great time, laughing, playing, went to a party with his friends,
danced, talked. He introduced me as his gf and was attentive. When he
left, he was not sure about plans, would call later. I was very sick.
No call. I returned his call late the next day; didn't say much. He
made plans to skate and wanted to visit; I declined.
Sure, you're upset because you don't know where you stand. I
went to a movie with friends near his place. He left a message
(after a few beers): "Give me a call and stop over. Wish you would. It
would be nice to see you and snuggle again. I guess I've been a pain
in the ass. I don't know. I'm afraid. As far as being serious and a
commitment, I don't know if I'm ready yet. I love being with you, I
love all the things we've done. Everything. Everything I love about
you. But I don't know. I'm afraid. It's scary. Maybe it's bullshit,
maybe it's true. But I just can't explain it. You're fun and it's
challenging and it's fun and what can I say? It's everything, it's
everything I'm looking for. I don't want it to end, I want to continue
on, and I love being with you." Wow! A
couple of beers and look what comes out...
I went; he was friendly.
I was aloof because he'd gotten up to answer the buzzer but went back
to the TV and let me open the door myself (first time) and was very
casual, watching TV - it felt like disrespectful body language and I
was still sick; after I was aloof, he tried to be friendly. Because
of all the broken promises, I didn't feel that I could trust him. The
last call was nice, but it also sounded a bit like a "booty call." He
watched TV instead of talking as he'd promised. I'm
sure your being aloof didn't help him talk. You really needed to talk
about stuff! He was tired and prepared for bed. I sat on the
bed "I came because you wanted to talk but you watched TV and now are
tired; I'm leaving." He asked what I want. I told him I'm not sure and
asked what he wanted. He said he didn't know. I said I don't want to
be on a roller coaster; I want a nice, easy, fun relationship. Why no
concern when I was ill? He said he needed a night off after an intense
weekend; the weekend was great but he needed time. No problem; take
all the time in the world, but if you care about someone, it's strange
when they're sick to not call; it didn't work for me. (He said he knew
it was inconsiderate not to call when I was ill.) I said "You keep
promising to make things up to me, I don't know why. You don't *have*
to promise anything; I hadn't asked for anything. Words are great, but
don't say 'em if you don't intend to act. It's gonna take a whole lot
more than words for me to stay." Well, you
sure told him! Was there anything he could have said at this point, or
were you bent on slapping him in the face no matter what?
He said he really wasn't ready to settle down. I said "I don't recall
having asked that of you. I don't know where this is going, I don't
know you well enough. It takes more time to figure that out. I'm
willing to see where it goes but I'm not going to be jerked around."
He repeated he wasn't ready to settle down. (I wish I'd asked what he
meant, I read into it that "I'll never be ready for you.")
You jumped the gun again. I said, "fine,
we need to start dating other people; I will not stay here again."
Ever! He said he didn't want to see
anyone else. I said "I don't understand, you don't want to be with
anyone else but you don't want to be involved with me. That
doesn't make sense." He said he's just not ready. I said fine, call me
sometime; maybe I'll be available, maybe not. I
wonder if he thought you meant either you want to marry me in 6 months
or leave me alone! He asked me to stay again; I asked why. He
said to get some sleep; I said "I can do that better at home. See you
around." He was lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, asking me not to
go several times, but I couldn't stay. You
want him to make a statement - some sort of commitment. You want him
to risk it and be the first to say the good stuff or to demonstrate
his feelings by being more attentive and consistent. He's trying to
but you're too mad to let him.
Is it worth salvaging, or is he showing early signs of being abusive?
We really had a lot of fun together when it was good, but the
withdrawing was awful. I miss him but don't like the imbalance (my
fault) or the push/pull or broken promises. His work hours are bad;
we never set up a schedule which may have helped structure the
relationship so we wouldn't be wondering or have expectations of the
other. On the other hand, he may have too many problems.
You may both be terrified. Plus, any or all of
I really felt/feel badly about it the way our "discussion" ended -
don't think I'd ever speak to anyone if they left the way I did; I
didn't mean for it to get that bad. We'd never argued so had no
experience resolving differences.
Did you tell him?
He acts very boyish, not always responsible and I am concerned about
his drinking; I may be the first younger woman but am very responsible
and wondered if he's looking to be taken care of.
A reasonable concern.
don't pass 30 without amassing baggage. He felt burned by his
marriage. He is scared. You are not happy with his seeming lack of
interest or follow though with promises, even though he essentially
tells you he needs time off to re-center. I can't tell whether or not
he has big issues yet; just not enough information. But I am getting
that you are afraid of him. Terrified is actually a better word. You
are behaving as though it is not safe to proceed unless he
demonstrates his concern. Don't expect a newly divorced guy with
credit card bills to have much money to spend, and a guy living in the
sticks is unlikely to spend what you may consider "normal" amounts of
money on women. Also, not all men are the type that will cook for you,
do special little things for you. This does not make him a bad
guy. This guy apparently likes you but is uninterested in fawning over
you, which your insecurities seem to crave.
I'm really concerned about the push/pull stuff.
But, you're doing it too! (e.g.: "Stay... stay..." "No, I can
sleep better at home.) I know John Gray (Mars/Venus) says that
men need to withdraw and "rubber band." So do
women. Normal stuff, especially early on. Especially once you've been
burned once or twice. At what point is that normal, and at what
point does it become abusive? You haven't given
me any evidence of abuse yet. This stuff is more about insecurity and
fear on your part and his.
How do you tell? This was a very brief relationship and I don't know
whether he ever could have been the right guy anyhow, but I may have
to deal with this issue again, whether it's with him or someone else.
New relationships are funny things. There is
almost always a power struggle somewhere between the 2nd and 6th month
or so. That's where you guys are now. If you two can't find a way to
resolve the power struggle, the relationship will end. If you can, the
When I was on the rebound from a great relationship, I got "broad
sided" by what I now call my psycho ex-boyfriend, a Jeckyl/Hyde
narcissist. I thought my discomfort with him was because I wasn't
ready for a relationship; he's bright, active, a high flying
government official. It cost me a lot of time, aggravation and money
to get rid of him. Brian is not like him, I think there's a good guy
in there somewhere. Does seem that way.
He just didn't show enough of it to me. Anne.
perhaps you don't give him a chance to... I can see why a guy like him
would be intimidated by a gal like you. He's unable to compete with
your socioeconomic status and you are probably also more sophisticated
than he is.
There is no
way to know for sure whether or not somebody is a jerk until you find
out they are a jerk. Jerks especially don't appear to be jerks early
on, and narcissistic jerks often appear purrrfectly yummy at first.
You usually won't find out until you risk a little and give a little
piece of your heart. Both of you seem too frightened to risk much. He
told you so much, and who can blame him after what he's been through.
Same goes for you: who can blame you after your recent "broad sided"
experience? But you've got to give a guy a chance instead of punish
him by turning away every time he messes up! You won't even let him
"explain," and it's not even become "same ol' same ol' " yet.
But, all is
not lost! You've got nothing to lose, and since you seem to genuinely
like the guy. What would happen if you were to call him and apologize
for how badly you feel about how you ended it. If he's willing to have
a little chat about all this: liking each other, his fears, your
fears, what he did/ didn't do that upset you... What if you two
decided to take it slow, become friends; get to know one another - as
people? Worse comes to worse, you'll have apologized for being hard on
Keep an eye
out for your own fears and insecurities. And don't be afraid to
tactfully open your mouth (before you get too angry to be able to
should you guys ah, continue, keep an eye out for that passive, almost
irresponsible quality - so common in the alcoholic. A sweetheart who
woulda shoula coulda, but really wishes you would. ACOA, huh?
thing: It's OK to have tendencies towards insecurity, fear,
irresponsibility, over-responsibility, anger, alcohol, etc. We all
have tendencies, especially when we're stressed. It's what we do
comments for Anne?