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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » He's being a jerk, but "nicely."

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Author Topic: He's being a jerk, but "nicely."
eumenides
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Member # 71761

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So I started a relationship with an old friend with the idea that it would be something fun and pleasant, maybe even a refuge from all the craziness in my life. I was very, very wrong. Maybe stupidly so. But I am at a loss here as to what I should do, what my next move should be.

I'm afraid this is going to be kind of long, because it feels kind of ambiguous and complicated.

Basically, my life has been very crazy recently. I'm worried about losing my job, I've become the virtual guardian for my sister (who is now living with me, and who I am supporting). So when the old friend made overtures, I told him I was up for giving it a try, but that I couldn't really commit to anything, promise anything. That I was only up for a relationship at the level of 'summer fling' (or even the cliche 'friends with benefits') and that there would be times when I would need to have some space, just to be able to deal with everything else in my life. So he agreed to that, and we were having a good time.

Until this past week. He's kind of become more and more affectionate, beyond what I'm really able to reciprocate, over the last four or five days. I've told him that weekdays are bad for me, that between the stress over possibly losing my job (there have been several sudden firings over the last week and a half) and fighting with my sister, that I just need time to recharge.

Anyway, last night he brooded at me for a while before apologizing for 'forcing himself on me'-which he hadn't, and really was just a cover for complaining about the fact that he had been kissing me, rather than me kissing him- and "honestly sharing" how he was feeling- that telling him that I wasn't in the mood the night before was a rejection that had really hurt him, that maybe it was a messed up consequence of a bad relationship he'd had before, but that my rejection was making him feel shame, because I'm apparently so irresistible that he felt unquenchable desire for me, and that he'd been taught to feel ashamed of such feelings unless he was allowed to express them.

I told him that his feelings were fine, that desire was fine, but that I just wasn't up to reciprocating this week. But we basically just went around in circles, with him forcing me to spell things out time and time again, assure him i wasn't breaking up with him, and just on and on and on, and back to the desire thing. I kept saying that I still was up for companionship and conversation and even platonic-ish contact, but that my libido had taken the night off, but that just sent us back to "You're making me ashamed of my sexuality because you don't want to sleep with me right now." (The first part of that he ACTUALLY said, the second part has been de-euphemized). It was pretty clear that the easy solution he was pushing for was for me to say, "never mind" and just start making out with him. I mean, I even talked about that, and how I was purposefully avoiding that course of action because it would lead nowhere good.

I'd half hoped he would apologize when I got home tonight (we're living in the same converted dorm/apartment, housing is kind of limited here. There's a shared common area/kitchen), but no. He came out to brood/sulk at me, then kiss the back of my neck, then brood some more. He said he was going to bed. (it was 8pm.) It was all kind of weird and fraught, so I asked him why he was going to bed so early and told him (feeling the need to reiterate, I guess) that I still valued his company.

He got even weirder then, and sat me down for a quick "talk" about male sexuality and how there's no off switch and that it's all hormones and chemicals, and as a result of which he can't help but to have lustful thoughts about me, especially when I've never looked more sexy, yada yada...well, fine enough, until he got to the part about how couldn't be around me without acting on it. But he was going to respect that I asked him for space, said he (there was such an undercurrent of anger there, in his tone), and that "yes, I am going to bed," he said, "because I am restraining myself, like you asked...for as long as I can." (not quite a door slam).

I am so PISSED. I'm pissed at what seems to me to be emotional blackmail. I'm pissed that he gave me the whole, "Men can't help themselves, you're just too hot!" speech, I'm pissed that he's made this into this big dramatic thing about rejection and breaking up with him when all I said was that the timing wasn't good...RIGHT NOW. As in, until the weekend, maybe.

I'm pissed that I actually believed him when he said that his highest priority was our friendship.

And I'm pissed that my fun little spring fling had to veer into such drama so early on. You know, I'm not a coy and blushing maiden. I was in it for the sex, too. But if he'd said he wasn't feeling it, I'd have just gone, "Okay," and waited until things were better. I wouldn't have turned it into a guilt trip under the guise of "honest communication."

And so this is where I'm lost. I'm way too old to fall for that crap. Even in High School, I didn't buy it. But I have no idea how to deal with it, because it is so subtle and passive aggressive and prone to deflection. I've got very little relationship experience.

How do I explain it without having him start mansplaining to me again? Can I just tell him he's an *******? Originally, I just did want to lay off the PDA (etc) for a few days, as I was too distracted by other parts of my life. But now, I really don't want to be in any sort of relationship with him, if he's incapable of going a couple of days without sexual affection without playing the martyr to my cruel, temptress ways.

I just don't know what I should say, what I could say, that wouldn't just be "I'm angry! grrr!"

I actually liked him. I was having a good time.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'm only here very briefly this morning, but wanted to make sure you got a reply.

First, I'm really sorry you've had to deal with this. World of ugh.

Second? Were this me, I don't think I'd bother trying to address any of this with someone saying these things of things and doing so in the way that he has. I'd just figure that it's time for me to take a pass, say, "No, thank you," and move along.

Because really, with the way he's talking and what he's saying and how he's acting, I don't see anything "nicely" about this. Sure, some of this is passive-aggressive, but some of this is aggressive-aggressive. It all also sounds manipulative as hell to me.

So, I'd go with your gut here, and just opt out. I feel like trying to explain why is just likely to be an exercise in frustration and futility for you, so even just making any explanation really short with something like, "It's just clear to me we are not a good fit and this isn't at all what I want in my life, so I need this to be over," should suffice.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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breath
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eumeindes, I just think even though you said that you dont have much relationship experience, i think you are very smart and emotionallly intelligent person to be able to see he is doing, and how you are feeling. more power to you!
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breath
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 50014

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Also, it doesn't sound to me that someone who can't respect our own wishes/autonomy about when and how to engage in any kind of sexual activity with them is really all that mature or a safe person to have a fulfilling sexual experience with.
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eumenides
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Member # 71761

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I talked with him about it, and his view is that a) that's not what was going on at all, and he's very upset I would think such a thing of him, b)he felt like I was trying to break up with him, because I was being vague, c)he felt like I was trying to get him to police my boundaries (i.e. that I was placing responsibility on him for figuring out where the boundaries were...which, um...what?)

And... you know, I'm a firm believer in the idea that two people can have two completely different conversations at the same time, but that much? That much?

He says he understands the idea of not being in the mood, and that it was just a miscommunication, that he wasn't getting that message. And perhaps I didn't say "Hey, my libido has hit zero right now due to stress" in those exact words, but in the billion times he made me restate what I was saying, I said: "I'm tired, I'm not feeling up to it, I'm in the wrong mindset, that I just needed to cycle things down a bit, I'm not feeling sexy, I'm too stressed, now is not a good time because I can't stop worrying about work and my sister, can't we just slow things down for a few days..."

Surely that should have been enough? If I didn't use the exact words, "libido is dead," it wasn't out of coyness... I just wasn't thinking of it in those terms yet.

And now I really do want to "break up" with him. Except I also don't want to play into the narrative that that's what started this whole thing.

And when we were talking this out...he said that I was putting the wrong intentions on him (that i had completely misread what he was thinking/attempting). And granted, I don't know what he was thinking, but I know enough to not think "zebra" when I hear hoof-beats down main street. So no, that kind of behavior did seem out of character...for my friend. I have no idea how he conducted himself in his romantic relationships, and I do know the two can be very different things. And I know manipulation when I see it. Maybe as he said, it wasn't for physical gratification...but if the physical was just a stand in for the emotional gratification he desired?

My gut says my perception was right. It was manipulation. My brain says, there's no way the conversation would have looped around as many times as it did to HIS libido if it were really about him thinking I wanted him to "police my boundaries"....god, what nonsense. (And even if it isn't, it would mean that he's put me in the role of his ex-girlfriend, and is trying to relive all of their old fights, regardless of reality. Which, um....that's bad too.)

But now I'm no longer as sure and I really hate that.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I do think what you said should have been enough, absolutely. And I'm willing to bet that he was getting the message, but that...well, he's being manipulative here. This continues to sound like someone who is being emotionally manipulative to me.

It sounds to me like all of your gut feelings and reactions are really sound and, that like most of the time when we have those strong feelings, it's sound to trust them and honor them.

I get wanting to get away from this person but not being jazzed about it seeming like to do that, you have to let him be right about something that he isn't right about. However, sounds like letting him feel like he "won" in this is probably not a bad deal if it results in you not having to deal with this at all, you know?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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