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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » My boyfriend wants me to 'change'

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Author Topic: My boyfriend wants me to 'change'
Miss_Stress
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Member # 97268

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I'm really upset right now.

Last night I stayed at my boyfriend of 11 months house. I had just finished a major presentation for my 4th year at University along with a major proposal which I had spent the previous night working on, understandably I was exhausted.

We got some beers I feel asleep in his arms while watching tv, I have done this many times before. He likes to joke about it, I know he doesn't like it when I do it but he's never freaked out at me before for doing it. When I woke up and we were getting ready for bed he launched a full scale attack on me, telling me I had to 'change' because I was going to his house and falling asleep constantly and that all we do is watch movies and I do my thesis. I was shocked and really upset because honestly going to his place after college and watching movies with him, just relaxing with him really is my favourite part of our relationship. I have never felt the same intimacy with anyone before and I really enjoy it. I just love being close to him and I thought he loved it to.

I was so upset that I cried, twice in uncontrollable sobs in front of him, once on my own in the bathroom, again when I got home this morning. I'm just so upset. He said 'he just wanted the best for me' and that I shouldn't be upset.

I said sorry to him a couple of times thinking he would apologise back but all he said was 'you just need to change'.

Understandably we had both been drinking and he turns into a different person when he drinks, but is this normal behaviour for a 26 year old? I feel lost in my relationship now and I don't know what to do.

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Dee x

Posts: 34 | From: Dublin, Ireland | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jacob at Scarleteen
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Hi Dee!

It sounds like this morning was pretty awful to you!

Generally, I can see how university work, exams and deadlines, in my own relationships, have meant that certain feelings and important conversations have been held off longer than they should have been and have resulted in some pretty difficult realisations when we finally have to face them. A lot of the time we share our stress with partners and I think it can be a very difficult part of long term relationships.

This snapshot of your relationship however has some things I'd be asking some more serious questions about.

1. Worrying about crying in front of him, him saying you shouldn't be upset.

If your boyfriend making you feel that your emotions can't be permitted, that to me would not be right and would be something I'd think of as really unhealthy. You have a right to your own emotions and feelings, and not only that, but to be cared about by someone means they're invested in how you feel and seek to know those things. How else can you hope to be a good partner to them?

2. Turning into a different person when he drinks

I don't think his different behaviour when he drinks means that he's a different person. I feel somebody like him has to take responsibility for that, it's the sober-'him' that drinks and therefore accepts, and takes responsibility for the risk of his behaviour changing. He doesn't cease being your boyfriend and having an effect on how you feel.

3. Him asking you to change
How? How can you change who you are? Your boyfriend seems to be making no space for his own change, and seems to be making this about you, rather than your relationship, how you both have to work to make this thing fun for you guys.

It's totally fine for him not to enjoy the exact same things as you all the time. But how he reacted to you sounds really problematic.

What is the rest of your relationship like?... It sounds like there are on-going problems if he often 'turns into a differnt person' drinking.

It's really important that this feels like your relationship, something you can have input into and work with him towards. Unless he has respect for you, your stress, your emotions and who you are, I'd say he's really at risk of making your staying in a relationship with him a very difficult thing for you to feel good about. It's no wonder you've felt so awful!

PS. I just wanted to add my congratulation to you for finishing your presentation. I just handed in a big piece of work too, it was such a relief, I think I'd be pretty upset to have had an argument like that too, especially after such an accademic ordeal.

[ 11-10-2012, 11:56 AM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]

Posts: 694 | From: Leeds UK | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
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HI Miss_Stress,

What an upsetting thing to happen! Many busy people fall asleep when they finally have a chance to relax, and drinking alcohol makes many people sleepy. Your boyfriend started a serious conversation when both of you were not in the best position to be having it. It's also not terribly fair of someone to ask someone else to change like that.

So, it's little wonder this hit you so hard.

How do you feel about having a conversation with your boyfriend, when you're both sober and awake, in which you tell him how this feels, and also how much being able to relax and watch movies means to you? You can encourage him to tell you how he feels, and what he wants. It sounds like some compromise is needed here. IN other words, it's not okay for him to just want you to change.

What do you think?

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Miss_Stress
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Hi to both of you, thank you for your advice.

I can openly speak to him about anything (really anything), something which I can't do with anyone else. But I often find when we do discuss something he always feels he has to be right about everything.

An example of this is our plans to move away to London next year, something we've both dreamed about for a long time. All of a sudden he's decided he wants to go to New York 'to be an artist'. He's changed his mind before and while I can accept that maybe someone doesn't want to move or they change their minds I don't like that it always seems to be his choice, I'm not part of the decision. He doesn't really care about the future we were planning together as long as he's happy, if that makes sense?

This is similar to our argument last night, he feels he always has to be right. He never apologised to me, not once. And even in our sober senses if we have a conversation he always has to be right.

Yesterday he told me that his mother in Poland got back some suspicious results from a test, he mentioned cervical cancer as a possibility. I assume she had a smear and got back irregular results so is being sent to a specialist of some kind. This was probably biting on him. I made the situation worse when he was lecturing me for sleeping and 'neglecting our relationship' saying that I 'don't care'. I replied saying that he was over-reacting about me falling asleep, and that I 'hope he doesn't ever have to face a family tragedy or something else bad' if this is how he was reacting to me sleeping. I realised after that I was wrong, because of what he had told me about his mother and that I shouldn't have said it.

But his reaction to it was the bullet in the heart for me. It was 11.30pm and he told me that he didn't want to talk to me and that I should take the train home. I live in the country outside the city and all the trains would have been gone at that point. I understand I shouldn't have said what I said but I was just so upset. I couldn't believe how much he was over-reacting about me snoozing in front of the tv (when he does it all the time at my house). I stayed there in the end, but left early. Even when the fight was over and I apologised again he said 'hunny, you don't need to apologise, you need to change'.

He has told me I need to change before. I told him that fees for masters programmes in america are incredibly expensive and that he needs to be realistic because he says that's what he wants to do instead of going to London as we had planned. He called me 'under-ambitious' and that I was 'unbearable' and needed to change just because I brought up our very realistic financial circumstances.

Sometimes I feel as though I move a mile for him but he doesn't budge an inch. He wants me to be perfect all the time, he gets annoyed even if I scratch my skin sometimes because he says it's 'unsexy', he gives out when my hair is messy... I love him unconditionally, but don't know what to do anymore.

[ 11-10-2012, 11:58 AM: Message edited by: Miss_Stress ]

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Dee x

Posts: 34 | From: Dublin, Ireland | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Miss_Stress
Neophyte
Member # 97268

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quote:
Originally posted by Robin Lee:
HI Miss_Stress,

How do you feel about having a conversation with your boyfriend, when you're both sober and awake, in which you tell him how this feels, and also how much being able to relax and watch movies means to you? You can encourage him to tell you how he feels, and what he wants. It sounds like some compromise is needed here. IN other words, it's not okay for him to just want you to change.

What do you think?

The thing is, he hardly ever wants to go out and do something fun or something that he likes. When he does want to do something I always do it with him. I even took a couple of days off college because he wanted to go to London for a break. He rarely does anything I want to do, often he dismisses things I want to go to as 'childish' or something similar. Even recently I won an award for student of the year, and he wanted to leave the party straight after the awards. Like right away. I wasn't able to stay to enjoy my night.

The same thing happened when I had an art exhibition open recently. He said he didn't want to go out after it, even though I always go out with him after his openings.

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Dee x

Posts: 34 | From: Dublin, Ireland | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jacob at Scarleteen
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Hi again Dee,

It sounds like you've got a big store of arguments between you guys. From what you've said I'd totally agree with what you've observed about your relationship i.e. that you a move a mile and he merely budges an inch.

This stuff about how he'll tell you off for things about your physical body etc really gets to me.

In your last sentence I'm hearing that maybe you're experiencing a particular conflict in yourself:

On the one hand, perhaps, there are all these difficult painful arguments and his insistence that your mind, body and soul adhere to his demands. You're here, so you know it's a problem and I'm guessing that means there are parts of you that can't accept this. You say you don't know what to do any more, and it sounds like you're reaching a certain limit in yourself.

On the other hand, perhaps, to say you love him unconditionally sounds like it's something important to you, and grinds against your feelings of doubt.

I actually think it's good for our affections to have conditions. I think it because I want to be able to look after myself and also because I want to be in relationships with people who want that for me too, and I want them to be able to make those distinctions too.

So I guess it's worth asking why unconditional love is important to you? Do you think it has to be? Maybe there's another way of thinking about it.

[ 11-10-2012, 12:20 PM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]

Posts: 694 | From: Leeds UK | Registered: May 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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