A little bit of our history: When we met, I was not looking for a relationship, so there was no pressure on my end for any kind of commitment. He lives 2.5 hours away from me, but the distance aspect never really came into play. We both work a lot, so, when we had free weekends, we would spend them together. After about two months of dating he introduced to me to all of his family as his girlfriend (although we never even had a conversation about commitment). He is a little bit of an introvert and is self-centered, and, when we first met, he disclosed some personal information that would make any person on this planet act a little distant. He is a recovering alcoholic (sober 7 years) who attends bi-weekly meetings. After researching the disease, I was able to understand a little of how to better communicate with him, which made the first year go by very smoothly.
Four months ago he got the opportunity of a lifetime to join the police force. While filling out his application, he listed his home address as a house he owns but rents out to two girls. He did this because he needed to have an address located in the city in which he was applying. About a month later, I found out that he had moved out of his apartment and into the house with the two girls. His reasoning was that the police force was going to check on everything he put on his application. I understood but was not happy about it. Since the move, he went from staying at the house 2 or 3 nights a week to staying there 7 nights a week and hanging out with the girls on a regular basis. This upset me, and I asked if he would stop until I was comfortable with the situation. He agreed. A month ago I found out from one of the roommates that they had all continued to hang out, like going to bars (he didn’t drink). I confronted him about it, and he said he didn’t tell me because he thought it was trivial. My take on it was that he had lied. There was every opportunity for him to say that he continued his activities with them, but he chose to not disclose that.
Recently there have been other little things that have happened which have made me a little suspicious of his activities. He stopped texting as much, although I know he is very busy, the phone calls all but stopped, he seemed more distant than usual, and I knew he was not happy that I was sometimes sad around him. Two weeks ago he was informed that he was being pulled from the candidacy for the police academy because he had failed the psychological test. He was pretty upset over that. He arranged for an appeal which was to occur last week, but he was nervous that he had no guidance on what stance he should take on the appeal because they do not tell you why you failed. He blamed others around him for not coaching him better on how to pass the original test.
Because of the distance between us and the closeness that had developed between his new roommates, I decided to go through his phone on two different occasions. My mistake, but I had to prove right or wrong this gut feeling I had so that I could work past everything. The first snooping I did yielded text messages from a woman who is NOT one of his roommates. In the texts he was saying that he went somewhere that reminded him of them. She responded telling him that her engagement had just ended, and he offered to take her on a boat ride to clear her head.
I said nothing about the first round of texts, as I believe you can be friends with an ex. The second round of texts was him telling her that he was in bed listening to music and thinking of her. They arranged a get-together at his house, and she signed the text XOXO. This was heart-breaking. I went home that night feeling guilty that I had invaded his privacy, but I was also sad that he was thinking of another woman in bed. I decided to tell him why I was upset, and I apologized for the invasion of privacy. He got furious. I tried to call, but he wouldn’t pick up the phone. He texted back right away that I shouldn’t go through any man’s phone and expect not to be shocked. He claimed that he still spoke to his ex off and on, but she was married. That was confusing because she had texted him that the engagement had been called off. I asked if he was sure that she was married. He shot back some guy’s name. He then said that I should understand that you can still be in love with someone from your past, to which I replied that the past is better left there because it can cause problems with things in the present and that, if you love the person you are with, you should be able to draw a line of acceptable behavior. He responded with haste, saying he needed some space.
That was a week and a half ago and I have since refrained from calling and texting. But I did write, two days after the fight, an email in which I apologized for my invasion of privacy. I did not blame him or ask for him to talk to me. I want to honor his request for space. I did, however, ask for clarity on his need for space (e.g., a couple days, weeks, or even if it was the end completely, and I have not gotten a response. That was a week and two days ago).
I am very saddened by the fact that we haven’t spoken, and I wish I knew if he really just needed space because of all the other stressors in his life and because he has a hard time dealing with emotions, or if he was mad that he got caught saying things to an ex that were hurtful to me, or if he wants out of the relationship completely because his interests lie elsewhere.
I have tried to be the most understanding, patient, kind, supportive, non-smothering person I know how to be, and I don’t know if I could have done much differently other than not listen to my gut. This state of limbo is killing me, and it’s caused some long sleepless nights and serious heartache.
Opinions? — Stuck in a State of Limbo
So, aside from the snooping, which is very uncool, you have tried to be “the most understanding, patient, kind, supportive, non-smothering person you know how to be” while your boyfriend lies to you, texts inappropriate comments to exes, ignores you for days on end, and doesn’t even have the decency to tell you whether you’re broken up or not? And you want to stay with him, WHY?
No, really, why do you want to date him? Because in nine paragraphs, you say literally NOTHING good about him or your feelings for him or your relationship. Nothing, nada, zip. You do, however, divulge negative things about him or things you seem to disapprove of: he’s self-centered; he’s a recovering alcoholic; he blames others for his failures. And then, of course, there’s his treatment of you, which I highlighted above. So, why? Why continue this relationship? What do you get out of it? What is it about it or him that has you on a hook waiting with bated breath for a response from him, any kind of response?
Look at yourself. Really look. You had a gut feeling something suspicious was going on, so you snooped. And you found pretty damning evidence that your boyfriend is, at the very least, disrespectful toward your relationship. And he’s a liar. A blatant liar. He’s telling an ex that he’s fantasizing about her while he’s lying in bed. He’s manipulating you by telling you ALL men behave in ways that would shock their partners (that’s not true). And you still want to be with him?! Not only do you want to be with him, but you have also handed over all the power in this relationship, not to mention your dignity, while you wait. And wait. Hoping for some sort of reply from him that you’re still in this game.
But this isn’t a game. This is real life. And you don’t “lose” just because some dude decides he’d rather spend his time with other women. You “lose” when you waste your time. Because in this game of life, time is one of our most precious commodities. It’s finite. We only have so much of it. And how we choose to spend our time — and whom we choose to spend it on — not only defines so much of who and what we are; it basically defines everything. Time is everything! And when you just give it away to someone who has proven he doesn’t deserve it — and he doesn’t even want it! — that’s when you lose. You lose the time and energy that could be spent cultivating other relationships or indulging in hobbies or things that bring you pleasure or joy instead of frustration and anxiety.
Honestly, I’d just MOA if I were you. Nothing about this man or your relationship sounds worth the hassle or angst you’ve described. Or worth your time. Your time is important. It’s precious. It is worth so much more than the value your boyfriend is showing it.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.