Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Says I’m High-Maintenance and Ungrateful”

Love or money

I’ve been dating John now for about a year. He’s one of the most amazing guys I’ve ever met; he’s incredibly supportive and we usually have an amazing time together. He makes me laugh and we have a closeness and initmacy I’ve never felt with anyone else. He’s my best friend and truly pushes me to be a better person. The only problem is: we fight way more than I am comfortable with. We’ll have a week where we are madly in love and getting along great, then get into a blow-out, all-day argument. It’s incredibly stressful as I’m not used to fighting constantly with anyone I love.

The main issues are around money; I feel like he is incredibly defensive whenever I ask for anything, yet at the same time he asks me to tell him exactly what I want. Case in point: he’s always asked me to tell him what I want for special occasions like Valentine’s Day and my birthday, then will turn around and call me high maintenance and ungrateful when I tell him. (On V-day I asked for flowers, not an extravagant gift, and on my birthday I said I didn’t need anything specific and would be happy with anything he planned.)

Just to give some background on our situation: I’m 25, he’s 35 and we’re both professionals living in one of the more expensive cities in the country. I’m fully able to support myself financially and would never ask him for money, but he makes probably 5x (250k range) what I do and always offers to pay when we go to dinner, etc. I like to take care of lunch or things that are more in my budget. He’s more traditional and pretty much always insists on paying (which I really appreciate and tell him that) but I do want to contribute to the relationship, financially and otherwise.

It just seems the littlest things can turn into these huge fights, and we always end up talking about breaking up although we don’t. We are in therapy to see if we can work things out, but it’s starting to feel like I’ll never be completely sure either way. I’d like to make a decision at some point because I don’t want to spend years with someone if I don’t think we’re a long-term fit for marriage and children (we both have discussed this and know those are shared goals). Looking ahead, it just seems hard to build a successful marriage and family with constant conflict. I know all couples argue at times, but I’d really like to cut down on the amount of fighting. Is there anything I can do to make things more peaceful? Or should I just admit it’s not working and MOA? — Fight Club

I’m confused about why you’re fighting about money so much. You don’t mention living together, so I’m assuming you aren’t fighting over shared bills. You say you take care of lunches out and that John insists on paying for other things that you do together, like dinners out, etc. You only mention two occasions — Valentine’s Day and your birthday — when John specifically asks you what you want and on one of those occasions you even told him you’d be happy with whatever he planned. So how does all of that equal weekly, blow-out, all-day arguments, and what gives him the idea that you’re high maintenance and ungrateful? Something just doesn’t add up here.

You say that John always offers to pay when you “go to dinner, etc.” What’s the et cetera? And where are you eating these dinners? Are you going out every night? Almost every night? Are you always going to pricey places? Do you ever repay the courtesy and cook John a nice meal? Do you ask him what he wants for Valentine’s Day and his birthday?

If I had to guess — and it seems I do — I’d say that John either feels like you’re only interested in his money (and he’d only really get that idea if you were failing to compliment him on other traits you like), is tired of being the one doing all the planning, or isn’t happy in your relationship but doesn’t know how to communicate his unhappiness so he chooses to focus on finances since that’s easier than talking about feelings. The only way you’re going to get to the bottom of what’s going on and resolve your problems is to communicate, ideally at a time when you aren’t fighting or on the verge of fighting. Pick a moment when you’re comfortable with each other — maybe on one of those dinners out — and verbalize how much you appreciate John, not for his paycheck, but for all the things you mentioned in your first couple of sentences above. Then ask him what his needs are in the relationship and what you can do to make him happier.

Finally, if you’re in therapy and you’re finding that things are still uncertain between you, pick a date in the future when you feel like it would be appropriate to MOA if you’re still feeling this level of uncertainty. Maybe that’s three months from now or six months from now. I don’t know. If it were I, and it had only been a year and things were already screwy enough to warrant therapy, I’d probably MOA sooner rather than later. I personally don’t think a relationship should be so much work so early on, before marriage and kids and living together and all the big life stuff that can cause stress. But that’s me and my timetable. (I also wouldn’t stay with a guy who routinely called me high-maintenance and ungrateful… or any unkind names, for that matter). You have to figure out what makes sense for you given your needs and goals, etc. So, pick a date and if things aren’t good by then, MOA knowing you gave this relationship a true fighting chance. Perhaps a little too much fighting…

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

171 comments… add one
  • avatar

    ktfran March 19, 2013, 9:06 am

    He’s perfect in every way. We’re a great couple. I love him. But . . . .

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 19, 2013, 9:11 am

      “He’s my best friend and truly pushes me to be a better person. …. And sometimes out of moving cars.”

      I dunno, that was dumb.

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      • avatar

        ktfran March 19, 2013, 9:13 am

        Lol. I laughed. Out loud. Seriously.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 19, 2013, 9:52 am

        thanks. i can always count on my ktfran! 😉

        ANNOUNCEMENT, ANNOUNCEMENT: I am going to be productive at work today. That is all, goodbye.

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      • avatar

        bethany March 19, 2013, 10:29 am

        Good luck!! I was pretty productive yesterday, and hope to be again today… So this might be my only comment for the day. We’ll see 🙂

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson March 19, 2013, 10:31 am

        I am watching the day already slip by me. I needed to start a project 30 minutes ago so that I can go on a run in 30 minutes so that I can shower and get into work (with my project done) by 11 and AH! Stop DWing!!

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    • avatar

      ktfran March 19, 2013, 9:19 am

      Ok, LW, sorry for my snark.

      This relationship sounds like a lot of work. A LOT. It’s great that you’re in therapy because it sounds like you both need to work on your communication skills. Maybe you should also see one seperately? I don’t have any real advice except to say that if things don’t get better after the therapy sessions, I would MOA. All day, blow out fights are not healthy. And could you imagine letting future children witness that?

      Also, one of my ex’s continually called me high maintenance. Told me he liked burnette’s better. Said my butt was too flat. We also did what he planned all the time, as in I had no say in what went on. And when I did voice my opinion, he called me crazy. I would read my therapist our text and IM exchanges. One day she said I should look up emotional abuse. I did. And wow. It sucks. And I had no idea that is what he was doing. But he did. And I too thought he was great and we were awesome together, etc. etc.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl March 19, 2013, 10:46 am

      He’s one of the most amazing guys I’ve ever met; he’s incredibly supportive …except when he’s not.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar March 19, 2013, 11:07 am

        every week.

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      • avatar

        Leslie March 19, 2013, 5:38 pm

        One of my friends says this about her current boyfriend. Drives me up the wall!

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    • avatar

      MMcG March 19, 2013, 3:36 pm

      New rule: Reads like a romance novel at the beginning = something is a shitshow behind the curtain!

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray March 19, 2013, 9:15 am

    I like Wendy’s guesses, and I’d guess it’s a combo of all three (that John feels like you’re only interested in his money, is tired of being the one doing all the planning, *and* isn’t happy in your relationship but doesn’t know how to communicate his unhappiness). I am surprised that even after attending couples therapy the LW doesn’t have more clarity about what’s troubling John. Or maybe she does but is being purposefully vague? There are just wayyy too many details missing to get to the bottom of this. LW, can you provide more info in the comment sections? In addition to all the questions Wendy asked, tell us more about these fights. What is he yelling? What do you yell back? How do they get resolved? Also, I want more examples of how he gets mad when you ask for things. But give us examples of daily things that you ask for, not the once-a-year stuff like Valentine’s Day and birthdays. Ok, tell us!

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  • avatar

    Sasa March 19, 2013, 9:24 am

    Sounds exhausting. Like Wendy, I don’t really understand why money is such a difficult issue for the two of you. Maybe it doesn’t have all that much to do with money and you just somehow push each other’s buttons? Some people just have a harder time getting along than others. To be honest I think this will be very difficult to handle if you stay together long-term. Also, you’ve already talked about breaking up. This is usually indicative of a serious problem in the relationship, especially if it has come up more than once.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl March 19, 2013, 9:24 am

    Good grief. It shouldn’t be this difficult this early. MOA.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle March 19, 2013, 9:28 am

    Yeah, I dunno. I’d MOA from this—it sounds like there’s some wonky dynamic here, whether it’s in actuality or self-created (by you, or him. Who knows.) Also, I have issues with the age difference (& feel as if that’s definitely playing into things). I know it CAN work, depending on the personalities of those involved, but someone who is 25 and someone who is 35 is often at totally different places in their lives.

    I would also like details of the fights. How does something like gifts or Valentine’s Day turn into an all-out fight? That means you guys are probably jumping from subject to subject, the argument degrading into nonsense as the day goes on? That’s exhausting. And after only a year, you can drop this guy & find someone more compatible to you.

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    • avatar

      pumpkinbread March 19, 2013, 2:35 pm

      “I would also like details of the fights. How does something like gifts or Valentine’s Day turn into an all-out fight? That means you guys are probably jumping from subject to subject, the argument degrading into nonsense as the day goes on?”

      this is so on the money. when i figured this out, it made it so much easier not to be driven insane AND to walk away—and i’m one of those people who would rather keep talking it out.

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  • avatar

    Guy Friday March 19, 2013, 9:31 am

    Perhaps this is mean to say, but I really feel like when a LW leaves this much information out of a letter, it’s because he or she isn’t so much asking for advice as trying to collect support for a position that he or she knows would never come if we were given the full picture. And, seriously, I feel like that’s the case here.

    As for the whole “I tell him what I want, and then he calls me ungrateful” thing, I’ve got to call BS that this guy called you ungrateful or high-maintenance because you asked for flowers as a present. I mean, seriously, that’s hard to swallow. Based on the context of the letter, I can’t help but feel like you actually asked for A LOT more than that, and THAT is what caused him to call you that; I feel that way because you make a point of noting that he makes $250K, which is generally code for “He makes enough that I can ask for expensive things and get away with it.” And, I mean, if I ask my wife what she wants for her birthday, and she told me “I want these $1000 diamond earrings” or something, I’m going to be annoyed too. Asking that question doesn’t give the answerer carte blanche to name anything and everything; you still have to be reasonable.

    I mean, look, if you’re not happy, then Wendy’s right: set a drop-dead date, and if it’s not better by then, MOA. But I’m just skeptical that it’s as one-sided as you’re making it sound.

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    • theattack

      theattack March 19, 2013, 9:38 am

      I thought the same thing about her not telling the full story, but I doubt she’s asking for extravagant things. I think she’s asking for exactly what she said, except that she doesn’t actually want those things, and he knows it. More like “Fine, all I want is flowers! You don’t have to get me a real present that I would actually want.”

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 19, 2013, 9:40 am

      I concur. And if the boyfriend really did throw a shit storm simply because she replied “flowers” when he asked her what she would like for V day, then I’d think the situation would be crystal clear, and she would have MOA’d, no?

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 11:07 am

      Sometimes I think you’re a smarty-pants.

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay March 19, 2013, 11:48 am

      That’s a lot of conclusions to jump to. If she is honestly that bad, then he’s either a total wuss for not dumping her himself or he just likes having someone to blow up at.

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster March 19, 2013, 11:23 am

      It’s probably because when she says “flowers” she means “exotic violets, which only grow at specific altitudes in the Himalayas and are picked by shoeless Nepalese children for 5 cents an hour. And then have them hand delivered by David Tuterra as two dozen doves burst into flight behind him.”

      That’s my guess.

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      • avatar

        Guy Friday March 19, 2013, 11:44 am

        Well, I wasn’t going to go THAT far . . . 😉

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 12:05 pm

        LOVE David Tutera!

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    • beelzebarb

      beelzebarb March 19, 2013, 1:09 pm

      I feel like we are being set up for one of those pissy “no, you guys TOTALLY don’t get it” updates…

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  • avatar

    Desiree March 19, 2013, 9:33 am

    Sounds like a lot of work. I think Wendy’s theories on why you two are fighting are solid, but there is another I would like to put forth. In the part of the country I’m from, it is very common for guys to insist on “being the gentlemen” and paying for everything. Many of these guys are very kind about it, but some of them turn around and hold it against women (even though they themselves *insisted* on it). The money becomes a part of their ability to control/manipulate/emotionally abuse their partner. Not at all sure that is what is happening here (John could be perfectly lovely), but it’s another theory.

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    • avatar

      pinkjellyfishy March 19, 2013, 11:58 am

      I had an emotionally abusive boyfriend just like this. He would buy me expensive jewelry and would often take me out to dinner, and he’d insist on paying for everything because he “loved me so much.” If at any time he didn’t get his way on something, it would always turn into a huge argument where he’d hold it against me, saying, “I do all of this for you, you’re so ungrateful!” It was definitely a way to control and manipulate me by making me feel guilty. It’s a good theory to consider.

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      • avatar

        MMcG March 19, 2013, 3:40 pm

        “I do all of this for you, you’re so ungrateful!”

        Covert contracts for a million Alex… such BS nice guy behavior.

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  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl March 19, 2013, 9:35 am

    It does seem like the LW has left out some significant information. I mean, who would get mad about flowers? My only thought was that maybe this guy is living above and beyond even his means so that it’s a big stress for him and he takes it out on her? eh? You never know. I would say that having a ‘come to jesus’ talk about finances should be one of your discussions in therapy. He may have some soul crushing debt you don’t know about

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    • avatar

      Desiree March 19, 2013, 9:41 am

      Ooh, the living above and beyond his means idea is interesting. If he is making $250k in a big city, there is a good chance he is around people at work or his social circle who make even more, and he may be trying to keep up with them.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 19, 2013, 9:50 am

      More reasons why $250k may not mean he has a shit ton of money laying around that he wants to spend on nice dinners all the time: student loans, mortgages, supporting family members, and wanting to save for emergencies/retirement/new home/whatever. Plus anyone who has saved a lot of cash has done so by being responsible, living below their means, and making small cuts here and there (e.g., making your own coffee, packing lunch, taking the bus, etc.) and those habits sometimes don’t die just because you later start to make a lot of money. So, even if *LW* thinks he shouldn’t worry about spending money, there are a host of reasons why it might grate on him. I’m projecting a bit b/c I made 5 x my ex and he’d often make comments that I was being silly to worry about $. … Which in hindsight was annoying. At the time? I thought he was right. Stupid boys! Ok, I’m way off topic now. Today I’m getting work done. Toodles!

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl March 19, 2013, 9:53 am

    Is it normal to go to couples therapy a year into a relationship? I don’t think I know anyone who has gone to couples therapy (or perhaps anyone who has admitted going to therapy).

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 11:08 am

      Yea, I feel like that should just be a rule. 1 year and already in therapy, moa.

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  • lynn

    Lynn March 19, 2013, 9:58 am

    I’m thinking the LW probably wants more than flowers, but she’s never going to ask for more and he likely knows it.

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  • avatar

    Miss Terri March 19, 2013, 10:04 am

    You are right on target, Wendy! Life is too short to be this miserable. I agree that something about this doesn’t add up – it may be that your boyfriend just doesn’t like you, but doesn’t know how to articulate it. Hey – it happens. It sounds like you two are just pulling on each other’s toenails and making no progress… I would cut the cord, and maybe take things a little slower with your next relationship so you do not repeat the same misery…..

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  • avatar

    Anna March 19, 2013, 10:08 am

    Does it bother anyone else that he asked her to come up with her own gift ideas for Valentines day, etc? If there’s something particular that you really really want, I see no problem suggesting it or dropping hints but I think it’s way more romantic if he’s learned what I like and what’s important to me and surprises me with gifts that reflect my personality and came from the heart. My ex was really good at that. He would pick out a few sweet, romantic and fun things he knew I would love and then usually throw in a funny gag gift he knew we could have a laugh about together. I was never able to guess my gifts and I loved that.

    Between that and the name-calling, it sounds to me like John isn’t really invested in the relationship anymore and hasn’t figured out how to tell you that yet.

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    • katie

      Katie March 19, 2013, 10:23 am

      That’s not weird at all- we tell people to do that all the time when we talk about gift giving between couples.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary March 19, 2013, 10:25 am

      Eh, I think we had this discussion before, but couples do gifts different ways. My boyfriend almost always asks what I want for birthdays/holidays. Picking out a gift is really stressful for him. And even though we’ve known each other a long time it’s still hard for him to know exactly what I want. And he would rather get something that I want and will make me happy rather than something I won’t ever use. So I don’t think this is a huge issue. But the fact that he freaked out when she told him what she wanted? That’s a big issue.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph March 19, 2013, 10:39 am

        I agree. I’m really terrible at gift giving. It stems from an intense dislike for shopping. Doesn’t matter if its for my mom or my best friend or my husband, I just don’t get any enjoyment from trying to find something for them, just stress.
        While I know that a gift for someone else is not about my enjoyment, I also know that there are people that do get enjoyment from finding the perfect gift for someone and presenting it and then there are people like me who just stress out over it.
        My husband is similarly minded about gifts (plus he hates clutter/stuff he has no use for) so we usually don’t exchange gifts, but instead go out to a special dinner or event to celebrate occasions. Anyways, I don’t think it says anything about him or her or their relationship if he asks what she wants. That he calls her high maintenance for it… that does say something.

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    • FireStar

      Firestar March 19, 2013, 10:30 am

      Depends on the person I think. I’m not a fan of picking my own gifts but my husband likes to pick his own. I thought I had him beat when I wrote (and had printed) a fully illustrated choose your own adventure story for his birthday giving him a choice of gifts at the end depending on what adventure he chose…and he still picked something else! Wretched man. But since the point is to make him happy and to give what would be most appreciated I do it his way.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle March 19, 2013, 10:31 am

      Some people are able to do it the way you & ex did…but other people aren’t natural “gift-givers.” My current boyfriend & I e-mail links to each other. And— I like it that way! I’ve been with dudes who thought that took all the romance/fun out of it, & I usually got pretty stressed during gift time…

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    • theattack

      theattack March 19, 2013, 10:36 am

      I’m with you, Anna. I think it’s very odd. Some people on DW talk about doing it, and it works out for them. I know I would be pretty unhappy if I had to tell my fiance what to get me, and I’m certain that I would be non-compliant and tell him not to get me anything if he couldn’t come up with something on his own. I feel like he should know me well enough to be able to see at least SOMETHING in a store that he thinks I might like.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson March 19, 2013, 10:44 am

      Yeah I pick out all my own. Actually I buy them too, wrap them, and tell him what he got me, haha. I get enough shitty presents from his family I can’t risk him wasting money on something I don’t need or want. My brother oddly is awesome at giving gifts. He will get me something I didn’t even know I needed until I got it and then I can’t imagine my life without it. And my mom is pretty good too – she knows my lululemon sizes and that is always a slam dunk. I guess Ethan will surprise me with little random gifts that I think are cute – but I normally buy the big ones for myself – because when there’s a lot of money on the table it can’t be wasted!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 11:10 am

        My brother is the same way! Things I never knew I wanted, and now can’t live without.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl March 19, 2013, 10:50 am

      As far as the gifts- I think it’s one of those “to each his own” things. We lay out pretty clear budgets each holiday and sometimes even lay out exactly what we’re getting each other. It works for us and no one is every disappointed. But it’s not for everyone.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 12:04 pm

      Here’s a tip for all you bad gift givers. I keep a running list on my phone of gift ideas for people. If my sister mentions something that she likes, I’ll jot it down and refer to it when its her bday for example. My boyfriend was into watching shows about military planes last year, so I jotted that down, and for his birthday, took him to an air show.

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      • theattack

        theattack March 19, 2013, 12:56 pm

        Yes! I do this, and it helps me so much! You also get points for listening and “remembering” so long.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl March 19, 2013, 12:20 pm

      I can barely get my husband to decide what’s for dinner. Expecting him to choose what gift I’d like it nearly impossible.

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    • avatar

      csp March 19, 2013, 12:50 pm

      I actually make wish lists for my husband. The problem is that he likes to buy nice things but doesn’t know the taste. So he can walk into coach and pick out a purse that I wouldn’t use. Then that is a wasted $100. It is much better when he walks in with maybe 5 options and chooses. I love it and there is still a little surprise.

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  • avatar

    ebstarr March 19, 2013, 10:08 am

    Ugh, “high maintenance” has to be one of the stupidest phrases to say to your own partner. And combined with the fact that he’s just so “traditional” he just HAS to pay for all these dinners and stuff, I’m calling sexism. How often are men referred to as “high maintenance”? It’s like comparing her to a car and then saying she’s not worth the upkeep.

    I don’t really get the LW’s situation either, and I can’t tell if he’s trying to manipulate her into looking like a gold-digger, or she’s actually being too demanding because she feels entitled to his income. I guess I feel like it doesn’t matter if she is selfish … like Wendy said, why would you stay with someone who calls you names? Work on your selfishness with yourself or with your next relationship, if necessary. Because honestly, if he’s 35 and still calling his girlfriend high-maintenance to get her to shut up, then … well, that explains why he needs to date much younger women?

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    • avatar

      ktfran March 19, 2013, 10:10 am

      Oh my god, I love the car analogy. Perfect!

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph March 19, 2013, 10:31 am

      SO so agree. “High maintenance” is just a cop out used by certain men to convince their female SO that they don’t deserve to want things.
      I’m sure if he wanted a fancy car or electronics, he wouldn’t think that was being “high maintenance.”

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    • avatar

      convexed March 19, 2013, 7:43 pm

      I mean, even though the letter is kind of vague in places, I feel like it’s too speculative to decide that the LW is lying to us or deliberately withholding things—she may well be, but since we don’t know what those things are, it’s a total blank map, so I prefer to just go by what is in the letter as if it is true, and respond to it on its terms. So if she says she doesn’t care about his money and is budget-conscious, I’ll say, sure, then she is, for the purposes of narrowing the conversation.
      In which case…car analogy, for sure. Or like the kind of people who do favors just to have a collateral to hold over someone later. To make sure they always have something over you, even if they chose to put it there.
      In any case, if he has a budget in mind for Valentine’s Day, he should make that clear. If flowers and candy are what he wants to give her, versus jewelry and fancy shit, then he should not ask, “What do you want, out of anything, for Valentine’s Day?” but “What are your favorite candy and flowers?” I think it’s unfair to throw someone a totally open question, and use their answer (or discomfort/refusal around answering question/mindreading) against them in a passive-aggressive way, which it seems he’s doing. If he lives a high rolling lifestyle, and wants her company in it, and then calls her ‘high-maintenance’, he is at best a douche who lacks all self-awareness and at worst an emotional abuser and manipulator.
      And if he is very insecure about being dated for his money, and sees a high-maintenance, entitled gold digger when he looks at his girlfriend, *then he shouldn’t date girls in a different income bracket*. He can put it on his OKCupid account: “Only women in my tax bracket need apply, all others will be considered suspect, even if they only ask for flowers–they are lying”.

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      • avatar

        ebstarr March 19, 2013, 10:15 pm

        convexed, good point. I totally agree with you about trusting the LWs most of the time. I guess I got sidetracked by how vague her letter was. And I was inclined to trust what she said for the same reason you do, but I guess what I was trying to say was even best case scenario for interpreting his behavior (aka, even if she is in the wrong and left something out of her letter), he still sounds like an ass. Not that I think she is secretly after his money at all, but even allowing for the vagueness of her letter, I still judge the boyfriend for using that language.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 March 19, 2013, 10:10 am

    “He’s one of the most amazing guys I’ve ever met; he’s incredibly supportive and we usually have an amazing time together. He makes me laugh and we have a closeness and initmacy I’ve never felt with anyone else. He’s my best friend and truly pushes me to be a better person.”
    I don’t believe this, why do so many letter writers put this in, and then go on to talk about why their SO is nothing like those things.

    I don’t know what is going on here, either your boyfriend is an ass, and is one of those guys that just snaps for no reason, or you left a whole lot of information out about what really goes on, because those two incidents that you provided don’t correlate into weekly, day long blow outs. There has to be something else that makes you guys fight about money all of the time. Whatever it is this guy worked really really hard for that money, and at 35 is still paying for his school, and the life he has started for himself, would probably like to save some of it, so stop spending his money. I would also just break it off, because if you are going to therapy in the 1st year of a relationship you probably aren’t meant to be, so try not to drag things out here.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny March 19, 2013, 10:15 am

      Because usually if they don’t we accuse them of not liking the person they’re with? I dunno, I always think it’s funny too, but I can see why they would include it.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 March 19, 2013, 10:23 am

        Yeah, I guess if you don’t put anything good, then we would probably be like “So why are you even with this person” I just feel like they sometimes go overboard like this LW.

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      • avatar

        iseeshiny March 19, 2013, 10:30 am

        I know what you mean. How did lbh put it? Something about God guiding us to a flock of swans for our relationship?

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. March 19, 2013, 10:32 am

        Well, that was going to be my comment. Why IS she with this person? I mean, when it comes down to it, he may have his moments, but he calls her names and they fight A LOT, at least that’s what she says. I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship like this. I know couples sometimes fight, but this seems like a lot more work than it’s worth. I would MOA right now.

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    • avatar

      csp March 19, 2013, 12:53 pm

      The picture I got, was that this is a great guy who gets defensive when he thinks she is only after his money.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 2:03 pm

        If that’s the case, which is totally possible, all he needs to do is stop spending money on her. He’ll have his answer in a week.

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      • avatar

        csp March 19, 2013, 3:57 pm

        I kind of agree with you. But a true gold digger would hold out for marriage and the safety net that brings.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 4:04 pm

        Good point.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones March 19, 2013, 10:19 am

    You do not want to continue to be in a relationship that is so difficult. For long term success, relating should mostly be easy. I got with my husband and knew he was the one when finally it was easy to be together and not so much work and stress.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay March 19, 2013, 10:20 am

    Everyone is assuming that the LW left out information because they can’t understand why this guy would get mad over flowers, but maybe he’s just a dick? I get that I’m stereotyping here, but it’s not that far-fetched to think that a rich dude in his 30s might be condescending to a middle-class lady in her 20s in a fancy big city. As a “traditional” guy, he may just be the type who has deemed women “high-maintenance” and “ungrateful” because that’s who he is and that’s what the guys he hangs around are like. (Disclaimer: I live in NYC, so I know the whole argument that making $250K or whatever in a big city isn’t that wealthy, but as someone who makes what the LW makes, I don’t subscribe to that belief.)

    Anyway, I think the LW should just MOA. Even if the LW were doing something wrong, he needs to learn to use his words about it instead of just insulting her.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary March 19, 2013, 10:22 am

      Yeh…I actually gave the LW the benefit of the doubt. Her boyfriend just sounds like a jerk with anger problems. Also, some people just aren’t compatible. Like their communication styles just don’t mesh. And sometimes not even therapy can fix that, they just aren’t the correct fit.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle March 19, 2013, 10:42 am

      Yeah, I think I’m with you…especially on the condescending part. She probably IS leaving some info out, but I can still get a pretty clear read on the type of guy this is.

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed March 19, 2013, 10:45 am

      One of the reasons I’m skeptical about the LW is because as Wendy said, how are those two examples causing all day fights all the time? Those are two days of the year…what causes the rest of the fights?

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle March 19, 2013, 10:55 am

        I have a feeling it’s more of an overall bad dynamic that presents itself most obviously around gift-giving times? If they’re really fighting as much as she says, the fights DO have to be about other shit, too. But I bet it’s all coming from the same place of, what, resentment? or something.

        (Sorry, that’s not very clear. Basically, I think this entire relationship is one, unfixable problem.)

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed March 19, 2013, 11:09 am

        I agree that this seems unfixable…and I’m not saying that I think he’s completely at fault. I think he’s probably an ass, but I don’t think she’s being completely honest. I think she’s leaving out things that would make her look bad that are relevant to the discussion.

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay March 19, 2013, 11:30 am

        Yeah, true. And if they all are money-related, it sounds like maybe they are just not able to overcome their differences in income. Seems like he may resent her for not making what he does, and she, well, I don’t know, whatever she left out of the letter.

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  • FireStar

    Firestar March 19, 2013, 10:21 am

    Something doesn’t add up. Nothing in what you wrote sounds high maintenance or ungrateful – so either your boyfriend is crazy and is making things up or you are leaving out the part where you are high maintenance and ungrateful. Listen – you are in therapy – bring it up there. “He calls me high maintenance and it hurts my feelings because all I told him is I’d love some flowers” and then your boyfriend can respond in the way he sees fit. But if you are having full blown fights every week or every other week then something is definitely off in your relationship. I couldn’t do what you do. Maybe once or twice a year I’m picking out which area in the back yard I’m going to hide my husband’s body but anything more than that is too exhausting.

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    • avatar

      Desiree March 19, 2013, 10:56 am

      “Maybe once or twice a year I’m picking out which area in the back yard I’m going to hide my husband’s body but anything more than that is too exhausting.” That gave me a good laugh, and I really needed one today!

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  • avatar

    Sasa March 19, 2013, 10:32 am

    My take home message from reading DW:
    “Happy couples are all alike; every unhappy couple is unhappy in its own way”.
    (Adapted from “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (Tolstoy))

    Reply Link
  • Lyra

    L March 19, 2013, 10:36 am

    Here’s my two cents on relationships and money…if money causes some sort of stress, the relationship won’t work. If retirement/savings goals are different it won’t work. If (like in this case) one person is defensive of their money, it won’t work. If one pays off their credit cards every month because it is important to them and the other maxes out the credit card, it won’t work. If one is a saver and one is a spender it *can* work, but ONLY if your end goals are the same.

    You might love someone deeply and have a really great connection, but unfortunately love really isn’t enough to sustain a long term relationship. Financial stability is important. If it causes fights and stress, it’s really and truly not worth it.

    I speak as someone who dated a guy who I thought was the one, but we were on the opposite sides of the spectrum when it came to money. He had thousands of dollars in credit card debt, I paid it off every month. He would spend spend spend and I would do everything I could to save. Close to the end of our relationship money was a HUGE issue. I was thinking of the future, but he just wanted to make himself happy with material things. He bought a new TV, an iPhone 5, an iPad, AND a pair of football tickets worth $500 within about two months. I got mad at him because of it since it was obvious to me he wasn’t focused on the future. He got mad at me because he was his “own man” and he said I was being selfish. I recently found out that he bought a brand spanking new car a month or so ago which I guarantee he can’t afford. Now that I’m with a guy who is on the same page as me financially I see that my ex was a MAJOR bullet that I dodged.

    LW, I guarantee these fights about money aren’t going to go away. Honestly, I would cut your losses now and just MOA. Unfortunately money can bring out the worst in people.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary March 19, 2013, 10:54 am

      Ugh, my college boyfriend was like this. So much in credit card debt. He would buy a new TV when he had money, and then 3 weeks later I would have to buy him groceries because he didn’t have money for food. But magically he had money for a new computer monitor. After that, a man being able to manage his money is one of my top 3 requirements for dating someone. I don’t understand how people spend money they don’t have on stupid material junk.

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      • avatar

        Desiree March 19, 2013, 10:59 am

        My high school boyfriend was like this. He would run through money as fast as he got it, buying gadgets/toys/etc. On Valentine’s Day he said he didn’t have enough money to do anything for me (after I had bought him concert tickets). Then a week later he bought his ex an expensive birthday present. That was the final nail in the coffin for that relationship!

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      • avatar

        AmyP March 19, 2013, 7:43 pm

        Valentine’s Day is only half-way through February, the shortest month of the year. Wow!

        (As a budgeter, I love February.)

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      lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 11:14 am

      I really wish I could put this to the test in a way, or had prior experience to agree, because it really seems like you are right about money issues in relationships being the kiss of death.
      I’ve never had the issue, and while I’m not an idiot with my money, I’m definitely a spender and he’s a saver, but its never been a problem for us.

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      • Lyra

        L March 19, 2013, 12:29 pm

        @lbh, I’ve seen spenders and savers work things out, as long as they have the same long term goals. I can be a spender too, but I’m smart with my money. I assume you and your SO have similar goals with retirement savings, saving for a house, and investments? That’s really what killed my last relationship. We were complete opposites financially and he wasn’t willing to even try to change any of his habits. My ex is a complete idiot financially. As in, he sees money that he has on his credit card as money he can spend. Plus he constantly “rewards” himself with material possessions for various things (new job, birthday, etc.). Like I said, he’s an idiot.

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 12:56 pm

        I think that’s when it works, like you’re saying. You can be a spender but not be irresponsible with money. Its all about a balance I guess.
        Yea, we have our own retirement accounts, etc. so we’re basically on the same page. Do I need a new pair of shoes, no, but I’ll buy them anyway. He wouldn’t. That’s the only difference really.

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle March 19, 2013, 10:40 am

    Sooo this is how it goes?

    Boyfriend: What would you like for Valentine’s Day?
    LW: Flowers
    BF: Okay

    Valentines day:
    BF: Here are some flowers
    LW: Thanks, they are pretty!
    BF: You are welcome and btw, you are so high maintenance and ungrateful.

    If so then RUN! That guy is bad news!

    If it is more like this:
    BF: Here are some flowers
    LW: Surprise, surprise, not like I was expecting more or anything.
    BF: You are so high maintenance and ungrateful.

    Well then be a little grateful!

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  • avatar

    Lily in NYC March 19, 2013, 10:55 am

    I found this very confusing. OP, I would like to know if you ever ask him to buy you things outside of a gift-giving occassion. For example, if you are out together and you see something you like, do you ask him to get it for you? If you are truly giving all of the info and he simply gets mad for saying you’d like flowers, then he has issues and it’s time to move on. If he thinks you are taking advantage because you pay for less expensive things like lunch – that’s total BS (on his part). I guess I don’t understand what his problem is if he is traditional and wants to pay – then why does he get upset? Does he expect you to fall all over him with gushing thanks because he pays more often? Does he get annoyed because you want to go to expensive restaurants on his dime? I just feel like we’re missing a big chunk of info.

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    • avatar

      Desiree March 19, 2013, 11:04 am

      “I guess I don’t understand what his problem is if he is traditional and wants to pay – then why does he get upset?” I have known tons of guys (*cough* Southern *cough*) who do this. They insist on being magnanimous and paying for everything, but then they immediately use it as a weapon if they are the least bit unhappy with their SOs. For instance:
      Girl: “Hey, honey, I would really appreciate more help with the laundry.”
      Guy: “I took you out to dinner last night. And last weekend. In fact, I’m always paying for what we do. I would think you could be a little more grateful about that.”
      This is the condensed version, but that’s the gist of it. I really wish guys like this didn’t exist, but omg they are so common.

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      • avatar

        Lily in NYC March 19, 2013, 11:18 am

        Oh, barf. Even when I’ve dated wealthy guys, I just don’t allow them to pay for most of our dates. I can’t stand that feeling of “owing” someone.

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      • avatar

        painted_lady March 19, 2013, 3:31 pm

        YES. My crazy controlling ex did something alarmingly similar to this. He would pay for everything, and he would bring me flowers unasked and gifts and things. Never mind that he always brought lilies, which were his favorite but I was violently allergic to, or that the jewelry wasn’t stuff that was even close to what I wear, the important thing was that he had spent money on me, and that meant I couldn’t ask anything of him or have my own needs, ever. He actually got angry with me when I explained I couldn’t keep lilies in my dorm room if I wanted to breathe like a normal person. And actually, most of the situations where I was accused of being ungrateful were situations where I didn’t want to have sex (because I was sore from the other times, or it was 5 am and I was asleep and didn’t get up early like he did) or I voiced discomfort with specific acts.

        Him: It would be really awesome if you ________.
        Me: That sounds awful and degrading. I’m not comfortable with that.
        Him: Really? I think it sounds hot.
        Me: Great. You go do it to some dude, then. I can’t do that.
        Him: I do so much. I try so hard. And it’s just never enough for you. It hurts so much when you reject me after I brought you flowers. Do you want me not to bring flowers?
        Me: No, it’s not that, I –
        Him: Because I feel like it isn’t reciprocated. Having that thrown back in my face hurts so much.

        In my defense, I was really young when I let that bullshit work on me.

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    • avatar

      MMcG March 19, 2013, 3:50 pm

      To some people it is tradition/courtesy, and to other douchecanoes it’s all about control.

      I find a good way to tell the difference (and why I would MOA in this case) is that the traditional lads will listen to what you want and adjust their giving accordingly, douchecanoes will insist on giving you what they want and then ram it down your throat as a symbol of their dedication and why your an ungrateful bitch.

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  • katie

    Katie March 19, 2013, 10:59 am

    There is either information missing or one/both of you is crazy pants. This letter makes no sense on its own.

    However, I agree with others that it shouldn’t be this hard when the relationship is so easy- I mean really, you two presumably don’t have to worry about money, you have no kids, ect- this is the carefree, easy part. I shudder to think what happens after the real hard stuff comes..

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      GatorGirl March 19, 2013, 11:33 am

      I vote both are crazy pants.

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        ktfran March 19, 2013, 12:09 pm

        I concur.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 11:05 am

    Your best friend should not be some guy your dating that you met a year ago.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar March 19, 2013, 11:13 am

      YES! I always wonder what did they do with the last best friend they had?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 11:16 am

        I almost died laughing at your choosing a burial spot in the year only once a year max. You Are Funny!

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      • FireStar

        FireStar March 19, 2013, 11:27 am

        Don’t laugh – this year it was under the walnut tree.

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    • avatar

      Desiree March 19, 2013, 11:36 am

      I’ve always wondered about that. It makes a lot more sense when people call their spouse or super-longterm SO their best friend, but not here in this short of a relationship. My fiance in many ways feels like a best friend to me, but I also have many awesome friends outside of my romantic relationship.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 12:02 pm

        Exactly, not have a 1 year relationship.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle March 19, 2013, 11:54 am

      I agree, I hate when people say this—it’s just like, A THING everybody says now & it has no meaning. Or else it’s the result of that “My lover must be everything to me at all times” mentality.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle March 19, 2013, 11:57 am

        With that said, I can probably accurately describe my boyfriend as “my best friend” but we’ve been dating over 3 years & he’s my main confidante (& I am his). But I also have, you know, OTHER actual friends, & I choose to call ~them~ my “best friends” because… I’m not dating them? I don’t know, it just seems cheesy to attach that label to a S/O.

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 12:01 pm

        OK, I’ll edit my comment a bit. If you’re together a very long time, sure, he’s like your best friend, but you also have actual best friends, right? Your bf or husband are just that, so I feel like its implied already. Friends don’t have other titles to use, so they are friends.
        I agree that my SO is like a best friend would be, and I’d probably tell him he’s a best friend, but my real best friends are my just my close friends.

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      • avatar

        Amber March 19, 2013, 12:36 pm

        My partner isn’t my best friend, he’s my partner.

        Just like I wouldn’t call my best friend my sister. or my mom my aunt, or whatever.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 March 19, 2013, 1:29 pm

        So peopel aren’t allowed to have their sister, mom, or aunt as their best friend, because they are already called something else? That seems pretty silly to me.

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:35 pm

        God dammit bagge. Did I not make myself clear the first time?! NO, one label per person is the maximum.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 March 19, 2013, 1:45 pm

        Yes you did, and I’m sorry! I just wanted to be a smart alec! is that how you spell that? Who came up with that anyway? I bet it was one of Addie’s relatives.

        Don’t hate me! I don’t hate you, well in real life I don’t, sometimes I internet hate you though.

        Amiright!!!!!!!!!!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:48 pm

        I think 90% of the dw commenters internet hate me a lot!

        But I am glad we cleared that up. Now get out there and get yourself a new best friend!

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      • avatar

        Amber March 19, 2013, 2:23 pm

        not sure where I said what people are or are not “allowed” to do…

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 March 19, 2013, 2:55 pm

        Yeah don’t know how I jumped to that conclusion…

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        painted_lady March 19, 2013, 4:00 pm

        Yeah, I’m the first snarky bitch to roll my eyes at the couples who are all, “We’re EVERYTHING to each other, lalala,” but then, Walter’s my best friend and has been for 17 years. We’ve only been dating 2 1/2. I mean, I have other friends, too, others that I consider “best” friends, but it’s just as silly to quit calling him that because we started boinking. If you get right down to it, as barf-worthy as it is, there are people I like hanging out with as much as him, but no one I like hanging out with more than him. Gross, huh?

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 4:05 pm

        🙂

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph March 19, 2013, 11:25 am

      YES! I still wouldn’t call my husband my best friend, maybe ONE of my best friends. But I have friends for 20+ years who I still talk to regularly even though we live in different states, they don’t get replaced in my heart so easily.

      I think this trope of ‘your lover must be your best friend’ is stupid. There’s already a label for your significant other, he doesn’t also need the title of best friend to prove that you aren’t just in love but LOVE. Get a grip and then get out more.

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      • avatar

        bethany March 19, 2013, 4:24 pm

        I totally agree. It makes me vomit a little when I hear people gush about how they “married my best friend”. Oh gag me already.

        I love my husband. He’s awesome. He’s one of my best friends and I’m happy to spend every day with him. But he’s not my best friend in a way that one of my girlfriends is. Not even close. Nor would he want to be.

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        SpaceySteph March 19, 2013, 9:40 pm

        Heh, bethany, now I’m imagining my husband and I spending hours on the phone gossiping about girls we went to college with and sexy movie stars.
        Yeah, there’s things you do with your best friends and things you do with your partner. Some of those things are the same, but some of them are very different.

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    • rawkmys0cks

      Sarah March 19, 2013, 12:38 pm

      I have three best friends. One is my best college girlfriend who I see multiple times weekly even if its just hanging at one of our apartments and talking. One is my best friend since I was 12 who I see every few months; when we get together we always pick up where we left off. And my boyfriend of a year who I have lived with for 6 months, see every single day, and who I consider my #1 confidant/supporter/funtimespartner. Best-friendship isn’t limited to one person…so I don’t get what you’re all so bent out of shape about. Or am I doing it wrong?

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 12:51 pm

        Well, I’m glad you asked, Sarah. Yes, you are doing it wrong.

        😉

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      • rawkmys0cks

        Sarah March 19, 2013, 12:59 pm

        Glad we cleared that up 😛 But seriously, its not like I go around saying to people “oh yes, he’s so wonderful he’s my best friend *gush*” but the truth is, that he just IS. And its completely possible to be dating someone or even to be in a serious relationship with someone who isn’t your best friend, so it’s not like it’s a given. Calling your partner your best friend doesn’t negate any of your other friendships either.

        I just don’t see why anyone would bother themselves enough to hate it or think its annoying or ridiculous.

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:05 pm

        Well I’m not like not sleeping at night over it, if that’s what you’re thinking.
        I kinda edited my comment above after Fab wrote hers. I just generally think that if you only know someone a year, they probably aren’t your best friend, but whatever works for some people I guess.
        Boyfriend/husband/partner = boyfriend/husband/partner
        Best friend = best friend
        Titles exist for a reason. If you are in a long termish relationship, then its presumed they have similar qualities to a best friend. But when he dumps you, you don’t cry on his shoulder, you cry on your best friend’s shoulder.

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      • rawkmys0cks

        Sarah March 19, 2013, 1:15 pm

        Clearly I wasn’t implying that you weren’t sleeping over it, but it obviously annoys you enough to post a snarky comment about it in reply to the LW.

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:21 pm

        Why does it annoy you so much that it annoys me? Are you the LW? Why are you getting so worked up about my opinion? I’m not the rule maker, just shared my opinion. You don’t have to agree.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle March 19, 2013, 1:27 pm

        ARE you the LW? (I was actually going to ask that with your first comment, not to be snarky, but because it did sound like maybe you were? With the timeline & all)

        Your partner absolutely CAN be your best friend, but the negative attitude towards that label likely comes from the abundance of people who use it without thinking. “He’s the greatest person, my best friend…” Sometimes people just throw that title on to illustrate their super special love, & it’s kind of grating. We’re most likely NOT talking about you or the way you think of your boyfriend. Everyone is just listing their observations.

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      • rawkmys0cks

        Sarah March 19, 2013, 1:42 pm

        Nah, I’m not the LW. The comments did bother me because I have been dating my boyfriend for a year and also consider him my best friend (and we live together, talk about getting engaged etc etc etc very typical relationship).

        I took it personally when I shouldn’t have, but I also wanted to add my perspective that you can call your boyfriend your best friend without it being this exclusionary (like I have no other best friends?) thing.

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      • avatar

        oldie March 19, 2013, 1:20 pm

        That’s just not true. My wife is my best friend. Same for my brother and a lot of married guys I know. The dumping doesn’t come into it. In a happy marriage, there is no question of dumping a spouse. Lots of other cases when comfort is needed and neither we nor our spouses run to a friend to cry on his/her shoulder.

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:23 pm

        What? Wtf did I start here? You don’t have to get divorced. You are welcome to have as many BFFs are you wish. You’re also welcome to cry on your husband’s shoulder. My goodness guys, relax!

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      • theattack

        theattack March 19, 2013, 1:28 pm

        LBH is a homewrecker!

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:28 pm

        Fa Realz! Sorry all. Just go about your business with all your BFFs.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle March 19, 2013, 1:29 pm

        Next, Rachel will be back on to call us all bitches 🙁

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      • FireStar

        FireStar March 19, 2013, 1:32 pm

        At this point I want to cry on someone’s shoulder. Don’t agree a boyfriend of a year is qualified to be a best friend? Super – you don’t have to! Now go home and tell your best friend how no one understands your special love.

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      • avatar

        Desiree March 19, 2013, 1:49 pm

        Your comments have made me laugh so much today!

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      • FireStar

        FireStar March 19, 2013, 2:05 pm

        😀

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      • avatar

        ktfran March 19, 2013, 1:55 pm

        That is awesome.

        And LBH, I still like you.

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 2:00 pm

        I’ve always liked you ktfran. You’re like my online BFF, not to be confused with my IRLBFF, or my SOBFF.

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        CG March 19, 2013, 1:38 pm

        I totally LOL’d at this. 🙂

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 March 19, 2013, 1:27 pm

        You can have more than one lable, and I do think my wife is my best friend. I have other best friends, but my wife is also my best friend. My best friends are the people I always enjoy hanging out with, know everything about me, and love me for it, and she definitely qualifies for that. This guy in the letter doesn’t sound like the LW’s best friend, because best friends don’t argue once a week so yeah I think she is a little dramatic with her word choices, but for others it really is easy for their SO to also be their best friend.

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      • avatar

        Amber March 19, 2013, 2:24 pm

        exactly

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    • sobriquet

      sobriquet March 19, 2013, 12:39 pm

      My boyfriend and I joke about this all the time. I think it’s ridiculous when people call their SPOUSE their best friend, much less someone they’ve been dating for a year.

      It’s a great drinking game while watching “The Bachelor”, though.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl March 19, 2013, 1:24 pm

      I don’t understand the argument that it’s dumb to call your spouse your best friend. I mean, in my world, a “best friend” is someone to confinde in, rely and depend on, and the person you want to hang out with and have fun with more than just about anyone else. I have 3 girl friends who I would label my “best friend” but then my fiance takes the cake over all of them. He is my #1 confidant and person to have fun with etc etc. There is just the added bonus of sexy time! We where friends before we started the romantic side of our relationship and heaven forbid if our relationship ever ended, I hope we could eventually remain friends. (Totally agree about the 1 year thing though)

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:28 pm

        I’m surprised this is such a big deal.
        There’s nothing wrong with it really. My SO has all the traits that a best friend would, but that’s because your partners are kinda supposed to have those traits. Right? Like its presumed that if he’s your boyfriend/fiance/husband, he’s probably your closest confidant, etc.

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:30 pm

        Your partner is usually in every case already your #1 Person, so I guess its redundant to me to say they are also your best friend.
        Does that make sense or clarify it a little?

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        GatorGirl March 19, 2013, 1:41 pm

        I guess I don’t get why people care what label is used. And your partner/spouse is you best friend that you have sex with so…

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:43 pm

        But can you see how its kinda redundant?

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        GatorGirl March 19, 2013, 1:46 pm

        Meh. It’s what ever. And considering the number of people unhappily married, sometimes saying best friend clears it up that you actually like them rather than are just legally bound to them.

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        lets_be_honest March 19, 2013, 1:49 pm

        Haha, fair enough then.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson March 19, 2013, 2:30 pm

      YES! thank you. It’s so dumb and annoying and really just makes me think they’re kind of pathetic. Like no one else will take you? Only someone that’s banging you considers you a best friend?

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph March 19, 2013, 10:24 am

    “He’s one of the most amazing guys I’ve ever met; he’s incredibly supportive and we usually have an amazing time together.”
    “It just seems the littlest things can turn into these huge fights, and we always end up talking about breaking up although we don’t.”

    “He’s my best friend and truly pushes me to be a better person.”
    “Case in point: he’s always asked me to tell him what I want for special occasions like Valentine’s Day and my birthday, then will turn around and call me high maintenance and ungrateful when I tell him.”

    Is today opposite day?

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph March 19, 2013, 11:02 am

      Ok, sorry had to let the snark out.
      In any case, he’s either a completely unbalanced psychopath and/or abuser OR she’s not telling the whole story.
      If it’s the first, MOA. If it’s the second, then it’s time to open up to at least your therapist- if not DW- about the real issues.

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  • avatar

    MISS MJ March 19, 2013, 12:30 pm

    I think the LW should MOA. It’s not totally clear from this letter what “high maintenance” means, but it is clear that this relationship is “high drama” and the BF seriously dislikes something about the LW. Maybe he’s just an asshole. Maybe she’s asking for pricey dinners and gifts and whatever else and he thinks it is overkill and feels used. Who knows? Doesn’t matter because if he’s an asshole, then he’s probably not going to change, and if she’s the kind of girl who likes nice things, places, etc., well, that’s probably not going to change, either.

    Look, I’m a “high maintenance” girl. I like nice things. I like nice places. I like nice vacations. I also work my ass off to pay for them myself. But my now husband has known that I’m “high maintenance” from the day we met, when I prissed that I don’t drink beer and wanted to leave the block party and go to a bar where I could get a drink that didn’t taste like piss. (For the record, I now drink some beer. Point to Mr. MJ.) Point is, my husband knows I am “high maintenance” and he knows that it can be a real pain in the ass, and he doesn’t care. He accepts it as part of who I am. And, because I have many qualities that – at least in his eyes – make up for my complete disdain of dive bars and anything that reeks of camping and my insistence on wearing heels everywhere, we are happy together.

    Not the case for this LW. Her BF doesn’t like her “high maintenance” ways. Unless she’s willing to change them, she should find someone who does. I’m sure he’s out there. But wasting time and money on a relationship that involves weekly blow-out fights and couples therapy after a year is just ridiculous. And thinking marriage and kids would be a good addition is just foolish. At best.

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    • avatar

      ebstarr March 19, 2013, 10:20 pm

      Doesn’t having a sense of humor about yourself automatically excuse you from being high-maintenance? 🙂

      Love the advice, though, and the anecdote about the beer.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet March 19, 2013, 12:35 pm

    If things really were that great in your relationship, you simply wouldn’t fight so much. People don’t fight for an entire day every week when they are happy and things are good. People get into big, blow out fights whenever they’re resentful. The fact that it’s happened so soon in your relationship is a very bad sign. I can understand going to therapy and working it out if you live together or have invested a considerable amount of time into your relationship and things are just now getting bad, but not after a year.

    There are a lot of details missing, but it doesn’t matter. If you have blow up, all day fights on a weekly basis, BREAK UP. End of story. Those huge, day long fights will kill a relationship. Move on and try to work on your communication skills (it takes 2 to have day long fights).

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  • avatar

    Sara March 19, 2013, 12:39 pm

    LW, We’ll need an update on this. I feel like I’m in the middle of reading a book because information and the story line are incomplete. Wendy’s guesses about the situation seem great, and I agree that you both need to sit down in order to hash out what you guys are really fighting about. It will be a tough conversation, but I think you’ll feel better after you have more information to make your “MOA or not” decision. Good luck!

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet March 19, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Also, is it tacky to ASK for flowers? Doesn’t that kind of ruin the sentiment? I understand having that conversation once to let your SO know that flowers are a thing that you enjoy, but is it tacky to specifically ask for them?

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary March 19, 2013, 12:53 pm

      Not if he asks what you want….

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      • sobriquet

        sobriquet March 19, 2013, 1:01 pm

        I guess flowers just mean something different to me. I don’t know, that’s why I asked.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle March 19, 2013, 1:08 pm

        I get where you’re coming from—if flowers are sentimental to you, then asking for them specifically kind of ruins it. But I do ask my dude, because most of the time I only want them for shallow reasons (i.e. the way my work is set up, I’m the one who receives people’s flower deliveries. So on days like Valentine’s Day, I want to kind of prevent my own disappointment by asking my S/O to send flowers to my job, haha)

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      • sobriquet

        sobriquet March 19, 2013, 1:23 pm

        Haha I can totally understand that. A public display of flowers is something totally different!

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ March 19, 2013, 12:33 pm

    I think we’re missing some information. Exactly what are these weekly (or bi-weekly? I can’t really tell since you say you’re “madly in love” for a week or so, then have a huge blow-out fight, rinse, repeat) fights about? Specific examples other than the vague flowers on your birthday or Valentine’s Day.

    If I were the one paying all the time, I would not want to go out more than 1-2x a week, at MOST. Preferably, 2-3x a month. Especially if we’ve been dating for a year. How often are you guys going out? How often are you two catching lunch together? Is it on weekdays or weekends?

    Stay in more, make meals.

    With such little good information, I’m going to assume that there is something stressing him out, whether it’s you or work, but I wouldn’t doubt it’s work. Does he have the right to lash out as he’s doing? No. Does it make sense? In a psychological way, yes. He can control his own purse-strings. Should he find a reason not to spend money, then good on him, and right now, making you out to be high maintenance (whether you are or aren’t is inmaterial) is as good a way as any. By calling you high maintenance, you may very well go out of your way to prove you aren’t. Cutting back on your own spending for luxury items (such as expensive make up, clothing, body/beauty products), not going out as much, not expecting anything for gifts and keeping your mouth shut when you get the expected nothing.
    He could be gaslighting you. Or, he could have a point and you’ve glossed over your own issues (we all do that).

    The fighting is what bothers me. If we go by the madly in love for a week, then fight routine – I’d say you’re fighting roughly every 8-10 days. That’s at least 3x a month. Do you want to fight THAT much, this early on?

    Maybe it’s time to skip the therapy and just admit it’s time to MOA. If this is his true personality and he’s only giving you a little taste of it, think of what it will be like when you have children and are married to him. If this is a temporary issue, don’t you think it would be better for him to work out his issues sans a supposedly “high maintenance” female?

    Take the initiative. Talk to him about the issues. If he blows up and says he wants to break up again, make it happen. It could very well be that he’s being an ass and hoping you’ll do the dumping, but seriously, if he’s going to play the “let’s break up” card, make him commit to his words. Don’t go back unless he has been in therapy for at least 18 months. Even then, I wouldn’t bother (personally).

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  • avatar

    csp March 19, 2013, 1:34 pm

    LW, The number one thing very wealthy people fear is that someone they love only loves them for thier money. It is why the inner circles are so tight and new people are greeted with suspicion. He will be loving and care about your and treat you well and something will happen that will spark the fear of a gold digger.

    More importantly, you talk about these random all day fights. You need to get to the root of the problem. I bet there is something consistant that is starting them. If you are fighting about little things then you are completely ignoring something huge.

    My husband and I have been together a decade. We almost never fight. The secret is that we are intune to each other. When things are starting to boil or one of us makes an off comment, one will say, ” hey, where did that come from.” or “What happened.” or “I think that came out wrong.” then we talk like adults. it is much better to get to the root of the problem then escalate. My other rule of thumb is “when voices are raised, all reasonable conversation stops.” So as soon as my husband starts to raise his voice, I will say, “I think we are getting to close to this. I love you and don’t want to upset you.” We both figure out what battles are really worth winning. 99.99% of the time, it is not worth fighting for.

    My guess with your fights is they start with you saying, “Do you want to go to that new fancy restaurant.” and he says. “you are so high maintanence.” and at that point. You should say. “let’s just do pizza.” You aren’t realizing that the fancy stuff is making him feel used.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark March 19, 2013, 2:06 pm

    LWs everywhere — if somebody brands you as high maintenance and you wish to dispute it — please include an example straight from their mouth. As well as examples about how you are not. Otherwise your letter is worthless as it is simply too vague to properly respond to.

    That said — almost EVERYBODY I’ve ever met who has been accused of being high maintenance, has… well, simply very much been been so… Meaning, I rather suspect that you slyly edited out the many real ways that you are being the demanding diva as they simply don’t make you look very good.

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  • avatar

    mmmCheesy March 19, 2013, 3:10 pm

    So, I’m late to the party, and a lot of your probably saw my story on the forum, but before we totally assume the LW is admitting lots of info, I just want to throw out the possibility that her bf is in fact a jerk and possibly crazy. This one hits WAY close to home for me, because it sounds a lot like what I just got out of. My ex never accused me of being high maintenance, but a running them in our relationship was how “ungrateful” and “unappreciative” I was. No one in my life has ever accused me of being these things, and I know in my heart it is simply not true. Keep in mind I offered to split bills with my ex every single time, never asked him for anything, and spent a few hundred dollars on him between his birthday and Christmas on very thoughtful gifts that he really enjoyed (we only dated 6 mos).

    Example 1: Ex books hotel room for a one-night weekend getaway. We email during the day, I say “Yay! I’m so excited, will be so fun!” I get home from work very late that night, feeling very sick. Ex calls me at 10pm and proceeds to berate me for an hour about how ungrateful I am because I didn’t call him right after work when had booked a hotel room. Told me that my getting home from work late and feeling really sick were “excuses” and “bullshit” and suggested that clearly the two of us can’t do things that cost money any more because I’m unappreciative.

    Example 2: Ex had been doing something that bothered me a little bit. I called him to talk about it. Not fight. Talk. We talked it out. Things are OK. Till a couple days later when he says I’m ungrateful and he “can’t believe I would bitch at him for this when I just paid $100 for dinner last night.” That I offered to split with him. And he refused.

    Example 3: He bought be me flowers after our 4th date. Really sweet, right? I loved it. I immediately thanked him profusely. He later told me how mad he was at me and how I’m completely ungrateful because I didn’t send him a photo of the flower and I only thanked him and mentioned it one time.

    Example 4: I’m not a “giver” because I would go down on him, when he wouldn’t do it for me.

    Conclusion: Some people have really effed up ideas about appreciation. My ex also had some really awesome (i.e. misogynistic) ideas about women and their place in the world, and I suspect his notion of appreciation is probably linked to that.

    So LW may be leaving out a lot. I agree with BGM that people accused of being high-maintenance usually are. But the accusations about appreciation really hit close to home for me, so I don’t want to write her off completely. If she doesn’t think she’s ungrateful, she should MOA RIGHT NOW. Its not gonna get any better. Actually, she should MOA anyway. If you have to go to couples therapy in year one, there is no way its gonna work!

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    • avatar

      Desiree March 19, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story. I made several comments above about guys like your ex. I have found that, like your ex, they are usually VERY chauvinist, which fuels their behavior. There is NO way to keep a guy like that happy, because nothing a woman does for him will ever be quite enough. I’m glad you aren’t stuck with him anymore!

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      • avatar

        mmmCheesy March 19, 2013, 4:40 pm

        Yeah, I definitely get the feeling that there is an innate sense of how women should act with these guys. And it involves a lot of ass kissing and pedestal placing. Like the minute you don’t think they are superfantasticamazingwonderful and wonder how you got so lucky, you are the problem. I don’t get it. Luckily, I’ve only ever met this one guy who is like this. But I have now learned that there are men out there who “don’t understand why men are expected to play the same role they always have but its not fair to expect women to do the same” and think that the only things men are looking for are women who are attractive and feminine, feminine meaning “like cooking and cleaning and stuff.”

        Needless to say, it didn’t sit well with this ungrateful, unappreciative attorney.

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  • avatar

    LW March 19, 2013, 5:19 pm

    First, thanks everyone for their advice. To clarify a few points, most of our fights are pretty random and really the only consistent theme seems to be finances (for example, we just got in a small argument about him not helping me with the home theater that turned into a huge fight-super random). I brought up those few examples but there have been other times where he’s said kind of the blue “I don’t make enough money for you to be happy” or “I can’t give you everything you want”. I’ve always reassured him this isn’t the case but feel it is a consistent issue for him. I’m happy with him other than the fighting!
    We go to dinner a lot, but mostly because he usually works until 10pm or is traveling and in a big city its just easier to go out (at his suggestion). He always asks me to pick the place (and I’ll even throw out a few differently priced options) because he doesn’t have time to plan it. I love cooking for him and offer all the time 🙂
    Thought the whole “best friend” discussion was a bit funny. Yes, he’s become a very close friend throughout our relationship. But yes, I also have other friends lol. I’ve always developed a close friendship with bfs because we spend a lot of time together but think it was odd people read so much into that.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 19, 2013, 6:04 pm

      Thanks that’s helpful….But let’s dig deeper: why on earth do you think he says out of the blue “I don’t make enough money for you to be happy” or “I can’t give you everything you want” — where are you when he says these things? What are you doing? Come on, let’s explore this.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 19, 2013, 6:08 pm

        Also, what exactly was the home theater fight about?! I gather he was not helping you…. but how did you approach him about it? What did you say? What SPECIFIC WORDS did you say?

        I am sensing that you are not very detail-oriented – and maybe a little whimsical and forgetful? About the home theater fight, I could see you without thought making a kind-of-mean comment like “geez, you never help me” / “you don’t care about me” and then kind of forgetting what you said and, after he gets mad, being all “whoa, geez, so weird and random, like this is just about the home theater, weird.” … That would drive me BONKERS!

        In fact, it’s so annoying that I am about to get in a huge screaming match RIGHT NOW! …. and then you’ll be all “geez, lol, it’s just DW, calm down.”

        OMG my heart is racing, this is nerve-racking!

        WE NEED DETAILS, WOMAN! DETAILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe your BF is the kind of guy who also just needs details. If I were your BF, I think I’d yell all the time too. … Sigh.

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      Zepp March 19, 2013, 6:27 pm

      I would say, if you want to get married and have kids one day imagine them in this family. Studies show couples fight the same amount before and after marriage, so this is the family life you’d be creating if you stay with this guy. Just something to think about.

      http://healthland.time.com/2011/10/21/argue-much-conflict-levels-in-marriage-dont-change-over-time/#ixzz1bS4QEc9e

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    • sobriquet

      sobriquet March 19, 2013, 7:15 pm

      Okay, you just left me with more questions! You say you’re happy with him other than the fighting, but WHY ARE YOU FIGHTING? That’s indicative of something deeper, unless your communication is just way out of whack. Are you attacking him without realizing it? Does he just get super defensive for no reason? Have you actually TALKED to him about why you fight? What exactly are you doing in couple’s therapy if not talking about that?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 19, 2013, 9:49 pm

        She’s the most absent-minded frustrating LW in all the planet. SHE MAKES ME START TO YELL MYSELF. SHE POPS IN, ANSWERS EXACTLY ZERO QUESTIONS, AND POPS OUT. ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS WITH SPECIFICITY YOU FRUSTRATING, FRUSTRATING, FRUSTRATING 25 YEAR OLD!

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        Addie Pray March 19, 2013, 9:53 pm

        i can’t take it. LW, the reason your boyfriend yells at you is quite simple – it’s because you are not detail-oriented. that’s it, there’s nothing else to it. i can’t believe we had to go through this, all day, to get to this very obvious, very error-free conclusion, but we got there.

        i for one feel a lot better. i hope LW does too. calmness has taken over me. we can all relax, pour a little vino, and flip on the TV. good night, all.

        sigh.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 20, 2013, 8:49 am

        Still no response from the LW? That’s it we are sooo over. I am breaking up with you.

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    • sobriquet

      sobriquet March 19, 2013, 7:20 pm

      Also, how do small arguments always turn into huge fights? You said it was super random, but how are you contributing to that? Is it just both of you snapping at each other until that turns into yelling and screaming and eventually ignoring each other?

      Please update us! I have 2 tests tomorrow morning and I’m in a procrastinating mood!

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  • avatar

    Meh April 16, 2014, 8:57 pm

    My dad’s 10 years older than my mom and he orders her around all the time
    But you’re 25 and you can support yourself.. I envy you

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