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.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
Lyra November 3, 2014, 8:49 am
There are so many things wrong with how your boyfriend is acting towards you, but the biggest thing was outright lying to you. And yet you want to go on dating him? Like Wendy said, there’s nothing that redeems him in your letter. There are much better guys out there.
Not to mention the fact that instead of TALKING to him you snooped in his phone not once, but twice. That definitely isn’t a sign of a healthy relationship. Think about it…instead of addressing your concerns you grabbed his phone and looked through it. That’s not ok. Next tie this happens in a relationship, TALK about what your concerns are. Snooping never works.
This isn’t worth it. Move on.
MissyC November 3, 2014, 9:43 am
And I would stress talking in person, as opposed to having a conversation of this importance over text or emails. If the distance is too much and you don’t want to wait until you have a free weekend, at least talk over the phone/Skype.
Lyra November 3, 2014, 10:07 am
Oh definitely. I have to say the ONLY time I was tempted to snoop was when the relationship was going downhill, and fast. If trust issues are leading either person to snoop that’s not good.
MissyC November 3, 2014, 10:15 am
Absolutely. I am sometimes using my boyfriend’s phone (he has some fun, mindless games and if we are waiting for a train it’s a good way to waste some time), but I have never opened any of his messages or emails. He has told me that he doesn’t mind if I read his messages but I have never felt the need to do so. And I never would — even if he doesn’t mind, to me it’s too personal!
something random November 3, 2014, 8:56 am
COME AND KNOCK ON OUR DOOOOOR
WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOUUUUU
This is going to be in my head all morning.
Dear Wendy November 3, 2014, 9:12 am
They just don’t make sitcoms like that anymore.
Dear Wendy November 3, 2014, 9:12 am
Or theme songs! Remember when TV shows used to have really catchy, fun theme songs? I miss that.
And I wish all these kids would get off my lawn.
RedroverRedrover November 3, 2014, 11:34 am
I loved Three’s Company, still do, but have you watched it lately? It’s really sexist. Like, Jack and Larry are always disappointed in Janet and Chrissie if they want to sleep with a guy, and they try to “save” them if they think that’s what the guy’s after. But then they go after the same thing themselves!
I still like it. It’s just disconcerting to see. I guess that’s how it was back then.
Addie Pray November 3, 2014, 11:45 am
All In the Family was my favorite. My dad and I used to watch reruns of it while I was in law school. So, so good.
something random November 3, 2014, 9:14 am
Lol. I’m keeping their ball!
fast eddie November 3, 2014, 8:30 am
Who and/or what he’s into, it isn’t you. MOA
FireStar November 3, 2014, 10:11 am
These letters are always sad…the ‘my boyfriend did something wrong and now I’m waiting for him to decide if he still wants me’ letters. Since when are his wants more important? YOU decide. YOU choose. When you went through his phone – surely you knew – and suspected – the possibility of him doing something wrong existed. What is the consequence for that? If all you care about is what he decides in your relationship – why look at the phone at all? Isn’t your opinion of what you found worth something? It is your life – are you trying for the role of best supporting actress? Or maybe you would like to sign up for the lead? You can only be in limbo for as long as you choose to be.
Lyra November 3, 2014, 10:20 am
I love this. I think too many women especially kind of sit back and wait for the guy to make up his mind and it’s sad. You can be the best girlfriend EVER but that won’t change how he acts towards you.
FireStar November 3, 2014, 10:25 am
I’m convinced there was some Jedi mind trick done on women somewhere in history that convinced them “if only”… if only I was the coolest girlfriend, if only I was more patient with slackness, if only I kept the house clean, if only I didn’t make any demands…then I win the prize…the prize of the loser boyfriend/husband. Ugh.
Diablo November 3, 2014, 10:51 am
“These aren’t the d-bags you’re looking for….”
FireStar November 3, 2014, 11:28 am
Lyra November 3, 2014, 11:00 am
Exactly! It’s bizarre to me. This weekend Navy Guy and I were having some pretty deep talks about our future as a couple and I was asking him if he was ok with my not-so-awesome personality traits…my ridiculous stubbornness and my occasional short fuse. Both traits are something I feel really bad about and it’s something that I’m constantly working on, but it’s not something I’m can change totally. I won’t ever NOT be stubborn. But he said he was totally cool with it and that it’s part of who I am and he loves me for who I am. Ummm…yeah, he’s worth it. 🙂 I wish I could go back and tell that to early 20’s Lyra.
RedroverRedrover November 3, 2014, 11:38 am
Thanks for spelling “bated” correctly Wendy! Apparently papers/magazines with full-time editors can’t even handle that anymore. See also: poring, fazed.
Dear Wendy November 3, 2014, 12:27 pm
Well, I make my fair share of mistakes. Luckily, my mom catches most of them before I publish them. “Bated” was one I actually knew, though I did look it up just to make sure I was right.
acastil5 November 3, 2014, 12:22 pm
“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.”
I really feel for you there, because I could have said the same thing a few days ago. Thankfully, he broke it off and I only lost two months. His behavior was not as egregious, but it did contain elements of ignoring/curt comments I didn’t like. Some people aren’t worth it though, and I have a feeling maybe you cut him more slack than ordinary because of his past alcohol issues. I know I did because he said he had a history of depression. (supposedly, he didn’t really call it that, but its what it sounded like) So count your blessings he’s out of your life, and all we can do is resolve not to make the same mistake again!
dolchela November 3, 2014, 1:11 pm
Wendy, The message you shared with this LW regarding the value of her time is so profound. I hope the LW uses these wise words to make her decisions regarding this relationship and future ones. We all expend so much of this precious commodity on people – family, friends and lovers – that are not worthy of the time we spend on them. I am copying that paragraph so I always remember your advice.
va-in-ny November 3, 2014, 1:46 pm
It took me a long time to realize that when I was in relationships and got to the point where I was telling myself that I couldn’t say what I was feeling, or thinking, or stating my concerns because it might cause the end of the relationship, that the relationship was already over. When I would be upset about something that happened, or didn’t feel the explanation given was good enough, I would always feel that I couldn’t continue the conversation because he might get angry again.. and in turn, I wasn’t respecting myself or my feelings.
When you start telling yourself “don’t push it, don’t start the argument again, just be nice and supportive” you’re doing yourself a disservice. He might be the most amazing person that ever walked this Earth – but you have to ask yourself, “Is this the kind of relationship I want? Is this the relationship that I deserve?”
This one, I think you need to let go. He’s not respecting you. And you aren’t respecting yourself by allowing this to go on. You should treat YOURSELF better than that.
Skyblossom November 3, 2014, 2:01 pm
We all have some responsibility in creating our own happiness. One of those responsibilities is choosing a good partner. Your boyfriend is behaving in way that prevents you from being happy in this relationship because he lies and sneaks and then says all men behave this way. They don’t. There is no good reason to stay with this boyfriend. If he was the only available guy on earth you would still do better by walking away. You owe it to yourself to move on because this relationship will only create unhappiness in your life. Why allow him to treat you this way? Why wait for him to decide whether he wants you? Why do you want him? Why haven’t you already finished this relationship? Take control of your life and choose to include only those people who treat you with respect. Choose to fill your life with better people, people you enjoy, people you trust, people you can rely on. You will control the quality of your life with the decisions you make. You deserve higher quality than you are currently getting.
mellanthe January 15, 2020, 5:22 am
REading messages is a last resort. You can have things that are private that aren’t cheating – say a friend confides things to you (like personal issues) that they aren’t ready for your partner to read? That said, if you’ve gotten to the point where there are serious concerns with evidence, I can see why people would go there.
It sounds like even if he’s not cheating with his flatmates, he’s picked them over you by hanging out with them every day, and also by lying about it . It’s unfair to expect your partner to never see their friends, but it’s understandable if you have concerns they don’t have time for you because they hang out with their friends so much that you can’t get a look in, even though you’re their partner.
To be fair, living with someone of the opposite sex doesn’t have to mean funny business- when I met my BF I was living – alone – with a heterosexual young man in the same broad age bracket. Zero chemistry; we were polite friends and just that. I wonder if my BF felt a little jealous (he never met the guy cos we hung out at his due to having privacy there), but if he did, he never let it get the better of him.
You can certainly have friends or live with someone without making a partner insecure – by putting them first and making it clear they are a big part of your life. It sounds like he isn’t able to do that for you, and you deserve better.