- This topic has 13 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 4 months ago by Redgirl.
June 4, 2021 at 7:49 pm #1090353AnnGuest
I recently broke up with my first boyfriend. I broke up with him because most of the time when I asked for space (be it alone time, spending time with friends, running errands, etc.), he would get insecure. He would say things like, “You gotta do what you want, BUT I don’t understand why you need alone time while I want to spend more time with you.” Mind you, we did not live together, this was my first relationship, and I was spending pretty much all my free time with him. Additionally, in the beginning, I asked if we could slow things down physically and emotionally. He said “We can, but I just got comfortable with you, and slowing things down would probably make me uncomfortable again.” This kinda stuff really confused me. In an effort to show him that I did like him, I would try to spend every single night (and most days) with him to quell these insecurities. I also didn’t make another effort to slow the relationship down. I didn’t want to invalidate his feelings.
(Note! I tend to worry quite a bit about what other people think. So I chalked up a lot of my needing space to worrying about what my housemates thought about how much time I was spending with him. He said I needed to work on this for the relationship to work. I felt so guilty—I would say things like “You don’t deserve this” because I felt so confused as to why I couldn’t simply Love him the way he needed me to (Side note: I now know this type of phrase is toxic!!). I agreed with him, and tried to spend time with him regardless of what my housemates said/did.)
I know and recognize that I should have stuck up for myself more. When I confronted him about the space the final time (I had approached him about it many times before), I asked him to trust that I liked him, even when I took time apart from him. He said something like “How can I trust you when I ask you if you’re okay, and you keep saying ‘yes’ when you’re really not?” (i.e., not telling him I need time alone). I broke up with him the next day. He told me he was going to have major trust issues.
Throughout the course of our relationship, I began to doubt my feelings. At first, I felt so connected, but after he began questioning and doubting how I felt, I began to do the same to myself. Here is my biggest worry:
Did I accidentally gaslight him? Because I DID begin to doubt my feelings, but I kept trying to tell him everything was okay. I am truly horrified to think that I might have given him trust issues.
I hadn’t talked to anyone about these intricacies of our relationship. Not my parents (because I wanted them to like him/have an unbiased opinion of him), not my friends or housemates (because I wanted them to like him AND my boyfriend wasn’t the biggest fan of them). When I finally spoke to my friends and family about it, I felt so incredibly relieved. I think, at the end of the day, it was the correct decision to break up no matter who was at fault. I just don’t want to bring any toxic habits/traits into any future relationships I have.
Thank you guys!June 4, 2021 at 9:00 pm #1090355golfer.galGuest
Your gut was telling you something was very wrong, and it was right. Signs that you are in an abusive relationship include:
Isolating you from your friends and family
They “don’t like” the good people in your life- especially people who might tell you they’re worried about you because of what’s going on in your relationship
Feeling like you need to lie about the reality of your relationship because if you tell the truth the people who love you won’t like your SO
Baseless accusations you aren’t committed or aren’t being faithful
Someone insisting you spend all your time with him and only him
Someone who ignores your clearly stated needs
Someone who claims to have trust issues (from you not spending every waking moment with them)
Someone who tries to get you to commit and get really serious too fast
Someone who makes you feel responsible for their happiness and stability
Feeling like you can’t be honest
Someone who uses guilt to control you
Run fast and far from this guy. Block him on all platforms because he will try to get you to go back. Listen to your gut. A good guy wants you to have your own relationships and a full life. Learn to recognize these signs and next time leave sooner. Don’t stick around because it will get worse, not better.June 4, 2021 at 10:11 pm #1090357ele4phantGuest
You were definitely not the toxic one.
This guy has all sorts of red flags.June 5, 2021 at 6:52 am #1090368OracleGuest
Burning red flags all over the place. Learn from this.June 5, 2021 at 10:16 am #1090371HelenGuest
This guy is a walking red flag. In the future if a guy tells you they have “trust issues” fucking runJune 5, 2021 at 10:28 am #1090372ktfranParticipant
Definitely this guy is a red flag.
LW, I think you have a little work to do. I get it. I’m a people pleaser. I don’t like the thought of letting people down. But you can’t let your people pleasing ways get in the way of listening to your gut. This guy used that against you. He invalidated your wants and feelings fully knowing that you’d acquiesce.
For people like us, it takes a lot of practice to speak up and stand strong. I promise you, you’ll be happier once you do in all of your relationships.June 5, 2021 at 11:45 am #1090376bloodymediocrityParticipant
Ann – this guy sucks.
This bit right here…
“Additionally, in the beginning, I asked if we could slow things down physically and emotionally. He said “We can, but I just got comfortable with you, and slowing things down would probably make me uncomfortable again.”
If anyone ever says anything like this to you, tell ’em to hit the pavement.
I’m glad you’re being introspective and trying to determine if you were actually somewhat toxic, but as things are presented here you’re good. Most people who are toxic don’t wonder if they are toxic.
Your main concern was the fact that you were dishonest with him about having second thoughts about the relationship and wanting alone-time. But you were only dishonest to prevent him from blowing up and guilting you. Most anyone in your position would have done the same.
Expunge whatever guilt you are feeling about this. You did the right thing in a reasonable manner. Your only mistake was waiting too long to do it. Don’t feel bad about “leading him on” or “hurting his feelings”. This fool did this to himself by being manipulative and approaching emotional abusive behaviors (it’s a very short leap from “I don’t want you to have alone time” to “I don’t want you to have friends”.)June 5, 2021 at 2:19 pm #1090378FYIGuest
In answer to your question, here is one of many, many warning signs that you can heed in your next relationship.
You: “Can we slow things down?”
Him: “We can, but I just got comfortable with you, and slowing things down would probably make me uncomfortable again.”
You (ideally): “SO?!?! Why should your discomfort take precedence over mine? My feelings have absolutely equal weight in this relationship. Bye.”
This guy is bad news. King Baby can’t feel a little uncomfortable? B.S.June 5, 2021 at 2:35 pm #1090379anonymousseParticipant
I think everyone had said the best advice already, but I really urge you to do some self reflecting on how much of your comfort you’ve disregarded because of what he wanted. What he wanted was not more important than what you needed. Please work on building up your confidence. He gaslit you! He had you questioning your feelings and thoughts.
I’m concerned that after all of that, you are still wondering where you went wrong. You did do one thing wrong, you stayed when he exhibited all the red flags. Also, tell your friends the truth! Seriously, why would you protect some guy over getting real advice from the people in your life. If they’d be biased, you know there’s a reason to be.June 7, 2021 at 8:04 am #1090408Dear WendyKeymaster
You did the right thing breaking with this guy and you should feel proud of yourself for making the decision, despite the anxiety you feel about hurting your boyfriend or feeling judged by others (and the tendency to feel this kind of anxiety is something you could work on with a therapist! That would be really helpful). Your now-ex is the toxic one and, as pointed out by others, his behavior was like what we’d expect to see from an abuser grooming his prey. He was working on isolating you from your friends and family and making you feel responsible for HIS feelings and comfort. Making your partner comfortable at all times is not your job. Like, at all. You did the right thing removing yourself from this toxic relationship before it affected your other relationships and your self-esteem. Now, don’t spend another second worrying about this guy. His issues are NOT your problem!June 7, 2021 at 11:08 am #1090414BittergaymarkGuest
No, no, no. You are in no way toxic. I suspect instead you are rather exhausted. Why? Because he was incredibly exhausting!!!
The amount of “space” you needed seems pretty healthy to me. Pretty normal. Pretty grounded, too.
Yeah. Rest easy. The only gaslighting I see here is him somehow managing to convince you that you were somehow toxic.June 7, 2021 at 11:10 am #1090415BittergaymarkGuest
Also —- when anybody you are dating is threatened by your friends and expresses this by not liking them?
HUGE RED FLAG.