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Is he manipulating me? or am I crazy?

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by avatar Kate 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #844050 Reply

    I’ve been dating this guy for like 9 or 10 months, and it’s gotten pretty serious. All along I’ve had a feeling in my gut that I’m being manipulated, but my evidence is so subtle that I can’t hold onto it long enough to form an opinion. It’s just a feeling that’s always been in the background. And it’s not like I think he’s cheating, I just think he’s influencing me in ways that benefit him… if that makes sense.

    I can’t seem to come to a conclusion on this.

    I have been known to be paranoid. In fact, I don’t always trust myself because my mind has played tricks on me before. My mood swings make me feel like an unreliable narrator in my own life, like I can’t trust my perspective on things intangible.

    Some mixed signals regarding commitment are the closest thing I have to any tangible evidence of manipulation.

    So, a little bit of background. The relationship is rocky. We’ve fought pretty regularly and have almost broken up numerous times, but we always talk it out and make up. I take responsibility for being the flighty one. Nevertheless, we’ve gotten better at communicating and after seeing all this effort we’ve put in and how much we’ve already grown, it feels wasteful to abandon the relationship when it has so much potential- even though quite often I find myself wanting to run away from it.

    Why do I want to run? Am I afraid of commitment or are my feelings legitimate? I really can’t tell.

    On to the mixed signals. They’re in regard to one specific topic. So he and I had been talking about moving in together for a couple months. He even said specifically if he landed a particular job that I should go with him. When he got the job he changed his mind and I was devastated. I felt rejected!

    But when I told him that it hurt me that he’d changed his mind, he said that although yes he talked about us moving in together, he never committed to the idea and holding him to it is putting too much pressure on him.

    Is this gaslighting?? He was the one who initiated the conversation about moving in together. Is it unfair of me to feel this way?

    Anyway, we’ve talked it out and he made good points- he’s older, so there’s a small gap in experience and maturity level (he’s 5 years older, but tbh I didn’t think that was a big deal); he isn’t wanting to rush into things when we’ve been known to fight; and I do have a financially solid living situation at home despite being very unhappy with it.

    In fact, when he originally proposed moving in together if he got the job, I privately thought it would be a better idea to wait. But I never shared this information because I didn’t want to disappoint him.

    He says he knows that I’m having a difficult time at home, but that running to him is not the answer. He wants me to be independent and live on my own without him first. But in the meantime, he says I’m welcome to stay at his place (an hour away) as much as I want. He says we should “play house” before we commit to living together.

    I can’t tell if he genuinely has my best interest at heart, or if he’s playing me.

    Sometimes it’s great, and other times it’s worse than terrible. Sometimes it seems like he’s more interested in talking about himself than he is in genuinely connecting with me.

    The one thing I can confidently criticize him on is his arrogance. Yes he has a good job, is responsible, is fit, and has good morals…but hearing him wax on about it can be so obnoxious. Sometimes I end up listening to him talk about himself for what feels like forever because, like, what am I supposed to say? I already suck his dick literally, I’d prefer not to do so figuratively.

    I’m so confused about this relationship. When we’re together, we’re happy best friends in love. But when I have some alone time to think about things, I’m consumed with doubts. Sometimes I just want to abandon it completely but I can’t seem to stick to that decision. Would I have so much doubt if I really loved him? Why can’t I commit to separating?

    I have an opportunity to teach overseas for a year, and I think that might be my solution. I think it would help me reconnect with myself and mature in a practical way. It might cost me the relationship, but I’m not sure that it’s worth it anyway.

    is leaving to teach overseas a way of running from my problems? Am I just a moody, spoiled, immature brat? If I was like this in my last long term relationship, am I the problem? Should I just be alone until I have my shit together?

    Thank you if you’ve read all this, your advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    #844052 Reply

    I don’t really think this sounds like manipulation or gaslighting. It sounds like neither of you are that sure about the relationship, it’s pretty problematic actually: You haven’t even been together a year and you fight regularly and get close to breaking up. You’re both correct that moving in at this point would be a bad idea. He probably suggested it thinking, maybe this could work, and then realized no it couldn’t. It sounds like he also thinks you’re not mature or stable enough to live on your own.

    But look, just the fact that you have all these doubts, and all the fighting, you should just break up. Go take that job if you want it. This isn’t the right relationship.

    #844054 Reply

    I have been known to be paranoid. In fact, I don’t always trust myself because my mind has played tricks on me before. My mood swings make me feel like an unreliable narrator in my own life, like I can’t trust my perspective on things intangible.

    Are you okay?

    I am kind of perplexed at you staying in a relationship in which you feel you’re being manipulated and in which you argue a lot. Relationships are not supposed to be fairy tales, but they’re also not supposed to be this dramatic. You don’t trust him. Him changing his mind about living with you (which you didn’t want either) isn’t him gaslighting you or manipulating you. People change their minds all the time.

    “Working it out” isn’t always a commendable act. Most relationships fail. Putting in effort to constantly fix things, or pretending to be okay with something you’re not into (so you don’t disappoint him) is not part of building a solid foundation for a good relationship. Working relationships are built on trust. You don’t trust him.

    Go teach abroad. That sounds exciting.

    #844055 Reply

    Based on your descriptions, this doesn’t sound like gaslighting. At best, he’s just a regular person who has mixed feelings (wants to move in with his girlfriend but also understands it may not be the right timing) and at worst, he’s kind of flaky. But his behavior is well within what’s considered normal for most people. The fact that you thought moving in together maybe wasn’t the right thing to do also makes it sound like perhaps he just came to the same conclusion a little later than you did.

    I do think that this maybe isn’t the right relationship for you. Fighting a lot is a bad sign. Plus, you list a lot of things you don’t like about him. If you can’t tell whether your partner is gaslighting you or not, then that is also a bad sign, either regarding him as a person or how you see him and the relationship. Why move in with someone that you think would manipulate you purposely?

    You may want to look into counseling, though. I don’t know how serious you are about the paranoia, but paranoia, mood swings, and having a lot of conflicts are signs of some bigger things. Even outside of that, it might be worth it to learn more about how you can understand your feelings, since you have trouble distinguishing between them. Just someone objective who can help you learn how to process your feelings and figure out if you are being paranoid reasonably or not.

    #844056 Reply

    I agree with everyone above that i don’t think he’s manipulative or gas lighting you HOWEVER he doesn’t need to be doing either of those things for you to break up. You don’t need a big monumental thing to end a relationship, the fact that you’re unhappy is enough reason.

    MOA and take the overseas teaching job* that sounds awesome and a great time to come into your independence.

    Before going over seas though, i suggest you look into therapy or possibly a mental health diagnosis if you really feel your paranoia and mood swings are extreme.

    #844173 Reply

    A guy once told me that we had created a relationship filled with toxicity that it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to overcome it and try to move on from everything to be happy together. I think this might be the case with your relationship. Go teach abroad and explore the world but also remember that it may make things worse being away from your family and friends and may cause anxiety. Sometimes it’s good to feel lost though, gives you an opportunity to reflect and realize maybe things just weren’t right which the definitely do not sound healthy right now. Leaving is not running away from your problems, it’s putting yourself first.

    #846276 Reply
    Casey Ervin

    I feel like I wrote this post, and I’m a little disheartened by a lot of the comments below because I too was looking for confirmation that I am not, in fact, just crazy or creating drama. But my gut says it’s not me. So just know that you’re not alone.

    #846279 Reply

    Casey I wouldn’t say anyone was suggesting that the OP is crazy and attracted to drama – rather it’s possible for two normal, non-crazy people to create a bad relationship that becomes toxic. That no one has the be main one at fault – either a master manipulator or a paranoid crazy pants. Sometimes a match between two good people is bad. Seems like that might be the case here.

    Of course she’s giving us a sliver of her life here, perhaps there’s more going on, maybe that she can’t even articulate, that if we knew we’d be like – oh yeah, he’s totally manipulating you. And of course we know nothing of your situation, it may be totally different from hers.

    But two totally normal, well meaning people can together create a really bad relationship.

    #846281 Reply

    I feel like “gaslighting” is sometimes stretched to cover every instance where people have a different take on what is going on. He’s not gaslighting her and she isn’t crazy. It’s a bad relationship that should end.

    #846312 Reply

    Making a promise and then changing one’s mind is not gas lighting. It would be gas lighting if he said that he never promised that to begin with. It sounds like he changed his mind (and his reasons are valid – moving in with a guy shouldn’t be part of an escape plan – it should be a purposeful choice that this is the right time and right person).

    Your description of him doesn’t sound like you actually LIKE him as a person. Maybe you like that he likes you?

    Don’t base your relationship on “potential”. The relationship you have now is the relationship you have. There is little chance it’s going to magically become awesome.

    #846314 Reply
    #846315 Reply

    Oh yeah, with the links to your other posts, you are not in a place to have a healthy relationship – with anyone. I also don’t think it sounds like a good idea for you to travel abroad at the moment, away from family and to a culture that is very different from your own. That could be even more destabilizing.

    I think you need to stay and focus on your mental health.

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