My Boyfriend Has Minimal Communication Skills And It's Getting Worse...

I am 25 years old and have been dating a man ten years my senior. He has two children from a previous relationship, but I love them and care for them as if they're my own even though I accept and understand that they never will be.
I've had the gasps and glares from people when I tell them all this so give it a second to sink in.......
Ok, so when I first met him 2 years ago I had been out of a 5 year relationship for 6 months. He seriously showed me the stars. He was everything I never knew I wanted but I fell in love almost instantly. He's responsible, loyal, and kind.
However, the longer I've been with him the more I realize how tightly wound he is and he never communicates with me about things like plans he makes that include either him or me. He is even worse at talking about things that bother him and especially things that bother me.
From the beginning he asked that we both always stay open and communicative. I agreed because I know that communication is essential. The last few months we've gotten in so many ridiculous arguments (always over the smallest or dumbest stuff) and it always goes like this;
-He immediately loses his temper, no matter how calm I am.
-He interrupts me so much and he says he never does.
- He either kicks me out or just storms out.
-He always "says words he doesn't mean" like breaking up and that it's my fault.
-He always makes me cry which makes it even worse.
-He says we'll talk about it later but we never do unless I bring it up.

His new thing he's been doing is accusing me of not liking his children and holding them against him. I have NO idea where this one came from. His kids and I have a very trusting and friendly relationship. They tell me more than they tell him, and when I try to open the door to communication with them he just gets the same closed-off way he does when we argue.

The pain is pretty bad. I am not religious but when he makes me feel this way I want to pray. It's bad enough that I feel frustrated and hurt but the worst is the loneliness. He cuts me off completely and then likes to act like nothing happened.
I know this is a lot to take in. There's a lot more to it but there always is and I just really need someone to talk to. I'm getting more and more used to the pain and I know that's unhealthy.
Simply put, I'm sad because I love him so much and all I want is for him to be happy. But when he's in a bad mood and he never tells me why, I assume it's me and it feels like this imminent dark cloud hanging over me. I always talk to him but I feel like I'm getting the poo end of the stick.
afriendinme afriendinme
2 Responses Dec 27, 2012

Welp, we broke up. I knew it was going to happen. I'm struggling between heartbreak and logic. Heartbreak tells me I love him and that he's the one but logic tells me it's just not going to work because I'm the only one putting any work into it. Let's hope logic takes over....

Breaking up always hurts but there are situations where NOT breaking up hurts even more. You can't always know what is going thru someone's head but when ever I find myself having the same argument over and over with someone I regard it as a warning that something is seriously wrong. That person is either unable or unwilling to recognize and/or accept what I am saying. Either I am failing to express my feelings clearly enough to them or they are not making sufficient effort to be honest with me in return. Some people seem to prefer the argument merry-go-round to the bedrock of reality and honesty. It can be hard to know whether someone has a mental illness or is just being dishonest with you which is a failing of character. Both are equally hard to live with. But you always know if something is not working regardless of what is the cause. You sound like your heart is broken. It also sounds like he has no heart at all. It looks to me as though he is not the one for you to start a family with. In time I think you will be glad you did not start a family with him. Let some time pass on it.

Thanks. He hit me with another shock a few hours after he ended it. I started thinking about how much I've given him and how much I love him and realized that he doesn't deserve any of it. So I let him have it and then with his hanging down and tears in his eyes he said that he doesn't want to lose me. I was just like "are you kidding me??!" This is too much. I'm not his punching bag. The thing that sucks is that I can see exactly where the problem lies and it's that he doesn't accept when I tell him we need to work on his communication. He says he doesn't think he needs any help but I've even suggested therapy before and he just looks at me like I'm crazy.
Anyway I told him that that wasn't fair to me. How do I know he's not going to keep doing the same thing every time? Every time it hurts and every time he takes it back. It isn't fair. So I told him I needed time to think since I had just spent the last few hours trying to grasp the outcome of this situation. I had already tried seeing his point of view and was trying to accept that it was over, only to have him pull this crap on me.
Well he kept calling and calling and I finally answered. His voice was cracking and I can tell he's in pain. He was apologizing a lot and saying he wanted to hang out and that he knew how I felt. Umm, no, he doesn't. I told him I still need time. Like, more than a couple hours. It made me sad to know that he's hurting but I have to remember everything he's said.
Do you think that if after a few days I set some boundaries and if he agrees to work on it, it could work out?
I just love him and his kids so much... but after all this I already feel like I can't look at him the same. This man I love finds it too easy to say hurtful things and then too easy to take them back.

I get the impression that he does not want to lose you but neither is he willing/able to offer you relationship on fair terms. It is up to you whether or not you take him back but I see nothing in what you have said so far to indicate that he is likely to change. I may be wrong but it does not seem to me that he wants the same relationship that you do. You are hurting because of lost LOVE, he is hurting because of lost ADVANTAGE. I agree that he does not deserve your love. He is the one who keeps changing his mind, not you. I also agree with you that a few hours is not long enough for you to come to terms with all that has happened recently. A few YEARS would not be enough for me. I'm sorry but I think this erratic pattern of behavior is unlikely to change regardless of what he says. He has already said so many different things how can you know which to believe and which he will 'take back'? It sounds like he wants the freedom to change his mind as often as he likes and that he lacks the capacity to stick with any agreement that he makes with you. I'm sorry afriendinme but from where I sit it sounds hopeless. This kind of relationship always seems to go from bad to worse. It has happened to me and I have seen it happen to other people as well. If you like I will pray for a miracle. Will that do it?

Haha no thank you. Sorry, I'm not really one from praying and I believe in well thought out solutions.
You're right, his behavior is erratic and he is ALWAYS changing his mind. It just hurts because I really believe he is the best one for me. Other than this garbage, we get along so well and rarely disagree on any big, important issues. It's the small stuff that leads to these crazy fights.
He does want the freedom, I can see that, but just a few hours to think about it made him change his mind.... I just wish I knew what the hell he was thinking...

afriendinme maybe he needs a bit longer to think about it. Like a few YEARS.

We've been talking about it for hours now. I would not call these crazy fights SMALL STUFF!!!

afriendinme where I live it is 6:00 am and i have not been to bed yet. I am falling asleep at the keyboard. I will reply again after I catch forty winks. It has been good talking with you but the body's need for sleep can not be denied.

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It sounds like the only thing you have in common with your friend is you both love him more than anything else. Unrequited love is a one-way street to nowhere. Apart from being a martyr to him what else do you get out of it? How would you feel if he simply left you without explanation? He never seems to explain anything else.

The thing is that this doesn't happen all the time but when it does, it always gets resolved but it just happens again the same way.
I always heard people say "when it's great it's great, but when it's bad- it's BAD" and that's exactly how it is with us. Sometimes I swear he has two personalities! I forgot to mention that part. I've told him that he seems like he's bipolar because most of the time he's super attentive, loving and supports me in everything I do. But when any uncomfortable topic comes up he acts offended and threatened. When it gets to that point it's like he's gone deep inside himself and won't come back till the next day. It's just so damn draining....
If he just left, well I'd be pretty confused, but honestly, that's how I feel every time he pulls this crap. His sister told me that it's the holiday time that does this to him but then I think that means he might be bipolar... crap.

You fell in love with him because he is responsible, loyal and kind? To whom? Certainly not YOU. Sorry, no offense intended. I just re-read your story and it stood out like a sore thumb. I have been in a one sided relationship myself and at the time I just could not see what was obvious to everyone else. She left me when she was ready to move on and did not bother to give a reason.

I feel like I've been tricked. It all makes sense with what you're saying but I just can't entertain the idea without bursting into tears. I didn't used to be so pathetic and needy. When our arguments get really serious and he does open up to me (like 4 times in the last 2 years) he tells me he loves me and that he wants to make our own family. That's the best thing he tells me but then when he gets all Jekyll/Hyde he makes me feel so unloved. It's two opposites I'm always getting. It's not fair to me and I tell him to which he'll agree.... but nothing changes.
I appreciate your honest feedback.

My partner left abruptly after about seven years and two kids together. During our last year together there was a big row every day and even today I don't know what they were about. I do know that she moved in with another man on the VERY SAME DAY that she left me. Communication is more than an exchange of words. Words can also be used to obscure real communication. My partner started a pointless fight every day because she was becoming involved with another man and did not have the spine to deal with it honestly. I knew him fairly well or at least I thought I did. I thought I knew her too. All the signs were there but I did not see them. They were clouded by my own insecurity and hope. False hope I am sad to say. The truth is that this person was not 'the one' for me. Life goes on. Better to have a broken heart than none.

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