~Monday, March 26, 2007

One fugging downhill slope

"How's your afternoon going?" Jack typed through our IM system.

"My feelings are a little hurt," and I proceeded to tell him that an hour earlier our mutual friends canceled on us for other plans and that tonight when he came out with me, it would just be my friends and no one he knew.

"I'm sorry. That's not right at all. You know how worked up I get over stuff like this," he wrote back, not even acknowledging the newfound awkwardness of the night. "Do you mind if I give them a call to discuss this with them?"

I sighed, the anxiety and the hurt feelings immediately disappeared. He cared enough to want to help with the situation. He wanted to protect my feelings. Most importantly, I didn't have to shoulder the entire burden of everything anymore. Here was someone who wanted to help.

He had a good time Friday night. The night wasn't as fantastic as I planned: there was a different DJ and a decidedly smaller group, but alcohol poured freely into our glasses and he got to meet my closest friend. Another one of our mutual friends, E2--I got to know her last weekend when I roadtripped with her for St. Patrick's Day--came out with her boyfriend and was a flurry of fun. Overall, the evening was a success.

Saturday morning, it became apparent that Jack didn't remember the end of Friday night. He didn't remember us going to the scary grocery store in the bad part of town. He didn't remember us ripping our clothes off and how I got the gigantic bruise on my shoulder. He didn't remember the sex at all, which really embarrassed me, but he assured me he felt worse. "It's like hearing about someone else's sex life," he told me when I filled him in. He has a bad memory as it is, but he was really unsettled over the blankness of the night before. I tried to remind him that he drank more than me and that when tequila and Irish Car Bombs are involved, blankness is probably not that unusual.

Throughout the weekend, Jack pointed out things I needed to work on as they came up. I'm too competitive. I walk too fast when I'm hungry or in a hurry. I can't listen to a story without speaking "whatever pops into [my] head." It wears me down to constantly have flaws pointed out to me. To constantly feel like I'm not good enough.

When the bill came for dinner Saturday night, I offered to pay or at least to chip in. He refused. "I want to do good by you. I'm trying. I'm really trying." I smiled and kissed him and everything was right again.

I put in a movie when we got home. It was a long day shopping and doing some organizing at his place. I dozed a couple of times during the movie which is one of his pet peeves. I tried to put my head in his lap, just to be affectionate, and he lectured me that if I wanted to sleep, we should just go to bed. I didn't want to force him to stop watching the movie because I was tired, so I just sat back up. I nodded off on his shoulder and woke up gasping for air, to which he asked if there was something wrong with me.

He's hypercritical of me and it makes me afraid of him. That's why I was so afraid of falling asleep that I awoke with a start. He doesn't criticize me on anything important. I know better than to change somebody, so it's up to me whether or not I want to work on these things for him. It's nothing big, so maybe none of this is a big deal, but I don't want to cause myself so much anguish over someone who may not stick around. I honestly think people wouldn't be so hard on me if they only knew how hard I am on myself. That I take criticism to heart. I really want to please people in life because I have so few people to please.

That pretty much set the pace for Sunday morning. He had been away from his place for too long. However, instead of getting up and leaving, he just sat around and complained about it. I didn't really know what to do. If he wanted to leave, he should have left. Instead he told me how he wanted to go home and recharge. How he gets grumpy if he doesn't spend time alone. I'm not his keeper. I didn't try and keep him there. He even complains that I don't try to keep him when he wants to get off the phone. Anytime he said, "I need to go home, " I said, "Okay." I don't know what his problem was, but he hung around for another hour, telling me how he didn't want to be there. I tried to get him to smile and he said he doesn't smile much. It just make me feel like I did something wrong and he completely dragged me down with him.

I understand the need to be alone. I need to restock the food in my apartment. I need to pay bills. I need to catch up on my movies so Blockbuster will quit calling me. I just wish he would have left when he originally wanted to instead of getting all foul about it. When he finally walked out the door, I was deflated. Instead of smiling over the good times (and there were a lot of good times), I sat on my couch and fought back the tears.

Against my better judgment, I called Jack before I went to bed that night. He clearly didn't want to be on the phone, but I just wanted to see if he was in a better mood after spending the day alone. He said he was, although he didn't sound like it, probably because I called him. Because I can't do one thing right. He did try and make small talk, but it was me who felt small. Jack said in the future we should only spend one weekend night together, which is fine with me because I have my Friday night thing anyway. I told him as much.

Maybe slowing things down will be better until we can actually handle each other's personalities. Or maybe this is the beginning of the end. I have a birthday coming up and I'm about to finish my paper diary and either one always results in a breakup, let alone both of them combined. I don't know what's going to happen. If things are going to end, maybe they should just end now before feelings are involved.

E2 told me to be careful. That he broke her friend's heart. I told Jack this the night he doesn't remember and maybe that's a good thing. That way he won't remember telling me he knows I'm scared but he really likes me and plans to stick around.


Drama Queen said...

I don’t *want* to dump a whole load of unsolicited advice but. . .

Do you think he should be trying to change you so much in the beginning?

Should a weekend together really be too much? Is not that time when you can’t get enough of each other?


‘I honestly think people wouldn't be so hard on me if they only knew how hard I am on myself. ‘

This is exactly me, which is why BF works so hard to never upset or criticise me. He knows I’ve been there and done that. He hates the hard time I give myself and works hard to protect me from other people’s criticisms.

And when I fall asleep on BF every time we watch a movie. He hugs me in tighter and pulls over the blanket. And I get a full update on what I missed in the morning. . .

You sound like a wonderful, intelligent person and you should surround yourself with people who think the same.

Love shouldn’t be so hard.

Miss Natalie said...

Sweetie, sweetie, sweete.

Inadvertently sabotaging a relationship. I know how it's done, I'm really good at it too.

You know what you really want to do, its deep down inside and may be uncomfortable, may be ugly. the alone time is needed, ensure you make good use of it.

Follow your head, not always your heart.

I second drama queen's Love shouldn't be so hard. But nothing good happend without hard work

Sorry, this comment is entirely contradictory - good luck, let us know :-)

Drama Queen said...

Defo it does require hard work. And total dedication to the cause but not so soon into a relationship. He should still be making you feel like a Princess. He should still be in awe that you want to be with him. He should NOT be leaving you crying alone at home. And I guess my hard I mean ‘tough’. Something good shouldn’t make you feel so bad.

Vince said...

Whoever you are and whoever he is, a list of changes shouldn't be required. Either you're good enough for each other as is, or you're not.

That's not to say compromises are unnecessary; "good enough" doesn't mean perfect.

It sounds like "good enough" doesn't describe him though... perhaps give it a chance, but keep in mind that it is indeed going downhill at the moment.

Good luck...

nicole said...

i know how you feel. i occasionally go through periods like this with my boyfriend. one night he listed off a ton of things (all minor) he thought i could do better or different. and even if he was right, and they were things i could stand to improve, at the end when i felt miserable. he didn't quite understand, and said that surely there were things that i thought he could change. but i just said i would never sit and list all his faults to him. i'd feel horrible to do that. i don't think he's done it since.

that said, there are more good times than times like that. every relationship has it's ups and downs, and for me, it just has to do if there are more good ones to overwrite the bad ones. so...i hope things start to go back on an upswing for this relationship, if he's the one you want to be with.

Two Drink Girl said...

He's to much work. Too Difficult. Dump his ass.

copasetic fish said...

ah darling. careful there. he seems overly critical to even the most forgiving observer and i'm sure it's 30 times worse when it's all directed at you. don't let him tear you down.

Anonymous said...

On the one hand, I think that he should be happy to spend as much time as possible with you. On the other hand, everyone needs their alone time.

With respect to your "flaws", I have to wonder about the context. A lot depends on how he says that stuff. I mean, it's ok to tell someone what they do that annoys you, but it's not ok to give someone a laundry list of things that they need to do to be worthy.

I'm left wondering how "into you" he is. But I guess that's the point; he's been sending mixed signals all over the place.

Bottom line: I agree it shouldn't be this difficult in the beginning. I also think that you shouldn't compromise too much in the beginning of a relationship. If you let this stuff slide now, you'll just cause yourself more pain when it doesn't work out later and you're even more emotionally invested than you are now.

Phil said...

I"m as confused as you are Sarah. I'm finding his behavour a little passive agressive. Maybe I'm reading too much into this.

Jen said...

Reading this post I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I think he is being over critical...he should be happy you are comfortable enough with him to fall asleep in his lap. Tread carefully.

M said...

what guy isn't thrilled with a head in his lap? ;)

But seriously this whole thing confuses me greatly. He's saying one thing (wanna be with you, wanna do right by you etc etc) but then his actions are being contrary by cutting you down. Which are you supposed to listen to?

What about you with him? Are you critical of his shortcomings? Do you flatter him? How do you react when he tells you this?

(I'm a fast walker too btw - not really long distance, but I gun it around the supermarkets and from place to place. Next time he tells you to slow down, ask him why he can't keep up!* ;))

*jk, don't ask him that - that question would be gearing for an argument.

blue said...

Hey honey, I have to say that I really agree with everyone here who are telling you to be careful and pointing out that love (while it may be hard) is really supposed to be a huge barrel of laughs in the early days. I have been a bit confused by him the whole story but when I read this:

"He's hypercritical of me and it makes me afraid of him. That's why I was so afraid of falling asleep that I awoke with a start. He doesn't criticize me on anything important. I know better than to change somebody, so it's up to me whether or not I want to work on these things for him. It's nothing big, so maybe none of this is a big deal..."

it made me feel very uneasy. You two are in the early days - this is the kind of writing I would expect from someone coming to the end of a relationship. It worries me that you justify his criticisms because they are not "on anything important". The alarm bells are sounding because I just fear it is only a matter of time until he starts on "more important" things.

I think a part of you is hoping that we will all leap to defend his behaviour. Maybe he really is a nice guy but this is what I see:

A man who appears very charming but is actually insecure. He asserts his place by making you insecure. He is lovely and says all the right htings and hooks you in. When you start to need him, he plays with you somewhat to drive down your sense of worth reinforcing your need. And the cycle starts over.

But this is just one percerption and I am happy to be wrong xx

Drama Queen said...

Well said Blue. I do hope we are wrong.

Sarah said...

Drama Queen- I was wondering if it should be this difficult in the beginning. He never threatened that I have to change or else, it's more like a running tab he's keeping.

Miss Natalie- Ooh, am I doing that again?

Drama Queen- It is confusing because he is filled with double speak. I do agree with the Princess thing and he is like that too sometimes. I just don't know which one to believe.

Vince- I agree. Funny thing is my friends I told are familiar with these faults, but they just go with it and bring the conversation back to where it was supposed to be instead of pointing it out and refusing to continue the story as a punishment.

Nicole- WHY DO MEN DO THAT? In high school a couple of boys would sit me down about once a month and list all my faults to me so I could better myself. I still hate them.

Two Drink Girl- He is difficult, but the word I'm going with at the moment is "quirky."

Copasetic Fish- Thanks. It's not all at once, just as he thinks of them. But when I start lumping all of them together it feels like I can't do anything right.

Vinca Pervanche- It wasn't a laundry list. Some he told his roommates while I was there, some he tells me as they come up. So in regards to your opinion, it isn't wrong at all.

Phil- Even the mens are confused?! ARGH!

Jen- I should have known better about the sleeping thing. He does the same to his sister.

M- HA! Where are you when I need you?

I think I said once that he complains too much. I wonder where I got that idea. He fully agreed with me and made a conscious effort to cut it out. Towards the end, I started getting defensive with him and he just added that to the list, I'm too defensive. He didn't see a reason for me to get that way, so I'm inclined to think he never meant any of it maliciously.

Oh believe me, I almost asked why he couldn't speed up a few times! :)

Blue- N said the exact same thing as you almost word for word. What I didn't put in my story that I told her was that he started complaining so much about going home that I went on my day as if he wasn't there: I began to wash the dishes and pick up the bed linens. I made lunch for myself and ate it right in front of him, all while he was watching. She thinks that he wanted me to protest and need him and when I didn't, he tried to drag me down (subconsciously of course) until he felt needed. But we're girls, so what do we know about the male psyche?

Thanks for the concern, I really appreciate it :)

Drama Queen- She's great, isn't she?

pink jellybaby said...

take it slow, back off a bit, get your life back going how you want it to and let things run with him

it might be that you're trying too much too fast and it's all getting a bit smushed up.

just make sure that you don't give up on living your life and then if things do go wrong, you won't be left wrong footed xx

Walter said...

If things are going to end, maybe they should just end now before feelings are involved.

Feelings are already involved, I just wish they weren't yours.

Venting said...

I'm with PJB on this. Take a step back - enjoy his company and see where it goes.

Reading about him not going home made me think that he wanted to go home, but part of him wanted to stay with you.

I go through this all the time. I want to go home cause I am person who desperately needs alone time, but when I'm with McDreamy, I don't want to leave.

About him telling you your faults? I don't know. I think it's a bit odd (or quirky, if you like that better). I think the only thing McDreamy's pointed out (in the last 8 months) is that I need to relax a little more (which I do), and even that was in a context where we were having a discussion about it, not over dinner at a restaurant.

Maybe some space will give you room to put stuff into perspective...

Sask Mom said...

Hey Sarah, I got to thinking on my drive home about your entry and I wonder if he isn't feeling panicked because he feels it is going too fast and is trying to regain some control over it. Your previous entries sounded like you guys were really hitting it off and maybe he is scared that he is falling too fast for you, maybe losing his identity as he gets closer to you.

Maybe he was having a really bad day and wanted you to insist that he stay. Guys can be like that. Reverse psychology and all that!

I am not a therapist or anything, it was just a thought I had!

I agree with everyone that you should tread carefully. Good luck!

dont eat token said...


I'm guessing he doesn't realize how hurtful picking is. I used to do it all the time. It's a bad habit and can be hard to break. He probably picks because he's hard on himself too.

I'm sorry you're feeling down about it, it's his character flaw and you don't need to change because he points shit out! You don't deserve it.

Raise an eyebrow and ask him if you can be yourself for a day, without the cheerleading.

Leo boys can be difficult! But really caring.

James said...

Loads of good advice here, way better than I could offer. Look after yourself Sarah.

Sarah said...

Pinky Baby- Oh I've learned those lessons the hard way. Never again.

Walter- They aren't too involved though.

Venting- You know, I sort of thought that too.

Sask Mom- I honestly don't think he's putting as much thought into the situation as I am. We talked last night and I'm going to see him tonight at a birthday party, so we'll see.

Don't Eat Token- Oh he is so difficult! I don't think he realized it bothered me as much as it did.

James- Thanks, and I will :)

retrospectical said...

Hello. I'm new here. I couldn't stop reading the post, as it brought back loads of memories. I have been in the situation where I changed so much about me at the beginning of a relationship, after complaints, because they weren't big things and the relationship was so much more important. And then it began to eat away at me. I realised this far, far too late to make changing it easy, and it was then a real, but important battle, to gradually claw it back. I quite honestly began to lose my identity.

NeverEZme said...

I don't think anyone should try to change someone to what they think they should be. You are what you are take it or leave it. If it was me I would not have minded if you fell asleep in my lap while watching a movie. We still would have been together.
I had an ex girlfriend try to change me into what she thought I should be and after we split I didn't really know who I was for a very long time. Sorry for the unsolicited advice.

londongirl said...

It all sounds quite exhausting to me. Trying to be a person he wants you to be, rather than him enjoying the person you are.

But I think the best judge of a relationship is to think about how you feel when you're with them. Happy? Contented? Does he bring out the best in you?

general_boy said...

Hmmm... I sorta must agree that the changing you thing is not all that nice. Was he really that direct? Is it possible you're seeing it from a darker position? It's hard to know, not being there and not hearing the tone, the intent. I do wonder though if maybe it was a bit too intense too soon ( totally in his mind... not a true reflection of the situation ) and giving him some slack might give him pause for thought.

My other half falls asleep in movies all the time, and I must confess feeling a little ashamed that it once bothered me. I've since learnt a lot... and these days I love all those things.

You can't pick and choose what to like and what to criticise about someone you love.

Malnurtured Snay said...

Be careful?

Sarah said...

retrospectical- I've had that happen to me not once, but twice. One time I even ended up on a golf course for a guy. Never again. I'm glad to know that there are people here to keep me in check though.

NeverEZMe- I've never been with someone who hates it so much before. In the past the guys always thought it was cute because I'll never admit to sleeping. I don't want to lose who I am either, but also I think that things like sleeping through every movie is not what makes me me. When I stop pursuing knowledge and when I stop being free-spirited and silly, then I stop being me.

London Girl- He's the first boy in about three years to be attracted to me through my wit and my brains. That makes me feel fabulous.

General Boy- As far as changing people go, I am of the belief that you originally like someone because of who he/she is and why would you ever want to change that? You were drawn to him/her for a reason.

After almost a week of thought, I have decided that perhaps I did read it from such a darker perspective than he intended.

Malnutured Snay- I will :)

Elaine said...

Whether he's this or that is only marginally important. I've been in that boat with a criticism monger and believe me, it just gets worse. I'm troubled by your willingness to just let him ride over you. I say cut your losses. You are repeatedly unhappy and confused. If it were me, I'd give him up.


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