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Divorced and dating again. New boyfriend seems to be extremely stressed out by the quarantine among other things - all outside of his control. My intuition tells me that there is more to it, but he won't tell me. The gist is that he takes his stress out on me often, but he is a good guy. Maybe a bit selfish, I guess. He snaps a lot right now and at some times puts me down and we tend to fight a lot since quarantine. Actually, some times I think he's itching for a fight - then he's fine the next day. I'm the type to dwell on it for days afterwards and he's the type to just move on. Did I mention we have been working from home together? I'm thinking we need some space. Any advice on how I can help him with this stress? What words of encouragement can I give him?
 

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@bscotth908 ,

Pretty much your entire post is red flag after red flag. Let's go over it:

Divorced and dating again. New boyfriend seems to be extremely stressed out by the quarantine among other things - all outside of his control.
You use the term "new boyfriend" so I assume you two haven't been dating that long, aren't engaged, and this is relatively the beginning part of your relationship. This quarantine time is stressful for some people, and yet when a realtionship is NEW...that's usually when people are on their best behavior to sort of make a good impression on the new love. So think about that: he doesn't handle stress great AND this is his "best behavior." Does this raise a red flag for you, cuz it sure does for me!

My intuition tells me that there is more to it, but he won't tell me.
So at the beginning of your relationship, he already is keeping things from you and choosing to not include you in his thoughts and feelings. Yes, it can be complicated but to build healthy relating, one would open up and include, not close down and exclude. Does this raise a red flag for you, cuz it sure does for me!

The gist is that he takes his stress out on me often, but he is a good guy. Maybe a bit selfish, I guess.
You say "he is a good guy" but when he feels stress within his own self, he is selfish and he takes out his stress on you. Now you don't say HOW he takes out his stress, but I can guess it might be by being angry, by being grouchy, by blaming you maybe...that style of thing. And how does this make him "a good guy" again? When a person is experiencing stress, they will often show their true colors, and this guy is showing you that when his feet are held to the fire, he thinks of himself and takes out his problems on others. Does this raise a red flag for you, cuz it sure does for me!

He snaps a lot right now and at some times puts me down and we tend to fight a lot since quarantine.
Okay so here you mention three ways that he takes out his stress on you: he snaps (I believe you mean that he's grouchy and speaks curtly) and he puts you down (I believe you mean lowers your self esteem by criticizing or disparaging you) and he fights with you a lot. How does this make him "a good guy" again? The way he copes with stress seems pretty unhealthy to me! He CHOOSES to deal with his pressure and tension by blaming you, speaking in a critical, demoralizing way, and picking a fight. Is this the character of a man you want to be with? It's not going to change or get better, so do you accept him as he is? Does this raise a red flag for you, cuz it sure does for me!

Actually, some times I think he's itching for a fight - then he's fine the next day. I'm the type to dwell on it for days afterwards and he's the type to just move on.
Would you say that maybe it's a cycle? Like there's the period of time that he'll do the actual fighting (we'll say calling you names and blaming you for his bad mood). There the period of time where you are hurt and he tries to "get you back" by promising it will never happen again and doing some gesture. There's the period of time where you agree to go back to the way it was, but there is definitely tension rising: you walking on eggshells to not set him off and him looking for a way to pick a fight. Then it's back to the beginning...a period of time that he'll do the actual fighting (and so on). Does it seem like that? If so, that is the cycle of abuse. Does this raise a red flag for you, cuz it sure does for me!

Did I mention we have been working from home together? I'm thinking we need some space. Any advice on how I can help him with this stress? What words of encouragement can I give him?
I think you two need some space as well. My advice to you would be to get to a safe place first--someplace where you are not disparaged, blamed or criticized because he can not cope with his own stress. Then, accept the reality that he doesn't have good coping tools for stress. If HE is interested and WANTS TO learn some good coping tools, he can arrange for counseling for himself or read a good self-help book. Here's also an online stress management support group: https://turn2me.org/group-supports But the trick is that he has to see that he has a problem, and he has to be the one who drives this--you can't do it "for him."
 

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So, you're right, the COVID-19 situation IS out of his control. However, how he copes and reacts to the situation is NOT out of his control. In fact, that is the only thing he actually has control over.

Something to keep in mind is what you are getting from him now most likely will not change without some serious work on himself. Things such as being selfish, having poor communication, putting you down, snapping, picking fights, and otherwise taking his stress out on you, those things are unlikely to change. Is that something that you want going forward, for the rest of your life? Think about it...

If it's not something you want going forward then it has to change. That change can either be in the form of him improving himself, or you removing him from your life. That decision is ultimately up to you, though he could make the decision for you by refusing to work on himself (something we ALL need to do, btw).
 

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I think being quarantined in the same house for months has affected many of us. Spending time under the same roof with the same person day after day gets to many..if not all of us at one point or the other. My hubby and I have had some of the STUPIDEST arguments ever!!

My best advice is to see if things change with him and your relationship after this quarantine. Take it one day and a time..
 

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Divorced and dating again. New boyfriend seems to be extremely stressed out by the quarantine among other things - all outside of his control. My intuition tells me that there is more to it, but he won't tell me. The gist is that he takes his stress out on me often, but he is a good guy. Maybe a bit selfish, I guess. He snaps a lot right now and at some times puts me down and we tend to fight a lot since quarantine. Actually, some times I think he's itching for a fight - then he's fine the next day. I'm the type to dwell on it for days afterwards and he's the type to just move on. Did I mention we have been working from home together? I'm thinking we need some space. Any advice on how I can help him with this stress? What words of encouragement can I give him?
How long have you been dating this guy?

Is he working from home? Or is he out of a job right now? How about you?
 

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This behavior should be a giant red flag. We all have a bad day, and maybe snap at out partner. If that person stops themselves, and apologizes, then rarely does it again, well that’s just being human. Repeating this behavior and looking to pick a fight is not the norm. There’s always going to be some major stresses in life, such as job issues, having kids, buying a house etc. How your partner deals with those stresses should be a concer of yours. This person is showing their true self at an important time. Don’t ignore the flag!
 

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About 3 months now, but have known him for almost a year. He's working from home just like me.
You've only been dating for 3 months and you're already living together (even temporarily)?

If he's acting this way only 3 months in then you've got a problem. That problem could be that you're moving WAY too fast, but he should be on his best behavior right now. If this is his best then I'd hate to see his worst.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think being quarantined in the same house for months has affected many of us. Spending time under the same roof with the same person day after day gets to many..if not all of us at one point or the other. My hubby and I have had some of the STUPIDEST arguments ever!!

My best advice is to see if things change with him and your relationship after this quarantine. Take it one day and a time..
Yep, exactly! I am now taking a step back. It's what is best for me. He really is a good person and he goes to therapy, but I'm not sure it's working. No more working from home together.
 

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You've only been dating for 3 months and you're already living together (even temporarily)?

If he's acting this way only 3 months in then you've got a problem. That problem could be that you're moving WAY too fast, but he should be on his best behavior right now. If this is his best then I'd hate to see his worst.
No, not living together at all.
 

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I've been with my husband and my kids at home since the end of March. I thought it was going to be very tough to be around them 24-7. Surprisingly, it has been a nice experience for all of us.

It depends on how you react to new and unexpected situations in life.

Some people go bananas with stress and anxiety. I'm not going to lie, I went bananas at the beginning, but then I realized, I'm not in control of what happens around me but I'm in control of my actions and my behavior towards others.

I got to appreciate my husband's not so pretty behaviors. I got to appreciate the mess my kids left around the house. It might sound crazy but the idea of mortality hit me very hard. I don't care about stuff, I want my husband and my kids safe and around me. I don't care if they are not perfect. They are perfect for me.

I don't think it's worth it to be with someone who is not going to appreciate what you are and how you are.

Going through a crisis with a significant other is the best experience to figure out who they really are. In some ways, people could be great people but if they don't know how to deal with problems, that could bring on more problems and become disappointing in a lot of ways.

It's up to you staying but if it's affecting your life I would break up with this guy. It's just not worth it. He needs more time to grow up.
 

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So, you're right, the COVID-19 situation IS out of his control. However, how he copes and reacts to the situation is NOT out of his control. In fact, that is the only thing he actually has control over.
This is important. In fact you can substitute for COVID anything else he can't control. He'll likely act the same.

Trust me, marriage to someone like this will be miserable.
 

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Yep, exactly! I am now taking a step back. It's what is best for me. He really is a good person and he goes to therapy, but I'm not sure it's working. No more working from home together.
If you think his therapy isn't working then that's something you may want to mention to him, so that he can mention it to his therapist. Sometimes we don't notice those things, even if it seems like it should be obvious, and need someone else to point it out.
 

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Have you had a detailed discussion with him about this, so he knows how serious it is to you? Has he promised to change, but doesn’t?

I agree that this is giving you a big glimpse into the “real him”, but if you haven’t had a serious discussion (AKA telling him you aren’t going to be in a relationship with someone who does this stuff) you need too. Sometimes people literally get into bad habits almost. Habits can be changed. It sounds like you believe he is a good person at his core.

Proceed with caution and eyes open.
 

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Have you had a detailed discussion with him about this, so he knows how serious it is to you? Has he promised to change, but doesn’t?

I agree that this is giving you a big glimpse into the “real him”, but if you haven’t had a serious discussion (AKA telling him you aren’t going to be in a relationship with someone who does this stuff) you need too. Sometimes people literally get into bad habits almost. Habits can be changed. It sounds like you believe he is a good person at his core.

Proceed with caution and eyes open.
Hi. I did have a discussion with him about it today and he discussed it with his therapist. It was a good conversation and he felt very bad about it. Nevertheless, I am taking a step back from him as I agree with many of the replies on this thread.
 

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Nope, not acceptable nor an excuse. Please, the pandemic is stressful for EVERYONE. Not just your precious, snowflake bf.

And picking fights? Snapping at you? Calling you names? Kick him to the kerb.
 

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If you keep this up, you will lure him into the belief that you are a safe punching bag.

The only way out of this is to end the relationship and start over when both of you are ready. You need to be ready to enforce your boundaries.
 

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You have been dating for three months. These should have been your best months together, and he already he is behaving like he had enough of you. He is behaving like he is hiding something, like missing a coworker probably. Sorry that’s what came to my mind when I read your post. His behavior is a red flag. This quarantine, was a testing time for you both, and he failed it.
 
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