My boyfriend of three months is 22, and so am I. He tells me he loves me but is horrible about returning texts and calls and following through with dates. (He seems to ditch me if something better comes along.) He also doesn’t treat me very well around others. Recently, he got really drunk at a party and was hitting on my friend all night, though she ignored him. I finally pulled him aside and said he was hurting my feelings, and he said I was too sensitive and I’m just jealous that people like him. He later disappeared from the party for over an hour, and when I asked him where he’d gone, he said, “What are you, my mom?” I know I don’t deserve to be treated like this, but he can be so sweet and kind when we are on my couch watching a movie or in bed snuggling. Part of me wants to leave, and part thinks he just needs to get used to being in a relationship, because this is his first “serious” one. –Loved and Unloved
If you’re like a lot of women, you’ve dreamed about this since you were a little girl – that moment the man in your life puts his hands on your shoulders and says, “Would you mind ducking your head so I can see if that woman across the room is hot?”
Men, like golden retrievers, have their flaws. They shed on the furniture, leave hairs in the soap, and hump your leg at inappropriate times. But when it’s clear that a particular man generally means well, these things are to be overlooked. Your boyfriend, on the other hand, claims to love you but ignores you, stands you up, belittles you, and publicly humiliates you, making it pretty clear that he’s looking to leave hairs in other women’s soap. And sure, he’s sweet to you when you’re snuggling in bed – probably because there are no other women under your comforter for him to hit on.
Like many people, you place too much importance on hearing “I love you.” You want to believe that these words mean something – and they probably do: that he needs to throw you a romantic chew-toy from time to time so you’ll stick around for all the casual cruelty. In an abusive relationship, which this is, you begin to crave the little moments of sweetness and intimacy that you use to justify staying through all the spirit-chomping parts. The big picture is, you aren’t so much this guy’s girlfriend as you are his backup girlfriend (the spare tire of girlfriendhood) – the one he keeps around in case there’s nothing or no one better to do.
Part of you wants to leave? Follow that part. And turn this into a meaningful relationship after the fact – one you use to represent what you won’t put up with in the future. Sure, in the process of figuring out what you want in a man, you’ll have to “kiss a few toads,” but if you’re honest about who a guy is, you’ll see no reason to stick around for an extended makeout session.
Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, No. 280, Santa Monica, CA 90405 or e-mail her at AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com). Copyright 2011 Amy Alkon