I'm so confused. (Very, VERY long.)

The following is not a rant. I am not angry. I’m simply very, very confused, and hurting, about a lot of things and I want to do this here for two reasons. First, I need to get it off my chest. Second, having it here and being able to read what I’ve done, and seeing responses will, I hope, better enable me to figure all this crap out. The following is a stream of consciousness about all the things that have been bugging me lately. The following is probably very, very long. Thus, away we go.

My SO lies to me. She lies about little things, things that really dont matter, but it bugs me anyway. We were on the phone the other day and I heard a tapping noise like a typewriter, so I asked her what it was. She said she hadnt heard it. This continued like this for some 10-15 minutes, by the end of which I was doubting not only my phone line, but my very sanity. At this point, she slipped and let it out that she was, indeed, typing. She got a great laugh, and I got rather upset. Not because this was, in itself, a big deal, but because it happens ALL the time. It’s constant. There are days when I dont know if I can trust a word she says. Now, admittedly, she dosnt lie to me about important things, and there are ways I can verify if she’s telling me the truth without fail, but why should I HAVE to? I want to be able to listen to what she tells me without wondering if she’s lying. more and more, I dont feel like I can. I try to tell her this, I tell her that her lying bothers me, but she says that ‘that’s the way she is’ and that’s that. She’s going to keep lying to me for her amusement, I’m going to get more and more distraught and trust her less and less and there’s very little I can do to stop it, simply because she isnt willing to compromise with me.
Which is another thing. I’ve done some really dumb things in the past, things that I didnt think would be ‘bad’, but which turned out being the wrong thing to do. Whenever I do something that she views as something that’s wrong, I try to talk to her about it. She never wants to; I end up cajoling her for hours or days to try and get her to tell me what I’ve done wrong. I never know what I’ve done wrong because if I knew it was wrong, I wouldnt have done it. So I work it out of her, talk to her about it, listen to what she thinks of what I did and work out a solution. 90% of the time I learn carefully what mistake I made, and resolve never to make that mistake again. And in every instance that I can think of, the arguement has never again come up because I’ve learned from my mistakes and wont repeat them. On the other hand, when she does something that upsets me and I try to talk to her about it (notice, again it’s me trying to induce conversation about problems), I’m met with hard arguements that I’m getting upset for stupid reasons. It’s upsetting me; how is it stupid? She dosnt try and see my side of it, she dosnt seem to want to. She just wants me to get over whatever it is that’s bothering me. The lying issue is an example; I tell her I dont like when she lies to me. She says she dosnt lie about important stuff, only little things, and that I’m being silly. I tell her she lies to me so often that I’m beginning to wonder if I can trust her word on important things. She gets offended, because, of COURSE I can trust her, she wouldnt lie to me about important things. In my mind I know that, but it’s getting harder and harder to believe it the more she lies to me. See the problem here? If she gets upset, I work it out, figure out what I did wrong, and correct my mistake. If I get upset, I’m being silly. That’s it. She’s not willing to try and understand WHY I’m getting upset and correct the mistake, she just wants me to stop being upset.
Which again, leads to another thing. I’m starting to feel, very strongly, that I cant tell her when I’m having a problem. Simply because every time I have told her, I got shot down. She makes me feel stupid for feeling that way. I’m a terrible debater. When she presents her side, I often lose sight of my side because I’m trying to understand hers. But there’s no effort on her part to understand MY side of things. I’m wrong. Always. So, I’ve been telling her less and less when I have troubles, and it’s coming to a breaking point. I’ve got so much bottled up, and I dont feel like I can tell her any of it because all that’ll happen is that she’ll get upset with me, make me feel like an idiot, and nothing will change. She’ll keep doing the things that upset me.
I dont really like conflict. I’d rather discuss things than argue about them. I want to hear her side and have her hear mine. But she wont, and I dont know what to do.
Another issue arises. She lies, this is Who she Is. Am I, in trying to get her to stop lying to me too much, trying to change who she is? When she tries to change me, it chafes me to no end; She tries to tell me what to wear, how to do my hair. She tells me I cant wear pants with small rips in them, no matter the occasion. If I’m having a problem say, at school, she wont suggest ideas that I try. No, she’ll TELL me what to do. I have homework? She TELLS me the order to do it in. If I try to object and do it a different way, she seems to doubt that my way is any better. I have no problems with her telling me her ideas, but she basically says “Do it”. This is a relatively recent development, but I’ve not told her about it for the reasons listed above. Because I know she’ll say I’m being silly (“I’m not telling you what to do, I’m just suggesting! Sheesh, stop being so touchy.”) Note that I’m automatically in the wrong. Maybe she is only suggesting and maybe I’m misinterpreting her. If so, TALK to me about it and explain to me what you’re actually trying to say that I’m misinterpreting. I’ll listen, and we can work it out. But dont TELL me I’m WRONG!
Okay, back on track… These things do, indeed, constitute who she is. I’m bothered when she tries to change who I am. Am I being hypocritical? Am I trying to change her (stop the lying, stop the control issues, get her to listen to me) when I dont want her to change me? Am I interfering with her right to be herself? This, right here, is the part that confuses me the most. It hurts, terribly, when she does these things and my hurt is met with relative indifference. Is my hurt unreasonable? Does she have the right to be this way without my trying to alter it? Then, I think, I’m not trying to change her, I’m trying to change US. I dont expect her to stop this behaviour cold turkey. All I want is to discuss it, so that SOMETHING can change in the relationship that issues like these will stop hurting me so. And I have no idea which is what. And having typed it, My head is no clearer; in fact I think I’m even more confused.
Sometimes she pretends she’s mad at me when she’s not. She’s an actress, and I’m bad at this kind of interpretation; I cant tell that she’s kidding. I wrack my brain trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong. I cant find anything, so I ask her again, please… if you’re not actually mad at me, please stop pretending, I really dont like it. She continues to pretend, and this goes on until I get VERY distraught, at which point she breaks the facade and acts like it was all a big joke. I dont laugh.
Also I dont like it when she insults me. She jokes around, calling me names, and it bothers me, and when I tell her to please, stop insulting me, it hurts, she acts as though I’m being overly sensitive (cant you take a joke?) and again, I get confused and feel like a moron. I need help. I need HER help, I need her to listen and talk to me instead of getting devensive, but she wont. I dont know why.
My chem teacher is a moron. She’s good at lectures and the like, but when I dont understand something (which is often now that we’re doing equations and I’m no good at math) and I go to her for help, she questions why I dont understand it. Of course, I SHOULD understand it. I should go and review it again. I DID that already. It didnt help. I need more help or I wont be able to get it. Again; but it’s just review! You should understand it. Go review. repeat ad infinitum.
I told my SO about this. She immediatly began a five minute dialog on what I have to do, without letting me talk about what I already planned to do. Again, she was telling me what to do.
There’s more, but my brain is now so jumbled that I cant remember any of it. I’ll probably be putting more up here soon as it comes back to me. Any ideas would be appreciated, otherwise, thanks for letting me get this off my chest…


Ok, it’s time to start describing some of your SO’s good qualities, because from your description so far, she’s is not a nice person. (not the first description that came to mind then I realized we were not in the pit)

She Lies to you, she insults and belittles you, she makes you feel bad by pretending to be angry or upset with you and only drops the facade once she’s tortured you sufficently to get her jollys.

Ummm… and you are still with this woman? Exactly why?

It is my considered opinion that every human being on this planet has some sort of self worth issues. I think yours are keeping you with someone who hurts you, and I think hers are causing her to intentionally cause that pain.

All in all, it does not sound like you are good for each other.

Mnementh You deserve an SO that is willing to work just as hard at making the relationship work as you are.

As to your chemistry professor. I would recommend paraphrasing. When she says to review something. Paraphrase what you have understood back at her. Do not spit it back in the same words. Then perhaps she can see where you aren’t “getting” something. When you’re misunderstanding a base concept it can make taking the next logical step utterly impossible because you went an entirely different direction with the first step.


There are times when everything seems to get you down, and this seems to be one for you.

One of the things that comes to my mind with the lying is that she considers it to be teasing, not lying. But teasing that is hurtful is not teasing anymore. One thing you could do is try to ignore it. She seems to get some kind of perverse pleasure in annoying/hurting you with this lying game, so don’t give her the satisfaction.

As for talking to her, perhaps you could write down some of the things that you wrote here, or e-mail them to her. Or even e-mail her the link to this thread. That might cause her to realize the things you talk to her about are very serious to you. Or it might cause another round of games. It could be that she enjoys this cajoling process, where, at the end she’ll finally tell you your transgressions and how you can make it up to her. It sounds like she enjoys mind games.

But that does bring up the larger question: do you want to be with a game-player whom you can’t really trust? What are the advantages to this relationship for you?

I see dublos is saying something similar in his post. Might be time to examine whether you feel you deserve to be treated better.

That’s another thing that confuses me, unfortunatly. She does have many, many good points which, for the most part, greatly outweigh the negatives listed here. Most of the time I feel like she’s the greatest thing on Earth. And she does treat me well most of the time. but it’s these few problems that are really seriously beginning to build, with the root problem being that she wont listen to me.

She’s very, very good to me most of the time.
I have a large problem with the few ways she dosnt treat me well.
See my confusion?

In addition, I’d like to thank you for not making this pit worthy. I was afraid someone would; I really dont want that to happen.

She must be SERIOUSLY good in the sack, because she is hell on your psyche. You seem to be at polar opposites on some very serious issues. Namely Honesty. I, too, have a bug up my butt about that, and divorced my ex over basically that issue, plus it’s repercussions. Don’t try to change her basic personality, it just ain’t gonna happen. If you cannot live with this particular trait, son, it’s time to punt. Maybe the punting will give her something to think about. She doesn’t take you seriously, IMNSHO (in my not-so-humble opinion). Some people just are like that, and they don’t go well with people like you have described yourself.

“Sayonara, sister” to her!

P.S. I hate Chemistry, too. If I can’t visualize something, I don’t get it, and I can’t visualize chemistry.

Well, I for one would love to hear some of the good things about her, and the both of you. Also, how long have you been together? (didn’t catch it if you mentioned it in the OP)


Mnementh, you could be describing me in some parts of your email. Well, not the parts about telling one’s SO what to do, or little lying habits, but the jokey-insulting thing is ringing a bell with me. My SO explained to me that while I thought I was being funny (and it was, truthfully, about 80% trying to be funny, 20% trying to get a rise), my habit of making fun of him (especially in public) was genuinely hurtful to him. I didn’t really, really get it until he started coming back with his own stuff, and I realized that it maybe wasn’t as funny as I thought it was. It’s the classic dish-it-out-but-can’t-take-it. Now that I understand that, I am making an effort to bite my tongue, and to actually - gasp! - pay a compliment or two. Mainly because I want him to feel good around me, but also because it comes back to you.

So I guess my advice is this: tell her it hurts. Say you mean it. If necessary, show her you mean it - when I think about how my boyfriend told me he was ready to walk out of a Christmas party because of things I said (he didn’t, though) it makes me want to cry. I can’t believe I hurt him that much without thinking or even caring about it at the time. If he had walked out, I would have felt like a complete ass for pushing him that far. It certainly made me think, and it made me change for the better.

It ultimately doesn’t matter if she thinks it’s silly for you to get upset about it (or all the other things she does): the fact is, you ARE upset about it, and she has to respect that. If she doesn’t respect that when confronted with your feelings, then…well, that’s just part of Who She Is. Do you want to live with that?

My father, a retired high school teacher, believes that it is every teacher’s job to keep explaining it and helping students till they understand. You are there and wanting to learn, and it is her job to teach you. Not everyone learns in the same way.


Then, if she’s got lots of good points, and makes you happy most of the time (I join Pucette in wanting to hear of them) it does indeed come down to, are the good times worth enduring the bad times?

If not. It does come down to ultimatum time. You can sit her down and seriously tell her that either a) some things will have to change, or b) she needs to find a new SO.

If so, then lets certainly debate a little about what changes are reasonable to expect from someone you consider an equal partner in a relationship, and what changes you can expect to make yourself as part of the process of comprimise.


Sweetie, your SO sounds like she’s violating Jadis’ #1 rule of relationships: Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

I don’t understand relationship games…never played them, never will. This girl is yanking your chain all over the place. The trust issue, the trivialization of your feelings, etc. are all serious red flags as far as a long-term relationship are concerned.

Personally, I think you’re being abused. The “but she’s so nice to me other times” response seems to be pretty classic…you’re making excuses for her. The manipulation here is fairly blatant. She does as she pleases, and you do as she pleases.

You’re going to have to bottom line it for yourself. Will you be able to live with the things you’ve outlined above in order to stay with her? Or are they going to continually feed your resentment, making you less and less able to trust, less willing to share who you are, your concerns, desires, fears, aspirations?

Only you can decide what to do. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

[sup]Would some gratuitous fondling make you feel better…?[/sup] :smiley:

Let’s see: she lies to you, she insults you and she doesn’t respect you. I don’t care what other sterling qualities a person might possess, those three are deal-breakers right there. Saying “that’s who she is” is a cop-out; she doesn’t want to have to look at how her behavior is hurtful to you, and that is unacceptable. You do deserve better.

Short, succinct, true.

Amen, SISTAH!!!


Mnem, let me get this straight: she’s “just the way she is” and that’s that, but you have to change who you are (i.e. the way you dress)? The more I hear the more red flags I see. She lies, she insults you, she plays mind games, and when you tell her these things bother you (to the point of being hurt) she dismisses you as being “overly sensitive”. This is not good, hon. Communication is very important to maintaining any relationship and she doesn’t seem to be open to it. There is only so much you can do on your own. And these are, IMNSHO, big issues.


I don’t think you’re being hypocritical here. You aren’t neccessarily asking her to change, you are merely stating what you need to be happy in this relationship. It’s up to her if she’s willing/able to do what it takes to meet those needs. And it’s up to you if you’re willing to continue in this relationship if she won’t/can’t. You’re not asking her to do anything you aren’t willing to do yourself, so I don’t see where you’re in the wrong. Also, there is a huge difference between asking someone to stop lying and asking them to wear their hair differently.


No, your hurt is not unreasonable. Yes, she has the right to be this way without your trying to alter it, however you have the right not to be with someone that hurts you time and again by lying to you over trivial things, insulting you, treating your feelings with indifference. You also have the right to tell her that certain things need to change if you two are going to stay together. Of course she has the same right as well. You’ll both have to decide if what the other wants is “reasonable” and if you’re willing to do it.

My mind’s all ajumble right now so I’m going to wrap this up, please, feel free to email me (or ICQ/IRC) if you wish to talk further (of course I’m out of town starting tomorrow until Monday night, but after that I’m all yours).


Does she treat other people the way she treats you? Not that it would excuse her in any way or anything, but I was just wondering…

To me, if someone’s unwilling to hear your side of things, then whatever problems you have between you can never be worked out. You’ve told her you’re hurting. If that doesn’t get her serious attention, I don’t think there’s any more you can do.

I’m sorry you’re going through this, hon. :frowning: My e-mail’s below; if you want to talk, I’m all ears.

With all due candor Mnementh it really sounds like she doesn’t respect you all that much. Pointless, ineffectual complaining to her about annoying, crazy making behavior she mightly enjoys is not going to get you anywhere either.

If all is as you have represented the chances of her changing her behavior to suit you is pretty slim. She sounds smart and engaging and possibly somewhat mean but from your description of the way she treats you it seems as if you are more of a beloved and interesting plaything to her than a man whom she respects.

I don’t really know you or your life but based solely on your posted description of your interaction with her, it comes across (to me) that your conversations with her are based on a somewhat pleading tone for her to be nicer and more decent to you. If someone has a baseline aggressive personality, as she apparently does, your chances for this strategy working are effectively zero. She enjoys taunting you and unless you are a person who can taunt back and not take the taunts personally (or otherwise can enjoy being taunted) it does not sound the overall relationship has viable long term prospects.

In sum you are sacrificing your self respect for whatever else you are getting out of this relationship and that is a decision only you can make, but once you make it don’t complain.

Mnementh, while I can appreciate that you (and others here) are aware that your SO does have some good points, based only what I’ve read here, I would have to disagree that any amount of good outweighs the abusive behaviour she’s subjecting you to, no matter how infrequently. The bottom line is this:

You’re in an abusive relationship. It’s time to cut your losses and get the hell out.

No one ever “deserves” to be belittled, taunted or lied to. She does these things to you intentionally. This is evil, cruel and heartless. I don’t care if she does 40 hours a week volunteering with physically or mentally challenged children, is kind to animals, loves to cuddle, enjoys the same books/movies/sports you do, the woman sounds like a manipulative control freak.

I cannot stress this strongly enough…


She will never, ever, ever change. And believe me, you don’t even want to try to make her change - it will not be worth the effort. I have found myself, unfortunately, with a man like this in my life a time or two. They are masters at making you feel guilty for daring to even call them on their crap.


While it is admirable that you have the desire (and it appears, the proper skills) to recognize that relationships require open and honest communication as well as a great deal of hard work and compromise, that doesn’t mean that every relationship is actually worth working on.

Something important to keep in mind; dating is about getting to know the person and deciding if they have the qualities you are seeking in a life-long partner. You are obviously learning that this particular woman, while possessing some (if not many) of the qualities you’re looking for, also has some seriously fucked up ideas about honesty, communication and how to treat her partner.

If you can find a way to truly understand this concept, you will have a much easier time walking away and not feeling either wounded or guilty. Just say to yourself, “Hey, this is what dating’s all about - getting to know someone. At first she seemed to have a lot of fantastic qualities and I was very drawn to her. Over time I’ve come to learn that she’s a lot more than A, B, C and D, but also X, Y & Z, which are all completely unacceptable to me in a partner. Therefore, I chose to move on and keep up the search.”

Good luck to you, hon. I know there is someone out there better for you. You certainly deserve it.

The thing is, you have to make up your mind what things you’re willing to put up with to be with someone.

Squeezing the toothpaste in the middle is an acceptable thing to put up with. Being messy is an acceptable trait for a SO. Scratching himself while watching football on Sunday is a reasonable thing to have to put up with to be with someone good. Having a difference of opinion on certain issues, is something I can deal with.

However, lying is NOT an acceptable thing to put up with. Being unwilling or unable to listen to what you have to say and attempt to understand it is not acceptable. These are not “things you put up with to be with a person you care about.” They are indications that this person is not someone you SHOULD care about. These aren’t little irritating habits, they’re character flaws. And while this may be a gross generalization, they do NOT change. It is not your job to change them.

Of course, those are MY decisions regarding the devision of appropriate qualities. But, I offer them here for your consideration.


(I’ll start by agreeing with just about everything everyone else has said - especially that people don’t change.)
I respectfully disagree with dublos on the ultimatum idea; if you have no future together, end it. You might be feeling quite powerless in this relationship; a good relationship shouldn’t make you feel that way. I heard a wise saying once; “It’s better to be alone than wish you were.” Are you at that stage yet? If you are, end it. And please, don’t kick yourself about this. You are young, and that’s what youth is for: learning. You are learning from this girl what you don’t want in a partner. Take the lesson, use it in the future, but please, don’t let her turn you bitter about women.

I hated this. I had the exact same problem with the girl I’d just broken up with when I first came to the straight dope.

She lied to me constantly, and eventually just told me our whole relationship was a sham. It was nothing but lies from start to finish. I was heartbroken.

Cut to now:

I Am Pissed. She’s a gigantic bitch. A friend of mine started going out with her, and I told him about my relationship with her. He was able to spot it quickly. Once he discovered how fake she was, he dumped her as soon as possible. But the point is, you’ll see how much better off you are when you’re out of it then when you’re in it. It’s the same people that people in kansas can’t see the united states*, they’re right in the middle of it. (*Terry Pratchett reference…)

Best advice is: Get out of there. She may have good qualities, but you’ll go slowly insane… take it from experience.

When I went out a little while earlier a few thigs came to me. I’m just hoping I’ve remembered correctly that moment of lucidity.
I am strongly from the school of thought that there is never just one side to any issue. There are always different points of view. I realised this very early on, and have since taught myself to try and see every side of an issue before I make a choice as to what I should do. This way, I feel I’m making a much better informed choice.
The problem as I see it is not so much the specific things she does, it’s the fact that while I try to see her point of view, she wont make an effort to see mine. Perhaps her little insults, which I think of as hurtful, she does think of as teasing. Thus far, I have no problem. The trouble is, that not only does she present her side to me very forcefully, she dosnt want to listen to mine. She’ll hear it, and almost always reject it. Now, as I listen to her side, in my habits I try my best to understand her side. I realised today that I try so hard to understand her side, that I tend to lose sight of my own. This bothers me even more.
I have, in the recent past, wondered if I was part of an abusive relationship. I’m well aware that most abusees fail to realise what’s happening to them, and so when I started to wonder I started to keep a close eye on myself. I dont get depressed, I dont feel worthless… I quite honestly dont feel like I’m being manipulated, but I admit that my feelings may be very wrong on that one.
Indeed, I dont tend to argue like she does. She likes real, heated, arguements. The kind with raw emotional outbursts. For whatever reason, I have trouble handling that. I resolved a long time ago not to say words in anger that I might later regret, so I take a firm hold of myself, speak and argue very calmly and rationally, and if I feel the need I’ll take my emotions out on my punching bag. That’s why I got it. Though recently it’s coming to light in my mind that perhaps heated arguements are sometimes necessary. I will have to work on that.
As for wanting to communicate, she has in the past said to me, directly that she dosnt like to talk about her feelings or get all mushy-squishy in conversations. I let this slip past, as most of the time I can manage to induce conversation about the problem so we can work to solving it. But I’m beginning to get real, real tired of always having to fix everything, even when I’m not at fault.
On the 29th of this month, we’ll have one year together.

As for breaking up with her (and I know this will sound very cliche, please dont call me on it, I’m just going to gush here), I dont know if I can. The thought of losing her is enormously painful to me. All I remember is all the good times we’ve had together, and all I can think of is that if I can only get her to see that all she needs to do is listen to me, it’ll all get better. Sometimes (I have to stress, RARELY) I feel like I am being oversensitive, that she is only kidding around and I should learn to deal with it. Then, of course, I remember; my feelings are getting hurt, which isnt my fault. It’s something she needs to listen to me about.

I’ve only had one SO before her. Towards the end, she cheated on me, never had time for me, began ignoring me and finally, broke all contact without ever telling me why. I suffered for a year and a half before I found out (she had been cheating on me). All the while, I kept wondering what I had done to drive her away. Surely I must have done something terrible, or she wouldnt have left…
I’m starting to see the same thing happening in my mind now. I get upset, so I try to tell her about it; she gets upset at me and I begin to wonder what I’ve done wrong.
Having reread what I’ve just typed, it looks very much like I’m getting abused. But I still dont feel it.

She just called me. I still love the sound of her voice.

Her positive qualities? She’s very intelligent, and we discuss all manner of topics, which I enjoy very much. She does listen to the other problems i have in my life, and getting them off my chest, as well has having someone who knows what’s going on with me, is very comforting. When I lay with her, I’ve never been happier. If not for her, I doubt I would have graduated high school; I certainly wouldnt be on the path to university. When she’s not frustrating me, she’s making me insanely happy, and the amount of time she spends frustrating me is comparatively quite low, and I have seen some efforts on her part. She still jokingly insults me, but it’s far less than it used to be. Either she’s getting tired of doing it quite so much, or as much as she protests my getting hurt by it, something’s sinking in.

I’ve also resolved something. I’m going to get one of my friends out here, perhaps one of mutual friends (but probably not) and tell them about all this and see what they think. I tend to be a secretive person IRL, so noone knows any of this. I need to tell someone so I can get a second point of view, and so I can discuss it (again, hoping to clear my own mind). Once again, I find myself incredibly more confused and conflicted.

More to come, as it comes to mind…