My lousy birthday

The boyfriend was right about the male co-worker, though–he did end up flirting with her on FB. It’s still not something to start a fight over.

Before this thread gets all DTMFA, Meg and the boyfriend should maybe talk about his possible insecurity/jealousy/clairvoiancy issues.

Meg, I hope you have a happier birthweek!

I think we’ve already seen how he handles it. And we don’t know for a fact this fellow ended up flirting with Megg; she described his wall post as over the top, but the actual text was anything but. We have Megg’s assertion that he flirted, but given the fact that she automatically assumes she’s in the wrong when HWOTBDA says something, I’d give more credence to the hypothesis that she was told he was flirting.

Oh, and the fact that she tried to do what he wanted and it ended up in a fight anyway - this is not the bedrock of a healthy relationship here.

Big, flashing red warning signs, right there. One of my ex boyfriends was EXACTLY the same, getting upset and furious because I was looking at other guys. As in glancing at them; as in, happening to look over at them for more than a split second. Didn’t matter; he’d throw a jealous fit over it for literally hours. ‘I saw your eyes go up and down his body! How do you think that makes me feel?!’ It got so that I was practically afraid to even look up when I was around him.

And it just got worse, no matter how much I tried to pander to him, or how innocent I was of whatever he was thinking. Once I saw a photo of his brother and made the mistake of saying, ‘Oh, he’s really good-looking.’ Cue major freak-out - a screaming argument, him tearing the photo up and saying he could never look at it again, etc etc. Eventually things started to get violent - punching walls, gripping my arm hard enough to leave bruises. I have no doubt that, had I stayed, he would have graduated to punching me.

I was lucky; we were only together for a few months before he had to go off to boot
camp. Without him there anymore, the world suddenly felt like a much more relaxed, saner place. I broke up with him and am now married to the most un-jealous man imaginable - because he’s a grown up and he trusts me. If I’d received a FB message like you described, I doubt he’d even notice - at most, I might get waggled eyebrows and a teasing ‘Is there something you want to tell me?’

Fighting and crying and sleeping on the sofa? No way.

Trust me, this will not get better. Nothing, absolutely nothing that you do to try to make your bf trust you will work - because the problem isn’t you, it’s him. You’ll find your freedoms eaten away at, one by one, until you live in dread of his reaction to every. Little. Thing. This is especially true now that you’re in a strange city with him, cut off from your family and friends.

I’m sorry to sound like the voice of doom, and I know you’re unlikely to believe me until things get much worse…but please. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.

What I see is that you are very willing to review your behavior and change it for his comfort. Is he willing to do the same? Like maybe, I dunno, stifle himself so you can have a nice birthday?

Watch carefully, this is a dangerous guy.

If you’re not ready to see, I understand. Just please make yourself this one promise: Do Not let this guy get you pregnant. Take extreme measures: an IUD, at the very least a Depo shot. You do not want to spend the next 18 years spending every penny and every scrap of energy and maybe still failing to protect your child from this man.

He is not a good man.

I’m sorry.

How long did you know this guy before moving all those miles to be with him? It wasn’t long enough, I’ll bet on that. Is this one of those ‘we fell in love on the internet’ things?

You need to get the hell away from this guy and I don’t care how you do it. If you have to leave everything you own behind you, do it. If you have to leave your favorite stuff behind you, do it. If you have to leave in the middle of the day/night with nothing more than the clothes on your back, do it; don’t give any notice where you work; don’t leave a forwarding address; change your phone number immediately and cancel your membership with any and all of the stupid Social Networking things of which you are a member; if the utilities are in your name, have 'em turned off AFTER you are gone and don’t give them a forwarding address either. If you are due any refund, have it sent “in care of” to a friend or relative’s address and DON’T file any kind of joint income tax return, either state or federal. Instruct your friends and relatives to tell this guy nothing at all concerning your whereabouts or your job. You are more than likely in danger, if you know it or not or if you believe it or not. I hope you’ve left him before you see this post.

  1. “You are TOTALLY AWESOME. Happy Birthday!” doesn’t strike me as being flirtatious. It could have been sent by a female friend. While it was over-the-top simply because you don’t know him well, it isn’t necessarily a come on, IMO.

  2. My FB account is none of my husband of 20+ years’ business. It most certainly wouldn’t be any of my boyfriend’s business. Nor would my email, my personal mail or my text messages. Just because you’re a couple doesn’t mean that there’s no room for privacy. I’d NEVER stay in a relationship with a man who was that controlling. My friend married someone like that – he’d get jealous when we spent too long on our outlet mall shopping trips – and he hasn’t gotten any better. Think twice about what you’re doing.

  3. Your BF remembered your birthday and, in fact, got you several presents. You didn’t receive most of them on your actual birthday? BFD. Quit trying to script things in your head and then being disappointed when they don’t turn out exactly as you planned. Do you know that your parents and BF love you and will be there if you ever really need them? That’s what counts.

  4. Happy Belated Birthday.

I am gasping. I’ve seen that boyfriend’s behavior before and believe me, things are going to get much much much worse.

The lack of balloons, pony rides, a big yummy birthday cake with candles, party hats, and everybody singing Happy Birthday is not your main problem. You sound immature, you moved away to screw some guy far from friends, family, and support system, he knows this, you’re vulnerable and somewhat isolated, and he’s going to treat you badly, in increments. The jealousy is a screaming red flag.

This relationship is not going to work out. Read the advice given here from people who know. You made a mistake with this guy. It isn’t going to get ‘better’. This is a big old hint. You’re better off moving back home away from this jerk, keep this in mind, and maybe start thinking about a safe place to go while living where you are now.

(My own daughter had a similar situation. A young woman two miles away had a similar situation, and her boyfriend murdered her out of jealousy. My best friend was almost a prisoner in her own house, restraining order and all, harrassed by a mad stalker. These things happen and it’s better to get out sooner than later.)

when I say you are immature, I realize this can happen to anyone at any stage of life, but it’s the young women, deeply “in love”, who have to have signs and red flags pointed out to them. They are often resistant to this and hope things get better, being in love and all.

Try reading the relevant section again, here.

There’s nothing there about her being disappointed she didn’t get all her presents on her actual birthday; conversely there’s a whole hell of a lot of evidence that this fellow doesn’t actually love her.

All of these people know whereof they speak. I don’t hold out much hope of you listening right now- you sound young and young girls tend to want to be in denial about this sort of thing, especially when they’re far from home and isolated. If you decide not to heed this advice at this time, though, please, again, do not get pregnant. There are places in Tucson that can help you with anything from a place to stay to getting home. When you’re ready, please ask for help.

Not all abusive men use their fists. Many of them use words to make you doubt your own actions, separate you from any other support system and convince you that only they have your best interests at heart. Excessive control is abusive and they generally ease you into it so you don’t notice.

Right now you’re saying to yourself “They don’t understand, I must have explained it badly, he’s not like that”

The reality is he IS like that but like the frog in the pot of water you can’t see it because things change slowly enough that every step seems reasonable. Get out now.

Then take a while after this to get yourself back together before you jump into another relationship because the training he’s done to you will show and you’re at a high risk of picking another man just like him.

Sorry about your birthday but a clear look at what is happening in your life might just be the best present you’ve ever received.

There’s the possibility that he isn’t abusive, just really fucking immature about relationships, super-insecure, etc. Which isn’t a whole lot better of a situation, but has some hope.

If you want to make this work out, and trying to talk it out with him just breaks down into arguments, go to counseling. If you find someone who works for you, figure out if this seems worth saving. Then, he must commit to going to couples counseling with you, and follow through on attending and honestly working on it. Not just saying the right things in session and not actually changing, or sabotaging it in other ways.

In the meantime, you have to take care of yourself and not let him push you into isolation. Change your passwords, keep control over your things. I hope he’s just an immature idiot, but he might not be.

Meggroll, I hope we’re not scaring you away. A lot of us have ignored the same sorts of red flags and we’d sure like to help you.

Bingo. I don’t expect you to pack your bags right now on our say-so, but if you can just admit to yourself that this situation isn’t right, that’s a good step.

Everyone else is covering the “red flag” issue, so I’m going to leave that one alone.

I’m surprised no one has come in to threadshit with the “No one over the age of 10 should expect anyone to make a fuss over his/her birthday” comment. (Or maybe I just haven’t read the whole thread carefully enough.)

Anyhoo, fuck that notion. No matter the reason, having your birthday go unacknowledged just flat-out sucks. I’m with Alice. I’d have brought you a cake, too.

Nah, hasn’t happened yet, but I fully support the “birthday = fuss” philosophy.

I’m not going to tell you that your boyfriend is abusive and you should leave him. Typically I find that taking a single incident and describing it to other people (especially on the internet) blows things tremendously out of proportion and it is very, very easy to see abuse or severe personality problems where none exist. I have very specific rules about not discussing anything more than the lightest and silliest of interactions between myself and my husband here and not much more than that with IRL friends for this very reason.

That being said, he might actually be abusive and you might very well be better off leaving but that is a choice that is up to you. If his behavior the other day was completely different than his normal behavior it may be worth ignoring. If you have cheated on him before and he is overly sensitive to that kind of thing because of it the behavior may be understandable. If you have another reason to believe this was out of character I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I would, however, discuss with him how hurt you are that he chose your birthday of all days to bring up his insecurities and ask if he would take you out for that buffet dinner as a late celebration to make up for it. I would also make a point of discussing with him that since you did uproot your life to be with him that you need him to be extra supportive and caring while you transition to life in Arizona. You may also want to find a local meetup group or church or something where you can meet people that are not your boyfriend so that if something does happen you have a network of people who can help you when you need it.

Are you listening? I doubt it, but just in case you are, everyone is right. He’s gotten you away from your family and now the controlling behavior starts. Not even allowed to look at other men?


Listen at the very least to pbbth and start making your own friends. Although how you’re going to do that since he doesn’t trust local men is hard. That alone raises the biggest red flag for me - that he doesn’t want you to make friends locally. Have you made female friends? Does he allow those? does he want to know where you are with them, every moment you’re with them?

And yes, talk to him, and find out what he was thinking. If he respons rationally, maybe this relationship still has a chance. I wouldn’t put money on it, though. I would be pissed. I moved how many thousands of miles away to be with you and you’re pissed because of a male coworker? Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

The only problem with this idea is that there might be MEN in this group, and her boyfriend needs to approve all her interactions with the opposite sex. Because, you know, she might look at them too long.

I do agree with this–and hey, everyone can have an off night. But she said he does get angry that she looks at other men too long. Coupled with him getting angry at something fairly innocuous…it just doesn’t look good. Plus, the fact that she’s far away from her friends and family makes her vulnerable. It seems worrying.

Right, which is why I said he might well be abusive and she may want to leave. I just advocate discussing it with him first and seeing what can be worked out while making other friends in her new locale. It could be nothing. It could be that he is panicked about her leaving him because she doesn’t like Arizona. It could be she has cheated on him before. It could be that he has a brain tumor that is making him react in ways he normally wouldn’t. It could be that he doesn’t realize he is being this way and will gladly work to correct the behavior in the future. It could be ANYTHING. That is why I say discuss first, then leave if that doesn’t work.