getting serious with a dad -need advice - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-08-2011, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

 

I have been getting serious with a guy who is a dad. The problem: he's high strung. He'll get grumpy and snippy with me. He complains quite often about others and situations. If he is having a bad mood, he wants EVERY body to know it. He makes me suffer with him. He deals with anxiety, I think (like flying in an airplane).

 

My son has not met him yet (we've been dating a year). My gut tells me that this guy is going to get snippy with my son eventually. I've heard him get snippy and impatient on the telephone with his own daughter and his mother. He has a HORRIBLE relationship with his ex and blames her for EVERYTHING (he blames me first when there are problems or lets me take the blame). He has a victim mentality.

 

I am really sensitive to grumpiness and negativity and don't want to live with it. I've started discussing this stuff with my guy and am on the verge of breaking it off with him over this one issue. He says he is grateful, that he doesn't want to be grumpy, that he wants to change.

 

Any advice? Does it get better? Does it get worse? Am I out of touch to let this be THE issue? Should I go to counseling over this?

 

Thanks!!

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Old 08-08-2011, 03:53 PM
 
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Run.  The blaming and martyring will not stop.  He's already treating you poorly, when you've only been together a year.  It's only going to get worse.

 

It will not get better, it will only get worse, and this is a HUGE issue.  You don't need counseling, he does. 

 

Sorry to be so horribly blunt. 

 

 


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Old 08-08-2011, 04:14 PM
 
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yes that ^

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Old 08-08-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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I dont know how you made it a year ....congrats on not introducing your "man" to your son.  This guy sounds like real drag to be around AT BEST and an immature boy who suffers from borderline personality disorder - at worst.  I say RUN

 


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Old 08-08-2011, 04:42 PM
 
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 I've heard him get snippy and impatient on the telephone with his own daughter and his mother. 

History speaks for itself.

 

RUN!!!


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Old 08-08-2011, 04:47 PM
 
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I agree with the others.  I think people should ideally choose a person not by looking at just how things are in happy times - but look at how they act in stressful times - because when you're married with children it's ALL stressful times!

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Old 08-08-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emma_goldman View Post

Hi all,

 

I have been getting serious with a guy who is a dad. The problem: he's high strung. He'll get grumpy and snippy with me. He complains quite often about others and situations. If he is having a bad mood, he wants EVERY body to know it. He makes me suffer with him. He deals with anxiety, I think (like flying in an airplane).

 

My son has not met him yet (we've been dating a year). My gut tells me that this guy is going to get snippy with my son eventually. I've heard him get snippy and impatient on the telephone with his own daughter and his mother. He has a HORRIBLE relationship with his ex and blames her for EVERYTHING (he blames me first when there are problems or lets me take the blame). He has a victim mentality.

 

I am really sensitive to grumpiness and negativity and don't want to live with it. I've started discussing this stuff with my guy and am on the verge of breaking it off with him over this one issue. He says he is grateful, that he doesn't want to be grumpy, that he wants to change.

 

Any advice? Does it get better? Does it get worse? Am I out of touch to let this be THE issue? Should I go to counseling over this?

 

Thanks!!


People only rarely change.  People who are motivated to change because they're infatuated with someone who wants them to be different will almost surely revert to form several years into the relationship/marriage, when they are comfortable and take that person for granted.

 

I think it's a very wise rule of thumb that, if you're considering counseling BEFORE introducing him to your kid, moving in, getting married and potentially making more kids together, you're in the wrong relationship.  Please consider whether you love HIM - as he truly is - or whether you just hate being alone.

 


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Old 08-08-2011, 06:29 PM
 
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You've had good advice here.

 

If you aren't living together and he's showing these behaviors, they will magnify when you are under the same roof. It's not one little issue, it's a pretty big thing.


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Old 08-09-2011, 01:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all,

 

I probably blew it out of proportion a little bit -it's low grade grumpiness and snippiness, but I don't want it! any of it.

 

It helps to have validation to follow through with what I know I need to do.

 

Thanks!

EG

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Old 08-09-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emma_goldman View Post

It helps to have validation to follow through with what I know I need to do.

 

 

Good luck doing what you need to do!  It sounds like he has some other traits that you like, but that you can tell he isn't a keeper.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 08-09-2011, 09:23 AM
 
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EG one thing i have discovered in my dating life. if i am not quite sure about the person and everybody around me (RL friends) is telling me he is NOT a keeper - every single time they have been right. the one time i was a 100% certain and they all said no (because he was sooo different) i didnt pursue since i'd have to move. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emma_goldman View Post

Thanks all,

 

I probably blew it out of proportion a little bit -it's low grade grumpiness and snippiness, but I don't want it! any of it.

 

It helps to have validation to follow through with what I know I need to do.

 

Thanks!

EG



 


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Old 08-09-2011, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, it's so true. I'm going to get really good at detecting these things early.

 

And a dating committee is such a good idea -I've got RL friends listening to me about these kinds of considerations.

 

This dad I've been dating spent the first couple of years of new parenthood ON MDC. Needless to say, I was bummed when he revealed his grumpy nature to me a few months back. Of course, I did know that he was a little uptight, but he'd never been that way toward ME before.

 

I have been grieving a bit. It's normal. :) Thanks for gentle support.

 

EG

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Old 08-09-2011, 04:08 PM
 
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Sorry EG... I'm sure it's a real downer to start to consider if something is a deal breaker. It's so smart of you to really examine it and consider all the implications. I think if you know you'd be fine with him being that way to you.. then go ahead. But I agree with other posters it's unlikely he would be able to change so drastically something he's had a pattern of.

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Old 08-09-2011, 06:40 PM
 
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Everyone's already said pretty much everything I've been thinking. nod.gif It stinks, but it's better to know now than later.

 

For what it's worth, I have an ex that I dated for four years and he also always spoke terribly of every ex he ever had. At the time, I was young and insecure so I liked the reassurance that those relationships were dead and done, but after our own break up and after over six months of harassing emails and text messages, swearing and name-calling and telling me how everything that had ever gone wrong was my fault and my fault alone, I kind of realized I should have taken that trait for the red flag that it was. It's normal to not miss your exes and to know what it was about them that you didn't like or to remember if they've hurt you; it's not normal or okay to blame EVERYTHING on them and trash talk them and call them horrible names on a regular basis. It's a sign of immaturity and sign that a person lacks the humility and/or the personal insight to know where they went wrong themselves and therefore, a sign that they probably haven't had a whole lot of personal growth. After all, if everything was the other person's fault, why change anything internally? That's not the sort of person I want to build a life with. Df's ex is a piece of work and we both know it, but he knows where his mistakes were too and he doesn't go out of his way to talk about her/insult her.

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Old 08-10-2011, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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lack of humility and personal insight and a general immaturity.This is what is coming out as I've been trying to discuss my hesitation with him. :( He's been trying to turn things on me -saying that he's sure I have plenty of weaknesses but he's not pulling them out and blaming me for them. I've been so gentle about bringing up his grumpiness. :(

 

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Old 08-10-2011, 04:39 PM
 
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hug2.gif That sounds really frustrating. 

 

There's a big difference between picking someone apart and holding them accountable for the way they're treating you/other people, and based on what you've described it sounds like you're doing the latter. Obviously there's a right way and a wrong way to go about approaching those kinds of things, and the "right way" might look different depending on personality type, but in any partnership someone should be able to come to their spouse and tell them if they're hurt or if they're concerned about a certain behaviour. There's also a difference between a 'weakness' and a hurtful behaviour.

 

I don't know him so I can't speak to his motives, but the whole "I'm sure you have weaknesses but I'm not holding them against you" feels manipulative to me. He could genuinely feel attacked and is deflecting so that he can convince himself he doesn't need to be accountable for the "grumpiness" but regardless of intent, it's a poor reaction. Would he respond better to, "SO, there are so many things I love about you. I love that you ________ and that you ___________ and you're __________. One area that does hurt/frustrate/concern me, though, is ________. I'm sure that isn't your intent, but I was hoping we could talk about it." Some people might feel patronized with that kind of a lead in, but df and I both approach things that way sometimes so that each other won't be as likely to feel defensive so it can work with the right personality types (as long as it's sincere - if we're too angry to speak that way we try to shelf the conversation until we can be grown ups about it). Also, if it were us, "I'm sure I do have flaws, and if they're ever at a point where they are causing you hurt I would be more than open to talking with you about it. Right now, I would like to continue talking about behaviour x. If now isn't a good time, I would like to set aside a time when you'd be willing to." would probably be said at some point, to acknowledge but also to prevent the conversation from spiraling or rabbit trailing, since some people deliberately say those kinds of things to distract from themselves.

 

At the end of the day, though, he has to be the one to look internally and decide to start making changes. Individual counselling is probably a good idea for him to work through whatever causes him to have so much anxiety and/or help him find better ways to handle it but based on what you've said here I don't think he sounds like he's in a place where he'd be willing to take that step. You can only leave the door open, be loving and supportive without compromising your own boundaries and know when to walk away if need be. 

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Old 08-11-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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He's been trying to turn things on me -saying that he's sure I have plenty of weaknesses but he's not pulling them out and blaming me for them. I've been so gentle about bringing up his grumpiness. :(

 


You don't have to convince him of anything, and he doesn't need to agree to how you see him. You don't even have to judge him as being "wrong" in any way.

 

Just look at him clearly and think about whether or not he is the kind of person you want to be with.  That fact that he isn't doesn't mean that he has to decide to grow and change. He can stay exactly where he is, where he is evidently very comfortable.

 

You can make a choice not to join him there. You can end with the relationship without his permission.

 

He's most likely not going to get a sudden burst of insight, agree that he has a problem, and either grow up or tell you that you are right to dump him.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 08-12-2011, 06:28 AM
 
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lack of humility and personal insight and a general immaturity.This is what is coming out as I've been trying to discuss my hesitation with him. :( He's been trying to turn things on me -saying that he's sure I have plenty of weaknesses but he's not pulling them out and blaming me for them. I've been so gentle about bringing up his grumpiness. :(

 


 

HUGE red flag.  I say run.  Fast.  Away.  Why?  It started like this with my ex, and then the blaming started, and then the yelling and the manipulation.  And then telling me I was a selfish B****, and from there it escalated into full on emotional abuse.  And then came the physical abuse.  Fortunately, I was able to get out before the 3rd episode of physical violence, but there would have been many many more.

 

A book that I would recommend is "Why does he DO that?" by Lundy Bancroft - it has several of the warning signs that people should look for, and that will tip a person off that they are with an abuser.

 

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Old 08-12-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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Been there, done that, got the tshirt. A couple of them actually. I'll go ahead and hang out in the "RUN!" camp.

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Old 08-15-2011, 02:06 PM
 
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I'm also in the run camp... not just for the grumpiness but for the victim, blaming, and deflection. BTDT. Victims never think anything is their fault and will always turn the conversation back to your faults. I also don't like how you describe things with his ex and child which I believe foreshadows what things will look like with you down the line.

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Old 08-16-2011, 04:21 PM
 
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I agree, run! hug2.gif


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Old 08-16-2011, 10:28 PM
 
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If you are already grieving for the relationship, then you know what has to be done. Get out and don't look back. And it is good that he hasn't met your dc yet. You wouldn't want this influence around them. Best of luck.


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Old 08-24-2011, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Holy crap! I broke it off two weeks ago and have been holding firm. He has consistently been pledging love and saying he'll walk through fire. He tells me he has been using cognitive behavioral therapy to manage his anxiety again. He called his parents to apologize for holding a 20 year grudge and let them know he needs and wants them in his life. 

 

I'm holding firm that friendship is all I can do right now. But I have to say, I'm thawing a little. How long before he starts showing his true colors again? Can people change?

 

I am absolutely wary of his soft sell and his optimism. Gosh, life is weird.

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Old 08-24-2011, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas! You have such insight and experience to share. I am going to check out the book recommend.

 

Every time we talk now, he apologizes up and down for hurting me and he says that he wants a relationship based on mutual growth and healthy communication. He has stopped talking poorly of his daughter's mom and is now trying to be "helpful" when she has issues.

 

He has been willing to talk about this stuff for hours and hours on the phone and has stopped being defensive. I'm still not convinced that it's not a gloss-over. Not at all. Has anyone had experience with someone changing?

 

My questions for him:

What do you really like/love about me?

Why does*this* particular relationship matter?

How long have you been dealing with negativity?

How has grumpiness played into your other relationships?

What is your history with grumpiness and your daughter?

Are you aware of it when you're being grumpy?

What are you trying to communicate when you act grumpy?

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Old 08-24-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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If you broke it off, and he cared about you, he would take no for an answer.  Break off communication.  It sounds like he's trying to get you back, and will say anything to do so.  I would stay firm, and break off communication.

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Old 08-25-2011, 04:21 AM
 
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mama people DO change. not very often but they DO. and many dont.

 

you have to discover which side of the statistic he resides on.

 

and only time will tell. 

 

hold firm. put him to the test. see if he survives the test of time coz if he IS a wolf in sheep clothing his wolf will eventually show thru.

 

what you need to do is make sure he doesnt break you down. 

 

however even if he does - its not all lost.

 

you will go thru some hardship till you finally figure out the reality. 

 

if he wants a chance - give him one if u so desire (which is what it looks like) but ONLY on your terms NOT his. 

 

however if you ask me i'd still say RUUUUNNNN.


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Old 08-25-2011, 05:40 AM
 
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Quote:
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If you broke it off, and he cared about you, he would take no for an answer.  Break off communication.  It sounds like he's trying to get you back, and will say anything to do so.  I would stay firm, and break off communication.


 

This. If you get back together, this is what you'll know he's capable of being like.... this is the bait. Make no mistake, there will be a switch. These changes he's made sound very sudden and drastic, too much so to be genuine.


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Old 08-25-2011, 08:23 AM
 
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If he loves you so much he will wait for you. He is making changes because you want to see them, not because he sees anything wrong with his behaviors. Can he maintain the changes even if you guys aren't back together? Does he want to?

 

I dated a guy who had similar behaviors, and it was really, really difficult to stay broken up. I relented (and that's what it felt like) several times, he was so sincere! He was trying so hard! The changes weren't genuine and were motivated by his desire to continue the relationship.


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Old 08-25-2011, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for continuing this journey with me. Yeah, his pursuit is unrelenting. And I don't trust it.

I have been alone. It's not like I have to have this relationship. I am really enjoying communicating with my true self and my intuition through this process.

That said, I'm also dialoguing with myself about the fact that I've gone through SO many relationships. My standards are so high for being with someone who is really in touch. I pray that it's possible for me someday to be with someone. And I pray that I'm not running around my own issues like intolerance, lack of ability to bring things up until there's a crisis point, fear of committment, etc.

This relationship has come the closest by far.

Do you have evolved, happy, healthy relationships? Did you go for "kind" above all other qualities? It seems like in this case he highly values my kindness because it has made up for his sometimes inability to act in kindness due to his anxieties overshadowing everything.
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:34 PM
 
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EG i have a thing about desperation.

 

anyone who comes across desperate to me - whether love interest or friend - in my experience has always spelt trouble for me. the kind of trouble i am not interested in dealing with. its because of my own desperation that i suffered so hard when my marriage broke up.

 

i understand becoming choosy. i am to such an extent that i'd rather be alone than put up with someone else's stuff.

 

however the ending of a relationship is never a failure for me. i see it as education. its taught me to define what i truly want. some of them have helped me recognise my own issues.


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