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He came on strong ... and changed his mind

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 3, 2014 08:47 AM

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Q: Dear Meredith,

A little over a year ago, I met my now ex-boyfriend. I should have known better at that point ... we met through Instagram. He commented on my photos and we started talking through instant messenger. I was breaking up with a boyfriend of six years, and he was initiating his divorce from his wife.

Every morning on the way to work, we would talk on the phone. All throughout the day we would IM and text. When we couldn't talk, it was as if we were being deprived of oxygen. He was admittedly an emotional mess. He said that his marriage was a sham and had made him bitter. He told me that I was the first person he could talk to openly about his feelings. He kept saying things like, "Why are you so nice to me?" or "I'm just not used to someone treating me well."

Of course, instead of focusing on his obvious emotional baggage, I felt good that he seemed to really like me and appreciate me. He wanted to hang out with me all the time.

We tried hard to wait until he had officially ended his marriage before sleeping together, but we could not. The attraction between us seemed to be uncontrollable. But slowly, his emotional baggage emerged. He had serious trust issues. He constantly questioned my character and trustworthiness. He snooped on my phone, read my emails, and checked my internet browser history. He started to be increasingly jealous and controlling.

I ignored it. We got along so well otherwise. I started telling my friends and family about him. We visited my parents and they adored him. He took me home to meet his family and they adored me. It seemed like we were actually going to go the distance.

He asked me to move in with him after I met his family. I felt anxious because we had only known each other for six months. He said that he knew it was fast but that he wouldn't ask me to do it if he didn't see a future for us. He convinced me to move with him to a suburb of Boston. He convinced me to sell all my furniture because I had bought it with my previous boyfriend. He convinced me to buy us all new furniture saying that the money would all balance out in the end. He tried to convince me to buy a car with him, but I didn't feel comfortable doing it. Thank god.

Whenever something happened that he saw as "shady," such as my losing my bank card or my getting a random text from an ex-boyfriend, he would freak out and momentarily shut down. I would push him to talk it out with me and he would let it go. But then, just before Christmas, he shut down. The person I loved dearly was gone. He shuddered at the nice things I did for him like making dinner or cleaning the house. He stopped wanting to have sex. He was emotionally distant and angry all the time. I asked what was going on and he acted like I was crazy.

Then one day, I came home from work and he told me that it was over. He cried and said that "he needed to work on himself" and that he couldn't accept my love so he was doing me a favor. He didn't want to stay in the same apartment with me even for one more night so I went to a hotel. When I told him I was hurt he said, "How can you ask me to share my feelings and then say you are hurt by them? Do you want me to keep everything inside?"

I moved out and got a new apartment. I took the furniture. I tried to be his friend. I thought that maybe inside the person I loved still existed. But every time I talked to him he ended up hurting me.

Yesterday he told me that he was going on a date. I feel so betrayed and angry. Should I just let it go? How can I reconcile what happened? How can I ever trust anyone again? Did I do something wrong? Should I hold back in my next relationship and not show so much affection?

– Reality Bites, Cambridge


A: You knew that you were taking a risk with this relationship. You knew that this man had issues with jealousy and that he seemed to be rushing big steps. But you took the leap anyway. You hoped for the best, but it didn't work out. Now you know that you can trust your gut no matter what.

With that in mind, please notice that your gut is telling you to reject his friendship. He offers nothing and takes everything (except the furniture). Enjoy your new scenery and make a real fresh start. There's no reason to communicate with him anymore.

I understand that you're furious, but try to start letting it go. This guy does not represent anything besides himself. He's just one man who started showing you his true colors early on. Let your next relationship stand on its own.

Readers? How can the letter writer move past this? Who's to blame here? Do people meet on Instagram? Is that a thing? Help.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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