Am I paranoid or is my relationship in big trouble?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2012
Am I paranoid or is my relationship in big trouble?
21
Sun, 11-25-2012 - 1:31pm

I know this is a little long but I could really use the advice right now. My boyfriend and I are in our mid 20's, kinda doing the long distance thing until I get my degree in the near future. We've been dating for around 5 months now, and yes, we're exclusive. He talks about the future together but obviously things are a little difficult sometimes because of the distance. Anyway, I'll get to the point. I've noticed some red flags. I've been feeling less than confident in this relationship for a little while now, but at the same time its not like we've been together for that long so I don't want to feel like I'm expecting too much or trying to move too fast.

The first red flag was when I noticed he would "forget" things we had talked about and didn't remember certain conversations. It made me feel unimportant but I let it go. I also started noticing that even though he brought me around his friends on several different occasions, he acts distant around me when we're around them (these friends are couples too, so its not just the guys). Its hard to explain but its something I've noticed - He doesn't seem very "into me" when we're around others. The biggest red flag was when I noticed a hallmark card on his dresser. I had seen the card from the very first time I came to his house. At first I assumed it was from a family member or something, as he has family photos everywhere, but it still gave me a bad feeling. Finally one day, I'll admit curiosity got the best of me and I picked up the card. Perhaps this was wrong of me and it shows that I "snooped" a little, but the urge to open that card got the best of me. I was justified in my suspicions, because the card was from his ex. It was from his past birthday which indicated that he may have been dishonest about how long he had been single… either that, or he just has a crappy sense of time.  Either way, I brought it to his attention and he said he felt terrible, that he was completely over his ex but that his dresser had all kinds of junk on it and he clearly didn’t realize it was still there and that he needed to get organized and clean out some stuff. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with that answer, because it was a very eye-catching card and I feel like surely he had to have known it was still there. When I came back into his bedroom a little while later, the card was gone. I asked what he had done with it and he said it was in the trash. Now, I’m not crazy so of course I didn’t go snooping through his trash, but it was still odd to me that he didn’t “dispose” of the card in front of me. I kinda feel like he still has that card, but hid it better this time.Now here's the really bad part - in the card, the girl had used a cute little "phrase" that he has used with me! After I had the confrontation with him, I told him he better not ever use that phrase with me again and he agreed and just kept on apologizing. He gave a nice little speech about how I am a huge part of his life now and that she is entirely in the past and that he wishes her well but he's over her and doesn't ever want to lose me. My heart felt like it was being tugged all over the place.

Another thing is that he does not call me, only texts. Even when I’ve had a horrible day with my classes and have texted him that I’m on the verge of tears, he doesn’t call to soothe me or any of that. He’ll send a sweet text but it would be nice to get a phone call just saying “are you okay? Talk about it, I’m here”.  I don’t know, maybe I’m expecting too much. I know I know, I could call him too, but guess what? I do put in a lot of effort. I drive the nearly 4 hours round trip to see him, almost every single weekend. I guess his place is the ideal place for us to spend our weekends because its his own house and we have all the privacy we want, but I’m beginning to feel pathetic, like I’m giving too much. Its easy for me to do, because I have a big heart and completely fell for this guy. He didn’t offer to leave work early to make it to a family dinner of mine but he could leave work early to drive to another state with friends to pick up a car that a friend was buying.

Yes, some of these may seem like “in your face” red flags, but at the same time he’s a good person who works hard and has good morals and values, he’s kind and patient with me and doesn’t bring any drama to the table -  something I’ve always hoped to find but now there are those glaring red flags that are nagging me to death. He’s constantly telling me that he misses me and loves me and has even already looked at future vacation plans for us, so I’m really confused. I know I should have a talk with him, but I also would like some outside opinions. I have this nagging feeling that maybe he is still in love with his ex. He doesn't talk about her, but the card was one thing... I've also seen little things around his house, like feminine products (vanilla scented lotion tucked away near his kitchen sink, half-used women's shampoo and bodywash still in his shower..) Part of me wants to leave and part of me wants to stick around. I do not think he's cheating, but I do think he may not be ready to be fully invested in something new - Me. I don’t know what to do, I’m completely at a loss and I hate this feeling of being so uncertain about something that is important to me. I also am scared to talk to him because I don't want to come across as needy or clingy.

Thank you for listening, I'm sorry this was so lengthy. Thanks to anyone out there who may have some advice, it would be so greatly appreciated.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008

5 months really isn't all that long.  Problem is you clearly don't trust the guy.  I can understand why you see some red flags, you're thinking he's still hung up on his ex, and if he is, he's not the guy for you.  You did not "snoop", if the card was laying in plain sight, he may have even wanted you to see it, or he's incredibly dense.  If I found a card from an ex like this, I'd also be wondering what the heck is this.  As far as you not wanting to seem needy, you already do.  If you are the only one making this long drive to be together, THAT is the bigger red flag I see.  Makes it seem like you're the one doing all the pursuing in this arrangement.  There's an angry tone in your post, you seem to be getting tired of feeling taken for granted, and he is doing that.  You do not seem to be a priority in his life, that can't be if you want a good relationship.  In your shoes, I'd back off for awhile and see how he responds.  It's not playing games, let him know you are feeling uncomfortable and why - tell him everything you wrote, and then back off.  My DH and I have had a troubled marriage, partly because I was just always "there".  A wise therapist told me "you need to give this guy a chance to MISS you".  That actually works, my DH actually started to NOTICE me when I got busier and it wasn't all about him.  That's what you seem to have - it's all about him.  Won't work.   

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2012
Hi, and thank you for your response. It really is a wake-up call for me. I'm just so frustrated. I should have let him do more chasing in the very beginning of the relationship. He just seemed so nice and different from anyone I've ever dated, I never thought I'd be seeking advice like this while in a relationship with him, especially not this early on. My heart is already invested but I'm not dumb and naive, I know when something's not right and I know when to take action. I told him I would not be seeing him this weekend, that I will be too busy with schoolwork (which is true, but I also agree that he needs to miss me). He seemed bummed but said that he understands. Eventually I'm going to have to talk to him about all of this... I just don't know if I should have a phone conversation or do it in person... I also want to time it right, because this is a very stressful time for the both of us (he has work issues, I have final exams coming up).
Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

whoops... dupe

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

...

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

apeacefulsnow wrote:
<p>I know this is a little long but I could really use the advice right now. My boyfriend and I are in our mid 20's, kinda doing the long distance thing until I get my degree in the near future. We've been dating for around 5 months now, and yes, we're exclusive. He talks about the future together but obviously things are a little difficult sometimes because of the distance. Anyway, I'll get to the point. I've noticed some red flags. I've been feeling less than confident in this relationship for a little while now, but at the same time its not like we've been together for that long so I don't want to feel like I'm expecting too much or trying to move too fast.</p><p>The first red flag was when I noticed he would "forget" things we had talked about and didn't remember certain conversations. It made me feel unimportant but I let it go. I also started noticing that even though he brought me around his friends on several different occasions, he acts distant around me when we're around them (these friends are couples too, so its not just the guys). Its hard to explain but its something I've noticed - He doesn't seem very "into me" when we're around others. The biggest red flag was when I noticed a hallmark card on his dresser. I had seen the card from the very first time I came to his house. At first I assumed it was from a family member or something, as he has family photos everywhere, but it still gave me a bad feeling. Finally one day, I'll admit curiosity got the best of me and I picked up the card. Perhaps this was wrong of me and it shows that I "snooped" a little, but the urge to open that card got the best of me. I was justified in my suspicions, because the card was from his ex. It was from his past birthday which indicated that he may have been dishonest about how long he had been single… either that, or he just has a crappy sense of time.<span>  </span>Either way, I brought it to his attention and he said he felt terrible, that he was completely over his ex but that his dresser had all kinds of junk on it and he clearly didn’t realize it was still there and that he needed to get organized and clean out some stuff. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with that answer, because it was a very eye-catching card and I feel like surely he had to have known it was still there. When I came back into his bedroom a little while later, the card was gone. I asked what he had done with it and he said it was in the trash. Now, I’m not crazy so of course I didn’t go snooping through his trash, but it was still odd to me that he didn’t “dispose” of the card in front of me. I kinda feel like he still has that card, but hid it better this time.Now here's the really bad part - in the card, the girl had used a cute little "phrase" that he has used with me! After I had the confrontation with him, I told him he better not ever use that phrase with me again and he agreed and just kept on apologizing. He gave a nice little speech about how I am a huge part of his life now and that she is entirely in the past and that he wishes her well but he's over her and doesn't ever want to lose me. My heart felt like it was being tugged all over the place.</p><p>Another thing is that he does not call me, only texts. Even when I’ve had a horrible day with my classes and have texted him that I’m on the verge of tears, he doesn’t call to soothe me or any of that. He’ll send a sweet text but it would be nice to get a phone call just saying “are you okay? Talk about it, I’m here”. <span> </span>I don’t know, maybe I’m expecting too much. I know I know, I could call him too, but guess what? I do put in a lot of effort. I drive the nearly 4 hours round trip to see him, almost every single weekend. I guess his place is the ideal place for us to spend our weekends because its his own house and we have all the privacy we want, but I’m beginning to feel pathetic, like I’m giving too much. Its easy for me to do, because I have a big heart and completely fell for this guy. He didn’t offer to leave work early to make it to a family dinner of mine but he could leave work early to drive to another state with friends to pick up a car that a friend was buying.</p><p>Yes, some of these may seem like “in your face” red flags, but at the same time he’s a good person who works hard and has good morals and values, he’s kind and patient with me and doesn’t bring any drama to the table - <span> </span>something I’ve always hoped to find but now there are those glaring red flags that are nagging me to death. He’s constantly telling me that he misses me and loves me and has even already looked at future vacation plans for us, so I’m really confused. I know I should have a talk with him, but I also would like some outside opinions. I have this nagging feeling that maybe he is still in love with his ex. He doesn't talk about her, but the card was one thing... I've also seen little things around his house, like feminine products (vanilla scented lotion tucked away near his kitchen sink, half-used women's shampoo and bodywash still in his shower..) Part of me wants to leave and part of me wants to stick around. I do not think he's cheating, but I do think he may not be ready to be fully invested in something new - Me. I don’t know what to do, I’m completely at a loss and I hate this feeling of being so uncertain about something that is important to me. I also am scared to talk to him because I don't want to come across as needy or clingy.</p><p>Thank you for listening, I'm sorry this was so lengthy. Thanks to anyone out there who may have some advice, it would be so greatly appreciated.</p>

There's a lot in this post that has got screaming red flags over your unrealistic behavior, too.  That thing about texting? You can't bust his chops when that was your preferred method of even telling him you had a bad day.  If you wanted to talk, then you should have called him. Or at the very least, when you texted to say "call me back, please".  People generally prefer texting so that they dont' get drawn into a protracted conversation that they don't have either the time or interest in getting into.  You'd have been just as angry had he called but was distracted because he didn't have the time to sit and listen to you complain about your day.  So on this one, he would have been damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

The snooping thing was just plain wrong. And it was snooping--the card was not addressed to you, even if it was sitting out.  That's like if his phone was sitting out or his email was open on his laptop and you went hunting around in it. If you had your bank statement or a medical diagnosis from a lab sitting out on a table and he read it, that would be an invasion of your privacy, too.  It's not up to you to tell him what items from his past he can and can't have in his own house. Now, if it was your house he moved into and he had that stuff in tow, then yeah, you'd have something to say. But not in his house.  And if he wants to keep it, that's his perrogative as an adult and as the owner of that house.

What I got out of your post was that as far as you're concerned, he's a liar and you refuse to believe anything he says.... so seeing that's how you feel about him, why be bothered with him?

I mean, you really can't know each other well if you're still afraid to speak up for yourself. It's not a matter of being clingy or needy if you tell him what you require out of a committed relatioship with a man and that you'd rather be by yourself than to get a half-baked attempt or feel that he's pining for someone else or is just not interested in being with you.  Being clingy and needy is not letting him have a life of his own because you don't trust him out of your line of site. Life's too short to be with someone you won't trust.

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

...sorry--computer is acting weird tonight..

Avatar for ukgirl82
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-17-2005

Quote:
Either way, I brought it to his attention and he said he felt terrible, that he was completely over his ex but that his dresser had all kinds of junk on it and he clearly didn’t realize it was still there and that he needed to get organized and clean out some stuff. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with that answer, because it was a very eye-catching card and I feel like surely he had to have known it was still there.

I don't agree - when something has been there long enough, even something eye catching, we do get used to it. For crying out loud, I have a tattoo I often forget is there, on my own body, because it's just been there so long and I'm so used to it! I see no reason to think he wasn't being honest when he said he forgot the card was there. 

Quote:
When I came back into his bedroom a little while later, the card was gone. I asked what he had done with it and he said it was in the trash. Now, I’m not crazy so of course I didn’t go snooping through his trash, but it was still odd to me that he didn’t “dispose” of the card in front of me. I kinda feel like he still has that card, but hid it better this time.

So what if he did? Are you also going to go through his phone or computer and demand he delete or throw out any lingering pictures of his exes? He has a past and you can't erase that past just by throwing things out. If he's put it away somewhere, that does not mean he's going to be taking it out and swooning over it. Maybe he's put it in a keepsake box and will never look at it again. There's a difference between holding onto the past and not forgotting it. You're obsessing over something you can't control and making a mountain out of a molehill. And how can he "hide it better this time" when he wasn't hiding it the first time?

Quote:
Now here's the really bad part - in the card, the girl had used a cute little "phrase" that he has used with me! After I had the confrontation with him, I told him he better not ever use that phrase with me again and he agreed and just kept on apologizing.

And are you really trying to tell me you've never used the same term of endearment in more than one relationship? Never called more than one guy "honey" or "sweetie" or "baby" or whatever term you use?

Quote:
Another thing is that he does not call me, only texts.

So? Some people don't like the phone. Apparently you're one of them since you yourself texted him about your bad day first - and then you get angry because he texted you back instead of calling you? Please, stop and think about how irrational this is!

Quote:
Yes, some of these may seem like “in your face” red flags

Honestly, I'm not seeing any red flags. I'm seeing you being obsessive, paranoid, irrational, and controlling. And you've only known this guy for 5 months! I've been in a long distance relationship, I know that it can exaggerate feelings of jealousy and other irrational behavior. But you need to get a grip on it or it will destroy the relationship and if you don't think you can do that then it's best to end things now and not get involved in another long distance relationship.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

What I see here is something that I've been guilty of many times in the past--not expressing your own needs because you're afraid the guy won't like you and then being disappointed but not saying anything.  You also can't expect him to be a mind reader as to what you want.

I agree that you shouldn't be the only one driving to his place, although if he lives alone & you live w/ family or roommates, it might be a better option, but still it gets tiring.  I was in a semi-LDR (only about an hour away) for over 2 yrs before my exH & I got married--we would alternate weekends going to each other's houses--and I lived w/ my parents!  And in those days there obviously wasn't going to be any sleeping in the same room either.  But have you ever said that you don't want to do all the traveling because it makes you tired, you're spending money on gas, wear & tear on your car, etc. or that it makes you feel like you're putting more effort into this than he is?  if you never say anything, he might feel that you're just really happy to come visit him all the time.  Men really are not mind readers.

And I think once you are in a relationship for a few  months, if you want to talk to someone, then you pick up the phone to call him.  It appears that you've gotten into this habit of texting all the time.  some people are ok w/ it.  I personally only text if either I'm afraid the person is busy & I figure they can respond when they aren't busy or it's a short kind of thing, like what time are we meeting.  I would never have a conversation about something important by text--if the person was doing that, then I'd pick up the phone & say "right now I really need to talk to you & hear your voice--the texting is not enough."  If you text him "I'm having a bad day" then it's natural that he would just text back.  You need to start telling him what you want.  So many people think that if you are in love, the other person should just "know" what you like--and that's totally wrong because people are all different.

As far as the card, I don't necessarily think that the fact that he had the card means that he's in love w/ his ex.  After I got divorced my exH left a bunch of stuff at home including clothes in the bedroom closet, that he just forgot were there & I never thought about.  After I started dating someone else seriously, it came to the point that he said to me that it made him uncomfortable to have my ex's clothes in the bedroom that he was sleeping in--I never thought about it, but since he mentioned it, then I did tell my ex to come & get the clothes if he wanted them.  If your BF is not that neat, it might be that the card just became "background" and he didn't think anything of it.  Oh, my BF who complained about my ex's clothes had a bouqet that must have been from his wedding in his bedroom!  I don't see the signs that a guy who is talking about taking vacations with you isn't ready for a relationship.  I think if he talked about his ex constantly that would be different.  But reading this over again, I really think you are making way too big a deal of the fact that he has shampoo & lotiion in his house--I doubt that means that he's hoping she is going to come back.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2012

Not sure if anyone mentioned it because I didn't read all of the replies, sorry... This guy just liked the phrase or pet name, don't think anything of it.

Guys are weird in a simple way, most of this stuff they don't do on purpose. Tongue Out

Avatar for khatru1
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2004

I'd have to agree with the jist of what the others are mostly saying. You are blowing things out of proportion.Many guys have a tendency to be kind of messy and leave things laying around much longer then they should. The card and shampoo etc are just remnants that he has either been too lazy to tidy up or he just figures he will use it until its gone. Anyway thats just not seeing the forest for the trees. The bigger issue is you have a jealousy/insecurity streak in you that you need to work on. As you move through life, and if/when this relationship is over, and you get older and your potential mates get older, it is going to be harder and harder to find someone who does not have a past, basically impossible. You have to have the ability to make peace with your SO's past and live with it.

As for the lack of calling, its ok to call him or ask him to call you through your text. Men do often lack that ESP that women wish them to have.

If you want him to drive to your less private place then please bring it up with him.Again he is probably thinking you prefer his place since its private.

At 5 months in, if you are seeing too many flags for your own comfort level then by all means end it. This is exaclty the time to find out compatibility issues and move on if it is warranted.

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