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.

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2014
These videos records near death experience of people that have visited Heaven and Hell and came back and tell the story. The important thing to note is they all had very same description about Heaven and / or Hell. Please see them all.
 Another interesting website that has lot of videos about Heaven and Hell.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010

Like others have said, some of these issues are things that can probably be resolved by just getting them out in the open: the part about you doing all of the driving, that sometimes you want to talk instead of text, that you sense a distance in him when you are around his friends. Things that he can change and wants to change can be resolved or at least worked on. If you see him making an effort to please you in those ways it will probably help you to feel more important to him; and if he doesn't make an effort that can tell you a lot too.

About the card, I agree with others that many people (not just men) tend to not see things that that have been in a place for a long time so it is possible that the card just became part of the landscape to him. It probably had a lot of significance at one time which is why he put it up on his dresser but over the time that he's been dating you it just became "there". He showed respect for your feelings by apologizing and removing it when you expressed your discomfort. I agree with others that its okay for him to put it away somewhere as a keepsake. BTW after a few months of spending most weekends at his home I don't think you were out of line in looking at the card. It was out in the open in a room that you have been invited to use. If he considered it secret or private he most likely would have put it away where you would not see it. By his reaction it doesn't sound like he left it there purposely to see if you got jealous.

The part about the shower gel I do think is a little weird. Does he hire someone to clean his home? If not I would be wondering how many times he has cleaned his shower in the past 5 months. Even if seeing the bottles everyday when he showers doesn't penetrate his consciousness, when he cleans and has to pick up the bottles he gets an opportunity to think about what they are and why they are there. After moving them around a few times I think most people would remove them--unless he thinks that you might want to use them.  Another thing to just ask him about. I do think its okay to express that it bothers you to see remnants of his ex still around his home. I also think that its a little weird that there are rooms of his home that you have not yet been in, unless he lives in a mansion. For how long have you been spending weekends at his home?

"I would be happy with him in the long-term, but only if he isn't playing games with me or just using me as a filler."

Do you have a real reason to think that he may be playing games or somehow using you? I don't get that from anything that you wrote so far but are there other things going on?

You might want to try something as simple as making a list of pros and cons about him and the relationship, and deciding whether the pros outweigh the cons. He may be a great guy but maybe this isn't the right time for this particular relationship because of the distance. (and LDRs are often very tough to endure even for couples with a solid foundation and a lot of trust). Maybe there are things about him that are deal-breakers for you, because you DO get to choose what you want and need from a relationship and its nobody else's place to tell you you're wrong. (Of course you do that understanding that you could be severely limiting the pool of prospective mates but its your choice). Or maybe you decide that if one or two bigger issues could be resolved that you could be comfortable with the rest of his flaws. A list might help to clarify some of your concerns.

Just wondering but what is the long range plan---after you graduate (in 6 months?) will your plans be significantly different if he is still in your life vs not in your life?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008

Hey apeacefulsnow (pretty screen name BTW) 

So he could have just propped the card up there a long while back and really not paid it much mind after they broke up. But I do agree with you that it would bother me to see a card with a love letter still sitting there on his bedroom dresser when I came over, and that since he knows you will be there just about every weekend he probably should have thought to take it down and at least keep it put away somewhere if not get rid of it period. I think guys are just dumb sometimes when it comes to considering a womans feelings about that sort of thing. As far as you always being the one to drive to his house, you do need to talk to him about that, I mean he should be making an effort to come see you sometimes too, especially considering the fact that gas is not cheap nowadays and all that driving is putting a lot of wear and tear on your car. You just need to have an honest talk with him and see if you can maybe take turns with the driving or something. It could just be that since you've never seemed to have an issue with doing the driving he probably never thought it was an issue for you. Really, guys are just dense sometimes when it comes to give and take in relationships, so just talk to him and see if you can work out a compromise. Good Luck

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

apeacefulsnow wrote:
Kendahke, actually yes someone did right out say that I'm obsessive and controlling. Like I said, the advice is appreciated... In fact, I'm relieved that some of you don't see my need to be worried. I have asked a trusted friend (in real life) what she thought about it and she said that she is concerned and would strongly advise my paying attention to my gut instincts. Because she is my close friend, I decided to get opinions elsewhere as well. Its okay that you all disagree with me, but I'm already feeling lost and surely there's a way to communicate without making me feel "obsessive" (yes, that was said) and accuse me of being controlling, clingy, etc. Look, I've been through a lot. I just wanted to be smart about this relationship before I fall any deeper. I will have a very calm, rational talk with him about how I am feeling. I just wanted to cut him some slack because he's not having an easy time at work right now. At the end of the day, I am still only human, and not a perfect one. Yes its his house, I would never disrespect his home. I did feel very guilty for picking up the card despite who it was from, and I apologized to him as well. I felt like I had no right to pick it up at the time, but again, I am human. I do have manners and class in another's home, in fact I'm just now barely making myself feel comfortable in his home... his home IS his home, I'm fully aware that it is not mine. There are still rooms I have never even been in, I'm not the type who just makes myself feel "at home" in someone else's space. If he wanted to tuck that card away in a keepsake box, yeah that's ok I suppose, but I guess it bothered me how it looked like he was still trying to be secretive. I don't want to be just a weekend fling or rebound to someone, I want a healthy relationship that actually has the potential to lead to a lasting future. I would be happy with him in the long-term, but only if he isn't playing games with me or just using me as a filler. Another example of where I was getting at with this post - yesterday he said he was going to call me later that evening. He was having a bad day at work and wanted to tell me about it. I thought, "great! while we're on the phone I'll tell him how nice it is to actually hear his voice and suggest we talk on the phone a little more often." Anyway, he got home from work and he texted me that he was going to do laundry and other housework then call me later on. I didn't hear from him again till around 10 p.m, when he rainchecked me via text. Said he was going on to bed and he'd try to call tomorrow. Not the first time he's done that either. I just feel unimportant to him... that was the whole point of this post in the first place.

Ok,  I went back through and combed through the posts and found the examples of what you're talking about.

I don't think what she said has in any way the power to "make" you feel anything you dont' already feel or have given yourself permission to feel. She is pointing out what was very obvious to many here in your post, which may be very hard for you to hear and take, but  nonetheless, it may be what you need to hear so you can make corrections before you ruin that which you say you want.

If he wanted to be secretive about a bright, glaring card sitting in plain view, I doubt he would have had it sitting out in the very same spot during the course of the 17-18 weeks since you first saw it sitting in the open.  You have got to get comfortable with the fact that he is under no obligation to expose all of his life to you at this stage of the relationship until he feels safe around you to do so. If you come charging in there with rules of behavior like his mom, then that flips the relationship into a parent/child dynamic and he will go full bore into keeping you out of aspects of his life he doesn't want you in.  A healthy relationship is one in which each partner feels safe revealing their past and can trust their partner to not reject them or judge them or try to parent into a result they want--they accept the flawed person who loves them.  That person in turn will see that it is safe for them to further open themselves up to you and completely let go of all else.

 If it is something that you can't get past, then he's not the guy for you--life is too short to waste youth in a pointless situation. If you feel your gut is saying otherwise, then take heed and put distance between you and him--this very well might not be the guy you should be with if your gut is going off.

I think that your best bet with this man, at only 5 months into this long distance relationship (when you're not in the same city for much of the time), is to loosen up your grip before you choke the life out of this fledgling relationship.  You need to learn to let some things go until you both have had a talk and are on the same page about what each of you wants and expects out of this relationship--or if you both want a relationship with each other at all.  The things you said in the second half of your post are exactly, verbatim, what you need to say to him.  If you feel as if you're unimportant to him, then you need to own your voice and speak up and not have unexpressed expectations of him being able to read your mind.  Keep all of your expectations in check.

Some people have the best of intentions of following through on what they say and life lands on their heads and disrupts their plans.  No one is perfect--he's going to constantly fall short of expectations, especially if you keep taciturnly about what you expect.  He is not a mind reader; dont' treat with him as if he was one. Make it your policy to own your voice and speak up for what it is you say you want; from him and from others in your life. That way, they know what you want.. you know they know what you want and from THAT position you can confidently proceed in whichever direction you're led.

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

You did mention feeling unimportant to him in your original post in terms of not seeming to be into you when you are around a group of friends and that he forgets things that you have talked about or that you have told him. Sometimes it can be hard for us on the outside to get the whole picture from isolated examples. If we could see you two in action, maybe we could see what you are talking about. If he says he will call you and then texts about changing his mind, maybe thats ok, or maybe its not ok if it develops into an overall pattern.

If you, who is there, and say your friend, who is there, can see a bigger picture of not putting effort into this relationship and not making you a priority then the both of you are in a better position to say that this is not what you want from a serious relationship and you should think about moving on. Maybe he does feel you are important , but fails to show it, or show it enough for your taste. Maybe he doesn't feel you are important and it is coming through in the ways you have described.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2012
Kendahke, actually yes someone did right out say that I'm obsessive and controlling. Like I said, the advice is appreciated... In fact, I'm relieved that some of you don't see my need to be worried. I have asked a trusted friend (in real life) what she thought about it and she said that she is concerned and would strongly advise my paying attention to my gut instincts. Because she is my close friend, I decided to get opinions elsewhere as well. Its okay that you all disagree with me, but I'm already feeling lost and surely there's a way to communicate without making me feel "obsessive" (yes, that was said) and accuse me of being controlling, clingy, etc. Look, I've been through a lot. I just wanted to be smart about this relationship before I fall any deeper. I will have a very calm, rational talk with him about how I am feeling. I just wanted to cut him some slack because he's not having an easy time at work right now. At the end of the day, I am still only human, and not a perfect one. Yes its his house, I would never disrespect his home. I did feel very guilty for picking up the card despite who it was from, and I apologized to him as well. I felt like I had no right to pick it up at the time, but again, I am human. I do have manners and class in another's home, in fact I'm just now barely making myself feel comfortable in his home... his home IS his home, I'm fully aware that it is not mine. There are still rooms I have never even been in, I'm not the type who just makes myself feel "at home" in someone else's space. If he wanted to tuck that card away in a keepsake box, yeah that's ok I suppose, but I guess it bothered me how it looked like he was still trying to be secretive. I don't want to be just a weekend fling or rebound to someone, I want a healthy relationship that actually has the potential to lead to a lasting future. I would be happy with him in the long-term, but only if he isn't playing games with me or just using me as a filler. Another example of where I was getting at with this post - yesterday he said he was going to call me later that evening. He was having a bad day at work and wanted to tell me about it. I thought, "great! while we're on the phone I'll tell him how nice it is to actually hear his voice and suggest we talk on the phone a little more often." Anyway, he got home from work and he texted me that he was going to do laundry and other housework then call me later on. I didn't hear from him again till around 10 p.m, when he rainchecked me via text. Said he was going on to bed and he'd try to call tomorrow. Not the first time he's done that either. I just feel unimportant to him... that was the whole point of this post in the first place.
Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

apeacefulsnow wrote:
<p>While I appreciate the replies, I think a lot of you are being very quick to judge me. Like I said, I've brought a lot to this relationship and I do not smother this guy or bust his chops for ANYTHING. No, the card was not addressed to me, but if someone is going to be in a relationship with me I'll be damned if I continue in the relationship while they keep sweet little mementos of an ex lying around In MY plain sight. That's like a smack in the face. None of you had to agree with me, I came here for advice and I appreciate it but you also don't have to attack me either. I am not some psycho obsessive girlfriend, I just want to be treated with respect and I don't want to be with a person who is still harboring feelings for an ex. I saw some fishy behavior, so instead of taking it out on him, I decided to get outside opinions - that is all. Like I said, maybe I'm the one being paranoid! Who the hell knows at this point, because I still don't. I treat this guy  very well, and he knows it. I'm actually a very smart woman, but have ignored said red flags in the past and it bit me in the ass later. </p>

Again, he is an adult and this is HIS house, not yours. Doesn't matter where the card was or how it was out: if he wants to keep whatever from his past, that's his perrogative. You cannot control that. The only thing you can control is how close a proximity you choose to place yourself to that which irritates you.  Meaning: don't go to his house if you dont' like the idea that he is prone to keep things from his past somewhere.  In fact, find a guy who doesn't keep things from his past.  If you went to his house looking for something, then yeah, I guess you're going to find it.  A brightly colored card sitting in plain view has nothing to do with you putting your body in motion over to it, picking it up and reading it.  The fact that you had a brief internal struggle with yourself over it being wrong to read it should say something to you.  If right was on your side in your mind, then "Perhaps this was wrong of me," would not have entered into your mindset at. all.

You're not being attacked---you're being given advice, which you asked for but don't want to hear. Some checked your behavior, which you freely shared. Sometimes, what you need to hear isn't what you want to hear and we're not obligated to do that. The way in which you laid out your case is what prompted the replies you got.   Take what you can use and leave the rest.   No one here charged you with being psycho-obsessive or said anything even close to that  to you.  If that's what you walk away with after re-reading what you wrote, then you need to look into that. Those words did not originate from any of us here.  

As far as I can see, the guy is treating you with respect, however, you haven't done the same in return based upon what you're choosing to share here. All I see are justifications falling short of their mark, accusations and excuses. Your expectations balanced against the length of time you've been with him, coupled with the fact that you don't express yourself efficiently to him is what's fueling your paranoia.

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

apeacefulsnow wrote:
<p>While I appreciate the replies, I think a lot of you are being very quick to judge me.

We are judging you based off of what you yourself are telling us. We have no motive to be bias against you, why would we "attack" you unless we genuinely believed you are being unfair and irrational? You came here for objective opinions and that's what you got. But it's not what you wanted to hear and so you're just going to shove it aside and call it "attacking" you.  

Quote:
No, the card was not addressed to me, but if someone is going to be in a relationship with me I'll be damned if I continue in the relationship while they keep sweet little mementos of an ex lying around In MY plain sight. That's like a smack in the face.

Personally, I don't think it was wrong to look at the card. From what you've said, it was on display, in an open area. It's not like you went rooting through his stuff. And I do actually agree that once you mentioned it, he should have either thrown it out or put it away someplace where it would be out of sight, out of mind. But I disagree that he was lying when he said he forgot about it. I disagree that it would be wrong of him to put it away in a keepsake or memory box instead of throwing it out - and I think that worrying about whether he did this or threw it out will only lead you down a path of paranoia and obsession. The point should be that he was receptive to your feelings and agreed not to leave it lying around in your plain sight. It is no longer a "smack in your face" so why are you still worrying about it? For these reasons, I felt that you are irrationally trying to erase his past. That does not mean that you do not treat him great in many other ways and it does not mean that you are "psycho". It just means that perhaps it's time to let this go but your inability to do so could lead to greater problems in the future.

I'm sorry if you feel that that is "ripping you a new one" but I'm just saying it how I'm seeing it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2012
MusicLover12, thanks for giving me some very good advice without tearing me a new one. Clearly I need to communicate with him about my driving to him every weekend. Its not that I don't love spending time with him at his place, I do, its just that yes its very tiring after a long week of classes and yes I am worried about the wear on my car. I know, I need to be telling him that. Perhaps there is a happy medium. Look guys, bottom line is that he is a great guy and its not that I "don't believe a thing he says". He and I never fight or disagree, and we both have our own lives outside each other as well. I'm not obsessive. Have you ever heard of intuition? Well, thats kinda what I was going on here. There's such a thing as rebound relationships, and I was beginning to think that maybe I was just his rebound. Personally, when I end things with someone, I get rid of their personal care items and definitely don't keep cards, letters, etc on display. Basically, I feel like the only effort he's really had to put into the relationship is showering up and waiting for me to arrive while he flips thru channels on the tv. Yes, maybe I am overreacting about the phone calls/text messages. I'll address this.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2012

I want to also mention that this "birthday card" had a long intimate love-letter written inside of it and it was propped up on his dresser on display. I did not go snooping in any of his belongings to come across it. It was right there in my face from day one. But again, thank you all for responding to me. Some of you didn't have to be so judgmental but I'll ponder on what you've said.

Again -- this card was not tucked away in a little keepsake box, it was very noticeably propped up on display, anyone who walked into that room would have seen it because it was literally a friggin' 3D image popping right up at ya. I was not seeking something to pick on him about.

Pages