Withdrawing to give space.....

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Withdrawing to give space.....
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 11:44am
I'll try to make this short and sweet.. just wondering opinions on this. I don't think I'm playing games, but the fact that I'm questioning makes me wonder if I am.

Basically, my bf has had to spend the last 5 weeks at my house, due to a roommate situation. This has caused some tension in our relationship, so he's worked something out at home so that he can stay there, on the couch.

For me, its been fine that he stays at my house, but its been irking him. So I've been backing off lately and he's been sleeping at his house, on the couch.

So, since all this has started, I've felt myself mentally and physically withdrawing from him: not calling, when I have seen him, I've been very standoffish. I don't know if I'm unconsciously playing games by "punishing" him for not wanting to sleep at my house, or if I'm more protecting myself from feeling hurt about the whole thing.

Beyond that, we are supposed to be moving in together in a few months, and I'm starting to question if we're ready for that at all.

I know that the time away is good.... thats not what I'm questioning.... I guess I'm just wondering if this mental/physical withdrawal is normal. I just feels very strange to me, because normally we are a very close couple.

Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this....


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 11:55am
Well....nobody WANTS to start an inequality based dynamic. So if it is that he NEEDS to stay on your couch because a) he has nobody else to turn to (review that unless it is due to a recent relocation) b) he doesn't make enough to cover his bills, put back for emergencies, and handle his financial and every aspect of his life in an orderly fashion (review that - it'll affect you 100% living together)......and he's worked out something to stay at his own place on the couch (which makes no sense to me but the situation isn't outlined so it really could be sensible).

In other words...need makes him uncomfortable and he doesn't want to be indebted to you and perceive that he must now 'do whatever you want or say' as a means of compensating you for lack of his paying rent, bills, etc.

That's one possibility.

What really concerns me about what you posted is that he hasn't discussed with you how this makes him feel and why he's doing what he's doing. So, if he got out of his own place to avoid conflict due to some non-communication at osme point earlier in the equation...and now he's backing out of your place with non-communication as a modus operandi....think about whether communication is truly possible.

Because if he views communication as confrontation - there'll be no honest communication between him and anybody else.

Communication is considered confrontation by people seeking validation, approval, affirmation...or is evidenced by constantly having to justify their own actions, decisions, and words. That's a problem.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 12:38pm
Well, the roomie sitch is this: he and his roommate (who travels all the time) split the rent for the same room. When roomie is in town, he gets the room and the bed and James stays with me. When he's gone, James gets the room. Up until now, his roomie has never been in town for longer than 1.5 weeks. Its been going on 5 weeks now, hence the situation.

So its not that he can't afford a place or anthing like that.. jus the way they have it set up has backfired... does that explain things a bit?

I will say that they set this up without really asking me, just assuming I'd be fine with sharing my apartment and my bed with him constantly whenever his roomie was in town. And frankly I thought it would be fine... but this isn't the first time this has cuased tension and I doubt it will be the last.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 2:46pm
My initial thought is "wow, that's a huge assumption". That anything I want, need, decide, do, say, or agree to with someone else that impacts you is going to be "just fine with you". That's what he's basically done.

That said, I realize how arrangements that are made based on review of previous history - the greatest predictor of future actions and situations - and then a glitch comes up where there's a serious change in the fundamental structure of the deal. But to assume that the back up plan was "you" without consultation....mmmmmm, especially in a committed relationship that would give me chills. That means you're thinking for me, deciding things for me, and impacting me because "you think it's the right thing to do."

I had a friend (platonic) that was like that. He just assumed that whenever he came into town every weekend for 8 months a year - he'd have a place to hang his hat. At first, he would call in advance, ask ahead, and leave a little something for the extra lights, AC, or just the accommodations. I mean $20 for a weekend place to hang out with no requirement on him whatsoever is VERY reasonable. After 3 months...there were no more phone calls. After 6 months...no more $20's. All the while - his arrivals and departures kept getting more erratic but not sporadic as far as times of day went. Since it wasn't inconveniencing me, and since it wasn't costing me anything to have him there and because we were good buddies and I had a great conversations and fun with him around at times, I didn't realize think about the long-term implications and impact.

I'd been dating a guy for 9 months and we'd gotten to the point of mutual agreement to exclusivity and pursuing commitment...and we decided sex was part of the deal. When this buddy of mine came strolling in at 3am on Saturday morning and proceeded to help himself to a chunk of cheese and a non-alcoholic beer, plop himself on the couch and turn on the TV (like always) ....that was IMPACTIVE and embarrasssing! And the implications to the guy I'd been dating were irreversible over the long haul. And I saw his point all along...here was a guy coming in like he owned the place which meant he'd been in residence there quite often, and my objection was his "timing and lack of notification" not his presence!

I learned pretty quick....don't start something that you don't fully have a grip on, haven't fully discussed, and haven't throughly and mutually agreed to. Because there are going to be exceptions and situations over which NOBODY has any control...and having the guidelines really spelled out helps.

Now...when he's not spposed to come upstairs, I leave both porch lights on and he goes ot a motel...JUST KIDDING! No, if he's giong to come he calls, he's a good and courteous guest, and he leaves a little something. He doesn't come as often...because it's just not free. He does come in town as often as he ever did, if not more...he just goes elsewhere and spreads the benefits of his company around.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 3:02pm
I don't either of us thought it would cause the problems that it has. I mean, I want him to spend the night all the time, so its ideal right??

Unfortunately what it brought up was the times when he had to stay with me, and wanted to go out with his friends late, I would get mad bc I'd want to go to bed early and he'd come in later... or if I asked him to come in earlier he'd feel like I was pressuring/controlling him, even though, again... this was supposed to be a favor I was doing for HIM so he could save a bit on rent and live in a really cool house.

I think maybe the bigger issue is I'm getting some serious cold feet. We are disagreeing on where we want to live (I want to stay closer to downtown and our friends, he wants to save money and move up to the suburbs.) He says that he doesn't see us living closer to our friends as making any difference, since I don't let him have enough friend time anyway..... hence the space issue, hence me being extremely worried that we should be moving in at all.

Today I'm supposed to go up to his family's cabin in the mountains with him and 3 couple friends of ours... an event I planned.... and I don't even want to go. I don't know how to be around him right now. I'm afraid after an evening of eating and drinking wine with our friends I'll blow up at him. The only fights we have are when we've been drinking, and I can see this one coming a mile away.

I want to go home, spend the night alone, away from him and everyone, and think. But then me not showing up to my own event is even more of a statement to all our friends, right??

Its a rock and a hard place and I don't know what to do... about tonight... or down the road.

What is wrong with me?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 4:26pm
It sounds to me as though you are 1) jealous and 2) nervous about the situation.

"Unfortunately what it brought up was the times when he had to stay with me, and wanted to go out with his friends late, I would get mad bc I'd want to go to bed early and he'd come in later... or if I asked him to come in earlier he'd feel like I was pressuring/controlling him, even though, again... this was supposed to be a favor I was doing for HIM so he could save a bit on rent and live in a really cool house."

My first thought in regards to this was, so what if he goes out and comes in later? why do you feel you NEED to go to bed at the same time? If it's a matter of keys, since you are already there, he can just borrow yours. If you live together, do you expect him to constantly sleep when YOU want to sleep? And if you really love the guy, you shouldn't be thinking of this as a HUGE favor to him. I know for myself, I would lvoe to have my guy around that much. I would never make him feel like he has to be there with me, nor would I make it known to him that *I'm* doing HIM a huge favor.

Some people don't like to feel obligated to others. I know I don't. If my bf allowed me to stay with him, I would be very grateful, but I would also hope he wouldn't throw it in my face that he's doing me a favor...cuz if he did, I'd go find a new place to stay, and probably find me a new man in my life.

What you are doing, is being controlling. You're controlling him by reminding him that HE SHOULD stay home with your or do what YOU want becuase YOU are doing HIM a huge favor. That is control.

Tell me something, if you two move in together, how, if any, will your attitude towards him having a life without you (when he spends his time with his friends) change? Will you allow him to go out? Or will you just assume he'll stay and be with you?

As for the event, why not go and NOT drink? You don't have to, y'know. You can have virgin drinks or soemthing else. If drinking makes you two have fights, don't drink. Otherwise, I think you are somewhat obligated to go, since you were teh planner.

Good luck. But think about your actions. What you said spoke volumes about being ready to move-in togheter or not. Ask yourself, why can't he come home late? Why do you have to have him there so you can go to sleep early? If you move in together, will it still be like that? Will you expect him to go to bed when you want? Will he be able to go out with his friends?

In the end, he SHOULD be able to go out and come home any hour he wnats (at a respectable hour adn not do it all the time). I've lived with a few guys in my life, and well, I have never gone to sleep at the same time. It started out at that we would, but after awhile I'd go to sleep when I want. lol.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 4:38pm
I definitely have a controlling streak there.... I have been working on it and while I have improved quite a bit.. it still gets the better of me on occasion. I'm aware of it and consciously fight it.

I think the favor thing was worded badly.. I don't act like I'm doing him a favor nor have I said that. In fact, when the whole thing came up, I was thrilled, thinking I'd get to spend the night with him every night while his roomie was in town.

The "him coming home late" issue was resolved as, if he wasn't ready to come home by the time I was ready to go to bed, he'd go to his own house and sleep on the couch. He's done it many times, and there hasn't been a problem really since then.

I've been going over and over this in my head today and have come up with some sources of my frustration and anger. I wrote him an email, which I'm saving until MOnday. I'm going to wait to make sure I still feel like this when I send it. Basically outlining a lot of my current frustrations and fears and my hesitancy to move in right now.

If I'm still feeling this, I'll email it to him on Monday. I'm going to go to the cabin and play the hostess.... hell, even if I'm not feeling great, I can pretend I am and make it through a weekend, I was an actress.

And the not drinking thing is a great suggestion, I was thinking that myself. I'm thinking a glass of wine with dinner and thats it. Then nothing will come boiling up before I'm ready for it too.

I guess its better I'm getting cold feet now and working through all this stuff before we move in, right?


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 2:59pm
I'm curious, did you send the email?

Also, I'm glad that you know you have control issues and that you are working on them, that's always good. I know I too have had control issues and I get needy and possessive, and I also started to realize I was chasing away my men because of this, so, like you, I work on it, but don't worry, it gets easier, and well, I figure, if I can be less needy and less controlling, then other people can TRY too.

"The "him coming home late" issue was resolved as, if he wasn't ready to come home by the time I was ready to go to bed, he'd go to his own house and sleep on the couch. He's done it many times, and there hasn't been a problem really since then."

I'm curious, why wouldn't he just go to your place, and sleep on the couch or just crawl in bed with you? Is it your way of "controlling" your control issues? I don't think the issue was really solved, more like it got a band-aid solution. If the two of you are going to move in togheter (I know you said you have your doubts), would he go somewhere else everytime he came home late? that doesn't seem right. Do you konw what I mean?

And okay, I retract what I said about the favor, sorry if I misinterpreted it.

I hope things work out for you. Good luck.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 2:09pm
Erin.. your comment about communications has me wondering how you would read this.

I know someone who always presents things in a positive light.. presents factual

situations (you think this situation is awful) but he makes it sound like he is okay or happy with it but you find out later that in reality he is not happy. How would you read it? Does it fit with your comment regarding needing approval? I'm very curious about your interpretation!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 2:31pm
It's a little more complicated than that. Or, it might be. A specific example would help.

I mean...if someone says they're happy the cat got run over because it means you're saving money by not feeding it and you're short on funds right now.....um, well, that's a twisted way to reason but it is trying to make something good come of something bad. If that's the person's way of "looking for the silver lining" in every cloud good or bad...that's fine.

If someone is saying they're fine with the cat dying because YOU hated the cat and it wasn't your cat but belonged to your roommate...then you find them crying at the kitty funeral that they snuck out of work to attend because they loved the cat so much and didn't want to admit it for fear of your disapproval....well, that's just them saying whatever will get them approval and acceptance at the time.

What you have to realize is...some people are thrilled with whatever "development or decisions or change" brings positive input or benefit to them at the moment. They don't think, reason, plan, or focus past "this second right now".

And if this second right now....they're thrilled that cat is dead because it's one less thing to attend to.....they're fine with this development. And if later on that night, they miss the nightly cat on their lap while watching Leno....they're now sad that the cat is dead......that's them again, upset because of the same situation based on how it is now affecting them.

Primarily, when you're dealing in that dynamic.....it's someone who has no regard, concern, or even consideration of the needs, wants desires, rights, or goals of others. IT's how what is happening, has happened, or has been decided on is affecting them, individually, right now....and that is all they based their judgement on and it makes them extremely erratic, unpredictable, inconsistent and incongruent in every aspect of their lives. Those people are dang near impossible to deal with in life...you never know what they want, or need, or feel, or are working to achieve becuase they don't know - their emotions and needs at the moment dictate all those things and then some.



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Fri, 04-18-2003 - 4:03pm

Hi Erin! You are so smart. I'd like to further explore your insights

on this.

The person will say "I have a beautiful house, my wife picked it and has

decorated it. I want to retire there" in

February and then in may will say "sold the house, moved to another place"

in May and when you ask about the first house you hear. "I never liked it there"

This person is a gemini, if that helps. Got an email from him telling me

how life was going well and that he was contented with his job, and then

a month later, he just up and quits the job. Does this help in your analysis?

Thanks!! I'm one of the straight shooters and people who don't say what

they mean always confuse me!