I feel lost and traumatised
I'm sorry in advance for this very long post. I just have so much I need to get off my chest and I would appreciate opinions and advice, please.
My boyfriend, Kevin, is 36 and he's French, and I'm 27 and I'm English... we met in Belgium in February 2015 as we were both working there.
We have been having a lot of problems. The biggest problems having occurred over the last six months.
Kevin has been having a lot of financial issues over the last year due to high tax rates in Belgium plus his own financial responsibilities (as well as his own lack of financial management) so in October 2015 he decided to find another job and got an offer in Spain. He asked the job in Spain if they had anything to offer me so that I could move to Spain with him and they said yes but only part-time. I wasn’t keen on moving, especially for a part-time contract so we eventually declined the offer. As time went by, I could see how miserable he was becoming so in November I said, ‘ok, let’s go to Spain’. We called the director to ask if there were still positions available and he said a part-time position was available for me for January and a full-time position was available for Kevin in March. We accepted. However, my gut instincts were telling me that I shouldn’t move and that it was a bad idea. In December, I said I was not keen on going to Spain and he yelled at me saying that I was being selfish, so eventually I accepted.
My gut instincts were right. My employer in Spain was a cheat. (But that is a whole different story.) Basically, there was never a position for him in March, which was not the agreement (albeit verbal). They said that they would find enough hours for him for a part-time but full-time was out of the question. On the other hand, the school in Belgium offered him a proper contract (as opposed to being a freelance and having to pay high taxes). So in the end, Kevin didn’t come. I understand why he couldn’t come due to his finances. But what I don’t understand is that when I didn’t want to move, he yelled at me and called me selfish; yet when he didn’t want to move, he called it being pragmatic. He did not even consider that I had spent so much on moving for him and that I was in Spain on my own. He did not consider my finances: that I had to pay rent and bills all on my own. In Belgium we never had to consider rent and bills as accommodation and food was provided. What bothered me the most was that he just did not care about my side of things, considering I did it for him. He only cared solely about his own situation and his own finances. I feel cheated by not only my employer from Spain, but him as well.
I had completely financed this move to Spain (rent, bond, bills, travel, sending boxes, household appliances, etc) even though it was his idea to find a new job in the first place. I have spent more than €4000. He seemed to think that I could just move here and there as if it didn’t cost anything. He never even asked me how much everything had costed – he kept completely silent about the financial aspect of the situation, which to me shows he just didn’t care about my side of things. I really feel he was taking me and my money for granted. I feel he was the one being selfish by showing no regard to my hard-earned money. Just because he couldn’t manage his own money doesn’t mean my money is at his disposal.
Furthermore, he already owes me a total of €2334.15 from before all of this. I lent him the first €500 voluntarily as a short-term solution to a sudden financial hole he fell into. That I accept was a gift. But had I known that he was going to keep falling into the same situation, I would not have given him that money. Although he has financial responsibilities, he also does not manage his time and money well. For example, he buys things he doesn’t need and he pays his bills late which he then blames others because he incurs a fine. After initially helping him with his finances, he then asked me for more money to pay for a new computer and then to pay off other debts because he did not watch his spending.
What upsets me the most is that after all this, he regularly loses his temper with me (probably because he's stressed). He's always so negative. When I talk to him about this situation, he starts yelling at me and makes it sound like he’s done nothing wrong – like his debts give him an excuse to be entitled. I was also hoping the move to Spain would improve his mood. I feel so taken for granted. I feel like I should've left this relationship before making such a big move.
He complains about everything and is always so negative. I feel like I have become him. I came to Belgium to start fresh, completely carefree and happy. The first moment I realised he was making me unhappy was one month into our relationship when we went to the post office because he had to do something but he was in such a bad mood and constantly complaining. I was thinking to myself: My god he is constantly complaining and he doesn’t stop. That night was the first time he yelled at me because he told me to come down stairs to his room. I knocked on his door (he was having what sounded like an argument with someone on the phone). He opened the door and said he was on the phone and closed the door in my face so I sat on the steps of the stairs waiting. As soon as he finished, he came out and saw me sitting on the stairs and yelled at me for sitting on the stairs. I personally did not see anything wrong with sitting on the stairs. I was so shocked. This was the first time a boyfriend had every yelled at me – and for sitting on stairs. I was crying so much in my room. A while later he came up to comfort me but when I said I was only sitting on stairs, he started shouting at me again saying it was my fault for sitting on the stairs. And to this day, it is still my fault for sitting on the stairs. I really wanted to leave him then and there but the truth is I was worried because we were living and working together.
Another time he yelled at me which really shocked me was when he came back from France after a week and I wasn’t at the door to meet him because I was finishing teaching a colleague of mine, he completely blew up at me, accusing me of not wanting to see him. I was really looking forward to seeing him that night only to be confronted by a man that was losing his temper.
Kevin controlled my social life. Before I met him, I used to go to the pub and I had fun. I could enjoy my life and interact with whoever I wanted to. When I met him, my social life disappeared. I became trapped. He didn’t like me drinking. I couldn’t talk to the gardener. He was telling me who I could and couldn’t talk to. I talked to the gardener twice. It was his first day at work and the first time we talked. We were just having a basic conversation introducing ourselves saying where we came from, what we do, etc. Kevin called that flirting and got angry with me. Later that day, the gardener came to speak to me again. (This time it was a little bit flirty from his side because he was asking me if I had a boyfriend.) Afterwards, Kevin yelled at me saying he had already told me once. But firstly, I did not think the first encounter was flirting. Secondly, it was his first day and he was a colleague. I did not want to be rude to him. I cannot just ignore him and get up and walk away when he was only being nice. And thirdly, Kevin got angry at me because he said he had told me once yet I have had to tell him hundreds of times about his bad manners on Skype but he continues to with his bad manners. In fact, at that moment, talking to the gardener was like a breath of fresh air away from Kevin.
On another occasion, Kevin completely blew up at me for accepting a friend request of a man. Kevin and I used to play in Mölkky tournaments (a game from Finland). This man was no stranger; only a fellow competitor from the game. Kevin blew up at me saying that profanities along the lines that I would sleep with him.
In July 2015, I went on holiday with a male friend that I had known from university. Before going on holiday, Kevin made a lot of speculations about this man and even suggesting I would sleep with him. Then when I said that next year I plan to go on holiday with another male friend, his immediate reaction was, ‘are you going to f*ck him?’. I feel completely trapped and controlled with Kevin. I have never felt like this with another man before.
Even when it came to achieving my personal goals, he was controlling. When I said I wanted to go back to university to do a Master’s degree, he said I was being selfish and not thinking about us as a couple. Everything I plan in my life, I always take my relationship into consideration. My plan was to postpone university from last year to this year so that I could save up some more money for security. However, ever since he got angry at me for not considering him, I never mentioned my personal goals because I was afraid. This year I am becoming broke because of all the moving I did for him and because of him I cannot go to university. Instead I’m starting a job in Singapore in September. I feel like he has really screwed me over in my life and he couldn’t care less.
He has never defended me. When the gardener was ‘flirting’ with me, I was the one yelled at. When other men ‘harassed’ other women, he was immediately at their defence. When the gardener was talking to another woman (in which she herself was happily chatting back to him), Kevin was watching from the window the entire time.
There was an incident with a drunk colleague shouting profanities at other colleagues of ours (he only lasted a week). This incident happened whilst I was in Spain so Kevin explained to me what happened over the phone. With Kevin, I have learned to stay neutral as he often can put the blame on people who don’t deserve the blame. So when Kevin explained to me the situation, he basically said that this colleague was drunk and shouting sexually explicit language at women. Kevin then said that this colleague was running a lesbian chat room online and the he wanted to show everyone this chat room and so everyone followed him to his room to see this chat room. While I disapprove of this colleague’s behaviour, I wanted to keep it neutral so I said that if this colleague wanted to run a lesbian chat room, it is really nobody else’s business and there was really no reason for everyone to follow him into his room to see this chatroom. Immediately, Kevin blew up at me again saying I was defending him and that I would love to be fisted by him and f*cked by him. He went on and on. I cried so much; I couldn’t believe Kevin would say something like that to someone he claims to love. I was not defending anyone. I was trying to keep my view neutral based on the information I was receiving.
Further to his controlling behaviour, he would look at what I was doing on my phone (which I never had a problem with), yet when he was on his phone or computer, he always turned it away from me. I could only assume he was hiding something as his movements for turning his screen away from me were very obvious. Yet when I confronted him about it, he says he was not hiding anything and that it was a natural reaction.
On other occasions, there were a couple of times when I had planned to dress a little revealingly in which he controlled me over that. Never have I had a boyfriend tell me what to wear. Rather, they always complimented me on the way I dressed, even if it was something simple. I was always complimented on aspects of me, even if they were flawed. I was always complimented for being who I am. However, with Kevin, it has always been criticism after criticism after criticism. He has criticised my physical appearance and he has criticised who I am.
He often gets impatient and loses his temper with me. Sometimes with reason and others without. When he does get impatient and lose his temper with more for reason, it is often because I am fed up and have reached my limit with all this misery and negativity. Yet he says he loves me. I don’t understand how anyone can get impatient and lose their temper with someone they claim to love. Not only does he get impatient and lose his temper, he talks condescendingly to me in a very patronising tone. He has made me cry so much and he has never comforted me ever. Rather he blames me for everything.
I was thinking, we all have our bad days but I cannot be with someone who constantly imposes his misery on someone who is happy. It should be the other way round. Happy people should be imposing their happiness on miserable people. We should comfort each other on our bad days and enjoy our good days. I’ve tried comforting him on his bad days but I couldn’t because I end up paying the price when he blows up. And on my bad days, I have never experience any comfort from him; just more yelling about how I am always in the wrong. As for good days, we hardly had any.
I don’t think he realises that a relationship requires effort from both sides. To him, being there was enough. He would be physically next to me but always in a different world; either on the internet or on his phone. Always. At night, we never cuddled. He would be on his computer, have a bath, and then go to bed. On Skype, he would turn the camera on then start chatting to other people or surf the internet. I have told him many times that it’s not ok and he has said that he would stop but he continues. He doesn’t even show that he is trying. We argue because I keep saying the same thing over and over again but I wouldn’t have to keep telling him again and again if he could at least take my thoughts in to considerations. It’s basic manners. If you love someone, you would want to speak to them not turn on Skype and chat to someone else. And every time I repeat myself, I put myself in the position of getting yelled at. Before I left Belgium to Singapore, we made an agreement about quality Skype time. I should’ve known that it was nothing more than empty, meaningless words. I was a fool to believe he would stick to his promises.
I never chat to others or surf the internet when I’m on Skype with him and I expect the same from him. He even asked me to play my violin to him over Skype and whilst I did he was chatting to his friends. He texts others while he has lunch or dinner with me, yet he employs manners when he eats with others and doesn’t use his phone with them. I didn’t realise that the person you love can be the person most disrespected.
Before I left Belgium to Singapore, we made an agreement about quality Skype time. I should’ve known that it was nothing more than empty, meaningless words. I was a fool to believe he would stick to his promises.
His words never reflect his actions. He is a constant let down and a constant disappointment every single time without fail. For example, from something as small as agreeing to skype at 6 o’clock then telling me he can’t, to something as big as moving to Spain and in the end deciding not to come or saying he will come to Spain to help me pack when in the end he didn’t. Even though some of the things may be small, many small things become one big thing. It was the fact he would say things without any intention of doing it.
He is not proactive with his life. He cannot manage his time or his money and then blames others for it. For example, he never paid his insurance company on time and now they don’t want him yet he blames them. Or he always says he has no time to do anything and ends up doing it last minute or not at all when in fact he has a lot of time, he just puts things off. And that’s how problems occur. He is unreliable but does not take his share of responsibility.
I used to be carefree. I used to spend a lot of time with my male friends and my partners in the past used to spend a lot of time with their female friends. There were no issues. We were open and honest to each other and we never controlled what each other did. Since being with Kevin, I have changed in the way that I now act exactly how he has acted with me. When he is with female friends, I have become somewhat controlling. Not because I am worried of what he might do. I trust him in that sense. But because he is controlling with me over who I interact with and I feel it is unjust and double standard if he thinks he can hang out with his female friends until late at night and not allow me to even have male friends of my own.
I feel he has changed me so much. I am now behaving like him. I need to go back to who I really am. I am really worried that my next relationship will be affected by the way this relationship has affected me. It has been a scarring experience. I am completely traumatised.
I am a strong woman; how could I have allowed someone to treat me like this and put up with it? I feel the only answer I can give was that I was living and working in the same place as him and I was afraid of him. But I should not have let that be a determining factor. In fact, I have left him so many times but he still keeps coming back to me. I’m so weak.
Staying with him is just punishing myself. His behaviour is already a warning. Ignoring the warnings and staying with him would just be deserving of me.
I have to leave him.
You have asked and answered for own post which is basically one big red flag. If you're miserable with this guy and you can list everything wrong about him in 'black and white' then you have started the process of moving on from him. You need to share your life with people who have your values and standards and you need to listen to your gut when it talks to you about people and situations which are not in your best interests.
You're correct, you need to block this guy out of your life and leave him completely. The longer you let this guy control you, the longer you will be miserable. You owe him nothing, but you owe it to yourself to move on and find your happiness again.
Hello Manalone and thank you for your comment.
You're right. I have answered my own post and I would give the same response to anyone else in my situation. I just feel so traumatised by this whole experience and incredibly lonely. It has been hard for anyone to understand my situation because he presents himself as such a caring and gentle person to those around him, but behind closed doors he is a completely different person. My own friends have been very supportive but I don't think they understand whereas our mutual friends were all his friends to begin with and they only know his gentle side.
I guess I really just needed to express myself and hope somebody understands me.