- 5 years ago
- Wedding: May 2016
He sounds an awful lot like my ex-H. Years of that crap broke down my self-esteem, confidence, and feeling of worth to the point where I felt like I had no say in my relationship. Everything was on his terms and he’d be damned if he didn’t remind me regularly that I was somehow less than great. Of course, he concealed the criticism as “jokes” so even if I called him on it he’d argue that I was simply being too sensitive and he was obviously just joking. By the end of our marriage I was convinced that he didn’t like me very much. All I felt was contempt from him and it wasn’t until I stopped wondering if he was right about the worst parts of me that I felt able to leave. Ugh. Best thing I ever did was leave that marriage. It’s amazing how my eyes have opened now to what a good relationship can be like. I am now with a man who would never in a million years dream of saying anything like that to me, not even in the heat of an argument. He’d defend me against anyone who would dare talk to me like that. Instead he lifts me up, compliments me, praises me, and thanks me for cooking, even when the recipe didn’t turn out that great. That is what a true partner does. And if he has a problem with something in our relationship, he brings it up in non-critical and non-joking way so we can both work on the issue together. Again, that’s what a partner does in a healthy, mature relationship.
What he’s doing is passive aggressive and destructive to your relationship and your self-esteem. Whether he knows it or not, he’s hurting you. My guess is he does know it and derives some sick pleasure/feeling of superiority out of it. The good news is you’re not yet married so you can put the brakes on that plan for now until you see if he can improve. Because YOU aren’t the one who needs to be improving here. HE is.
Tell him you want to have a serious talk about your relationship and find a good time for both of you to sit down and talk. Tell him something like, “When you make jokes like that, rattle off a list of my flaws, or tell me that I’m not good at X, Y, or Z it makes me feel like you don’t really like who I am. I’m questioning whether marriage is the right direction for us to take. If there are things you want to improve in our relationship, tell me in a straightforward, non-joking manner so we can work together to resolve those problems. But please understand that there are things about me that won’t change so I need to feel that you also accept me for who I am.” Maybe you’ll never be a 5 star chef. That’s OK but he needs to be willing to accept that and work with you to come up with a different plan than having you cook all the time if it’s an issue for him. Maybe you need more sleep than he does (many women do) so need to go to bed earlier. Again, that’s OK but he needs to accept that and not make hurtful comments about it. I would watch his response very closely when you tell him that because that will reveal a lot about whether or not this relationship has hope. As he is now, I hope you wouldn’t marry him. If he laughs, dismisses your feelings, or tries to convince you that your feelings are “wrong” then those are big red flags. If he listens, acknowledges that he’s said hurtful things or at least acknowledges that he can see why you’d be hurt by what he’s said, and agrees that he needs to be more clear and kind about relationship issues with you then there’s hope. If you want to continue the relationship, I highly recommend couples counseling since there seem to be major communication issues going on. On top of his thinking it’s OK to treat his partner that badly, of course.
I could go on, but I just want to say that being passive aggressive is one of the most irritating and destructive ways of communicating in a relationship. It simply does not work. It doesn’t get your point across clearly so the issue is never fixed, and it pisses off or hurts the person you’re with. 100% ineffective and 100% destructive.
For what it’s worth, having been through something similar I think you’re wasting your time with this guy and should leave before you waste another year of your life with him. There are so many amazing men out there who have no problem treating a woman with respect and love. However, I understand how hard it can be to make the leap so just keep your eyes open and don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. If you feel disrespected or hurt, tell him. Don’t scream, don’t yell, but tell him how his words and actions make you feel. Keep your eyes open for his response and see what that tells you about him. Decide if this is how you want to be treated for the rest of your life.