Post # 47
I agree with PPs that this is not a good development in your relationship. He tested you, and then rewarded you for passing his test? That’s manipulation, plain and simple. And saying, “I’m proud of you”?? Ick, that reeks of condescension.
It’s one thing to “go with the flow” and another to become a doormat. The point of that book is to actually have your own life outside of your relationship so that you’re not relying on your SO to meet all your social and emotional needs, not to pretend that your needs are being met when they’re not! That’s not being true to yourself, and that’s not how you’re going to grow into a mature and independent woman.
If I were you, I’d tell my SO, “Sorry babe, I already made other plans with my friends. Actually, we’re going to that restaurant. Too bad you’re going to miss out, but you should have been honest with me in the first place. Testing me? That’s not going to fly, so don’t try it again. Buh bye!”
Post # 48
- Wedding: May 2011 - Bartram's Garden
I haven’t read all of the previous posts, so forgive me if I’m repeating what others have said. But I have to say, while I don’t know you guys or your relationship, this doesn’t sound healthy to me.
It’s good that you’ve learned to chill and go with the flow, but his testing you and rewarding you sounds incredibly condescending and manipulative. Are you his significant other or his puppy?
Plus, your reaction wasn’t honest – not to him OR yourself. You were angry, but pretended not to be. It would’ve been more fair to yourself if you’d calmly said “I’m disappointed and frustrated that this date is being postponed for the umpteenth time, so I hope that you’ll make it up to me this weekend.”
Post # 49
- Wedding: December 2010 - Savannah, GA
I’m obviously in the minority here. I think it’s great that you have a guy who is willing to help you work on something about yourself that you obviously want to work on. I mean, you’ve talked about this with him. I guess I don’t really look at it as him testing you as much as his giving you an opportunity to use the skills you’ve been working on.
I’ve read that book, and I thought it was great. I think the ideas expressed in it have a lot of validity.
There’s an old saying, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Sometimes we need help breaking habits and knee-jerk reactions, and it’s easier when the person we love is supportive in that quest.
I’m happy for you! I hope you enjoyed dinner!! And good for you.
Post # 50
I’ll admit it – I tend to fly off the handle at the smallest little things sometimes. I have a hot temper and can be quite stubborn.
I remember one night a few weeks ago, I was looking to go down to our mailbox to pick up a check from my previous employer. My boyfriend couldn’t find the key after he had used it the previous morning, and I got really worked up. I went on and on about how he needed to be better organized and I paced around, huffing and puffing to myself. My boyfriend eventually found the key in his car, but before handing it over, he asked if I could not lay into him so hard the next time something like that came up. I agreed – how I acted wasn’t fair, and it was well within reason for him to request that I alter my attitude a little bit.
Fast forward a week or two, and my boyfriend came home without picking up the milk we so desperately needed after he texted me from the grocery store. Normally, I would get a bit pissy. However, I really thought about it before I responded. I took a deep breath, told him it was totally okay (because it was, it was just milk), and asked him what we should make for dinner that night. He gave me a hug and said “I’ll definitely pick some up tomorrow morning. Thanks for being chill, babe. Let’s make pasta.” What he didn’t do, is pull a carton of milk out of a hidden bag and say “JK, LOL, babe, here it is, I was just seeing if you would be a good girl!” I would probably pour that same milk over his head.
Cancelling a date, especially multiple times, is not thoughtful behavior. You had every right to be upset. Maybe not call him a thoughtless a–hole from the pits of hell, but you could have very easily told him that you were bummed. You were well within your right. I totally think it’s awesome to curb a negative attitude over trivial things when your SO has requested sweeter treatment. It’s smart to pick and choose your battles. I think it’s great if your boyfriend reinforces your positive behavior, especially when he knows you’re putting in that effort. However, I don’t think it’s right to make up pretend sceanrios to test your limits.
Post # 51
MissBoston and stillme summed up my thoughts on this perfectly. Testing and games are absolutely NOT okay! This sounds like he is trying to train you like a puppy. I’m sorry, but my reaction would have been, “Well, I’m sorry you’re going to be late and yes, I am very disappointed, but no, I will not be making you dinner with no previous plans to do so. I will be rounding up some friends and going out.”
I’m all for tempering your kneejerk reactions…believe me, I have issues with getting angry first and thinking later. But this sounds like a very dangerous precedent you are both setting. Bottom line, he lied to you.
I’ve never read the book, but you say one of the principles is “It teaches women to not cater to their SO’s every need.” However, your reaction seemed to do exactly that, and then when he admitted he LIED, you were okay with that.
Just think about this some more. As some of the other ladies have said, this seems to be a major red flag that he thinks manipulation is okay to achieve his desired results.
Post # 52
@Loribeth: I totally agree with ur comment.
Post # 54
@Loribeth: I really disagree with you. I think that by looking at this situation in “he’s helping her” is rationalizing and validating manipulative behavior that will only allow him to continue using it to manipulate her. If he really was trying to help her with her goal in working on expressing herself in an adult and constructive manner, his next text would have read “Honey, I’m really proud of how you responded, thank you for understanding. This will really make that weekend dinner less stressful and more enjoyable”
Also to the people who say, she should have just made plans with her g/f’s after he canceled, i think that’s is also playing games. He originally canceled the plans because he was going to be working late, and did suggest an alternative date for the weekend. I’m not saying she shouldn’t say she was angry, but at the same time I don’t think she should be making plans to get back at him either.
Post # 55
As an addition to my previous post, and on the flip side, I want to put it out there that I agree with @Loribeth‘s comment “I think it’s great that you have a guy who is willing to help you work on something about yourself that you obviously want to work on”
However, I dont agree that her boyfriend should intentionally create opportunities to use the skills she has gained through reading this book. If she reacts positively to a situation that arises natually, if he wants to praise her for keeing her cool, that is great. However, he is not her teacher, he is her partner. It is not his responsibility to condition her. If a woman decides to take up running after a long-standing habit of not exercising, should her SO set up orange cones and have her run a make-shift marathon to test her skills? No, of course not. If a couple has seriously discussed getting engaged with certainty and emotion and decided that it will likely happen within the next six months, is it okay for the guy to say “Y’know, I was thinking about it earlier today, and I would rather wait another year or two before proposing”, only to follow it up with, “Nah, I’m totally kidding. But you handled yourself very well. We will get engaged soon, afterall.” No, of course not.
So…just some food for thought. Lastly, I commend the OP on making an effort to respond to situations with her boyfriend with more poise. I too, struggle with the same thing.
Post # 56
I’ve read your other posts and I think this is a huge step for you. You really should just relax and go with the flow. It’s alot less stressful that way and you will be happier in the end. I think your SO just wanted a confirmation that you are really willing to change based on previous conversations so I guess that was one way to do it. Glad you had a fun night together.
Post # 57
@MissBoston: Putting into practice the book would mean her saying, “Okay that’s really annoying that you need to cancel – but since you’re busy, I’m going out with my friends, you can figure out your own dinner”. That would be showing him she’s “not at his beck and call”. Saying “do whatever you want, I’ll cook dinner, you can be late, whatever you want is fine, honey”.. is the opposite of that message.
Also, OP, him testing you like that was just plain wrong.
Post # 58
@divergirl: He originally canceled the plans because he was going to be working late, and did suggest an alternative date for the weekend. I’m not saying she shouldn’t say she was angry, but at the same time I don’t think she should be making plans to get back at him either.
I wasn’t suggesting she go out with her friends as a way to get back to him.. I meant that would be an appropriate reaction and one example of what that book is trying to suggest in terms of being independent and not at his beck and call. Not “nannny nanny boo boo, if you can stay late, I can blow you off right back!”. More that it’s fine for her to not cater to his every need; she has every right to make her own plans if he bails.
I also TOTALLY agree with what you said about the appropriate response he should have given her if he was trying to be constructive…. perfectly well-put.
Post # 59
@divergirl: I didnt mean to imply that going out with friends would be a way to ‘get back at him’. In that situation, I would go out with my friends because I like my friends and I want to eat at the new restaurant. I dont think spending time with your friends when your boyfriend has to work late is playing games.
Post # 61
@divergirl: I agree that she should be making plans just to get back at her SO, sorry if my post implied that. I just stated what I would have done. If there was a restaurant I really wanted to try and my Fiance kept blowing our plans off, I wouldn’t wait around for him to make himself available, I’d just go with someone else.
But maybe it wouldn’t hurt for her to start spending some more time with other people, even if she’d honestly rather be spending it with her boyfriend. Sometimes you have to force yourself out of unhealthy habits, and I don’t think there’s anything dishonest about making a concerted effort to become less dependent.