They fell quickly and hard. Within 2.5 weeks of meeting, they were exchanging I love yous. They spent every weekend together and most weekday nights. They were sure they’d found their soul mates. The sex was frequent and fantastic. Then something shifted.
They started fighting frequently. She was often late to their assignations — sometimes 2.5 hours — without informing him. When he called to check on her, the common excuse was “I got caught up in Desperate Housewives (or some TV show).” Did she not know about Tivo? Or that she could watch the episode anytime on abc.com? And isn’t it ironic that as she watched the ebbs and flows of romance on the show, she put her own relationship in jepordy while a hot, enthralling, attentive sweetheart waited for her 10 minutes away?
In their 3 months dating, she insisted he come to her house for overnights, not because she had kids, but because it was easier on her. She didn’t have to pack an overnight bag, nor find parking in his urban neighborhood, even though he had to circle several blocks to do the same in hers. When he expressed his preference to share overnight hosting, she accused him of having commitment issues.
But he felt she was “the one,” so suggested they go to couples counseling. Although she had been in therapy before, she insisted he go by himself as it was “his problem, not hers.”
A long time ago, a boyfriend tried to convince me that I “really needed counseling.” While I’m sure I could have benefited from a trained professional’s input, I resented that he didn’t see he had any role in the problems we were having. How arrogant to assume an otherwise normally functioning person is to take all the blame for a relationship’s misfires.
In recounting his story, my friend asked, “What do you think? Was I right in ending it, or should I reconsider? Was she crazy or am I?” Knowing him reasonably well, I would not consider him crazy. He’s one of the more evolved, intelligent and grounded men I know, who is not afraid of initiating difficult conversations. Although he’s 10 years younger, I can’t convince him he would really like dating an older woman — me!
I responded to his questions that, based on what he told me (acknowledging that I only heard his side of the story), she sounded self-focused and immature, although she is 35 (he’s 42). He also shared other examples and I observed that she made decisions that affected them both, and used flimsy reasoning as the basis for her decisions. She became angry when he expressed a different preference. She got upset when he occasionally had work to do on a weekend, yet didn’t see a problem when she buried herself under school course work for weekends in a row. She wanted him when she wanted him, and if he wanted to work out, or see his friends for a few hours, she’d get upset.
Seem a tad bit controlling to you? You bet! This woman displayed classic self-focused behavior that we sometimes complain about men exhibiting. The controlling virus is present in both genders, of course. I prescribed my friend read “When breaking up is a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card” and although he broke it off, “How to trump being dumped.”
What do you think? Was he crazy to break up with her? Have you ever been in a similar situation? What did you do?
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