LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION
My fiance Rick live in Manhattan while I live one bus ride and one train ride away from him way out in Queens. Needless to say when we go out, I end up staying over at his place. It’s great — we cook, watch movies, give each other massages. But six months have come & gone. Now Rick has done a 180 degree switch-up of late. In the beginning, he was welcoming and kind — a perfect host and loving man. But now it’s whining & complaining with no suggested alternative:”You’re always staying over at my condo. You’re always eating my food. You made me buy you tampons fer chrissakes. You don’t love me as much as I love you. You hardly ever wear the watch and jewelry I bought you. You don’t do as much for me as I do for you. You make me so crazy because I love you.” Whoa. What are we talking about here? We were at the grocery store and I unexpectedly got my period so, yeah, we picked up a box of tampons. For me. For $4. To spare his sheets, towels and boxer shorts. What? Does he want the $4 back? Is he gonna start coming to Queens now instead? I appreciate all he does in our relationship but he’s really leaning on me to feel guilty. What gives?
My husband Travis and I are on a trial separation. He’s ten years older than me — I was going to Queens College when we met. So we got married and he did support me while I went to nursing school. I became a Registered Nurse and am in a union now so I make about $100K a year. Now Travis up and wants to quit his high-powered corporate job with its six-figure salary so he can go back to school to study painting and “find myself as an artist.” Say what now? We got two kids in private school who are heading to college in three years. A Westchester mortgage that is no joke. And at 46 y.o. is when Travis wants to shirk his responsibilities and go finger-painting or whatever. He’s shouting, “What about when I put you through school and let you live in my apartment?” Yeah, I was a kid. And we didn’t have two kids and a condo yet. I say he already found himself: he’s a husband and a Dad. Now I hope this separation helps him get his mind right.
Guilt-trips are way manipulative. And men have been reading women’s passive-aggressive playbook behind our backs. These guys aren’t coming out and telling their women what to do; but they’re working overtime to let you know they’re unhappy. So you’re supposed to get all desperate to make it all better somehow, some way. Guys are letting you know you will be picking up the slack to make them happy again. Whether he just wants you grovelling so he gets the upper hand in the relationship power dynamics, or he’s decided it’s his turn to live off you, guilt-tripping is a keen weapon of choice.
When I got out of college, I had a boyfriend who used guilt-trips like a champ to make me stop doing things he didn’t want me to do, or do things I didn’t want to do, or to make me feel like something that was his fault or no one’s fault was somehow dramatically my fault. I couldn’t go dancing at gay nightclubs for 5 hours anymore, I had to take turns cleaning his cats’ litter box, I had to spend the holidays with his relatives, when he got a tropical disease on our vacation in Jamaica I had to clean up his vomit and stay home all the time. As a native New Yorker, I couldn’t drive — I never even considered getting a license. (Driving’s something New Yorkers pay other people to do. I know — such a bimbo.) One time he was stuck at work and wanted me to move his car to the opposite side of the street for “opposite side of the street parking.” Well, this was Brooklyn. And I had watched driving on TV. And there was a tree. But the car got moved — most of it. Anyway, the point is I did my best. And still he laid the heavy guilt trips on me all the time. And I didn’t like it. It made him seem like his Mom. Or any Mom. Yo, ultimately I had to get away from him and his Mom-guilt ways.
Trust your gut. Having to ask for permission to go out, trying to get you to stop seeing certain friends and making you feel guilty if you leave him alone are top things on any controlling-man-warning-signs list. Guilt is a major manipulative tool. Nowadays, I’m pretty much immune to guilt-trips because I realize how shady and manipulative they are.
I say shut down the guilt-tripping the second someone starts in. Grown-ups need to be straight-forward with each other. Or else they don’t qualify as grown-ups.
No mindgames. Ever.