Are my expectations too high?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. I came home a few weeks ago to find that he had packed up his things and moved back to his mothers. He says that my expectations are too high.

In the time that we lived together he cleaned once after much nagging by myself. I used to ask for help but he used to always say that he didn’t have time or was too tired (I myself work a minimum of a 66hr week).He was always late home and if i texted him because I was worried he would say that i was checking up on him. We argued because I felt that his priorties were wrong, the little time we could spend together he would rather spend at his mums or spending 5hrs cleaning his car. He said that romance was only on the TV and that he blames certain shows for “giving everyone the dream”.

When we argued he would run to his mums house and tell her only his side of the story, when he returned home he would tell me the horrible things that she had said about me, she would often text me these things herself. He never defended me by telling her the truth.

I have only recently found out that he smokes cannibis, although apparently less than he used to and has financial difficulties. He managed to keep these things from me for over a year and has used lie after lie to cover it up. He ignores his phone and makes excuses as to why he didn’t answer it. He finds it difficult to communicate with me and will walk away or get defensive if i try to talk to him about it. He says i should accept him the way he is, so all our problems have been left unresolved and i usually end up shouting at him, which really isn’t me.

He won’t come out with my friends and he won’t introduce me to his. He used to expect me to go to dinner at his mums house twice a week but has only met my dad 4 times and he barely spoke. He went to family events alone saying that i should know that i was invited and that he shouldn’t have to ask.

I was raped a few years ago and i decided recently that counselling might be a good idea for me, i tried to talk to him about it and he said that he’d support me but he moved out a few days later. I contacted him to try and understand why he left, he said that he didn’t trust me. I asked him why he felt like that and he just says that he doesn’t know. I asked him to let me know when he was coming to collect the rest of his stuff and he said he would. I came home from work a week later to find it all gone. I Called him to ask for the keys back and to arrange to meet up and hand in the tenancy on our flat (i can’t afford the rent alone). He refused to give the keys back saying that he didn’t trust me with them! I found out later that he’d already given the keys back to the agency and had already told them that we were leaving. I told him this was unacceptable behaviour as it was a joint tenancy and he said that he was scared if he didn’t do it then i’d convince him to come home.

He says that i scare him, that he feels threatened by me, he says that i’m a lier and that i’m manipulive yet he can’t give me any examples of why he thinks any of this. I’ve even offered to take a lie detector test as i have never been anything but honest with him. I found a stray dog one day and he accused me of making it up, i had to show him the dog hair in my car. I had problems with my smear tests and i was bleeding for a month, he called me a hypocondriac, i showed him the blood. Am i doing something wrong? He says he loves me more than anything and we are still in contact, but on his terms.

I really don’t know if he is ill or just a man?! or if this is all my fault, he says he was never like this before he met me. He had a bad childhood, his dad walked out on him and his mum, but he doesn’t like talking about this or any other personal issues. He told me once that his brother had raped him but then some months later he said that this had never happened and that he hadn’t understood what the word rape meant – I still don’t know which version is the truth. He’s very convincing and i’m starting to feel like i’m going mad. I also don’t want to make the same mistakes again, and i’m worried that he may need help? Thank you.x

A: Are your expectations too high? I’d say they haven’t been high enough. From what you wrote, it sounds like this fellow doesn’t want a partner. He wants a second mother who will do all the household chores and who won’t question him no matter what. From my way of thinking, that isn’t being a particularly good mother either but that’s what he’s grown up with. He also smokes weed, lies to you, doesn’t participate in your life, and walked out on you emotionally and physically when you needed him.

You two are in your 30s. He needs to grow up. You need to gather up some self-esteem and find someone who will be the kind of partner you deserve. Please follow through on your intention to get some counseling. I think it would be helpful for you to have someone in your life who can give you some support while you recover from the trauma of rape and from this relationship.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 May 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Are my expectations too high?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/05/25/are-my-expectations-too-high/