Boyfriend Sets All the Rules

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My very close friend of 21 years and our relationship has been inconsistent but since the last two years we have gotten very close.We speak 4-5 times a day,meet at least once a month. It’s all good.

Problem is that he needs me to be available every time he wants. Everything is about him mainly.The rules of the relationship have been more or less laid out by him. I know he loves me dearly and will go out of his way if I ever needed but sometimes his demands are just too much to handle. recently he called me while I was travelling to somewhere and there was a friend along so I politely said I would have to call him later,he got very upset,said how I could give my friend more importance than him. He had warned me earlier that he needed access to me all the time to which I agreed not understanding the gravity of the situation. anyway,so he cut all contact. I panicked and called back and apologised several times and he sent a text message saying he would let me in but keep on sort of a probation for now and if this repeated ,I would have to lose him.

It’s been a week,I send him good morning/night texts and some mundane things here and there to which he replies..not rude or anything but somebody who called at least 4 times a day continuously for 2 years hasn’t called for 10 days.

It hurts immensely,I don’t know I which part is really my fault, I panicked and made frantic calls to which I apologised.and also I don’t know what is the solution to this,I can’t control a whole lot of things..and I may not be able to attend to his call in the future again even if I tried. I’m feeling confused,missing him deeply but also tired at the same time. What do I do.

A: I’m sorry to have to tell you but this relationship is not “all good.” Your boyfriend is making unreasonable demands for constant access. You are at his command. When you legitimately couldn’t respond to him, he punished you by cutting off contact. He is still punishing you. This is what is called emotional abuse.

The nicest thing he has done for you is show you how unreasonable and controlling he is. You deserve far better treatment from someone who says he loves you. However good the good times are, they aren’t worth having to put up with this kind of behavior. From my point of view, losing him would be like losing a stone in your shoe. You will miss him for awhile, just because you are used to the pain. But eventually it will be a relief.

Reclaim your self-respect. Stop apologizing. You have nothing to apologize for. Leave this guy and make yourself available for someone who knows how to cherish and care for someone he loves.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Nov 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Boyfriend Sets All the Rules. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/11/07/boyfriend-sets-all-the-rules/