From Germany: My boyfriend is in his early 40s, but has never had a relationship that lasted more than 3 years and has never been married. He is very smart, has a great job and supports his family back at home, however, he seems to have a dominating and criticizing mother. He says he was verbally and even physically abused by her and once they even spent a year not talking to each other.
The last time I broke up with him, he had 10 sessions with a psychotherapist, where they spoke about his mother and also his emotional “cocoon” in which he tends to hide to prevent other people from hurting him. He says the therapy helped and he has gotten rid of the cocoon feeling.
I moved in with him a year ago, and since then have been feeling like I do not belong in his house and overall I was stupid to give him another chance. He has strict rules about where things should be placed and how things must be done, and if I fail to do things the way he does, he gets really upset and gives me a silent treatment. He is constantly cranky and any small detail can set him off. If I, by mistake, buy a wrong kind of sauce to go with his fries or smth similar, he treats that as a sign I do not love him.
I am tired of trying to follow his rules and not overstep his invisible borders. I feel like I have suppressed most of my needs and wants in order not to bother him and not get him upset. I am not as pedantic and clean as he is (no one I know is). He is never physically abusive, just overall cranky and not talking to me.
On the other hand, he is generous and caring, makes sure I am doing well at work, the dog has been taken out and we both have everything we need. He takes me on dates, to movies or to see my friends.
We have been together for 3 years, so I no longer hope he will change. But can you help me pinpoint the reason what causes this behavior? Is it his mother? Or is he trying to get his inside world in order by tidying up everything around him?