Wound Tight

I know it’s been more than a minute. But I started work and the relationship with Scott took off.

Dating during Covid changed the way anyone would date long distance. There’s no spending a night in a hotel or a weekend because you don’t want to possibly carry Covid back and forth so we tend to switch off weeks at a time. This created a semi-living situation which his friend dubbed “marriage-lite.” It’s pretty accurate.

And oh is it tough.

I was never entirely sold on Scott from the beginning but ultimately made the decision to try because of many good reasons. There were some outstanding reasons that might have been big enough to stop sooner but I figured times are different, I’m different and maybe it was time to try a new approach to the way I handled things emotionally. I’m not unhappy I did. But ultimately, I’m don’t really feel any different than I did back in the summer.

Scott and I are different. I may have articulated some things that sounded frivolous and judgmental to others. Some of those things have actually lost their bluster as the relationship developed. But as with any couple that spends a lot of time together, the polish wears down and the shiny new thing gets dull.

Were the cracks there all along. Yes. They were. No doubt about it. Some more obvious than others. All highlighted by the inordinate amount of time we are spending together. If we make it past the New Year, we are going to need to slow it down or there won’t be a chance of survival. I’m not even sure there is now. I frankly don’t know how much of this is from the compressed living situation or if it would have happened regardless of current circumstances.

I’ve done things I’m not so sure he can really ever get over, the resentment is already there. He has now done things I’m not so sure I can get past, though mine are not built off resentment. If I were to list everything we’d be here more than a minute, so let me try and recap as best possible. As usual, I need this brain dump because I’m not feeling so great about him/us at the moment.

His resentment is easy to guess. I wasn’t impressed with his job or the money he earned and I voiced hat pretty early on. That ate at him because he believes he has “arrived”. In particular his comments have included “everyone else thinks I’ve got it made except you!” When I pick at him about the things that bother me (and I will get to those) he will say “get my foot off his chest” and get angry, really angry. Add in alcohol and we’ve got an immediate dumpster fire. He consistently says he’s has never been or felt so wrong in his life (this one resonates with me because it is my kids and my x’s complaint as well).

Because his three big ones are accurate (about his job/level of success and my critical and controlling nature), I backed up, a lot. But I’m left feeling that I haven’t made the right choice for myself and I’m overlooking other concerns I have because I’m trying to course correct the concerns he has about me that I agree with. In other words, I acknowledge I have some real crap parts to my personality that I would like to change and this relationship gives me (or gave me) the space to be a better person. The problem with this approach is that almost ANY issue I have now becomes related to me being critical and controlling. Perhaps its true. Or maybe it’s not. That’s where the confusion lies.

So I have just learned that some of the things I deem important have no bearing on me in the context of our current relationship. They might if we have a long term relationship, but they don’t right now. And if the relationship has any chance of survival, I have to keep that in mind and keep my mouth shut.

Do I think this is fair or right? No, I don’t. But I’m willing and ready to try something different. However, as I mentioned, his resentment may have already built to a point where he can’t let go of what has passed. So when other tensions pop up, the anger and resentment from past issues spills out. I don’t know how to fix that or if I can.

The money/job success piece I can’t retract. I voiced my feelings and he already felt the resentment. He didn’t mention it for a long while until he got really angry with me over something else entirely – so that means it’s there, under the surface, waiting to rear its ugly head. I know that right now this has no bearing on our relationship. I have a lot of opinions about his work but I need to shut my mouth. He is very proud of himself and he does like to often say “I’ve made it to the top” or “I’m the best at my job”. It makes me cringe but it has no impact on the relationship. It’s not what I would do.

As far as this goes long term, yes, I see an issue. I equate success with long, hard hours and earning potential. He has no desire to chase that. Now that I’ve spent more time with him I see exactly how much free time he has during a day of work. Does he work hard when he’s working? Sure. But he works 4 days a week for about 6 hours a day. So the money he makes for that level of effort is pretty stellar.

I’ve mentioned he is a storyteller. I knew some if not most of those stories are heavily embellished. Now, I’ve caught several inconsistencies and questioned him. These feel like “white lies” to me. For example, he left to go see someone’s new car one night when we were at a bar. He came back and smelled like smoke. I questioned him and he said the other guy was smoking in his car. I smelled both cheeks so I knew he was lying but I dropped it. The next day we were at his local bar and I ordered chicken fingers. When they were delivered to me the waitress laughed and made a comment about a story. I thought I knew the story (I did know a version of) but turns out a girl was involved. It was no big deal. But he didn’t tell the truth around this girl when he told the story the first couple times. These two things back to back had my hackles up because lying is a really big deal breaker for me and so is smoking. This was when I got the comment “take your foot off my chest” because he thinks white lies to not hurt someone’s feelings are ok and that everyone does it. Well, no they don’t. I don’t and that’s all that should matter. I didn’t penalize him about the girl or the smoking. He knows I’m allergic to smoke and detest the taste. And I could care less about the girl as it’s his past.

Until this weekend I really had implicit trust in him and now my spider sense are going.

But the big one, the really big one, that’s making me feel like it’s over is what happened when we got home after the smoking incident. He was very drunk. Too drunk. His drinking is a red flag to me as well but, again, not something I need to address right away since it has never had any impact on me before this weekend. We got into bed. There was a lot of tension. Then there was an explosion and for the life of me I can’t even tell you what caused it. I rolled over to go to sleep. He flew out of bed, threw the lights on and came right up to my face in anger and screaming at me to get the fuck out of his house. I was scared and I told him to stop being violent and that sent him into another whole kind of rage.

I left the room and slept in the guest room.

The next morning he didn’t address anything (he wakes first by at least an hour). I had packed my suitcase overnight while he was sleeping and my bags were at the door. I came down dressed. He had no intention of resolving the issue. He said he knew his actions had consequences and he would have to accept them.

The short version of this is I initiated a conversation. He acknowledged he flew off the handle but my use of the word violent was extreme and simply made him angrier. He did apologize for losing his temper and threatening to throw me out. I just gave up eventually as I realized he would not see my perspective. When I tried to explain he scared me and there were other concerns wrapped up in the event (smoking, lying, drinking and rage) I could see it was angering him and I wasn’t about to get anywhere. It defaulted to how I treated him in the past and that the tensions bubbled over but were gone now.

Do you give someone a pass for that?

I’m not positive how I feel. I was sad. Disheartened. Scott and I are genuinely friends and get along well. We have so much fun together and really enjoy each other’s company. But when the relationship pieces come into play, it feels like things get off the rails.

I can believe and understand much of what occurred was due to built up resentment. I will accept that he needed to get it out (not the way it happened but he says it’s out now). So, if it’s out for him, do I move on or am I going to always be afraid it eventually happens again?

I had to leave him earlier than expected this week as my son is having surgery. I felt immense relief upon leaving him. I needed the break and I would be surprised if he didn’t feel the same way. Writing this hasn’t helped the way I thought it might.

I don’t know if either of us can withstand another talk. I feel like I need to balance things and tread softly until we get through the holidays. I didn’t even bother to think through some of the other items that bother me because the ones above are the ones that really matter.

Drinking: he likes to drink. We like to drink together. I didn’t realize he likes to drink alone. I didn’t realize how much he drinks. I’m all for getting drunk and having fun, but not on the regular.

Smoking: at some point months in I tasted tobacco and questioned him. At first he admitted he was a smoker many years ago. Then he admitted he smoked cigars. Now I find out he smokes several cigars a day but still won’t say he’s a smoker. He has really made an effort to not let me taste it or smell it before I saw him until now. That was because he was drunk most likely. The next day he said he wanted to sit outside with a cigar (the day after the fight). I asked him later that day if that was intentional to kind of poke at me and he got really mad. But he never ever smoked around me or even suggested it. It felt intentional.

Lying: now that I’ve heard several white lies, I feel like they must be everywhere and wonder what else I’m missing. I can’t speak to him about this right now because it really makes him angry. I have always equated that kind of anger with someone trying to hide more cause that was my x. When anything triggers me and I explain the trigger his standard response is “I’m not them”.

Anger/Rage: there’s nothing to say about this. Damaged people behave this way including me. This takes so much work to keep down and change behaviors. It might not be possible between us if we both have that piece of our personality.

Scott feels his life is free and carefree and I have too many rules. I don’t know how to manage any of this and I truly don’t even know what I feel. Some of it is disappointment in myself for being unable to have an easy no expectations relationship. Why can’t I just let it go and not worry about the future? Maybe there isn’t a future. Should that even matter right now?

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

23 thoughts on “Wound Tight”

  1. The rage episode is enough, my dear, for you to know that this is not a good situation. Ask yourself, why do you need to salvage this relationship? Why would it feel like a failure if you let it go? If you think you could be friends with him, and you see deep down that you both would be happier, why is that not actually a better solution? We are conditioned to privilege our romantic relationships, and we ultimately put too much of a burden on them. The rage episode is a deal-breaker. I don’t know whether it makes it worse that he got defensive afterward. Maybe better, since it gives you even more clarity that the relationship isn’t serving either of you well and is bringing out the worst in him. The fact that you feel relief knowing you need to tend to your son is a big tell, too. I’m so glad you reached out and shared.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I knew it then but it was sitting in my head and I was trying to decide if it was really a one time thing. I don’t think it was. And I’m sitting with a feeling I can’t get past. As long as I don’t pressure him in any way or criticize him he’s very happy. I can do that only if I remove all thought of having this relationship move forward. He may be fine to date but it can’t be serious.

      Like

  2. I have never commented before, but reading that I have to: There are too many red flags. Get out of that situation before it turns unhealthy. Be some time apart from him and take the time to think about if he is the right man for you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you – I know he’s not for me long term because there is just too much that doesn’t fit with me. He’s fine to date for a bit as long as I remove all the consideration that this relationship has legs.

      Like

  3. I have to agree with the others. Anger combined with too much alcohol is a recipe for disaster. I wonder if he had blacked out during that incident where he insisted you leave. He might have, so he has no idea how awful he was. The next morning he was trying to bluff his way out of it by making it about you. M, he’s not the one. He is pushing your buttons too much plus he has too much baggage. I know you hate spending the holidays alone, but I feel like the holidays will add more pressure to the relationship and cause more strife. Be careful.

    On another note, great to hear from you and did you mention work? Did you find a job? Just curious. I have been thinking about you. Wishing you the best…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Mags. You know I thought about that. I do think he blacked out mostly. He had no clue exactly how bad it got. But he was indignant about it instead of open to discussion. I’ve wrapped my head around just letting it flow with no pressure. It will be fine as long as I remove all thought of this having any legs. As friends we really do fine. And I don’t need to worry about most of this shit if I’m not worried about a real relationship.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here comes my overly optimistic view… he has been a great learning experience for you. You are learning that not every relationship should, can or needs to turn into THE ONE. There is room in your life for other types of relationships with men. He has a reason and a season for you, but nothing more. Perhaps the next lesson you learn thru him is how to keep it casual and how to distance yourself. Remember that by giving time and energy to a dead end relationship, you are not available for someone else. Good luck!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. ya, that kind of rage, whether it be resentment mixed with the alcohol is no excuse. He will show that ugly anger again. Personally, I would let this one go. And if you were really scared, eff that! You should never feel like that – he needs to conrol himself and the liquor intake and thats not your place to dictate however, it is your place to decide what to do with yourself. Good luck

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m so glad to see you posted but sad that these are the circumstances!

    I also agree with the others. There are way too many red flags here. It sounds like as he is getting more comfortable in the relationship he is letting the real him out. He smokes..whether he wants to admit it or not. He is hold onto resentments and then unleashing on you when he feels it’s too much. Not fair and not safe.

    I really feel like there is very little to salvage here and you deserve to be treated better. If he was upset by what you said there are healthy ways to work through that…and unleashing on you in a drunken rage is not it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Sassy. I agree. I just needed to suss through it even though I knew the answers. It’s hard when you know you have behaviors that he’s keyed into (and I appreciate being called out on them) but not when he has no desire to acknowledge his own bad behaviors. This isn’t going any further other than to just be a friendly dating scenario once we get through the holidays. If that’s not what he wants, then it can end.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand. I feel like it’s a good learning opportunity to be held accountable for our own negative traits ….but it should open a conversation and result in verbally aggressive rage. I worry that he would use these things he see’s as your negative traits to “gaslight” you.

        Like

  6. This relationship isn’t worth salvaging. The excess drinking and rage would have been an immediate hell no for me. I would have left that night.

    I’m sure he has lots of positive qualities that are causing you to second-guess your relationship but from the outside looking in, this relationship sounds incredibly dysfunctional on many levels. I’m honestly not sure why you’ve stayed this long.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Screaming in someone’s face is a deal breaker for me. It doesn’t matter if he was drunk or not – flying off the handle to that degree is a sign that he is unable or unwilling to process his feelings and communicate in a healthy manner. My husband was like that and you end up walking on eggshells all the time, feeling guilty because he gaslights you into thinking it’s your fault he’s that way, or feeling resentful that you have to deal with it. I would end the relationship now – there has been too much damage done (on both sides) to think it would every be successful.

    I also hope that this was a learning experience for you (and also for him). One can’t go into a relationship feeling that someone else is beneath them (socially, professionally, or financially) and expect them to be OK with that underlying level of distain. If you turned it on it’s head and he told you early in the relationship that he sure liked you, but he couldn’t understand why you were OK with being a snob, materialistic, and narcissistic – because he thought it was more important to do good work in a job you loved, to take time for yourself and family, and to not live above your means…well, I’m sure you would have been incredibly hurt and resentful of his judgement of you and it would have, fairly quickly, poisoned the way you thought about him.

    I also believe that in a healthy relationship, neither party should attempt to change the other. You can certainly express, for instance, that you don’t care for smoking and have a conversation about that (which it appears you did) and it’s telling that Scott then lied to you about smoking (perhaps he was worried about your reaction had he been honest and told you that he did smoke) – but to police and investigate his smoking (I cringed when I read that you “smelled both his cheeks” to determine if he was lying) is not a sign of a grownup relationship. You were treating him as if he was a child and that he was supposed to answer to you and modify his behavior because you wanted him to. When one party thinks that their wishes and desires are more important that the other persons – that’s not a healthy relationship.

    I applaud you for attempting a relationship with someone outside your norm, as it signals that you are wanting a real relationship – not more of the dramatic and intoxicating thrills of being involved with married men. Clearly there are too many issues for the relationship to continue (again, on both sides) – and it seems like you identified many of them early in the relationship. Next time, you’ll know not to continue to pursue the relationship if you have strong feelings about socio-economic differences or see other red flags. I think it’s pretty normal for both parties to present their best sides when beginning a relationship (because you want the other person to like you) – but when red flags start waving and the other party is not willing to have an adult conversation or lies about what they are doing or how they are feeling, then how can the relationship go anywhere?

    I wouldn’t drag this out any longer. He knows he crossed a line with the angry outbursts and, if he enjoys the drink and can’t be honest even with little things, why continue? Don’t try to be his friend (that’s not what he wants anyway) – just walk away and focus on yourself and finding a healthy, adult relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Jana I’ve been meaning to come back to this for days and kept forgetting cause I’m so busy.

      I love how thoughtful your comments are and they always hit home.

      This relationship is a learning experience for sure. I haven’t forgiven him for the screaming episode, nor have I addressed it again. I either don’t plan to or will do so after the new year. For now things are on cruise control. I don’t have the wherewithal to do more.

      You are right that I had disdain, quite possibly I still do. The longer time goes on the more it makes sense to me – and I see that I used a lot of the wrong descriptors to get to the root of how I feel about his job. The money is one thing, sure. The bigger piece is his lack of initiative at his age. It may sound like he prioritizes family first, but he just doesn’t want to work hard. He does live above his means in many cases. He does prioritize himself above all else. But even if he did that, he is capable of doing more. The bottom line is I don’t understand someone who brags being so great at his job, being at the top of the food chain, and talks about “having arrived” when he has the space to do more. I may write a lot of shit that goes through my brain on this blog but it doesn’t come out of my mouth most times. It did with him, yes. I won’t blame it on him because I should have had more restraint. I do know why I did it though – because he brags too much. That’s where the disdain is bred. Even if he made a million dollars I wouldn’t want to hear him talk about how he’s at the top of his game and arrived. As far as work is concerned I am always humble. People I am close to are humble about their work. And they work really really hard to get to where they are without bragging about it. I am a little snob and materialistic (and really not even for where I live, but I will give it to you) but narcissistic – I’m not. I don’t have an inflated sense of self importance, I do not disregard anyone’s feelings and I put anyone before myself.

      Like

    2. Hit send too soon!

      Now, did I do that with Scott early on – no, I didn’t. But he’s seen the right side of me and the side that cares about his feelings, his job, his family and how I live within my means. He likes the nicer things as much as I do. If it sounded at all like he wasn’t as interested in things as much as me, the. I should have been more clear. He does. But he brags about it. Everything has a price tag. Everything is qualified with a dollar sign. If you like a certain racing bike just say it’s an expensive bike if you need to qualify it. Don’t say it’s a $10k bike. He makes fun of the expense of my Peloton but his racing gear is more than I’ve ever spent on any hobby in my life. Or clothing. Or anything except a car. And he’s got about $35k in debt plus a mortgage for someone who “has plenty”. So, I may say things here on the blog out loud, but I live my truth. I think my point in all this is that he is angered by something he doesn’t see in himself (except the disdain, I own that, I’d don’t handle it nicely)

      What he thinks of me took longer to suss out. He does think I’m a snob, but he thinks I should live differently. The same way I think he should. He’s no different. He just gets his shots in over time rather than up front the way I did.

      I didn’t police him smelling his cheeks. I happened to kiss both and noticed. I wasn’t policing his smoking at all. Until the lies became apparent. And yes, he’s worried about my reaction – but not because I’ve had a negative one – it’s because he knows what bothers me and would rather try and hide it. With my x I got angry and we would fight when I caught him lying. With Scott, I don’t react that way because I know where it got me the first time. But my feeling is that the longer A bad behavior continues without any response from me, the more he thinks it’s ok to continue to lie. And that’s not ok with me. He would need to modify his smoking habits or I won’t date him. That was a dealbreaker established immediately. He heard it, knew it, worked around it and then lied about it. He’s clever enough to want me to see what he wants me to see. He was clear he was not a smoker. So it wasn’t about my desires or his – I wouldn’t have continued to date him if he admitted he was a smoker. Now it’s about my desires because I’m in this relationship. Is it more important than his? No. It will be his choice to continue smoking or not. And my choice to stay or not. The lie compounded a serious consideration I would have made much earlier than 8 months in.

      There are probably too many issues to continue. You are so right. And much of what you say resonates so this wasn’t a debate as much as level setting some of the context.

      We have fun together. When I stopped thinking of him as a long term partner things got easier. He wants to smoke. Fine as long as it’s not around me. His job has no bearing on me nor does his debt. He wants to hang around with children because he has no age appropriate friends, also fine. He wants to drink himself silly and act a fool when he’s not with me, no problem. I listen to his stories and no longer weigh in on how I feel about his actions. He’s a sweet man but just as broken in many ways as I am. I’m willing to put all of it out there and share it. He isn’t. He comes from a very damaged background and doesn’t think it’s worth evaluating why his behavior is what it is, and feels living carefree is the answer to his previous unhappiness. If that works for him, and works for me when I want to have fun – we can have a light hearted frivolous relationship. But that’s all it will ever be.

      And right now, I think it’s al I can manage. I wanted something else, but he’s not the one to find it with.

      Like

  8. Those kind of incidents are the ugly people show after years of resentment. This is starting this way. Hell no he doesn’t get a pass. That’s abusive. It’s gaslighting. You never act like that when you mess up, blaming the person you scared. It was violent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it was violent too. And now he acts like it never happened and things have tipped back to entirely nice and normal. Maybe he feels like I do and let’s just get through the holidays and the shut downs. I want to talk about it but I know he won’t see things through my eyes and accept that it was really a problem. The funny thing is he says I’m gaslighting him. I am critical but I don’t twist and turn things with blame.

      Like

  9. if you have to talk yourself into doing something or not doing something, it is usually the wrong choice.

    you know that it’s time to cut the rope, so why are you trying to convince yourself otherwise?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question, which is why I haven’t. I really don’t know.

      Perhaps he is more right than wrong? I don’t think his actions are ok, but I also think there’s a lot of things he’s said about my personality that I want to take a closer look at.

      The truth is I don’t have a good answer

      Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s