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My boyfriend is smothering me, while I support him! How can we get back the relationship we used to have?

Tagged as: Family, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (23 November 2013) 8 Answers - (Newest, 24 November 2013)
A female United Kingdom age 26-29, anonymous writes:

I've been in a relationship with my partner for little over a year. Prior to our relationship we were very close friends for 5 years. Due to us being friends for so long, we knew each other incredibly well. My partner had a big circle of friends and a great sense of humour. I was the same, lots of friends, enjoyed nights out and had an active social life.

The first 6 months of our relationship was fantastic but slowly my partner started changing. He'd already practically moved himself in - it went from staying once or twice a week to him just expecting to stay and expecting me to do all his washing, ironing cooking etc yet not contributing a penny, despite me saying I couldn't afford to keep him.

Then he started seeing less and less of his friends, refusing invites out, ignoring phone calls etc and all the while becoming more and more dependent on me. The problem is he now expects me to do the same. I've had the same group of friends all my life and no way am I giving them up! Whenever I get invited out its "why do you want to go out, what do you expect me to do while you're out, why would you rather see them than me" and generally making me feel like I shouldn't go out or see my friends, despite the fact I see him every single night and want a night out maybe once a fortnight! He always argues with me before I see my friends so I end up having a rubbish night.

The thing is he is a really fantastic person. He's very caring and loving, he genuinely does adore me and, the most important thing, he's fantastic with my two sons.

I just feel so smothered by him. Along with the fact I am keeping him for free while I work around being a mum and supporting my boys while he earns a very good wage but refuses to contribute in any way shape or form!

I just want our relationship back how it was when we got together :( what do I do? Sorry this is so long and thank you for reading

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (24 November 2013):

Honeypie agony auntSorry, time for him to move out.

He shouldn't be mooching of you. He shouldn't stop you from having a social life.

Why in the world is this all OK with you? Because he is nice to your children?

Do you realize that they SEE this and they are going to assume that THAT is how a man behaves?

I think you need to re-think this.

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A female reader, Daisy_Daisy United Kingdom + , writes (23 November 2013):

Daisy_Daisy agony auntOP, what do you mean "I think it may be time to give in"? Give in and have him living at your home, doing nothing, until ... well when, exactly? Because he won't change - he has no incentive to change.

Please, stop asking him and start telling him. Stop letting him guilt you into staying at yours. You've been together only a year, and half of that has been crap. What's the point? Stop being so nice to him at your own expense! Put your foot down.

Ciar makes a very good point that he's not a good role model to your boys. If you can't make these changes for yourself, try to make changes for them. He might be wonderful with them, but they witness him taking the Mickey day in, day out.

Good luck what ever you choose to do. I do understand it's not easy, but I feel frustrated reading your post hence the lecture. I hope you have the support of your friends - if nothing else, please do not let him isolate you from them.

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A female reader, Ciar Canada + , writes (23 November 2013):

Ciar agony auntOP, if you decided to squat in your friend's home, and not only ate their food but expected them prepare it for you, then wash and iron your clothes all for free would you think of yourself as a fantastic person?

Your boyfriend is a squatter and a con man. Being nice is part of the con. If he were nasty about it he'd be easier to spot and deal with.

Another aunt described this kind of man in another thread like this: he's traded in his mummy for a newer model who puts out.

Time for a chat. Be upbeat, matter of fact, determined and brief. Tell him the free ride is over and effective immediately you want your home back. Do NOT get duped into providing an explanation. He doesn't have to like or understand it. He just has to accept it.

Take back your keys if he has a copy (but get the locks changed anyway). This might sound ruthless but it isn't. It just feels that way compared to what you're used to.

Given how enamoured you seem to be of him you likely won't break up with him and that's fine, but you do have to set realistic limits. And it isn't just about you, it's also for your sons. Equality, like charity, begins at home. If you want your sons to treat women well and have happier lives because of it, then show them what that looks like.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (23 November 2013):

I'm the OP.

Thanks for your replies everyone. He was living at home previously and I have taken over the role of his mother!

I've asked him so many times to go back home, to have a few nights apart, just see each other a couple of times a week, but every time he just turns up and expects to say. If I say something like 'why have you come here from work, I thought you were staying at yours tonight' then I'll get back 'oh I just wanted to see you for an hour before I went home, obviously you're not bothered if you see me then' then I'll usually feel guilty so will let him stay for an hour which then turns into all night!

I'm quite a strong character and have had it out with him a lot of times but he just doesn't listen. I think it may be time to give in

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A female reader, Daisy_Daisy United Kingdom + , writes (23 November 2013):

Daisy_Daisy agony auntYou need to stand up for yourself, OP!

Does he still have his own place or was he staying with his parents? (I'm guessing the latter, and that you've taken over the role of his mum).

The way to get it back to how it was in the beginning is to get him to move back out, let him stay a few nights a week as before OR get a job and start contributing to the running of your home. Give him an ultimatum.

Him sitting around doing nothing while you go to work, come home, cook, clean, IRON HIS CLOTHES (!), is just ridiculous. You are not his mother.

All his sitting at home doing nothing and not wanting to see anyone makes me wonder whether he's depressed? It's no excuse but it could explain things. Otherwise he's just plain lazy and needs a kick up the arse.

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A female reader, Anonymous 123 Italy + , writes (23 November 2013):

Anonymous 123 agony auntI really like what the female anonymous poster before me has said. He's not going to change because he knows he's getting all the fun and perks for free! This is a dream scenario for him, why on earth would he change that? He's got a wife, a maid, an ATM and a chef all rolled into one...what more could he ask for? Of course he doesn't want you seeing your friends, who's going to take care of his needs when you're out? The plan is to wean you away from everyone so that you are dependent on him entirely and then you cant leave him even if you want to. I'm not saying he started out with this in mind, but now that he's gotten used to the easy life, there's no way he's going to let you go.

Simply put, he's lazy. He has no drive and doesn't mind living off you. And he's a freeloader.

Do you eventually want to end up with this "fantastic person" OP? Because the way I see it, it wont really get any better till you really put your foot down.

He has to contribute his fair share of money into the house. Make that clear to him. You cannot afford to mother him anymore.

He has to help with the chores and if not do YOUR work, he should at least do HIS work. His clothes, his ironing.

He should help you with the cooking.

And he has to help around the house like an equal partner would.

He might be great with your sons but do you really want three kids in the house? Its time he puts his big-boy pants on. Otherwise he can take a hike.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (23 November 2013):

Why should he change? He's got it made! You take care of him, for free, and you're available for sex every night unless you want to hear whining, cajoling, and controlling. And why should he want to go out with friends who don't have sex with him and probably don't take his bullshit when he can stay with you? All he wants is for the same treatment - drop your friends who will tell you the truth and stay with him. If you're spending less money on YOU and on YOUR FRIENDS, you have plenty of money to support him.

Or, as much as you're going to hate it, you're going to have to woman up and tell him you need more space. Like only-come-over-once-a-week space. The way it was when YOU were happy. You shouldn't get to call ALL the shots, because that wouldn't be fair either, but that's what HE is doing. Start inviting your friends over, that way you can see them and you have some re-enforcement if you want him to leave. Or, go out to see them and invite HIM. I think what it is, is that he has been slowly but surely worming his way into the center of your life so that there IS no one between you. AND he gets to live for free and have sex whenever he wants. That may not have been his intent at first, but he's liking where is he is now and has no intention to change it. To HIM, this is perfection.

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A female reader, janniepeg Canada + , writes (23 November 2013):

janniepeg agony auntYou keep seeing your friends. Refuse to argue and say there is nothing to argue about because when you argue you make it a bigger deal when really it's nothing. It's not like you are a party person, wanting to flirt with every single guy. Sometimes people's personality changes and if you don't change together you grow apart. Just because he changed doesn't mean you have to. He's controlling you. If he doesn't like it he can move out.

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