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Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Want help with your most important relationships? Licensed Marriage/Family Counselor.
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I have been in a relationship with a guy for 18 months. The

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I have been in a relationship with a guy for 18 months. The topic of marriage comes up in conversation but doesn't go very far. He asks me every once in awhile when I want to get married, but the couple of times I have started talking about it in any kind of detail, the conversation quickly stops. About 6 mnths ago he told me he didnt really care about a wedding, but he would do it for me, he just wanted to have a big party and talked about the fun he would have with his friends. He also said he didnt have any money, and while we briefly looked at rings, he complained about the cost although I said I didn't want anything expensive. Soon after looking at rings he was talking to my brother about buying an expensive brand of computer(although he didnt). He tells me how much he makes and how much his house/truck cost him it seemed a valid reason. But he keeps talking about his future plans as far as work/buying a new(old) truck, and I dont understand why he wont discuss wedding plans of any kind.

This also happens when making a date...he has suggested we go to a nearby city for supper several times, and I agree and say I would like to go. Almost immediately he says "oh well we dont have to go"...or the day before suddenly he has to work, or he chooses to do something else. Why does he suggest the same thing and then bail? Especially when I want to go? I also enjoy going for walks, he complains about it almost every time, and I am at a point where it seems useless to ask to do anything other than watch tv/movies and have supper together. We havent had coffee/gone for a walk in several months, and what is more hurtful is he 'jokes' about it. Ie.If I am sick, he will say "hey want to go for a walk?, I probably wont feel like it in a couple days though when you feel better." So he knows what I enjoy doing he just chooses to avoid those things. Is there any kind of a reason for this? Why does he bring things up but then when I agree and say "lets go do that, itd be fun" seems he doesnt want to talk about it anymore or follow through at all.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
He is behaving in a passive aggressive way. People do this when they have deep seated anger that they have not resolved. If you can find out, you will discover that one of his parents (most likely his mother) was very controlling and possibly critical. When he treats you this way he is fulfilling a long suppressed need for control combined with revenge. Another possible motivation for his behavior is that he has anxiety about being dumped so he treats you as if you have already hurt him. This keeps you at a distance allowing him to feel less vulnerable. If he can't get to the bottom of the behavior and deal with it's roots you should seriously consider moving on because it won't get better and it will get worse.

When you are ready you can confront him straight on regarding the behavior and it's origins. If he can't or won't face his demons he will make you the demon and behave worse or leave you. Try not to take any of this personally as it is not you he is reacting to.

Sounds really bad.

Sorry you are going through this.

Mark Manley
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your opinion, I have thought lately that he is a little controlling within our relationship when it comes to decisions being made, he is also very insecure. One other thing that bothers me is that he focuses on other women a lot. There are several women he has brought up over the course of our being together. He tells me where he met them, what their job is, his general opinion on their personality and looks...He didnt date any of these women,and most of them are now married or in relationships. His current room mate is dating a girl he knew previous, and he has mentioned several times that a friend of his tried to set him up with her. I dont know why he tells me these things...when we first started dating I didnt think anything of it,untill their names came up again and again. It seems to come out of the blue at times..even when the women are not around. But when he does see them at restaurants etc., then he cant help but talk about them.

He seems to talk this same way about women he has also just met, or even if they are girlfriends of his friends. It is difficult as he says he loves me and misses me, but when other women are in the room he checks them out and seems very focused on them. we were going to one place together and he would see this same girl that worked there and talk about her and stare at her every time we were there. He even asked if I thought the guy standing beside her was her boyfriend..twice. Is it possible he is not aware of what he is doing/saying? Why would he tell me things like this? Is this also controlling behavior?
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 5 years ago.
This brings up another possibility and that is he objectifies women including you. He sees you more as an object than a person and likewise all other women. If this is so, it doesn't occur to him that his behavior would or could be hurtful because after all you can't hurt an object.

What to do about all this:
You can try to train him by telling him how you are effected by his behavior and requesting that he change his offensive behaviors as they come up. You can also ask him to go to his own therapy and work on some of these issues. I don't hold a lot of hope for either approach but you may need to try to satisfy yourself you have done what you can. If he does not show significant signs of improvement over time I suggest you look for someone with less baggage and see how you like that.

Sorry to be cold about it, but I am not impressed with him based on what you have told me.

Mark Manley
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