Is My Boyfriend An Abuser?

Dear Rob,
I am 20 and I am dating a 30 yr old male.

He is very sweet most of the time, but he gets angry about really little things. He has always lived on his own and I just moved in with him so I understand he is going to be a little aggravated.

The degree of which he gets angry and foul towards me is a problem though.

He is very particular about his house. Everything has to be a certain way. Yesterday though I had a handful of chips in my hand and he said “no, do not go in the bedroom!” (which was fine and understandable).

But then it progresses into comments like “I don’t know about you sometimes, you’re like a 12 year old.” I told him to calm down. And then he goes off saying f-you, you don’t understand.

After his comments I end up in tears. His favorite thing to do is apologize a thousand times and then say things like “I question every other day about this. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea. I don’t make you happy.” But then tells me I make him happy but he doesn’t make me happy.”

I try and explain to him it is not saying little things like don’t bring food in the bedroom, it is the comments he makes afterwards. Like I don’t know about you sometimes, you act like a 12 year old. And f- you and things like that.

He doesn’t understand and somehow everything ends up my fault again after he apologizes. HELP! Am I doing something wrong?
Thank you,
Jenni

Hi Jenni,
I have to wonder how much time you spent dating this guy before you moved in with him.

A couple of months?

You don’t have the compatibility to live together. Maybe date, but certainly not sharing a household.

The guy is a control freak with tendencies to be an abuser. From what you told me he has all the hallmarks of being an abuser such as:
Yelling about small things;
Showing distinct disapproval of how you are;
Making undeserved comments and attempting to start fights over them;
Swearing at you;
Apologizing afterwards for what should have never been an issue that he did start a fight over;
Never putting himself in your position to understand things in your relationship.

You didn’t say that he’s cut you off from family and friends nor did you say that you have a job. But I have to wonder how much of himself is getting inserted into your life outside of your residence.

If you can’t sit down with him and come to an agreement about how to live together, basic rules and allowed behaviors that you both be able to live with, then really, move out before life gets worse.

Rules for living together:
Share expenses 50-/50; on a monthly basis put together the receipts from all common expenses (rent/mortgage, utility bills, phone, cable, shopping and common personal items like body soap, dish washer detergent, etc.) and split the cost evenly;
Create a schedule for the tasks needed around the home (such as vacuuming, sweeping, washing dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, yard work, etc.), agree who will do what and when;

Once the things that need to be done are agreed to there is less interference in your being together because there are bow no chores and expenses that are surprises, can be overlooked and may start a fight.

If you can’t agree what to do when, and how to share the expenses with it all being written down and agreed to with signatures, then you aren’t going to have a happy home life.

So, you have two things to do now:
1. Talk with your boyfriend about how he treats you, that you should not, ever, be sworn at, humiliated, treated like a child;
2. Create a “Living Together Contract” putting everything in writing, expenses, chores, etc. Leave nothing out. Remember, everything you do individually affects the other, so it should all be agreed to.
If you can’t do these things, it’s time to put how he treats you under the microscope and decide if this is how you want to be treated for the rest of your life. Because he won’t change unless he agrees to change, you can’t force a man to change.
And if he does say he’ll change, hold him to it.
No idle threats about moving out. If you say it, mean it, have an escape plan ready.
Best wishes,
Rob.

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