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Saved 2/29/08 to Group Therapy

Group Therapy: My Boyfriend Is Selfish



I've been with my boyfriend for a little over two years. He's an amazing guy who inspires me, makes me laugh, understands me, and showers me with love and affection. He is loyal and faithful and strong. I am taken care of when I'm sick, and get mind-blowing sex. We have a mountain of projects together, from the fun, creative stuff to the committed, lifelong stuff. We get along like best friends. I've never had as much in common with anybody else. Basically, I love him to death.

Yet, he can also be the most selfish person I've ever known. His needs always come before mine. It sometimes rears its ugly head in the most unexpected moments, and I'm so taken aback, disappointed, or hurt. It doesn't happen all that much, but often enough that I know it's the one trait of his personality that may possibly make or break us some day.

So, tell me, have you ever been in a relationship with someone who was practically perfect, but had one thing that really bothered you? How did you deal with that? I know that I will never meet another guy as perfect for me as he is. Nobody will fit me in as many ways, and I know it's not realistic to find someone who's perfect. Is it okay to accept that one flaw that sometimes hurts, so I can keep all the other qualities that make me feel great the rest of the time?

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anonymousgal anonymousgal 4 years 28 weeks
You know... to follow up on my post above.. another thing that I have to write just out of a need to share is about his obliviousness to my "cues". For instance, his incessent talking was a huge problem for much of the relationship. In person, on the phone, over email, whatever, it was always "flight of ideas" so-to-speak, just endless rambling about any thought that came into his head, absolutely NEVER considering if I was interested or not. I would give every body-language cue I could to show him I was tired, not interested, doing something else, it didnt matter. I could be doing my homework, and obviously deeply engaged in it, and he would ramble on and on. I felt exhausted every time I saw him because I never had any head space to myself, I was always dividing (very unequally) my attention. Eventually, I got so frustrated, I started researching it, and started to think that maybe he had Aspergers, just because he seemed so oblivous. I decided to deal with it very directly, and told him that I was very tired from his rambling, and that he needed to ask for my attention if I was doing something else, rather than just assuming he had it an launching into his random thought that I could care less about. He responded very indignantly, saying that he would definitely not ask for my attention, and that it was absurd that I was portraying my attention-giving as a courtesy. However, it did get slightly, maybe 20% better over time. Oh, and I stopped listening. :) Furthermore, when he would say things that hurt my feelings and I would exhibit obvious signs of sadness/sensitivity, he acted extremely cold and would never really take responsibility for the emotional reactions I had to the things he said. Also, I often feel taken for granted, such as recently when he showed up an my apartment without asking (we live in different cities) and stayed through the middle of the week (my most intensive time of the week class-wise) because he had a meeting that he wanted to be closer in proximity to. I didnt sleep well and was extremely tired, and angry, and I was pouting a little but trying to be accommodating (feeding him, etc) but to any half-way aware person it was obvious I was upset. But he never asked me why, never showed concern, he was totally wrapped up in his work. So this all contributed to why I really, honestly thought that he had mild Aspergers. I thought, he can't be so much of a self absorbed ass***e that he sees my needs and is just withholding? And yet, when I finally brought this last issue up, he said, well, yeah, I knew something was wrong but if you're not going to tell me, I'm not going to coax it out of you. I'll meet you halfway but no further. And on the sex/withholding issue from above, he said, yeah, I knew you wanted to have sex, [I acted coy because] I didnt want to just say, I don't want to have sex with you. And on the emotionally cold issue during discussions, he said, well, frankly, I didnt want to comfort you. So I realized that all these symptoms had kind of in a way, been leading me to think for several months that he actually had mild Aspergers when really, hes just a selfish prick who at 34 still hasnt learned how to consider anyone except himself. *side note, I hope the Aspergers correlation doesnt offend anyone. I take the condition very seriously and have done a lot of research on it and I my heart goes out to women who are married or in a relationship with someone with Aspergers, it can be very difficult to learn how to deal with it. **additionally, my post is coming years after Karlottas original post, and I wonder how it turned out? sending everyone love & support
anonymousgal anonymousgal 4 years 28 weeks
I have the same problem as Karlotta and many of you. I have spent a year with this man who treats me very well on paper, (lavish gifts, compliments, "sacrifices" etc) but when it really counts, he "chooses him", if that makes sense. The feeling that something was wrong from the beginning haunted me, and I wasn't able to put my finger on it, because his words were so convincing, but his actions didn't line up with his words. I felt extremely conflicted, and like I had to play detective and keep track of contradictions so I could assess the severity of the issue. Along with those details, there were the classic signs, such as getting extremely defensive when I brought up any concerns about the relationship, always resulting in a fight, SCORE KEEPING, which I dont think has been mentioned yet (and by this I mean keeping track of my failures, but most of all every single nice thing he has done for me, claiming when I would raise an issue all of this "context" would go out the window), withholding sex the very very few times I would need/want it even though I please him so much I think it is borderline indulgent for him to accept it, and just the overall general feeling of not being able to count on him. I had even heard stories about his past where he had gone through his ex'es stuff to protect himself in a divorce (which is understandable) but I found myself completely paranoid everytime I would leave him alone in my apartment that he was going through my stuff or copying my keys, something to that affect. One time I left my email open on his computer and he read my emails, but at least he told me. But the reason I think he told me was because he had seen an email he wanted explanation about. Anyway. Its been an extremely draining year on many fronts, trying to figure all this out, and also loving him above all else, putting him first, his needs first, even before graduate school. It was kind of one of those obvious "lightbulb" moments when I realized, its not reallly his fault. This is more about me, and what my needs are. I realized that I can't get mad at him for not being what I need, and that I had to stop being borderline masochistic by trying to "grow up" or become "emotionally independent" to the point where I wasnt an inconvenience for him, because it was causing me HUGE anxiety problems like I've never experienced. I just have certain needs, and he can't meet them. I am not going to stay in this for much longer because although he is so smart, funny, thoughtful, faithful, I am always angry at him for one reason or another, largely due to the fact that I have wanted it to work so badly that every time he lets me down I feel incredibly disappointed. Its that gut feeling I can't ignore.... I can't trust him to recognize/acknowledge what I need, and because of that, I can't trust him to look out for me. The relationship has become me against him, instead of a team.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 7 years 1 week
loopyleah, I know you don't want to hear this but those are very, very bad signs your boyfriend is exhibiting. At best, it's controlling. But at worst, those are the signs of an abuser. It sounds like there are some good qualities about him and it's clear from your post that you enjoy the attention he gives you. I'm sure you won't take the random advice of someone on the internet, but please consider at least reading up on signs of an abusive man. This is going beyond selfish and over-protective.
loopyleah loopyleah 7 years 1 week
I dont know whether or not my boyfriend is selfish or just over protective, He doesn't like me going out with any of my friends, I've been with him 6 months and i've only been able to see my friends four times in that period and each time he has made a fuss about it! I hate arguing so I just dont bother going out any more because I know he will just have a temper with me, he went through my phone the other day and deleted every boys number on there and deleted all my messages off my friends in my inbox, I know thats sounds bad but apart from that hes awesom,we share the same taste in music he loves the beach,I love the beach, hes very affectionate most of the time and he always cooks me meals gives me lifts, and buys little presents for no reason etc etc,so I dont want to finish with him because of the above I just want to get through to him and let him know that he is being wrong.
joy57 joy57 7 years 22 weeks
As an older person who was married to a wonderful guy, I have just a few things to add: I think at some point a person's selfishness can cause serious problems. Selfish may seem like a petty annoyance now . . but I think in the day to day scheme of living it gets old. Kindness is something I admire and want in a man. I liked that my husband always put me first and thought of me before himself. And the fact that I did the same exact thing meant that no one was ever cheated. It was a win-win situation. Our lives exuded kindness for each other. He was so thoughtful. He'd cover me up when I fell asleep on the sofa. He'd offer to get me things from the kitchen without prompting. And he often weighed how I might feel about things before doing them. I am fiercely independent and will never ask for help (I am a foster child!) and he would "just" do things for me. He just knew things to do to make me happy. He was not perfect. He could get engrossed in his hobbies and intense and moody. He hated to go out socially and I often traveled by myself. But he was NEVER unkind and we never said mean or hurtful things to each other -- never. We got angry and we took a walk. We argued. All couples do. But I knew that he loved me by his actions and deeds. He was not a selfish person and because of that, I strived to never hurt him. We laughed every day. It is true that people by nature are selfish. However, I don't think you should be selfish with your soul mate. My husband passed away last year and I miss him greatly. I am so glad he was here to show me what real love is like and for that reason, I could never accept a selfish man. You can spend a lifetime training someone how to treat you or they can have the basics from the beginning. My husband had the basics and then some.
lemysuckit lemysuckit 7 years 22 weeks
Everyone is aware of stranger danger, but we fail to the danger we live with. Women are much more likely to hurt or killed by their hubby or boyfriend or date than any stranger. I think you have written enough for me to offer a word warning to you. You are with out doubt, living with a volatile man who will hurt you with little or no warning. His actions show a selfish person who takes no responsibility for his actions, while he is doing them. Sure everyone is sorry later when they look back, but its really the time its happening that matters. This is dangerous, this shows a person who can commit violent acts all the while thinking they are only defending their right to be who they are with out interference. In a word "RUN".
beckers1968 beckers1968 7 years 24 weeks
Karlotta, Thank you Thank you Thank you for posting this! I woke up this morning surfing the internet thinking my man was selfish....turns out he is just human and that I may be a little selfish myself for even thinking he was selfish! ya get me? Anyyyyyywayyyyy, he has never left me while i was sick to go party with the guys, and even if he does go out (last time was about 6 months ago with his cousin) he calls and tells me he he misses me! Yeah thanks for clearly slappin me upside the head for thinkin my man was selfish. IM AN IDIOT!! Thanks again!!
darkangel2305 darkangel2305 7 years 25 weeks
The funny thing here is that posted days ago bashing on a lady that didn’t want her husband out with her friends by saying you were ok with yours being out until the wee hours... I think you are equally to blame here. You have accepted a behavior that you're actually not ok with. Now you want to take that back, but it's too late... I don’t know what to tell you. I understand your frustration, but maybe you have been aiding his behavior by not sticking up for yourself when these situations began occurring.
AshleyMay84 AshleyMay84 7 years 25 weeks
Look doll, NO ONE is perfect. Everyone has their good points and their bad points. Selfishness is just one of his low points. But ya know what? Thats ok. It's not ok to be totally selfish. But it gives you a leg up, because you see, he's not perfection. He has his flaws just like anyone else. You and he can work through it. Because those wonderful qualities about him, that you listed? Those are the true gems. And the selfishness can be modified, and dealt with. Just talk to him about it, and point out that it bugs you. Best of luck!
karlotta karlotta 7 years 25 weeks
A whole lot of thanks to all of you for giving me such great advice, sharing your experiences, raising a few good points, and even throwing in a bunch of nice compliments and encouragements in the middle (or in Asia's case, such colorful button-pushing ;) ! ). It was a tough week with Mr. Self Involved, and it really helped to have you all throw in your 2 cents. And I guess he's not so bad, since he showed up with flowers today and apologized for being such a jerk these past few days... I suppose some would decide to drop him on the spot for having a big annoying bitchslapping flaw, but I don't hold the perfection medal, and all I'm trying to do, what with those not-so-young ovaries and 3 1/2 years of a really great and agitated love story, is find the way to acceptance. We can be a difficult and demanding bunch, I think, us women - and I really deeply believe that those of us who get there, to that 50th anniversary, are those who know how to close their eyes (or ears!) to the aggravation in order to see the whole PERSON behind it. It ain't easy to live with someone, day in and day out, I wonder how the spousal murder rates aren't higher :D But even as I write here looking for ways to cope better, I try and abide by his own philosophy - he says it whenever I raise the question of that big bad flaw that I can't stand: "baby, don't think there's nothing about you that drives me up the wall. But I know who you are, and I know what makes us so great together, I'm so happy I've found you; so I love you beyond it, beyond those pesky details, and that is absolutely forever." Aw. I'm all for trying.
Brooklynbee Brooklynbee 7 years 25 weeks
I don't think you said how old he is or how old you are... it sounds to me like maybe he still has some growing up to do. Keep letting him know how you feel when he upsets you. Hopefully he will be willing to grow & change if he values you and your relationship. Relationships really are about compromise, he has to learn to compromise sometimes. My husband (a total sweetheart) always tells me we met at the right time, because I wouldn't have liked him when he was younger. "I was a jerk!" he says. I don't believe him ;) but he has a point. I also can be very stubborn - but my husband and I have been together now for 6 years and we have both compromised on many, many occasions.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 7 years 25 weeks
No one is perfect and even when you love someone to death you will always be able to find something that person does that you might not like. It's just a matter of if you are willing to accept them and talk about it when something happens. You have to pick and chose your battles here. I think most men tend to be very selfish sometimes. They don't think the same way we do. Is he being selfish in some awful and serious way or is it stupid things?
NYFashionista NYFashionista 7 years 25 weeks
Karlotta, unlike some people here, I've always been a fan of your posts and views on life. I too believe people give up too easily on relationships (esp here, in the good ol USA where divorce rates are at least 50%). I've been in a relationship for (eek, dare I say it) five years and with that has come lots of fighting and "getting used to" each other's ways. There were many points in the first 2 years we were very close to breaking up because we were still trying to understand one another and "click". I haven't quite dealt with the selfish problem but we've had our other differences. It took a LOT of communication and understanding on both our parts to be where we are today...(we now rarely fight and couldn't be happier). But I have to admit, the communication really is key (haha I'm such a girl). It took both of us a while to realize that we can't be our single selves in a relationship. Goodluck to you! He sounds like a really decent guy and I'm sure if he's as great as you say he is, you'll both be able to work this out.