An argument with my bf


#1

Sigh. What a weekend!

We had a long weekend here in Korea, and my boyfriend only had one day off - Monday. He promised to meet me on Monday afternoon, and confirmed that when he phoned me on Sunday night as he was leaving work. Well, Monday rolled around and he never showed up. Nor did he answer my phone calls or text messages.

I was floored. I couldn’t imagine what was wrong. Last week he asked me my ring size to buy an engagement ring. I’m moving to his town this summer. He’s applied to immigrate to Canada so we can get married and live there. And suddenly he wasn’t answering my phone calls? I bawled. I sobbed. I got murderously angry. I imagined that he had a girl on the side. I couldn’t figure out why on earth he’d do this.

Then I got a phone call at 11:30pm Monday night. His sister had given him some bad news on Sunday night. I don’t know what it was about. They argued. He woke up Monday morning and decided to have a drink with his friends to calm down. He drank until he passed out. I was too angry to talk to him on Monday night, so I told him I’d call him today and he’d better answer. Well, today we talked about it.

First he said that he had been planning to just have a drink or two and then visit me. I countered that if that were the case, why hadn’t he phoned me to tell me so? Eventually I guessed and then he admitted that he knew if he saw me, I’d know he was upset and I’d pester him until he told me why, and he wasn’t ready to talk about it.

He’s right, I would do that. The way I see it, if we’re going to be married, we need to be life partners and be able to help each other in all things. He said that he doesn’t want to share all his troubles with anyone - some troubles should just be private. He feels like less of a man if he unburdens himself on me or on someone else. I said I can accept that as long as they’re not things that would affect me. For example, when we’re married, he shouldn’t keep money problems secret. However, if he doesn’t want to tell me about trouble at work or an argument with a friend, I can accept that. I still kind of feel that if he trusted me more, he’d share his troubles, though.

He did promise that in future, if he needed to be alone or if he needed time to think, he’d call me and give me the courtesy and respect of telling me first. He apologized for that. I told him that was the worst part for me - it showed utter disrespect, and he’d better never do it again.

The other issue is the drinking. That’s the first time I’ve known him to do that. We talked a bit about better things to do to take his mind off things - sports, exercise, hitting a punching bag, going to Church. I just don’t feel like I can be his mother in this, but he’s got to get better coping strategies. There’s no English-language counselling here, so I guess other than asking him to speak to his priest there’s not much else to do.

So the way things stand now, I feel like I have to give him more space when he’s upset. He’s right, I do bother him until he tells me what’s upsetting him. And I told him that if he ever pulls the “get drunk and don’t call” stunt again, that’s the end. Maybe if I can demonstrate that I can be understanding without insisting on knowing the problem, he will turn to me for comfort.

So, am I being too understanding? He was really apologetic and seemed genuinely sorry about his stupid, inconsiderate, reckless, and selfish behaviour. I feel like this is part of figuring out how to communicate, and I should give him a chance to do better next time. Am I naive?


#2

Hi JW;

I think you’re being very understanding, and that’s a blessing. He is very blessed to have you, and it sounds like he was just under pressure, and just wasn’t thinking at the time of others’ needs. It happens. However, I recall another thread you created a while back, that he did something similiar–and he told you that his phone wasn’t working, or something, from what I remember. I just hope he means it this time, and the next time something happens, he calls you and doesn’t leave you wondering. I would definitely not CONTINUE to tolerate it though, but I can understand being patient and working through this with him. In marriage, spouses do things that might test one another’s love, faith, etc…but, it sounds like this was a situation that he just didn’t use the best judgement. But, again, I also recall that other thread where he did something similiar. Just make sure you know your own boundaries, and set them. Don’t keep stretching them, because you will have none, eventually. Not that he needs boundaries, but your bf needs to know that going forward, he cannot just choose to not call you. As a future wife, and eventually his wife, he needs to put your needs actually above his. So, saying all that–I think it will work out. Just make sure that you set some mental boundaries for yourself, and pray for him with respect to the issues he’s going through.

Good luck to you!


#3

Do you have AA there in Korea? Drinking until you pass out is a dangerous thing, perhaps he could benefit from a group?


#4

Sounds like you guys worked out a good agreement. You’ve made your boundaries, now stick to them. Getting drunk and passing out is NOT an acceptable way to deal with worries, so stick to your guns on that one.

Men seem to be different from us women in that they don’t always want to talk about what’s bothering them. I know I have to ask a lot of questions to get my bf to open up about things, though he’s different from your bf in that he will talk about it once I whittle away his other excuses. He just doesn’t realize at the time that I actually want to know what’s bothering him, and even if it doesn’t make him feel any better, it will make ME feel better just to be in the loop. We know each other well enough now that he knows to start talking when I say, “Joe, what’s up?” in a particular tone of voice. :stuck_out_tongue:


#5

Somebody gave me some sage advice long time ago. “Don’t ever sign up with somebody that has more problems than you.”

This guy has already had a couple of red flags. I’d proceed with caution. Don’t think these kind of issues go away just because you get married.


#6

Thanks for the responses, everyone.

Thanks, WG. I’m still learning to set the boundaries and stick to them. Honestly, I’ve never had to do it before. In previous relationships, when the going got tough, I was out of there. :blush: This time I’m confident that I want it to lead to marriage, so I’m looking into the future and thinking, “yes, but not like this.” I sincerely hope that we can work these things out. We’ve got at least a year until we can get married, so there’s time to make sure this isn’t a habitual problem, I think. Last time I posted about being unable to reach him, there was a genuine hardware problem with his phone, and he could only call me from a payphone. This was the first time he chose not to call.

Not that I know of, and not in English I’m sure. We’re going to have to rely on supportive friends instead of a formal group.

It would make me feel better to be in the loop, too, but at the same time I want to respect his communication style. I think I just need to cool it for a while and wait for him to tell me his worries on his own. Just as long as he doesn’t keep secrets about money or other things that would hurt me or our future family, I think it’s okay for him to keep his worries to himself… if I can handle not knowing!

That’s the crux of the issue: I don’t want to run away at the first sign of trouble, because every relationship will have its troubles. But on the other hand, I don’t want to sign up for a boatload of future problems either. I’m encouraged that we were able to discuss the problem honestly and come up with a plan to avoid similar problems in the future. But then, the real test will be next time something like this comes up. Until then, I can’t know for sure. It’s easy to make promises when the sun is shining, you know?


#7

In case the alchol is a problem…

aainkorea.org/


#8

Well, not all of us women, pumpkin. :slight_smile:

I have a friend (male) who can tell from twenty paces when things are not right with me. There are days I don’t want to “talk” and I tactfully avoid our semi-regular coffee meeting because a) I know he will ask and press it a bit, because he cares, and b) I don’t have the energy to deal with it without making him feel a stickybeak and being told to “butt out” - I won’t risk that because I care.

(Bear in mind I suffer from depression and managing these things is draining for me when I’m on a downer.)

So I can relate to the “don’t want to talk” + “don’t want to hurt fiancee” = “avoid fiancee” scenario. He sure didn’t go about it the right way but I can understand it.

We seem to have gone from a time when anybody who needed to talk was seen as spineless to a time when people club you over the head with dire warnings of future mental collapse if you don’t spill your whole load of beans every time anything’s wrong. But there truly are times when talking is the last thing I want or need and people picking at me to try to worm it out of me just become invasive. My “I don’t want to talk about it” really means just that, it is not code for, “please keep pestering me to talk because that will show me how much you care”. If someone wants me to talk to feed their need to feel needed, well that’s about them really, not about me at all. And there are times when that’s OK too, when their need is greater than my problem, but I can’t deal with people who are like that habitually. (I am not saying you are like that, pumpkin, you’re clearly not, just that some people are and it can make you wary sometimes when people press you to open up to them.)

My tuppence worth, Just Wondering, is that there are times where it is better to be left alone, but you can’t be expected to read his mind to work this out nor should you be hurt because he hasn’t worked out a way of telling you. Seems to me there’s the “better left alone” stage, the “I’d like to talk but need you to push me a bit to tell me it’s OK because I don’t want to just dump my problems on you” and there’s “I really need to talk this out”. Do you think you could come up with some way of communicating these levels between you? (If it applies to you of course, you guys might see the world totally differently!)

I just know that with my friend the inevitability of being asked what’s wrong and my need to distance him kindly for a little while gets me down. I know that sounds ungrateful, I’m very grateful for his kindness over about 20 years but just every now and then I need that distance. But then I also know how hurtful it is when you want to “be there” for someone and they won’t let you. :frowning:

This sort of communication needs to be worked out before the wedding. Having your advances rebuffed or being avoided when he is troubled - and he’s going to have plenty of those times in the next fifty years - causes the kind of recurring hurt or fight that seems to blow over in a day or two each time but over years can become a deep wound.


#9

Just Wondering, You said: “But on the other hand, I don’t want to sign up for a boatload of future problems either.”

I lived in Korea for a total of 9 years in the Military. I married a Korean lady 39 years ago. Yes, we are still married. Why?
Because we both wanted our marriage to work out. I am sure there are AA groups in Korea at all the military compounds. And there are Catholic Chaplains who will guide you through preparation for marriage. In closing my dear to get married is to sign up for a boatload of future problems. Just pray for the strength to solve them together. Good luck on your journey through life. Divorce rates runs between 50 to 75% today. That was the rate for Americans marrying Koreans when I got married. The diference? We love each other. Some days more than others but we always know that “this too shall pass”. God bless :signofcross:


#10

**Thanks for the link. :thumbsup: **

**
Thanks, Guitar. I really appreciate someone coming in from that perspective. The way you explained it really made sense. Luckily we’ve got at least a year until the wedding. That’s time to work on it.**

Your perspective that “to get married is to sign up for a boatload of future problems” kind of surprised me. On the one hand, I suppose it makes sense - no marriage is perfect, and conflict is part of life. It sounds like your philosophy means that you work with the gifts you’re given, rather than constantly dreaming about the “perfect” man or woman. But then I don’t want to be one of those poor girls who misses all the warning signs and ends up with an abusive, neglectful, or totally self-centered husband. I’ve got to make sure I have a good idea of what I’m getting myself into.


#11

If I ever “abused” my wife, I know we would be divorced. I respect her too much to physically abuse her. Without mutual respect there is no love, just passion. I will admit to emotional abuse sometimes…It happens weather we realize it or not. It isn’t hard to stay married, if both people work at it. I think you have a good start. I least you bf is willing to talk a little about his feeling. He just need space and time sometimes. You also. As you grow together he will come to realize that You are a part of Him! :blessyou:


#12

Sorry, Guitar! :stuck_out_tongue: It’s just from my experience that the women I know want to talk, and the men don’t… An over-generalization on my part, I guess.

Back to the thread topic… :o


#13

:smiley: Don’t mind me, pumpkin - I’m just a female in a very traditionally-male world and I seem to be surrounded by men who never ****-well shut up!!! Just a bit of a leg-pull. :stuck_out_tongue:

JW, I’m glad that’s helpful. With a year to the wedding and a bit of sensitivity on his part to the fact that this episode has hurt you, here’s hoping you can work it out. That particular issue (minus the drinking part) has been a great source of anger in my own marriage, and looking back it was there fair and square from the time we even started going out. I’d like to think that’s one grief you won’t suffer.


#14

Well, I just found out what upset him so much, and now his behaviour makes a little more sense. :frowning:

His ex-wife kidnapped his two daughters. She picked up their daughters for an unscheduled visit, and moved away with them. She abandoned the family, so my boyfriend has full custody of the kids. Since he can’t make ends meet as a single parent in the Philippines, his sister was taking care of them while he’s working in Korea and sending money home.

The ex-wife reappeared a few months ago, and was living with her parents a few blocks away from BF’s sister (and the kids). She showed up on the doorstep and asked to see her children, and BF’s sister allowed it a couple of times. Then last week she said she’d take them out to an amusement park, and took them away. BF is pretty furious with his sister for letting his ex-wife see the kids, let alone take them somewhere.

Apparently he decided not to tell me about it until he’d figured out what to do. I’m pretty miffed about that - I think it’s reasonable to tell someone that their future stepchildren have been kidnapped, even if it is by their own mother. On the other hand, grief affects people in different ways, so I can hardly blame him for reacting strangely.

He’s going to fly back to the Philippines to search for them. His boss has given him a month off. He’s waiting until payday so he can afford the ticket and whatever costs he’ll run up while searching for them.

Please pray for him, and for his daughters! (Pray for his ex-wife, too.) My boyfriend and his daughters need all the prayers they can get. It’s funny - I didn’t set out to marry a man with children, but I absolutely don’t want him without them - they’re such an integral part of him. If he doesn’t find them, he will just be the hollow shell of the man I fell in love with. :frowning: Please pray. :gopray2: :gopray2:


#15

Oh my gosh, I’m sorry to hear this! I’ll keep him, his children, you and his family in my prayers. I too think this is something to ‘not keep’ from someone you intend on marrying, as together you will need to be able to handle things like this head on…BUT…right now, those issues can be discussed once he reconciles this. I pray he does–ugh, what a situation!

Praying hard on this one for all involved!:gopray:


#16

:eek: I don’t know what to say… I will pray for your boyfriend and his daughters. :gopray2:


#17

Thanks for the prayers.

Yeah, whatevergirl, I agree that this is NOT the kind of thing he should keep from me. That, however, is a discussion we can have later. Right now, I just want them to be home safe.

He’s adamant that he won’t let me give him my tuition money this month for the ticket home. He knew I would offer, but he says this is something he has to solve by himself. He’s letting the police handle it until he gets paid. Again, I understand, but…


#18

I’m absolutely so shocked and saddened by this news:( …you have been on my mind a lot today, dear JW. Please know I’m praying and asking Mary for her prayers too!!! You’re a blessing to your bf–I hope he knows that.:o


#19

Thanks again, WG. I just feel like I have to be strong for him right now, and my heart is breaking too.

I think I know why he didn’t tell me right away. He’s pretty sure she took them because she found out that he has a new woman in his life - me. He didn’t want to tell me because he didn’t want me to feel like it happened because of me. I know I didn’t cause it, but still. :frowning:


#20

Prayers for all involved.


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