Dear English Gentleman,
My boyfriend was the sweetest guy in the world when I met and started dating him. He bought me roses, planned beautiful romantic dates, told me he loved me and most importantly, showed me he did with his kind, gentle actions. A few months ago, however, it’s like he suddenly turned in to a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde character straight from the movies. Where he once was polite, he became selfish and self-centered, where he once generous and kind, he is now mean and hurtful, even to the point of calling me names and throwing criticisms and insults at me (like stupid, b*ch, and a host of other ones I can’t print here).
This “ugly” personality of his is sometimes interspersed with apologies and nice gestures, but these have started to become less and less frequent and his “nice” periods last a lot less time than before. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells all the time and constantly have to watch what I say and do in the hopes that the mean behavior isn’t triggered without warning by a casual comment I’ve made or some innocent action I took, sometimes many months before! It is a nightmare living in constant fear of when and where his next mean outburst is going to be coming from, and in the meantime the nice treatment that made me fall in love with him is disappearing–we no longer go on dates (he prefers me to cook something for him and watch a video at home instead) and he sometimes doesn’t even speak to me despite my efforts to contact him via texts or email after he simply leaves and “disappears” for days on end. The worse thing is is that although I’ve tried talking to him and explaining how his behavior hurts me, after a rather insincere-sounding apology he just goes back to doing it all over again as soon as the very next day!
English Gentleman, what happened to my boyfriend and is there anything I can do to get the sweet, loving man I once knew to come back?
Good and evil, kindness and unkindness, civility (politeness) and barbarity (meanness) exists in every one of us, every single one. Every single man and woman has the potential and ability to behave badly, inconsiderately, and, if you excuse the expression, like a “ jerk”. Yet not all of us choose to do so. Or at least, one would hope, not the majority of the time. The question is, why does your boyfriend?
I don’t know why he makes the choices he does…it could be he’s met someone else, or he was always like this and is now after the honeymoon phase more secure about you and comfortable enough with the loyalty you’ve shown him to display his true colors. It could be that he’s stressed or depressed or doesn’t know better or that’s what he’s learned from childhood or by watching too much Jerry Springer and Jersey Shore on the telly, or a substance addiction or who knows the reasons, but I’m afraid there’s no magic wand you can wave or anything you can personally do to change him back into the man you thought he once was because his behaviour and choices are his and his alone.
For every person that chooses to behave in a morally questionable or hurtful way there are 10 or 100 or maybe even 1000 other people who will make the opposite choice. This is and must be true because otherwise polite society would simply cease to exist!
The question is, why do you put up with this behaviour? No one deserves to be treated in a way that makes them suffer, especially after you tell them that their behaviour has hurt you. Once you’ve held up your end of the responsibility—to make him aware that the behaviour is not acceptable to you—, it is his end of the responsibility to stop the behaviour, and any man who cares for you will do so immediately, no questions asked. His repeated actions are showing you that he doesn’t value you. Love is a rare and precious thing, and you deserve to be with a man who shows you he knows this. Constantly. Not at some vague, distant point in the past.
I say your boyfriend has lost his chance to build a future with you. Cut your losses and move on.
The English Gentleman.