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Is this a normal “cooling off” period or silent treatment/emotional abuse?


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Old 30th January 2013, 12:04 AM   #1
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Is this a normal “cooling off” period or silent treatment/emotional abuse?

I have been dating a man for just over a year. We broke up at one point for three months because he got cold feet about the relationship. (He’s been divorced for a number of years and hasn’t had a committed relationship in that time, only dated minimally. He said what he had with me "seemed too good to be true.") He came back to me, wanting to get back together, and I accepted. He wanted to be in an exclusive relationship and see each other every weekend, which we had been doing before, and I agreed. By the way, I’m in my late 30s, and he’s a little over 20 years older.

Here’s our dating schedule: we go out Friday night, usually a movie and/or dinner, occasionally attend an event or go out of town for something. Then I spend the night at his house. On Saturday we just do fun things, watch TV, etc. Sometimes we go out Saturday nights; sometimes we stay in. Sundays, he makes me breakfast, and then I usually leave around 2 p.m. He’s a self-employed lawyer, and he has a routine where he likes to go into his office Sunday afternoons and work. Sometimes on Sunday evenings, he has to look over files because he has court Mondays or watch cop videos. I’ve kind of gotten used to his routine. We rarely see each other during the week unless he invites me to go to an event or sometimes out to dinner.

I am involved in community theater, and we both enjoy going to plays every few weeks. This past Sunday night, we tried something new at the theater: a cabaret where local patrons could sign up to sing, read, do a performance based on a theme. It’s just a new idea we’re trying to garner interest in what the theater has to offer. It was set up a month ago, and I invited my boyfriend to come. He questioned why it was scheduled on a Sunday night. I told him the director set it up. I assumed he would come because 1) I had invited him a month ahead (plenty of notice) and 2) he would figure it was important to me. Hell, I've watched several football games with him--something I wouldn't do on my own, but I enjoy doing it with him--because it's with him.

So Sunday as I was getting ready to leave his house around 2 p.m., I asked if he were coming after he worked in his office. He said probably not, and he thought the idea of the cabaret was "kinda lame," which hurt my feelings. I didn’t know what to say. Again, I guess I assumed he knew it was important to me. I told him I was going to read some poetry I had written (I have two graduate degrees in writing, and I teach.) He urged me to have fun.

I was so hurt I didn’t know what to do. I texted him about half an hour later and told him the event was important to me and I was sorry he thought it was “kinda lame.”

He texted back and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know how you felt about it.” Then half an hour later, he texted again, “I’ll come by if you would like, but it’s not a good day for me.”

I didn’t respond because I was still hurt. Later, I sent him another message, right before the event: “If I hadn’t wanted you to come, I wouldn’t have invited you a month ago. I was hoping you’d want to come. So much for that.”

He responded a little while later, after the event, “If I had understood this event was important to you, I would have to have rearranged my activities on Saturday.” We had spent Saturday at his house as normal, just watching TV.

Today, Tuesday, after we didn’t communicate all day yesterday, I sent him a message in the afternoon: “I don’t think this silence is doing either of us—or our relationship any good.”

He replied a couple of hours later, “I’ve been kinda ill about the events of Sunday, and felt like I needed some time to cool off before we talked further.”

Tonight, I texted him over an hour ago: “Can we just talk and get this over with?” I was hoping he’d call me, and we could discuss the matter and get it behind us. No response as of yet.

First, was I wrong to be hurt about him not going with me? I’m asking because, obviously, I’m very close to the issue. Second, is this a normal “cooling off” period or silent treatment/emotional abuse/manipulation? It's now been two days, and the absence of communication hurts immensely.
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Old 30th January 2013, 12:49 AM   #2
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Not to make excuses or jump to his defense. That being said, lawyers are at the mercy of client demands and court calendars. At his age he's titrated the amount of prep time he needs and has an established routine. He may be involved in a pressing case.

Your description makes the situation sound to be a communication problem.
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Old 30th January 2013, 12:53 AM   #3
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Women cry emotional abuse at the drop of a text these days.

He's pushing 60, he's set in his ways, he likes his routine, his energy level is lower than yours. That's just the way it is with these guys. I should know. I date men in that age group but prefer younger men for all the above reasons. Yes, there are exceptions but they are rare. Surely there are plenty of divorced men in their forties who might be more compatible.
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Old 30th January 2013, 12:57 AM   #4
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Women cry emotional abuse at the drop of a text these days.

He's pushing 60, he's set in his ways, he likes his routine, his energy level is lower than yours. That's just the way it is with these guys. I should know. I date men in that age group but prefer younger men for all the above reasons. Yes, there are exceptions but they are rare. Surely there are plenty of divorced men in their forties who might be more compatible.
Lower energy level? Hell, if it weren't for a problem with his shoulder, he'd be playing tennis, biking, and running--things he's done for years.

And if it were something he proposed, I think he'd been fine with it. He varied from his routine once because his parents had asked us over for dinner on a Sunday night.

It just hurts that he minimized something that was important to me and called it "kinda lame."
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Old 30th January 2013, 1:12 AM   #5
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Let me be a wannabe R counselor for a minute:

#1) Don't EVER do something (watching football in your case) to get/expect something in return.
#2) IMO he knew it was important to you given yall have been to plays together and the fact you gave him extended notice about this one. He was VERY insensitive about the situation.
#3) If he need time to cool down (for whatever reason) he should of told you instead of going ST on you and not saying anything until you asked him.

I wouldn't pull the emitional abuse card yet but I'd flag him for insensitivity and passive aggressiveness. You seem open to communication and he does't, a recipie for disaster.

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Old 30th January 2013, 1:22 AM   #6
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Did he actually say he would go when you first told him or was it only an invite and you assumed he'd go? If he confirmed the invitation, you should be upset because he canceled without notice. Even if he never confirmed, I totally understand how you would be hurt, but we have to remember than men don't think like us...we have to spell things out for them sometimes. If it was important to you, you have to tell him that beforehand instead of wanting him to figure it out on his own.

He is definitely being manipulative now by ignoring you. He doesn't want to look bad for canceling and not showing interest, so he's trying to make you feel like you did something wrong when you didn't. If I were you, I'd be the one ignoring him!
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Old 30th January 2013, 1:22 AM   #7
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It seems like your whole relationship revolves around when he wants to be available, and what he wants to do.
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Old 30th January 2013, 1:41 AM   #8
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Did he actually say he would go when you first told him or was it only an invite and you assumed he'd go? If he confirmed the invitation, you should be upset because he canceled without notice. Even if he never confirmed, I totally understand how you would be hurt, but we have to remember than men don't think like us...we have to spell things out for them sometimes. If it was important to you, you have to tell him that beforehand instead of wanting him to figure it out on his own.

He is definitely being manipulative now by ignoring you. He doesn't want to look bad for canceling and not showing interest, so he's trying to make you feel like you did something wrong when you didn't. If I were you, I'd be the one ignoring him!
I thought inviting him a month ahead of time would be part of the signal that it was important to me so he could rearrange activities. Also, we discussed it. When I told him about it, he complained about it being on a Sunday night. He said, "Why is that Cabaret Night on a Sunday night? Seems an odd choice for those who have to work on Monday." I even asked the director why she scheduled it on a Sunday night, and gave him her response. He still complained about it again, questioning her choice. He said, "I don't have a dog in this race, but it seems to me you won't get many people to come on Sunday night. Just wonder if she doesn't have a good feel for human nature, like having three-hour rehearsals for upcoming plays, which may scare off people who may otherwise want to be in plays other than students, retirees, and those without jobs."
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Old 30th January 2013, 1:54 AM   #9
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Again, we can't assume they'll figure things out. Giving him notice doesn't matter without you saying, "This event is extremely important to me and I really want you to be there so I'm giving you a months notice to rearrange your schedule and be there for me."

By the sound of his negative comments, he was never planning on going any way.
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Old 30th January 2013, 1:57 AM   #10
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Ok. Just got a text reply. He said, "Let's talk tomorrow. I've had a long night and I was still a little agitated. Didn't want to talk while I was still pissed."
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Old 30th January 2013, 2:02 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by femmefatale123 View Post
I thought inviting him a month ahead of time would be part of the signal that it was important to me so he could rearrange activities. Also, we discussed it. When I told him about it, he complained about it being on a Sunday night. He said, "Why is that Cabaret Night on a Sunday night? Seems an odd choice for those who have to work on Monday." I even asked the director why she scheduled it on a Sunday night, and gave him her response. He still complained about it again, questioning her choice. He said, "I don't have a dog in this race, but it seems to me you won't get many people to come on Sunday night. Just wonder if she doesn't have a good feel for human nature, like having three-hour rehearsals for upcoming plays, which may scare off people who may otherwise want to be in plays other than students, retirees, and those without jobs."
Why is he so up in arms over a Sunday night function? Does he think the world should close on Sundays? I don't get his resistance to the idea of a Sunday function, his reaction seems so overboard.
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Old 30th January 2013, 2:10 AM   #12
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Ok. Just got a text reply. He said, "Let's talk tomorrow. I've had a long night and I was still a little agitated. Didn't want to talk while I was still pissed."
Why is he the one that is so pissed at you? You wanted him to come to a function that is important to you, and he didn't want to- and even went so far as to call what you think is important "lame".

You tell him your feelings are hurt over that and he's the one playing the "pissed" card with you?

So what's next? You end up apologizing to him?
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Old 30th January 2013, 2:17 AM   #13
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Seems he could be "pissed" at himself! Or that the problem of communication dragged out over the month and OP's true feelings weren't identified up front.
His anger is really his problem.
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Old 30th January 2013, 2:22 AM   #14
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He gives you a 2 day slot and he likes to keep you contained there.

Not sure why you put up with this.
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Old 30th January 2013, 2:24 AM   #15
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BTW he seems to be training you not to bring up any issues in the future....
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