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You Asked: My Boyfriend Tells Me What to Do

Dear Sugar--

My boyfriend and I have been dating for nearly 2 years. He is the breadwinner in our relationship and I am a full time college student. We live together and my "job" is to clean, do laundry, fix things around the house, cook...etc. Sometimes, though, I feel as though my boyfriend walks all over me. For instance, if I get distracted and don't do the laundry RIGHT when he wants it done, or clean the dishes RIGHT when he wants them clean, he puts me on a guilt trip and tells me I am making too many excuses. He tells me that I am wrong and that since it's "my job" to be doing these things, he feels like I am not living up to his expectations.

He has a problem with control and feels like he has to OWN me and CONTROL me. I constantly feel bad about myself with him because he's always correcting what I'm doing and making me feel like I am never good enough. He isn't abusive and he is very loving but he has a bad temper when I try to stand up for myself. He tells me that I am "being too defensive" or "putting up a wall between us." I don't feel equal to him and feel like a slave. He says he's right and since he's older than I am, he knows more about this stuff that I do (we're 9 years apart). His ways are very traditional and he believes in the typical "gender-roles."

We have a great relationship other than this but I don't know what to do. Sometimes I feel like I'm being brainwashed. He sometimes says that I have it "too good" because I don't have a job but when I try to stick up for myself by saying, "well actually, i have college and family stuff to deal with everyday, as well as keep this house spotless to your liking and take care of you and myself to a T," he gets angry and tells me that those are "minor" and that he deals with things that are far more important everyday. Is there is something wrong with me for not seeing more of his side of the story?

--Cinderella Cynthia

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Cinderella Cynthia--

Danger! Danger! It sounds like you have an extremely controlling boyfriend who sees you as his maid and NOT his girlfriend. Who cares that he has a "full time job" --- so do you - as a full time college student! May I add that in no way is it "your job" to also take care of him and your home -- all those responsibilities should be shared between the two of you.

If you don't work this out now, I fear that you are doomed to a life of being at his beck and call forever. Once you graduate and get a full time job, you think he'll all of a sudden think he needs to help out? No way! He'll say "well, you've been doing it all along and it's still your job." I would suggest that you try to talk to him about these gender roles he's set up, and tell him how unfair you think they are.

I know you said that every time you try to stand up for yourself he doesn't listen and just puts you down, but even though he's not harming you physically, verbally knocking someone down on purpose, and making them feel unimportant is a form of emotional abuse and is totally unacceptable! If you try talking to him about how his disrespectful attitude needs to stop, and nothing changes, I'd get out of this relationship immediately. You deserve to be with someone who appreciates how wonderful you are. Good luck.


Join The Conversation
gigilgirl gigilgirl 7 years
That's unfair. You have two different worlds (he's working, you're in school) and both of you have totally different priorities! Just because he's older it doesn't mean that he's the one more responsible and he knows better because like you said, you're doing your best to please him. He should also understand and appreciate what you're doing for him. Maybe besides being controlling, he's a perfectionist and perfectionistic standards are very dangerous! A radical solution I can think of is that you leave him for a month on his own. Live away! It sounds unethical but why not? Maybe he has the some right to do that if he's already your husband because it's really part of wifely deeds but to think that he's still your boyfriend! His traditional values seem patriarchal than just traditional because it's very strict and controlling. I'm sorry if I reacted so strongly. I just don't like unequal rights between genders.
nah-duh nah-duh 8 years
wow what a jerk you defo deserve better but if you dont think so you should set him in his place
PinkNC PinkNC 9 years
You are not his mother, maid, or child. You are a grown woman that deserves respect. It doesn't manner if he's working and making money. You are working hard in college trying to prepare yourself for a better place in the working world. Hopefully he's not jealous and thinks that you may just become more than him. Bottom line, you don't have to tolerate him. Who knows whats next. Look at your options here and everywhere because his next step may be touching you (hitting) in order to control you. HE WILL ONLY GET .....WORSE. Do something soon. You cannot study or live that way.
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
How long until the comments become punches? How long until you are not only his maid, but also his punching bag? How much are you willing to endure for the sake of trying to please a man who cannot be pleased? He is inconsiderate towards your needs, lazy because he doesn't do the housework and sounds like a complete waste of time.. effort.. and space!!
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
bad relationship. get out now!
cageyme cageyme 9 years
I used to date this guy who gave me "tips" on how to dress and do my hair. I was young and didn't know any better. But then one day we were walking around the mall and he started talking about how the man had the right to tell the woman how to dress because it was the woman's duty to please the man. I did not put up with that. He couldn't believe that I would disagree with him. He broke up with me the next day before I could break up with him. The experience did give me the gumption to speak up later when I got married my husband said that he didn't like how I did the laundry. (We were newly married.) I told him that if he didn't like it he could do it himself. He said OK. He has been doing his laundry -- and mine -- all this time. I have not done any laundry in 11 years. Woo-hoo! He's right, by the way. He is much better at laundry than I am.
arienne arienne 9 years
Do you really think the things you deal with everyday are minor? Of course not. They aren't. So do you really want to be with someone who thinks they are? When I was in law school I lived with a boyfriend who was 12 years older than me. He paid the bills and I probably did most of the shopping and laundry, but not because it was my "job." My job was to go to school and study. The rest we worked out together. And together is really the key word. Your boyfriend is dictating to you and belittling you. That is not the give and take and open communication a healthy relationship has. I am now almost the age my boyfriend was then. At the time because he was older he did seem more worldly and more experienced than I was. Now I know that he didn't know as much as I gave him credit for. Relationships are as complicated for me now as they were then. Time hasn't given me all the answers (and 9 years really isn't that long). Relationships are wonderful but they are hard. To make it in the long run you both need to feel respected and you need your needs met just as well as his.
KathleenxCouture KathleenxCouture 9 years
I know how hard it can be to go to college full time and try to balance life also. Talk to your man and be upfront. Tell him how you feel and if he still doesn't understand, get the hell out
vmruby vmruby 9 years
Thank god i was never the type of person to put up with any kind of BS from any man i dated.Get away from that abuser before your life becomes a living, breathing nightmare.Sounds like Marci has been there so she has some idea what you are going through.It's great advice so do yourself a huge favor and take it before it's too late. Good Luck!!!!!
barjar1122 barjar1122 9 years
I say let him hire a maid or let him do it himself. I went through this already and it was good to point out the dust bunnies or how the towel was hung just a bit crooked or the painting was a bit tilted. These were all things that I constantly was blamed for and called names about. Because I was just not genius enough to do them right. It was funny the excuses he made when it was his problem.
barjar1122 barjar1122 9 years
flowidme flowidme 9 years
try to talk to him first. maybe he is having stress from work? if he really loves you and say that he will change, then give it another try. but if he still disrespect you and say things that make you feel bad about yourself, then i really think you should leave him. you deserve much better than this.
vanyvrgs vanyvrgs 9 years
Barjar -- LORD HAVE MERCY! JESUS MARIA Y JOSE! I was not prepared for that kind of trip.....but what a trip it was..... LOL. And must reiterate to whomever wrote this question, -- please break up with this individual....... he is demeaning you and what is worse is that eventually he will break you -- in fact he already has if you feel you always do things wrong and are not equal to him. Please get out.
magpieme magpieme 9 years
this is the early part of an abusive relationship. now there is verbal abuse and emotional abuse and there is no reason to stand for that. you are not someone's slave. no one is in control of you except YOU. you should be lauded for being in school. you deserve a healthy, equal, and supportive relationship with a guy who can do his share and not belittle you for your life. but this is not that guy. watch any movie, lifetime TV special, or whatever and this is how it starts. he's nice and sweet and the relationship is great at the beginning. then parts are still great, but he starts to establish himself as the controller in the situation. starts to belittle you and make you doubt yourself. starts to be verbally and emotionally abusive to get the upper hand. pretty soon, if not already, he will start to try to establish control over who you see and what you do. he may have all these high expectations to fill your time so that your other friendships slowly dissolve but he will be trying to make himself your only contact. there will keep being sweet moments. times when he's generous and nice and seems to really love you. but it will keep getting worse. there is no where for this to go but down. get out now. and read this and remember, it might not seem this bad yet, but it is headed in this direction. even if one of these signs is present (and you already stated in your letter that there are several signs present: emotional and verbal abuse + controlling + bad temper + guilt tripping you ETC) it's time to go. if you have been living with him, figure out a plan on where to go. maybe you have family in the area. perhaps you can get additional loan money from school or a part time job (which you'll have time for once you're not his slave) to pay for your own housing. whatever you do, figure out how to get yourself out and then tell this guy off. and remember remember remember above all, everyone deserves a healthy and respectful relationship. period.
Calimie Calimie 9 years
Reading your message scared me. Leave him now! He won't change now that's he's set all those routines. Try to go to live with a friend or with your family or anyone rather than him. Good luck!
erinjg erinjg 9 years
Relationships are mutual partnerships in respect and love. It sounds like your boyfriend does not respect you, your education, your family, or your free time. You are not his housekeeper, you are his partner - if he doesn't start treating you as an equal NOW, he NEVER will.
barjar1122 barjar1122 9 years
hope you clicked on my hoff to get the full flavor :)
dior_show dior_show 9 years
this is definatly abuse. a boyfriend should never undermine you or turn you into something almost like his property. i know it may be hard, but leave him.
vanyvrgs vanyvrgs 9 years
You say he isn't abusive? Wake up, that is exactly what he is. Your job is to go to school and better yourself not be his slave. I am telling you the best way I can -- RUN, FOREST, RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and barjar, I about cracked up when I saw your avie of the Hoff. LOL
awhdarling awhdarling 9 years
If he really loved you he would never try to make your feelings invalid. He also shouldn't hold it over your head that he is the bread winner - you are after all going to college so one day you too can get a good job with good pay.
barjar1122 barjar1122 9 years
A TRUE relationship does not involve making the partner feel bad about what they do or how well they can do things. Get out, let him pay a maid and listen to him complain.
Pinkgirl88 Pinkgirl88 9 years
R_U_N for the door don't look back
spiceG spiceG 9 years
get out! now. and dont look back... please. i cant say it any easier.
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