Sadly, we got a lot of questions from women that have a really bad history of picking the wrong man. The best relationship advice for women that have difficulty with picking someone that treats them well is to make a clean break. But sometimes, this is not always realistic. We also get a lot of questions about how to make him miss you when you live together. This makes things complicated!
We have a reader today that is dealing with all of these issues. Tammy is a reader who has a history of picking man that our misogynists, or narcissists. She doesn’t know what to do about it and she has found herself in another relationship where she’s being treated poorly. Her biggest question is “How do I know how I want to be treated?”
The answer to that one is simple. Clearly, Tammy already knows how she wants to be treated. But because she keeps picking questionable men, or men with issues, she’s not being treated the way she needs to be and the way she deserves to be. It’s very difficult to make him miss you when he’s a narcissist or misogynist and is only thinking of himself. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get him back. Even narcissist can be lovable, if they really want a genuine and authentic relationship to work.
But what can you do, Tammy, to make that happen? That’s what we’re going to talk about today, because sadly, many women are in the same boat as you. Here’s Tammy’s letter.
I have married and divorced an abusive narcissist I had 2 children with. He was a sex addict so that sort of defined my understanding of intimacy, since I had little / no emotional connection to my parents because I come from a family of 9 kids, very strict religious upbringing. My parents had entirely unrealistic standards, and I ended up with an asshole.
Fast forward 2 years and I got dragged into dating another sex addict due to having poor emotional boundaries and not knowing anything about dating or respecting myself. This guy was even more of a winner, cheated, misogynistic, and just downright crass, low class, crude, and disgusting. He grabbed and pawed at me like a pig, and bossed me around in the bedroom and forced me into a submissive position.
The only way I know to feel close to someone is sex, or talking. I’m currently dating a man that has the same socioeconomic background as the second guy I dated (I think his father used a lot of language that was derogatory towards women – for example the other night I came out of the bathroom after I’d put coconut oil on after a shower and he says “look at you all greased up like a stripper” and after the fact I realized that I stuff a lot of feelings in this relationship, because it made me ANGRY that he said that. We tried having sex later on, and it did NOT work out because he couldn’t stay hard. I think it’s because his remark really hurt me. I tried to explain this to him, and he tried to deny he said what he did, but I did not allow him to deny it. He shut down after that, and turned away from me and moved further to his side of the bed. I told him this kind of talk is insulting, why on earth would you tell the woman you love she looks like a stripper?!?
I have been finding more and more that he makes these comments and I try to ignore them but I hate them. I’ve allowed it to continue for 5 years, because every time I have tried to communicate with him, he tells me he can’t change who he is, or that he can’t change his family (he can’t seem to own that his language is inappropriate – he thinks “it’s just joking” and then he will make passive aggressive comments to “mock” my feelings afterwards, which he swears up and down that he’s not doing to stab at me, but that’s how it feels. It’s important to note that while I was getting away from the abusive relationship I was in, he was also struggling with a drug addicted mother, who destroyed his house and ran around on him. So we both understand a lot of things about each other that other people don’t, and we have built a lot of good things together, including getting a house recently with our 3 kids. I just think he needs to be taught how to be tender, respectful, and use language during sex that isn’t crass or crude or something he learned from a porno. I know he wants to communicate better aND what I have asked him, he has done to the best of his ability, but for things I don’t clearly define, he seems to have little or no imagination and he’s very obtuse as expected from a man, and it comes across as cutting sometimes even though I know he doesn’t mean it that way – because I will straight up tell him…. “your body language and actions are telling me X ” and he can’t argue that.
How do I know how I want to be treated, touched, and talked to if all I know is from toxic men, and now a man who is a product of our society, in that he has little or no understanding of being tender / classy but takes any type of change or criticism as an attack and an insult? It’s difficult to say what I need when he responds with a frustrated tone / like he’s expecting me to scold him like a child when I just want him to understand how I feel, and that I don’t want him to be little my feelings?
He grew up with a good father but he was controlling and the family functioned by using sarcastic bickering to communicate, and I can’t get him to acknowledge feelings a lot, because I think he is terrified if he validates them, that they will take over the situation or he will lose control. I really can’t take much more of this.
I have an appointment with my therapist for both of us this month, but I was hoping you could give some advice, or possibly recommend a book that teaches you how to know what you need so you can communicate / help your man to change & treat you differently… Tammy
I have included the letter in its entirety because there is so much going on with this poor girl, and I want to be sure that we cover it all today. The reason being, I know so many women that find themselves in this exact same situation. Our entire program would not exist if men everywhere treated women the way they deserved and needed to be treated. But the sad fact remains, it just doesn’t happen. Tammy wants to know how she can learn what she deserves. But the truth is, Tammy, you already know the answer to that or you wouldn’t be writing me at all. What you really want to know is how to get him to treat you the way that you need to be in the way that you deserve to be.
You Can’t Change What You Can’t Acknowledge
Well there are a few old sayings I’m going to bring up that will turn the light bulb on for you on this one. The first being, you can’t change what you can’t acknowledge. So as far as your part in the relationship is concerned, you are acknowledging that this isn’t working and this needs to change. But the only thing you have the power to change is your reaction and your responses to being treated poorly. You have absolutely no control over how he responds or reacts to your needs and what you deserve.
In other words, only he can change what HE acknowledges. If he does not acknowledge that he’s not treating you well, then there is very little that I can do right now. For him. But what I can do for you, is offer some relationship advice that will help you to go after what you need and what you deserve, and help you to pursue, actively, what you need and what you deserve. So that’s the approach that we’re going to take care of today. And this is the approach that any woman that is dating a narcissist can and should take.
This is a situation where you are sharing finances and children and a home together, so it is even more important for you to express to him that something needs to change here. I’m glad that you have a therapist that can help you out with some relationship advice as well, and there you will also learn the need for being the one in control of this situation in your life. I think one thing that we can all agree on by reading your letter is that he is not treating you well.
Set Boundaries – There’s No Excuse For Being Mean
You mentioned a lot of reasons for him not treating you well, he has a bad life, a drug addicted mother, family members that destroyed his home, and all sorts of things like that. You also mentioned that he needs to be taught how to be respectful. I agree with this. He needs to make some changes here. What I don’t agree with, is that having a bad life is an excuse for treating someone poorly. It’s not.
So it’s time for you to have a talk with him, and lay out your needs and what you deserve as kindly as possible. I would recommend that you also into the No Contact zone. But in your situation, because you live with him, you can’t go cold turkey not talking to him. But you can go cold turkey without intimacy. So my recommendation to you would be to enter a physical No Contact zone until you all have sort of figured out what each of you needs to do in this relationship to make it work.
I don’t like that he mocks you when you express your feelings and what you need in this relationship. That is a very big red flag, and you are spot on that he might be a narcissist or misogynist, like your other boyfriends. And the biggest problem with narcissists is that they will never change because it’s impossible for them to acknowledge that they’ve done wrong to somebody else. It has happened, but it’s rare. So the next time you have a talk with him and have expressed to him what you need and what you deserve, you need to immediately launch the No Contact zone.
Tell him you need to take a break from physical intimacy while you sort your thoughts and feelings out, and while he supports his thoughts and feelings out. Basically, start from scratch in your relationship as if it’s your first date, even though you are living together and share children. Tell him that you want to explore things in a relationship that have nothing to do with intimacy, and that in order for you to stay in this relationship, you need him to respect those boundaries. Let him know that when you feel comfortable with him again, and feel that he is respecting your needs and boundaries, you will be willing to go back to the physical side of your relationship. And I would give that a good 30 days like any other No Contact zone.
If he loves you and really wants to make it work, he will acknowledge what he needs to change, and make those changes. He will do that because he loves you and wants you to be happy. But if he doesn’t, then he doesn’t. I would recommend for your own personal safety that you had this conversation with him in a public place, like when you’re out for lunch or having a coffee or something. I don’t recommend having the conversation privately, by text or email, or in a place where it’s just the two of you alone as he will be given many opportunities to be little and do you mean your desires and your wishes. I’m not saying that he’ll do that, but you can take away that option for him by doing this in a public place. After that, take one step at a time just putting 1 foot in front of the other slowly but surely every day until you feel peace.
The most important relationship advice that I could ever give to anybody, is that sometimes you don’t want to get your boyfriend back. And that’s because sometimes they treat you badly. But there is hope in this relationship because you have an extended history with him. But at the same time, you don’t want to lose more years of your life by being treated poorly.
So the best relationship advice I could give you right now, Tammy, is to love your Self first. Acknowledge what you can change, and make sure that your needs and desires are clearly defined and your boundaries are said. And if he doesn’t make them? Well then he doesn’t meet them and he doesn’t deserve to be with you.
Have a look at some of our articles that will help you determine whether or not you’re in an abusive situation, or things you can do to put yourself first. Because it’s time that you started! Dear readers, do you have any relationship vice for our friend? Have you ever been in a relationship with a narcissist?