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is it bullying or not...?


rr1010
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I have a boyfriend and we’ve been seeing each other for 4 months. We’re having long distance relationship since the beginning since we live in different countries. I’m 28 and he’s 30. We argue quite often, maybe because we’re both headstrong. When we fight, he often bring up my past relationships in our arguments. When I complain about some thing, he would say “O yeah! I know! Because that’s what you’re used to when you were with your ex, right!! And you expect me to be like that too!” with a rised & cynical tone. This kind of thing has happened several times, usually when we’re arguing & he feels I’m being too demanding and not being understanding enough. I admit I could be quite demanding & clingy, but I’m trying to work on it.

What’s bothering me is the last time we had a fight, the same thing happened, only his language & behavior got worse. He bring up this one ex of mine, I was with him for 6 years (he and I have different religions). My boyfriend said “I know your ex was just trying to convert you! That’s what he was doing spending 6 years with you! What else do you think his reason was? He was a bastard, low life!”. When I said “I don’t have to agree with you, right?”, he got even more furious and insist me to explain why I disagree. I said I don't think my ex was trying to convert me or anything, we were just having a normal and ‘straight’ relationship. His respond was “You call it straight?? Having sex everyday?”. He continued trying to make me feel that my ex was such a bad guy or I don’t know what, I was so confused seeing his anger. I kept asking, what does he expect to get out of this all? He said, he’s trying to make me realized how I was “blinded” by my ex.

Other things he said :

- When I said “Why do you have to always bring up my past relationship? You know I never compare you with any of my exes.”. He said “If you do that, I would’ve left you!”.

- When he asked “Do you think your ex was being sincere in your relationship?”, and I said “I think he was..”, he got angrier and said “I’m feeling like throwing this mug!” (talking about the mug he was holding).

- He kept saying my ex was just trying to manipulate me, that he was just “screwing around” with me.

- When I asked him "Why are you trying to make me feel that my past is all garbage? I never do that with your past relationship..", he responded "All my exes are just garbage! They're all whores! Useless, such a waste of time!".

I don’t know how to explain it completely here. But the thing is, I’m so scared after hearing all his yelling & cursing that time. And now I’m afraid, could he be doing “mental-bullying” on me? Do you think what he was doing/saying shows signs of violence/bullying? I love him so much & I want to make this relationship work but I’m afraid what if he turns out to be a bully. But on the other side, I’m also afraid of making a false judgement about him. Could it be it’s just because he was trying to maintain his ego, that it’s because he feels he has been doing the best he can and I’m being too demanding and he want to make me see that he’s the best (compared to my exes). Afterall, all this time he’s a nice guy & he shows respect to me. And he never curses on me, the worst word that he ever said was calling my ex "Bastard". But then again, whatever his reasons, is his behavior acceptable? Could somebody tell me how to identify whether it’s bullying or not, whether he was showing signs of violence or not. Thank you..

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi rr1010,

I will begin by saying that I am extremely skeptical about long distance relationships. The reason is that, in my experience as a therapist, I have very rarely(maybe never) seen them work out. In fact, I can say for sure that the long distance relationships marked by arguing never work out, at least in my experience.

I hope it does not seem as though I am being critical. I do not mean to. Instead, I just want to point out that an intimate relationship needs time for growth and nurturing. When there is a great distance, that nurturing cannot be done.

Understand, I am NOT talking about those married couples who suffer because one or both are in Iraq or Afghanistan. I am NOT talking about those who are engaged to be married and one is in those places.

I AM talking about a relationship before it is fully a relationship, just like the one you are describing.

In my opinion, (and I would like the opinions of others), you are best off looking for a boy friend who is geographically near. That way, you can really get to know one another and have time to do the necessary arguing until you can work things out.

Finally, I agree with you about you being bullied. It is not a good sign that this is happening when you two are separate. It seems to me that it could only be worse once you are together.

What do others think?? :)

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Dear all...thank you for the responses. I do take into account the "long distance" issue, but I have my reasons to commit to it from the first place eventhough I know it's hard and challenged.

What I'm most concerned is his behavior that I described in my first post, whether it's signs of bullying of just he's feeling insecure & got out of control. Anyone have any opinion or similar experience with the one I'm facing...?

Thank you all...

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Whether other people class it as bullying or not isn't wholly relevant in my opinion. If his behaviour is upsetting to you, then you shouldn't have to put up with it. You should be able to explain to him how you feel - and if he wants the relationship to continue then he should be willing to try to change how he treats you. I'm no expert or anything though, just my opinion.

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Dear all...thank you for the responses. I do take into account the "long distance" issue, but I have my reasons to commit to it from the first place eventhough I know it's hard and challenged.

What I'm most concerned is his behavior that I described in my first post, whether it's signs of bullying of just he's feeling insecure & got out of control. Anyone have any opinion or similar experience with the one I'm facing...?

Thank you all...

If you are committed to this relationship, then here is what I would do. In my interactions with my significant other (SO), I would limit my communications to the relationship in the present, and to it's most current relevant history.

If my SO is not willing to do that, then I would say that my bringing up his history and his bringing up mine would be counterproductive. Why? Because we all have our own "stuff" and we are all human and make mistakes; we humans each have a history. Is the history relevant to the current relationship? What about seeking couples counseling?

How familiar are you with personal boundaries?

How about assertiveness vs. aggressiveness or passivity?

There's a really good article here on this site. It starts with boundaries; and at the bottom right side of the page there is a link to the next article about assertiveness. If interested, just keep going. "Setting boundaries Appropriately", by Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. and Jolyn Wells-Moran, Ph.D.

Oh and by the way, welcome to the forums! :P

P.S. The above is just how I would do it and is based on my view of things.

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