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“We’re Through. Pass The Gravy.”

I dated “Pete” for four years.  There were certainly good things about our relationship (he was an invaluable source of support when I had surgery), but you know how it goes: eventually, the bad starts to outweigh the good, until you just can’t justify it anymore.

My big issue with Pete was that he was very immature.  He was in his 30s, yet acted like he was 11.  I felt like his embarrassed, disciplining mother a lot of the time.  There were plenty of etiquette violations, but here are the most egregious:

1) The first Thanksgiving after we started dating, we were having dinner at his parents’ house, then going to my family friends’ house (where my mother was) for dessert.  When we got to my friends’ place, he started off by wandering down the hall to look at the house without so much as a by-your-leave, which my mom later complained about.  After that, I was catching up with two friends whom I hadn’t spoken to in a while, when he started indicating that he wanted to leave.  How?  By continually tugging on my sleeve and making “let’s go” motions with his head, like a child!  I was humiliated.  He was so insistent that I had to offer a lame excuse so we could leave 15minutes after we had arrived, not even sitting down for dessert.

2) We went with some of my friends to a local comedy club.  He was apparently so bored by the show (which everyone else was enjoying tremendously) that he started amusing himself by using the candle at our table to light our tickets on fire.  Then he got annoyed and sulky when I was upset at him.  He really didn’t see why setting things on fire in the middle of a large, crowded room was a big deal.  I was just thankful we weren’t kicked out.  Miraculously, if anybody noticed, they didn’t say anything.  (The club later replaced their candles with fake ones.  I choose to believe this is coincidence.)

3) The one that stands out the most: For my birthday, we were going to go to dinner and see a movie.  I was paying for both, as he was unemployed, but I knew this in advance and had accepted it.  He refused to go to any of the restaurants I had suggested, so we ended up going to his favorite place (which I don’t really care for).

On the way to the restaurant, he decided that after the movie we should watch a DVD he had become obsessed with.  (I love this particular DVD, but was getting burned out on it.  He wanted to watch it a LOT.)  I have the DVD and he doesn’t, so he wanted me to go back to my place after the movie, pick up the DVD, then drive back to his place.  (Need I mention that we live in opposite directions from the theater we’d be going to?)

We had arrived at the restaurant at this point.  It was an order-at-the-counter place, and there was no line. The elderly lady who takes orders was waiting patiently behind the register for us to decide what we wanted. Pete was bugging me for an answer about the DVD.  I told him we could discuss it after we’d ordered and sat down.  He refused to order until I gave him an answer!  “There’s no line; we’re not holding anyone up!”  I pointed to the cashier and said she was waiting for us to place our order and we were wasting her time.  He waved it off: “Oh, she has to be there anyway!”  I was mortified by his rudeness.  The cashier, much to her credit, left the counter and walked into the kitchen at that point.

If  I’d been thinking clearly, I’d have waited for her to come back, placed my order, then left him to order and pay for his own food.  I was very flustered, though, and simply acquiesced to getting the DVD after the movie so we could get on with things.  The cashier later told him that he owed both her and me an apology.  (I love this woman.)  I was very upset that he had made my birthday all about what HE wanted to do.

There are more stories, but I’m happy to say that I finally found a spine.  A few Thanksgivings after the first incident, we were going up to my father’s (a 2-hour drive). He wanted to bring a video game console – not a handheld, but a full console.  I absolutely put my foot down this time.  I knew that if he brought it, he’d spend the whole time we were there tucked away in a bedroom playing video games and not enjoying my father’s and stepmother’s hospitality.  We got into an argument about it that ended with my telling him that he could stay home if he was so worried about being bored.  This time, he was the one who backed down.  By the end of the weekend, we had broken up.

(I found out later he had told his friends I had “dumped him over Thanksgiving”, as if I had said, “We’re through.  Pass the gravy.”  Really, it was after Thanksgiving, and it was me sobbing my eyes out and telling him that I didn’t want to hurt him, but …)

That was a bit over three years ago.  I’m happy to say that my spine has remained intact, and I am now in a relationship with a wonderful man to whom I feel like a partner, not a parent.

Pete and I remain on cordial terms (even if only on Facebook these days).  I also sent him one last Christmas gift: his own copy of that DVD. 0707-10


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Eccentric Lady December 9, 2010, 5:14 am

    Man, alive, he’s a selfish little creep.

    Good for you for getting a spine OP!

  • Emmy December 9, 2010, 6:51 am

    Wow, this guy acts like he is 5 years old and actually sounds like a bore. He can’t talk with the grown-ups without asking to go home after 10 minutes or retreating to play video games, can’t make his girlfriend’s birthday about her (especially if she is paying for it), and insists on watching the same DVD over and over again. He is very demanding and needy, if he didn’t get his way, he’d pester the OP (like in the Thanksgiving incident) or cause a scene (like in the birthday incident) to get her to comply. That is very manipulative behavior in my opinion. If I was the OP, my attraction for him would have fizzled much before four years of childish behavior. I have to wonder if this guy ever found another relationship.

    On one hand, I’m glad the clerk stood up for the OP. It sounds as if she really appreciated the support at that moment. On the other hand, I feel it was rude to butt into a stranger’s argument that had nothing to do with her.

  • HonorH December 9, 2010, 7:47 am

    My eldest sister once had an over-Thanksgiving breakup. I forget the details, but they were both spending Thanksgiving weekend at another friend’s house. The relationship had been going downhill for a while, but his behavior and attitude were so unbearable for her that she ended up breaking up with him on Friday, when they still had two more days at the friend’s house together. Not exactly her favorite holiday memory, but what can you do, really? Fortunately, they weren’t sharing a room–that would’ve put the “awk” in awkward!

  • A December 9, 2010, 8:01 am

    This sort of behavior sounds so familiar that I wonder if the LW and I have dated the same guy…

  • Alexis December 9, 2010, 9:07 am

    I dated this guy’s brother once. He was a poorly socialized 5-year-old in an adult’s body. People like this never figure it out either. They just wonder what’s wrong with women who fail to find such behavior charming. Good for you for getting rid of him before you had any actual children to raise!

  • samihami December 9, 2010, 9:50 am

    Sounds like you handled yourself with a lot of class, even sending him the DVD, which was certainly not necessary. Glad you grew your spine. Some guys just never, ever grow up.

  • NyxErebus December 9, 2010, 10:12 am

    Wow OP, could your ex have been more self absorbed and immature? Good for you that you dumped him. Should have done it before 4 years though.

  • Gena December 9, 2010, 10:22 am

    This reminds me of my ex-husband. If I tried to get him to do anything he didn’t want to do, he’d embarrass me so bad I finally quit trying to make him do anything. I’m not talking about forcing him to the opera, I mean things like meeting friends for dinner. He’d decide at the last moment that he didn’t want to go, and if I insisted, well, I’d regret it later.

  • Harley Granny December 9, 2010, 10:50 am

    Maybe it’s my age but he’d be gone after that 1st Thanksgiving…….I’ll even be generous and give him until the Birthday fiasco.

    4 years of your life you’ll never get back…..Just be thankful that you didn’t marry this child.
    You came out of it virtually unscathed AND you have amusing bad boyfriend stories to tell…Bonus!

    I’m glad you found a great guy!

  • rifish December 9, 2010, 11:44 am

    If someone did that to me at Thanksgiving, I’d give him the number for a cab.

    Of course, that’s now. Back in the day I dated a guy just like that and put up with similar behavior for over two years. Glad to hear you became a vertebrate and got out of that relationship!

  • DGS December 9, 2010, 11:48 am

    Good for you for dumping this selfish, spoiled, entitled brat! And it’s great for you that you have met a mature person who is a partner to you, not a babysitting job gone awry.

  • Sarah Jane December 9, 2010, 12:04 pm

    Glad you finally realized you deserve better.

  • AS December 9, 2010, 12:05 pm

    I am glad that you grew a spine that’s here to stay, and very happy for you that you found a new, wonderful boyfriend. I remember being spineless about several things earlier, and had a series of awful boyfriends. Then I grew my spine, broke up with the last of the weird ones, didn’t date anyone for about two years when I finally met my wonderful current boyfriend. I admit that both of us act a little childish sometimes when we really want to do something, and usually the other person complies. But it isn’t too bad as we behave like matured adults usually. The childishness is not because we are immature, but just because we want the other person to do something for us.

    BTW, does this story kind of remind people about the “Sonny” posted 2 days ago ;). I wonder what his girlfriend would have to say about him (from the OP of that post’s update, sonny and gf apparently broke up).

  • Louise December 9, 2010, 12:31 pm

    Gosh, Pete is selfish, and if he’s bored, everyone had better pay attention to him RIGHT NOW. OP, I’m glad you’ve moved on.

  • --E December 9, 2010, 12:46 pm

    I’m stunned you were with this jerk for four minutes, let alone four years. Enormous congratulations to you for growing that spine.

  • Kat December 9, 2010, 1:02 pm

    I dated a clone of this guy too! One of my favorite horror stories is of the time a group of our friends were going to a seafood restaurant. I had no money and declined to go, but BF harangued me about it and finally offered to pay my way. When it came time to pay at the restaurant, my prince refused to pay for my meal, saying he hadn’t realized I was going to order something so expensive! (This was an appetizer.) I didn’t have any money, of course, so I ended up having to borrow from a friend. What a class act!

    Good call ending that one, OP!

  • chelonianmobile December 9, 2010, 1:10 pm

    While I don’t want to defend this guy too much, it sounds like he may – I stress MAY – have some form of learning difficulties. I’m on the autistic spectrum and often get stressed and uncomfortable in social situations with people I don’t know or in public places, and regularly watch a few favourite movies on repeat. However, I make an effort to control my behavioural difficulties, and while I don’t date (partly because of my difficulties dealing with people), if I did I would try not to inflict my problems on my partner and would listen if they told me I was doing so.

  • nannerdoman December 9, 2010, 1:19 pm

    Frankly, my mind boggles at the thought of sticking with this guy for four DATES, let alone four YEARS.

  • M December 9, 2010, 1:21 pm

    I am glad you cut him loose. What a jerk!

  • enna December 9, 2010, 2:44 pm

    Hope OP told all of his firends what really happened. Although if she did do it that way he’d desrve it. I’m amazed she put up with it for 4 years! Even if he was “good” at times. However if he had a condition like Asperger’s it would be different as they struggle to form social/romantic relationships.

  • LilyG December 9, 2010, 3:02 pm

    Wow, that was a really gracious parting gift! You are a class act.

    EDIT: I realized this sounds sarcastic, but I mean it sincerely-that was a classy and kind thing to do.

  • Allie December 9, 2010, 3:27 pm

    Excuse me? He “took” (on your dime) you to dinner at a “restaurant” where you have to order at the counter? Sounds classy. I hope, for your sake, it is a kitchy, family run place with legendary food despite the lack of table service. However, sounds like fast food to me. Good riddance to the bum. You deserve better.

  • Xtina December 9, 2010, 4:59 pm

    We’ve all dated someone like this, and it’s usually just a matter of getting some “dating practice” under our belts before we would no longer put up with that kind of behavior from our dates. I’m glad the OP has moved on; she was gracious enough and handled a child of this proportion very well after giving him plenty of chances to correct himself.

    I once heard someone say that only boring people are bored all the time. I would fully agree with that assessment after hearing about this guy.

  • WrenskiBaby December 9, 2010, 5:07 pm

    Reminds me of the guy sitting across from me at a dinner for our district’s teachers. He melted his plastic fork in the candle.

  • PrincessSimmi December 9, 2010, 5:39 pm

    The mind boggles.

  • Elizabeth December 9, 2010, 7:56 pm

    I would have left him at the food joint on your birthday and gone some place YOU wanted. Maybe even called a friend or two to join me. You are so better off!

  • Sharon December 9, 2010, 8:19 pm

    @ Wrenskibaby… good heavens! Aren’t you glad you weren’t with that guy?

    To the OP… it is so good that you got away from that! Good wishes to you for your future.

  • Simone December 9, 2010, 11:53 pm

    I have taught a student like this. Nice, but amazingly immature for his age. Having him in a classroom was like having a preschooler in the room with a bunch of high schoolers. And I was apparently the teacher he liked and behaved well for! I always privately wondered how he managed to have nice girlfriends and now I guess I know. Young girls just don’t seem to realise that they deserve to be treated well.

    Congratulations on realising that you deserve more.

  • Ashlee December 10, 2010, 1:10 am

    ::groan:: I dated a guy like that, and I’m both comforted and horrified to see how many of my fellow commenters have ALSO dated guys like that. How many of them are out there?! lol. I’d hoped that mine was a fluke, a one-in-a-million waste of time. How disappointing!

    In my case, the relationship ended when he found a girl who was as immature as he was and ended up cheating on me. Neither one of them could drive (neither had a car, and his parents had told him that he couldn’t keep borrowing their car unless he started paying for the gas he used, which he was unwilling to do), and I vividly remember him throwing a temper tantrum towards the end of our relationship when I refused to drive him to his “friend’s” house… during a blizzard… in the dark… so that they could go sled-riding. Yes, sled-riding. Also, I was not invited to stay- I was just supposed to drop him off at her house and, presumably, pick him up again later. Sadly, I was so used to his outrageous demands and childish tantrums that it took me a few more weeks to figure out that this girl was more than a platonic friend.

  • Rebecca December 10, 2010, 1:51 am

    I dated him tooooo!!! Well mine wasn’t as bad as that, but he did have childish tendencies like that on a lesser scale. It IS totally unappealing. And you feel so free when you grow a spine and get rid of them.

    Let me guess, OP….after you dumped him, your friends and family said that they weren’t surprised, right? People will keep their mouths shut while you’re dating them, but as soon as you break up they come out and say, “I always thought he was a little immature for you.”

  • RP December 10, 2010, 2:46 am

    I’m stunned you were with this jerk for four minutes, let alone four years.

    @–E: If it weren’t for the bit about him being supportive during her surgery I’d be stunned too. I imagine that the OP had trouble reconciling the version of him that was supportive with the version of him that literally refused to eat until he got his way. You keep thinking this new, awful behavior is some temporary insanity on their part until you finally accept that that’s their normal behavior.

  • Piratelvr December 10, 2010, 9:33 am

    The only adult I’ve ever seen get away with this sort of behavior is a character on a tv medical drama. Gregory House, M.D.

  • Suzanna December 10, 2010, 11:18 am

    It sounds like you dated my ex husband. Congratulations on finding someone more mature who makes you happy.

  • Yvaine December 10, 2010, 11:53 am

    I dated this guy’s other brother. Down to small details, like getting obsessed with a DVD and insisting on watching it over and over and showing it to everyone he knew.

  • DefLepChick December 10, 2010, 11:55 am

    I, too, dated a guy like this for four years. I should have known after the first Thanksgiving with my parents at a fine restaurant when he was TEXTING at the table! Mine, too was unemployed and relied on me to be the adult. No more!

  • Adica December 10, 2010, 1:08 pm

    @Piratelvr: Haha, that’s true. At least House makes some sort of contribution to the world, like being a really good doctor. (He wouldn’t be put up with otherwise.) He also knows his behavior is not appropriate; he just doesn’t care, lol.

    My friend dated a guy like this for the last year and a half, so I know your pain. None of us really understood why she dated him, and now that she’s broken up with him, she doesn’t understand it, either. Last year, her birthday party fell on the same night as Club Night for our college, which is when the college rents out the local YMCA for the enjoyment of all its students. He tried to convince her that he should go to club night rather than her 21st birthday party (which was taking place at *his* house–she was friends with the other renters, but still). He already wasn’t going to the restaurant for dinner, which was fine with her because he said he’d go to the party. He then tried to convince her that he’d be able to do both, which everyone knew was not true, so he ended up not going to Club Night, the poor dear. This year, he told her that since she didn’t want an official birthday party (just a small, informal gathering of friends), he should be able to skip out and go to Club Night. I can’t remember what she said in response, but she broke up with him a couple weeks later, anyway.

    This was also the guy who took her out on dates every week or so. It was sweet until you realized it was always either to Wendy’s or Steak ‘n’ Shake. He pretty much refused to go anywhere else. The reason she wanted only an informal gathering for her birthday? She really wanted to go to this one place that had indoor go-carts and arcade games or some place like it (just somewhere new and fun), but she knew he’d protest and refuse to go or spend the entire night sitting in a corner. He also wanted to spend their anniversary (which fell over spring break) on a school trip because he wanted to “do something fun.”

  • boxy December 10, 2010, 10:00 pm

    Gasp! I was this OP’s SO. I thought I was being cute and funny at a banquet when I lit my napkin on fire. The speaker was incredibly dull, everyone at our table was yawning, I merely acted on what I felt everyone else secretly wanted to do. Reading about the SO and his tactlessness makes me feel very immature!

    Thankfully I’m not like that anymore, but how I cringe when I look back on my life just a few years ago.

    I hope this guy grows out of his childishness.

  • sfsassy December 15, 2010, 9:53 pm

    Honestly this guy sounds like he could be on the Autism Spectrum has someone mentioned before. I went on a date with a guy who had Autism, and it was a similar experience. I have Cerebral Palsy, so wanted to give him a chance as I know how it is when people just dismissses me, but I knew it would end in a situation similar to OP’s if we dated.

    As for the Thanksgiving breakup. I was dumped by a guy I had dated for a year the day after Christmas, (over the phone, lol.) and one guy I dated broke up with me while we were hmm relaxing in bed two days before Christmas lol. Both I felt were kind of guache, and neither had anything to do with my behavior during the holidays. (The second was semi expected, just not in bed, lol.) Anyway, in the OPs case it was directly related to clueless behavior that happened during the holiday. Plus the OP was crying and sad as opposed to either cool and distant (guy one) or making awkward jokes (guy two.) Thus as a two time holiday dumpee, I am fine with what you did OP. Sounds like it was a LONG time coming.

  • Alla September 29, 2011, 10:57 pm

    Glad I found this guy after the OP dumped him… Oh wait, my severely-Asperger’s husband isn’t this guy, because I’m the first woman he ever dated.

    Every behaviour described by the OP is absolutely typical of autism/asperger’s. I realise that both conditions (or one condition and its offshoot) are very misunderstood and that it’s hard to educate oneself, let alone anyone else on the truly bizarre things that can occur, by the way. The OP probably had no idea anything like this could possibly be in the mix.

    But the self-righteous tone of the post put me off a little. I’m glad you did find someone more suited to your tastes, though, and I hope you and he are happy!

    (And yeah, I do also realise I’m posting a year after this story, but, some things never really go out of style, and some things always need to be said.)

  • Katje June 4, 2012, 9:08 pm

    Good grief! That’s not a man, that’s a CHILD in a grown man’s body!

  • ladycrim September 4, 2013, 7:26 pm

    OP here. Was wandering through the archives and came upon this. I never realized the story had been posted!

    I have often wondered over the years if Pete had a form of Asperger’s, but at the time I had zero familiarity with it. Looking back, though, it really did feel like I was dating Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory”.

    Why did it last four years? A couple of reasons: as I said, he definitely had his good points, and I suppose I focused on those (as opposed to this post, where I listed the bad). I liked this cute, creative guy who made me laugh. Plus, I admit I had very little self-esteem, and I … well, I wasn’t ready to break up with him until well after I should have been. (Even then it took a therapist for me to realize how bad things were. Does that make any sense?

    I’m barely in touch with him anymore, so I don’t know if he’s dated anyone since me or not. Either way, I hope he is happy.

    Meanwhile, the relationship I mentioned in the post ran its course and I moved on again. I have been with my soul mate for nearly two years now and couldn’t be happier.

  • RedWitch September 29, 2013, 7:27 am

    Going by the listed behaviour, he seems less rude and more IHC, Special Needs, whatever the term these days. I could be wrong, but that’s what is seems like to me.