Her Boyfriend Is Lovely and Kind and Smart and Jealous and Irrational

Comments

1

Any man who couldn't wake himself for a morning nookie appointment is probably gay.
Any normal guy would have laid there awake all night too excited to sleep waiting for his chance to get some.
Move on, you deserve better.

2

I'm a little confused about why it was your job to wake him up and why he was mad when clearly, you both overslept. People that task other people to wake them are terrible people.

Also, cold sores ARE herpes. HSV-1 to be exact. It's obviously very common and shouldn't be a source of shame. Like the waking up for sex thing, it's up to both of you to manage the issue.

3

“Is this just a side-effect of him being so smart?”

If he were truly bringing his smarts to bear, would he not be scientifically taking into account your (presumably) trustworthy nature? Your conscientiousness? All your actions over time that have demonstrated your love for him? Or is he maybe banking on that trustworthy nature to ensure that you view him in the best possible light and let these red flags slide until it’s too late?

4

Dan is 1,000% right. Abusers wait to show their full true colors until you're tied in some way to them. They ARE charming and lovely at first - that's how you get hooked. The red flags leak out, but bc of the charm and intimacy bait, you question your perception of danger. BTW, beware of ascribing his bad behavior to one of his good qualities. He doesn't do this "because he's so smart"; plenty of intelligent people don't behave like he does. As someone who didn't want to believe the danger signs around a "charming and lovely" man and paid a bitter price, I exhort you to listen to the wisdom of Dan and the commenters and get while the getting's good. And for the love of goddess do NOT have a child with this man.

5

God, let me stop shuddering in recognition....
RUN AWAY
Even if he never becomes a full-fledged abuser as in hitting you (mine didn’t) this Sherlock-Special Prosecutor bullshit will grind you to a stump. The part where he’s got you convinced that this is all because of his superior intellect, oh dear god, get out. It will be 100x worse if you have children with him.

6

Here is your red flag: "He has straight up told me he doesn’t trust me, that he doesn’t trust anyone, and anybody who trusts other people is stupid or lying." This is classic projection right here. Don't make the mistake of trusting anyone with this outlook. They feel this way because they cannot trust themselves so they believe no one can be trusted. Run. There is no happy ending here.

7

I'm really smart. I'm a great problem solver because I remember facts and put them together and get new ideas that WORK. And I never came up with the idea that my ex was cheating, even when it turned out he was, because I would never have cheated, I would not lie to him, and he always told me how important truth was to him. Being smart, putting facts together do NOT equal not trusting you and really doesn't mean not trusting anyone.

Personally, I'd pull back from this relationship. He's already convinced you that his accusing you of cheating is okay, because "it's how he is" and because he's just so smart, so you shouldn't be hurt that he thinks you are a cheater. That's gaslighting you. Take care. If you get married or have kids, it will only get worse.

8

WTF?! Has this deductive genius ever heard of an alarm clock?

DAMN sounds like a fucking saint for putting up with this nonsense.

9

If he were really so smart and good at putting facts together, he would not have flipped out about oral HSV-1 the way that he did.

10

He's incredibly smart yet he throws baseless accusations on you, is really insecure, trusts no one (not even his partner) and is planting the seeds for a break-up with his behaviour.

No, he's not that smart.

11

Not long after my BF and I decided to be exclusive, he pulled some jealousy crap in the kinda-joking-but-not-really way. I pulled him up short. I told him I wasn't gonna have it. Either he trusts me, in which case his insecurities are his problem to fix, not mine - or he doesn't which means we should just call it off.

I'm not patting my own back here. I spent years getting beaten down by a partner because I didn't hold a hard line about what I was and wasn't willing to put up with. I'm just saying it's a game you can straight up refuse to play. And yeah, you have to be willing to walk the fuck away. Sounds like you probably should. He doesn't sound kind or loving except when it serves him to be.

Also, my ex loved to flaunt his superior intelligence when it suited him as well. Smart has very little to do with being a good partner so you can just call bullshit on that nonsense and dismiss it.

12

If the LW doesn’t realize cold sores are herpes, does she know she shouldn’t go down on him (nor he on her, now that he has cold sores/herpes too) while she has an outbreak? If he’s jealous now, just wait until he gets a venereal disease.

13

I wanted to add - my ex was the charming, fun guy who everyone liked. When things were really bad, I was the uptight, anxious one that probably made people wonder what such a great guy was doing with a mess like me. I wondered too, after a while.

14

DTMFA

15

OMG. This is not ok. I was in this type of relationship once. It was worst when I started believing all the shit he said about me. Get out and talk to a professional to hash out all the ways HIS behavior (not yours) was NOT OK.

16

A postcoital test (PCT) is for people who are having difficulty starting a pregnancy. Here's my diagnosis: your ovaries are literally fleeing from this asshole's spunk. They're probably as far north as your tonsils about now, so be sure not to blow him. Your ovaries know what you also know: run the fuck away. Don't bring a child into this red hot mess.

17

You gave him herpes (odd choice of strategy) because you're trying to tie him down? But you're also sabotaging the baby-making, which would be such a great way to tie him down?

Nope, there is no great intellect behind these accusations. Just randomly flung nastiness.

18

RUN. This isn't the kind of behavior that gets better, and he straight up told you he doesn't trust anyone. That includes you. Disentangle yourself, and get some support/therapy for yourself. No couples counseling, just get out.

19

Just a sidebar here: yes cold sores ARE herpes (HSV-1) and while they're no big deal for adults an HSV-1 infection can KILL a newborn so it is a good thing LW realized this before she had a child.

20

He may not be physically abusing you, but baselessly accusing you of infidelity or of deliberately messing things up for him (can't he wake himself up?) are, as others have said, hallmarks of a nascent abuser. And frankly, they're reason enough by themselves to break up with this guy. You are not at all crazy. He's being an ass. Do you really want to be with someone with big trust issues who blames his jealous accusations on "superior intellect"? I don't care how great he is at other times, he's shown you some major personality flaws. Break-ups can be tough, but keeping this guy around will ultimately be a lot tougher and more misery-inducing. Leave him now - please.

21

People with one strain of herpes can get another. Since immunity is important, it is generally thought that getting herpes a second time is much harder than getting it the first time. Transmission of type 2 genital herpes to a person who has antibodies against type 2 herpes is rare. Studies have shown that a person with genital herpes can catch a new case of genital herpes, but other studies have shown that this happens only rarely. In most cases, if a person with genital herpes catches genital herpes while with a partner, they are catching it from themselves – having a recurrence. Type-specific antibodies against your own strain of virus make it very difficult to catch a second infection of the same strain from a different person.

Schmacky@12 ~ if he caught it from LW they both have the same strain which he already has antibodies for. Spreading it from one part of the body to another won’t happen. This is totally different if one partner has HSV1 and the other partner has HSV2.

22

PS ~ LW, your guy is a douche. DTMFA.

23

One big issue here is why the LW needs to say her partner is 'lovely in all respects' when he's not. Is this niceness? Embarrassment over (potentially) being with an insatiably, pathologically jealous person? She has a huge question before her--should she leave the country and start a family with someone with so many character faults?--and she knows it; but she can't be straight up telling us she knows it.

I wouldn't jump to thinking on the evidence that this guy is abusive. There's no need, in my mind, to think the LW just wrong or Pollyanna-ish when she calls him funny, kind, smart, deductively careful, patient, politically conscientious, and so on. Certainly, he can't trust. I doubt he will ever much expand his repertoire ('decent') in bed. Might he have Asperger's? The LW says she flatly contradicts his wild suppositions; and that doesn't really get them anywhere. She doesn't say she asks him flat-out questions. Instead of tolerating his snide digs about her emails to her colleague, ask 'are you jealous?'. Her partner is needy. She could put to one side any idea she might have about his intelligence and just reassure him he's her choice, as you would a child. This would be my one sliver of advice for a bright, thoughtful young woman.

24

Fuck no! Come on, you had to know by the fact that you are even writing this letter that your boyfriend is an asshole and your relationship is a dumpster fire that will only get worse if you have a kid. Please don’t do that to your future kid- your relationship won’t last a year after it’s born, you’ll be raising it as a single mom, and this guy will be your co-parent for life and will only be more paranoid and nasty as the years roll on. Please be better than that.

25

Imagine all of this directed at the new child you're trying to make with him, because I've seen it first hand:
- He will be jealous of how much time you spend with the baby. He will claim the baby likes you more than him. You won't be able to tell if he's joking or not because the shit is that fucking out there
- If he's angry about missing sex due to you sleeping through an alarm, imagine how angry he'll be when the baby's needs come before he does?
- He's upset about you 'tying him to you'. Just wait until there's a baby in the mix. Except the baby didn't ask for this shit.
- How do you think the herpes is going to be spun when the baby is involved? He's already accusing you of infecting him on purpose.
- He says he trusts no one. Are you allowed to leave the kid with your parents? His parents? A babysitter? What about when it's just you - will he trust you with the baby?

Just ... don't have kids with this man. Please.

26

I think, the boyfriend is insecure (duh) but also paranoid. I'm not a love-language expert, but I think this guy needs someone who likes to offer words of affirmation, for whom talking him off the ledge in terms of her commitment to the relationship also happens to be the same way she prefers to communicate her commitment to the relationship.

That's not every woman, however, and I don't think his needs or LW's personality type will ever meaningfully change.

27

Thank goodness I've never been with someone like this, but I've had more than one or two friends who have. It will never get better. It will get worse and worse. He may never hit her--in fact, none of my friends were hit--but he'll twist everything she says; he'll accuse her of infidelity and possibly worse all the time; he'll punish her for her supposed-on-his-part cheating by being cruel; and he's DEFINITELY cheating himself. He's gaslighting (a word that has been so overused lately that it barely has any meaning) her (but look it up, because this is when it applies): just look at how she's second-guessing herself or apologizing for normal and appropriate reactions. And read Gamebird's comment @25.

Letter Writer, if you're reading the comments, PLEASE DON'T STAY WITH THIS MAN. And for heaven's sake, don't have a child with him. This is the man that DTMFA was invented for.

28

He's got an anxious attachment style and, despite exhibiting some self-awareness, no desire to take responsibility for it.

29

RUN FOR THE HILLS!!! Letter writer, please please get out of this relationship now, and whatever you do, don’t have children with this man. If you are already pregnant, have an abortion (but DO NOT tell him), break up with him, and sever ties. This man will ruin your life, and your child’s, if you stay with him. It’s so clear. And I think you know it in your heart. Trust yourself and trust that you will find someone better.

Just to clarify the herpes thing: so when anyone gets a cold sore around their mouth, at any age, it’s from the Type 1 herpes virus. A majority of the population has this virus, and occasionally gets cold sores. Kids are often infected from their moms. The other kind of herpes is genital herpes, or “type 2 herpes.” This is the kind that causes sores around or on the penis or vulva. You—and the majority of the population—have Type 1 (oral) herpes. You’ve probably had it your whole (or most of) your life. If your (soon to be ex) boyfriend has ever had a cold sore before in his life, he also had type 1 herpes from an earlier age. If he never had cold sores before, and now he gets them, then yes, you likely infected him, but it’s not a big deal at all. Don’t let him guilt you out for it.

Good luck, be strong.

30

DAMN, it sounds like you and Mr. Damn will be better off without each other. But after you move on ask yourself the following: does the cluelessness that led you to declare, "Golly, I had no idea that the cold sores I've had for years are transmittable and are herpes," seep into other areas of your interactions with people? If so, you might be more of the problem here than you realize.

31

I second @28. (I also have an anxious attachment style, but am not currently dating anyone and think I'm pretty damn aware of that fact.)

32

As Whoopi said in Ghost- You in danger, girl. Do not move to another country with this man. Do not have kids with him. And DO NOT go to couples counseling with an abuser. Any domestic violence site will tell you not to go to couples counseling with an abuser- they use skills they learn there to abuse more. Individual counseling, yes. Couple, no.

33

I'm seeing the Kevin Kline character in A Fish Called Wanda in this nut case.

Every so often a letter here just smacks me upside the head with the realization that real people are on the other end of this thing I'm typing into. It would be sobering if i weren't already sober.

DAMN: For the love of all that's good and decent and holy, for your god and your mother and ESPECIALLY your kids, look at the consensus here of RUN! RUN NOW! and understand.

34

It would be helpful to know the ages of these people. Irrational and unreasonable jealousy is kind of par for the course in your early 20s. Getting to the end of your 20s and into your 30s? Major red flag and reason enough to ditch this idiot.
Although, LW can't be all that informed him/herself if s/he didn't know that cold sores are usually caused by Herpes I. And they're both idiots if they don't know that Herpes I is no big deal and not the same as Herpes II.
Sigh. I think that's why Dan got that Trump flashback. Because he was obviously dealing with idiots here.

35

LW, you've been with jealous men in the past and now you're with another one.

What do you think is leading you to put up with behaviour and attitudes that others would shut down or run screaming from?

36

DAMN, Run! Run!! Run!!!

37

That BF deserves to be dumped is the easy part. That LW deserves to dump him is harder. Maybe the opening is just unfortunate; I'm envisioning her as being interested in all the attractive and/or single co-workers.

38

Narcissistic assholes like your boyfriend enjoy throwing out baseless accusations and then seeing you beg and plead as you deny the accusations. The solution to this problematic behavior is really super simple: Stop Denying The Accusations!
In fact, with a lot of attitude on your part, not only should you not deny the accusations but you should also tell him that if he can't deal with it, you'll be more than happy to leave the relationship so that he can find someone more suitable. You then get your belongings and walk out the door. Do not stay and debate the issue. Just walk out the door.
You have to understand that it's all about respect.That asshole boyfriend of yours is not showing you respect when he makes baseless accusation and only you can put a stop to it!

39

"Do you think I’m ignoring a problem that's going to get bigger?"

Yes. And it's already bad.

"Is this just a side-effect of him being so smart"

No. But smarter people can use their smarts to be bigger problems.

"...he doesn’t believe me... He still accuses me of random shit...told me he doesn’t trust me, that he doesn’t trust anyone, and anybody who trusts other people is stupid or lying"

DAMN, dump this guy.

I suggest counseling more than anyone here. And your BF needs a ton of it. Too much for you to wait. Maybe someday your paths will cross again and he'll be different...but I dunno. Even if he does change...behavioral/relationship patterns between a couple wear deep ruts, and even if he someday no longer acts like this with /other/ people, he'll probably (and you'll probably expect him to) still act this way with you. Sorry.

(Since I've attacked him for not doing so before...) Good on you Dan for suggesting counseling (and they both need it, DAMN for putting up with this), but best case scenario I think is Mr. Damn being healthy/having a healthy relationship with some /future/ person.

40

@26 Sportlandia & @28 okinokee. I agree with your analysis of the bf.

It’s unfortunate that DAMN has given no examples of her partner being patient, kind, funny or smart. Perhaps they're not in the forefront of her mind. The two stories she gave are instances of bizarre sexual possessiveness and jealousy. Lots of people must fail to have sex before a PCT--the circumstances are hardly conducive.... An ordinary response is, 'oh dear, try again'. The guy has got panicked, maybe out of a fear of his own inadequacy.

Dan's intimating that ... maybe ... the bf is an abuser has served as an open invitation to anyone who's been in an abusive relationship to project thar DAMN's bf is like that and to tell her to get the hell out. Anything good about him for many of these people will be bait, the bait an abuser uses to reel their victim in. So it will be hard for DAMN to assert that he has any good qualities. I don't see, here, that it's wise to say to DAMN's face that she understands nothing about her situation; that hee partner, lovely in every respect, is an irredeemable pig. Better say, 'well, you saw the red flags' and 'couples counseling'.

Incidentally, DAMN, if you are a case of extreme Midwesternism, it's OK to say your relationship isn't perfect. People accept relationships aren't. There's no shame here. If anything, the talk people will be having behind your back is, 'why is she putting a face on things?'.

41

Your boyfriend needs to go to counseling and you may benefit from it too. And I agree, DTMFA.

Irrational jealousy sucks for everyone involved. He needs to explore where his trust issues and paranoia come from, and you need to process this experience of being so easily mistrusted, so you can feel healthy in your next relationship. Take this from someone who is now happily married and has a toddler, but who has dealt with both jealousy (on both sides) and cheating in past relationships.

Ironically I've also been jealous AND I've been upset about a partner transmitting herpes who claimed ignorance about it, but neither were irrational. My ex told me I was being crazy and jealous when I got a little uncomfortable about him "accidentally" falling asleep at the house of a female friend I'd never met when his story kept changing. He gaslighted me and shamed me for doubting him until I cried and apologized. Then it turned out he got her pregnant and he fessed up. (she terminated the pregnancy)
With herpes, he claimed he didn't know HSV1 from cold sores could be transmitted to genitalia* - when I got it (we're both doctors) and pretended he thought I knew he had it. Except he'd gone out of his way to tell me he didn't have any stis, "even herpes", when we had our sti convo before first sleeping together a year before. I cared more about the deception than about the HSV.

Maybe I'm intuitive (I wouldn't say it means I'm smart) about cheating, since the only two times in my life I've thought a guy was cheating, I was right. Thing is, I'd never project that onto the next relationship. Maybe your bf has had bad experiences too but he needs to go work that shit through and not work it out on you, or at least acknowledge those roots and ask you to be patient with him as he works it through. Don't feel obligated to say yes.

Another reason to get counseling before your next relationship - It's healthy that you trust people and haven't bought into your boyfriend's idea that trusting is stupid. But what if you end up with (or have kids with!) someone whose emerging true colors are not those of a jealous douche, but of an untrustworthy one? What if they gaslight you and tell you its all in your head and you're irrationally jealous? You don't want baggage from this relationship making you doubt your instincts or red flags, or lose your direct communication style, because you're so afraid of being irrationally jealous like this boyfriend.

Speaking of those instincts, if your boyfriend thinks nobody at all can be trusted and he's got you always in the defensive role, part of me wonders if he's breaking your trust in some way and blowing smoke. I'd never assume, but calling people stupid or lying for having trust is a weirdo red flag.

*For the people saying HSV1 is always oral, you're actually wrong. Many if not most cases of genital herpes these days are from HSV1. Its very contagious during an outbreak but you can also transmit it sometimes when you aren't having an outbreak. It isn't a big deal, but can put you at higher risk for getting other stis, can be dangerous in childbirth and can cause harm to your eyes.

42

Trust can refer to a feeling, and trust can refer to behaving with belief in another.

I can get where bf is coming from with the former. People lie and cheat and do horrible things, there's no getting around that.

If he's arguing that it's OK to accuse you of the things he is most afraid you might do.. That is a smart way to prove himself untrustworthy to you! Is that his intent?

He could try identifying and vocalizing his fears before they result in bad behavior.

Hey curious nice to read you again too!

43

Holy cow, LW, you totally are describing my ex-husband. Unlike you, I was already in the living abroad phase with him, which sucks when the shit hits the fan with your partner. Don't let your admiration for his intelligence and other elements of his charisma overrule your gut. Dan is right---for my ex, the stated "don't trust others" philosophy was total projection. The "you must be cheating" thing also was total projection. I didn't listen to my gut for as long as possible because he was a very special person to me and, well...at least I learned a lot. But yeah, don't do that. It hurts to extricate yourself, but do it now before you get ground down to a fine paste, which has a rough recovery period.

44

The path you are on with this man does not lead to a happy life. Forget about how much you love him and think about that.

45

Qwelp@41~ “...Except he'd gone out of his way to tell me he didn't have any stis, "even herpes"”
I don’t think most people view cold sores as an STI (even though it IS technically herpes) most people contract them long before any sex enters the picture. Even now I wouldn’t say, “I have herpes” just because I occasionally get cold sores. I DO fess up to having HSV2 right off the bat...might as well get it out in the open, and it’s not really that big of a deal. With a little basic precaution I’ve never passed it on in 30 some years. But I will say that this guy, being a doctor, should know the risks...if you have oral cold sores you definitely CAN pass it on through oral sex if your partner is one of the rare people who don’t already have it.

46

"anybody who trusts other people is stupid or lying" means (and this requires no interpretation) "if you trust me, you are stupid."

In this, you can go ahead and trust him.

47

Yeah, my abusive controlling and jealous ex liked to point out that he was smart and went to a top-tier university, too. As if being smart makes you exempt from being abusive or simply an a-hole.

48

Honey, beware! That perfect boyfriend you're describing sounds like you a just one late dinner away from a black eye and a fat lip.

49

So am I the only person in the universe who had no fucking idea cold sores are HERPES? What the fuck???????

50

@41 yes, and I've often thought about how irrational jealousy and cheating go hand in hand. Nobody wants to sound like the irrational jealous partner, and so cheating partners take advantage of that and gaslight you into thinking you're the problem.

@45 lol maybe you "wouldn't say" you have herpes, but denial doesn't change the fact that you have herpes so idk maybe you should say it? Half of people have it (so, not "rare" not to have it, just common to have it). In some states it's a crime not to tell your partner if you know or suspect you have any std.

@49 really???

51

This has probably been posted several times, but cold sores ARE herpes. Herpes gets a bad rap, but literally the majority of people have it. He might not have even got it from you! He might have had it since childhood and only now had an outbreak! Many people carry the virus and never know it! It does literally nothing other than be mildly annoying! (unless you're a baby or immuno-suppressed). Herpes: can we all get over it already?

53

Regarding the herpes thing - cold sores are typically HSV-1 and genital herpes is typically HSV-2, but it can be the other way around, and people with oral herpes can indeed pass it to someone's genitalia through oral sex (https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm). So y'all with cold sores, do pay attention to that rather than assuming they are two different, unconnected, things.

Second, when you first get herpes (oral or genital) you get a much stronger reaction the first few times, then it gets calmer as your immune system deals with it (weaker and less frequent episodes). So for the LW it may not feel like a big thing, as she's had it since being a child, but if the BF just caught it it may appear much more distressing to him. Anti-viral medication helps.

Third, as @19 Basidia points out - careful with babies! No kissing of babies AT ALL when you have cold sores! And mothers with genital herpes (specifically - if they recently got genital herpes) can also pass it on to their babies as they give birth (http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/herpes/herpes-and-pregnancy/).

So yes, herpes: lots of people have it, not a big deal, no need to stigmatise anyone, but still good to understand the basics and act accordingly...

54

Regarding the BF - as the LW herself, Dan and other commenters, I see bright red flags in the irrational and controlling jealousy. Unfortunately, we also live in a society that values and glamorises jealousy, where a good number of smart and kind people see it as a "proof of love" both when on the giving and when on the receiving end of it.

So, before running for the door, I would have a last conversation with the BF in the lines of what @11 Mirea says: "my BF [...] pulled some jealousy crap in the kinda-joking-but-not-really way. I pulled him up short. I told him I wasn't gonna have it. Either he trusts me, in which case his insecurities are his problem to fix, not mine - or he doesn't which means we should just call it off." And make sure you mean it.

If the kind and intelligent guy is able to recognise he has a problem to fix and acts on it, he deserves a second chance. If he acts like a victim or becomes angry, this is never going to improve and will only get worse. Cut your losses and call it off now.

55

@46 TheRob
"anybody who trusts other people is stupid or lying" means (and this requires no interpretation) "if you trust me, you are stupid."

Brilliant! That should be in a FAQ somewhere.

56

LW if you want to spend the next twenty odd years rearing children with a rude, jealous and blaming man, that’s your choice. Can imagine his bull once kids are around. He’ll be jealous of your affection for them and blame you when anything goes wrong. Doesn’t sound like much fun.

57

@23&26 Holy hell this is some bad advice.

This is not about communication or love language shit. He's abusive, plain and simple.

And this is why abuse is so insidious. Abusers don't wear signs saying 'I'm an abuser'. Many of them do have positive traits, or are at least good at faking positive traits.

Just because someone is not a monster 110% of the time doesn't mean they aren't abusive.

Advice like this piss me off because in the end it gets people killed. It encourages people to give someone a second chance they shouldn't, to stay in a relationship they need to leave, to have kids with someone they should be running from.

LW this guy needs to be your ex. He can work out his trust issues with a psychologist, not with you.

58

LW, I once had a BF who treated me like yours is treating you now. I now refer to him as "the biggest mistake of my life". And so will you, one day, if you stay with him any longer.

59

Preface: She should DTMFA. Even if the warning flags aren't true, the dude's a jerk. And she's not happy in the relationship.

But, to counter all the commentators who decry her claim about him "being so smart" as part of the problem, the LW herself ascribes his suspicions (phobias?) to that, "Is this just a side-effect of him being so smart—he puts things together, he remembers details, and comes to conclusions" and I agree that can happen.

I think I manage it okay in myself, but I slip up at times. I coach competitive math and as a result see the most gifted students for a thousand miles around. One time, at Nationals, with the top four students from my state, I thought to pose the question, "What are your phobias - those fears you know are irrational but you still have?" and all four had at least one full-on phobia.

When the mental wheels are spinning quickly, looking for patterns and reasons, the mind can latch onto crazy correlations and imagine causation where none exists. An appetite for food is good. Sexual drive is good. Finding causation is good. Remembering data is good. Up to a limit! In the random dance of genes and upbringing, some people get too much of a good thing. Being "on the spectrum" is both a gift and a curse. Quite apart from autism, high intelligence is a gift and a curse. Being overly anxious, suspicious or accusatory are parts of the curse. With comparable gifts of self-awareness or empathy, those can be managed, but lots of people got unequal gifts. Sheldon and Amy in the Big Bang Theory aren't on a sitcom - it's a documentary.

I see her as being equipped with significant empathy which she is employing, to her disadvantage, to mitigate her concern about the BF's issues. I see him as cursed with more intelligence than wisdom, (and more self-centeredness than kindness/compassion) but those are beyond her control to fix. She's got to decide if she wants to spend years (and raise children with!) a suspicious, accusatory jerk who's only "decent in bed". She seems to bring more to the table than he does and she should aim higher.

60

"Do you think I’m ignoring a problem that's going to get bigger?" Yes. He is a complete and utter psycho who will shred your self esteem and ruin your life. DTMFA.

61

@46 - Now I'm imagining the LW's boyfriend as Littlefinger from Game of Thrones. This is probably insulting to Littlefinger.

62

tw @51 (about herpes) "It does literally nothing other than be mildly annoying! (unless you're a baby or immuno-suppressed)."

My painfully swollen to three times it normal size, festering and bleeding foreskin begs to differ.
Granted, it was the first outbreak which is supposed to be the worst. Still far from "mildly annoying".

63

If the other country is not English-speaking but he speaks the language, then do not consider going there unless you know the language, too. This is a very good strategy for isolating a woman by putting her in a situation where he has friends and probably family to keep her in line and she's got maybe the US/Canadian consulate to help her flee.

64

Wait what's the definition of "has" herpes?

65

You're trying to start a family and move to another country without getting married? Gurl.... what? I mean, don't marry him, dump him - but also, if you were going to move to another country together and have kids, OMG that is a really stupid thing to do without a marriage license. Traveling means paperwork and visas and stuff, and you ab-so-lutely want to be married for that.

... also don't marry or breed with him.

and fubar @16 is right, your uterus is clenching a big 'nope' here - and you should listen.

66

@64 many people carry the virus (estimated 50-80% of the population, depending on age and location) and therefore have also developed the anti-bodies to keep it suppressed (most of the time). Not all people present with symptoms though (the most notable being having sores on some part of your body, usually oral or genital), or their symptoms are so mild they don't notice or think it's something else, or they get symptoms once in a blue moon or only after having the virus for years. However, if you have the virus then you have the virus, and it's possible to shed w/o sores (or with only those very mild, unnoticed sores) and pass it to someone else.

@62 fair enough, I have type 1 genitally so I had an easier time of it, although it was painful. What I meant was more like: it doesn't change your risk for cancer, it doesn't affect your fertility, it's easily manageable, it doesn't mean you're a "slut" or "dirty" or whatever. It's just cold sores.

67

@57. msanonymous. DAMN says that her "boyfriend is lovely in all respects, but sometimes gets jealous over small ... misunderstandings. [Absent the jealousy,] he's a wonderful partner—smart, kind, patient, funny, socially conscious, health-conscious, decent in bed, someone I can open up to and talk with about anything with. I’m crazy about him".

For the purpose of your advice, it’s as if she hasn't said any of the positive things about him she went out of her way to note--that she's crazy about him, for instance, or can talk to him about anything. They would seem to weigh for nothing with you--because you're convinced that he's an abuser. 'Abuser' was nothing DAMN said and was only floated as a possibility by Dan. I'm not sure that the thought--that DAMN's partner might be abusive--would have occurred to many of the people labeling him as such were it not for Dan's suggestion.

The tenor of your advice is that there are two types of people in the world, abusers and non-abusers. Abusers disguise themselves cleverly. It’s incumbent on non-abusers, and the victims of past abuse, to save non-abusers from abusers. This is demonology, not any accurate shot at social psychology. It’s not true. When most people behave unreasonably and in a controlling manner in a relationship, it's because of insecurities (and character faults) magnified by circumstances (including the isolation and vulnerability of their partner). Some may be sociopathic; but by no means all unequal, manipulative relationships involve a sociopath and their victim (I would say).

I'd consider it profoundly disempowering to say to a woman, 'your whole sense of your partner is off'. E.g. 'can talk to him about anything? He's cultivating the fake sympathy of an ... ABUSER!'. There is not enough to go on in DAMN's letter for me to know whether her partner is an abuser or not. But supposing he is, which, and whose, advice will have the more traction with her?: 'dump him now, or your body parts will end up dismembered in his fridge-freezer' or 'you've seen the red flags yourself; how about couples counseling?'.

68

@59. David. Supposing that people either incline to the 'see correlations and investigate causal hypotheses'-side or the 'empathically receive people's emotions'-side, I don't see DAMN as an empath. She is quite happy working in what seems a STEM or social-science subject. Possibly her co-workers are male. She gets by with a humorously abrupt style of communication her friends and colleagues accept, but which could ruffle feathers in other contexts. I'd suppose their being concerned about stuff other than psychology is freeing for her (look at the insouciant way, quite habitual, in which she says, 'it happens!'). My sense is that being around empaths (even, say, in a female-dominated office) would be exhausting to her. (Empaths aren't always empathetic about how draining or demanding they are for those with more analytical or brute-force habits of mind).

69

Comment@49 ~ “...am I the only person in the universe who had no fucking idea cold sores are HERPES?...”

Yes you are.
Oh, except this one guy in Washington DC. who will tell you it’s fake news (because, science, you know).

70

I had never heard of a postcoital test, but now I've googled it and it looks like it's pretty much useless.

https://www.ivf1.com/cervical-mucus-and-the-myth-of-the-post-coital-test/

Studies going back to 1990 showed that the post coital test lacks validity to differentiate between fertile and infertile couple[s] and reliability in terms of the consistency of its results...Routine use of the post coital test is the exact opposite of evidence based medicine. >>

DAMN -- I agree with the consensus against having children with your partner, but wanted to add that if you have trouble getting pregnant in the future, try reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler, which explains how to track your basal body temperature and your cervical mucus to assess the best opportunities for conception.

72

Ack. I'm late to the party again. I guess nobody noticed her attempts at rationalization that there's no way she could be interested in her colleague because he's "unattractive and married". Yet that "disqualification" wasn't enough to reassure her irrational and jeavous partner.

Should she remain with him, she might want to prepare for a psychological strip-search every time she comes home from work, as her partner obsessively combs through her phone messages, examining the texts between the two colleagues, hoping to catch her in a gotcha moment.

I also see some indication that he believes in gender-separate roles. It's HER responsibility to wake him up. If she doesn't, it's HER fault. He's already got her accepting that his intelligence (or inherent intelligence of all men) makes him right in all situations. Another warning sign that the way he behaves should never be taken as merely the price of admission.

73

@66 in generally familiar with the numbers, but I'm nothing that the definition of "has herpes" doesn't seem to quite track with "has the virus", if you see my meaning.

74

Harriet you right in that it's unlikely the boyfriend will kill the LW, but that doesn't mean his behavior is okay, or not abusive. I mean you're proving my point by insisting since the guy can be caring and charming at times it somehow makes his shitty behavior not count.

Trust is the heart of the love and you can't have a healthy relationship with someone who doesn't trust you. That the boyfriend says he doesn't trust 'anybody' is a good sign that he's not ready for a relationship and shouldn't be someone the LW is having kids with.

Will he benefit from therapy? Maybe. But he has to be the one to make the choice. If the LW drags him there he'll not listen, or turn it against her, because he's so 'smart'.

75

@74. msanonymous. I think our positions are moving closer together. (?) ;)

His shitty behavior means a lot. The jealousy and undermining are big red flags. It means DAMN should put her baby-making plans on hold. (I think she understands this herself). I don't know whether he's caring and charming. My point was more that his partner thinks this--and we get nowhere by telling her that her perceptions are invalid.

I think people who find it hard to trust can come to love. But I would agree with anyone who said that--at the moment--he's not doing the work on himself to allow this to happen.