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Blog Hog Today - Is your SO healthily scared of you?

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

Now that may sound REALLY strange, but I was unsure how else to word what I am trying to get at. I saw another poster's comment about saying how they would look like the girl in the Exorcist if their SO had done what the OP's SO had done and it made me think about relationship dynamics. For example, when watching a movie or show and either a man or woman does/says something in regards to an ex or even step life situation that is a definitely boundary crosser or disrespectful to the current SO/relationship, my bf jokes how he would be too scared to do that and see my reaction. He says it in a joking manner, but I also know he knows deep down that I would not forgive him or put up with that sort of behavior, especially when it comes to an ex or something along those lines. Personally, I think it is a good thing that he knows basically what my boundaries are and I will not be a door mat even though it may not seem as big of a deal to him or he would lose me and losing me scares him. I can even say I have things that I know I would not want to see bf's reaction to, but I have less possibility of those things happening than he does because I have no reason to be in contact with anyone I have a history with. So this brought me to my conclusion that my bf is the healthy amount of scared of me and I think it is a good thing. Thoughts?


ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Unfortunately my ex was not.  I honestly think he still tries to contact me because his dumb ass thinks I'll magically change my mind and come back. LMAO. NOPE!

But I think some is healthy.  If the person isn't motivated and wanting to keep the other happy, idk what kind of relationship it is.  They shouldn't be scared of you, but more of scared of losing you and hurting your feelings.  Any fear shouldn't come from you, but from them caring for you.  imho.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

BUT I am happy you left him and are able to better your life and do what makes you happy! Yeah some people are that delusional. I bet BM would get back with bf if he wanted to honestly. Bf would never in a million years whether I existed or not.

That is a good way of putting it! Outside of hurting me and losing my feelings, he is free to do/decide what he wants, I don't control him, but he definitely knows what my boundaries are!

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

have a better way of wording these things. This is why I am an artist not a wordsmith. I can show things better than say things!

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I know what you mean. Does my SO know my boundaries, know what makes me upset, and respect me enough to not deliberately cross those boundaries?

Ehhhhhh.....we're working on it. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

it gets better for you! I think it makes things a little less stressful because I am not worried he is going to cross those boundaries, in fact I KNOW he is not going to.

Merry's picture

I know what you mean too. And, yes, my DH knows what my boundaries are and "scared of me" might be a good description. But I think it's more about love and respect. He might be scared for himself if he were to seriously cross a big, fat boundary because he knows I have the means and the courage to be gone.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

Because if the SO doesn't love and respect their partner in addition to being worried about losing their partner, then why would they bother respecting those boundaries? It is like people who forgive their partner after they cheated, especially after it has been more than once. You took them back so why wouldn't they do it again when you are still there?

Sparkl3s's picture

He isn't scared but he knows that I have certain boundaries bc I've told him but only bc of this site I've been blunt and to the point. Once you decide what is your breaking point if they aren't taken care of you have to be true to your word. 

Before we were married: 
Me- "If you want to BM's shoulder to cry on every time her life goes to shit, then please let me know so I can move out" . BM's coworkers were "bullying" her and she wanted my SO to be her sounding board. If it's not about this kids he stopped texting her back and when she went on tirades if it wasn't about the kids he hung up. 

me " You need to remove BM off your bank account and tell her to get her own car insurance if you plan on moving forward with our relationship" 

I like to think my husband is fairly intelligent but he was so wore down from having to do everything in his prior marriage that he did/wouldn't see how incredibly dumb some of the stuff he was allowing BM to do were. 



futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

him! At least he was receptive and made the changes to progress/continue to have a relationship!

This past Valentine's Day, BM tried to give bf a gift and bf refused to take the gift from her and told her to not try and give him anything again. Bf called me and was like before you freak out and get mad at me, just know I did not take it! Then he proceeded to tell me how she tried to give him a Valentine's Day gift. I was not at all mad at him, but mad at her especially when it wasn't like she tried to do this the year before when it was only a year after he filed to divorce her, but instead was 2 years after. Bf believes she tries to do some things to make us fight/undermine our relationship, but we don't let that happen.

Sparkl3s's picture

Yes!! He is receptive if I had been gaslighted like some of the step moms that end up here I would have been on the news. Headline would read, "GF sets boyfriends golf clubs on fire to teach him a lesson! She is not sorry!!".

He is my first relationship with someone who was married before and honestly I didn't know what to expect but following your gut is key. I pray BM's marriage works at least  until the kid's age out so she can focus ALL her energy on her hubby and his ex wife. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

I often forget, but my first relatonship in college was with someone who had been married before and was 10 years my senior. I definitely black out that 6 months of my life because it was horrible, didn't start out that way, but ended that way. Anyways, I forgot often he was married before because he didn't have any kids and he had been divorced a few years so just did not really cross my mind. Until, I found emails he was sending to his ex wife trying to get back together with her!!! Luckily, when I first started dating bf I forgot about this factor and I wouldn't of went out with bf to start with and I would of missed being with the love of my life.

You may wonder how I forgot about this, but about 2 months in the older bf became physically and emotionally abusive and wouldn't let me leave him. Wasn't until the cops knocked his door down, dragged him out, and took him to the psych ward since he was threatening to kill himself if I left that I was able to get away.  So your mind protects you and tries to trick your brain into forgetting sometimes.

I do agree that following your gut is key! I didn't do it before and ever since then I always do, plus I don't let myself dismiss red flags after that relationship.

I hope BM gets married soon so she gets distracted with that instead of every few months trying to undermine our relationship, it's so annoying and pathetic.

MissK03's picture

This is 100% what I dealt with but, didn't get the whole boundaries things yet. 

My first "fight" reguarding BM was, about  7 months of us being together. I moved in fairly quick (about 6 months I moved al my clothes) but, kept my apartment for a year just in case anything happened. 

Anyways, I pulled in the driveway one day and saw BMs motorcycle. I was like unmmm wtf. 

Well, BM was breaking up with her bf(now husband) to move in with some other guy and SO was storing her motorcycle for her at our house. I lost it. I told him "how cute it was watching him push her motorcycle into the shed for her" He realized that he done and f'd up. His friends broke his balls pretty good about that incident too lol. 

BM and that guy only lasted two weeks and she was back with now husband. 

SO was extremely passive and just went along with anything BM said. BM told me SO was her "best friend." 

My how times have changed. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

my. I would of been LIVID. Well I am glad things have now changed!

Bf and I agreed once all the legal stuff was done that there was going to be no "favors" for BM, not that he was doing her any favors during us being together, but I wanted to have the conversation so that way there could not be any excuses or justifications later on why he did such and such. We laid it all out there on what our expecations were moving forward so at least it should mitigate most issues that come up later.

Sparkl3s's picture

BM called all the men she was having an affair with her Bessssst Friend. That would have triggered my husband. I did say "It's cute you weren't good enough to be her BF while you were married, I don't understand she is calling you about this".  BM got the message loud and clear from me. I refuse to communicate with her even if I do pickups for my husband (rarely as a favor). I said hello once but I felt icky afterwards so I just ignore her and now she ignores me back. It's lovely. 

MissK03's picture

BM was having an affair on SO that's why they divorced. Weird...not sure why she did that to her besstttt friendddd. 

I'll add too... BM wanted to hang out with me too like we were buddies in the beginning. One time she texted SO because she knew we were both off and she wanted to come "riding" with us and his friend. SO had a motorcycle at the time too. Yeah no. SO was even like WTF. 

She doesn't have any real friends. Even when SO met her at like 18/19. Not sure exactly.. I just know she was 21 when they married he said she didn't have friends then either. I told him that should have been a red flag lol. 

Sparkl3s's picture

Waaaaatt... BM here also doesn't have friends. She has friends but from what my husband mentioned the friendships never last long. I suspect that they start seeing through BM and realize she is a crap person but maybe I'm wrong.  

Regardless... being her friend is a hard stop for me. I'm talking notes from the gals here preparing for weddings and baby showers. I'm not volunteering any of my time or wasting crazy energy. My skids are very good kids but it's not worth opening the crazy BM can for me. I like it tucked away. 

MissK03's picture

Yes I'm dreading weddings and such. Granted that's at least 10 years away and who knows what kind of relationship the skids will have with her then. 

Zen mode's picture

Mine knows I have strong boundaries about his kids. He also knows some of his kids have tendency to overstep, so I think he does tiptoe around things that could be issues, he does discuss pretty candidly his frustrations with them with me so I don't think it's fear but he knows what is or isn't "gonna fly"with me .

I had strong boundaries about sharing intimacy details (sex) with people, his brothers mostly. He crossed it a few times until I told him if he wanted to continue an intimate relationship with me he better keep his trap shut about it. I think part of it was bragging, because he had gone a lonnnnnnnnng time without and was tickled pink to have some lovin. Now he knows better and that I would flip my lid if he did it again. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

I guess fear isn't the right word more of fear of losing who they are with because of sensitive topics or issues.

I don't like those sorts of details being shared either, but luckily we both are really like that. I don't like that bf's best friend shares such graphic details about his sex life with my bf, which now that he has been with this woman for a few months he doesn't really do anymore, but I think he did it because he wanted to feel some sort of validation since my bf is with me and has been for quite a while now and his other good friend is married with 2 kids.

Well now his brothers know he does get loving and they don't need to know more than that!

Gimlet's picture

Mine has a healthy fear of losing what we have, as do I.  Like Merry said, it is about love and respect and he knows that I also have the means and courage to go.  I am a damn good spouse and I know it, and he's a good spouse to me.

He knows how important my boundaries are, but he also knows I would never try to control him or run his life.  We've talked about how we grew up so he gets why safety, both physical and psychological, is critical for me.  He also gets why I can get rigid at times and sometimes go to boundaries too soon, just like there are times he needs extra reassurance.

As far as "scared" of me he just knows that I won't take a bunch of bullshit and I am not afraid to stand up for myself.  We respect each other and when I say I would light him up for something, I mean it, and I am sure he has things he would dig in about too.  We just try not to get there.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

That is really important to have that mutual respect!

Bf and I had a dumb fight the other day, honestly I don't even remember what it was about just that it was more us miscommunicating and then other frustrations leading to an arguement and I told bf that he "knew I had opinions and that I would express them when necessary and always will stand up for myself." ... Later when we were over the fight, he laughingly told me that he knows I have opinions and that is one of the qualities he liked about me from the start... lol

Zen mode's picture

Same here! There's not a lot that riles either one of us up, so if something does it's not something trivial, so we both are very aware of what NOT to do. 

Gimlet's picture

I firmly believe that every couple has the same handful of arguments over and over.  They might be dressed diferently, but under the hood they are the same.  Same topics, same feelings, same types of triggers.

This might sound silly, but DH and I can both escalate arguments quickly.  They are almost always over something dumb because we haven't communicated well about the real issue.  Our biggest one this year was over a veggie burger (except it wasn't, as you know).

So we picked a "de-escalation" word, because we both know we need to do it but pride gets in the way so it's easier to say "pancakes!" (not the actual word but something just as stupid) and we have agreed to take a time out when it is thrown out there.  It's worked so far, the few times we've needed it.

Now we just need to get better about hashing things out when they come up - this is mostly me because I will stuff things down and stew on them until I snap. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

My bf hates and loves that I cannot stuf things down and wait for me to snap, if we are in a place we can discuss something bothering me and the timing is okay, meaning not date night or something, I will want to talk about what is bothering me right then and there. So bf loves it because there is no guessing game of if I am mad at him or whatever, but at the same time he hates it because he doesn't always want to talk about it right then

Gimlet's picture

That's the rub.  I have some trouble articulating feelings sometimes (result of being forced to stuff them down and deal with them later/pretend like things are fine- common with children of alcoholics ) but I am working on it.  I'm good at reasoning my way through but being forced to engage emotions has been a work in progress.  DH has been really patient with me. 

That is great that you are comfortable talking about things in the moment!

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

but has gotten so much better at. His family is very dysfunctional and his marriage wasn't one of love, but one that happened because he felt obligated to take care of BM while he was at boot camp, etc. and thought he could only do so by marrying her so he could provide for her through his benefits, etc. So bf didn't need to express emotions or engage his either, but he has come a long way and now not only can express his own more easily, but is better at reacting to when I get emotional. It definitely isn't easy, so I hope things get easier and that is great that your DH is patient with you about it!

It is good, but sometimes I feel like I should of bit my tongue and waited just a little longer. I just feel like I am being fake if something really bothers me and I pretend all is fine and dandy. I have no issues acting fine and dandy around others or to others when I don't feel it is appropriate or worth addressing, but with bf, I can't not talk about it :x

Zen mode's picture

There are many times a hot topic comes up, usually something involving his kids or my one still at home, that I have had to say "let me think about this" because honestly in the heat of the moment I truly am not sure how I feel about it. I need time to think about what impact whatever we are talking about will have on me, my peace or my son. My knee jerk reaction is to be agreeable because I am a people pleaser even at my own detriment, then I come off as flaky when I come back and say "nope I'm actually not on board with this" and I hate appearing that way when it is not the case but I agreed just to keep the peace, that benefits no one in the long run. When I usually say "let ne think about it" it's interesting because he often revises whatever it was we were trying to agree on to a more toned down version. An example was when his youngest son without any advance notice came for thanksgiving and wanted to stay until after Xmas, which actually ended up being mid January. That was beyond our agreement and the next time DH approached me with a "xyz is coming to town, how do you feel about him staying here a couple weeks" this was two days before WE were leaving town on a weeklong vacation and obviously unplanned on YSS part. After saying let me think about it, DH came up with an alt plan of putting him up in a hotel if he needed to instead. Funny YSS has not stayed here since, I think it's because the open door policy was slowly closing. 

Gimlet's picture

That is a terrific approach and great way to give you both some time to reflect.  I am going to use that as I can always use the processing time.  I tend to want to immediately throw boundaries up and that gives me time to think about what really matters. 

DH is more lenient with my DD than I am so that's a much easier conversation than his kids.

MissK03's picture

  "He knows how important my boundaries are, but he also knows I would never try to control him or run his life."

That couldn't be any truer. I think a lot of fights in step life (mine personally) happen because SO thought I was trying to "control" but he didn't see what he was doing isn't fair to the relationship. He gets it now about 95% but, still room for error. No one is perfect though. 

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

Meanwhile my struggle is maybe bf will realize when I ask "hey babe, when you get a minute, can you x, y, or z?" For some reason even if I say when you get a minute he thinks I mean NOW. Which I don't get becasue I can't think of any time that I was like NOW about anything. Hahaha.

Sometimes men need a litle steering. Bf sometimes didn't think to look at it from my point of view until I was like well how would you feel or something then he was like OOOOH. Now he usually thinks that way first when it is something usually pertaining to step life, but it has not always been that way.

SecondNoMore's picture

I think Gimlet is saying it well. If you lay your boundaries down from the beginning and your SO knows that you are not afraid to leave, there will be less boundaries crossed. If you're having to throw a temper tantrum or bring down the wrath of God on the regular, you've already lost the war. He knows you're not going anywhere and he can get away with it.

When I had to bring up the same thing over and over again over the course of a year and continue to asking to be the priority, it was time to go. It shouldn't be that much work to be with someone.

ndc's picture

My DH, like many men, is all about what is easy and convenient for him.  So if caving to what BM wants is seemingly easier than doing what I want (whether he's even thought about what I might want or not), he agrees to what BM wants.  If he subsequently realizes that he miscalculated, and dealing with me will be harder than saying no to BM, he backtracks.  I'm sure he feels like a ping pong ball, but it's a problem of his own making.  That's just one example, and while a lot is BM and skid related, not all is. I wouldn't call it fear, though - more a quest for his easiest life.

futurestepmomnowstepgf's picture

Sometimes I have felt bad for a second for bf to be in the middle when he knows what he has to do to maintain our relationship will cause drama with BM, but then I remember his decision to be with BM, marry her, and have a kid with her are all his own, so then I don't feel as bad anymore. Luckily, he doesn't chose the easier route, but sometimes I know I wish he could be it would  be less drama and stress for him, but again it is the mess he made.

missginger's picture

He he! That was me that made the exorcist comment! :-) 

DH knows better than to not invite his family over without discussing it with me but that doesn't stop them from dropping by unnanounced! 

Picardy III's picture

I wouldn't say DH is scared of me, but he respects me and wouldn't trample my boundaries. And vice versa.

Sure the groundwork is there that I have the will and ability to leave him if he consistently threw me under the bus, but... I'm his wife, he loves and esteems me, and he doesn't throw me under the bus.

Going nuclear on a complacent SO may be needed *once* to change the dynamic, if he's been taking you for granted because you allowed him to. But if you have to go to DEFCON 3 as a constant "electric fence" every time he moves to trample your boundaries, then that's not a relationship worth being in.

Getting your needs met by being the squeakiest wheel may work in a customer service dispute, but it's no way to live with someone who claims to love and be committed to you. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Wasn't it Machiavelli who said it's better to be feared than loved?

I've learned that nice isn't always best. In steplife, nice gets you used up. Some people (like my DH) only respect strength, and he respects me far more than he used to because I put some fear into him.

Throughout our marriage, I'd been DH's ride or die support. I adored him, and he knew it. But once I reached the point of having no F@cks left to give, I stopped caring about being nice, or supportive, or even polite. I was DONE with steplife, and for the first time in my life I didn't give a damn what others thought of me. I'd gotten a taste of how much better life feels when you speak the truth, and we had several blow ups where I let him have it with both barrels.

I'm sure everyone has heard anecdotes about crazy menopausal women. Well unfortunately for DH and his loony family I became one, and the stars and my hormones aligned just right to make me the meanest, baddest bi!ch when I needed it the most. It gave me the purest rush of power and clarity, and I laid all kinds of savage truth down. I called DH a p@ssy; I told him he should have dealt with OSD years ago but was afraid to. I told him to stop hiding behind my skirts, and that he'd better deal with his conniving sisters or I would. I told him that I wasn't the one who stuck their dick in crazy TWICE, and to handle his business. I told off his crazy aunt, his mooching cousin, and BM1. Yep, savage.

Looking back it's funny, but our marriage is back in balance because I finally lost my sh!t. My DH knows what I'm capable of, and that he almost lost me. He even jokes with others about how fiery I am. 

Lifer33's picture

Brilliantly put