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Is this a form of gaslighting? Or am I being a bad partner?

IGB2017 posted 5/30/2019 02:06 AM

Hi everyone.

I've been seeing a new partner for nearly 6 months now, which has been going very well. We are taking it slow still, but do enjoy each other's company and have a lot of fun. We get on on a personal and romantic level.

However, they are more 'needy' than I am. Not overtly so, but they do require more day-to-day contact and validation, if you will, than I do in a relationship. They would like to see each other 4 times a week and feel upset when they don't see me for a week, whereas I am okay not seeing them for a number of days and keeping in contact by phone. They are working on this because they'd like to be more independent and say that they are much better than they were in the past. We have spoken openly about this and I think my partner sometimes worries that I am 'less into' them because I am more independent.

An event occurred recently where they stayed over at my house unplanned. Usually we have our days where we stay over at each other's places planned out ahead.

It was no problem to me that they wanted to stay over. The issue came when I felt like they were making excuses to hang out in the evening and eventually stay over without actually asking to stay over, but waiting for me to ask if they wanted to stay over. I know this sounds overly dramatic.

I felt this way because we met up after work on a day when they said they couldn't because they were meeting friends and they hate to cancel on friends. But they did cancel (with ease) and they said they needed to be near mine to pick up some things from a shop. They didn't pick up those things but we went for dinner. Then they asked if we could have sex at mine, which we did. Then, after sex, they kept saying that they "Shouldn't stay any longer because it's not one of our planned evenings" and similar phrases. But they proceeded to fall asleep in my bed for a while.

Ultimately, this irritated me because 1) I felt they were not communicating with me openly and just asking if they could stay over and 2) making me feel as if they are a burden staying over by waiting for me to ask them to stay.

In the past, they have expressed sadness leaving mine after a weekend, and they never just leave on their own accord. They always say things like "Just tell me if you want me to leave" and it becomes this awkward interaction where they are getting down about leaving and I am getting frustrated.

We spoke about it, and they got upset because, in their mind, I was interpreting them as meek and needy when they were working hard to express themselves, and they argued that they just didn't know that they were making me feel awkward/were so tired they couldn't remember saying that "It's not my planned evening to stay" etc. They didn't actually deny my interpretation of events, just got upset that I would think of them like that. I apologised and told them I am happy being wrong.

So, the reason I am sensitive to all this comes from being gaslit in the past from my wayward X. I don't like feeling like I am being made out to be wrong or misguided in situations where my gut is screaming at me that there is a simpler explanation.

I worry that their behaviour and response to speaking about it is a form of gaslighting too.

In the grand scheme of things, I hope that this is not a big deal. I do think they can be needy and I respect them for working on it, and I am happy to compromise on this by keeping in contact/seeing each other more...but what I can't stand is dishonesty and potential gaslighting. Or maybe I am just completely wrong here.

Does anyone have any reflections on the above novel?!

Hope2B posted 5/30/2019 02:53 AM

I read your entire post. You are being manipulated.

Is this new partner 17 years old and are you their first romantic interest? That's what this behavior reminds me of, FWIW.

If you want the behavior to stop, my suggestion would be to state very clearly that yeah, they need to go home now, or yes, please do leave, or restate, you're right, it's not your planned evening, so time to go. There will be resistance, there may even be a sad feel-sorry-for-me face. Be a broken record.

Manipulation, manipulation, manipulation. You're a willing partner in this because you're trying to be understanding and polite. That's just my opinion, and of course, I could be wrong.

[This message edited by Hope2B at 2:54 AM, May 30th (Thursday)]

Furious1 posted 5/30/2019 06:34 AM

*Blows whistle* Flag on the play.

Yes, you are being gaslit and manipulated on several points. Their snide remarks when being held to your expectations is downright childish of them, but it is totally gaslighting and attempting to manipulate you into backing down from your boundaries to give in to them on what they want. Anyone who is testing your boundaries as much as this person is doing would raise my eyebrow. You have a right to be concerned and to be on guard for any and all other attempts to manipulate and gaslight you.

We spoke about it, and they got upset because, in their mind, I was interpreting them as meek and needy when they were working hard to express themselves, and they argued that they just didn't know that they were making me feel awkward/were so tired they couldn't remember saying that "It's not my planned evening to stay" etc. They didn't actually deny my interpretation of events, just got upset that I would think of them like that. I apologised and told them I am happy being wrong.

This is absolutely very disturbing and classic gaslighting. You are the one who had every right to be upset, but they play the victim by making up shit that you didn't even say to be upset about so that you end up apologizing to them. After everything I've been through, this alone would be more than enough for me to end it. They are showing you who they truly are and they are testing you to see if you will fall for the mind games and word salads. Your issue with their rude and boundary testing nonsense is more than justified and they should have apologized to you for having acted like a spoiled brat about it like they did. Instead, they fabricated the entire crap about you implying that they are weak and needy to put you on the defensive while turning themselves into the victim. Healthy adults don't do that shit. They don't made childishly snide remarks about a person's boundaries and expectations like they did. They don't deny and make excuses for those snide remarks. They don't flip the script so that they are the ones who are being victimized while guilting the true victim into apologizing to them.

In the grand scheme of things, I hope that this is not a big deal.

This is a very big deal and you are not being overly sensitive to it just because your X put you through the same crap. If anything, this person is playing on your past baggage to make you feel as though you are.

If it were me, I would be throwing this one back. The level of toxic boundary testing, disrespecting, victim flipping, and outright toxicity in this person is alarming and deeply troubling. And this is what they are pulling after only 6 or less months. I can't even imagine how badly they would behave after they get comfortable with you or after they started believing that you somehow owed them or were obligated to them in some way.

You have every reason to be deeply concerned and troubled by their behavior.

F1

Starzen posted 5/30/2019 07:44 AM

I'm apparently missing a lot here. To me "they" seem insecure, but I read it's someone who likes you and wants to be near you. They said they were just trying to express themselves, so maybe they are merely trying the best they know how, and trying to improve communication skills and maybe not doing it in a way you like.

Did you tell this person what you are feeling? Or are you venting here without having a heart to heart with them?

I'm not seeing gaslighting, manipulation, or toxicity. To me those all have devious intent. I see a person trying and you not recognizing those attempts, perhaps?

But then again, maybe don't listen to a word I say, because me seeing the possible good in people got me royally dicked over.

One thing with this post is I realize I'm not as tainted as I was about other people any longer.... wow, I am doing better..... Thanks, I needed this!

IrishGirlVA posted 5/30/2019 11:44 AM

Is this the same they that you spoke about in this post at the end of January?

https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=635336&HL=60619

I assume so because you indicate here you've been with this person for 6 months.

They would like to see each other 4 times a week and feel upset when they don't see me for a week.

Don't you see them at work every day? I understand it is not the same as seeing someone outside of work but it's still something.

To me it sounds like gas-lighting and manipulation. Or they are just a really insecure person seeking affirmation in a passive aggressive way. Guess that is manipulation, right?

Has this person behaved like this from the beginning or has it worsened with time?

LilBlackCat posted 5/30/2019 12:20 PM

To me, I do see some manipulation.. but not in a bad way.. They are simply trying to push relationship further along.. While you are keeping them at bay as a casual one.

With the visits always seeming to be "planned", would give me a "side person" vibe.. Such structure would trigger me as to why?

Same with the random staying over.. again "side person" vibe.. or non-exclusivity.. Have you guys established that? Or are you (or both) still playing the field?

ibonnie posted 5/30/2019 12:55 PM

This doesn't sound like gaslighting to me, so much as...

They're really into you. You might like them, but you also like your alone time. They are, again, really into you but feel like you're not as into them, and the more they want to cling on to you, the more you want your independence... which they pick up on, and makes them want to spend time with you more?

Maybe this person just isn't right for you.

[This message edited by ibonnie at 12:56 PM, May 30th (Thursday)]

IGB2017 posted 5/30/2019 15:12 PM

Thank you everyone.

She is insecure and lacks confidence. She'd be the first to admit that and I have always found it admirable how open she is about her emotions on this matter. She has suffered with anxiety since a teenager.

I do find her behaviour immature. I doubt she's trying to manipulate me knowingly, but I do think she needs have a bit more introspection at times about her own behaviour.

I think she is really into me and I do enjoy my independence, but I am also into her. I am just a very guarded about what happened in the past and do not want to take things quickly at this stage.

I will report back once I've had a bit more time to think.


Queen posted 5/30/2019 16:37 PM

I don't really see anything wrong with her need to feel connected to her partner. If you cannot provide that because you need space, she needs a different partner or you need to be more reassuring. When she feels you pushing her away, she will instinctively try to find a point of attachment because that makes her more comfortable. That doesn't mean she's weak, it means she needs more than what you are offering.

HalfTime2017 posted 5/30/2019 17:10 PM

IGB,

I have similar situations as well. The often bring extra clothes to spend the night before letting me know, or getting a sitter in advance of telling me b/c they plan on spending the night. I do agree with some of the others, that its probably not bad manipulation, but poor communication skills on her part.

On your part, setting boundaries is good, so she knows what to expect. If its reassurances that she needs, you might be able to provide that, while still maintaining good boundaries. It is annoying to have uninvited guest and once you kinda get used to some good alone time, its nice to keep that for yourself.

Hobbyist posted 5/30/2019 21:48 PM

I might be speaking to the chore, but my own experience would say to make sure that boundaries are set verbally are clearly. A boundary that is set in your head and not communicated well is not a boundary at all, and will end in both parties getting hurt. It sounds like minor manipulation to me, though maybe not intentional, so I would simply state that it's bothering you clearly, and see how they react.

EvenKeel posted 5/31/2019 11:42 AM

You are not alone in this. There is a long line of us here that 'need our space'.

I am also dating someone who would be just fine with seeing each other daily.

The key is to find your happy-medium. Both of you outline what works for you, then find the compromise.

You need to be vocal about timelines as well so you are not feeling pushed into more (ie sleepover on an unplanned night, etc).

You stated your partner is working on this from her side as well, which is great. But make sure you are vocal and clear so you are not in positions to feel pressured.

Like my BF knows my bedtime routine, etc so at a certain time, he knows he needs to go (like it or not).

Seriously though - you are at a point in your life where you will only gain from being forthright. Either you will know for sure you will be able to compromise; or you will know for sure that you just will not be able to give what she wants at this time.

Shehawk posted 6/2/2019 18:25 PM

I don't know either of you so this is just a "maybe it could be" neither response, but..

Any chance the two of you have attachment styles that are not compatible or in alignmemt?

I have done a lot of personal healing work and reading after my wayward husband's brutal betrayal. One thing I learned about is adult attachment. I also watched videos and other stuff from the Gottman Institute on communication that was recommended by a marriage counselor and also read the book and looked at a lot of digital materials related to "Getting the Love You Want".

This may not apply to your situation at all,but...
For me, due to foo issues and the nature of my wayward husband's betrayal, I would need a man who was very reassuring and who enjoyed a frequency and intensity of closeness that was consistent with where we were in our relationship (first date, getting to know eachother, exclusive, married). I would not expect to know his every move or spend every minute together if we were getting to know eachother. But if we were exclusive, I would want to know more about how he was spending his time and would need more reassurance. And if we were married, hate to say this but given my history, I would pretty much want to spend every night with him, be intimate pretty much daily, and know his phone passwords and phone location and vice versa.

That would not work for every man, but it would for the right man for me. Yes I do have anxiety, but a lot of my anxious attachment was caused by the fact that my wayward husband was the type to run from attachment, infidelity being a very severe form of running and a very severe form of abuse for an anxiously attached person especially.

So I own who I am. I will only choose to date men who can step forward in a relationship (men who want a lot of distance and aloneness will probably trigger me way too much). That will give me the safety I need in a relationship. I now know the type of guy who can and will give that to me.

So I think maybe it is a compatibility thing or maybe a stage of relationship thing for me. I am separated because my husband chose strangers on the internet and secret groups and would not offer me monogomous exclusivity after his affair. I have friends who are married to the types of guys who do offer that ro their wives, so I know they exist. They are 100 percent no cheating never no way guys who never leave their wives wondering where they stand.

In exchange tho any man I end up married to in the future gets a ride or die kinda lady so I think it will be a win win kinda situation for the right guy.

Oh, and just because I am anxious does not mean I am going to manipulate a man to give me more than he wants to in a relationship.

Hope this gave you a little insight from a different perspective.

Best wishes on a relationship that gives you both what you want and need

[This message edited by Shehawk at 6:28 PM, June 2nd (Sunday)]

babbu posted 6/3/2019 03:15 AM

What I'm getting from all of this is that it sounds like they are ready to move in with you and are hinting at it pretty heavily, or at least trying to get into a situation where they are half-moved in for the leap.

heartbroken_kk posted 6/3/2019 21:30 PM

Gaslighting? Maybe.

It's not cool to twist yourself into a knot trying to figure out what to say to your partner, and then complain that you are trying to communicate. Say what you want!

Blech. It's their responsibility to do their own communicating, with their own words! Down with mind games!

This person can't express their needs clearly and directly. You are absolutely correct. And they ARE needy. So you are seeing a conflict between what they say and what they do. This isn't outright lying but its not honest and complete communication.

"Just tell me what you want" is either co-dependent or passive aggressive. Either way, it's not a healthy way to be in relationship with someone.

It's not your job to fix this person and teach them how to communicate.

This has got to be exhausting and if you have somebody fawning and tripping over themselves to try to be with you I can see why you try to get some breathing room.

[This message edited by heartbroken_kk at 9:31 PM, June 3rd (Monday)]

HappyTree posted 6/4/2019 07:47 AM

This person reminds me of a guy that I was seeing while on vacation. While I saw it as a fun, casual fling, he saw it as WAY more. To the point where in the mornings I could feel him staring at me, just waiting for me to wake up. He would constantly ask me the same question over and over "so, can I go to the waterfall with you, if thats OK, if you don't mind." After I had already told him he could.
In the end, he had a very low sense of self esteem and it was just not healthy for me because I felt like I had to constantly reassure him about the most basic things.

I am thinking your person might be the same way. They want to be close to you, they don't feel confident with the relationship the way that it is and they have to over compensate in any way possible. But, here is the big thing, that is not your problem! At all. You have our own crap to deal with and maybe this person is to much for you. Thats fine. It doesn't say anything bad about what you need in a relationship, or anything bad about what they need. Either you need to have a serious talk with this person, or you need to cut the relationship with them.

LilBlackCat posted 6/4/2019 11:28 AM

It doesn't say anything bad about what you need in a relationship, or anything bad about what they need.
I think this is the heart of the problem.. Love styles..

You are one who likes love from distance and on your convenience. While they are more of a close attachment type, all engulfing.

tushnurse posted 6/4/2019 11:52 AM

Sounds like they are horribly Codependent, and would benefit from some therapy and learning how to be happy as an independent individual.

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