My Fiancé Is Irritable, Closed Off, And Critical - But Is It Abuse?
It is hard to know what is normal fighting or bad times in a relationship, and what constitutes emotional abuse. It is even harder to know what to do about it. I love my fiancé and we are generally very, very happy. However, he has extreme mood swings and trouble being emotionally available.
It is hard to summarize how he treats me because it is just a bunch of little things. He is very critical of me and puts me down, makes fun of me, etc. but often joking. He often uses a very critical, mean, hurtful tone with me. He is not incredibly affectionate. He gets in terrible moods, and instead of being angry, he just shuts down and it is hard to get one word out of him.
He does not communicate well, and when I try to get him to, or misunderstand something, it is my fault. For example, if I suggest something but didn't realize he had already told me, or I apparently should already know something, he responds with the most disdainful tone. It often just seems like he doesn't like me, but the rest of our relationship says otherwise.
When I talk to him about his behavior or a specific fight, he just sarcastically tells me I'm right and won't discuss it further. He is fine giving the silent treatment for hours at a time, and then just tries to hug me and say "I'm sorry" to make it better, without actually discussing it. It is actually when he is very happy that I notice the issues most, because I realize how much better things are.
He is never violent or even angry. More like absent, emotionally blank and indifferent. He is not jealous, but he is controlling in the sense that I am criticized for every little thing. I have told him before I feel like I will never be good enough.
I am a confident person and know this is ridiculous. His parents are happily married, but they have a very cold relationship that I think he has modeled his own after. Unfortunately, I need more than that. I have heard his family and others say he is "just a guy" and they don't communicate the way women do. But I call BS on that. These people also don't know the depth of the issues. Just his lack of communication skills is a significant issue, not to mention the others.
In his professional life, he excels. He is incredibly charming and "turns it on" when he needs to. So I know he is capable, it almost feels like he doesn't respect me enough to turn it on for me.
I have seen him work on and improve certain things, but I am done having discussions with him and being the one to help him get better all by myself. It is exhausting and I deserve better. I think he needs help.
Do you suggest couples counseling or solo counseling? Something needs to be done before I move forward in this relationship.