What You Should Do With a Judgmental Boyfriend. Hint: It Sounds Like Lump Him.

What You Should Do When Your Partner is Judgmental
Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax recently answered a reader’s question about her new boyfriend. The reader wrote:

I feel like there are so many things I will never be able to share with him because he would judge me so severely. He continues to bring these instances up, however, as “hurdles” in thinking about my character and our relationship. He asks probing questions about the details, acts very cold and mean to me, and I walk away feeling horrible about myself.

Hax’s advice?

In my opinion, it’s nearly always a better bet to find a new boyfriend than to complain that the current one makes you unhappy.

Break up with him immediately.

Good for her. It’s about time someone else got on the honesty train and gave straightforward, unequivocal advice, instead of providing “relationship coaching” designed to get the reader to assert herself or make her boyfriend into a better communicator. I have a very different philosophy, which is why I refuse to coach women with boyfriends.

My thinking: “If you need to pay a dating coach $5000 to discuss your boyfriend, your relationship can’t be very strong. So why are you trying so hard to preserve something that causes you so much pain?” It’s amazing how few women have thought this through.

I actually had one woman get really angry at me last week when I refused to take her money and offered her free advice about her emotionally withholding alpha male boyfriend. I told her that she may be all anxious about whether he proposes or not, but that she should be cautious if she gets the ring she so desperately covets.

Because now she’ll have an emotionally withholding alpha male HUSBAND and spend the rest of her life walking on eggshells, dealing in silence and wondering where she stands. This made her very angry, of course, and she hung up on me. Such is the price for telling people things that they’d rather not hear.

Check out Jax’s full response here. I think it’s smart and hardhitting.

In my opinion, it’s nearly always a better bet to find a new boyfriend than to complain that the current one makes you unhappy. If he makes you so unhappy, he shouldn’t be your boyfriend. Seems obvious from the outside, but when you’ve invested time and emotion, it becomes particularly hard to cut bait and start over.

Having dating a series of judgmental (but kind) women, I decided in 2005 that this would be the #1 quality I sought in a partner – a woman who accepts me as I am.

As a result, I have an incredible marriage.

And that’s all it took – valuing someone who accepted me instead of criticized me.

You can do the same.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    David T

    @Mia 27  It is ironic, I agree. I suspect with your change in behavior you also care more about finding more complete compatibility.
     
    The men who put up with your past unbelievable behavior are easier to ‘match’ with because all they are looking for is someone, anyone, to adore and you were only looking for someone to adore you and put up with you. That is a pretty simple recipe.  I bet you felt something was missing from those relationships and hazard a guess that you initiated most of the breakups.
     
    You self identified your dysfunctional patterns. (Bravo! It is hard to for a person to realize that how their parents treated each other might not be normal or healthy. It took real bravery on your part  to look in the mirror and admit you didn’t like what you saw and successfully affect change in yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back for that). Now that you have changed your outlook, you are seeking a compatible partner instead of a footstool.  Finding real compatibility takes more searching than finding a broad personality type.

  2. 32
    Heather

    @ Tonya:

    My ex was doing that too, about some of my clothes.  He used to make all kinds of comments about my Wellies, that I loved.  He said, “Those are THE ugliest things I have ever seen.”  I got snippy right back and said, “Did you pay for them?  Are you wearing them?  No to both answers?  Then it’s none of your business and I will wear them if I damn well please.”

    He was also jealous of my BFF, who is gay.  Which is ironic, considering that my ex hung out with ex girlfriends, or girls he knew had a thing for him, without me there, and got angry if I expressed how uncomfortable I was.  When we broke up, I told him that my BFF acted more like a boyfriend than he ever had, because while my BFF is gay and totally uninterested in women, he was raised to be a Southern gentleman and a truly decent person.

    He got so angry that he blocked me on Facebook and on AOL instant messenger too.  Which I regard as a compliment.  He just can’t handle women who stand up to him and call him on his bullshit.  He never thought I would, but I did, and he just couldn’t handle it.

    A funny aside, from what I understand, I do believe he is still single.  Gee, I wonder why?? :)

  3. 33
    Tonya

    Ha! Indeed….these are the narcisstic types who are insecure and seek perfection in themselves and mates because they feel so imperfect on the inside.  I realilzed there was nothing I could do that would satisfy him other than delete me and become exactly like him.  Not gonna happen.  At first I worried about him and tried to make him happy…but as time grew on I couldn’t deal with the insanity any more and just became angry and chopping at the bit to get away.  I’m glad you and I both wised up.

  4. 34
    Tonya

    Oh Heather…mine didn’t like “open toed shoes” and refused to even walk down the street with me if he didn’t like the shoes I had on. Childish much?  And every intimate moment HAD to have me in some form of lingerie and stockings…get real  I’m not your blow up doll.

  5. 35
    Heather

    Tonya,

    YES!  That is it indeed.  Very narcissistic, always had to crow about a recent blog post he wrote.  The funny thing was that he had time to craft these (well he thought so anyways) brilliant, thought-provoking posts, but didn’t have time to find a full-time job.  He just walked around acting like the world owed him something and that he was better than everyone else.  He would get rather nasty with me if I wore something that he did not like, would make comments about it, etc.

    I tried to make him happy for awhile but like you, at the end, I was ready to get away.  The day before I decided to end things, we had agreed to meet up and have lunch since I was off work that day.  I got turned around at the subway station and asked the station manager.  My soon to be ex boyfriend was highly offended that I got turned around, using his directions.  No joke, he actually said, “Who knows how to get around this area??  ME!” And jabbed at himself with his thumb.  Talk about childish.  I knew right then that this was ending but I just didn’t know how I’d be able to go about it.  He gave me the ultimate out, that next morning, when he sent those abusive text messages.

    I will never ever allow any man to talk to me like that, ever again.  Case in point, the other night, my boyfriend was stressed about his new dog misbehaving.  When I gently suggested a dog-walker for awhile, he snapped at me.  I put my hands up and went: “Calm down please, I was just trying to help you out.” And I walked off.  He apologized later and I told him: “Yelling at me, in front of your roommate, is totally uncool and I find that very unacceptable behavior. Just because you’re upset gives you NO right to yell at me.  I’ve told you before that I won’t tolerate any yelling or raised voices, you know what I have been through.”  I didn’t offer an ultimatum, just a statement of fact that what he did was not acceptable behavior in my eyes.  Should he do it again, I may need to reassess the situation and consider whether I may need to leave the relationship, if this is going to be a behavior that becomes a pattern.  Hopefully, it was an isolated incident, and my standing up for myself taught him not to to that again.

  6. 36
    Christine

    I now make it a point to only spend time with people who lift me up rather than drag me down…that’s true of friends, dates or anyone I’m looking at as a potential partner.  I had a former “friend” who was constantly criticizing me, from my hair to my make-up to how I dressed.  Looking back on it…well, the word I’m thinking of to describe her starts with a “c” and rhymes with “punt”!  She had a very troubled marriage so perhaps she needed to be bossy and controlling to feel better about herself–she always flirted wildly with other men, almost never spent time with her husband and refused to wear her wedding ring publicly.  So being with romantic partners like that was even more painful.  I’ve also done more than my fair share with men who were more in love with my “potential” and what they could change me into, rather than who I really am.  These narcissists can all have each other and make each other miserable as far as I’m concerned!  I’m willing to compromise on a lot of things, but one thing I’m not willing to give up is looking for someone with the humility to recognize his own flaws, and thus accept me for mine.  Thanks for just letting me vent a little.

  7. 37
    Heather

    @ Christine,

    AMEN and AMEN, sister!  My ex husband and ex boyfriend both tried to mold me into someone I was not, and I grew to truly resent it.  Do I think I can improve myself and grow?  Oh sure, definitely, but not because someone else wants me to or tries to make me do it.

    Nowadays, I too only hang out with people who lift me up, and that includes family as well.  I have some very negative, drama-filled family members who are hateful and two-faced.  I no longer communicate with them.  All they do is bring drama into people’s lives and I have no tolerance for it anymore. 

    We deserve people who will love and accept us, not judge us.  I’m not asking for people to agree with everything I do or say, or to be yes men, and I do appreciate friends saying something when they see danger or a major problem.  But judgment will not be tolerated in my life anymore.

  8. 38
    Two of Us Dating Service

    Look we all hope for the best in any relationship we are in, its just human nature to try and make things work out. But if your having conversations with yourself “why does he make me feel so badly here” Then no one, not your family, friends or an outsider is going to give you the answer. You already know inside yourself that he isnt the right person for you. We all face the difficulty of not wanting to be alone, but how is being alone and having someone make you feel worthless a good thing.

    Just a thought here!!! 

  9. 39
    Tonya

    To the above poster – while that it very true indeed, what most women do(in my opinion) is look at the POTENTIAL of a person/relationship and tend to really overlook a LOT in the hopes that things will change.  I think as an adult now out there dating since 2008 (after being married 14 years), I had a really unrealistic view of people and trusted them at face value FAR too much than I should have. 

    I know I’m not the only woman out there that has done that.  And, logically I can tell you with certainty I always silently “pitied” the women who were in abusive relationships and wondered how the heck they could’ve let things get to that point – but you know what?  I’m intelligent, I’m educated, I’m a good person and I surprisingly found myself right in the trap.  And dont doubt for a minute that these guys aren’t abusive, cause they are. Maybe not physically but CERTAINLY mentallyl. 

    In my case, I let a lot slide in the beginning because of some major obstacles.  1) he lived in another country, 2) he was foreign and not American, and 3)the position he held in his career was impressive and captivating and he used romance and flattery to it’s FULL EXTENT on me…(I used to get 2 dozes roses sent to my work every month for instance)   It’s amazing how I dismissed the red flags I saw by telling myself, “well he has to call me all the time because he’s not here to see me every day and he misses me” or “he doesn’t understand what I meant or said or my culture because he’s not American and we have a culture difference/language barrier, (insert other excuses here)”. 

    Truth was it didn’t matter the distance or nationality, he was a narcissitic personality with very low self esteem who was trying to control me.  Finally when I started to realize he was like THAT and not just confused because of culture differences, that’s when I got wise and decided I wanted out before it got worse – but I literally had to get ANGRY about the situation and at him before I was ready to end it. 

  10. 40
    Christine

    Heather @37, right back at ya!  I recognize that I am far from perfect but basically, I’ve learned to accept who I am, flaws and all.  To me, that’s what real love is, truly accepting the other person for who they are rather than what you wish he or she would be.  There’s a quote that I think is very applicable here–”no one can walk all over you unless you lie down first”.  I’m done lying down for anyone else’s bad behavior.  I’m glad to hear that other women out there have also overcome unhealthy situations and had their epiphanies. 

    My whole life, I’ve had this pattern of having people who wanted to change me in one way or another.  I had former boyfriends who would criticize me as frigid, and push me to do certain sexual acts I was really uncomfortable with.  They had this fantasy of turning me from a “good girl” into a “bad one”.  Well, I’m glad to be out of that situation.  To a less extreme extent, this “friend” was also always telling me what I needed to change (basically, just my whole appearance and personality!)  I even sometimes get that from my own mother, who tells me how fat I’ve gotten (I’m a size 4–she means I’ve grown from the size 0 I used to be back in my 20s).  Well, I got tired of walking around eggshells and always feeling like I’m somehow not good enough “as is”.  I dumped those dysfunctional guys and that bitchy former “friend”, and have told my mother to back off.  

    I’m also done feeling bad that I’m not the young and beautiful “trophy” that most men want.  I might not be Angelina Jolie territory but look good for a 33 year old.  To the right man, that’s enough.  I actually know a guy with the 20-something, drop dead gorgeous girlfriend most men chase (she’s even done modeling work).  However, he’s frustrated with her lack of intellect and ambition, so that’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  I used to wish I could be her, so I could more easily mold myself into what men want.  Now, though, I’ve learned to be comfortable with who I am and my own unique qualities, even though they’re not hers and not as appealing to the majority (but I don’t want to date all of society, just the one right person).  We all have something beautiful to give and just need to find the right person who appreciates it.

  11. 41
    ErikkaT

    It took me about 10 years to realize that my husbands angry outbursts, constant criticism and messing with my head were not my fault.
    He was angry, manipulative and controlling.
    When I got up the courage to go to counseling, I was told that what he did to me was abuse.  I spent years blaming myself, thinking that I could make him treat me better, to love me again, but I couldn’t.

    After 17 years, we divorced.  It hasn’t been easy.

  12. 42
    helen32

    I find angry controlling toddlers to be the norm.  It is exceedingly rare to find otherwise, married or not.  The married guys harp on their wives constantly and complain about them to anyone who will listen.  You would think their wives were terrible, then you meet them and they are wonderful courteous attractive and seemingly completely unaware of the lying coward they have married (for now).  These losers are destined to be thrown to the divorced and dating world, wreaking havoc on the next victim.  It is rare to meet a guy that isn’t falsely entitled and angry about it.  Only a 10 is good enough, even if he is a 3.  And she still owes him.  In fact, it seems worse among the undateable, “nice” guys, and the religious.  
    I value my time spent with a few longtime stable female friends and stable couples that are actual good people, one decent neighbor, and one small hobby group.  I don’t deserve verbal, physical, emotional abuse, threats and actions from a bunch of angry guys that don’t even know me but do see me as a woman, a target. 
    There is a serious problem in the cultural teaching of males, and it isn’t new, this is second generation. 

  13. 43
    David T

    @Helen32 42


    I don’t deserve verbal, physical, emotional abuse, threats and actions from a bunch of angry guys that don’t even know me but do see me as a woman, a target


    No one deserves that. What is your point?


    I value my time spent with a few longtime stable female friends and stable couples that are actual good people, one decent neighbor, and one small hobby group.


    This indirectly says you have no interest in dating. You also do not appear to be at all interested in helping other people who are here trying to find their way in dating.   Why are you are posting here? Do you need to vent? Use your face friends for that, it is more complete and supportive and doesn’t drain the energy of dozens of random strangers who read your polemics. Are you seeking conflict? Go troll elsewhere, please.
     

  14. 44
    Deanne

    David, In case you are unaware, you are exactly the man women are talking about here. Go troll elsewhere?  Silly. Asking her why shes posting?  Who are you to ask that someone explain themselves?  Speaking of trolling,  its elementary that your intention is attention. Of all the positive feedback on this topic, onlyyours is negative, at which point all postings stop. a very likely indicator of what your life is like. how very sad it must have made you, reading these posts knowing it is what you think is the norm. that would frighten and confuse anyone.  Hopefully you use the experience as an opportunity to grow and stop treating people the way you do.Good luck.

  15. 45
    justaboutfedup

    the guy I’m with judge me on everything. I always walk on egg shells and watch everything I do around him. He makes my hands shake and my nerves bad.  If I said I dated guys who wasn’t good to me, he says, “so you slept with them cause you just wanted some D and was whoring.” yes, he actually said that to me. He comes out and says, ‘i don’t trust you because I know you have whored, I have seeing naked pictures of you on the internet.”  He says that I’m a woman so I can’t be equal to him. He doesn’t see anything wrong with a many sleeping around but he calls women whores that do. He has actually told me he is smarter than me and when I tell him I’am smart as him, he says, “No you’re not, you are scatter brain.” He hasn’t done nothing but spend time in jail for violent fights and his wife left him years ago and he won’t tell me why. I suspect it was for violence since he said he was forced out his house by police. I have degree and when he puts me down and I remind him that I went to college and understand, he continues to say, “that doesn’t mean nothing to me. You are not making no money for me, you’re not putting any cash in my hand.”
    He insist on accusing me of having nude pics on the internet. There are no nude pics of me on the internet, just modeling pics with me wearing clothes and no kind of porn…etc. He believes this through and through about me, although he as admitted to sleep with many women, some he don’t even remember sleeping with and I haven’t slept with many already. He says to me, “I did the math and estimated, you had three years to sleep around when you were single and I know you did.” This is how judgmental he is. If I go to my car he says, “I’m giving you three second to come back in the bar.” He says this cause he believe I will start throwing myself at a guy. I have done nothing but give all my attention to him, cater to him in every way, even spend my money on him every time we go out and he wouldn’t even give me five dollars on gas.
    Now he is stone walling me all because I asked him nicely to learn how to call me during the day and not just text me. He only call me at night to check up on me, and tells me I better not answer his call and my phone better not be dead. But he takes long time texting back and don’t call me ever during the day. He constantly judges me on the slightest thing. For example, I put each one of my items in my purse one by one instead of picking them all up at once. He spoke to me like a parent does their child and stated, ” you just picked up each piece and put them one by one in your purse, which is weird and it made no sense at all.” I said, “maybe I wanted to do it that way.” he said, “I was just trying to help you.”
    Every judgement on every little thing, he cleans it up by saying he is trying to help me. He always thinks his way is the right way and he knows what is best. Once he asked me to keep an eye on the fish and I wasn’t sure if it was done, so I went in the living room any asked him for his opinion and he says once again with a smirk on his face, “don’t try to tell me that you don’t know how to cook, all I ask if for you to keep an eye on the fish…I know you can do that. do I look dumb to you.”
    Every bad attitude he gives me he cleans it up by saying he was just trying to help me.
    This week when I told him he need to treat me like his equal and respect me, he said I was not his equal and I need to learn to be quiet and still. I have scattered brain and to much going on in my head.
    Again he turned it into me being on trial. NO one in my life has ever considered me to have a scatter brain. I have written books, so it is very unlikely that I don’t know how to focus.
    After I stood my ground and told me I was his equal he insisted on telling I was not and then insulted me…etc.
    He then waited about an hour and made it like he cared about me and he ended up putting the moves on me in my sleep. When I left he seemed cold. Hours went by and he didn’t text or call. Not even to make sure I got home safely. I texted him and continued to tell me he was to busy to talk…ect. Night time came and he called me. Once again refusing to call me during the day and only at night and asking me where I’m at. His night time calls is just to check up on me, to see what I’m doing. When I told him I went to karaoke to sing, because he knows I love to sing and take lessons, he became cold and started being nasty to me. He hung up on and I haven’t heard from him since.
    I told him in a text, I’m sick of him disrespecting, bullying me and setting rules on me he is not following and I wouldn’t take it anymore. I told him he can meet me to give me my stuff from his place and we both can move on.He refuse to answer. He is into collecting items of x girlfriends. He think he is going to call me days later, after he gives me the silent treatment but he is wrong,I’m through with him now.
    I apologize for the typos, but it is late and I’m tired. I really had to share my experience. We have only been dating for a month and already I feel like I’m on the road to needing therapy from his constantly abuse.

  16. 46
    marymary

    just about
    To quote the post:
    “Break up with him. Immediately.” 
    What stuff has he got of yours?  Unless it’s a living thing,  let him keep it and chalk it up to experience. This is beyond “judgemental” and sounds like a precursor to physical abuse.  Him not calling you enough was not the problem!

  17. 47
    Joe

    Why the hell are you still dating this jackass?

  18. 48
    Clare

    justaboutfedup,
     
    You really should take some time (after you run far away from this guy) to figure out what it was in you that allowed you to stick around for such awful, awful treatment and spend some time repairing your self-esteem, and getting to the point where you really think well of yourself and want good treatment for yourself.
     
    Trust me, as someone who’s been there, taking time to do this personal exploration and work on your self-esteem is valuable, otherwise you could find yourself in another relationship with a similar low quality man.

  19. 49
    Andrea

    Evan:
    You hit the nail on the head.  I just ended a relationship with an angry, judgemental man.  I realized I created the dynamic because that is the dynamic I grew up with and I’ve realized that I’m worth more than that.
    When we women know our own value and worth we will no longer put up with emotionally abusive relationships.  In fact, we won’t attract judgemental people into our lives because we clear our own anger and judgement.
    As I recognize my own anger and rage and clear it, I know longer require angry, judgemental people in my life.  As a result I know that my next beau will be a man who values and cherishes me for I am learning to love and value myself.
    The bottom line is the energy that shows up in our life reflects the energy that is already there (Law of Attraction).  My question to the woman with the judgemental boyfriend “Is there an area in your life where you are judgemental?  Is there someone that you are judging?”. 
    The energy that you put out in your life is the energy that shows up.  To have a different experience, clear the energy that does not serve you and put out the energy that you desire.
    Thanks for your perspective.
    Blessings,
    Andrea Scott
     

  20. 50
    Happily Imperfect

    Not only does my boyfriend judge me for my past mistakes, he is hyper-critical of things that most anyone else would see as benign. His reason? “I just want to make sure I find a good girl.” Yesterday I wrote him a goodbye letter. I am done jumping through his hoops to prove I am worthy of him and his attention. 
    I have tried to break up with him five times already. Every time I went back to show him that I love him for who he is right now. Things would be fine until he would bring out the old magnifying glass and scrutinize my life. Ricochet me with intense questions.  Question my commitment.All I wanted was to love each other for who we are. I saw ourselves growing old together.
    But no more. Saying goodbye hurts me a lot, but I know it is for the best. I already feel calmer and more like myself. I’d rather be alone than endure another merry-go-round of my boyfriend’s judgement. BTW: my boyfriend has said more than once he believes he is the closest thing to perfect. I’m not, and I am OK with that.

  21. 51
    SparklingEmerald

    I’ve 2 hypercritical relationships, and I will be single ’til the grave before I have another.
    In my case, there 2 opposite reasons for the hypercriticism.  With my boyfriend when I was in my early 20′s, his hyper criticism of me, was to try and convince me that I was so awful that no other man would ever want me, and I should feel so lucky to have him.  I broke up with him a few times over it, and I told him EXPLICITY that it was his constant harping on me for everything.  He begged me to stay, pretty much stalked me, and I think we got back together one time, for about a week.  He continued to stalk me, call me, show up my house with various items I had left at his house (stupid shit, like a shoe box with 2 bobby pins and a mini brush)  I finally told him, “I don’t understand why you want me back, you think I’m so awful”, then he would lamely say, “But I love you” or some such nonsense. 
    The second hyper critical relationship was my 2 ex-hubby.  Things were good for about 10 years, then slowly over time, everything I said and did was wrong.  I hate myself for putting up with that crap for almost 10 frikkin years.  Turns out, he wanted a divorce all those years (but wanted to wait until our son was out of the house), so he just nagged and crtiticized every about me (apparently, I don’t know the proper way to flip a light switch) in hopes that I would leave him. 
    So some men will try and tear you down, so you’ll STAY, (thinking you are too unworthy to find another) and others will tear you down, to try and drive YOU to break up. 
     
    But whatever their motivation is, there really is only one solution:  Dump him !

  22. 52
    dade

    Im sorry but, at what point are you allowed to be judgmental because the other person is just doing their finest to irritate you. 

    I have a boyfriend that is calling me the judgmental one, but he constantly does extremely irritating stuff, mainly failing to come through – for example, well make plans and he’ll be flaky or call later saying he had “errands” to run and couldnt make it until 2 hours later. He’s super laid back and I’m the judgmental one. 

    It’s very irritating to be with someone that calls other people judgmental for noticing blatant flaws instead of analyzing how much they fail to have their shit together in terms of keeping up with commitments and promises they make both to others and to themselves.  

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