On dating a man-child

Dear Coquette,

My boyfriend and I have an open relationship. Last week I decided to go for dinner with a guy I met the other month. It wasn’t anything crazy, and I wasn’t looking for it to be a date or anything. During dinner my boyfriend calls, and I tell him I’m having dinner with the guy. He seems totally fine, and doesn’t care just like I’d expected. Forty-five minutes later he calls again and is kind of drunk and short with me. When I leave dinner I give him a call. He answers the phone normally, but then in the middle of our conversation out of nowhere he flips out on me.  He says he hates me, I’m disrespectful, and that he’s never going to speak to me again. Then he screens my calls the rest of the night.

I figure that he’s drunk and just being crazy, and by morning he’ll be fine. The next morning he comes home to his house (where I am staying, but I also have my own place, and he had been staying at his parents’ the night before) and is sober and just so cold and proceeds to kick me out, saying that if I don’t leave he’ll call the cops. He drops me off at my house with all my stuff and says we will talk later. The rest of the day he is hot and cold with his phone calls. We meet up later and he acts like everything is normal again. When I bring up what happened he says he’s embarrassed about how he acted, he’s sorry and blamed it on the alcohol. He said he made a bigger deal out of it than he should have, and that he would never want me to feel like I couldn’t go out for dinner with someone.

I feel like the openness of our relationship might be something he isn’t as comfortable with now as he was in the beginning. Do you think this is the case? He has never acted jealous at all in the past, so his behavior was out of character. My friends think that our age difference (I’m 22 and he’s 41) might have him feeling nervous if I’m going out with someone he perceives to be an actual threat.

Please help me understand this behavior 🙂 Thank you!

Your boyfriend is a middle-aged man-child with a drinking problem who had to spend an evening with his elderly parents while you were off being twenty-two with another dude. Are you so much of a gentle idiot that you can’t do the math on this situation? Come on — this one is a big fat DUH.

This isn’t really about you or your open relationship. This is about your boyfriend’s relationship with his parents and their failed expectations of him as a son. I guarantee that’s what sparked that particular evening’s negativity, and the alcohol just helped it explode. His behavior wasn’t an expression of jealousy so much as it was a temper tantrum. He lashed out at you in a predictable fit of misdirected rage at the emptiness of his life and the inevitability of your break-up.

That’s right. Sorry, babe, but you two aren’t gonna live happily ever after. It doesn’t matter how much you think you love him. One day, you’re gonna grow up and move on. He knows it, and it’s starting to bother him. Your boyfriend has a textbook case of Peter Pan syndrome, and he doesn’t like being reminded by time spent with his parents that he won’t always be able to date women half his age.

Fair warning: this kind of silly chaos going to turn into a pattern of behavior. He’ll throw drunken temper tantrums every once in a while, and then he’ll scramble back to you embarrassed and apologetic. Eventually, you’ll get fed up with it, and you’ll be the one to break it off.

Maybe then, you can both start dating adults.


One thought on “On dating a man-child

  1. :) says:

    You’re like a dating advice Sherlock Holmes. Did he have red clay on the soles of his shoes? Sorry babe, he was fucking his mistress in a dry riverbed.

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