When relationships end, you can look back with bitterness and anger or you can reflect on what went wrong. It’s usually a combination of both people’s faults and issues, but we tend to ignore our own and focus on the other person’s problems. This r/AskReddit thread is the exact opposite of that and it’s pretty cathartic to read because it deals with the bad boyfriend behaviors that the men regretted. Redditor u/Cartoons4adults asked, “Looking back at your past relationships, how have you been a sh*tty boyfriend?”
Then he shared his own story of realizing what a terrible boyfriend he was to an ex who the described as a “patient angel.”
One of the more memorable moments I’m hung up on that I look back on in disgust is this one time where she was driving to my house and her car broke down in the middle of the street late at night by the 7/11 that was a 5 minute walk from my house, or a 2 MINUTE DRIVE from my house. She called me with concern in her voice, almost trembling, saying she needed help pushing her car off the street. I told her to put it in neutral and push it to the side then to call a tow truck or something.
I’m so ashamed to say that she complied with what I said in the sweetest and most understanding “okay” I’ve ever heard.
The reason I didn’t want to go and help was because I was f*cking playing ranked Gears of War...can you believe that sh*t? What’s worse, is that I justified my decision by telling myself that she’s a grown woman and should be able to handle it herself…man, if I could go back and kick my a
ss….Luckily some stranger was kind enough to help her get it off the street. She then proceeded to wait for both her dad and the tow truck all while she was texting me at home…2 minutes away. I’ve reflected and grown as a person since then, but man I still can’t believe how sh*tty that was of me.
That is a pretty sh*tty story! But it’s also kind of amazing he recognizes how bad it was because it often seems like really crappy people don’t change. And as the responses grew, it seemed like a lot of guys realized the ways they were bad boyfriends and decided they wanted to change, too.
As bad as some of the stories below are, the possibility of change might restore your faith in humanity, just a little bit.
One of the things she told me after we broke up was that dating me felt more like being a mother than being a girlfriend, and I dwell on that a lot. —Ian1732
I was codependent. —mrpants07
Not opening up enough, saying “I love you”, or being emotionally 100% in. I’ve been in 3 or 4 relationships up to 1 year in length, but I’ve never been in love, although they have. I’ve always been a “good” boyfriend, but I’ve never been able to give all that I want to give and fully commit. I always thought about buying “just because flowers” on my way to their apt but never did, because it felt too serious. I always wanted to say “I love you” but I never felt like it was 100% genuine, or maybe I just wasn’t ready for the implications (i.e. that this is now a very serious relationship and we now have to get married or go through a devastating break up). I don’t know. I don’t think I have a good understanding of what being in love truly means.
I’m starting therapy next week to try to figure out how I can get over this hump and be the boyfriend (or husband) I want to be. —apv97
For most of my early relationships, I was at my worst when I realized that the relationship was going to end. When I sensed that one or both of us had fallen out of love or was no longer invested in the relationship, instead of just breaking up like I should, I started doing sh*tty things. Like with one woman who cheated on me, I started going through her phone while she was asleep.
I realize now that if my trust issues were that bad, I should have just left. With someone else, I could tell that she had lost interest and was looking for the right time to break up with me, so I did things that made it harder for her to leave, like making serious/expensive plans with her months in advance. I should have just let her go. And at least once, when I knew I was no longer in love and wanted to leave, I stayed just because the sex was good. I still feel really bad about that because I was basically just using her for sex and I think she knew and just let it happen because she didn’t want me to leave. —EdgyGoose
A couple of my previous partners refused to ever “lose” an argument. They would scale up the argument until I caved. This conditioned me pretty early on to avoid conflict at all costs, which lead to some pretty unhealthy relationships. And going along with that, I was dishonest at times. I lied to avoid conflict, sometimes about really trivial things.
I’ve been working on un-learning all of that. My policy with my current SO is to just be honest about everything, even if it’s something she doesn’t want to hear. It makes things so much simpler. —svenson_26
From what I’ve experienced this is a pretty common problem, but I have a really hard time saying the words “I love you.” In my household these words were very taboo and I never said them or had them said to me.
At 17 had my only real relationship, we were together 4 years, and among a few things I know I could’ve done better reflecting on it now, initiating saying those words I found impossible. If she said it I could, but I could never just.. say it on my own.
I still find it impossible to say, to anyone. it’s the only thing that I just, choke up at and say “ahh.. umm. Yeah..” every time.
She voiced her concern at it and I acknowledged it, and told her I had a hard time saying it. She mostly understood as she knew my childhood background well, but that’s not enough. You need to know your partner loves you.
We grew apart from other reasons, but my lack of showing compassion/ visibly putting in effort surely sped things along. Still feels bad. —OriginsDark
If my wife knew how I treated some of my ex girlfriends I don’t think she would have married me. Some of it was youth but a lot of it was me only thinking about myself. Before my wife and I got married, we were going down the same familiar path to destruction and she asked me if I realized I didn’t care about anyone as much as I cared about myself. I don’t think I would have ever changed if she hadn’t said that. —Jsr5yb
I was 15 and was with this girl more because I liked having a girlfriend than because I liked having her as my girlfriend. Having a girlfriend made me feel like less of a loser and I liked having someone to hug and kiss, and while she was a friend before we got together and I liked her as a person, I got into that relationship for the wrong reasons. —galacticdude7
I’m usually a decent boyfriend, but I have had episodes of insecurity, clingyness and being emotionally unintelligent that ended up hurting my partner.
My first long relationship ended on a bad note because I was too much of a wuss to break up when I saw it wasn’t working anymore, so we kept it going until we snapped and it ended in tears and slammed doors.
Also this summer I was an asshole to a girl that really wanted to be with me, but I only saw her as a rebound. I didn’t treat her like sh*t, but I found myself being emotionally distant and not affectionate enough as I would be to someone I really like. Even though she knew what I felt, I still feel like I led her on and should’ve just stayed single.
Those are 2 episodes I’m really ashamed of, the rest were just awkward moments of me being an bumbling idiot. Thesr happened very often in bed. —Frakhtal098
I was a coercive, entitled prick to my girlfriends in high school. I was dismissive, rude, and manipulative. I felt that they owed me things in exchange for my attention, and got angry when they didn’t give me those things.
It took a group of close friends who were willing to call me out on my sh*t (and years of therapy) to realize how much of an a**hole I was. It’s honestly the best thing I could’ve done because it helped me learn to be…a functional, healthy human being.
I’m not perfect, I won’t ever be perfect, but I am better than I was. That’s the best that I can hope for. —TheLaugh