Something is up with the boyfriend. He’s been acting strangely for the last couple of weeks – mainly he’s had these bursts of short-tempered/impatient behavior which is odd for him because he’s generally very easy going and laid back. I originally thought that it was stress over the CFA, and while I definitely think that that was a cause, the CFA is over and done and he is still acting a little off, for lack of a better way of describing it.

Examples:

1) After B passed away, I didn’t say anything until after the CFA, but was a little irked that he didn’t even send a quick email to my mom. My friends Jill and Liz sent texts to the Madre (every year we do a girls’ weekend at my parents’ place on the lake, so Jill and Liz were well acquainted with B), my Aunt and several of my mom’s friends sent cards, and even my brother’s ex-girlfriend sent a note (although we’re pretty sure that was part of her passive-aggressive scheme to win back my brother, but that’s neither here nor there). I suppose maybe you have to be an animal person to understand why this is a nice gesture – and the boyfriend is decidedly not an animal person* – but at the same time, he’s been around for about 5 years and he knew how much B meant to my mom. Also, his parents had to put down their beloved cat, Dutchess, about a year ago and he saw firsthand how hard that was on his mother. If you mention Dutchess now, his mom tears up.

But anyway, I let it go until post-CFA because I am a good and considerate girlfriend like that, but last week, I mentioned to him that it might be a nice gesture if he sent a card to my mom. He was all: Really? For a dog? at which point I reminded him of how much HIS mother appreciated the card I sent her after Dutchess passed and I thought we were done with the issue.

Not so much. The next day he calls me and says “You don’t know how hard it was to find a card for a pet. I mean, I’m can’t send a regular sympathy card for a dog – don’t you think that would be a little over the top?”** fifi: Again, I had no trouble finding one for YOUR mother. the boyfriend: <sigh>. Well, if you were going to write a card for a dog, what would you write? fifi: It’s not that hard. Probably something like “I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I know B was an important part of your family and I know how much you must miss her.” Something like I wrote for YOUR mother. (fine, yes, I was beating the dead horse at that point). When my mom did get the card, it turned out he had copied, word for word, exactly what I said to him on the phone, taking out the important part of the family part (because apparently dogs aren’t family). I suppose the whole thing was cheapened by the fact I had to ask him to send the card in the first place, but I was a little irked he couldn’t even find his own words for it when he did send it.

2) At the wedding last weekend, he had a massive temper tantrum because I engaged in conversation with someone else (not to worry – this was not a jealously thing – it was a feeling left out thing). We were sitting outside at a table with a group of people I used to work with and their significant others. The boyfriend didn’t really know anyone – just knew of people – and that seemed to be the case for the other boyfriends/husbands as well. Normally, though, in these situations, the boyfriend is gregarious and outgoing and the life of the party and walks away with a handful of new wannabe BFFs.*** This time, however, I started reminiscing with a casual friend who I hadn’t seen since leaving work, a topic on which the boyfriend naturally did not have much to contribute. After about 10 min, he said he was going to the bathroom. 30 minutes later, no sign of him. I look around and don’t see him, so I text him to ask where he is. 15 minutes after that, I finally spot him getting a drink at the bar. When I ask him where his been, he tells me that it was really inconsiderate of me to ignore him and that he’s just been inside, sitting at our assigned table, listening to the band,**** and “looking like a loser” all by himself. Now clearly it was his choice to go do that and not rejoin the group, but the bigger point is that this choice was extremely out of character for him.

3) The Bro’s birthday is coming up in 2 weeks, so I reminded the boyfriend. The boyfriend always sends the Bro a card and present, and, especially since the Bro idolizes the boyfriend, I know it would really hurt the Bro’s feelings if the boyfriend forgot. I reminded the boyfriend and it was all massive sighs of inconvenience. At which point, I pointed out that it hurts my feelings when he acts burdened about things like this and mentioned that I was not asking him to do anything for my family that I do not do for his family (just sent a gift to his niece for her 2nd birthday, for example).

Again, this is completely out of character. Earlier that week, when I mentioned to him that we have baby T’s christening this weekend (it is on father’s day, so I didn’t even bother inviting him), he asked for an address and said he wanted to send a card and a little check. I did not even suggest he do this. But I suggest he send a card to the Bro (I did not even mention the word “gift”) and it’s a horrible burden?!

Now clearly none of these things seem really abnormal on their own and everyone is entitled to their cranky moments (God knows, fifi=bitchy for no good reason ALL the time). The thing that is weird is that these are things the boyfriend has never been cranky about things like this in the past. He has his things that he gets moody or bitchy about, like anyone else, but for him to act like this about things like this is completely out of character and that is why little red flags are waving in my head right now. The other weird this is that, with the exception of moments like this, he’s generally his normal, bordering-on-mary-sunshine-esque self. For example, he is currently planning a post-bar surprise trip for us which he’s very excited about. I don’t think he’d be doing that if he were, say, trying to break up with me.

I suppose this could be work-related because his firm is not doing great these days. They cancelled their annual firm outing for the first time ever (although the claim there is that it would not send a good message to clients if they held the outing) and just did a big staff layoff. Apparently there have also been some stealth layoffs, but nothing official and everyone at the firm is pretty much waiting for the other shoe to drop/Latham-style attorney firings. That said, however, we are pretty sure (knock wood) that if there are layoffs, the boyfriend will make the cut. He’s in a good place class-wise (he’s not too high up of an associate to be too expensive, but he’s not too low on the totem poll either) and he’s is an extremely hard worker. Even though he knows plenty of people who don’t have work, he generally has more work than he can handle because there are a handful of partners who specifically request him. So while I think some nerves about work are completely normal given the economy and the state of his firm, I don’t think he could be that stressed about work right now (also, while he is busy right now, the group he is in right now has relatively normally hours, so I don’t think it’s just work in general getting to him).

Which brings me to my freakout this morning in which I decided that it must be a brain tumor (because you always read about peoples’ personalities changing after brain injuries) and that he wasn’t telling me because he is so selfless and wonderful as to not want to distract me from passing the bar. But then I took a deep breath, told myself I was being ridiculous and CRAZY, and made a conscious effort to calm the f. down.

But he is overdue for his annual physical and has great insurance, so I think I will suggest he schedule that sooner rather than later. Because something is not right and I can’t figure out what it is.

*This is actually a recent point of contention between us. Why recent, might you ask? Surely, fifi, you knew whether or not the boyfriend liked animals when you first started dating, right? Wrong. For roughly the past 4 years, the boyfriend feigned a love of animals – petted them, played with them, told their owners how cute they were, (all things he still does, but now he bitches to me afterwards about how dirty animals are and freaks out until he can wash his hands), and told me about how someday when he had a house, he would love to get a dog. Then, out of the blue, about a year ago when I was talking about adopting a cat when I got to New York, the floodgates opened and his true feelings about animals came out: he thinks they are dirty (litterboxes freak him out) and smelly (apparently he thought that even B, who was always clean and lovely and got groomed once a week, smelled like dog). There were no warning signs. See above about how he interacts with animals when he apparently feels like he needs to put on a show. He never really interacted with his parents’ cat, but I always thought that was because Duchess had something of a mean streak. I love animals and would still avoid petting Duchess because anytime I ever tried, she immediately attempted to take a chunk out of my hand. The boyfriend also tells a story about the time Duchess ran through some wet paint and his mother made him give Duchess a bath and how Duchess did.not.enjoy.that, so I was not shocked that they were not the best of friends. He’s so finicky about it now that he’s let down the facade and shown me his true dislike of animals, that it too is a little almost OCD. We were at a BBQ at his friends’ new house a couple of weeks ago and they have a lovely golden lab. To the objective observer, it is also a very clean dog and was very sweet and well-behaved. He was laying on the deck next to me at one point and I gave his ears a good scratch. No big deal. Flash forward 20 minutes and the proud new homeowners want to give us a tour of the house. As we’re walking around, I take the boyfriend’s hand. He visibly recoils. I raise my eyebrows and he whispers: “You didn’t wash your hands after you pet the dog!” It’s totally weird people.

**I was pretty irked after this and almost wrote about it on here some polls: “the boyfriend: asshole or insensitive?” and “should fifi validly be annoyed about this or not?” but then realized I clearly was annoyed about it, regardless of his motive and figured I should just let it go. Which obvs. I’m clearly not, but whatever. Now it is just part of the bigger picture.

***Seriously, people LOVE the boyfriend. People that he considers to be casual friends ask him to be in their weddings. We are always running into people in the most random of places (try Peru, for example) who are beyond thrilled to see him and share stories of hanging with the boyfriend and good times and then when we walk away, the boyfriend will say that he hasn’t talked to/seen the person since undergrad. The boyfriend is that guy.

****If this were not already the longest post EVER, I would tell you more about the wedding, but just suffice to say right now that they had something like eight separate musical acts, (there was a soundcheck people!) including a band they flew in from New Orleans that starts with “dump”, has “sta” in the middle, and ends with “phunk.” When they finished playing (it was like being at a concert), one of the guys made a comment about how they never play weddings. In my head, I was all “sure random funk band I have never heard of” but, um, check out their website. It would seem they really are quite a bit beyond the wedding circuit.

Oh, and after the happy couple said their vows, a gospel choir emerged from the back to sing in a very “Love Actually” kind of manner. It was that kind of wedding.

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