Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Am I Really Annoying Him?

May 2, 2013  |  

Dear Damon, I was with a man and we have been off and on for the past year and a half, he recently lost his job and somehow that has changed everything between us. When we first met he used to love having debates with me just because we have different opinions and our information was always from different sources. He’s an information junkie but I’m a student. He used to tell me how smart he thinks I am and how he loves that I am so articulate but since losing his job he barely wants to be around me or communicate with me because he says I annoy him. The last time we spoke I asked him if he was still planning to come to my graduation, two hours went by and still no reply from him so I told him he no longer has to give a response I will take it to be a no. This infuriated him and he said it’s things like that that make him not want to talk to me. My question is can someone who truly loves you and want to be with you, which he claims that he does, find you that repulsive to the point where they don’t want to be around you or talk to you, or is something else most likely going on?

Dear Shelia,
Let me share something with you. When I respond to these letters, I usually try to stretch a two or three sentence answer into two or three paragraphs. I employ this tactic for various reasons—to give context to a certain point, to make an analogy so that a point is better understood, to riff about “Love and Hip-Hop” etc—but overall, the main reasons are to soften the answers and make them more readable. Even if a 300 word long question could be answered in three, I try to shy away from doing that because it seems condescending and (just as importantly) no one wants to read that. 
Anyway, I’m bringing this up because I’m struggling to provide an insightful and non-condescending answer your question, because the answer is in the first sentence of your question. He lost his job. He’s obviously upset about this, and the emotional/mental/financial strain of losing employment has begun to strain the relationship. Honestly, the fact that you haven’t made this connection—and you using hyperbole like “repulsive” to express a point as well as you taking a two hour gap in communication as a sign that he doesn’t want to be with you—shows me that you both might be a bit too young to even be thinking about serious relationships (and also kinda proves his point about you being annoying)
My advice to you? Take a deep breath. Relax. Graduate. You do what you need to do, and let him do what he needs to do. Basically, transition into the “off” part of your on and off relationship for a while. If, after getting your collective Shyte together, you eventually decide to make it work, fine. If not, trust me, that’s fine too.
Damon Young

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  • Agitated

    I have a question. Not sure where to put it. My bf of 3 years is still in College, I have graduated with my BA and currently working a little before I go for my Masters. He does not speak to me, each time I call him, he does not pick up, he also says I annoy and stress him, he could care less about how my life is going because apparently to him “I’m working on my future” or “I’m studying”(ALWAYS) or he makes it seem, since I am no longer in College I have nothing important to do with my life. On my birtday, he came home for one day, I thought it was to be spent with me, but instead he spent it at the gun range. I was furious! He has yet to apologize, yet to realize how much he hurts me and yet to try and make the relationship better. Is this him stressing also?

    • Wuluwulu

      Move on! He is telling you non-verbally that he has, so do the same. He is not your boyfriend, just someone you used to know.

    • Blueberry01

      I think he may be slightly jealous or insecure that you are moving onto the next (academic/professional) level of your life, while he may not be able to do the same since he is still in undergrad. Or, he could feel that you have been neglecting the relationship because of your new schedule.

      Perhaps you can have a conversation with him and say, “Has my work schedule affected our relationship in any way?” or something to the effect of that. Afterwards I would also state how it hurt that he did not spend time with you for your birthday because you wanted to see him — and see how he responds.

      If he truly cares and respects you I would feel that he would be honest with how this transition is affecting him or the relationship. But at the very least he can acknowledge that what he did on your birthday was hurtful. Then, you can get a better assessment of how he views the relationship.

    • You are not in his future. Move on. A man not established with his career isn’t a man ready to settle down. The fact that you’ve already graduated makes him feel insecure. Move on and stop hanging around to be someone’s whipping girl.

  • JLG

    From a dude, this is easy. People respond poorly to certain levels of stress–period. If something’s going on, he’ll be extremely pissy. But, it’s his responsibility to be respectful towards you. This will happen later regardless. I also imagine (from experience) that his attitude has been salty consistently of late. Say: “listen, I understand that this is a difficult time for you given your situation, however, I need you to A) not be so sharp when we talk B) be more communicative when I ask you things. I also acknowledge what you’re going through and want to be able to give you space to deal with everything.” And then do just that. Be there, but don’t ask no million questions (or any). If you have a problem, he should put you first; if he has one, you should do the same. He should get it. If you tell him more than once and he doesn’t seem to acknowledge the need to balance both his needs and yours, you have an answer. Also, know if you needs are really needs or if you’re asking for something that you all aren’t ready for (or doesn’t contribute to your unit). If you’re annoying him, you know why. Stop.

    • MsLadyE

      I totally agree.

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  • Nope

    “The last time we spoke I asked him if he was still planning to come to my graduation, two hours went by and still no reply from him so I told him he no longer has to give a response I will take it to be a no.”