My boyfriend and I are co-workers. We sit next to each other at work all 5 days of the week. But we’re busy and we rarely talk meaningfully during work. Even when we’re not working, I’m always the first to text. He doesn’t even reply to all of them. We meet only in the evening on weekends. Whenever we meet, either his friends are around and he keeps talking to them ignoring me, or we go for a movie or he wants us to make out.
I’ve tried telling him how I crave some quality “us time”, but it seems that he’s just not ready to listen. However, he’s always there to help out when I’m in trouble and I know for a fact that he has feelings for me.
How can I make him understand that I need more warmth from him to keep the relationship going?
I’d be honest with you Anon.
One possibility is he doesn’t love you at all and is using you not only for sex but also because it ‘feels nice’ to have a girlfriend (major brag-worthy factor with guy friends).
The only reason that’s one of the possibilities and not the only clear conclusion is the fact that he always helps you out when you’re in some real trouble. That’s the only aspect of your relationship which doesn’t fit the textbook example of a guy using a girl mercilessly by taking advantage of her typical feminine emotional dependence on him.
You can see for yourself – your relationship bears all the red flags which point towards such a scenario.
- In spite of spending the whole week sitting a few feet away from each other, you communicate very little during the week.
- You rarely text/call.
- You’ve tried to tell him that his apparent negligence hurts you but he’s “just not ready to listen”, which means he either doesn’t understand or doesn’t value your feelings.
- He doesn’t want to spend time with you alone. There are always either friends, or movies.
Now throw into this mix the aspect of him helping you out when you’re in need.
You have mentioned his apparently negligent behaviour, and you’ve given lots of details and specific examples. You’ve also mentioned he’s always there for you when you’re in trouble. But you’ve not given any instances which made you feel so. That tempts me to think – are you sure you’re not seeing what you want to see here Anon? Are you sure the reason you’ve stopped short of mentioning specific examples of his kindly behaviour is not that they’re too trivial and your subconscious knows that?
Answer that for yourself and you’d know if the first possibility is really the case here.
The second possibility is that he loves you and cares for you but the two of you have vastly different emotional needs and skills. He’s a lot less emotional than you. While it’s true that guys usually need and provide less emotional contact in a relationship than women, but going by your description your guy seems to fall far below the threshold of “normal” even for a guy.
In either case, your course of action is very clear here.
There’s one and only one step you need to take which will give you all the answers and bring about the change in your life that you need.
Stop showing your emotional needs.
You text him regularly. You crave time with him. You keep telling him how his negligent attitude hurts you. All that makes you come across as “safe” to him. Unfortunately, a bit too safe.
Stop all that. Stop texting him. Never call him. Pick up only every 3rd of his calls (if he ever calls that is). Accept only every 2nd of his weekend date invitations (if they can be called dates).
I know it’s going to be hard. But you have to do it.
Let me tell you a story.
I was with a highly negligent guy at one point of time. I was young, away from home and very dependent on him emotionally. When I realized I was in a destructive relationship I threw all my strength behind reducing my dependence on him.
When I had urges of calling him, I’ll call a friend/start watching a movie.
If he called me I’ll just plain let the phone ring and leave the room, ’cause I didn’t have the willpower to stare right at his name on the screen and not pick it up.
Just like you.
It wasn’t something I liked to do, but something I knew I needed to do.
Does that sound doable now? It has to.
This would achieve two very important goals:
#1. You’ll gradually wean yourself of your emotional dependence on him. Always remember:
A healthy relationship is a companionship, not a total dependency.
As I mentioned, men tend to be much less skilled in emotional exchanges than women. Research shows that when a woman reduces her emotional dependence on her partner, he’s highly likely to feel more drawn to her, ’cause this helps him see her as a complete and independent person, special for being who she is, rather than a burden of emotional clinginess to him. If he really does care for you, this approach is likely to turn a relatively unemotional person like him around and make him behave more warmly with you.
#2. If he’s in it just for fun, this approach is just perfect. He’ll most definitely sit right up and take note as soon as you start giving him about as much attention as he gives you. And when he does, waste no time in making it clear that you’re not trying to teach him a lesson for ignoring you, but just working on yourself. Once you’ve done that, he’ll either recognize you for the special person you are and start giving you the importance you deserve or gradually slip off your life. In either case, you’ll have a better life.
All the best.
My boyfriend and I have been together for three years. Over the last eight months or so we’ve spent more of our time together fighting than doing anything else. Something seems to have changed, but I don’t know what. Sometimes I feel I never understood him to start with and this relationship has been a colossal mistake. Should I break up?
Pooja from Thane is not alone. All relationships hit lows, and we’re often kept guessing which ones can be worked out and which ones can’t.
“Should I stay and work it out, or should I break up?” If you’ve ever been in a relationship, that question has probably crossed your mind more than once. Today’s post is an exploration of that question.
Fortunately, there’s just ONE question you need to ask yourself to know exactly what to do. That question is:
“Is this relationship giving me what I need from it?” You stay only if the answer is, “Yes.”
But what does it mean to “get what you need from your relationship”? Here are the top four indicators.
#1. Is communication easy? Even during fights?
One of the surefire signs of a fulfilling relationship is ease of communication.
All couples fight.
During fights, do they call you a “&*^%”, “^$$#”, “****”?
Or they catch you completely off-guard every time by throwing your shortcomings – which you confessed to them at a vulnerable moment – back at you in a cruel way?
Do they shout their lungs out?
Or they catch you completely off-guard every time by citing incidents from the past which apparently annoyed them, but they never told you at the time?
Fighting, and making your displeasure clear to the other person is natural. It happens in every relationship. You fight, but even when you fight you don’t have any problem understanding each other (even each other’s displeasure).
But if you feel manipulated, baffled and accused in completely unexpected ways all the time, there’s a communication gulf between the two of you. Somewhere you don’t understand each other, each other’s language, each other’s thoughts, expectations and needs.
If you don’t understand them, you’re most likely not fulfilling them.
#2.Does their vision of the future look alarmingly different from yours?
On one of those rare occasions when you’re not fighting and yet talking, they announced their dreams of living and working in different countries throughout their career.
Your heart sank.
You remembered how you whispered into each other’s ears your dreams of settling down back in your quaint little hometown, in the initial days of your relationship.
This isn’t sounding like the old him/her you knew. Somewhere along the way the needs and wants from life have changed – their, or yours.
A relationship is not about one of you fitting into the other’s journey. It’s about figuring out your journey, and finding someone who shares it. More or less. So, if you have very different needs from life as of today, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship.
#3.Whenever you’re alone with your partner, do you wish other people were around?
Communication has broken down, and you’ve come a long way from each other. Emotionally. The alone-time you both so looked forward to is now something you both dread. Alone-time now looks like nothing more than an opportunity for Apocalypse-time.
You don’t have anything to talk to each other about. If you try, it ends in an argument.
You’re judging each other all the time, waiting for signs in their behaviour which validate your newly formed set of negative expectations.
If you prefer being with others more than with each other, it’s time to assess things very carefully.
#4. Are you always critical of each other?
His mannerisms come across as obnoxious to you. He looks at you and thinks, “I could get a so much more beautiful girl.”
Worse – you compare each other with others. In your mind, of course.
Even worse – you try to change them. You well-meaningly suggest how they should become a better person.
And before you know it this has led to yet another nerve-racking fight.
Forgiveness thy name is love. All of us have flaws. But if you’re in love with someone you’ll look past them – even find them cute. And so, if irrational displeasure at almost everything your partner is and does has crept into the relationship, it’s more a sign of the relationship wilting than some real new shortcomings you both have magically developed.
There are dozens of signs – small and big – to look for, when it comes to deciding, “Should we think things through once again?” Over to you…