Post # 61
sassy411 : If I am really honest, I am carrying around baggage from my past relationship – every step forward in the relationship was one that I initiated, and when we broke up 8 years later, he threw that all back in my face. We moved in together because I asked for it. He felt pushed into marriage (um, we’d lived together for 6 years). I am just to used to dealing with a man who’s emotionally shut down and distant that I feel paralyzed.
It’s also not helped by the fact that I’m so invested in this relationship, I care so deeply about how this is going to go, that I’m terrified of messing it up. It feels like there are mixed signals everywhere – from clarifying what you want early on, to “leaning back” in the relationship and letting him come to you. Which is it?? It feels like it’s impossible to be a woman in a relationship these days and I havent’ done it in SO LONG. I started dating my ex at 22 and we broke up when I was 30. I was single from then until now. I am just no good at this!
I agree, Bees, “the talk” needs to happen, and I won’t wuss out. I am just so scarred from my ex constantly beating me down over talks about the future. I promise, I’ll do it!
Post # 62
krm1984 : I’m glad you had a good weekend, but I definitely think you still need to have the talk. Him putting his arm around you and spoon feeding you off his plate during dinner with your bro might be nice gestures in your mind (although I think I would personally cringe if I was eating with a couple who started feeding each other at dinner…woof), but I worry that you are really placing too much weight on these gestures, which aren’t backed by much. 5 months ago he told you he’s not as invested in the relationship as you are. You need to bring that up with him again and find out where his head is. The only way you can really know what he’s thinking is if you actually TALK to him…in a serious, non jokey manner.
You want to believe that he wouldn’t be so affectionate toward you in front of your brother, or pay for the meal, etc., unless he was really committed to you for the long haul. And maybe you’re right, but he might also just have been in a great mood and just enjoying the here and now with no intentions whatsoever for the future.
Also it’s great he says he’ll introduce you to his mom, but when? Did he schedule a date for that to happen? Without a firm date in place it’s just talk talk talk.
Post # 63
krm1984 : I understand you have baggage from your past. We all do and it’s tough to get over it and move on sometimes. But, you say that you’re already “so invested” in this relationship, so wouldn’t it be beneficial to know that he feels the same way? That way you don’t waste any more time in a one-sided relationship just because you’re too afraid to ask the right questions? It’s scary but it’s better to know the answers NOW.
Post # 64
krm1984 : I can completely understand your hesitation to have “the talk” talks with your bf after a long term relationship where those efforts were continually discouraged or met with negative results. My husband was the same way, even though he was an amazing, kind, charming person – and we’re divorced now (story in a different post – basically I cheated on him because I was able to justify it to myself for his neglecting me and taking me for granted, and it all blew up – awful and selfish and cruel of me, I know. I’ve been in therapy to deal with my shitty coping mechanisms, etc.)
But my point in writing this is that not every man is that way. I have a boyfriend of about a year now, and yes he knows everything about my previous marriage and my actions and its end. I actually have been wanting to have this talk as well, even though he’s given me NO reason to doubt his feelings or intentions toward me – constantly telling me how in love he is, we spend basically every night together, spend family holidays together. But I’m 35 and feeling that life pressure. I sent him a text last week – we are both out of town for work right now- asking if we could talk sometime soon, check in, see where we are at with the present and with our thoughts or hopes for the future, no pressure but just wanted to plan for a little communication. I didn’t want to put him on the spot right that second, hence the text. He immediately called me and spent 20 minutes telling me how much he loves me, that he’s been so happy to be sharing our lives for the past year and integrating our families and friends, that all he wants is for me to feel loved and secure in our relationship, and that he wants this to continue into the future and continue to grow. That while he is still processing his own fairly recent divorce, what we have is exactly what he wants. And he wanted to talk in person about it when we’re together, but he called because he didn’t want to not respond immediately.
After all my history with my ex (age 20 to 33), I was kind of flabbergasted at how easy that was and how much he embraced the chance to be open and communicative and reassuring. That is how an emotionally mature and “all in” guy will respond to this talk. It doesn’t have to be like pulling teeth and browbeating the guy into making promises about the future, like it was with our exes. I hope that’s the case for you too. It will be good to see once and for all, via honest open communication, not cute little lovey dovey moments, whether his feelings match yours. Good luck.
Post # 65
Yes, indeed, baggage is scary stuff and we all have it. But though it may feel like it, you are not paralyzed, you are not just no good at this, and you are not facing an impossible situation, my dear! Have faith in yourself and your good judgement and you’ll be able to cut right through your anxiety, not dance around it.
Post # 66
krm1984 : I didn’t read through the entire thread but I have read all of your posts and I’m a little worried that you might allow this conversation to take a back seat when you probably shouldn’t. I say this as an outsider who used to have a similar way of thinking. I was also someone who was too scared to have an important conversation because I feared how it might end.
I have to tell you – this gets you nowhere. Getting married and having children isn’t a joke and I don’t think it should really be discussed in a joking, non-chalant manner. Again, I’m someone who used to try to have these conversations playfully as well… it didn’t work for me.
I think you need to be honest with him and try to remember what your thought process was when you wrote your inital post, before you spoke to your brother. Don’t allow his opinions to help you rationalize some of your concerns. If you’ve truly found the right person, he won’t hesitate to answer any of your questions. I guess my main concern is that things seem to be going so well, and yet you’re still very scared of what his response might be.
If things are really going so well, you probably have nothing to worry about – but the conversation should be had, and soon. Where you’re at in a relationship at 3 months, vs. where you’re at in 8 months is quite a significant jump to me.
Post # 67
“It’s also not helped by the fact that I’m so invested in this relationship, I care so deeply about how this is going to go, that I’m terrified of messing it up.”
You can’t mess it up. Unless you do something truly awful like cheat on him or start treating him like crap, you aren’t messing anything up. If you asking him where he wants the relationship to go, and expressing where you want it to go, is enough to make him pull back, then he’s not the guy for you anyway! A guy who wants a future with you isn’t going to run away because you dare to ask him if he wants a future with you. A guy who is NOT ready to plan for a future will maybe run away after you have these discussions, and you should let him.
Post # 68
8 months in..I wouldn’t suggest counseling. He’ll be out the door with a cloud of dirt behind him if you do that.
I feel like a lot of your issues aren’t really issues. Except the phone thing..I find that strange.
I would just talk to him about your concerns. You’re doing a lot of over analyzing.
Post # 69
Am I imagining things or do some Bees seem disappointed the weekend went well and were hoping for a more dramatic update?
Sometimes having a very serious talk about saying “I love you” and changing Facebook statuses could have a bad effect on a budding relationship. A more delicate approach is probably best.
OP, talk to him about making concrete plans to meet his mom. If he is sketchy about it and it doesn’t happen, then talk to him about your concerns.
Post # 70
I’m sorry you’re going through all this bee, I can see why you feel frustrated and anxious given your relationship history especially. To me, the biggest issue is that you are hardly spending any time together — why is that? Would you prefer to see him more? And if you asked to spend more time with him, what would he say? Seeing each other 2 times per week for a few hours each seems really casual to me, and makes me think that perhaps he isn’t seeing this as a serious relationship.
A talk is a good and necessary idea, absolutely. I think you need to prepare ahead of time for what you will want to do depending on how it goes, too — if he says he wants to be with you forever and that you’re the one and that he is very happy with how things are going, great! Maybe you can start spending more time together and meet his family ASAP and think about a timeline for the future. If he says he’s just having fun and enjoying being in a casual relationship for the time being and doesn’t want to put labels on it or commit further and that he’d rather just “see where it goes”, that puts you in a tough position, and I think it’s important to consider if that lines up with your goals for your life and if you’re okay being in a relationship like that right now. It’s not wrong to be okay with waiting for him to decide how he feels and what he wants, and it’s not wrong to decide you’re not interested in that and that you’d rather find someone who is ready for a commitment. I just don’t want you to feel the latter but say the former, and end up stuck and unhappy while wanting more but pretending you’re cool with his casual attitude.
Post # 71
So Bees, I went back and-reread his texts from December before we had the initial talk. He prefaced his desire to share how he was feeling because he had “been thinking about our future.” He specifically requested more details about my faith and how we did/did not align because he wanted to ensure any kids we raised would be raised in a unified household.
I really think that he is future-minded and that given that we were able to leap the hurdles presented in this initial talk, and he’s stuck around this far, that it’s going to go well and his feelings have “caught up.” I’ve decided that if he felt comfortable discussing his feelings within the context of planning for our future at 3 months, I owe it to myself to do the same at 8 mos. I’ll have the conversation with him the next time I see him and I’ve taken all of your advice to heart – while it won’t be “jokey,” it won’t be hardcore either. After all, I’m not asking for a ring tomorrow – I honestly just want to see where his head’s at and ensure we’re progressing at the same rate. Genuine and with intent? Yes. Desperate and pushy? No.
Trying to stay level-headed and positive because the weekend WAS really awesome. And while some of his gestures may seem small to some of you (and I agree that they are no substitute for a talk), I might add that he and my brother are both good southern boys who have extremely traditional values. This, to me, colors how I view his behavior in front of my brother. And to clarify, he wasn’t really “feeding me” per se (because the thought of that makes me gag too) – he just saw that I was eyeing his potatoes and gestured his fork in my direction as if to ask if I wanted to try them. Of course I did, because I never say no to a carb. 😉
Again, I really appreciate all of your interest in my “plight” (if you can even call it that! #firstworldprobs #imaginedprobs) and I am really grateful for the advice. I’ll be sure to let you know what happens!
Post # 72
What’s dramatic about a sincere conversation about the status of a relationship? It’s a talk that could veer into drama, sure, but it certainly doesn’t have to. Even when people turn out to be on different pages, that can be disappointing but it by no means necessarily equates to DRAMA!!!!!
Post # 73
nalastardust : I know it doesn’t seem like much, and of course I’d welcome more time, but we both have very active lifestyles. We are both homeowners with full time jobs and we both workout regularly (he belongs to a gym, I run). Most weeknights we come home from work at around 6pm, do our respective workouts, text each other from 8:30-9:30 and then pass out. We see each other 1-2 weeknights per week for dinner and cuddles, and then a weekend day, usually for an entire day and evening. So it’s not as bad as it sounds, we are just working around our very busy lifestyles and respect the time we take out for ourselves.
Post # 74
krm1984 : So if you want a future together but you are both too busy to see each other, how will that work long-term? How will you get engaged and married and live together and have kids if you’re too busy to spend the night at each others’ homes now? I guess that’s the part that confuses me. You say you want a future with this man and that he might want to get engaged within the year, but neither of you are adjusting your lifestyles much to account for the other person or to grow the relationship. I definitely respect that you both have busy jobs and are active people, but I don’t think being ambitious and athletic means you can’t spend time with your significant other either. Couldn’t you work out together and spend the night together, and then both go to work in the morning? Or go from the gym to the other’s home? (I’m a medical student so I am no stranger to being insanely busy, and when my SO and I started dating, we lived an hour or so apart — and yet we spent every night and every weekend together from 1.5 months onward (and 4-5 nights a week prior to that), because we prioritized each other above other things, and just dealt with a really long commute in the mornings if it meant seeing each other more. I think that’s pretty typical.)
I agree with some of the other bees that things like him letting you eat some of his potatoes and putting his arm on your chair at dinner and sitting on a bench and talking with you for an hour are, while nice, nothing that should be overly exciting at this point in your relationship. Those are completely normal daily aspects of a typical relationship. It worries me a little bit that those things are so unusual and uncommon between you two that they stand out to you so much, honestly.
It reminds me a bit of a friend I have who once texted me about how excited she was that her boyfriend gave her a hug while she was doing the dishes or something. I was really confused as to why that was a noteworthy occurrence, and I asked her about it after their relationship ended a few months later. She is now in a much happier relationship andn realized at that point that her ex was so cold and unaffectionate to her that any little sign of anything affectionate like a hug was a big important moment, which was a really unhealthy way to live — just jumping from tiny specks of affection/hope to the next while ignoring the chasms of coldness that came in between. I don’t know you or your SO, so I don’t know if any of this resonates with you, but it’s something to consider.
I’m not from the south so maybe I don’t understand southern values or courtship, but to me this reads as a casual relationship, and I think you need to assess how that lines up with what you’ve said you wanted (and/or what sacrifices you can make, timewise, to progress the relationship further if that’s what you truly want).
Post # 75
nalastardust : this. Hubby and I were both very busy professionals, both homeowners and busy with gym after work etc etc but still managed to see each other more and more as time went on. At the 8month mark we averaged 5-7x a week!
I don’t know how you can feel truly connected to him with a few texts here and there and a few dates a week but kudos to you if you’re feeling it.