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He doesn't seem to make an effort to see me, looks like he makes plans when it's convenient for him.


mentee

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(Background)

 

I've been in a relationship with a man for 2 months now. So far, I think he's a great person - principled, high moral standards, mature, extremely kind, generous, strong-willed, confident, a gentleman, smart, motivated, etc. We're still learning about each other. I think we communicate pretty well (always room for improvement), and I make a conscious effort to sit with my feelings and my thoughts when I get angry or upset. For instance, if he doesn't do something I want him to do or meet an expectation, I may get angry but then I will think about my feelings before I react to them. Sometimes I realize that my anger comes from my concern about my own agenda, and instead, I need to appreciate what he does do for me. If I think it's important to bring up or if something becomes a pattern, I try to talk about it appropriately, and I try to be level-headed about things (keyword: try!).

 

He is a pretty guarded person and somewhat like an "old-school manly man". The men I've been with in the past were a lot more expressive about their emotions and did not hesitate to show me how they felt about me. To my current guy's credit, he's kept a very open mind and has been receptive to learning about me and what a woman's needs are. I was just very surprised that at his age (mid 30s) and having been in very serious, long-term relationships, I still had to explain to him that men need to SHOW women how they feel about them through various ways - being thoughtful, romantic, creative, nurturing, any kind of action. He has accommodated every request I've made though. Well I've only asked for two things - to call daily for about 5-15 minutes (we don't see each other often due to busy schedules but I feel like it's important to talk and share things with each other if we really want to learn about each other) and to show me how he feels about me through actions and not words (I gave him some examples). He knows that in the past he hasn't been good with calling his girlfriends or being creative/romantic, but he's been good about it with me and that makes me very happy.

 

There is something else that bothers me, and I'm not sure how to bring it up with him (if I should at all). I get the impression that he really likes me because he's been trying to make me happy (although I have to fulfill my responsibility of letting him know what makes me happy). But sometimes I feel that he makes plans and sees me only when it's convenient for him. I'm not sure if he has ever gone out of his way to do something with me or prioritized seeing me over other plans. Example: I didn't see him over the holidays because he was with family. We barely even talked during the time because I knew he was busy, and we'd just text each other. He's back in the city today, and I've been dying to spend time with him. The other day he said he missed me and really had to see me. But today he said he had a lot of errands to run - go to a few stores, clean his house, go for a jog, read his mail that's piled up, etc. I asked if we could meet for dinner. He said he ate so much with his family over the past week, that he didn't want to eat anything extravagant tonight, that he has food at home to eat. I said we don't have to eat anything special. I just wanted to be with him. Well he didn't invite me over to eat the food he brought home from his parents. He said maybe we could see a movie and that we'd "play it by ear" regarding what time we'd see the movie. I felt hurt for some reason. I'm comfortable asking a few things from him, but I don't feel comfortable saying "I want you to want to see me". I thought about openly asking him if he would be okay if I came over to eat but I didn't want to corner him into saying yes. So I don't know how to ask him to make an effort to see me without making him feel forced. Is he just not very interested? I thought he would want to see me right away given the impression I got from a few days ago. It seems like he likes me so much and really tries to make me happy, but this is sort of a pattern where I feel like he doesn't try hard to see me. The incident today is just an example. What should I do? Sorry it's so long, I wanted to give a lot of background.

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well, it is still very early, so it's possible either:

1) your expectations are too high given it is pretty early on, or

2) he isn't into you

 

how to decide which is it, you have to go with your gut reaction. he definitely isn't dropping everything to see you, but nor do i typically expect that. then again, when someone is really into you, they do prioritize in some ways, make accommodations to see you especially if they miss you because it has been awhile.

 

I don't think you should *have* to tell him really. but... i guess it depends... but it seems if you have to tell him that you want him to want to see you, that it doesn't have a real positive outlook.

 

my suggestion at this point is to back off and lessen your effort greatly. don't tell him you want him to make an effort, but make it so that if he doesn't make an effort that he won't see you. see what he does. it's not to play games, but at least then you know where you stand and you don't lose your dignity trying to pressure him.

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This sounds like an awful lot of talking and analyzing for a two-month relationship. This is supposed to be the easy part, the fun honeymoon stage, yet you've already had to have several conversations about how the relationship should be conducted?

 

It sounds like you two aren't really all that compatible in what you're looking for and the way you like to be in a relationship. If you really think this is something that could be long-term, I guess you should just back off a little and let him come to you. This just seems like a lot of work, early on.

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1) regarding how we don't talk often ..

2) regarding how he always asks me at the last minute to do something .. it was hard because we're both super busy working professionals, and i was frustrated that we couldn't just make a plan ..

3) oh and last minute cancellations .. i got upset after the 3rd time, but i've never brought this up ..

our relationship did move quickly although we both consciously tried to keep it slow .. i knew that by rushing, my expectations would not be appropriate for the time we'd been together .. so on my part, i have been letting him do all the calling and initiating when we'd see each other ..

those are the 3 things i've found myself angry about .. but i had to be bothered by that a few times before i mentioned that i would like it to be different ...

 

nothing else has upset me really .. he's a great person, and i respect him immensely.

 

i guess i do have to mention we're both physicians .. i'm in training .. so we are busy, so i feel like we both need to put in effort if we are serious about this .. and he's said to me that he was. i'm busier than he is, and i have absolutely no problem putting in the effort. for this reason, i never thought being extremely busy was a good excuse.

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To be honest I think you are a little demanding for a two month relationship - as a matter of fact, a little too demanding for a much longer relationship. Maybe it's just because your post was mostly about this issue - but it does seem that you have expectations about a partner and aren't really willing to compromise very much. It is noticeable that you are very explicit about what you want from him and yet there is no mention of what you do for him or whether you have met anything he wants from you - or even if he does want anything that you have not provided.

 

You say that your anger comes from your own agenda - what about his agenda?

 

I think you need to be careful that he doesn't start to view you as a 'high-maintenance girlfriend' - it is possible that his recent behaviour is because he has already begun to do that and is starting to distance himself as a result.

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I didn't mention what I do for him or if I meet his expectations because that wasn't an issue I needed advice on. He is very happy to be with me (or so he says, I can only trust what he tells me) and says I am the sweetest, most thoughtful and attentive girlfriend he's had. He has never made any complaints whatsoever. Perhaps because I make an effort to evaluate how I feel and figure out if it's an appropriate reaction.

 

What you call "recent behavior" is inaccurate actually. This has always been his behavior. But you are absolutely right. I wouldn't want to be a high maintenance girlfriend or give him that impression. However he was extremely happy to accommodate my 2 requests and didn't think they were a big deal. He said he just didn't know.

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I didn't mention what I do for him or if I meet his expectations because that wasn't an issue I needed advice on. He is very happy to be with me, says I am the sweetest, most thoughtful and attentive girlfriend he's had.

 

 

Of course he does... most people do...

 

but try being a little more alof and not let everything bother you so much... dont mention it to him everytime...

 

and once he sees this he will come around and make more of an effort...

 

poeple always want what they cant have...

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I focused on the three statements below because I've had a couple experiences EXACTLY like this

 

The other day he said he missed me and really had to see me. But today he said he had a lot of errands to run - go to a few stores, clean his house, go for a jog, read his mail that's piled up, etc. ...

 

I thought he would want to see me right away given the impression I got from a few days ago...

 

but this is sort of a pattern where I feel like he doesn't try hard to see me..

 

It sounds like he likes your company but is emotionally unavailable/reserved/conflicted.

Whatever the pick, I think the advice you've been given is sound - Let him go for a couple of days, or a few days or a couple of weeks, however long it takes for you to be back on steady ground.

 

As Volpe said, "it's not to play games." Rather, it's to take stock of what's been going on.

 

It puts you back in a position where you're not dangling or frustrated. It puts your focus on other priorities in your life. It gives you a rest from your emotional headache/heartache so that you can reason your way through things more clearly. It gives you time to think about how you want to be treated.

 

It can also bring it closer to home that giving yourself a break is far more fruitful and less frustrating than the back and forth questioning and arguing that can go on endlessly in your head.

 

So, in essense, let it rest a while and force yourself to focus on other things.

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how is this like a bad marriage? your comment is a little extreme, and i apologize if the way i had written things gave you that impression .. i've backed off, this issue is so much better, and he's given me more attention .. i appreciate the advice i've been given and will ignore hasty assumptions because it was not useful to me .. and i choose to be cautious for good reason .. to avoid being in a bad marriage as you've stated. the things that annoy/bother a person in the beginning of a relationship usually continues to be a problem years later .. i opt to work out things if i can and if appropriate .. and so far, all we needed was patience, understanding, and communication...

 

thanks for the advice honore, bmw, volpe, bulletproof .. it helped so much!

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It sounds like you two aren't really all that compatible in what you're looking for and the way you like to be in a relationship.

 

thanks .. i needed someone to say this .. i will keep this in mind as we continue getting to know each other ..

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I find it really odd that you told him that women need to see caring shown in actions. Don't we all need that out of romantic relationships and friendships? I never thought it was gender specific and if it is, I would think that men in particular show they care more than they say they care.

 

I only dated extremely busy professionals - and am now married to one - and I am one, have been for over the last 15 years -- and sure there needed to be flexibility with scheduling, cancellations, delays -- but the men I was seriously involved with always put in the effort to make plans in advance with me especially in the early stages before we were a "couple".

 

I also agree that there is somewhat of a red flag in all the analyzing you're doing in such a new and short relationship. I agree that you need to back off and let him set the pace a bit more of how often you see each other including that he shouldn't feel obligated to call you every day if that's not his thing.

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but the men I was seriously involved with always put in the effort to make plans in advance with me especially in the early stages before we were a "couple".

 

so it makes sense that you didn't over-analyze .. because you've never been in the same situation? i feel like i'm being attacked for wanting what you guys want and have received in your relationships.

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so it makes sense that you didn't over-analyze .. because you've never been in the same situation? i feel like i'm being attacked for wanting what you guys want and have received in your relationships.

 

I am sorry you interpreted my post as attacking - and I am surprised at that accusation.

 

Of course I have overanalyzed relationships- not sure what gave you that idea. I also have had many experiences of men not wanting to put in the effort to make advance plans with me and typically - can't even think of an exception right now - I would decline the last minute plan and if the guy didn't make a different choice the next time we usually wouldn't date for very long.

 

Sometimes I explained that I prefer to make plans in advance but I didn't see my role as teaching an adult man how to treat me - especially if he was a professional i assumed he was accustomed to making advance plans with his colleagues, with clients, etc. If he said he was "spontaneous" that didn't make a difference to me - I love spontaneity and to me that wasn't inconsistent with being considerate and respectful of my time - calling me last minute on any regular basis to me was inconsiderate.

 

It sounds like you want to be told that your expectations - and the way you are communicating them - are reasonable in your situation. That's not my typical way of responding to a post - telling someone what I think they want to hear. But I don't see what I wrote as attacking in the least.

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Sounds to me, that the guy may not be that into you.....not like you are into him anyway.

 

Two months is early yeah.....but usually and in the two month mark, the 'honeymoon' period', couples tend to spend a lot of time with each other, they call each other a lot....this is the 'getting to know you' period and people are usually more enthusiastic than he appears to be.

If he was that interested, he'd be as keen to spend and make time for you, as you appear to be for him....and I don't think you are being unfair in wanting to spend more time with him....nor is it being clingy and desperate.

 

Exactly how many times have you seen this guy over the past two months?

 

I'd be kinda worried and this soon in a relationship, if the guy didn't make that much of an effort to call/spend time with me....and despite what he was saying. Talk is cheap....actions count.

 

At the minute it sounds like you are just sitting around and awaiting the scraps he will throw in your direction on occasion.

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we saw each other every week .. he introduced me to the closest members of his family .. and he made the effort to call daily ... but you're right .. it just seems like he's not that into me because a grown man should know how to do these things if he likes someone (although he's told me he's never called girlfriends daily)...

 

anyway, the update is i totally backed off and was really nice about it when he would txt or call ... thing is, he was really miffed that i hadn't been initiating contact ... i asked him what he wanted me to do, and he said he wouldn't mind if i texted daily like i had done before ... i'm pretty confused.

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so just wanted to update ..

 

i've backed off for over a week now (but haven't really seen him in 2 because we've both been traveling), even after he suggested that i continue to txt him .. i told him he didn't have to call me unless he felt like it .. told him i wanted to give him space, and he appreciated it .. said i was being very kind .. during that time i just focused on myself, stayed busy with work, and had a lot of good times with my friends .. i did miss him a lot at times .. when he called i was pretty happy, but didn't really feel the same way i had before .. felt a little numb .. self-preservation, i guess ..

 

during that time to myself and talking to some psychiatry buddies, i figured out a few things ... it's obvious now that i've been demanding and nit-picking, and even if i make my requests nicely, it's all the same .. it's also obvious that he's taking things very slowly, keeping me at arm's length, and is emotionally unavailable/conflicted .. and of course that made me more fearful, which put me into over-analyzing mode .. i want to change that (acting out on my fear), but i really needed to figure out why i couldn't just go with the flow ... with some help, i figured out why and wanted to tell him about it ..

 

we had a really long talk, and i apologized that my fears caused me to try to control the situation ... he took ownership of the fact that he didn't express his doubts with me and didn't explain why he was emotionally conflicted .. he knew it wasn't my responsibility to make him share his feelings with me, and that i needed to trust that if a guy has a problem with me, he'd tell me instead of leaving me dangling in the air .. i don't need to spend my days hanging on every last word, wondering if there's a problem (which i had been doing) .. we talked about how we're extremely compatible - spiritually, intellectually, physically ... and he told me why he's been reserved .. he actually didn't know why he had been until we took that time off to think ... turns out i'm "matching" soon (in medicine, we don't really have a choice where we train .. it's not like we get a lot of acceptances and we choose where we want to go .. we compile a list of places we want to go, and we all match at 1 place on 1 day .. it's a BIG surprise where you end up, and it is a legally binding contract .. no backing out really, and you must go since your career depends on it .. not an easy life) .. so he's always been afraid of falling in love with me and felt that he was falling .. was afraid that i'd match far away, and we'd have another big issue on our hands .. i asked why he didn't mention this before since he always knew about this ... he said things were so good he wanted to just go all the way despite his fear, but since the time apart, his fear and my unhappiness really got to him .. i completely understood.

 

now he wants to take a break, be friends, and see where i match, and if it's here in our city, then we can start up again .. on the other hand, i'm really into this guy .. especially after our ability to really talk this thing through like adults .. i always felt that breaks are just really break-ups, and you treat it the same .. by moving on completely (no friendship, no contact) .. i told him this and asked him if he was sure he wanted to break up with me .. because if i do end up here, i'm not sure how i'd feel about starting things up again .. it might not happen .. it might give me more doubts and fears than i really need right now? i understand where he's coming from but is it unreasonable for me to feel uncomfortable with this? i just know i really want to be with this guy, but i simply want to take it a LOT SLOWER .. and i've learned that he easily communicates with me as long as he trusts that i'm safe and won't flip out and be demanding (which i haven't been lately) .. i think we're pretty good at this point if it weren't for our professional lives getting in the way, but i'm willing to work through it .. do i try this friend thing? he was ambivalent about a full fledged break-up, and i'm not sure what the appropriate thing to do is ... i don't think either of us knows what to do ..

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