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Advice please...


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Hey everyone,


I have been dating my boyfriend for over a year now. He's a pretty great guy overall, but some things keep bothering me. Whenever there is an issue between us he just shuts off, and completely ignores the situation. Even when I tell him it is important to me. I will admit I can overreact sometimes, but I feel communication is the best thing for a relationship. I live with him, but we both work, and have alone time... so I don't feel as if we are together TOO much.


Lately I've been feeling like he's not as into me anymore. He started playing a video game months ago, and it's pretty much taking over. I know it sounds stupid, but he used to be so active, and adventurous. Recently we got in an argument, because he went out to see this band at a local bar, and didn't invite me to go. He wanted "a night with the guys", but they brought their girlfriends. (After I called him and told him how I felt he said I could stop by if I want, so I don't think he was seeing anyone else at all.) This kinda upset me. During the argument he blamed me as the one keeping him from doing the things he used to do, and said he needs more space... (he later apologized claiming he didn't mean it.) I know we all say things we don't mean when we're angry, but those things get stuck in my head then I feel insecure. I'm the one who tries to get him to be active again, and do the things he loves to do with his friends.


Also, he hasn't really been as sexual as he once was. I know over time the sex dies out a bit, but even when I've been in the mood ... he has turned me down. I can't talk to him about my feelings because he just gets mad... says I'm needy, and walks away. I'm sorry, but I just don't understand what he wants. One minute he's telling me he wants to spend the rest of his life with me, and how much he loves me... the next he's pushing me away.



Can someone please give me advice?


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Well he opens up later on by saying he's not happy with where he's at in life at the moment, but it's not me. He wanted to be doing other things at this point, and he's not there yet. It bums him out a lot, but I just don't get why he has to take it out on me so much. I only want to help him out, and be here for him. In general though he never really wants to discuss things. Maybe he's just not that type of person, but I think you have to be willing to talk for a relationship to work.

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I understand because my g/f is the same way. It's the way she was raised and as hard as it is to swallow the fact, I try to give her some time as well as make her aware (rather than push) that it helps me to understand what is on her mind.


It's never perfect of course, but allowing him to open up more and leaving the door open for him to communicate may help out a bit more. You don't want to be the one pushing all the time, you're obviously will push him away further.


I think he needs you more than anything at this point in life. He would probably be lost as much as he may not act like he cares. Encourage him more, step aside for a bit and give him some room while showing him that you love him. If he's truly not happy with his life at this point, it's going to help him to see clearly and realize how he's been acting towards you.

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Now I might sound a little hard on you, but I promise I understand how you are feeling and I am sharing advice that has helped me along the way. So ... you say you don't understand what he wants? That's because you are listening selectively.


There are three important pieces to your situation that you need to understand.


The first is that you are 20. I assume he's around the same age. If so, then you both are very very young. Although you have been together for a year, more than likely he is not ACTUALLY ready to spend the rest of his life with you. He needs time and space to grow, gain more experience in life, and develop. Therefore, while you should be flattered when he says that he wants to spend the rest of his life with you, you really have to understand that he's more than likely speaking from a burst of feelings AT THAT MOMENT and not necessarily thinking long term. Now there is nothing wrong with seeing the relationship as one that holds long-term potential, but don't look at it as one where you are basically committed to each other. You may say, "Oh, well, I'm not looking for marriage or committment right now." That's good! But you are acting like it. How? First, by living with him. I know that's something a lot of couples do nowadays, but I will tell you that ratchets up the "I feel smothered" factor for a lot of people by at least 12. Instead of having a fun, connecting relationship you are responsible to each other and that can make him feel like he has less and less freedom. So add the living together factor with you having talks with him about how you want him to take you places and do more with him and his experience of feeling smothered and that you are needy are complete. You start to feel more like a ball and chain than like a girlfriend.


The second is that you have to recognize that you speak a different language from him and you see the situation differently. You feel that you get enough alone time, that it's ok for you to overreact sometimes, and that communication is of upmost importance. Hmm. Ok, now from what you say, he feels that he doesn't have enough space, that you are needy, and that walking away is better than an emotional confrontation. (Your instinct is correct; even though he apologizes later, he really DOES MEAN IT when he says that he thinks you are keeping him from doing the things he wants and that he needs space. Otherwise, he wouldn't have said it more than once.)


The third is that you need to recognize those differences and use them to your full advantage. If you want a change in a certain situation, you have to initiate it. If you want him to be more open to you, give him what he wants. More space. More time alone. No interrogation or questioning about why he hasn't invited you out. If you don't make him a top priority, then he's going to feel like his needs are being met again. When a person feels his or her needs are being met, they are much more amenable to meeting your needs in turn. He will be more likely to approach you, ask you questions, and try to spend time with you. Essentially, if you back off a bit, you will get more and more of what you want: time together, communication, and closeness.


The three pieces of this puzzle:

-recognize that when you are with a great guy, the relationship should be fun, easy, and full of space as much as possible;

-understand that you will naturally have differences of opinion and communication challenges as time goes on;

-and that if you want to encourage a change in the relationship try meeting a couple of his needs and he is more likely to meet your needs as well.


Best of luck to you!

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My last ex...same pattern as yours...living together, happy one year into it. After one year...Video game comes into play (WOW) takes over his life, our life. Less sex. Less time spent together. Break up. I probably think you're beating yourself up all over this. Don't. He is clearly taking you for granted; and won't try to give you the time of day to talk about how you both are doing. I don't know...normally I'd go into the whole ya gotta communicate/sympathize/blah-blah...but I've been in the situation before...and after a few months of trying to work things out, they wind up calling you a nag.


Now I'm with a great man who communicates and doesn't play video games, and makes me a priority in his life.


Looking back at my previous situation...I'm so happy without him.

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