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On 4/20/2021 at 6:19 AM, whiteroses3230 said:

I am keeping our time together fun and getting out of my head now. Not overthinking as much as I can, taking the advice provided so I don’t ruin a good thing. 

There's a delicate balance here.  You are keeping your time together fun - so do you feel like you're auditioning for the girlfriend role and you're trying to prove to him how fun and lighthearted you are?  I can see where he is concerned about his child meeting the new boyfriend - was he asking you for parenting advice? I don't really get choosing you to vent to on that topic.

I dated someone for three months who seemed really fun loving but it was obvious we were both really into each other.  It was obvious - chemistry through the roof and just so much fun together and he was in touch regularly, making plans regularly. 

I didn't have sex with him and we did have some sleepovers (yes I know many who think this is ridiculous.  I don't as we discussed in advance that we'd have a fun evening, be sexual, romantic and not have intercourse -no one felt frustrated and it was fantastic -done this many times in many relationships including with my now husband).  Anyway he didn't bring up exclusivity.  I didn't either. 

But after three months he left my home one morning and I was on our dating site where we met.  He'd updated his profile some.  Punch in the stomach to me.  So I messaged him on the site with a joke  He called.  He said "I am almost there as far as wanting to be exclusive but not quite and I am not dating anyone else right now".  I didn't share with him that I was now willing to wait one more month to see what happened. After that talk he became somewhat more distant/less in touch.  I lost sleep.  Until I didn't.  I realized - this is not worth it - so I relaxed some and after a month he invited me to watch him play a certain sport.  I now know it was so I could see how he still had an anger disorder. So he wouldn't have to end things with me and leave me to do it.

He'd referenced it to me - he'd told me it was in the past, told me that he was almost kicked out of his sport because of it.  He never, ever showed any anger towards me in any manner -not even real irritation and never seemed angry at anyone or anything else. I also had a sense that he drank quite a bit (but never, ever, with me).  This was all fuzzy.  Until he had me watch him play and I saw his anger disorder in full force.  Then he told me that he'd stopped getting therapy for it, didn't plan on it.  I ended things a few days later.  And he let me. 

So moral of the story is - and I've seen this again and again in my own life and others -if they guy isn't bringing up exclusivity -not monogamy- exclusivity - by around 2-3 months of dating it's because he's not that into you.  The end.  Nothing to do with sex -I only had sex once as a condition of exclusivity.  What a mistake.  Typically we were exclusive right around 6-8 weeks because the man asked me and typically sex happened a few months after that once we were in love with strong potential for marriage.  But he asked.  Every time.  And before three months.

I don't think this guy is that into you -or you can label it "unavailable" since he's upset about his ex wife moving on - whatever you label it this is not the person who wants to make you his person.  I'm sorry.  

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You could just be honest with him! Let him know you kind of fumbled the last time you discussed the topic and you'd like to try again. Then let him know your thoughts. I don't think anyone r

4 dates is good. It means he's interested and it's going well. Try to be more confident rather than analyze everything he says. 4 dates. 4. Fast forwarding like this comes off as clingy

Girrrrllll, This is one major case of overthink and putting your foot in your mouth. In the last several interactions, you are over-worrying about appearances and acting inconsistent with wh

I agree^

If a guy is interested in something serious, he is going to tell you as soon as he feels sure it won't scare you off! If you're rounding the corner of the three month mark and you don't have a strong reading from him, it's not a good thing. 

27 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

do you feel like you're auditioning for the girlfriend role and you're trying to prove to him how fun and lighthearted you are?

And if you find that this^ has become your role in the relationship, time to say goodbye. 

28 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I didn't have sex with him and we did have some sleepovers (yes I know many who think this is ridiculous.  I don't as we discussed in advance that we'd have a fun evening, be sexual, romantic and not have intercourse -no one felt frustrated and it was fantastic -done this many times in many relationships including with my now husband).

Side note: Same here^. I totally get it.

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We are exclusive. That has been said. It was said early on. For some reason, the official labels of bf/gf seem to be a distinction. Idk exactly how to explain it. He actually did bring it up once, but I sort of ruined that moment royally (I mentioned it in my earlier posts, it’s buried somewhere in there). The advice here was to stop overthinking so much on many topics and just enjoy building for now, that’s what I meant by not getting in my head. 
 

This piece with the ex wife is certainly an update though! What’s interesting to me is that he has been steadily progressing more with me. I was just introduced to his brother, next his best friend (basically his second brother). But just emotionally and in terms of our connection as well it feels really lovely. So that stinks to hear, but it is what it is I guess.

I’ll take the advice to heart. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your past experience!! That sounds tough but also you seem to reflect on it now from a learning mindset which is great. 🙂

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1 hour ago, whiteroses3230 said:

He actually did bring it up once, but I sort of ruined that moment royally

You can't ruin a genuine moment. You can only disrupt illusions.

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Girrrrllll,

This is one major case of overthink and putting your foot in your mouth.

In the last several interactions, you are over-worrying about appearances and acting inconsistent with what you want. 

There is no rule that your relationship with this guy needs to be or go any certain way. There is nothing wrong with you having sex if it feels right - if you want to, then do it. Rule of thumb is don't make a guy think you are avoiding sex - he's nicely been clear with you that he wants that part of the (potential?) relationship in addition to doing all other sorts of date-like and romantic activities with you. And you like it too, right? So, why present as if you are avoiding it? And there is nothing wrong with saying "yes" to an exclusivity offer in any way that feels comfortable. You can ask him to be exclusive over the phone, in person, etc., or say "hey, I have thought about your question of if I want to be boyfriend and girlfriend. That's what I want. Is that offer still good? 😉"  

I do think he has picked up on you acting weird, based on what you described. As for whether this will bounce back, I think so. You guys have a lot of history and as you said, the intimacy was intense. Just be direct with communication, and have fun. If you want something, generally, act consistently with what you want. (Don't say, I want to be single when you want to be exclusive; don't avoid sex if that is what you want). Enjoy your time with your guy, align your words with your will, and all will likely work out just fine.

--

Disclaimer - I read the OP, but not all of the other posters' response posts. Sorry if I missed something. 

Edited by Pleasedonot5
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5 hours ago, Pleasedonot5 said:

Girrrrllll,

This is one major case of overthink and putting your foot in your mouth.

In the last several interactions, you are over-worrying about appearances and acting inconsistent with what you want. 

There is no rule that your relationship with this guy needs to be or go any certain way. There is nothing wrong with you having sex if it feels right - if you want to, then do it. Rule of thumb is don't make a guy think you are avoiding sex - he's nicely been clear with you that he wants that part of the (potential?) relationship in addition to doing all other sorts of date-like and romantic activities with you. And you like it too, right? So, why present as if you are avoiding it? And there is nothing wrong with saying "yes" to an exclusivity offer in any way that feels comfortable. You can ask him to be exclusive over the phone, in person, etc., or say "hey, I have thought about your question of if I want to be boyfriend and girlfriend. That's what I want. Is that offer still good? 😉"  

I do think he has picked up on you acting weird, based on what you described. As for whether this will bounce back, I think so. You guys have a lot of history and as you said, the intimacy was intense. Just be direct with communication, and have fun. If you want something, generally, act consistently with what you want. (Don't say, I want to be single when you want to be exclusive; don't avoid sex if that is what you want). Enjoy your time with your guy, align your words with your will, and all will likely work out just fine.

--

Disclaimer - I read the OP, but not all of the other posters' response posts. Sorry if I missed something. 

Thanks so much for your response. I wish I read it originally! It actually makes me feel so much better! Sometimes you just need one person to put it in a slighhhhhtly more positive way while still giving advice and it helps tremendously. I updated a bit- we’ve seen each other 7x with plans for an 8th. Things seem nice between us. There was a *curious* snag recently where he vented to me about his ex. Many here take it to be a bad sign that he’s not that into me. I didn’t read it as negatively, but would love to know your opinion if you get the time to scroll up a bit and read from my post with the update. 🙂

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8 hours ago, whiteroses3230 said:

We are exclusive. That has been said. It was said early on. For some reason, the official labels of bf/gf seem to be a distinction. Idk exactly how to explain it. He actually did bring it up once, but I sort of ruined that moment royally (I mentioned it in my earlier posts, it’s buried somewhere in there). The advice here was to stop overthinking so much on many topics and just enjoy building for now, that’s what I meant by not getting in my head. 
 

This piece with the ex wife is certainly an update though! What’s interesting to me is that he has been steadily progressing more with me. I was just introduced to his brother, next his best friend (basically his second brother). But just emotionally and in terms of our connection as well it feels really lovely. So that stinks to hear, but it is what it is I guess.

I’ll take the advice to heart. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your past experience!! That sounds tough but also you seem to reflect on it now from a learning mindset which is great. 🙂

Does exclusive mean he is not dating or looking to date others?  Is there a reason he doesn't want others to know you are his partner? His girlfriend?

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53 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Does exclusive mean he is not dating or looking to date others?  Is there a reason he doesn't want others to know you are his partner? His girlfriend?

Yes, not dating or looking to date. 
 

Not sure if it’s too early or what. He has never been big into labels, has said (during convos about relationships in general way before we got together) that people rush too quickly into a “label” without actually building the foundation, it’s so much more about the actual relationship to him, etc. After we got together we had a smaller convo about this topic and I said something along the lines of “well I agree, though if you like someone I do feel there’s nothing wrong with giving them that added emotional safety, why not?” That convo was the one where he actually was like “well yea. You’re my girlfriend, I’m your boyfriend, if you want of course... or we could wait on that.” I knee-jerk said we should wait. I got in my head about stupid things previously explained here. But he was righhhht there lol. Since then he seems comfortable without it, taking a lot more time maybe. I’m not sure. 

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13 hours ago, whiteroses3230 said:

Yes, not dating or looking to date. 
 

Not sure if it’s too early or what. He has never been big into labels, has said (during convos about relationships in general way before we got together) that people rush too quickly into a “label” without actually building the foundation, it’s so much more about the actual relationship to him, etc. After we got together we had a smaller convo about this topic and I said something along the lines of “well I agree, though if you like someone I do feel there’s nothing wrong with giving them that added emotional safety, why not?” That convo was the one where he actually was like “well yea. You’re my girlfriend, I’m your boyfriend, if you want of course... or we could wait on that.” I knee-jerk said we should wait. I got in my head about stupid things previously explained here. But he was righhhht there lol. Since then he seems comfortable without it, taking a lot more time maybe. I’m not sure. 

Why in the world would this just be a label?  Would he feel the same about marriage "just a piece of paper" or your academic degree "just a label" - if he is willing to be exclusive but dismissive about calling you his partner, his girlfriend I would take that as a huge red flag.  That label excuse and the rushing excuse is nonsense.  If you need to "build a foundation" in order to have "the label" he's double talking you and you're trying to play all cool and casual.  Basically he's "exclusive" because he's not dating anyone right now but since he is not "labeling" you then he's also keeping his options open because if he meets someone or sees someone on a dating site he doesn't have to worry about "labels" on social media and can "build a foundation" with that other gal.

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2 hours ago, boltnrun said:

Why are you so afraid of asking for what you truly want?

I’m not crazy afraid I just want to be mindful of this new development. I’ve never dated anyone who has been divorced and I don’t know how to navigate some of this stuff (mainly if I should give a little space/time first after the ex development).

 

Also, since I put my foot in my mouth originally and sort of messed up the label situation I feel that I backed myself in a corner by saying I don’t bring up the what are we topic. Then, when he right then brought it up and positively offered a label I said the wrong thing. And since that moment it seems like he’s taking his time now. Though that can be my perception. 
 

Since I can’t go back in time and  fix how I handled that, I am curious how and when to re-address it in a simple light way without it seeming like a heavy ultimatum or like I’m backtracking.

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You could just be honest with him!

Let him know you kind of fumbled the last time you discussed the topic and you'd like to try again. Then let him know your thoughts.

I don't think anyone recommended a "heavy ultimatum". Just let him know you are really enjoying spending time with him and that you would like to define the relationship. Let him know you aren't interested in dating anyone else and you'd like to be in an exclusive relationship with him. Then sit back and let him respond.

And don't let fear steer your ship. That's how people end up in uncertain pickles!

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You are exclusive.  He dropped the bf/gf words early on and gave you an out just in case.

What does a title prove?

Life has taught me that people will only be with you because they want to.  Period.   Call it cute name, titles, whatever, will not guarantee you anything.   

If it's important to you, then ask for it.  But if you are overthinking to this degree, I can pretty much bet putting a stamp on it isn't going to make you feel much better.   You both have the free will to choose and you both currently have the desire to be exclusive with only each other.   Title or no title, he can leave if the desire is no longer there.  

As far as him feeling rattled about his child meeting the new man.   Try to not make this about you.  There will be plenty more times that coparenting issues will distract him.  You'll need to learn to roll with it a little better and not let it throw you into second guessing your relationship each time.

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3 hours ago, reinventmyself said:

You are exclusive.  He dropped the bf/gf words early on and gave you an out just in case.

What does a title prove?

Life has taught me that people will only be with you because they want to.  Period.   Call it cute name, titles, whatever, will not guarantee you anything.   

If it's important to you, then ask for it.  But if you are overthinking to this degree, I can pretty much bet putting a stamp on it isn't going to make you feel much better.   You both have the free will to choose and you both currently have the desire to be exclusive with only each other.   Title or no title, he can leave if the desire is no longer there.  

As far as him feeling rattled about his child meeting the new man.   Try to not make this about you.  There will be plenty more times that coparenting issues will distract him.  You'll need to learn to roll with it a little better and not let it throw you into second guessing your relationship each time.

I agree nothing is certain, there are no guarantees and to me that is not relevant in deciding the risk level of a particular relationship.  A person who wants to be with another person and be committed and exclusive and close off options with rare exception -yes there are always exceptions - will want to have his friends and loved ones and family know "this is my partner".  He or she won't say in one breath "we're exclusive" and in the next breath "but we need more of a foundation before we put a label on it".  IMHO.  

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How valuable is your time and your heart to you? Reflect on this.

Tiptoeing around on eggshells sounds like unfulfilling drama.

Dating is supposed to be fun and a way to get to know each other.

When it veers off into guessing games and angst, it's time to decide if you're investing your time and heart wisely...or just killing time.

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Thank you everyone for the thought-provoking words, advice, guidance, time. I truly appreciate the insight and have been taking it to heart! 

I have decided that I will just bring it up as advised. However, I am a planner. I’d like some concrete advise on timeline, if you can help with that part, I would appreciate it.


Though we have talked for a long time now, we have only gone out in person 7 times. It’s been no more than once a week, starting mid-February. I’ve heard a lot about 10 dates being a good milestone, I’ve also heard 3 months is a solid time to have these types of discussions? I thought it might make sense to go a little slower with someone who is divorced? I’m not sure though, I’ve never dated anyone who is prior.  Maybe that doesn’t even matter and I shouldn’t make that a factor.

If I was looking for simple timeline advice, what would you say? 10 dates? 3 months? Or ASAP? Additionally- If your answer is ASAP- Would it make sense to wait until after I meet his best friend next week? I only just met his brother once recently, and briefly. He did text me yesterday (about a week after the meeting) and said “My brother said a nice thing about you. He said you were the prettiest and nicest girl I’ve dated that he’s met. The most personable. Awwww.” So he’s encouraging the fostering of these connections which is sweet I suppose. 🙂 

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I wouldn't read into anything his friends say.  I've been introduced to friends and family right away and told how they liked me - the person might have been into me or just been into playing at being a couple - it went both ways.  There's no "fostering of connections" because it might very well be that he introduces people randomly to his family or if he doesn't that he's doing it to prove to himself he's moving on -or it could be as you said.  Unless he wants to introduce you as his partner, have you participate in family functions and parties and gatherings as his partner, and unless he tells you you are his partner and acts consistently with those words I'd put little weight on the compliments he tells you his friends/brother said.  It's sweet.  So are puppies.

After 7 dates I'd see if this increases to more like twice a week over the next month.  I would say if he doesn't on his own tell you  that he is serious about you AND wants you to be his partner - AND doesn't treat it as just a label - because he -as he said -sees the "foundation" you're building - at the three month mark I'd move on.  I wouldn't bring it up.  Silence will tell you.  Or I'd bring it up but not in an ultimatum way "I'm enjoying our time together and it seems we're not on the same page -since I'm getting attached to you I need to take care of me.  I don't see it as just a label and I don't see that you see serious potential here or have serious intentions."

I'd especially say this if he doesn't try to see you more than once a week.  If you are the one who has to bring it up but he responds with overjoyed enthusiasm that's fine.  Anything less I'd cut my losses and move on.

I don't agree that there are no "rules" - there are always exceptions to every rule but I am a planner too so if a rule has a rare exception, I'm gonna follow the rule.  

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14 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I wouldn't read into anything his friends say.  I've been introduced to friends and family right away and told how they liked me - the person might have been into me or just been into playing at being a couple - it went both ways.  There's no "fostering of connections" because it might very well be that he introduces people randomly to his family or if he doesn't that he's doing it to prove to himself he's moving on -or it could be as you said.  Unless he wants to introduce you as his partner, have you participate in family functions and parties and gatherings as his partner, and unless he tells you you are his partner and acts consistently with those words I'd put little weight on the compliments he tells you his friends/brother said.  It's sweet.  So are puppies.

After 7 dates I'd see if this increases to more like twice a week over the next month.  I would say if he doesn't on his own tell you  that he is serious about you AND wants you to be his partner - AND doesn't treat it as just a label - because he -as he said -sees the "foundation" you're building - at the three month mark I'd move on.  I wouldn't bring it up.  Silence will tell you.  Or I'd bring it up but not in an ultimatum way "I'm enjoying our time together and it seems we're not on the same page -since I'm getting attached to you I need to take care of me.  I don't see it as just a label and I don't see that you see serious potential here or have serious intentions."

I'd especially say this if he doesn't try to see you more than once a week.  If you are the one who has to bring it up but he responds with overjoyed enthusiasm that's fine.  Anything less I'd cut my losses and move on.

I don't agree that there are no "rules" - there are always exceptions to every rule but I am a planner too so if a rule has a rare exception, I'm gonna follow the rule.  


Super interesting advice! I like it! Thanks. A few answers for you. There have been many times where he has tried to see me 2x a week. I am always the one so far who has had the conflict. He has 50/50 custody and only has 2.5 days free each week. 

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14 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

It's still about what you want rather than accommodating what you think he wants.

Yes, I think you're losing sight of this.

You're trying to read his mind through his actions, who he's introducing you to, how many times he tries to see you...

You're catering to what you guess are his feelings about commitment: how many dates is a valid number of dates, how not to chase him away, what the right time/ wrong time is.....

None of this has to do with you or what you want. It's all about him.

You really haven't articulated what you want in a relationship, besides him, of course. It is very clear that you want him. Everything's about him. What about you?

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I like reading other people’s updates so I feel like it’s good to post my own:

 

8 dates. Going on 3 months. We talk constantly in between. I love you’s are said, etc. Obviously if you’ve followed along we’ve been talking for a long time before dating in person as well. He just recently asked me to accompany on a small trip to see his group of friends and do some work in July. He knows going away with a guy is something I like to do only when official, etc. I think it’s his way of hinting at this. However, within the next two times I see him I am going to bring it up if he does not first. Will let you guys know how it results. 

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2 hours ago, whiteroses3230 said:

 He knows going away with a guy is something I like to do only when official, etc. I think it’s his way of hinting at this. 

Great update. Enjoy the trip. Keep in mind exclusively and travel have nothing to do with each other.

Focus on what is in front of you rather than "signs" or assumptions.

Stay in the present so you can be more aware of what is happening and what you want.

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4 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

exclusively and travel have nothing to do with each other.

4 hours ago, Wiseman2 said:

Focus on what is in front of you rather than "signs" or assumptions.

Agree.

FYI: these are example of signs and assumptions:

7 hours ago, whiteroses3230 said:

He knows going away with a guy is something I like to do only when official, etc. I think it’s his way of hinting at this.

 

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