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My boyfriend and I have been together for two years, and will most likely be engaged very soon. He is a fantastic man, except for one problem: he doesn't ever show his feelings, or do anything thoughtful at all. There is no attentiveness, birthday gifts, christmas gifts, flowers, surprises, the things that make us women feel so special...He claims that he used to be very emotional, and went way out of his way to make a girl feel special, but realized that it was pointless and stopped. Does that mean he's been hurt? He won't ever talk about it. Just gets mad and says that my expectations are too high...that I don't appreciate what he gives. How do I bring out a more sensitive, attentive man in him? Is it even possible?

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My boyfriend and I have been together for two years, and will most likely be engaged very soon. He is a fantastic man, except for one problem: he doesn't ever show his feelings, or do anything thoughtful at all. There is no attentiveness, birthday gifts, christmas gifts, flowers, surprises, the things that make us women feel so special...He claims that he used to be very emotional, and went way out of his way to make a girl feel special, but realized that it was pointless and stopped. Does that mean he's been hurt? He won't ever talk about it. Just gets mad and says that my expectations are too high...that I don't appreciate what he gives. How do I bring out a more sensitive, attentive man in him? Is it even possible?

 

I'm waiting to hear about the "fantastic" part of him?? Sorry, but what you just described above sounds like the opposite of what I'd want to be bound to forever in marriage. No attentiveness? No desire to make me feel special? NO CHRISTMAS??

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Yes it means that he has been hurt. Yes, it means he is carrying some serious baggage into your relationship. If he used to be just the way he describes himself to be and now isn't because he got hurt and refuses to open himself up to that possibility again, then it definitely means that he needs to get some help. Your expectations are not too high. If you set your expectations at a reasonable level, and he can't meet them, that's called incompatibility.

 

You can't change him, only he can change himself. I would strongly advise pre-marital counseling before you move much further into this relationship.

 

I personally would fear that if he carries this attitude into your marriage and does not deal with this issue and resolve it, then you are going to be in for a world of hurt down the road.

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Where is the family value in neglecting someone you love.. .e.g. your potential future wife? Nor do I find it trustworthy of him keeping secrets from you about his true feelings and withholding emotionally from you. As for successful... one of my prime requisites for success is a successful relationship... maybe he has different measures of success?

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Dako - he is in advertizing. He has a contract overseas with his job, and we can only spend about 6 months a year together - either when I visit or when he visits. Naturally, I would like the time we spend together to be a little more memorable, but I feel like I hit a brick wall every time I open my mouth about my emotions...

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My guess is that what attracted you in the first place was his reserved, unemotional side that can seem very "masculine" and a challenge. Now that you are intimate and close of course you want him to be more sensitive. Some people can be both/do both and some cannot. Interestingly, one of the first men I was crazy about was just like that - very distant and reserved. I really fell for it - thought he was so "cool." When he proposed, I declined - (this was after a few breakups initiated by him) - something told me if I married him I would be "lonely." We stayed in touch sporadically via email. Ten years later, we met for coffee - second time I'd seen him in all those years. He wanted to meet with me alone. He told me that a year after we broke up he came out as a gay man. There were NO signs of this when we were together - quite the opposite. Apparently what I thought was such a turn on - his reserved qualities counterbalanced against my open/emotional ways - was really his internal struggles with his orientation and his desire to be "normal."

 

But, really - think about it - if what attracted you initially was this reserved quality it is not too fair to now ask him to be someone else. It is totally fair for you to decide against a lifetime of distance and unemotional behaviors. I did and I never looked back - and in my case thank goodness because he may have married me and then lived a double life.

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I agree - very wise words batya. I totally agree. i tend to go for the 'reserved' types of men also and like she said, you get very disappointed when you get "closer", but they don't think it's important to celebrate your birthday or christmas.

 

anyways, there is nothing you can say to do or change him. the change must come from within.

 

on a side note.... I see so many women in relationships like, "how can I make him act more affectionate" or "how can I make him want to commit to me?" this way of thinking is about as pointless as the other question I often see from men: "how do I approach a woman?"

 

lots of men are looking for "the perfect pickup line" or the exact approach to take to a woman to make her interested. And us women just say the same thing - pickup lines are stupid, just go up to her and say hi. Because it doesn't much matter what he says. We will either be attracted to the man or not. If he is Brad Pitt, he could come up to me and say ANYTHING, I'll be going home with him. If he is ugly or turns me off in some way, there is nothing he could ever say that could capture my interest.

 

Anyways, if you are following me here... it's kind of the same thing with your man... I don't know exactly what you can do to "make him want to buy you flowers". it doesn't seem he is wired that way.

 

he seems practical, i bet you could talk him into setting up some kind of "auto-order" system with 1-800-flowers, where he tells them your birthday, anniversary, etc... and they send you flowers every time automatically.

 

but like batya said - you loved his practical personality, and this seems like an offshoot of it. i don't know if you can change anything about him. only he can change himself, and that is only if he WANTS to change.

 

I can say that most couples tend to act the most romantic when they are in the engagement phase, so this is probably his maximal romanticness...

 

I don't know if this helped....

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wow that's not good, and your expectations are not high at all. Even my dad would get mad if i missed his birthday. Ask him , are you special to him? Just tell him you think it's nice if we go out for dinner for you and his bday or celebrate xmas with something thoughtful to reflect the relationship or something! haha. but man i'd be sad if my bf gave no attention to any of those things. You should not be suffering this!

 

but again, if he does other things for you that make up for not him giving attention to bdays, flowers etc..then it's okay.

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  • 2 weeks later...

yeah my man was very sweet in the beginning, now after 5 years it's like I don't exist sometimes. I am the kind of girlfriend who gives and is attentive and caring all the time. when he's sick I pamper him, when we're home I am always taking breaks to give lov and attention.... but he is so inverted that he can go 5-6 hours without even speaking to me when we are in the same room, he doesn't ask how my day went, he won't help me when I ask to move stuff or anything, and when I am sick it's not his problem. I have to remind him that he needs to tell me he loves me more because I am a verbal affectionate person, I tell him he needs to do more things to show me he loves me because that is what makes me feel loved.... it's been difficult that I actually have to ask and I question whether I should find someone who just does these things, but just cause they do it in the beginning doesn't mean he will 2 years later! As for birthdays, christmas and holidays... that's terrible! Is he lazy or just inconsiderate? I told my man that these things mean something to me. I told him that he can either work on trying to give more or I am not going to stay. If you have confidence in yourself ~ know your are beautiful, amazing, and have your head on straight, then don't settle. I straight up told my guy that I am not going to wait around for him to recognize I live here with him. I want I love you's before bed, hugs when we part, surprises when there are celebrations etc. AND he bought me a plant for my new office the other day. So he kinda has improved but he still does some of his no emotion stuff.

I would have a serious talk or see a counselor. It will make or break it.

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He's simply not that into you. He may or may not find someone he DOES feel like being romantic for again, but you're not it. He may be the perfect man, but it isn't with you...

 

I know because I think I must have dated his twin. And yep, I too thought that ring was gonna come ANY day... Seriously, you're going to set yourself up for a world of hurt if you keep trying to make this work.

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  • 7 months later...
I'm waiting to hear about the "fantastic" part of him?? Sorry, but what you just described above sounds like the opposite of what I'd want to be bound to forever in marriage. No attentiveness? No desire to make me feel special? NO CHRISTMAS??

 

You and me both, Scout. What exactly does your relationship consist of? My ex was the same way. He claimed that a girl told him once you start spoiling women they start to expect it. He also claimed I had too many expectations. If we don't set standards in a relationship, then what exactly yo we have to look forward to. And OP, please tell me how you figure you are close to being engaged when he is so emotionally unavailable?

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NO CHRISTMAS??

 

the christmas thing is moot, a lot of people dont celebrate it on principal... its nothing to get upset over.

 

but the rest of it... yeah, I agree... WHAT is fantastic about a man who treats you no different from any other person...

 

he doesnt sound like hes grrrrrrrrreat, he sounds like he's middle of the road... not doing anything bad, persay, but not doing anything to validate the relationship, either.

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the christmas thing is moot, a lot of people dont celebrate it on principal... its nothing to get upset over.

 

Hey, Eva? Maybe to you it's moot, but not to me. Maybe to you it's nothing to get upset over, but not to me. Your opinion is just that - not an almighty edict. You could really afford to be a little less dismissive of opinions other than your own.

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Hey, Eva? Maybe to you it's moot, but not to me. Maybe to you it's nothing to get upset over, but not to me. Your opinion is just that - not an almighty edict. You could really afford to be a little less dismissive of opinions other than your own.

 

sorry, I didnt mean to come accross as dismissive... it didnt seem like a point I should have elaborated on. I didnt mean for it to be a sensitive topic.

 

But it is a christian (or consumer) holiday... if the OP entered the relationship knowing that her SO doesnt celbrate such things, its not something she can get upset over now, unless its a religious issue, not just a material or holiday one.

 

That said, it is a time to get togehter and celebrate family and loved ones, presents are one thing, but I agree (as I am assuming you feel) that just being with those you love on Xmas is important. Although it shouldnt be if you dont subscribe to the religion, it is, for some reason

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sorry, I didnt mean to come accross as dismissive... it didnt seem like a point I should have elaborated on. I didnt mean for it to be a sensitive topic.

 

Apology accepted. And it's not so much that Christmas is a sensitive topic for me, but you once told me on another thread I was arguing morals which was moot. So, it's the being told what I'm saying is moot is the sensitive topic.

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Apology accepted. And it's not so much that Christmas is a sensitive topic for me, but you once told me on another thread I was arguing morals which was moot. So, it's the being told what I'm saying is moot is the sensitive topic.

 

I just really like that word I do!!

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