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I have a great boyfriend. He is 33, and I am 28. He is American, and I am Asian. We live in Asia.

 

The problem is, he doesn't seem to value us very much. Everytime we have a 'discussion', he starts saying that we're not perfect for each other, we're just not right, we don't click, there are parts of our personality that just don't fit, so on and so forth. And most of the time when we have a discussion, it's because he's pulled away and become distant and he won't tell me why.

 

I know he's having a hard time at work, and he says he tries very hard at our relationship, but I just don't see how he is trying. We are living apart at the moment because he got posted to another country here in Asia for a short period of time, and I get hurt because I won't see him for two weeks, and he'll say things like how he can't wait to see me, but then when i do fly over and see him, after a couple of days he will start getting distant and snappy and short tempered with me and literally cant wait to see me go out the door. He says it's not me, that he just needs space, but no one else can understand. After all, we live in different countries, so why would he need space?

 

He flirts a lot, and he says he needs someone who will understand that. He doesn't want to change that. But somehow I don't think his flirting is just simply because he is at heart a flirt. I think it is also a case of him not being 'committed' to our relationship. Sure, he is committed in the sense that we are boyfriend/girlfriend, but he is not truly committed, and I don't know if I'm asking for too much at this stage (we've only been going out for 9 months). But the problem is that I know that his inconsistency and all these problems are going to go on for so long as he isn't committed in that way.

 

He tells me that American girls would not have a problem with his flirting, and they would be totally okay with it. I studied and lived in Europe for a while, and I don't really believe that, but he seems to. He says I'm needy and I'm clingy and I'm not able to let him have his space. We live in different countries. How could I let him have more space than he needs?

 

We are so compatible, and he says that too. Three weeks ago before I went to visit him, he was visiting me and he said to me (and he looked like he meant it) that he really wanted us to work out and he wanted to give me everything, and I said the same, and the weeks after that were perfect. Then I flew to visit him, and he got all short tempered and when I confronted him, he started shouting about how he didn't want to hurt me but he still had doubts about us and he didn't want to tell me because he knew how much it would hurt me and how that when i was hurt, he hurt more and how he couldn't give me what i want. And I just feel so... dejected. Like we will never get over this phase. I feel almost like I have to leave him before he will realize how much we mean to him. It feels like I am the only one fighting to save this relationship, because I am always teh one pointing out the fallacies, cajoling and persuading etc., and I don't want to have to do that.

 

He says he wants the perfect relationship - no arguments, no quarrels etc. We are nearly perfect, and so compatible. When he is happy, it's 'We're not perfect, but no one's perfect'. When he isn't, it's 'We're not perfect' as how we should not be together.

 

I feel like we're almost at the end of our relationship. I love him so much, but this is so bad for me. We both seem to be reaching the end of our patience. He used to call me back every time I called him. Now he doesn't when he wants his space (he'll say he's in a meeting etc. and cant pick up).

 

He is thoughtful, he is giving, but I just think his expectations of me are unrealistic. And I know it's not just him, it has to do with the fact that he is in Asia and he gets a lot of attention, being American and tall and goodlooking and reeking of success. He gets a lot of attention, and there are a lot of girls in Asia that will be willing to do anything and everything to get a guy like that. That includes making the guy feel like a king and letting him do everything he wants. After all, they're only concerned that you provide for them, so it doesn't really matter as long as the golden goose keeps laying. But I don't need that from him. He makes a lot of money - more than I do - but I don't make that little either. After taxes, my take home is more than 150k US.

 

I find it disturbing that everytime we have an argument, he wants to go on holiday alone for a weekend and he always wants to go to Bangkok. I trust that he isn't doing anything fishy there - he just likes the place - but it makes me insecure and he hates that. I know why he likes the place. It's the attention he gets there. But it's not real attention. He goes to go go bars and looks at girls and to the clubs in the red light district, and when I'm with him, I go with him to those places too. Even when I'm with him, there are girls (and ladyboys) who try to get with him.

 

I just don't know how much more understanding I could be. He has to go to nightclubs where they have hostesses etc. for work to entertain clients with his bosses, and I know what goes on there, and he tells me, and I don't have a problem with it. He likes to go to go go bars and other places which are pretty dodgy, and I go with him. He tells me that when he got to Bangkok a day before me, he met two girls in the taxi stand at the airport (one went to send off her boyfriend) and they invited him to play pool with them, and so he went, and he told them upfront as well about his girlfriend. But one of them was also flirting with him, he said. And he gets upset because he says he wants to be able to tell me things like this and be honest with me without being afraid of my reaction, and he doesn't feel like he can do that because I don't react well at first. And when he says I don't react well, it means that my shock shows on my face and I sit there for a while and turn what he's told me over in my head. The kind of reaction that he wants is for me to just say 'oh okay' and be totally okay with it, and he tells me that 'white girls' would be okay with that. He knows that I'll be shocked for a while and come around - that is the reaction he expects from me - but at the same time he's disappointed. Even though he says that he knows it's something unacceptable in Asian culture and he should be more sensitive to it. And I personally don't buy that American girls would be totally okay with that story either and give him the reaction that he seems to expect.

 

 

I wrote him an email and told him all that. I was honest with him on what I felt I'd done wrong, and everything. He replied to say he was sorry for everything and all the pain and anguish that he has caused and it hurts him to because he knows he doesn't give me what I want. He said that he was just being him and it seemed like a very painful thing for me to bear, and he was sorry for everything.

 

 

I replied and said,

 

"It's not always painful to be with you. I'm happy a lot of the time when you're not acting up. I understand the need to have your space as well, and i'm sorry for my controlling behaviours. I'm not asking you to be a martyr. I'm not asking you to say sorry for pain that you cause. It's me who causes my own pain. I choose to be with you and I choose whether or not to let what you do cause me pain. But the practice is more difficult than the theory sometimes.

 

 

You are being you at this point in time, I agree. I accept you as you are, but it hurts and you should understand that you being you at the age of 32 is extremely painful. You at maybe 2 years ago and 5 years ago, were different, and maybe not so difficult. But you're really difficult now. Because you have totally unrealistic expectations and I don't think it's all your fault. It mostly stems from you being eligible in Asia where people value monetary status above all others because they're still at the survival need stage of the pyramid of needs. All I'm saying is please get a grip on reality. You want to enjoy the attention you get in Bangkok, fine, but it's just a cheap thrill and it doesn't last. Ultimately it will not fulfil you. Or maybe it does. In which case 20 years from now I'll see you there as one more old white guy. You choose your own happiness, and if that's what you want, then go for it. But at least I've warned you.

 

 

You say you hate the root of being so much pain. But you are, and you refuse to do anything about it. People make their own choices, and you could choose to make it less painful, but you don't want to. In essense, it is what you want. I wasn't talking about myself. But I can understand the pain. You said yourself before that you should have realized and caught on to the fact that she was hiding her pain and done something about it before it got too late. I said you were being too hard on yourself, that no one is a mindreader. I don't expect you to read minds. I'm telling you straight out. Whether you do something about it is your choice. Maybe she meant more to you because you yourself said that you would have done something about her pain had you known. So now I'm telling you, but you don't want to do anything about mine. That's consistent with the fact that you don't value our relationship enough. I should be used to it by now.

 

I wasn't angry that we didn't talk last night. Don't worry. I was perfectly okay. But I wanted to tell you this because I really think you're going off the road and someone has to pull you back and you have no one else who will. Just don't get sucked in. I'm telling you that in my friend capacity because I care about you. If i was thinking as your girlfriend and most of the time I am, I wouldn't have said anything at all so direct because I didn't want to hurt your feelings or make you think I'm judging you in a negative manner, because I'm not.

 

I don't want to talk about this anymore. I've said what I had to say."

 

 

I really don't know what to do. Is this relationship really a lost cause? Is it really time to let go? We have so much going for us. We're intellectually compatible, we care for the other person even though we are having difficult discussions and try to support that person. But I read all these self help books to try and cope and understand him, and he refuses to because he says that they are written for mundane people with mundane problems and that we don't have the problems that they face.

 

I just don't really know what to do anymore. Am I asking too much? Do I have unrealistic expectations? Is it me and not him? I don't know.

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he isn really to setle down i think. THe thing about expats in asia, they feel that the are not reaaly themselves, i dont know how to explain it.

What yopu may have is a cultural differnce in the way a relationship moves. Asians are different that way, when an asian decides to have a relationship they put their trust and loyolity at 1000 percent on that person. I suppose western culture is different, where they loyolity and trust is slowly built. So from an asain point of view, you are having a relationship but not having a relaitonship because it isnt commited.

That part maybe where you guys may have problems.

Other then that, he may not be into you and maybe you are just the asian thing.

If you think you are not getting anywhere with this guy, i suppse it is time to step back and reaccess the situation on whether he is the one for you and if you are competible.

Good luck

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I'm sorry to hear about your pain with this guy, peterrabbit.

 

... He tells me that American girls would not have a problem with his flirting, and they would be totally okay with it.

 

That's a lame excuse on his part It all depends on the person [you] - if he dated a flirt, then maybe what he said would be true.

 

... He says I'm needy and I'm clingy and I'm not able to let him have his space. We live in different countries. How could I let him have more space than he needs?

 

While that I see your point, it's not necessarily about physical space (though I'm sure you know that - I don't mean to sound rude ). How much you call, email, or text, and how much you expect him to return that is what's relevant.

My suggestion here, is totally back off for a bit. You're a very successful person yourself. Don't chase after him. It will be difficult, but in a few days he might actually realise "Hmm, I haven't heard from her. That's not like her. I wonder what she's up to..."

The gamble with cat and mouse tactics is that they can be dangerous to a relationship. If he takes a long time to initiate contact, the time seperation can cut things up a bit, not to mention how much it hurts for you to try and do that. Just try your best to let go a little bit more, and trust in him to want to contact you. But I truly feel he does care about you, and that if you just take a few steps back and focus on your own work a bit more, the balance will change.

 

... He tells me that when he got to Bangkok a day before me, he met two girls in the taxi stand at the airport (one went to send off her boyfriend) and they invited him to play pool with them, and so he went, and he told them upfront as well about his girlfriend. But one of them was also flirting with him, he said. And he gets upset because he says he wants to be able to tell me things like this and be honest with me without being afraid of my reaction, and he doesn't feel like he can do that because I don't react well at first. And when he says I don't react well, it means that my shock shows on my face and I sit there for a while and turn what he's told me over in my head. The kind of reaction that he wants is for me to just say 'oh okay' and be totally okay with it, and he tells me that 'white girls' would be okay with that. He knows that I'll be shocked for a while and come around - that is the reaction he expects from me - but at the same time he's disappointed. Even though he says that he knows it's something unacceptable in Asian culture and he should be more sensitive to it. And I personally don't buy that American girls would be totally okay with that story either and give him the reaction that he seems to expect.

 

He's really asking too much if he expects you to not be a little shocked. Surely he can recognise that it's not easy or a lot of fun to hear stories about someone flirting with your partner? You try your best by reacting well. It's only natural to get unsettled when someone flirts with someone you love so much.

This sounds like his expectations of the relationship certainly differ from yours - In my opinion, his idea of a "good" reaction, would come more from a best mate, or a significant other that simply doesn't care about him as much as you do.

 

... But I read all these self help books to try and cope and understand him, and he refuses to because he says that they are written for mundane people with mundane problems and that we don't have the problems that they face.

 

Sounds like his "eligibility" has gone to his head. His ego could use a little deflating...

 

... I just don't really know what to do anymore. Am I asking too much? Do I have unrealistic expectations? Is it me and not him? I don't know.

 

I don't think it's you, but I don't quite think it's him either. However, You're trying very hard for someone you care about, and regardless of the outcome, to me that's an admirable endeavor.

While you both care about eachother, I do believe that your expectations of the relationship differ a lot. Personally I don't think it has much to do with any difference of cultures. Although he may be a nice person, I do feel that his success, elevated by his placement in Asia, has somewhat affected his mindset. He may not be unrelentingly egotistical, but he certainly does know that he has a lot of choice in your country as far as women go. Even if it's not completely conscious thought, his actions convey this.

 

This is an age old situation though - the flirtatious one, and the one that wants something more significant out of the relationship. Which usually leads the flirtatious one to feeling the other person is being "clingy", leading to pretty much the situation you're in. Although he wants something significant, and he cares about you, your situations and expectations are quite different.

 

I'd have to say, your email did a good job of letting him know how you feel - it was quite accurate. As for how you should act? I think if back off, give him as much space as you can to let him truly think about how he feels, and what he wants. Absense makes the heart grow fonder. Like Skippy said, it may be true that he's not ready to settle down yet. I'd say he understands where you're coming from to an extent, just not completely. I don't think he realises how it feels to have to deal with his "eligibility" and the way he is treating you as a result of that.

 

Depending on how things pan out, you might have to let this one slide. I really hope he comes to his senses before it's too late - otherwise he'll definitely regret it. Tough

 

I really hope it works out for you. Take care and goodluck!

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Sorry, honey, he's manipulating you with his line about how you're not like "mundane" people and how "white girls" wouldn't have a problem with it. Oh, I'm whiter than the driven snow, and I'd have a problem with it. And there's nothing wrong with being mundane. Normal is good. I like normal.

 

Lose this guy, he's stringing you along to see what he can get away with.

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Although he may be a nice person, I do feel that his success, elevated by his placement in Asia, has somewhat affected his mindset. He may not be unrelentingly egotistical, but he certainly does know that he has a lot of choice in your country as far as women go. Even if it's not completely conscious thought, his actions convey this.

 

I absolutely agree with this statement. If women are hitting on him, bully for him...he should not be telling you this. It should be a non-issue because he shouldn't care who is hitting on him because he is with you. Women hitting on him should not really compute. He is telling you to get a reaction out of you...to make you feel insecure....to boost his ego. If I were you, when he tells you these things, just say "oh" (in a who cares kind of tone) and then start talking about something else. Once you don't give him the reaction he is really seeking (you getting upset), he might stop this nonsense. In the meantime, you might want to get on with your own life and start distancing yourself from him. If he cares about you, he will come to you.

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Thanks for all the replies.

 

I spoke to him and he thinks I'm completely off base. He says he doesn't think that there is anything wrong with us etc. and he doesn't like Bangkok for the reasons that I think he does, just that at this point in his life he needs a lot of space to sort out his own thoughts about his life direction and that it's just the circumstances that bring this about (he's unhappy with his job and being made to stay in a place that he hates). I'm not sure that I'm entirely wrong about Bangkok though.

 

I don't know. I guess I just have to be understanding that he's in a difficult place in his life right now. But it's hard to be understanding when his emotional unavailability makes him irritable and short tempered with me sometimes and then makes him pull away.

 

He tells me that I take the best care of him of all his girlfriends, and why would he be unhappy in a relationship like this. But... maybe I'm being picky, I think I would rather he tell me he loves me the most, has never felt like this before, etc.... rather than I'm the most nurturing

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He's globally a bad mate. Whether you're dutch, portuguese, or polish

 

Please reconsider this relationship .. he's obviously not good for your self esteem, telling you that you're not worthy of his time and energy...

 

I hope you re-read your post and ask yourself if this guy is really the MOST that you want out of life.

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