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Boyfriend barely texts/ calls me while apart. Is he disinterested?

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  • #373191
    Ashmitha
    Participant

    <p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>I have been dating my boyfriend for 8 months now but we have been exclusively seeing eachother for 1 year and 3 months(a death occurred in his family shortly after we met so we took time apart) </span></p>
    <p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>When we’re together it’s great and he seems interested and committed to our relationship but we meet once every week. I am okay with meeting this amount but the communication in between is important to me. He says he doesn’t like talking on the phone but he video calls his cousins and friends sometimes. When we’re together, he can be glued to his phone at times, yet when I text him, he can take hours to reply, even though he’s online. </span></p>
    <p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>We have pretty different interests in terms of music, sports etc so I wonder if that’s what is causing the disconnect. Our morals are very aligned though. </span></p>
    <p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>I’ve communicated my need for more communication before and he did improve for a few weeks but then it went back to normal. I went into that talk thinking we would break up because I felt disinterest from him but he didn’t mention it. He said I was right and that he could text me more and he would. I appreciated that he was willing to put in effort to make us work. I always start feeling ignored/ not like a priority every few months.</span></p>
    <p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>He is still very much sexually attracted to me but I care more that he is attracted to my personality and that we are close friends. </span></p>
    <p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>It’s hard for me to feel emotionally attached to him when we communicate so little. He seems to require less communication in a relationship than I do. It makes our relationship seem stagnant to me. He brings up no concerns and says he considers us to have a stable relationship. Although he takes my concerns well, I feel bad bringing negative energy into our relationship when we only meet in person once a week and he never brings up any concerns about me. </span></p>
    <p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>He is a great guy, I just wish we were closer. I feel strange forcing it though by asking for phone calls and more texting when we are not together. “If he wanted to, he would” is something I’ve seen all over the Internet. I am all for keeping one’s independence so I feel strange enforcing a “call me once a week at this time or text me this many times daily” but is that what it takes for good communication? I always thought people did this naturally if they liked you. </span></p>
    <p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>I am his first serious, long term relationship. I don’t know if this is just normal communication for him in a relationship. He is an independent person but he texts his friends and family a lot, which makes me question whether he likes me that much. Obviously in the beginning we texted non-stop (as everyone does) and occasionally we do that now. I just wish we had a more constant level of good communication. </span></p>
    <p class=”p2″><span class=”s1″>Sometimes I feel resentment toward him when he is actively online for hours and ignores my message, and replies to me the next day. I’m worried of losing feelings for him due to the lack of communication but I don’t how to communicate that. It makes me feel like I am not a priority to him and that he isn’t interested in me. He is always willing to put in effort to change when I bring up concerns but it gets tiring to keep asking every few months. I know he is not cheating or anything like that so I’m not worried about that. I just want to feel closer to him. Dating my best friend is important to me.  I consider myself a very relaxed girlfriend so do I need to be more strict? Thank you</span></p>

    #373202
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha:

    I read your reply on the other thread and I appreciate what you wrote there. This is some of what you shared here:

    You’ve been seeing a man exclusively for a year and three months, with a break of seven months. The two of you meet once every week. In between meetings it can take him hours to reply to your text messages, even though he is online. Sometimes, you wrote, “he is actively online for hours and ignores my messages, and replies to me the next day”.

    You told him that you would like more communication in between meetings and he told you that “he doesn’t like talking on the phone”. You know that “he texts his friends and family a lot”, and that when he is with you, during those once a week meetings, “he can be glued to his phone at times”.

    You wrote: “He is still very much sexually attracted to me but I care more that he is attracted to my personality and that we are close friends… He brings up no concerns and says he considers us to have a stable relationship… makes me question whether he likes me that much… I know he is not cheating or anything like that.. I just want to feel closer to him. Dating my best friend is important to me. I consider myself a very relaxed girlfriend so do I need to be more strict?”-

    – this is my understanding: in his mind and heart, a relationship with a girlfriend is in a different category from a relationship with a friend or with a family member:

    * With a girlfriend he has sex and romance/ with friends and family members- he does not.

    * With friends and family members he enjoys communicating about non-sexual, non-romantic topics/ with you- he does not.

    He compartmentalized you: for him, you can not be his friend because you are his girlfriend. You do not compartmentalize him: you want him to be your boyfriend and your best friend.

    You asked if you should be more strict, as in insisting that he texts you more often. My answer: no, because pressuring him to communicate with you via text and online in between meetings is not going to change his lack of motivation to do so.

    He is probably not cheating on you, like you believe, and he may even want to marry you, but a life with him is likely to be limited, as it is now, to the sexual/ romantic context, and later perhaps, to the cohabitating and co-parenting contexts.

    You read like a nice person, a reasonable, considerate woman. I wish you had that which you want and deserve: a boyfriend who is indeed your best friend.

    anita

    #373204
    Ashmitha
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for your response. Sorry if I was unclear, we were still seeing each other but not officially in a relationship because he was processing the death in his family and was not ready to be fully present. We took a break of not talking for 2 months and then entered a relationship. He considers that we have been dating for 1 year and 3 months.

    I think you are right in that he separates his relationship with me from that with his friends/ family. When I told him I didn’t feel like we were close friends, he was surprised and said he did consider me one of his closest friends. But I do not receive the same treatment his friends and cousins do which confuses me. We do have moments where he confides in me and we text for hours but it does not happen very often. We usually go most days with me receiving 1-3 texts from him, although he is online a lot. He does have responsibilities in his life as he is the eldest child and works full-time but since he is working from home now, due to the pandemic, I would like more communication. I am a graduate student pursing my Master’s degree in Health Sciences so I am busy too but I make time for him.

    Do you think I can do anything to encourage him to communicate with me more? He is a really nice guy and our morals are aligned. I think we could be close friends which I want, but I don’t know if he sees it that way. I do definitely agree that he compartmentalizes me as his girlfriend but I want to change that. I have been told by close friends (females and males) that I have a great personality and they love being a close friend of mine. I just wonder why my own boyfriend does not see it that way.

    Also I have read your replies in the past too. You are very wise and intelligent. I wonder, do you have a background in psychology or something related? Talking to you feels like talking to a psychologist. Thank you for your incomparable advice, Anita!

     

    #373208
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha:

    You are welcome, and thank you for your kind words. I have some formal educational background, but the value you perceive in my replies to members is there because I am dedicated to my own healing which started in my first quality psychotherapy, 2011-2013, followed by having spent many hours each day, since May 2015, studying members’ developing life-stories, having communicated with individual members for months and years.

    “We do have moments where he confides in me and we text for hours but it does not happen very often… he is online a lot…He does have responsibilities in his life as he is the eldest child and works full-time.. from home, due to the pandemic”-

    – this is different from what I imagined the situation to be: I didn’t know that (1) he confides in you sometimes, like a friend, (2) sometimes he spends hours communicating with you via text, (3) he has lots of responsibilities and works full-time from home, which explains why he is online a lot, and why he doesn’t have the time to always or often answer your texts sooner than he does.

    This means to me that his compartmentalizing you is not extreme (Some compartmentalizing takes place in every person relationships with others).

    “Do you think I can do anything to encourage him to communicate with me more?”- to answer this, I ask: you wrote that he confides in you sometimes: what kinds of things did he share with you and how did you respond to him when he confided in you?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
    #373211
    Ashmitha
    Participant

    Oh wow, that is impressive you have learned from studying others!

    I would say we have consistent conversation maybe 2-3 times a month usually. But going from that to barely talking other days feels hot and cold sometimes. He is online a lot during the evening after his work hours, so he is likely talking to friends/ family. He has lots of group chats. Also, his work is only busy at the end of the month. Other than that, he has told me he has a lot of free time, since he has been working at home. It is mostly the evenings after his work hours where I am disappointed to see no response when he is online.

    He has confided in me about friendship problems recently with a few of his friends and I gave him advice to not let people step all over him. Also telling him it is okay to make his friend circle smaller, and hang out with the people he truly likes over people he has told me he does not like. I am more of a blunt person and he has more of the people-pleasing personality type. I am more comfortable with being close to a smaller circle of friends and being open about it. I have a large circle of friends as well, but I maintain closer contact with the people I have found to be loyal and exhibit no toxic behaviour. Other than that, it will be random nights we end up having a long conversation. I am not saying anything negative to him or disregarding his feelings. I’m always there for him when he wants to talk. Everything is over text btw.

    I am thinking of communicating these feelings with him the next time we meet in person because it does bother me. I don’t want to come off as though I am blaming him or forcing him to communicate with me more. But I would like to feel like my needs are being met in my relationship. Is it normal to have to have these talks about needs being met every few months in a relationship?

    #373213
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha:

    Thank you. Reads like the problem is not that he prefers other people (of the friends and family category) over you, but that he gives his time to people who demand his time and efforts, and being the people  pleaser that he is, he accommodates them. You, on the other hand, are not demanding of him, being the “relaxed girlfriend” that you are, so .. you get less of his time and efforts.

    “Is it normal to have these talks about needs being met every few months in a relationship?”- you can have these talks any time you want, as long as the talks are reasonable and respectful.

    If his people-pleasing tendencies are strong, then it is a big  problem as you move forward with him, because I don’t think you can or want to become demanding of him, but other people can .. and want to continue to demand his time and effort, which means- less for you. Is he interested in no longer being a people-pleaser?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by anita.
    #373246
    Ashmitha
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Yes I think you may be right. He does say he can stretch himself thin sometimes because he wants to be there for those who need him. I wouldn’t say he is a complete pushover, he knows how to stand his ground with people he is not close to, but I think he fails to with people he is close to. I am quite the opposite so this trait of his has bothered me in some instances. But he is a kind hearted person and is trying to do the right thing. Sometimes I definitely wish he had more of a backbone. I have definitely felt like I come second to his sisters and cousins and this has bothered me in some instances. He is very close with his family.

    I’m not sure how I would demand more time from him. I can see how our texting could get boring at times since we have pretty different interests, which is why I text less now. He doesn’t need to hear everything I want to talk about. I find my girlfriends and I have more similar interests and will engage more. He texts his male friends a lot sometimes, but they talk about sports and jokes. Him and his cousins talk about our cultural music etc (I don’t listen to it much).

    You said I should not ask him to text me more. What do you suggest? I would be happier and satisfied with our relationship if we had more communication but I don’t want to force it.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Ashmitha.
    #373250
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha:

    I think that it is perfectly fine for a couple to have certain shared interests, or more importantly, shared values while having different personal interests and, therefore,  separate groups of friends based on the separate interests.

    “He can stretch himself thin.. wants to be there for …people he is close to.. his sisters and cousins… He is very close with his family”-

    – reads like he is placing the needs and wants of his sisters and cousins/ his family of origin’s needs above your needs. If you marry him and he continues to place the needs and wants of his family-of-origin above the needs and wants of his chosen- family (his wife and children), neglecting the latter for the former- that would be a significant problem.

    If you consider marrying him sometime in the future, better bring up this topic of possible differing values in regard to family of origin’s vs chosen family’s needs and wants.

    Regarding asking, or not asking him to text you more: you repeatedly asked him to text you already, and as the result: he texted you more for a while, but then returned to normal, which was inadequate for you. I don’t believe in repeating what did not work before. I don’t know what to suggest in this regard, at this point.

    anita

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