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Does my boyfriend even love me?

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  • #224019
    Mathilde-S
    Participant

    I want a little advice on my current situation about my boyfriend of almost 5 months now (both the same age, we met at uni)
    He’s a bit different to guys his age (vegan, does meditation, yoga, fasts for 3 days at the time for health reasons, reads LOADS about many different topics, will gladly spend lots of time on his own).
    He is an introvert, and internalises many of his thoughts and emotions (I’m the polar opposite btw). We don’t often openly talk about our relationship,

    Though he was first to say he loves me, about 2/3 months in the relationship. We say that to each other often and always fully mean it.
    I’ve met this family, he’s met mine, we’ve been abroad twice together, and he came to visit me in my home country for 10 days straight (he left 2 days ago).
    I am his first girlfriend and he’s my first proper boyfriend.

    The issue is that he doesn’t communicate often when we’re apart, which I used to have big anxiety attacks over, but never expressed those clearly to him. I’ve come to understand it’s not that he doesn’t love or care about me, but he’s just a poor texter and likes time doing his own thing.
    Yet it can often feel like he doesn’t care about me (i.e. didn’t offer to pick me up from the airport when I bought a plane ticket to come visit him)

    The current situation is the following:
    He left 3 days ago to head back to the UK after having stayed with me and my family in my home country for 10 days straight (long stretch of time I know, but went well).

    His birthday is on the 14th of september, he knows my flight to the UK is on the 11th, and he chose to come back for the 15th (thereby choosing to spend his birthday without me). I know for a fact he’s not particularly bothered about having a birthday party, he’s not particularly close to his family or friends either.

    The morning he left we briefly talked about it and it seemed like he wanted to spend it with me, but he nonchalantly told me he’d actually come back a bit later. I told him it was upsetting, he didn’t seem to be too bothered and seemed like he just wanted to avoid any sort of discussion about it, he keeps his messages quite short and to the point. The matter was sort of swept under the carpet and I felt a bit neglected, and not taken into account.
    I didn’t receive another text from another 24 hours almost, by which point I was already imagining the worst.

    When I am WITH him, everything is fine for the most part and we get along very well (though sometimes I feel a bit judged for the things I say but that’s minor), when I am away from him, I often feel myself in such despair and disarray due to a seemingly profound lack of interest and commitment to this relationship on his part. I often feel a bit taken for granted, and not that important (i.e. scenario in the paragraph before)

    I sometimes have a feeling he’s not right for me, and maybe we’re not that compatible.
    I’ve thought about it many times and entertained the possibility of breaking up, but am too scared of doing that, and don’t think I’d be better off without him. I am confused because I DO love him, or at least I think I do

    I guess I wanted to ask whether any of you think that this is a deal-breaker, and what you think of this sometimes contradictory behaviour (will text me things like goodbye my love, but then also seem not to understand how upset I can feel), or whether you have been in a similar situation?

    PS: we have talked about the lack of communication and how it affects me, it’s been resolved for the most part but I’m not sure whether it’s reasonable to make a big deal out of the plane ticket issue and how he swept it under the carpet and didn’t text me for almost a day following that (surely a boyfriend should care enough to do that?). Or is it just due to his young age/lack of experience?

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by Mathilde-S.
    #224053
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Mathilde-S:

    You wrote, “(he) didn’t offer to pick me up from the airport when I bought a plane ticket to come visit him”. Can you elaborate on that, on why he didn’t, if he offered that before when you flew to visit him but didn’t this time, did he have a reason, etc.?

    anita

    #224073
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Mathilde-S,

    We tend to think the other person operates the same as US. If YOU didn’t text for days or offer to pick someone up from the airport, etc. it would be a red flag to the other person about YOUR commitment to them. Now, your BF is your opposite. He reads a bit like Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory. He is either clueless, uncaring, or has a touch of Aspergers. Who knows? I for one don’t pick up on him being hurtful on purpose.

    Good Luck,

    Inky

    #224075
    Mathilde-S
    Participant

    He didn’t really have a reason, he wasn’t doing much at home anyway so could have spared 2 short train rides to come to Gatwick… I half-jokingly implied we could meet halfway, to which he agreed immediately.
    I asked him a few days before I left ‘are you gonna pick me up at the airport?’ and he said yes without any hesitation, however it didn’t come from him, and I find it rather strange not to even suggest that in the first place when your girlfriend is coming from another country to visit you..

    He came to visit me and I picked him up from the airport without any second thought…

    He definitely doesn’t have any Aspergers and he is a smart man, and socially apt in many different situations.

    The fact that he purposely chose to come to our university city a few days after I arrive (knowing I had chosen that date to be there for his bday, but still coming afterwards) is a big fat slap in the face.

    #224121
    Mark
    Participant

    Mathild-S.

    We assume that just because we SAY we love each other then our Love Languages match and we know how to communicate HOW we love each other.  Check out the Five Languages of Love and see how each of you express love.

    We also EXPECT our romantic partner to automatically KNOW what they SHOULD do IF they love us.  NOT!  It’s about communicating EXPLICITLY about what we want and how we want it and when we want it.

    Check out Non-Violent Communication techniques and process by Marshall Rosenberg on how we communicate based on our feelings, needs and behavior specific requests.

    Mark

    #224165
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Mathilde-S:

    Notice how he behaves with other people in his life. For example, does he offer to pick others up at the airport and then follows through.. but makes an exception with you? Or regarding texting, does he text someone else regularly, but not you?

    If his behaviors are consistent with everyone in his life, that does mean that .. this is the way he is. Then you can decide if you want to accept him the way he is or not.  If you do, then accept that you will need to be directive with him, that is, if you want to be picked up from the airport, tell him specifically when and where and remind him, doing what it takes to make it happen.

    anita

    #224311
    Mathilde-S
    Participant

    He does exactly the same with his family, and always acts nonchalant and detached towards everyone…

    He is the way he is, but does that justify such a behaviour? I’m not sure…

    Anyway thanks everyone for all your great responses

     

    #224331
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Mathilde-S:

    I think you make a good point. I suppose it was rude of him to not pick you up from the airport for one, and the fact that he may be rude to  others as well, doesn’t at all excuse him being rude to you.

    anita

    #235253
    Mathilde-S
    Participant

    I’m updating this as I am for further need of advice.

    Lots of things have changed, we are now back to living in the same city (both go to uni and it started again).

    We have spent LOTS of time together, sleeping at each other’s house every night, or almost every night, having dinner together almost every night as well. We go to yoga classes together, go to the movies/out for dinner or events, go for walks, go to cafes, just lots of times together in general. Neither me nor him ever had that with anyone.

    I guess all this time spent together made any mystery/nervousness/excitement about him subside.

    I guess I am maybe a bit bored every now and then and not crazy about him at times. Most of the time I do look at him and feel something, but it can very much happen that the ‘flames’ are just not there.

    He started the conversation about it (he never outwardly spoke and initiated a conversation on a serious ‘relationship’ topic ever). Essentially said he was thinking about it today, and was almost a bit worried about how the relationship is changing. That he doesn’t feel as crazy infatuated at the beginning, not the same sense of nervousness. He ackwnowledged it might mean getting to know someone on a deeper level. He recognized essentially (though not directly) that sometimes he can be a bit bored/not crazy about me, and it’s just something he thought about, and something he was a bit scared of, how the nature of the relationship is changing. Whether it’s normal to feel this way

    I said it’s normal that things change, relationships aren’t static, nor are feelings

    I appreciated he spoke to me about it, though he’s DEFINITELY not the type of person to bring something like that up unless he thinks it is important.

    I guess he voiced out pretty normal concerns, and probably something that (I hope) everyone feels at this 6/7 months mark. But for some reason I am worried that these concerns he’s having might just be the start of the road towards just subsiding feelings?

     

     

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by Mathilde-S.
    #235301
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Mathilde-S:

    Feelings do change and flames can not continue forever. Thing is he already experienced that and so did you, neither one of you was always excited about the other, but neither you nor him thought about it much, if at all, and wasn’t alarmed by it.

    Recently,  reads to me, he started thinking about it and panicked. A person panicking in this circumstance may think something like: oh, oh, I am not feeling the flames, this means I am not in  love,  oh, oh, am I stuck in a loveless relationship… I feel trapped, better get out of this!

    You wrote about him earlier that he “always acts nonchalant and detached towards everyone”, including his family members. That leads me to think that he is protecting himself from too-much-closeness, that in his early relationships with his parents he was hurt and withdrew. Closeness with you recently may scare him for the same reason he was scared since childhood, to be hurt.

    I wouldn’t ask him at this point regarding his childhood, if I was you, but I would ask him about whether he is scared, and if he is, rearrange your schedule and time together so that you spend less time together or have alone time while being in close proximity (you doing your thing, he doing his thing within the same location).

    What do you think?

    anita

     

     

    #235305
    Mathilde-S
    Participant

    First of all, thanks for responding. The post you mentioned about his acting nonchalant and detached has changed over time. He definitely has expressed his emotions a lot more in the past few weeks/months.

    He does tell me he loves me relatively often, and told me that a few days ago even (and he is NOT the type of person to say it without meaning it).

    I am also his first ever relationship, and upon sharing this feeling with me he simultaneously acknowledged the novelty of the concept, the novelty of a long-term relationship and the subsiding feelings that occur.

    I guess my question is: should I be alarmed that he is panicking about it a bit? Happy that he decided to share it with me? Is it a normal conversation to have, even (aware that normal is purely subjective in the case of relationships, though a certain element of normative objectivity does exist)?

    A sign that this relationship is progressing into something more, or a sign of his realisation that I am not what I thought he was getting himself into?

    Obviously I will raise the matter with him, however I was wondering what your take would be  on this?

    #235309
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Mathilde-S:

    First, it is clear that you are anxious about whether this relationship is progressing or on its road to ending. As to your question, I re-read your previous post, what he told you.

    I think it is not a good thing, what he told you, it is a reasonable cause for concern on your part. I think so because I know how powerful fear is, and he told you that “he was a bit scared“. When fear appears in the context of a relationship by a previously nonchalant, distant person, that is a cause for concern.

    You gave him a good answer, a correct answer, and you are a sensible, rational, well articulated person. Problem is .. fear is very powerful, and if his fear increases, he will do what it takes to eliminate the fear.

    You can’t talk a person out of fear. A person can’t talk  himself or herself out of fear a lot of the time. Talking about fear is very challenging. He is afraid, you are afraid. As a matter of fact, everyone is afraid.

    Talk about it, better than looking for signs or what is considered normal. Communicate simply and honestly, that is your best bet. No guarantees in these matters, but you can increase the possibility that the relationship will last if the two of you communicate well.

    anita

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