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How to know if he wants a future with you?

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  • #380411
    Ashmitha
    Participant

    My boyfriend and I have been exclusive for 1 year and 6 months, but officially dating for 10 months (there was a close death in his family). He is a respectful, calm and understanding person. Although I know he’s a good guy, there are a few things that make me question how he views me and our relationship.

    1.We don’t go out on the weekends, only on the weekdays after work. He sees friends and family on the weekends. We mostly just go out to eat, talk and then are intimate. I’ve vocalized that I want more real dates (going hiking, doing an activity), but I’ve mentioned it more playfully, so I think I need to be more stern.

    2.He hasn’t told his sisters and cousins that he is in a relationship. I think they think he is just seeing me. He doesn’t show me on social media either. Sometimes I feel like he’s “hiding” our relationship.

    3.I haven’t met his friends but they know about me and he has tried to arrange that before, but it was cancelled due to covid restrictions.

    4. He can take long to text back and we don’t call at all.

    5.We don’t take pictures together. We have a few from one nice date. That’s it.

    We have good conversations when we are together, which is about once a week. We live far apart and he drives up to 1 hour to see me without ever complaining almost every time we hang out, which I appreciate. I know he is physically attracted to me but I don’t think he’s as interested in me as a person. He said I should be flattered that he’s still so attracted to me but I find it kind of annoying at times. I know physical attraction and intimacy is important, but I think I have a lot to offer as a person, besides my appearance.

    When I noticed he was on his phone a lot while we were together, I brought it up and he apologized and said I was right and that he would change his behaviour. And he did.

    I guess I just feel tired of bringing these things up. I didn’t have to ask for these things in my last relationship. It makes me question if he really likes me and takes our relationship seriously, or if he is not invested long term. He does say things like “when we get married” and “when we have kids” etc but that will be so long from now. He tells me he loves me in person. I can’t tell if it is my own insecurities making me feel this way or if his behaviours are concerning. I do feel like our relationship has progressed slowly compared to my past ones and my friends’ relationship. Looking forward to your advice!

    • This topic was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by Ashmitha.
    #380422
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha:

    On January 20 this year, you shared about your boyfriend’s motivation vs yours: “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”.

    Four months later, May 25, you shared: “I know he is physically attracted to me but I don’t think he’s as interested in me as a person.. I know physical attraction and intimacy is important, but I think I have a lot to offer as a person, besides my appearance”-

    -it seems to me that he is interested in you, being that you are an attractive woman who is not a family member, as a sexual object.

    Jan 2021: “I have been told by close friends (females and males) that I have a great personality”- his behavior indicates that he is not interested in you as a person, that he doesn’t care to get to know you in depth. That’s why he chooses to spend his free time online with his family and friends, and in many group chats that do not include you (“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 “, Jan 2021)

    You shared today: “He is respectful, calm and understanding person.. a good guy”, being respectful, calm, understanding, and a good guy, he takes you out to eat and talk with you before having sex (“We mostly just go out to eat, talk and then are intimate”).  A man who uses a woman for sex does not necessarily acts rudely, most men know that they have to be nice so to have sex with a woman.

    “He said I should be flattered that he’s still so attracted to me but I find it kind of annoying at times”- annoyed perhaps because the only attraction he has expressed to you is a sexual attraction?

    * Many men who view women as sexual objects do get married, but they don’t change their view of women/ their wife, because of marriage.

    If I am correct, I am sorry that this is your current situation.

    anita

     

    #380437
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha,

    I can’t tell if it is my own insecurities making me feel this way or if his behaviours are concerning.

    Unfortunately, his behavior is concerning. It wasn’t that clear in your last thread, although it was strange already then that he doesn’t want to talk to you on the phone, whereas he does frequently with his family. But now it’s very clear that he doesn’t care about you the way you care about him. The fact that he hasn’t told his family about you (as a serious, committed relationship with the prospect of marriage) and that he doesn’t want to spend time with you on the weekends, but only after work for sex basically, is very concerning.

    You say he’s respectful – but how is it respectful that he hides your relationship (of 1.5 years) from his family? That he doesn’t want to spend a weekend with you doing common program? If he’s not interested to spend lots of time with you now, then when will he be interested?

    You also say he’s a good guy. But I would like to ask you – how exactly is he good towards you? How does he show his appreciation towards you?

     

     

    #380441
    Ashmitha
    Participant

    Thank you for both of your responses. It is painful to take that in but what you’re saying makes sense. In our culture it is more common to not tell our parents until it is very serious (I haven’t told my parents yet either). But I don’t see why he hasn’t told his cousins or sisters since they are close. I can see how I’m settling for less than I expect. My friends’ relationships that have started months after mine are progressing faster than mine.

    I guess I find he’s good to me in terms of how he interacts with me in person. When I bring up complaints, he just listens and never raises his voice at me. He acknowledges his mistakes. I appreciate his calmness because I’m used to seeing men around me with anger issues. He always tries to pay for me when we go out (I don’t always let him), but it is a nice gesture.

    What do you suggest I do about this? I am going to bring it up to him. Withhold intimacy? Ask for weekend dates? Ask for phone calls? It seems like a lot. Stopping the intimacy until I feel my needs are being met seems most appropriate to me.

    #380442
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha:

    You are welcome. “What do you suggest about this? .. Withhold intimacy?”-

    – I am not sure about the verb “withhold”, it suggest dishonest manipulation perhaps. Thing is, he has no rights for your body: he doesn’t have the right to use your body for his sexual pleasure. It is a privilege, not a right. If you wanted to have sex with him with no other expectations but sex, that would be one thing. But as I understand it, you want sex and to be wanted and treated as a person/ friend. If you don’t get the second part, don’t give away the first part, because for you, the two  go together.

    “Ask for weekends dates? Ask for phone calls?”- no, time to stop asking. Just tell him this is not working for you, that you are not happy with the way things are. If he asks you why, tell him that you already told him many times in so  many ways, if he says he had no idea- well, then you know he never really listened to you.

    Don’t ask, don’t chase him- withdraw and see what he does, if anything.

    anita

    #380456
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha,

    I can see how I’m settling for less than I expect.

    yes, and you’re afraid to even bring it up:

    I’ve vocalized that I want more real dates (going hiking, doing an activity), but I’ve mentioned it more playfully,

    I am going to bring it up to him. Withhold intimacy? Ask for weekend dates? Ask for phone calls? It seems like a lot.

    When you did request daily check-ins, he agreed at first but it soon tapered off:

    I did tell him that I’d like to have a check-in at least daily. He agreed he could do that and it lasted for a few weeks, then tapered off (which usually happens when I bring things up).

    The only good thing about him, it seems, is that he’s not rude and aggressive with you. He calmly listens to your complaints, respectfully acknowledges his mistakes, changes his behavior for a brief time, and then – nothing. Same old, same old:

    When I bring up complaints, he just listens and never raises his voice at me. He acknowledges his mistakes. I appreciate his calmness because I’m used to seeing men around me with anger issues.

    What you’re getting from him is a different communication style than it was of your father’s. He’s calm, never raises his voice and seemingly listens to you (but doesn’t really follow through). He doesn’t get angry or violent with you, he doesn’t threaten you, he doesn’t even quarrel with you. He’s giving away a completely different vibe than your father, and it gives you a sense of safety that you never had at home. We’ve talked about it before. You crave this safety, and that’s why you can’t be long without a partner.

    So, this safety, and him being a different temperament than your father is what keeps you hooked. But he’s not giving you much else. He isn’t interested in spending time with you, he doesn’t want to bond with you except through sex, his family and friends are more important to him than you. He gives you attention once per week, but other than that, it’s almost like he forgets about you.

    If you really want to get to the bottom of this, you’d need to work on your fear of being alone, because it seems to me it’s the main thing that keeps you with him. That’s why you can’t even demand things for yourself. But in this case, I don’t think there’s even a point in demanding anything, because you’ve already tried it, and it didn’t work out. And if he doesn’t want to do it spontaneously, because he loves you and cares about you, then what’s the point? Do you want someone who needs to be reminded to give you attention on the other days of the week too?

    As anita says, you’d need to tell him it’s not working for you. I know it’s hard for you to let him go because of the promise of safety that he offers. That’s why you’d need to work on those deeper issues (your fear of being alone, and your fear of having any argument in a relationship), to change the pattern and open the door for a deep, satisfying relationship.

     

    #380457
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha,

    something else occurred to me – that he seems to be meeting his emotional needs with his friends and family, and not with you. You said you’re emotionally quite closed off and it’s hard for you to share your feelings. Once when you were upset with him and were reluctant to be intimate with him, yous said he had to pry information from you – it was so hard for you to tell him what’s bothering you.

    In order to have an honest relationship, you’d need to be able to tell him what’s bothering you, e.g. “I am hurt when you don’t want to spend weekends with me.” Or, “I feel neglected when you don’t reply to my texts.” Using the “I” form. Not accusing him or blackmailing him (e.g. by withholding intimacy), but expressing your feelings and your need.

    Something like: “I am hurt when you don’t want to spend weekends with me. I would need you to spend every second weekend with me.”

    Do you think you’d be able to do that? Maybe you’re afraid that if you’re so open and “demanding”, he’d abandon you. But for a relationship to work, you’d need to be able to express your feelings and your needs in this way.

     

    #380462
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha:

    Inspired by the very intelligent and insightful posts right above, I am adding the following (please take your time reading the multiple posts submitted for you, including this one, and take your time to calmly and patiently consider and evaluate the content):

    In April you wrote regarding previous relationships and current one: “subconsciously, I am looking for something ‘wrong’… It probably does stem from my fear of having a marriage like my parents“- because a woman is looking for something wrong in a relationship does not mean that when she finds something that is wrong- it must be her mistaken perception. I believe that in your current relationship, both are true: you looked for something wrong, and you found it.  There really is something wrong: (a) a lack of compatibility: he wants sex from you and nothing more; you want more, (b) dishonesty on his part (I will elaborate on the latter later in this post).

    You also wrote: “I think I have a hard time fully trusting people and letting them in because I’m scared they will disappoint me, like my dad did“- again, because a woman doesn’t fully trust people and doesn’t let them in does not mean that every man she meets is trustworthy and should be let in!

    Also, it is true that you did not adequately communicate with your boyfriend clearly and assertively, ex., in your original post yesterday, you wrote: “I’ve vocalized that I want more dates.. but I’ve mentioned it more playfully, so I think I need to be more stern”, and it is true that.. his only interest with you seems to be sex, and nothing more. More assertive communication on your part is unlikely to change his interest.

    * Telling him playfully that you want more dates, reminds me of the “lol” in your April thread, regarding your father: “He would threaten my mom a lot, and hold knives to scare her. This did not scare me lol. I would go to the kitchen, get my own knife, and stand up to him”- you use humor to lower your anxiety/ diffuse expected or feared conflicts.

    Back to your boyfriend: “When I bring up complaints, he just listens and never raises his voice at me. He acknowledges his mistakes. I appreciate his calmness“- at this time, after getting to  know him through your posts, over time- I think that him listening to you calmly, acknowledges his mistakes is his way to diffuse and de-escalate conflict (your complaint), a common strategy employed in customer service and public relations. He doesn’t really acknowledge his mistakes, he just makes you feel  better by faking such acknowledgement.

    I suspect that when he says to you “things like ‘when we get married’ and ‘when we have kids’ etc.”, with no behavior that suggests such interests on his part- these are manipulative comments, aimed at keeping you interested and motivated to avail yourself to him. (These powerful and effective comments are easy to say, they don’t take any effort on his part, and they don’t cost him any money).

    Back to what you shared in April regarding you standing up to your father so to protect your mother: “I would stand up to him… I saw myself as a stronger woman than she was, and I felt the need to protect her because she was a fearful person”-

    – it is time for you to stand up to this (calm yet dishonest) man, and protect yourself from being further used and misused by him.

    anita

    #381095
    Ashmitha
    Participant

    Hi Teak and Anita,

    Both of your responses really resonated with me and I’ve been thinking about what you’ve both said over the last 2 weeks. I felt quite sick by what you were both suggesting, to be honest. I told him I felt sick and I that I needed a couple days before I could talk about it with him. I told him how I felt, like he was using me for “after work sex” and how ill that made me feel. I also explained how it bothered me that we didn’t go on real dates, he hasn’t told his sisters or cousins about me and that we haven’t met each other’s friends. I said these things together made me feel like he didn’t take me seriously. He said he didn’t introduce me to his friends because of the pandemic but agreed we needed to arrange proper dates more often.  He said everything was unintentional and hard to see without taking a step back and evaluating it. 1.5 weeks later I suggested we meet and go to a flower garden as a nice date and opportunity to talk. He suggested Saturday (today) and I agreed. Last minute, he told me he his sister texted him that he had to go to a family commitment with them for his cousin at a temple (a prayer for his cousin whose mother passed away 2 years ago). I was very irritated. I had already started getting ready and was really looking forward to that date. I planned my outfit, did my nails etc. I felt so dumb because this isn’t the first time it has happened, DUE TO HIS FAMILY.  I suggested we take a break because I felt overwhelming emotions in this moment, combined with the other feelings I already had. He apologized for the last minute flaking. I said I need a couple days to think and suggested he do the same.  And that we can talk after and decide what we want to do.

    In this situation, I could see how it wasn’t his fault since it was his family. But I feel they are so demanding of his time. This has bothered me early into dating. And he doesn’t have a backbone so he doesn’t say no to them. I don’t see this changing either. I want to bring this up to him without being offensive. I am very close to my family too but I still prioritize him. It shouldn’t be this hard to have a relationship with my boyfriend. I’m hoping this break will give me some clarity.

    Hope you’re all doing well.

    #381098
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha,

    I am sorry you had another disappointment. But it’s great that you talked to him beforehand and honestly expressed your concerns and also your needs. That was a huge step you did for yourself – so well done!

    He said everything was unintentional and hard to see without taking a step back and evaluating it.

    This I feel is again one of his manipulations. He’ll always find some excuse why he cannot spend more time with you, he’ll always find some justification. Like now: you agreed to have a date and he cancels in the last moment, but not due to an emergency that he really needed to tend to, but do to a family event that a) he probably knew in advance about, and b) is not super important either, because it’s a prayer for his cousin’s mother who passed away 2 years ago.

    I am almost sure he knew about this prayer in advance, since he’s so close to his family, they probably informed him. If it was really important that he be there, he could have arranged a date with you for another day, say Sunday. But I guess on Sunday he has other family obligations, which he doesn’t want and doesn’t dare to cancel. You say it wasn’t the first time he cancelled due to his family, so clearly, they are his priority, even in unimportant things, which he definitely wouldn’t need to tend to.

    In this situation, I could see how it wasn’t his fault since it was his family. But I feel they are so demanding of his time. This has bothered me early into dating. And he doesn’t have a backbone so he doesn’t say no to them. I don’t see this changing either.

    Actually, I think it’s his fault because he most probably knew about it, but thought he’d be able to skip it, but then as soon as his sister texted him, he agreed to go and cancelled your date. Which means, as you say, he isn’t able to say No to them, and if he isn’t willing to change, he’ll always prioritize them before you.

    If you were to get married, it would be a nightmare to have a husband who’s so much controlled by his parents and his family, while his wife almost doesn’t have a say. She’s just there for sex and raising the children, and is given hardly any respect and appreciation, and isn’t considered in important decisions. This I see as a real threat if you’d marry this guy, unfortunately.

    #381112
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ashmitha:

    The question in the title of your thread is: “How to know if he wants a future with you?”.

    My answer: (1) You tell him how you feel (which you did: “sick.. like he was using me for ‘after work sex’ and how ill that made me feel… it bothered me that we didn’t go on real dates, he hasn’t told his sisters or cousins about me and that we haven’t met each other’s friends.. these things together made me feel like he didn’t take me seriously”),

    (2) You listen to what he says in response (which you did: “everything was unintentional and hard to see without taking a step back and evaluating it”)

    (3) You wait and observe his behavior (which you did: “1.5 weeks later.. I suggested we meet and go to a flower garden as a nice date and opportunity to talk… I planned my outfit, did my nails etc.. Last minute, he told me he his sister texted him that he had to go to a family commitment with them”)

    (4) You evaluate what happened (1-3 above). You did this part and figured that the reason he cancelled the date in the last minute is that his family is too demanding and that he does not have the backbone to tell them No (“they are so demanding of his time… he doesn’t have a backbone so he doesn’t say no to them”).

    I am suggesting a different evaluation: you told him honestly how sick, ill and bothered (the words you used) you felt by his specific behaviors. He told you that his behaviors were all unintentional and that it is hard for him to see what you told him without taking a step back and evaluating it. He then had ONE & A HALF WEEKS TO STEP BACK AND EVALUATE.

    And a week and a half later- he does another “unintentional” move and cancels a date with you. You told him a week and a half earlier: “these things together made me feel like he didn’t take me seriously”. A week and a half later, he is still not taking you seriously.

    The most acute problem is not that his family is too demanding and that he can’t say no to them, but that he does not care about your feelings. If he cared, he wouldn’t have cancelled the date with you. If his family became less demanding, he wouldn’t start caring for you just because they changed. Let’s say your boyfriend loves pizza (representing sex with you) but is indifferent to beets (representing your feelings and your qualities as a person/ friend). If his family becomes less demanding, or not demanding at all- he will still love pizza and be indifferent to beets. See my point?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by anita.
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