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Relationship advice

Hi, not sure if I've put this in the right category or not but im just wanting advice on what to do in my situation.  I've been on and off with a guy for 3 years that i feel strongly about,  we have a connection i can't explain,  but he is very closed off and hasn't opened up much, which i understand must be hard for him due to past experiences, what makes it hard for me is that he doesn't express how he feels about us and when i have asked him he doesn't give me a straight answer,  this leaves me feeling uneasy and unsure of where we stand..when people ask if i have a boyfriend i actually don't know how to answer.. I often feel silly because I think i am being too understanding to the point of losing self respect but find it hard to move on maybe because I am comfortable? I feel the need to move on because not much has changed in 3 yrs, i don't feel we're progressing,  maybe incompatible due to feeling like im not having my needs met, eg.emotional connection. 

 

Re: Relationship advice

Hi @Louis000! Welcome to the forums! Smiley Happy

That situation honestly sounds really tricky. Smiley Sad It can be hard not knowing where you stand in a relationship. At the same time, you wouldn't want to push someone away by pressuring them into giving you an answer.

It could be that this is just the guy's personality. A lot of people struggle with being intimate and sharing thoughts and feelings in relationships. We all have our own individual ways of connecting with each other. It can be a problem if someone who constantly needs to feel a sense of comfort and belonging is in a relationship with someone who needs their own space and is afraid of making themselves vulnerable. Has he been like this from the beginning? Do you know if he was like this in other relationships?

Re: Relationship advice

Hi WheresMySquishy 🙂

Thank you for your advice, I really appreciate your feedback. 

I do believe it is his personality as he has always been this way and only ever had one long relationship prior to ours and was told he was the same way in that relationship also,  she cheated on him with his best mate..and i think was abusive toward him also. 

Although he doesn't tell me the thing's i long to hear, he has shown me that he cares and thinks of me but his also expressed a few thing's to me that make me think he doesnt see us together long term which makes me naturally question how he feels for me, so i have to remind myself that it's not me, it's just where his at right now? So he said he doesn't see himself ever living with someone again or getting married. We both have kids, he cant have any more and i dont want anymore. It's been hard for me to express my feelings also out of fear of losing him so iv definitely worked through some insecurities of my own because now i tell him how i feel sad and confused about our relationship because i feel  we aren't connecting on an emotional level, i told him that i missed him the other week because sometimes we dont see each other for over 2 weeks at a time, he works away, anyway he is making small steps towards letting himself be vulnerable because he told me a couple of day's ago that he misses me too. 

 

Re: Relationship advice

From an outsiders perspective i can't help but feel as though at times im self sacrificing alot, people tell me i deserve better because his stringing me along. i think we both have different wants and needs, i question it alot ofthe time because i was co dependent in my past relationships and have found it hard to be on my own. I feel stuck, but more so that i need to let go and focus more on myself for my self esteem 

Re: Relationship advice

When I told him a cpl months ago how I felt about him and asked if he was in love with me he answered "love, what even is that"? 

One other time I rang to tell him I can't continue on having a relationship like this with him and he said he understood because he knew I want a long term committed relationship,  i was sad to hear him  say that but also relieved to get it out and tell him, the next day he called and said i dont want to lose you.. 

Of course i feel the same way but after thinking about it a cpl days later i felt like what's changed? Is he just telling me what I want to hear? 

Re: Relationship advice

@Louis000  Wow, that sounds really complicated. Smiley Sad It sounds to me like he could be indecisive about what he wants, which could account for the mixed messages he's sending. It can also be pretty hard maintaining a relationship when you don't get to see each other often, which could be reinforcing the difficulties with closeness and connecting to each other emotionally. There is no easy answer about how to proceed. No one can really tell you how to approach the issue or what to do about it.

It could help to weigh up what the relationship means to you. Connecting on an emotional level can be more of an issue for some people than others. Is him not expressing his emotions a big deal to you? Does it outweigh other aspects of the relationship? Can your needs for intimacy, closeness, comfort and an emotional connection be met by other people? This doesn't necessarily have to be romantic in nature. You could turn to your friends and family for help fulfilling these. They can also be a support.

I think it's important to remember that the value you place on the relationship and your partner can sometimes lead people to make different kinds of attributions about their partner's actions. For example, if you don't have a good relationship with someone and they give you a gift, you can think, 'They are only giving me a gift because they feel as though they have to' as opposed to 'They are giving me a gift to show that they care about me and because they want to'. I think it could be a good idea to reflect on the different possibilities underlying your boyfriend's behaviour before jumping to any hasty conclusions and decisions.

Re: Relationship advice

@WheresMySquishy 

Thanks again for your reply, it has helped me put thing's into a more logical positive point of view for me as I can sometimes over think thing's.  

I do value our relationship and would be miserable without his friendship. I have tried to cut him out of my life before and it was horrible,  I did this because he ghosted me in the early days..but he realizes now how much that affected me and regrets it, it has taken some time of him showing consistency of communication by calling every cpl of day's for me to regain trust that he wouldn't  do that to me again,  but this is all mostly been due to letting actions speak louder than words because  like i said he finds it very difficult to talk about, it's not really a big deal to me most of the time  him not expressing his emotions,  I  do worry about him holding stuff in which his admitted to but there's nothing i can do about that other than be myself n express how i feel which will hopefully help him feel more comfortable to eventually.  And yes I do turn to family and friends for emotional connection which helps balance things out. 

Re: Relationship advice

@Louis000   It's really awful to be ghosted. Smiley Sad It sounds like you really care about your boyfriend. I would say that he cares about your feelings too and wants to make up for the ghosting. I'm glad that your family and friends are supportive!

Another thing you could consider is relationship counselling if you are having a lot of difficulties in your relationship and are both up for it. It can sometimes be helpful to have a third party mediate the issues. I think that Relationships Australia can provide this kind of service. Maybe you could also decide on some agreements about the relationship together, which you could write down as a contract. This doesn't have to be done with a counsellor or psychologist but it can help to have a third party review it to make sure that the requests are reasonable and realistic and not driven by things such as anger, jealousy or paranoia (not that I think you're showing any of these).

If you do end up seeing a relationship counsellor, two of the most important factors in whether it will end up being beneficial are liking the counsellor or therapist and wanting it to work. So don't be afraid to look around for a counsellor you're comfortable with.

Here are some good articles which can help with addressing issues in relationships. You could follow some of the points when suggesting something to him, for example. The way we phrase things can really impact on whether the other person will do it and set the tone of a relationship. In my experience, being too aggressive or intimidating can drive people away, for example.