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Last week’s questions:
I hope you get to respond to this one. I have been dating my boyfriend for 4 years and a few months. I am 32 and he will be 40 next month. He’s the first and only guy I “knew” and he was the one about 6-7 months into the relationship. We’ve both had previous relationships. I also made it clear in those first 6 months that I was not dating him to be his girlfriend forever. He understood. We knew we loved each other, so I thought everything was fine. But then a year and half into our relationship, my sister had some marital problems which kind of prompted me to bring up marriage with him. I mentioned, or asked, to try to confirm that he did want to get married and have kids. He made some joke about how I couldn’t handle a kid because I’d drop it, since I’m so careless. I pressed it and he got very uncomfortable, and asked me where “all this” was coming from. Then he went MIA on me for a week.
We talked the following week and he said how he shouldn’t have gone MIA but that he wasn’t on any timeline. I said that was fine, since I thought that it was only a year and half into our relationship. But then around the 2.5 year mark, I started to ask him when I would meet his parents and how I wanted to come over his place. He was dealing with a very sick dad who passed away last year and basically took care of his parents, changed his dad, fed him, etc. you get the picture. He always seemed so stressed over working (he has his own law practice) and caring for his dad, that I didn’t want to stress him out, so I didn’t push things like pressing him to get married. But after 2.5 years or so I really wanted to meet more than his best friend, who I didn’t even see regularly.
Anyway, when I asked if I could come over and help, his response was nice but was like, “Babe, my house is a circus between taking care of my dad and all, what would you do?” I told him I could distract his mom and keep her company. Then I asked that I would meet his parents right? He said of course I would but the time just wasn’t right right now.
After 2.5 years whenever I brought up marriage, he got very uncomfortable. Then his dad died in January last year and I brought it up around June, asking again when I would meet his mom(not about marriage per se)and his response was like, “Babe, I’m depressed, I cant even think straight. How can I answer that?” So last year, everything was about how depressed he was. But my question is, “Can a death in the family prevent someone who wants to be with you to marry you?” I mean, its always something or another it seems with him, yet he tells me he loves me and wants to be with me and has run away from other relationships for lesser things so that the fact that he’s still here trying to work it out should show me how much he wants this to work.
Anyway, I almost broke up with him last November but he wouldn’t let me and said he would try harder. I still haven’t met his mom formally, I ran into her at the mall with him and he introduced me to him, his brother and nieces, and his sister as a friend. He says he wants things to be better before he introduces me to them formally but I told him I need him to do something to feel better, take some action to further the relationship not just wait it out hoping to feel better.
So he agreed to meet my sister and brother in law last week when they were in town for an hour. The first half hour went fine, light talk, but he flipped out when my sister lightly asked, “So..what are your plans,” responding very defensively to her that that was our decision and he didn’t appreciate being interrogated.
Now he hasn’t called me in a week, even after I tried to call him down after that meeting and told him not to pull the MIA thing again. And even after recognizing that his response was overblown and that I should be the one who was offended at the way he came across to my family. Instead, I got a text from him saying how he was sorry he had not called but that he was “deeply troubled” and did not want to say something he regretted and that!
hopefully we could talk in a few days.
WTF? Deeply troubled because my sister asked about our future plans since we’ve been dating for 4 years? Whats his deal?
Thanks for your question. To use your own words, we are deeply troubled by this.
We’re not sure even where to start, but how about with his father passing away. First of all our condolences. Having to take care of a sick parent, and then having to watch them die, is very difficult. That’s a situation that could easily cause your boyfriend to be severely stressed, and depressed. Everyone reacts differently to these types of situations. Typically, people want to be consoled by the people they are closest to. Often these types of situations draw people closer together, not push them farther apart. However, some people need space to deal with their grief-like your boyfriend-and it’s important you honor that. It sounds like you have.
However, we don’t think that’s what’s going on here. We unfortunately agree with your assessment: There will always be something with this guy. And his reaction to your sister, and then his subsequent action-going MIA again-is telling. What does you sister think? What does she say?
It’s also telling that he hasn’t wanted to introduce you to his parents. Most people who are serious about their prospective partner want their partner to meet their family, if not for the simple reason of letting their family know they are serious about the relationship they are in. This is a red flag.
We know this is very hard. It’s obvious you love this man, but are you really getting what you need out of this emotionally? You keep asking him to give you some sort of sign that he’s committed for the long term and all you get are deflections. If after four years he’s still not sure, he probably will never be sure about your relationship and you.
Contrary to popular belief, guys can commit to a relationship. Usually we know right away how committed we want to be. It’s a combination of where we are in our lives, how comfortable we are with ourselves, and how attracted we are to the woman….plus a few other variables like does the woman get along with our friends, is she fun, is she smart, and is the sex good. Four years is a long time to be unsure, especially since neither of you are in your early twenties.
We hope this gets you thinking a bit. You have to keep talking to him. Communication is so important in a relationship. You are not being too pushy here. You deserve to know the truth. And if he can’t provide the answers you’re looking for, you’re going to have to make the decision to stay or go yourself.
Good luck. Don’t settle. You deserve to have someone who loves you and respects you the way you want to be loved and respected.