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Some recent questions:
I just finished university this year and a guy who I had a class with in first semester (Sept-Dec) started messaging me out of the blue back in April just “to say hi.” I was really surprised to hear from him because it was so random, but I did respond and we continued to chat via Facebook until about June. We kept trying to make plans but all the work at the end of the semester it was too much for either of us to get together!
He had a big get together with a lot of his friends on the night of our convocation and he invited me to come out for it. There was a lot of people there but we ended up sitting by ourselves chatting. He also introduced me to his friends when they came over to talk with us. He was supposed to be going away for a month shortly after graduating and while he was gone I was leaving for another two months to travel. Because of that, even though I was interested in him, I didn’t think anything substantial would really develop between us. We have really good chemistry and we had a really fun night and ended up hooking up, which I of course now totally regret.
As it turned out, he ended up breaking his leg and he wasn’t able to go away. So because he didn’t end up leaving he continued to call/text me to hang out. I wasn’t always able to (so I wasn’t always available) and he was pretty consistent and I guess we fell into some sort of ‘friends with benefits’ relationship without me really thinking about what I really wanted. I figured that while I was traveling we would just lose contact.
Just before I left, he texted me that he would miss spending time with me and that he really enjoyed seeing me, which I really appreciated, and I told him that I’d miss him too. While I was gone we still stayed in touch through email and Facebook, which was really nice. We were both pretty consistent about staying in contact.
I came back almost three weeks ago and as soon as he knew I was back he messaged, texted, and called me immediately! I wasn’t sure what kind of relationship I wanted with him—FWB, boyfriend or just platonic—and I did want to talk to him about that, but I was kind of afraid to because I do remember in a conversation we had once he mentioned that he wasn’t sure if he was good boyfriend material. He does confide a lot of very personal info with me and that came up in passing. So at any rate, I haven’t had that conversation with him as of yet. Since I’ve been back we’ve been in pretty regular contact but it feels different, more complacent now. He doesn’t call as much and he tends to stick with texting.
He’s doing his PhD at the moment so he’s pretty swamped with school and he’s not going out as much as he was in the summer. But recently he did go to an event that he told me about but didn’t invite me to. It wasn’t something where tickets had to be bought well in advance because he was trying to get an extra ticket for one of his friends on the day of. I know he’s pretty good friends with his best friend’s girlfriend and sometimes he’ll hang out with her. (I’m quite positive they have a platonic relationship – he’s very loyal to his guy friends so I don’t think there’s intimacy between him and this other girl – she’s crazy about her boyfriend.) So I think in part he might not have asked me to go with him because he might have been going with her already.
I don’t usually initiate getting together with him because he usually does the initiating but since I’ve been back I’ve only seen him twice despite still at least texting each other almost every day. And the last time I hung out with him I initiated the get together. And it was because I’m in the process of moving and I needed a place to crash, and he said I could stay with him. But that night when I was staying with him I was beginning to wonder if he was going to get bored with our relationship and it would fizzle out. I usually just go to his place and hang out with him there when I do see him. So in that regard he isn’t putting as much effort in anymore.
Two friends and I are having a joint birthday party in a couple weeks and so of course I sent out a FB invite to him for the event. (A lot of people are invited, so it is pretty casual.) He said (via text) that it sounded like a night not to be missed.(Implying that he would attend.) But on the FB RSVP he still hasn’t responded and I’m wondering if he is not wanting to commit, or if he’s waiting for something better. I know he’s been online and he knows about the event but hasn’t responded.
So… I’m confused. He seems to be interested in me, he continues to be in contact with me, I don’t think he’s seeing anyone else on the side. (I can pretty much come over when I want, so long as he’s not in class.) And I know he cares about me—he’s told me, and he’s very affectionate with me; he kisses me repeatedly on the forehead & cheek when we’re lying in bed together; and he will hold my hand in public. But on the other hand, I almost wonder if he’s keeping me in the shadows of his life. I’ve only been back a few weeks and I don’t think I’ve given us enough time to really assess the nature of our relationship, especially considering he’s doing his PhD, and I do know he’s swamped. But things are different than before.
What should I make of him?? I’m trying to just let him chase me but at the same time I wonder if he’s bored. If he’s bored wouldn’t he just stop contact completely?
Thanks for your note.
We don’t think the question is whether or not he’s bored. Guys don’t get bored from hanging out and having sex. In fact, a guy could easily stay in a “hang out and have sex” type of relationship for years, especially if he was busy with his career or studies. The problem with this type of arrangement—or we should say, one of the many problems with this type of arrangement—is that it typically never goes anywhere. The guy gets lazier and lazier over time, and starts making less effort to do more than the status quo, and consequently the woman gets more and more frustrated and confused. Eventually it kind of just fizzles away.
Don’t panic yet, Alice. Your situation hasn’t reached these proportions, but it’s headed there fast. We’re sure you’ve read these books that lay out certain rules that women and men should follow when starting a relationship. And while they certainly apply in some cases, each situation is different. In your case, the time to let him do the pursuing is over. You’ve known him over a year, been “hanging out” with him over six months, and you’re still in the exact same place, except now you want to know what’s going on. Well, we can’t blame you.
It’s time to have THE CONVERSATION. Yes, the dreaded conversation that defines what you have together. As uncomfortable as this may be, you need to get some answers from him, otherwise this situation will go on interminably. Because what motivation does he have to change it? He’s pretty much getting what he wants: a nice diversion from his busy life with a sweet and pretty girl. And in fact, the more we think about it the more this guy sounds like a possible player. His comment early on to you—”I’m not really boyfriend material.”—speaks volumes about where he’s at, and it really set the table for the type of arrangement you’re currently in with him.
And this thought just struck us: There’s a big difference between a relationship and an arrangement. One is robust and full of life, and the other is all business. You need to find out which one you’re in. Stop worrying about what he wants, and whether or not he’s going to get bored, and start focusing on what you want. You may not even know exactly what that is until you talk with him. You deserve some answers Alice, but the only way you’re going to get them is to talk to him.
Good luck. We’re hoping this works out the way you want it to. But if not, every relationship you have will better inform you for the future. Just remember to be clear about what makes YOU happy and satisfied.
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