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Anxiety? or my gut instinct?
April 18, 2010 7:08 PM   Subscribe

Trust my instincts? or just relationship anxiety?

I have been dating this guy for 4 months. He is my first boyfriend, first of mostly everything. There are several problems.

Background: We were acquaintances for 5 months before we started dating. I knew he had a crush on me because he told one of our mutual friends. We were innocently flirting through out this time since I was casually dating someone else and wasn't really sure if he actually liked me. We finally made out in one drunken night and started dating after that (He did something, wanted to make it up so went to watch a movie).

1. Two months into dating he said he loved me. This was only after asking him about why he has been distant. He explained that he's pulling back because he rarely gets into serious relationships and he has fallen in love with me. I don't trust people easily and I was doubtful when he said this. I wasn't sure if I believed him but at the point I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Three weeks later, I said I loved him too. Looking back I'm not really sure if I meant it (I said it when I was drunk . . .)

2. Recently our communication has decreased. We usually text each other a lot through out the day. He says he is with his friends and hanging out with them. He rarely calls (he's not a big fan of phones). I feel like he's hiding something from me when he's with his friends. He says he misses me and cares about me. Whenever we're apart (he lives an hour away), I feel like he doesn't care as much as he says (he says he means it). I don't have this anxiety when I'm with him.

3. I trust him, but a part of me says I shouldn't. He always comforts me whenever I start to question our relationship, saying he cares about me, that I make him happy, he loves me. Our mutual friend, whom he confides to, says that he's practically head over heels for me. The thing is, I want to believe my boyfriend but I'm not really sure if I should.

Another thing is, this was supposed to be a short-term relationship. He's going to move to a different city in July. However, he thinks we can make it work. I'm not sure since this is my first relationship and I have nothing to compare this to.

Should I trust my instinct that he's no longer interested in me or maybe cheating on me? Am I just looking for an excuse to get out? Am I just a commitment phobe? Please give me some perspective.
posted by mrspeacock to Human Relations (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Our mutual friend, whom he confides to, says that he's practically head over heels for me.

I wouldn't conclude he is cheating on you unless you have more affirmative proof that he is. By the evidence you set forth in your question, he's really into you. He may be backing off a bit because he needs a little space, but that does not mean he's not really into you.

The mutual friend's assurance that he's "head over heels" is a good thing.
posted by jayder at 7:18 PM on April 18, 2010


Another thing is, this was supposed to be a short-term relationship.

Yeah, that never works out as planned. You're questioning a lot of things, but you haven't given any concrete reasons for all this. He sounds like a nice guy, and you sound like you're edging toward paranoia - suspecting him of "hiding things" for socializing with other people. If this relationship isn't working for you for some other reason, fine, but so far this just sounds like somewhat awkward interaction between two inexperienced people.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:19 PM on April 18, 2010


He always comforts me whenever I start to question our relationship, saying he cares about me, that I make him happy, he loves me.
That sounds more like he's comforting himself - it's better to ask whether he makes you happy than the other way around.

Look, you don't need an excuse to get out, and you don't need to talk yourself into something you don't want. It's your choice. There's no way that us Internet Strangers are going to be able to tell you whether he's cheating, whether you're a commitment phobe, or whether you two just need to communicate a whole lot better, but it sure sounds like you don't like the situation or its future.
posted by Paragon at 7:23 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I just looking for an excuse to get out?

Sounds like it. I don't think that's a bad thing. You're in a relationship you "should" be happy about, but you're just not feeling it. Because this is your first serious relationship, you probably feel like you would need a "good" reason to break it off. But the truth is, if you're not happy in the relationship, that's reason enough to break up.

It's likely that you'll want to work on your trust issues, but it sounds like that's a separate thing--this relationship is fizzling out, and it's ok to let it go.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:25 PM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ordinarily, I would say trust your gut. But your gut seems to be making trouble where there is none here. It's natural at the beginning of a relationship to stay in contact multiple times all day, but I think that would naturally diminish as the relationship settles down. And would you want to be checking in constantly while you are hanging out with your friends? I can see being kind of distracted if I'm out with other people and that doesn't mean I love my husband less.

If people you trust say he is head over heels, go with that for now unless there is some actual evidence otherwise. As for the July thing-don't borrow trouble. That is still three months away, anything could happen between now and then. Worry about his moving when it happens. You'll know your feelings better then and can make a decision about trying out the long distance thing at that time.
posted by supercapitalist at 7:26 PM on April 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


* I don't trust people easily
* [He said] he has fallen in love with me... and I was doubtful when he said this.
* Three weeks later, I said I loved him too. Looking back I'm not really sure if I meant it
* I feel like he doesn't care as much as he says (he says he means it).
* I trust him, but a part of me says I shouldn't.
* He always comforts me whenever I start to question our relationship
* I want to believe my boyfriend but I'm not really sure if I should.
* he thinks we can make it work. I'm not sure


Without any information not presented above, this sounds like anxiety. Do you have any reason to believe you might have anxiety? Check out this question as well.
posted by salvia at 8:28 PM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


It sounds a lot like he's pulling away because he thinks you aren't really that into him. Maybe he's right, maybe you've been holding yourself back because you know he's leaving. Did you get into the relationship knowing he'd be leaving? Because maybe you really don't want a long term thing, and you only got into the relationship because you knew it would end soon.
posted by AlsoMike at 9:16 PM on April 18, 2010


Four months isn't a very long time. I think it's pretty common to feel a little jittery or uncertain in the early stages of a relationship -- you're still finding your feet with each other, and I know I always feel a little vulnerable as I learn to place trust in someone -- so it might be worth giving yourself time to get used to being with this person. From the information you've given the problem isn't your boyfriend's behaviour -- nothing you've mentioned says "RED FLAG" to me, it's all completely normal -- but rather your anxiety. If that rings true for you, treat it like an anxiety reaction: take deep breaths, and take care of yourself.

The thing about him moving in July: you've been together four months, which is a little on the early side to decide whether you ultimately have a future together. There's no obligation to give a final answer now. Cross that bridge when you come to it, etc.
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 9:50 PM on April 18, 2010


I appreciate all the responses!

I knew he was going to leave. Honestly, I thought we weren't going to be serious. We were going to have fun til it lasts and that's that. Feelings can kinda suck sometimes.

I can fairly 'read' people easily, if that makes any sense. For him, I can't. He actually prides himself in having a constant poker face, haha. But I guess this is where I don't know if he means the things he say.

There are things that make me doubt him though. They were in the past but I didn't bring them up because I thought I would get over them. For example, I needed to talk him on the phone (about my family issues), but instead he blew me off because he's about to hang out with one his friends. He said he would call later in the day, but he never did. I feel like I have to fit in his schedule, not necessarily make room for me. I'm not asking him to not hang out with his friends, I just wanted to talk to him for a few minutes.
posted by mrspeacock at 11:37 PM on April 18, 2010


Maybe the old "Actions speak louder than words" will help you sort through what's going on here. Does the way he treats you line up with what he says? Does he treat you like someone he's in love with? If your gut is telling you that he's pulling away and is no longer interested, then you're probably right. Forget about the mutual friend who tells you he's crazy about you. Does he act like he's "head over heels in love"? It doesn't sound like it from your description.

Just step back and take some time to consider if his behavior, not his words, are acceptable to you. Personally it doesn't sound to me like he's treating you very well. If it's more important to him to hang out with his friends than to talk to you when you're upset, something isn't right. I think you deserve better.
posted by Kangaroo at 5:23 AM on April 19, 2010


This seems like a lot of stress to be putting yourself through for something that will end in July and you're not really sure you're in love with him.

It just doesn't sound like the relationship is that bad. It doesn't have to be him beating you or cheating on you for you to break it off, you know. You can just not be into it.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:31 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not asking him to not hang out with his friends, I just wanted to talk to him for a few minutes.

Then you need to say, "Hey, I'll let you get back to your friends but I just need to talk to you for a few." He has no way of knowing if it's going to be an hour-long conversation and it might be easier for him to just blow you off entirely. You sound very anxious and like you need a lot of reassurance. This can be exhausting for the other person and it's not very fun to have the same conversation of "yes I love you, yes you make me happy, yes, really" all the time. Thus, contact decreases.

Do you have something else to focus your energy on besides this relationship? Something you can talk to him about besides questioning his affection? Try to go a whole conversation without asking him how he feels about you.
posted by desjardins at 8:59 AM on April 19, 2010


Some general advice.

I trust him, but a part of me says I shouldn't.

Re-read this. You don't trust him. It's impossible for any of us here to say whether or not your mistrust is justified, but be clear about your feelings.

He always comforts me whenever I start to question our relationship

Seeking reassurance from your partner is a self-defeating behavior. You feel okay when he's there to calm you down, but when he's gone, your anxiety comes back in force because he's not there. This is something for you to work on.

You mention that you feel you are good at 'reading' people. If you only take one thing away from my comment, take this: get out of the habit of making assumptions about the motivations and feelings of others. It sounds to me like the two of you need to have a talk about your expectations of each other. If you're assuming the relationship has a finite lifespan, and he's not (and it sounds like this is the case), the best thing you can do is get clear with each other about this.

Good luck.
posted by trunk muffins at 11:46 AM on April 19, 2010


I'm saying this as something I'm guilty of myself, but if this is a "I'm feeling kind of beaten down/had a rough day and I really want to talk to you" kind of phone call, it's...pretty damn common for it to go a lot longer than 'a few minutes'. I've had times when I was in a bad mood and I was on the phone with my boyfriend (and he was the one who called me, even!), he noticed something wrong and I said it wasn't worth talking about...and then ended up ranting to him for like 20+ minutes. So if your boyfriend was in the middle of something, I feel that not wanting to answer what could potentially be a long call right that second to...not be a crime. Especially when, at least from my reading of your post, you seem to be an anxious person needing lots of reassurance. I'm taking off points for him not calling you later, but people forget.

Also, how's the contrast of individual social lives between the two of you? I'm far more introverted than my boyfriend, and while I'm invited along to a lot of the things he did (particularly in the initial months of dating), he will go out with those friends anyway with or without me. He needs that social interaction and will go batshit crazy without it. And from your original post I don't really see anything that's red-flag worthy, but you've not been particularly explicit about his inconsideration.

For what it's worth, if you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it; I'm not saying you're wrong. You have the right to end a relationship whenever you want (and maybe his move will do it for you). Just that from the point of view of this outsider, I don't see anything particularly incriminating about his behaviour (again, which you've not provided much examples of).

And seconding the vote to stop 'reading' and thus 'assuming' things about people.
posted by Hakaisha at 1:57 PM on April 19, 2010


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