I feel like I'm stuck in that awkward phase of a relationship between dating and when things become serious. I'm ready for something more. I'm not sure my boyfriend is, and I'm concerned. Snowflakes abound.
posted by erstwhile to human relations (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We've been together for a year now. It's been about ten months since we had the "exclusive" conversation (though neither of us dated around in the early days of our relationship), and about eight months since we started saying "I love you." This is the first long term relationship (as in, lasting more than a couple of months) for both of us. He's 30 and I'm 28.
During the week, he will text me every morning before work, which is very sweet of him. We see each other almost every day -- usually for dinner and then something nice like a walk afterwards. We really enjoy cooking together, and I appreciate the time spent together, as does he. He does seem to make forward-thinking plans for us on occasion. We went on vacation together, which required about 2 months of forethought. For my birthday (in September) he bought us theater tickets for a show in late November. It's reassuring to know that he does sometimes make long-term plans involving us, together.
We have sex on average once a week, which honestly is not as much as I would like. That considered, I know he is very busy and stressed between his work and volunteering obligations (church councilmember), and he has a naturally slower drive than I do. This is something that I know he's actively working on, so I try not to get upset about it, though I do have moments of frustration.
He is very close with his parents, and in particular with his mother. He talks to her on the phone nightly for on average 30 minutes, and he sees her nearly every week (they live an hour away). He has not told his mother about our relationship. I have asked him why he keeps it from her, and he says that his mother is hard to please and would make our relationship challenging. While I trust his judgment to an extent, it makes me uncomfortable to know that he's the one making the decision for his mother, and I have half an inkling that he doesn't want to tell her about me because he's not ready to validate our relationship by telling his family members. This situation causes me a bit of anxiety, because I'm not fond of being kept a secret, especially considering the closeness of their relationship.
Another big issue for me is that, in a year, we have only slept (as in actually sleeping) together five times. Three of those times were while we were on vacation, and went without incident. The other two times were at his house, after we had been out drinking with friends, and essentially just consisted of us passing out and waking up hung over. I have pressed him a few times about spending the night together, because it's something that I really would like to work on to further establish our intimacy and closeness, but I'm always met with pretty quick refusal and almost no empathy. I can't get a straight answer out of him as to why he doesn't want me to stay over, he just tells me that we have to build up to that and take it slowly. This has been the line for about 6 months now, and it's starting to become a concern.
He smokes. He never volunteered to me that he was a smoker early in our relationship. I found out about two months in when I found cigarettes in one of his cupboards and asked him about them. I don't have an issue with it. He doesn't smoke around me, and really only does it in his garage where nobody can see him. I don't know how much he smokes (he won't tell me). It's fairly obvious some nights that he's ready for me to leave so that he can go haev a cigarette and decompresss. I can understand his need for a stress relief, but the way he goes about it makes me feel like a roadblock. And sometimes I wonder that if I hadn't found the cigarettes, that I still wouldn't know he was a smoker. Insignificant that he smokes, but concerning that he would keep it from me.
The last thing, and this may be slightly minor, but it's still a little confusing to me, is that he won't ever let me pay for anything and gets slightly upset if I buy him gifts. Whenever we go out, he pays. I'm certainly not complaining about this because it's very kind of him to pay for everything... but on the opposite side of the coin, I feel like at times, he does it because he does not want to feel indebted to me in any way, so that he always has an upper hand in our relationship.
Whenever I try to discuss relationship topics with him, he gets visibly agitated to the point where I can tell he's uncomfortable. Any questions I ask are usually met with indifference or "I don't know" answers. He's told me that in his family, they don't talk about stuff unless it's "very serious" and he usually processes his emotions internally. I'm the opposite and would like to be able to talk through our miscues, even if they aren't all that pressing. But these conversations really don't end with either of us happy, so I tend to avoid them at this point, but the result from that is that I end up having to come to conclusions on my own and, well, here I am asking for insight on the internet.
I really do love him, and would love for our relationship to grow up a bit to where he's comfortable having me around for more than a few hours at a time. Every day that I see him, it feels like just another date, but not quite like we're in a serious relationship yet. After a year, I'm starting to get concerned and a little uneasy. His walls are holding steady.
And just to be clear - I'm not asking for marriage or anything like it. I'm just ready for a little bit more intimacy and trust, which I think are the biggest validation to a strong relationship. I am happy for what we do have, don't get me wrong. But I'm just ready for a little more, and waiting is difficult, especially when it feels like my boyfriend is content to drag his feet.
So what do you folks think? I know it's already a big wall of text, but I can try to elaborate on any topic if needed. Oy, relationships are complicated.