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How should I talk to my boyfriend about me being unhappy with him?
January 30, 2013 12:11 PM   Subscribe

We've been together almost 2 years and at first I thought he was almost a perfect match for me. We got along, he made me so happy, he's so sweet, makes me laugh, and considerate. I know that every relationships get into the comfortable phase but lately I feel like he has taken me for granted and has gotten way too comfortable to the point I'm starting to lose interest in our relationship. I no longer look forward to seeing him and want to be alone, say I love you, kiss, or anything.

Why do I feel this way? Well because

1. He has gotten very sarcastic. I hate his tone and he knows this. I feel like he's always nit picking what I do as if I'm doing something wrong all the time
2. He crosses the line. We admit to each other when we think eachother's breath stink lol but it crossed the line when he gets close to my face and breathes his breath in my nose. It's a HUGE turn off
3. He no longer compliments me and tells me I'm pretty or beautiful even when I try.
4. I always have to initiate cuddling, touching, sex, etc. He always kinda puts me off as if I'm not even trying to cuddle with him. We don't kiss anymore..
5. We don't have alone time, we usually go out and his sister tags along with us (she's older and has a bf but hangs out with us...she's very nice though)
5. When we're in bed together we might as well be in different countries because he's focused on something else.

He's just stopped trying at the relationship. I mentioned it a lot to him about how I miss the sweet things he did and he said in a relationship you're supposed to get comfortable. He knows it bothers me but I don't think he knows how badly it's affecting our relationship. I cry at night silently because of this. I don't know how to bring it up without losing my point or having the blame on me. I'm no good at communicating my wants and fixing problems because I know people tend to get DEFENSIVE and then start listing things you do wrong.
posted by Asian_Hunnie to Human Relations (50 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Also, should I tell him I'm unhappy with him or is that too much cuz I think it may hurt his feelings.
posted by Asian_Hunnie at 12:12 PM on January 30, 2013


If this is the same guy from a year ago, perhaps it's time to end the relationship. Nobody can say you haven't tried to make it work. Being alone is much better than being in a relationship where you're miserable (and crying silently at night is part of my definition of "miserable").
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:15 PM on January 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


I mentioned it a lot to him about how I miss the sweet things he did and he said in a relationship you're supposed to get comfortable. I mentioned it a lot to him about how I miss the sweet things he did and he said in a relationship you're supposed to get comfortable. He knows it bothers me but I don't think he knows how badly it's affecting our relationship.

This isn't "comfortable," this is "he no longer cares about making you happy." If you're not happy and he doesn't care about making you happy, then what's the point of being in a relationship with him?
posted by Etrigan at 12:16 PM on January 30, 2013 [33 favorites]


You are actually considering his feelings even though he hurts yours. You are very sweet. I think you listed five very good reasons to break off this relationship. He knows that you are hurt by the things he says and does? He knows it bothers you when he picks on you? He's not worried about you being unhappy so the conversation will end with you in the same place you started. It's time to walk away and find someone new.
posted by Yellow at 12:17 PM on January 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


I've been where you are. We kinda tried to talk about it, but that didn't go anywhere. I was so much happier after we broke up and I pretty much rebooted my life in a new place with new people.
posted by slow graffiti at 12:19 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mentioned it a lot to him about how I miss the sweet things he did and he said in a relationship you're supposed to get comfortable.

"Comfortable" doesn't mean giving up doing sweet things for your partner. "Comfortable" doesn't mean intentionally being mean. "Comfortable" doesn't mean ignoring your needs for affection or sex.

His definition of "comfortable" sounds kind of terrible.
posted by xingcat at 12:21 PM on January 30, 2013 [23 favorites]


I've been here. So first ask yourself, why are you still with him? Do you truly feel like all the things that upset you about the situation can be remedied? If not then don't bother and just break up with him. No point in arguing and upsetting yourself over something that can't be remedied.

But if you have a nagging feeling and want to make this work, then you MUST sit down and explain it just as you have to us. Make a list of demands and a deadline to which you expect change to happen and by that date you will know okay he tried and this can work or okay he didn't bother trying so DTMFA.
posted by xicana63 at 12:21 PM on January 30, 2013


By the way, comfortable means you can fart and burp in front of one another, not disregarding one another's feelings.
posted by Yellow at 12:24 PM on January 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


His definition of "comfortable" sounds kind of terrible.

Exactly.


Please excuse the disgusting metaphor but it's what immediately came to mind: "Comfortable" in a relationship means you try not to fart in bed but it's okay if it happens -- not that you just let it rip whenever you want.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:26 PM on January 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


Sounds like he's doing the breakup-by-cop thing: being a jerk so as to force you to break up with him. That way, he doesn't have to be the bad guy and do it himself.
posted by Melismata at 12:27 PM on January 30, 2013 [15 favorites]


To be clear: "Basically, relationships are all about farting" is not the message you should get from what I said despite the back-to-back commenting that just happened.

Just that if you aren't happy, you are under no expectation to stay just because somebody says you should put up with their behavior. If he responds to the issues with him by arguing "that's just the way I roll, baby", let him keep rolling somewhere else.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:30 PM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I mentioned it a lot to him about how I miss the sweet things he did and he said in a relationship you're supposed to get comfortable.

So, here he's pretty much saying that he only does sweet things while he's still uncomfortable. And there are some people who are like that. They only do sweet things in the beginning, before they get comfortable. They're only considerate to you before they are comfortable; with some people, they only treat you with a basic minimum of niceness before they are comfortable.

I think everyone changes in some ways when they get comfortable. But not everyone changes in THOSE ways. Take my best friend. I have been very good friends with her for almost 20 years now, so I think she is pretty comfortable with me. But she is not any less nice, caring, and considerate to me. Being comfortable with each other just allows us to talk about more personal things, know things about each other that we might be embarrassed to have others know. We don't have to do extensive cleaning before inviting each other over and things like that.

There are people out there who will not stop caring about being nice to you and making you happy when they get comfortable, people for whom those two things are not related.

I think this is probably just how this guy is and he will be like this once he gets "comfortable" no matter who he is with. But YOU don't have to settle for it, because it's not like that in every relationship.
posted by cairdeas at 12:33 PM on January 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


"Hey, boyfriend, I feel like I'm being taken for granted and I'm not really happy with that and I'd like to talk about it. Here are the things that are bothering me." You then tell him what you told us.

I'm no good at communicating my wants and fixing problems because I know people tend to get DEFENSIVE and then start listing things you do wrong.

Here is what you do: If you bring up something that's bothering you and he then tells you you're committing an equivalent sin, tell him, "I'd be happy to discuss that, but I don't want to derail the conversation - it's important to me to be able to talk about my needs, and once we've reached some understanding here, we can talk about the things you think I could be doing better." Then keep it on the rails. Repeat when he gets defensive.

Really though it sounds like he's basically ignoring you until you go away, so maybe it's time to take the hint.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:36 PM on January 30, 2013 [16 favorites]


I don't know how to bring it up without losing my point or having the blame on me. I'm no good at communicating my wants and fixing problems because I know people tend to get DEFENSIVE and then start listing things you do wrong.

You don't have to go before a judge and prove that he isn't meeting your needs, you know. He doesn't have the right or even the ABILITY to deny your experience. Your feelings are valid even if he says they aren't.

Your 'point' is, you're not happy. If you were the WORST GIRLFIEND EVER and the source of every problem in this relationship, you would still have every right to leave him JUST because you're not happy.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:39 PM on January 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


In your question, you ask "how can I talk about this with him?" But I have to tell you that if your goal is to fix the relationship, you will fail. There is no relationship to save. You don't even kiss anymore. Hell, you don't list one single solitary reason why you even like this guy, and he doesn't seem to like you, either.

So, my answer to the question "how can I talk about this with him?" is to say "I am breaking up with you. I have no wish to discuss it further. Goodbye." You will feel SO DAMN GOOD if you do this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:42 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Talks" like this are what you do when your otherwise dependable spouse and co-parent becomes slobby and you need to improve things because a divorce would be hellish for you and your children.

When a boyfriend of two years does this (despite your repeated requests that he stop) you just break up with him.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:42 PM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I never really talked about it with him. It's more like "You used to be sweet, what happened?" and then that's it. Easy for you guys to say just give up on the relationship but I don't think that's what I feel is a right option but as a last resort. I think it's fair enough to give a chance if I have this talk with him but you guys are basically saying to leave him without even trying.

The question is how to talk to him about it not "should i break up with him"
posted by Asian_Hunnie at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2013


Yeah.. pretty much you are seeing him how he is, not on his best behavior. That is really the true mettle of a relationship. If you can stand and love someone once they show you their warts you may have something, if those warts really get up your nose (so to speak) then you either can a) try and change that person, b) adjust your expectations, or c) go for the "be happy find someone compatible route".

HINT: C is the best option.
posted by edgeways at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I know what you are saying Asian_Hunnie and I think now that you have clarified you will get more advice for how to have the conversation. But I think one of the reasons that many people's answers are kind of tilting towards the "leave" direction, is that many people have been in situations like this and spent a lot of time and energy trying to fix them. Sometimes, when you've been in a few multi-year LTRs and have observed a lot of your friends in them, certain types of problems just jump out as things that a lot of people spend a lot of time working on for not much result, and often say in the end that it was not worth it. Doesn't necessarily mean it will be the case for you though.
posted by cairdeas at 12:55 PM on January 30, 2013 [15 favorites]


Ok, well, give it a try by all means. Next time he does any of the things on your list you look at him and say "babe? We really need to talk. That, what you did right there, is making me want to break up with you. If that's not what you want, then we need to talk about this (right now/after work tonight/as soon as I'm done with this thing I'm doing.)"

See what happens. Maybe it's worth a shot.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:01 PM on January 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


I read above the fold and was thinking, "Oh no, she's going to be ordered into couples therapy or to have lots and lots more insufferable, nerdy conversation to convince him rationally that he should be more romantic."

Then I got to your first point

He has gotten very sarcastic. I hate his tone and he knows this. I feel like he's always nit picking what I do as if I'm doing something wrong all the time

uRRRRRRRghhh. THIS has got to stop before anything else can improve, if it's ever going to. I have to say it really really sounds like a sign of contempt. However, if it's just that he has a (very) bad habit, then every time he says something sarky or critical you say one of:

"Cut it out."
"Cut out the criticism."
"Stop judging me."
"Please keep your comments to yourself."

and then don't get into *any* arguments or discussions. There is no point in letting him rationally argue with you as to why he's allowed to talk to you like that, because he isn't. If he doesn't improve after a while, you'll know this isn't just a bad habit, it's what he really thinks of you. And it goes without saying that you must *never* speak contemptuously to him.

As for 2), I can only suggest that every time he homes in for a smooch and his breath is bad, you say "could you brush your teeth first?" It goes without saying that your oral hygiene must be impeccable.

I think that in your place, I'd be so turned off that I would have left ages ago; YMMV.
posted by tel3path at 1:05 PM on January 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


The question is how to talk to him about it not "should i break up with him"

I'm not saying you need to make it an explicit ultimatum, but if he doesn't come out of the conversation with the idea that you started the conversation wanting to break up with him, it will not produce real and lasting change. fingersandtoes's opening line is a good one, but the key is that he needs to know that you are Sick Of It. These are not petty annoyances, nor weird little idiosyncrasies of yours; these are things he is doing, and if he keeps doing them -- not if he gets worse, but if he stays the same -- you will walk away. Scare him, or you'll be asking this question again before Labor Day.
posted by Etrigan at 1:06 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was in nearly this exact situation several years ago (even down to the bad breath and ALWAYS hanging out with his older sibling). One night, with a little liquid courage, I sat him down and told him I wasn't happy anymore. I didn't want to break up, just talk about it. The funny thing was that I didn't even get a chance to tell him my reasons because he told me that he wasn't happy either and that he thought we should end it.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 1:10 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Might I add, he's pretty sarcastic with his family too. So maybe it's just hisnature.
posted by Asian_Hunnie at 1:12 PM on January 30, 2013


Might I add, he's pretty sarcastic with his family too. So maybe it's just hisnature.

It's probably his nature to want to sleep with any person he finds attractive who wants to sleep with him, but I bet he tamps that down in the interest of being in a relationship. He can learn how to not make you cry if he really wants to.
posted by Etrigan at 1:15 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, if that's his nature, and you don't like it, then you're not compatible.
posted by Melismata at 1:18 PM on January 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Uh, no he's not like that at all. I'm talking about you saying he sleeps with anyone.
posted by Asian_Hunnie at 1:18 PM on January 30, 2013


Even if it is his nature, he can direct the sarcasm at something other than you. Both my fiance and I are sarcastic and we've both accidentally said things that hurt each other, but we talk about it so now we know what the hot button issues are or what to avoid saying.
This is not unchangeable, in other words.

As for how to talk to him:

"Boyfriend, I know you're just kidding but the sarcasm has been taking a toll on me and I don't feel like I am getting what I need out of this relationship.
Could you try to support me and we can be sarcastic together about other people or tv or something?
It really bothers me when you XYZ [keep harping on something I've done wrong, for example] because it just makes me feel worse. If I let you know when it is getting to me, will you drop it?
Also, I would love it if you tried to pay me a few more compliments and be a little more affectionate.
I know these things won't change overnight, but it would mean a lot to me if we could work on them and if I knew you were trying to make me feel more secure. Thanks"

BTW this approach puts the onus on you to tell him when he is crossing the line. You can't just let it happen and then be upset later.
posted by rmless at 1:19 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's fair enough to give a chance if I have this talk with him but you guys are basically saying to leave him without even trying.

You've tried. You've been trying for a year. In fact this is the third question you've posted about how you can make your boyfriend be a better partner to you, and he has only gotten worse, not better.

Tell us this: if you are not willing to break up with him, what is his incentive for changing his behavior?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:20 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know how to bring it up without losing my point or having the blame on me. I'm no good at communicating my wants and fixing problems because I know people tend to get DEFENSIVE and then start listing things you do wrong.

Does HE do this or has this just been your past experience?

The thing about communicating is... you just have to do it. Tell him you're unhappy, don't say "You used to be sweet, what happened?" Be specific. Treat it as a serious discussion about your relationship, and if he doesn't listen or tries to blame you, you should really consider whether or not you should be with him. He might have some things he's unhappy about too, which is fine, but the conversation shouldn't be a blame game - it should be about discussing what you both need to be happy.

FWIW, I went through this exact same thing years ago. Turns out the guy wasn't into me anymore but for some reason hadn't had the courage to tell me. So if you talk to him and he brushes you off or otherwise doesn't seem interested in fixing things, leave. It probably won't get better.
posted by Autumn at 1:21 PM on January 30, 2013


Trying for a year? What do you mean trying for a year? This is the first question I've had about how to make him more sweeter or nicer. This is RECENT....don't even relate it to the last post I had which is completely different. But thanks for answering and advice.
posted by Asian_Hunnie at 1:31 PM on January 30, 2013


Hmm... My experience with this tells me that he is just waiting out the relationship, looking for a time to break up with you or waiting for you to break up with him.

He is acting in a way that makes me think he just doesn't care about the relationship anymore. My guess is that he is emotionally extricating himself from you so that when it does end, he will be completely ready to move on.

I know this is not what you want to hear. I was in a similar situation and put my head under the sand. If I really faced it, I would have realized the relationship was doomed and gotten out a few months earlier.
posted by parakeetdog at 1:32 PM on January 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hey, I know it must be hard when people on the internet are telling you to dump him and that he doesn't want to be with you.
Try to remember that these answers are coming from people who do want to help you and have been hurt in this situation before. They're trying to give you some tough love so you don't get hurt like they did.
They're not trying to piss you off.

Sounds like you are going to try to communicate better with your bf and that is a good step. Bringing up things that bother you is the right way to go, and you are going to have to keep bringing them up if you want them to get solved. This is not a one-time conversation.

Hopefully, this will work for you and he will respond well to this conversation and the many to come.
Sometimes, even the best communication on your part isn't going to work, because the dude has checked out.
That is what other posters are trying to say.

It's worth communicating your needs even if this relationship ends up not working out, because the skill of telling someone what you want calmly and in an achievable fashion is something you can use in any relationship you will have, romantic or not.
Good luck!
posted by rmless at 1:43 PM on January 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


Maybe you could start the conversation by pointing out that two of the biggest problems for ANY relationship are contempt and lack of intimacy. Then tell him what you need. Those needs include kindness, occasional compliments, and intimacy. Give him examples of things he did in the past that you Really Liked that are things you need.

Because as others have noted, it's completely normal and ok to get comfortable and ease up on the presents and compliments. It's not normal or ok to be mean and withhold sex.
posted by ldthomps at 1:48 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Okay, there are two ways that relationships go once you get over the first blush/limerace.

1. Things aren't as passionate, but you're building towards a solid relationship. You work out the right amount of alone vs together time. You have rituals that bring you together: having dinner out on Friday, watching a TV show together before bed, you might become engaged or begin discussing a future together.

The basis for ANY good relationship is mutual respect. So there's no sarcasm or nit-picky criticism, there's no teasing or jokes at your expense, you don't have to beg for compliments or kisses or sex.

If respect is missing, then your relationship looks like:

2. Your partner is majorly getting on your nerves. He's not pulling his weight around the house, he belittles you in front of friends, he ignores you, and basically takes you for granted.

Now, I suppose you can discuss it with him, but unfortunatly your relationship is over, you just haven't called the time of death.

If you really think you can save the relationship, initiate a serious conversation, and ask the hard questions.

"BF, I'm becoming increasingly unhappy in our relationship. I feel ignored and taken for granted. We're not affectionate in a way that I like, you seem to be growing more distant and disconnected. How do you feel about our relationship? Is there anything you want to tell me?"

If you can't ask him point-blank, "Do you still want to be together?" Then I think you already know that it's over.

Can you stay in the relationship if nothing changes? Why would that be attractive to you?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:48 PM on January 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


You might take a serious look at whether his disinterest and unkind attitude are reflective of the combined effects of his personality type and some temporary relationship issues (him taking you for granted, maybe) or whether they're indicative of contempt.

The survival rate for relationships after contempt seeps in is something approaching zero.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:57 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Trying for a year? What do you mean trying for a year? This is the first question I've had about how to make him more sweeter or nicer. This is RECENT....don't even relate it to the last post I had which is completely different. But thanks for answering and advice.

What I meant was: you've been having serious doubts about this relationship for a year, in one form or another.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:00 PM on January 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


Read him what you wrote to us. It's organized and points out the main areas of your concern. His reaction will tell you volumes about whether it's worth it for you to stay while he turns his behavior and attitude around. This is about his effort in response to your legitimate needs, not your continued efforts in the face of his indifference.

Being comfortable in a relationship means that you feel safe enough to be more vulnerable, you have increased emotional intimacy, and you lovingly remember that your partner is human and will make mistakes from time to time. Being comfortable doesn't mean that you treat your partner cruelly, take them for granted, and disregard their needs and feelings. That's called being a jerk.
posted by quince at 2:01 PM on January 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


Are you a young lass, A_H? The reason I ask is that because in my late teens and early 20s, I was in a relationship just like this - he wasn't respectful of my feelings, I started wondering if I was going off him, but my head said 'no! what if you never get over it? what if nobody else wants to go out with you? what if you see him with another woman a week later and collapse into a heap? you need to fix this!'. "I no longer look forward to seeing him and want to be alone, say I love you, kiss, or anything." is your gut saying 'This guy isn't a useful way on which to spend my time, energy, or emotions'.

Here's what I didn't know for a very long time:
- you can't 'make' someone sweeter or nicer. If they don't care enough to basically respect your feelings and not deliberately upset you, then it's nothing you have or haven't done that's made that happen. You can train a dog - and they'll still have bad breath - but people, less so.
- it's OK to go off someone.
- it's OK to decide something isn't making you happy, and resultantly end it. In fact, this is the hard, but in the long run much better, option.
- relationships do take work, but there's a limit to what this means - everyone has to wash their clothes, but it doesn't mean that you have to do it by hand with a mangle, you know?
- kissing is fairly fundamental to relationships. It's not just a sexual thing, but an affectionate one. (I've been seeing my partner for over five years - long enough to get 'comfortable' - and I was sad that I couldn't kiss him goodbye today because I have a cold sore.)
- if you don't love someone anymore, then not ending it will make you feel crappier and crappier - and will prevent you from going out and finding someone who makes you happy and unable to wait to get into bed with them even if just cuddling is on the menu.

I look back now and realise that relationship lasted at least two years beyond the sell-by date, all because I wasn't sure enough of myself to end things when they no longer felt right. I could have been doing all kinds of things that could have made me feel better - learning to knit! going to parties! travelling on my own! kissing boys all night in the corners of pubs! rowing! drinking fancy drinks that he hated! - but I didn't, because I felt I had to fix things and maintain my investment in a relationship that was going nowhere.

The reason many here are advising you break up is because hindsight has taught us the same lessons, and we want to prevent one more person from staying in a boring, miserable or generally mundane and rubbish situation.
posted by mippy at 2:02 PM on January 30, 2013 [20 favorites]


Ask yourself what it is you're trying to salvage here. It sounds like neither one of you likes the other anymore. He treats you like an annoying little sister, and you no longer enjoy being around him. You don't even want to kiss each other anymore. You don't even get to go out with him without his sister and her boyfriend hanging around. The fact that he seems to find this an acceptable state of affairs quite honestly does not bode well.

You want to know how to talk to him about this, but what you're describing sounds so bad that it's one of those things you shouldn't have to talk about, this stuff should be assumed. So maybe he has checked out of the relationship emotionally and just doesn't care enough to break up with you. It certainly doesn't sound like he's trying to avoid breaking up in order to preserve your feelings, since from what you said he doesn't care about how he makes you feel at all.

A major thing that keeps bad relationships going on much longer than they should is the memory of what used to be, and the idea that it could be that good again if you just say the right thing and if the other person just goes back to the way they used to be, dreams of an idyllic future despite everything that's happening before your eyes. Just keep that in mind. If you talk to him about all this and nothing changes, or he's only nice for a little while before it gets like this all over again, this relationship will never get better.
posted by wondermouse at 2:30 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Contempt is like acid for a relationship.

His contemptuous manner has etched away at much of the
warmth you felt for him.

Your options are either reboot the relationship by going to
couples counseling and working on this contempt issue, or telling
him to hit the road, and finding someone with a cute butt who
doesn't treat you with contempt.

I think most people will agree that you deserve someone with a cute
butt who doesn't treat you with contempt.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:31 PM on January 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


This is reasonable advice. Leahy is not my most favorite, but I think he covers the issues pretty well here.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:34 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


"You used to be sweet, what happened?"

As a sarcastic person, he might be interpreting this blunt question as unserious. If you're going to talk about this to him, you might want to lay a little foundation first. "Hey, I want to talk about how things have changed between us." or whatever.
posted by rhizome at 2:40 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


You've been telling him; he's not responding. Read this article: What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage. Stop accepting bad behavior. If he's unpleasant, leave the table or room. If he says something mean/ hurtful, just label it "That's mean/ hurtful." and then leave the room, or at least pick up a book, or otherwise disengage. You seem to have given him all the power in the relationship, including power over your happiness. Spend time doing what you want, and rediscovering who you are when you're not dependent on him. Make plans, take courses, cook new foods, whatever interests you. He may respond, he may not. But you'll be much closer to being your own healthy self.
posted by theora55 at 6:49 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


John Gottman, whose work followed that of Philip Ekman (the very loose inspiration for the tv show Lie to Me) found that he could predict with 91% accuracy which couples were headed to divorce inside of five minutes. His staff monitored the facial expressions of the couples as they spoke--about nothing of importance--and watched for microexpressions of contempt.

Contempt=it's over. Couples who are going to make it almost never have contempt in the mix.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:02 PM on January 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


My bad. That was Paul Ekman, not Philip. Anywho...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:19 PM on January 30, 2013


Relationships are more like shopping at Goodwill than at The Gap.

At the Relationship Gap, things are neatly segregated by gender, style, material, quality. Unused, untested, clearly priced. They are also all about image.... clearly they won't make your life perfect, but the marketers want you to think so. If people were sold at the Gap, imagine what the ads would say?

At Relationship Goodwill, buckets of crap are thrown together in a pile, kids up against granny stuff, all kins of hidden defects, no idea of the history, sometimes confused by gender. In the pile, you don't look for jeans if you need a top. You just ignore all the jeans. You get good at looking for tops, and throw out quickly all the stuff made from scratchy material, stuff that clashes with your other clothes, stuff that makes you look juvenile or geriatric... Fast is good. Judgment is good. There's no guilt associated with passing up something horrible or ALMOST acceptable. The questions are:

Is it what I'm looking for?
It is the quality I seek?
Is it defective?
Is it too costly?
Is it going to wear out too fast?
How will it make me feel?
When will I know if it's not meeting my needs anymore?

The pile, AH, is endless. Is this really the best you can do?

Sometimes, what seems a fit turns out to be a bad choice. No guilt here about this... just sober, adult judgment. If you've tried adjusting the fit and it still doesn't, perhaps it's not what you need? You'll chafe, be uncomfortable, look bad, and your restrictions will prevent you from enjoying the world you are in. Not good.

You sound awfully young (and that's good!), so trust that if you work at choosing well, and you do this by choosing more often and being willing to cut your losses, that you'll get better and better at it.

The only magic there is on this planet is love, I think. Worth the effort to find it, and worth the effort to always keep looking. Neglect is often advertised as contentment, and it kills the magic like drought kills wheat.
posted by FauxScot at 6:46 AM on January 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


I don't think you can make him try at the relationship. I think he has plainly stopped trying, and he is likely hoping the relationship will just run its course.

Okay, yeah, if this is just how he interacts with the world but he does love you and he does want to try, you need to sit down and have a conversation. Make clear that it's a serious conversation, that you love him, but you need him to do some things for you, because there are problems right now.

But I mean, you don't even look forward to being with him. So, given that, and given that he's treating you poorly, isn't the better course to just break up?
posted by J. Wilson at 4:40 PM on January 31, 2013


Are you crying because you can't bear the thought of breaking up with him and want him to be a better boyfriend? Are you crying because you're too nice and scared of hurting his feelings? Are you crying because you're incredibly unhappy and scared to be the jerk and dump him?

I am assuming it's the last one and based on what you've said, sounds like you need to just break up with him. You're not happy anymore. This is not an uncommon occurrence - people drift apart and break up all the time.

If you don't want to give up because you think you have a great guy who has just "stopped trying," you should be honest with him. Tell him what you've told us. Either he will work on it and you two can try to fix it. Or he can agree you two should break up. I'm not saying don't give him a chance. But once you have that conversation, if things don't get better, you'll really need to call it quits.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:43 PM on February 3, 2013


Final update from the OP:
Hi guys, since I've had a big talk things have gotten so much better since then. It's been almost 4 months and I can say that it's been a huge improvement.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:34 PM on March 22


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