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How do i deal with my boyfriends distance and communication issues?
August 10, 2014 3:44 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend cancels so often on our dates, and we haven't had sex even though we have been together for half a year, which makes me think he could have a sexual problem or is afraid of getting close to me. Details inside.

I (f, 26) have been seeing someone (m, 30) for half a year, and I love him. Nobody has made me feel this way before. I will say the things I like about him first because it is not all bad, a lot of it is amazing:
-He puts in a lot of effort on our dates, and plans really well so we always have a fun time, going to nice restaurants or to special events, and he enjoys taking me around the city as I just moved here recently.
-He loves to help me, for example he gave me plates and cutlery when I moved house, and drove me around when my car broke down.
-He is affectionate and hugs me and holds my hand.
-He can tell when I am upset and isn't afraid of my emotions, and will listen.
-When I was upset because he can be forgetful, he came up with a solution to write a reminder on his phone so he would remember, and this has helped a lot. Whenever I am upset about something regarding work he will always try to help by offering a solution or by listening.
-I've had some of my best moments this year with him and he has said that nobody compares to me and that i have helped him.
-He is a very closed person but has opened up to me, and told me things about his childhood that nobody else knows about.
-He is making plans for next year involving me, which shows that he does care about me and wants me in his life.
-We connect and i feel comfortable around him, we are always laughing and talking.

The list could go on but now I'll mention the things that upset me, some of which i've spoken about with him but some more insight would be helpful:
-At the beginning of our dates he is quite self conscious and also loves to talk about himself and doesn't ask me many questions, so for example when I said I was writing a book he automatically said he wrote a book once about himself, instead of showing interest in what i write. He has never read anything I've written even though it is my passion. He said he wanted to read my things but when I offered to show him, he sort of changed conversation and didn't acknowledge it. After a while on our dates he becomes more comfortable and more interested in me. (I haven't spoken about this with him)
-I know all about his friends but have never met them. I saw him a couple of days ago and spoke to him about meeting his friends and he said it will happen very soon but that he is just annoyed with them because they are still into doing drugs and he isn't, and all they want to do is party.
-He spends a lot of time alone or with his grandmother, and doesn't see his friends anymore except maybe once a month or less, cancels on them all the time, and also cancels on me. So we see each other every 10 days, but I want to see him more often. He definitely doesn't have a girlfriend or wife, he told me he has been feeling depressed and feels like he is getting old, but he is getting help for it. When I make plans for us he will say yes, and then cancel last minute. But when he makes plans I always say yes and then feel like i am being too 'easy' because I never cancel, but I feel like if i did cancel then it would be a month before we saw each other again. Also i feel like he cancels sometimes because he is afraid we are getting too close, and that eventually it means we will have to sleep together which scares him.
-We have not slept together!! It's been half a year, and he hasn't even tried to have sex with me. A couple of months ago he brought it up and and said he needs to be in love first. So when i saw him last time a couple of days ago, I said I need to sleep with him and feel close to him, and he said we should start having sex now, just that he isn't a very sexual person but that he would like to sleep with me. I have never heard of this situation where the guy has not shown interest in sleeping with his girlfriend of 6 months. He always tells me i am attractive, and I know I am not ugly and have a few men who are interested in me, so it isn't because of that. He has had sex before and is not a virgin, and isn't waiting until marriage.
-I managed to find literally hundreds of old pictures of him that are public on his friends facebooks, and i was very surprised... He seems a bit homosexual in the photos, by looking at his body language and how close he is to his male friends, to one of them in particular. I was surprised because he doesn't act like this at all with me and is actually quite dominant, but it isn't like you can change your whole personality in a couple of years right? In no photos is he with a female, except for a couple of them where he is with his ex gf. In these photos he is barely looking at her and seems quite cold even.
-All his girlfriends have been long distance which also shows me he has difficulty getting emotionally close to somebody, even though we are a lot closer now than we were at the start, which shows me he is willing to connect with me even though he struggles to open up. But after seeing these photos, I've started to fear that he was dating them as a way to show he isn't gay, but also doesn't have to see them often because they were so far away. And now that he has met me he is finding it difficult because he cares about me but doesn't sleep with me. I have no idea how to tell him this at all, and I could be overreacting completely.
-He says he is used to the woman pursuing him and that is why he is very slow in advancing the relationship even though he is quite dominant. He thinks i don't need him even though i always tell him i miss him. I wish i could show him i love him, when i text him first he takes hours or a day to text back so I've given up on that, it's as if he talks to me and sees me only when he feels like it.

My questions are:
-Does he have narcissistic traits? My grandmother has met him once (by accident, she needed to give me something while we were out, and wanted to see him briefly) and said he is very charming but thinks he may be very self-centered or narcissistic.
Could he be bisexual or gay (I feel very judgemental for asking, but the photos made me think this), and this is why we haven't slept together yet, or could he have a sexual problem?
Or could he have severe emotional distance issues, and as he is working on them, I should give him a chance?
Am I too available for him, and therefore not a 'challenge' because I am always willing to go out with him?
I feel like he does care for me, but I am just not sure how much. If he doesn't care then why does he still see me after all this time? I ended it once after he cancelled and we didn't see each other for a month but he came back apologising and after that he became a lot more open and communicative, but he still cancels sometimes. I have spoken to him about a lot of these things, and regarding the cancelling he always has a valid excuse such as he got sick or just too much work at the office, but I have't spoken to him about if he may be bisexual or about him always talking about himself, because I feel like that is quite mean and judgemental and I don't know how to talk to him about it. The past couple of dates he has been a lot more affectionate and warm towards me and I don't want to break up with him, I feel very attached to him and I just want to understand why he is like this, and i want to accept him but to do this i need to understand him. I feel like this could of been at least two separate questions, but i want to show the whole picture to avoid threadsitting. Any advice or tips are much appreciated, thanks!
posted by palomago to Human Relations (59 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow, you are spending so much time analyzing this. Look, let him figure out why he doesn't want to sleep with you.

This relationship isn't working for you. No amount of thinking is going to solve that. Clearly the guy doesn't want to sleep with you/have a normal relationship with you. Stop wasting your time with him and find someone else.
posted by discopolo at 3:49 PM on August 10 [26 favorites]


Honestly, this man does not sound like a great friend, let alone boyfriend. Gay, straight, bi, asexual, or emotional issues--it almost doesn't matter what the mystery is, because it sounds like your very reasonable needs and wants are not being met. Ask yourself what you want from a relationship. Is "almost" or "sort of" enough for you? Read about Mr. Unavailables on sites like Baggage Reclaim. The "why's" don't matter. You're getting shorted out of the boyfriend experience you want.
posted by Lardmitten at 3:53 PM on August 10 [27 favorites]


Oh sweetie, this is going nowhere.

You have WAY too many questions for someone who is dating and in a relationship. The simple fact of the matter is, a guy who is into you will be champing at the bit to see you, and will be enthusiastic about having sex with you.

The rest of this is all mental masturbation. You seem to be making all kinds of excuses for him, and he doesn't seem to be keen, quite frankly.

Sit him down and tell him what you want.

"George. I want to be in a normal boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. I want to see you often and I want you to want to see me just as often. I want to go out on dates, meet your friends and become part of your life. I want to have sex with you. The way things are right now, as much as I love you and am attracted to you, that this isn't going anywhere. I think that some time in the future, we might be friends, but for now, it's best that we break up and go no contact."

Before you spend any more time with a relationship that meets exactly ZERO of your needs, get out and try to understand why you would put up with such obvious nonsense.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:57 PM on August 10 [18 favorites]


I'm sorry, but it sounds like he's probably gay and he's either in faltering denial or he's using you to try and be not-gay.

Knowing Metafilter, some folks will probably chime in and say we don't really know anything about his sexuality and it's awful for me to assume based on the evidence provided here. But come on. He is distant but affectionate, he won't have sex with her after six months, he hangs around with a bunch of party boys he doesn't want her to meet and she found photos of him canoodling with other dudes. Maybe he is straight or bi and he has some emotional problems and an exceptionally low sex-drive for a young man, but I think the more likely situation is that she's fallen for a gay guy.

Even if he isn't gay, I don't have a good feeling about this relationship's prospects. Get out now, before you fall even deeper and this hurts a lot more.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:58 PM on August 10 [21 favorites]


He's not available. Maybe he's afraid of people and puts up a wall. Or maybe he's gay. Or asexual.

Either way, there's a wall. And it's not working for you.

I think you should break up.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:05 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


This

I don't want to break up with him, I feel very attached to him and I just want to understand why he is like this, and i want to accept him but to do this i need to understand him.

plus this

Also i feel like he cancels sometimes because he is afraid we are getting too close, and that eventually it means we will have to sleep together which scares him.

equals heartbreak.

Do not bend over backwards trying to understand someone who makes little or no effort to understand you, let alone himself.

Your narrative raises so many alarm bells. We accept what we think we deserve; it's a cliche for a reason. You deserve much better than this non-relationship.

Get out.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 4:06 PM on August 10 [10 favorites]


Conjecture as to whether or not he's gay won't be helpful (and you should be careful of identifying somebody's posture or number of male friends as telltale signs of homosexuality) because you have a friend, not a boyfriend. You don't have a relationship to lose, so you may as well be open with him. If he is gay, hopefully he'll see that using women as props is cruel; if he isn't, hopefully he'll realize that his behavior is unsuitable if he wants to maintain a relationship in the future. Whether or not that happens, however, is not your concern. You are dating a man who is oblivious to your needs. End the relationship.
posted by lunch at 4:06 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


I agree this relationship is going nowhere.

I agree that "why" he's like this doesn't matter. (HINT: When a guy isn't meeting your needs and you're only dating, the "why" never matters. All that matters is for you to recognize and move on)

I agree that only long distance girlfriends is a huge red flag.

That, "I have to be in love" line is something someone usually says to manipulate you. Don't fall for it again. What an asshole to pull that on you after dating you for 6 months!!

Yep. Don't continue to date anyone who continually cancels plans.

----

Being "dominant" is not a "straight" characteristic. Being effeminate and male isn't a sign of being gay.

That last thing you wrote has zero to do with your problem, but holding onto that sort of stereotype does make you ignorant. Don't be invested in stereotypes, they're for close-minded people that never branch out socially.

People come in all shape and size combinations, and that's Truth. Yo.

----

About your other problem? Yeah, dump this guy and block him on all social media. He's playing some kind of game and wasting your time. He's hurting you with his in reliability and lack of investment in your relationship.

Kick him to the curb!
posted by jbenben at 4:12 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


It just sounds like you two aren't on the same page when it comes to your relationship, and I think it would be a good thing for you guys to take a break for awhile.
posted by xingcat at 4:12 PM on August 10


I think you are asking the wrong questions here.

Here is what you should be asking yourself, and only you know what the answer to this is: Is this state of affairs acceptable to you? Would this state of affairs be acceptable to you if you knew it was not going to change and that your relationship would continue to be like this for as long as you were together?

See, there are two possibilities here: Either he's lying about why your relationship is the way it is, or he's not.

But it doesn't matter which is true. What you need to know is that the way your relationship is now (you only see each other every ten days, he talks about himself a lot and doesn't take an interest in you, you don't have sex) is the way he wants your relationship to be. You've been accommodating here but you've also allowed him to set the pace in your relationship which means that the way things are now is the way he is most comfortable with them being; this is what his ideal relationship with you looks like to him.

So I understand that you're trying to figure out what the reasons are behind his behavior, but you need to bear in mind that the reasons aren't relevant.

If he's telling you the truth (I don't think he is), then this is what he wants his relationship with you to look like.

If he's lying to you, then this is what he wants his relationship with you to look like and he's willing to lie to get it.

Sometimes love clouds our judgment a little, so it might be difficult to accept that if he wanted to have sex with you, he would have had sex with you. He has the opportunity. You've made it clear you want to have sex. He hasn't taken you up on it. I don't think this has anything at all to do with your attractiveness because I have no doubt that you are lovely in all the ways a person should be lovely. I think it has to do with him.

I think you should really sit down with yourself of an evening, with no distractions and whatnot for a little while, and ask yourself if you would really seriously be okay with this relationship if it did not change, because I'm pretty sure it won't. If he's fine not having sex with his girlfriend for half a year then there's no magic thing that's going to make him start wanting it now.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 4:14 PM on August 10 [11 favorites]


It rather looks like your boyfriend doesn't really want to be your boyfriend, actually - at least not in the way you want/need. I don't think trying to armchair diagnose a mental disorder or determining what his sexual orientation really is would be helpful in that regard, as tempting as it is to speculate.

It's not that something is wrong with you, it's that you just aren't right for each other.
posted by sm1tten at 4:16 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Thank you for the updates so far. I regret saying that I think he is gay, it's just I don't know why he doesn't want to sleep with me and it hurts, and I'm trying to find a reason for it because I seriously doubt he has another girlfriend. Our relationship has progressed, we used to see eachother less but now it is a bit more frequent, which gives me hope but i suppose that's all it is, just hope. Talking to him is pointless anyway, it would just be nice to know why he is leading me on, why he keeps on wanting to go out with me if it's just going to be like this.
posted by palomago at 4:18 PM on August 10


Everything you've asked here is are things you should ask him.

A novel approach would be to right him a letter or email him and encourage to talk to you in that manner or face to face, whatever is more comfortable for him.

As a closed and private man, I'm sympathetic with whatever his reasons are, but the not having sex thing, let alone seemingly not interested in having it is not just not working for you. Definitely begin the plans to move if he isn't forthcoming, 'cause you don't want this relationship or your life to a be one waiting period after another.

Good luck!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:23 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


You might be right that he's gay and isn't ready to deal with it, or bisexual, but really not that into the sex part of things with women. In the end it doesn't really matter because of something you said in your update: "it's pointless to talk with him." If he won't talk with you about something as big as this the relationship is doomed from the start. You can't have a serious relationship with someone who ignores your questions and needs.
posted by MsMolly at 4:31 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


If talking to him is pointless, that negates the entire list of good qualities you outlined. You cannot date someone you can't talk to. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for you not to know why he's acting the way he is, but if he won't tell you, you're never going to know.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:35 PM on August 10 [16 favorites]


Talking to him is pointless anyway, it would just be nice to know why he is leading me on, why he keeps on wanting to go out with me if it's just going to be like this.

If your relationship is exactly like this 1, 2, or 5 years from now, are you ok with that? If not, stop waiting on this guy. Because you're not getting what you need, and you don't even feel like you can talk to him. There are TONS of other dudes out there who would like to date you, sleep with you, and treat you better than this guy does. I promise.

He's not a man of mystery. He's either very confused or a liar, and you should stop wasting your time.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:37 PM on August 10


He doesn't want to be the kind of boyfriend you want him to be, and he doesn't want to talk about it. No good can come of this.
posted by KathrynT at 4:39 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


There's no future here. You'll be doing both of you a favour if you let this go, and you'll be glad of it in time.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:49 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


You are approaching this as if it were a problem to solve. It is not a problem to solve. It is a situation to either accept or reject. All of these things put together -- your doubts about his sexuality, his self-centered behavior, him only being available when he feels like it -- they are not a series of strange coincidences. This is who he is. No explanation for the way he treats you will change the fact this is not the relationship you want. It will be far less painful to cut ties with him and move on now than to stay with him and find out that all of your doubts and fears were true.

Talking to him is pointless anyway
Being able to talk openly and honestly with each other is a necessary requirement for having a successful relationship. If you've realized that talking to him goes nowhere, there is no point in attempting to have a relationship with him. The relationship will consist entirely of you agreeing with him and going along with whatever his preferences are. (Which is kind of how things sound already.) Is that what you really want? Is that how you want to spend the rest of your natural life in this relationship? Acquiescing to someone else's wants and needs?

It almost hurts to read your question because I can feel the longing through your words. I know how painful it can be to be neglected by someone you love, someone you thought felt the same about you. You deserve to know that you are loved, cherished, and respected by your partner. A relationship where you are always doubting that fact can only bring you pain.
posted by sevenofspades at 4:53 PM on August 10 [41 favorites]


It doesn't matter if someone is nice to you sometimes if they're not interested in you. Every single person on the planet has "never felt this way before" because all interpersonal relationships are different. It is not an indicator that the relationship is good or bad, simply that you exist.

He keeps doing this because he gets what he wants - a "relationship" with almost no investment on his part. You are literally better than nothing and you seem inclined to put up with it. You will probably never know why; it is possible he doesn't know why either.

The only actual important question (and the only answerable question) is why you're settling for this in your life when it's clearly nowhere close to meeting your needs. Break up with him and figure that out before getting involved again.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:54 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


He has never read anything I've written even though it is my passion. He said he wanted to read my things but when I offered to show him, he sort of changed conversation and didn't acknowledge it.

For me this would be a huge warning sign that the other person wasn't that into me: love me, care about my passions.

Also, if he "needs to be in love" and isn't at this point, he isn't going to be.
posted by bile and syntax at 4:55 PM on August 10


I disagree HEARTILY that talking to dude is at all a reasonable next move. The OP has already talked to the guy, and he seems really really good at manipulating her.

Again, "why" he won't sleep with you does not matter.

All that matters is that you kick this narcissistic user out of your life.



---

Why do you regret saying you think he might be gay? That's a totally plausible assumption. I tend to think you are right this time, he's probably gay. Or whatever.

The problem is you can't judge gayness by demeanor, or demeanor alone. Yes, it is telling that he looks intimate and joyful in pics with his friends, the same friends he won't introduce you to.

But no, you can't judge gayness by how swishy the guy's hands or hips move, sorry.

YOU DON't HAVE TO FEEL LIKE A BAD PERSON OVER THIS.

Just, y'know. Broaden your view and get to know lots of different kinds. It'll help you a lot to be well-rounded socially.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 5:16 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


Don't be invested in stereotypes, they're for close-minded people that never branch out socially.

You know, sometimes stereotypes are based on things that do happen in the real world, even if they're not true for everybody.

In this case, almost everything she described this guy doing sounds like stuff that plenty of actual gay guys have done to string their actual girlfriends along, before they learned to accept their own sexual orientations. If the OP's post was the plot of a novel about a closeted gay guy who was stringing his girlfriend along, the author would probably get criticized for including too many of the tropes. (I mean, he spends more time with his grandma than he does with his girlfriend. If she'd said he spends every Friday night with Grams baking cookies, we'd have the makings of a Golden Girls episode.)

No, obviously every closeted gay guy doesn't do all of this stuff. But she was specifically saying she wants to try to understand what's going on, and her post gave me plenty of reasons to suspect the guy's probably gay. Maybe he's not, I dunno for sure! You don't have to get so huffy about a bit of conjecture based on the strong evidence this lady provided.

Anyway, there are obviously many other reasons why this relationship is in trouble, as other posters have pointed out. Whether he's gay or not, it sounds like he's not treating her right.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:17 PM on August 10 [11 favorites]


She said she did not think he was gay because he acted "dominant" around her.

There are plenty of manly gay men.

The OP is stuck thinking this is somehow about her, that it is her fault.

Clinging to his demeanor as proof or evidence of her (ex) boyfriend's sexuality is not a useful way to determine his (or anyone's) romantic or sexual preference.
posted by jbenben at 5:26 PM on August 10


Your boyfriend is gay. This is the obvious conclusion to draw here.

If you are hurting and bewildered about Why He Is Like This, I think you should settle on this very likely explanation. You don't need to feel guilty or bigoted for guessing the obvious thing. I am surprised so many people are being coy here.

It is true that you can't be sure this is what's happening. It's also true that whatever is going on, the relationship is broken, and you need to end it. But if you're trying to fit the facts to a theory there's no need to get complicated on this one.

Move on--you could try to get an admission from Boyfriend, but I think it is smarter and less hurtful for you to just break up--and good luck.
posted by mattu at 5:42 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


HE may not even know why he doesn't want to sleep with you. Don't push for something he can't or won't give you.

Me, I'd just stop calling and talking to him. Cut off contact. See if he notices. But seriously, break up with him. "I want a boyfriend who will have sex with me." That's really all you need to say. But it may just be that the slow fade will work in this case.

I recommend watching The Long Hot Summer, with Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. Clara has a relationship with a guy that has dragged on for years and years. He's an awful lot like your boyfriend. Might be gay, tied tightly to his mother's apron strings and MORE than willing to waste the time of a perfectly lovely woman, knowing he won't give her what she wants. Seriously, it's on Netflix. Watch it NOW. RIGHT NOW!

Look familiar? Look REALLY familiar? This isn't new. It's as old as time itself.

Don't bother trying to figure it out. Not worth your time.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:45 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


My boyfriend cancels so often on our dates, and we haven't had sex even though we have been together for half a year

Cancelling dates is not something boyfriends do on a regular basis, period. No sex after six months seems odd, though your specific sociocultural context may have something to do with that.

Here's what you do:

"So, Boyfriend, I'm having problems with two things. First, you keep cancelling dates with me, which leaves me feeling _______. Second, we haven't been having any sex, which makes me feel ______. Can we talk about this?"

If the answer is no, or evasion, move on. He'll learn eventually but it's not your job to teach him.

Or, simpler: you're not happy. Explain to him why, ask him what he would like to do to resolve that feeling, and if he's unable or unwilling it is time to move on.

Sorry.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:59 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Also, sorry, but this:

I was surprised because he doesn't act like this at all with me and is actually quite dominant

Is a notion you kind of really need to disabuse yourself of. Gay != passive. Don't buy into stereotypes, they'll just hamper your ability to connect with people.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:03 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


Talking to him is pointless anyway, it would just be nice to know why he is leading me on, why he keeps on wanting to go out with me if it's just going to be like this.

No one but him can answer this definitively.

If talking to him is pointless, then so is dating him. Break up.
posted by rtha at 6:06 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


These things that you've written about that are good enough:

-He puts in a lot of effort on our dates, and plans really well so we always have a fun time
-He loves to help me
-He is affectionate
-He can tell when I am upset and isn't afraid of my emotions, and will listen
-When I was upset because he can be forgetful, he came up with a solution
-I've had some of my best moments this year with him and he has said that nobody compares to me and that i have helped him
-He is making plans for next year involving me, which shows that he does care about me and wants me in his life
-We connect and i feel comfortable around him, we are always laughing and talking


BUT, these are just the BARE MINIMUM relationship items required for a romantic partner, let alone a friend. Please do not see the above as some magic soulmate glitter, and that he is the only man in the world who possesses these traits. When someone cares about you, hell, when a FRIEND cares for you, the above is JUST a baseline, normal, basic. I remember when the above checklist was the kind of thing I would base relationships on - the problem was that I needed to raise my standards. As a result of using the above baseline, I went out with guys who weren't right for me, simply because they possessed the above qualities and not much else. Don't let basic humanity/kindness/care trump your judgement.

Now the following issues:

-At the beginning of our dates he is quite self conscious and also loves to talk about himself and doesn't ask me many questions
-He has never read anything I've written even though it is my passion
-I know all about his friends but have never met them
-He spends a lot of time alone or with his grandmother, and doesn't see his friends anymore except maybe once a month or less, cancels on them all the time, and also cancels on me
-Also i feel like he cancels sometimes because he is afraid we are getting too close, and that eventually it means we will have to sleep together which scares him
-He isn't a very sexual person
-In no photos is he with a female, except for a couple of them where he is with his ex gf. In these photos he is barely looking at her and seems quite cold even.
-He has difficulty getting emotionally close to somebody
-He says he is used to the woman pursuing him
-He thinks i don't need him even though i always tell him i miss him
-When i text him first he takes hours or a day to text back so I've given up on that, it's as if he talks to me and sees me only when he feels like it.


Something I've learnt through years of reading AskMeta is: PEOPLE DO NOT LIE ABOUT WHO THEY ARE.

This guy is telling your exactly who he is - cold, self-conscious, loves to talk about himself, keeps you separate from his life, cancels plans with you, barely looks at his gf and seems cold, is used to the woman pursuing him, needy, uncommunicative when it suits him.

These things will not change.
People do not change.
Is this okay with you?
For the rest of your life?

The clincher for me:

My grandmother has met him once (by accident, she needed to give me something while we were out, and wanted to see him briefly) and said he is very charming but thinks he may be very self-centered or narcissistic.

Assuming you're from a loving family who cares for you - your grandmother has much more life experience than you and if her opinion is something you value, then you MUST read into this and consider if she's accurate. I would've saved myself SO much wretched time in my early 20s if I had just listened to the wise off-hand remarks that my parents made about boys I dated.

Don't worry if he's homosexual, bisexual, asexual. Do not worry about being judgemental. Do not feel guilty. What you've described here is a POOR FIT, and there is no reason to feel bad for breaking up with someone who's not right for you.

If you were buying a car, no one would fault you for giving up a car that didn't suit your needs and was a poor fit for your lifestyle. A life partnership is a significant financial, emotional and psychological commitment for much longer. Your partner of choice HAS to enhance your living, not create this anxiety that you've described.
posted by shazzam! at 6:08 PM on August 10 [5 favorites]


I don't know if he's gay , straight or bi: what he IS is not that into you. I'm sorry, but the best thing you can do is drop this pretense of a relationship and move on.

One of the biggest red flags I see in your post is how he has kept you so very compartmentalized from the rest of his life: after six months you haven't met a single one of his friends, AND the only time he's met one of your family was an accidental meeting he probably would've tried to avoid? Top that off with his 'forgetting' dates with you, plus he only manages to see you maybe every ten days or so (so for six months that comes to maybe 18-20 dates total!)..... He's not that into you.

And consider this: not seeing you when promised, not seeing you very often, not letting you meet any of his friends and avoiding YOUR family/friends: all of this says he's lying and he's probably married.
posted by easily confused at 6:12 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


You're spinning in circles trying to figure out how to make this dude pay more attention to you.

Sorry, but you can't "solve" other people - you have to take them or leave them as you find them. Whether he's gay or married or afraid of commitment or whatever - none of that matters. What matters is that your needs are not getting met and that is not going to change with this guy. He knows you don't like his behavior and it isn't changing. This is what he wants - it's working for him.

You've already done everything you can do. He's just not that into you. Let the relationship go.
posted by zug at 6:19 PM on August 10


It doesn't necessarily mean he's gay. I was in a very similar relationship where my boyfriend was great in almost every aspect except the part where we never had sex, not even once. He is not gay. I mean, obviously it's not impossible he might come out later, but the "if he doesn't want sex all the time obviously he has to be gay!" line of thinking is a myth, and a harmful one (it stigmatizes men with non-movie horndog libidos, for instance, and it often implies that all gay people are deceptive somehow). "Sexual problem" seems more likely -- he may have problems getting an erection, or low testosterone, or simply a low libido in general. If he weren't this flaky my advice would be to ask him to see a doctor to make sure there's nothing medical going on, but his history of canceling plans suggests there's no chance this is ever going to happen.

That said, sexual incompatibility is still incompatibility. It's not shallow, it's a major part of a relationship for most people. It's the equivalent of being rejected every time you see him, and that hurts. It likely hurts for him, too, because if you're at all disappointed when you don't end up having sex (which you probably are, and who wouldn't be?) that puts even more pressure on him for the next time you try to initiate sex. I ended up dumping that boyfriend because I couldn't deal with being in a sexless relationship, and it was clear things probably weren't going to improve. (In my case he did end up seeing a doctor, but it didn't really do much.) That's really the only endgame I see here.
posted by dekathelon at 6:32 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


Oh, I thought of something else -- you mentioned he is "feeling depressed," but do you know if this is actual depression? If so, it's kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation, because both depression and antidepressants are known to pretty much murder people's sex drive. (And cause people to cancel plans.) It seems much more likely than being gay, for what it's worth. Doesn't mean you should stay in the relationship, but it's a possibility.
posted by dekathelon at 6:40 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


If you're not having sex, he's pretty much not your boyfriend by the most common definition of the term. Niceness and fixing your car is stuff for brothers, friends, and neighbors. Generally what makes someone a boyfriend is an exclusive sexual agreement on top of all that.

I would ignore all the other stuff and approach it from that angle. Gay, narcissist, depressed- these are just pointless speculative words. Boyfriends have exclusive sex and he doesn't. So tell him this. Tell him you're going to find a sexual relationship, but you can stay friends. Then he may even stay in your life. If he pulls the "not in love" bullshit then tell him you agree but you don't feel like either of you is going to get there, 6 months is long enough to know, you want a sexual relationship and you're better off as friends.
posted by quincunx at 7:09 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


This is a lot of questioning about "why" but the answer is "who cares?" It doesn't matter why this person is a poor match for you. Someone who cancels plans, avoids intimacy, and is bad company might be doing all here things because they're a sentient robot from Mars. Doesn't matter. The upshot is they're a poor partner and you should move on.

Yeah, it's hard. The relationships that are good in many ways are always harder to deal with ending than he ones that are just a train wreck. But you should end this hing that is making you this nuts. Its not redeemable.
posted by phearlez at 7:12 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


it would just be nice to know why he is leading me on, why he keeps on wanting to go out with me if it's just going to be like this.

I had a guy do this to me for three years in college, because I let him. Look up the word "beard".
posted by Melismata at 7:17 PM on August 10 [4 favorites]


I think the best case scenario here is that he's depressed and that he *might* become less flakey and more sexual if/when he gets treated for that. So, if you decide to try to talk with him about these issues again, perhaps bring depression up as a possibility? Then decide if you're willing to stick it out while he gets treatment in the hopes that things might improve in the future.

But again, that seems like the *best* case scenario. A lot of the more likely scenarios are a lot worse and require you to break up if you ever want to be happy. So don't get your hopes up and be prepared to end things if he says it's definitely not depression.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:43 PM on August 10


You love him. Or who you'd like him to be.

He... hasn't had sex with you because he'd have to be in love first. (Or he's depressed, or gay, or asexual, or just not feeling sexual chemistry with you).

And talking it out would be pointless, because... he wouldn't talk?

So. Relationship uneven, should be done now. Call it off, leave the speculating as a thought exercise to be conducted over ice cream and such.

But: long-distance relationships only, not wanting sex... he definitely sounds like he wants the Girlfriend checkbox ticked off without necessarily putting in real relationship work/time. For whatever reason.
posted by RainyJay at 10:37 PM on August 10


Having dated someone like this who WASN'T gay, it totally sucked, and I should've ended it sooner. I would advise ending it.

Also there's a good chance that he's gay.
posted by stoneandstar at 10:43 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


I relate to how you want an answer so badly; you want to know why. Even knowing that he is gay probably wouldn't satisfy your wondering why he's treated you so poorly as a girlfriend. Sometimes there isn't a why. There's no justice or reason. Between ex-partners, estranged friends, and smiling-faced relatives, I have a lot of unanswered "why?"s, and the ones that bother me the most are the ones where higher expectations led to greater disappointment, to which the person was oblivious or didn't care.

My advice to you is to disengage with the bf (it will feel like you have a gaping wound to do so, but the gaping wound feeling might be impossible to avoid), try to preserve some dignity, and instead of looking for answers from him, the only important info will come from you and you already have it. Why would you put up with him for so long? Why does it hurt so bad/why is it so hard, to rid yourself of someone who hurts you?

You don't have to beat yourself up over these questions. You don't have to dwell on them. My advice for you is to move on, but if it's that easy for you to actually move on, put all this behind you, and make stellar decisions moving forward, then I'm hellof impressed. In fact, I'd like you to get back to me and let me know how you did it. (Anyone, anyone?)

But, yeah, DTMFA and rock on, girl.
posted by little_dog_laughing at 3:15 AM on August 11


Thank you everyone for the answers, you are right, I should leave him and not expect an answer as I won't get one. He just called me and I brought the subject up about him not sleeping with me and he said that he would love to sleep with me now, and then i talked about him always cancelling and only wanting to see me every 10 days and he said he is very busy all the time but is going to try his best to see me once a week because that is what he wants. What do you think?
posted by palomago at 4:10 AM on August 11


A boyfriend doesn't need to 'try his best to see you once a week'. A boyfriend wants to see you all the time. It doesn't sound like you need to break up with him, because he's not a boyfriend. He's a friend without benefits.
posted by dg at 4:41 AM on August 11 [6 favorites]


Once a week?? If my boyfriend of six months told me was going to "try his best" to see me once a week, I would give up on that relationship pretty fast. Honey, leave him and find someone who will cherish you.
posted by baby beluga at 5:05 AM on August 11 [7 favorites]


If I've learned one important thing from AskMe (and I've learned quite a bit), it's that the incredibly smart people here can look at a question, look at a wall of text, and can pull out the important pieces to offer right on the money insight and advice.

And in your case, this guy just isn't giving you what you want in the relationship, period. You should end it with him.

If I look at all the details of your post, it's pretty clear that you're not being treated as you want, what you're asking for is entirely reasonable, and as unhappy as it may make you initially feel, you'd be better off without him.

**And as to your follow up that he's busy but can see you once a week, and asking what do we think?

I think...no, I KNOW...you and and will do better.
posted by kinetic at 5:14 AM on August 11


You should still break up with him because he "is going to try his best to see me once a week" and you deserve someone who can - and wants to - give you more than that. Why do you think you should settle for so little?
posted by rtha at 5:36 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


I brought the subject up about him not sleeping with me and he said that he would love to sleep with me now

Yeah, that's pretty much what I expected, given that I heard the exact same thing ("it's not that I don't want to sleep with you, but....") Generally if people talk about what they want to do, but aren't, they will continue to "want to" but not. My advice is to break up with him now while it can be relatively civil instead of being like me and doing it in bed out of frustration on New Year's.
posted by dekathelon at 6:18 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


A boyfriend wants to see you all the time.

No, this is not true. A boyfriend is one of many possible contradictory things. There is not one right answer. Thinking this way is not productive for dealing with the infinite variety of people in the world or for being healthy in your own head with your own needs, which may be common or unusual.

What is true is that there's some a way for a partner to be that is right for you. That might be someone who wants to see you every day. That might be someone who is okay with not seeing you for months on end when you're at your research station in Antarctica. But you have a right to get what you need and on a planet with billions there is certainly someone who can be that for you.

So stop trying to understand why this person is not right and don't think that they're somehow doing it wrong and therefore should want to change and you can help them. That way leads to obsession with Why and gets nowhere. Relationships are hard enough when you're a good match. Fundamental incompatibility is a sign to just say thanks but no thanks and walk on by.

What do you think?

I think if you pile what someone wants to do in one hand and what they actually do in the other it'll become immediately clear which you should base your decisions on. He's had half a year to treat you the way you need. It's not going to get better in a lasting way.
posted by phearlez at 7:09 AM on August 11 [2 favorites]


Words words words. He's saying what you want to hear. He's not going to do those things, but if you absolutely must stick around to see that proved out, go ahead but don't wait another 6 months. Two weeks, and if you then don't have the relationship you actually want - as in it's all actually happening, not more blah blah blah and hope - you can finally say you did everything you could and finally cut the cord.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:00 AM on August 11 [1 favorite]


He is coming round tomorrow night to my place,to stay the night, which is very rare so hopefully this means we are communicating better now
posted by palomago at 10:17 AM on August 11


Oh, honey. You just broke my heart.

Best of luck. We'll still all be here for you.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:20 AM on August 11 [10 favorites]


No, it doesn't mean that. He's throwing you a bone because he likes the arrangement and doesn't WANT it to change.

Don't be so happy with crumbs. You have a right to want what you want. Value yourself, don't accept the bare minimum.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:05 AM on August 12 [5 favorites]


As Lyn Never put it: Words words words.

Reality check time: the man is stringing you along, using precisely the right words to keep you dangling. Nothing is going to change for the better, heck nothing is going to change period! He's kept you dancing to his tune for six months now, using nothing more than the same words he's going to keep on using in the future. This dude isn't a 'boyfriend'; he's barely a plain old 'friend', because even a no-sex-but-real-friend would treat you better than this.

Please drop this guy now: DTMFA.
posted by easily confused at 1:32 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


He came and stayed the night and it was really nice, we spoke about a lot of things and he said he cares a lot about me, but we didn't have sex :( I asked him why and he said he it's because he could hear the neighbours and wouldn't want them to hear us having sex...
posted by palomago at 2:24 PM on August 12


He is going to keep finding excuses. How long will you tolerate that? Why do you think you should?
posted by rtha at 2:43 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


he said he it's because he could hear the neighbours and wouldn't want them to hear us having sex.

And he's going to say something different next time. And the time after that. And the time after that. He's been giving you excuses for six months, in the face of what I assume are rational and adult conversations about the subject.

It's time to walk away. The longer you spend trying to squeeze out of him something he isn't willing to give--namely, an adult and honest relationship--the more invested you're going to be, and the more heartbroken you will be when you finally see reality for what it is. I didn't think it at first, but I'm starting to get on the bandwagon of him being very closeted, and you're enough of a superficial girlfriend that he has a girlfriend, without having to do anything else--sex, emotional intimacy, etc.

Please. Drop him now before you really get hurt. There's that old saying, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

You've been doing the same thing for six months, over and over. The results aren't going to change.

You can, though.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:36 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


Why are you doing this to yourself? Just dump your closeted gay boyfriend and move on.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:02 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Thank you everyone, this is what I needed to hear to start to forget him.
posted by palomago at 1:23 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Yes, this should have solidified your resolve to leave, rather than giving you hope to cling to.

A guy who is crazy about you will want to have sex with you. A little thing like the neighbors hearing won't stop him. (It wasn't going to stop you, was it?)

Don't bother having a dramaz filled break up meeting. Just call him and tell him, "This isn't going to work for me. I need more than you're giving me. I wish you well." Then block him and start getting over him.

I promise, you'll find someone AWESOME who thinks you're the bees knees and you won't have to make a bunch of excuses for him.

Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:28 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


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