Constant feeling that boyfriend would be interested in other people than me
March 28, 2010 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Constant feeling that boyfriend would be interested in other people than me

I've been dating this guy at work for awhile and he is a pretty outgoing person with much hobbies and interests. He enjoys to hangout with people and is generally pretty laid-back. On the other hand, I am somewhat of an introvert and prefer to keep to a small groups of friends etc.

I'm not sure if it is his laid-back personality of his lack of interest, I do not feel very loved or needed in the relationship. It feels like he just comes and goes. Do what it is necessary to maintain somewhat of a relationship and goes off hanging out with other people. I feel like he doesn't invest as much in our relationship as he is investing with his friends. He calls it 'balance'. Yet I just feel he is not taking our relationship as seriously as me.

This has made me become very insecure in our relationship and it makes me feel that he is going to find someone better one of these days.

To make matters worst, I have a friend whom I think could more compatible with him. They share many similar interests and hobbies. I think even their outlook in life is very similar. I can see her demanding personality to be a good match to his laid-back personality. Each day I am with him, little things he does makes me think of the what-ifs. What if she was in the same city as us? What if he met her first? What if I introduce them with each other? All these are slowly torturing me inside.

I've read that many people have traumatic experiences where their SO runs off with another friend of theirs. I'm scared this will happen with me and I feel like the only way to avoid the situation is to cut off contact with my friend and/or my bf. I don't want to deal with this types of thinking anymore. Why do I think like this in the first place? A lot of times I trust my intuition because it help me coup with the insane world. Should I trust my intuition or think more logically about this?

And I have already told him on multiple occasions that I wish he could be more attentive or affectionate. He has improved a little but overall, the pattern stays the same.

What to do? I like him a lot but I feel like my insecurity is getting very heavy for me to handle.

Can someone relate or offer some advice on what to do?

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Is this relationship making you more miserable than happy? Kinda sounds like it.
posted by mollymayhem at 10:03 AM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

You know, I had all of these relationships that were with interesting and lovely people, but I wasn't feeling as comfortable in them as I'd like. It was like something was missing. Ultimately I moved on from each of them.

Then I found a relationship with someone who makes me feel fantastic all of the time and I'm not even trying to make that happen. It just works great for no reason at all! It's truly amazing.

That's what you should be having. If you are are like the first part of my story you need to do what is necessary to move on the last part of my story.
posted by qwip at 10:11 AM on March 28, 2010 [4 favorites]

This situation sounds like it's a lot more how you feel about yourself than it's about how the guy truly feels about you. It also sounds like there are two separate issues: 1) you don't feel very good about yourself so you think the guy will never really like/love you and so he'll dump you and take off with your friend or really anyone else, and 2) you've identified an area where you may have a genuine incompatibility, and you seem to feel like it's a pretty notable one.

Not every relationship is meant to last forever, so learn as much as you can from each one, to apply to the future. He's not as affectionate as you'd like, so it's ok not to feel great about the match and break up with the guy. BUT if you look for new partners without working on your self-esteem and outlook first, then this is probably going to become a very familiar experience for you.
posted by so_gracefully at 10:16 AM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm scared this will happen with me and I feel like the only way to avoid the situation is to cut off contact with my friend and/or my bf.

So let me get this straight: you're concerned that your boyfriend might run off with your other friend, who lives in another city and who he has never met?

And therefore you've decided a reasonable solution is to cut off contact with your friend or to pre-emptively end your relationship with your boyfriend?

I think maybe your intuition is not as trustworthy as you think it is.

There's no way for us to judge whether this particular guy is attentive or loving enough, but it's clear that a lot of your insecurity has nothing to do with him; this pattern is likely to repeat if you don't spend some time working that out.
posted by ook at 10:22 AM on March 28, 2010 [6 favorites]

So let me get this straight: you're concerned that your boyfriend might run off with your other friend, who lives in another city and who he has never met?

This. It would be one thing if they'd already met and hit it off, but you're feeling jealous of someone who your boyfriend has never even met, much less expressed interest in.

As for your different personalities - sometimes that can work really well, in that the two personalities can nicely complement each other. But if you're not getting what you need, emotionally, and talking about it hasn't helped, it might be time to move on.
posted by lunasol at 10:31 AM on March 28, 2010

You might be able to identify with this stuff right here: Preoccupied Attachment.

So assuming this is all true, it's possible that by breaking up with this guy and finding a new guy you won't feel this way in your next relationship. But from the limited amount I know about insecure attachment, this pattern will probably continue repeating itself until you somehow change your attachment style, which is fully possible. It often happens to people. Good experiences can change it, as can bad experiences. I would imagine higher self-esteem could also change it. Your boyfriend might not be reassuring enough for you. Have you talked to him about your fears that he's gonna go run off with someone else? He might be able to tell you that he has no intention of doing that, and if he can't you're better off without him anyway.

In fact his attachment style might be dismissive, meaning he doesn't feel comfortable being very close to you, and showing affection. I think I've read that a relationship between a dismissive and a preoccupied is often the most tumultuous, with tons of breaking up and getting back together.

If you're preoccupied you're probably best with someone who is securely attached.
However I don't know enough about your boyfriend to say he's actually dismissive, he might be securely attached but since you're preoccupied you don't think he gives you enough affection or love, because people with preoccupied attachment need lots.

So just talk to your boyfriend. If he acts like a jerk about your fears you're better off without him.

Also perhaps pursue therapy.

I'm not a psychologist.
posted by tweedle at 11:05 AM on March 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Well, there are two problems here.

Problem One: Your boyfriend doesn't do enough of the things that would make you feel secure and valued. Maybe it's because those things happen to be hard for him; or maybe it's because he doesn't realise you would like those things; or maybe he's just lazy and doesn't care enough to bother.

So, you need to talk it through with him; maybe you could find out what you do that makes him feel secure and valued, what it is that he appreciates about you, what it is that he feels he could do to put a bit more into the relationship... whether you could find some compromise where he does things he feels enthusiastic about that still have the same effect on you.

Maybe, though, he just isn't very attentive or affectionate, and that isn't going to change. Maybe he's just not all that into you. In that case, all you can do is decide whether you want to put up with it, or go find someone else who can give you what you want.

Problem Two: This situation makes you feel insecure, scared, and all kinds of bad. It sounds like you have particular poor self-confidence. What stops you from being the kind of person who says: "OK, this guy may run off with someone else. If he does I'll be better off without such a twit, and the sooner I can enjoy my life unencumbered or else find someone who treats me better than that".

If you want to be stronger in the face of this kind of problem, you could try and identify why the situation scares you so much, and work on being the kind of confident person who would be ANGRY if they were dumped for their friend, not scared.
posted by emilyw at 11:25 AM on March 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

There are a million women out there who are better than you and a million women out there who are worse than you (by your standards). If your current or future boyfriend or husband leaves you for a friend, it won't be for something you did (unless you were abusive), it will be either because your husband wasn't really committed anyway, or because he fell madly in love with someone else (and guess what? you won't want him then anyway most likely). Go with the flow and don't try to control things. Crappy things happen and awesome things happen. Make sure you are grounded in your confidence and in who you are, and don't worry about things that haven't happened. Just work on being the kind of person who is fine regardless of the hurricane around them.
posted by anniecat at 11:41 AM on March 28, 2010

I just want to add one thing: Sometimes relationships work, sometimes they don't. It's not a judgment of you or your worth as a person, it's just that what happens happens. It's good to recognize your fears, but then let them go.
posted by anniecat at 11:43 AM on March 28, 2010

I don't think you gave us enough information to tell us whether your relationship is good or not. However, this stuff about maybe he'd like your friend better is just crazy. You're just making shit up in your brain.
posted by callmejay at 12:13 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

What a terrible way to feel. My advice would be to make whatever changes it takes to not feel that way anymore.
posted by agentwills at 3:11 PM on March 28, 2010

You’re not getting what you need from this relationship. You’ve told him about this. You’re still not getting what you need. Maybe you guys are just incompatible and shouldn’t be in a relationship with each other.

The fact that you feel insecure and think that he’s going to find someone better is, I think, your subconscious trying to tell you to get out of this relationship. You’re staying in something that’s not working for you, so it’s like your subconscious is punishing you with these thoughts. Or do have insecurities in general?

And, if you think your friend will be more compatible with him, break up, and introduce them to each other! I know – maybe your self-esteem can’t handle that right now, so maybe see a therapist to help you figure out why you have low self-esteem.
posted by foxjacket at 3:48 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

He's a great, laid-back guy, and you're a great, intense girl. Being the wonderful people that you are, you talk about it, about how you need more attention from him than he's been providing. If he says he's comfortable with the level he provides and isn't willing to give more, then you go your separate ways, no harm done, and if he is willing, then you see if he comes through. Just know that he's going to have as hard a time making himself give you more attention than he's comfortable with as you are putting up with not getting enough attention.

In short, a pretty basic incompatibility; might as well just face it up front and see if he can change (since it sounds like you can't) and if not, cut your losses, and move on. That wouldn't be a rejection of you, by the way, just two people who don't feel a relationship needs the same level of maintenance.

Non-dating example: my wife used to talk to her mother every day. I talk to my mother a few times a year. Ten years into the marriage, she talks to her mother a few times a week. I talk to my mother once every few months. We both love our mothers very much, but I talk to mine more often because it bugs her when I don't, and she talks to her mom less because she sees me with a good mother/son relationship despite a lack of daily maintenance. But -- and this is the point -- we will never give our mothers the same level of attention, because our own views of what's appropriate (as well as our mothers') is so different.
posted by davejay at 5:12 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

We both love our mothers very much, but now I talk...
posted by davejay at 5:13 PM on March 28, 2010

And, uh, because it bugs hermy wife...
posted by davejay at 5:13 PM on March 28, 2010

Ah, this sounds like me and my ex but reversed, right down to me being laid-back and having a bunch of friends and him being an introvert with a smaller group of friends. He needed more attention from me than I was able to give until I was madly in love with him, which took like six months to happen. I think part of it may be that if you have a bunch of friends, you're used to giving each of them less attention than you do if you just have one small close-knit group of them, so to him it probably seems like he's giving you way more attention than he ever gives anyone else, but because you're used to the sort of attention you get in a small group of people, it is far less than you're used to.

"And I have already told him on multiple occasions that I wish he could be more attentive or affectionate. He has improved a little but overall, the pattern stays the same."

You need to not just tell him, but you need to have a conversation with him about WHY you feel that way and WHAT can be done about it. With my ex, one way we solved it was to find time when he could come along with me and my friends - even if he and I weren't interacting directly, it made him feel like I valued him more when I brought him along. It was very, VERY hard for me to adjust to though so it might not be something this guy is able to do. But then again it might be! You'll still have to adjust your expectations some of course, but hopefully you can find a compromise.

And the thing with your friend is just crazy. Slow your roll, girl, these people apparently do not even know each other.
posted by distracts at 12:49 AM on March 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

you sound deeply insecure and your terror that your boyfriend will run off with a woman he has never met suggests to me that i cannot trust your assessment of your boyfriend's interest in your relationship. you should focus on boosting your self-esteem before making conclusions about your relationship. a therapist could help. so could good friends. run this by your bffs, what do they say?
posted by anthropomorphic at 12:23 PM on March 29, 2010

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