The strong, silent type does not compute.
October 21, 2010 10:37 AM   Subscribe

He asked for a break until we see eachother again in six weeks. That's coming up this weekend. Having a hard time getting perspective and feeling out how to approach the meeting.

Met a guy online, started dating him casually, then I was sent to another province for a temporary work assignment for about four months. Since we seemed to really click, we decided to give the LDR thing a try - seeing as it would only be temporary and I'd be able to visit on occasion.

Of course things were great at first, though we didn't communicate much other than cute texts and the odd phone call... I tried to get him to do online chat or email, or call more often but he wasn't biting. Apparently that's normal for him, he would rather do things in-person. He hasn't dated much and not in recent times, but he's been quite the attentive and charming fellow in-person, which gave me reassurance. So I just tried to have faith in him and not press the matter, keeping things from getting too serious until we're able to pursue things normally.

Sure enough, about six weeks ago and just after I'd visited him, he falls into a bit of a depression over several things and says he feels there should be something more between us by now, he feels like he hasn't opened up to me. He realized he hasn't been taking the relationship seriously at all and needs to think about things, that we both need to evaluate what we want out of this relationship. He wanted to take a break from things until we're back in the same city again and then we should work on developing our friendship. He was traveling for work and taking a month of holidays, we'd see eachother again late October.

I didn't take it too well at first. I'd been making the effort to communicate and he hadn't, but now this lack of communication was suddenly a problem. Working on the friendship was coming across as segueing into breaking up. But we had our first in-depth talk and both felt somewhat better, though it was only a step in the right direction. Neither of us want to hurt others or get hurt, if possible. We said we'd keep communication ties open. I emailed him a few days later saying I'd had some time to think, and I feel more comfortable with the fact he'd like to take things slow.

We've had less than a handful of short communications between then and now, but they seemed positive. Regardless I've distanced myself from him emotionally to start moving on, and am considering us all but broken up, though I am hopeful he actually wants to give things a proper try. We'll both be back in our hometown as of this upcoming weekend, and it's weighing heavily on my mind. I don't know how to approach this second try, without coming across as too distant or too desperate, though fortunately I think there's been enough time to decrease the odds of 'desperate'.

I'm wondering what it actually means to figure out what one wants in a relationship - I was hoping for a normal "eventually get closer until we want marriage, a house and kids together" kind of thing, the details are where I'm entirely flexible - how much more specific do people want to get? And most guys I've dated have been more open with me than this one, I don't really know how to address the stereotypical "men are from Mars" kind of guy where when there's a problem he doesn't want to talk, just wants his space.

Anyone else wanting to weigh in on this situation, please do. The full story is pretty long, and I'm growing weary of burdening my friends with this situation any further. Thanks in advance.
posted by lizbunny to Human Relations (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It doesn't sound like you've even really dated this guy. You've been "dating casually", and having not-very-serious conversations on and off for a few months. It doesn't sound at all like you're in a "let's move towards a serious, eventually-get-married" conversation.

If I'm understanding this correctly, you are now moving back to the same place? Or just seeing each other briefly before leaving for your respective corners again? If it's the former, you should go out on a date as if it were a first date, and move the relationship forward from there. If it's the latter... I don't really see that there's anything here to work on or save, and it might be time to move on, at least until you end up in the same place again.
posted by brainmouse at 10:40 AM on October 21, 2010

Best answer: Regardless I've distanced myself from him emotionally to start moving on, and am considering us all but broken up, though I am hopeful he actually wants to give things a proper try.

Sounds like your head is in a pretty good place. Do not, under any circumstances, opt for "desperate." Since he is the one who wanted the "distance," he is the one who needs to coax you closer, to convince you not to be distant, to show that he wants to proceed with what may or may not evolve into an actual relationship. Good luck.
posted by cyndigo at 10:45 AM on October 21, 2010

As I understand the post, you were doing an LDR, sort-of, but now you're going to be living in the same town. I would go into your next meeting with very low expectations- basically, just start from scratch, like the whole LDR thing never happened. If he doesn't put forth a great effort to really get something going, I think you should abandon ship and find somebody else. Don't let it drag out just because you two have a foundation (because it's quite a shaky one!)

Since he is the one who wanted the "distance," he is the one who needs to coax you closer YES.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:49 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

The best-case scenario (or one of them) is that the long-distance thing was just kind of eating at him and he couldn't handle the complications caused by distance.

The worst-case scenario (or one of them) is that he didn't think of the whole thing the same way that you did, and possibly met someone else, or just disengaged for whatever reason, and tried to let you down easily.

It would be helpful to know more specifics about your conversations in the interim. A handful of short communications that seem sounds sort of non-commital. I could probably give you a better answer with more specific information, if that's not too much like prying.

Without knowing more, and based only on what you've written here, it honestly sounds like - and I beg a thousand pardons for the use of such a grotesque cliche - he's just not that into you.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:56 AM on October 21, 2010

It's not desperate to be reasonably asking, "hey, I'd like to have something with you. Do you want the same thing?" I'm sensing that he doesn't, and that he's made that choice without you sounding desperate.
posted by Melismata at 10:56 AM on October 21, 2010

Oh. Please.... Don't even bother getting together with this guy for coffee!

You are 110% wasting your time here. He's not really that into you, and if he was more evolved, he'd just say so. Instead, you've wasted far far too much emotional energy on this guy, and he will only pull away from you completely in the end.

You are super cool and you don't need this hassle. Prove this to yourself by declining invites to socialize with this half-in/half-out foolishness. Go forth and be happy, not conflicted and confused. Go forward with your life and have fun!
posted by jbenben at 11:05 AM on October 21, 2010 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Long-distance relationships suck. I also agreed with my sweetie a while ago that we weren't going to have any defining-the-relationship talks until we could meet face to face. We've dated for years, including me moving to live with him, and I'm not sure how it's going to go - is he trying to let me down easy or just frustrated by our miscommunications over the phone?

I've thought about my boundaries and what I want, ranging from how often we visit each other (we'll still be 200 miles apart) to more values-oriented stuff like being monogamous or not to the longer-term marriage-kids-career planning stuff.

I definitely support meeting him and talking it out. Maybe he has a hard time expressing himself. At the very least, you'll get some closure - long-distance relationships, particularly, are hard to let go of when they end because you weren't constantly seeing the person and your daily life stays pretty much the same.
posted by momus_window at 11:28 AM on October 21, 2010

Yeah, will you both be living in the same city, full time? If yes, then if you want to even try you should have a date and approach it as a first date and then feel it out from there. If you can't get him to pretty much right away say he'd like to go out on a date with you, then move on.

If you won't be living in the same city, full time, then move on.

Honestly, I would let this one go. Anything that is this hard in the beginning is probably going to keep on being hard. And if he is so unwilling to communicate, what happens if you start having an actual relationship - he won't get better with the communication, so you'll have to either hound him or guess.

I'm a girl, but this story plays out a little bit how I might let down someone that I like enough not to be harsh but am pretty much whatever about, and I probably would have been trying to drop hints and hope we'd be totally over it by the time we were living in the same town.

Is there a compelling reason to give this a try? If it's just normal we clicked, then bag it - you're starting off too far in the hole, and if it starts out with him knowing he can treat you like this and you'll hang around, then he'll always feel like he can do whatever he wants.

If he makes a total 180, and is able to keep it up, then we can talk.
posted by mrs. taters at 11:37 AM on October 21, 2010

Seconding FAMOUS MONSTER – it doesn't sound like he's really into you.
posted by halogen at 1:53 PM on October 21, 2010

seconding jbenben
posted by uans at 2:01 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Screw it. This guy is not worth your time and sounds like a potential waste of emotion and energy. Shop online for someone normal.
posted by anniecat at 3:37 PM on October 21, 2010

Complete non-starter. Agree with brainmouse that, in a very real sense, it doesn't even sound like you ever really dated. And now that the possibility of regular contact is on the table he's backing wtf off? These are not symptoms of commitment-mindedness.

Even if he were showing the remotest signs of enthusiasm for getting into a "real" relationship with you (which he's not, according to your post), just the level of overthinking & melodrama that you're reporting would have me running screaming for the nearest exit. But the long and the short of it is, you're not even "serious" yet and you've already documented a distinct failure to meet your minimal expectations for communication and commitment. Do you honestly want to spend the next however-many-years being disappointed and aggravated by this prospective SO's dysfunctions?
posted by Ys at 6:27 PM on October 21, 2010

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