Is my SO's behavior extreme stoicism? Or disinterest?
November 4, 2010 8:18 AM   Subscribe

How do I figure out if my SO is a stoic or disinterested? I get relatively minor red flags that may or may not add up to a big one, and I do not want to stay in a relationship with someone who is not as interested in me as I in them. Possibly over-analysis inside.

SHORT VERSION:
My SO's lack of public affection or willingness to publicly admit our relationship exists makes me wonder if I'm filler until something better pops up.

LONG VERSION:
My SO and I began dating a few months ago. Prior we'd been on a friends-with-benefits basis, except more formal than "fuck buddy" because we went on dates and such, just were open to either person dating other people. They describe themselves as stoic, and that is definitely the case.

They do not readily verbalize affection aside from the occasional use of pet names. They are extremely reluctant to publicly admit our relationship exists, whether by voluntarily letting friends know, refusing to declaring status on Facebook after a joking and then more serious request on my part, holding hands in public, or even admitting our status when asked directly by mutual acquaintances who see us together. They also engage in a lot of criticism of my physical characteristics (though they've agreed to stop after I expressed my discomfort and said they were only "talking") and joke a lot about hook-ups with people at work showing interest in them. They also are extremely adverse to me meeting any member of their family, despite being very close to them.

I know they're physically attracted to me, and when we're in person together and in private they readily return affection when I initiate and are more likely to initiate affection themselves.

They have said in their previous (and only other) relationship they were very warm and open, but became more stoic after an acrimonious break-up with the ex involving repeated infidelity.

I have tried to chalk some this behavior up to a combination of being extremely private and being worried about being hurt again. However, I'm paranoid because all of their behaviors above are the behaviors I've seen (and unfortunately practiced) with someone who feels genial to their SO, likes the benefits of dating someone, but is not really enthusiastic about that particular person and is subconsciously keeping an eye out for something better. The refusal to discuss or acknowledge the relationship is a big one here. That was something I used to do because I didn't want a public declaration to block other romantic prospects from approaching me but I liked the other person and being in a relationship enough to continue the relationship itself.

I was the one who initiated the hooking up, and I was the one who requested the relationship move to something more monagamous. I stated I was beginning to develop feelings, was looking for a more serious relationship in general, and did not feel comfortable continuing to hook up without a more serious relationship in place. I'm worried that they agreed to this out of inertia and lack of something better instead of real feeling.

I do not want to be the enthusiastic partner who holds on in hope the other will come around. If this person is not similarly enthusastic about me, I would prefer to end it now. However, I am also aware I'm insecure due to me initiating every "progression" of our relationship and my SO's refusal to publicly declare our relationship exists.

How do I determine if they actually want to be with me, not just me because I'm convenient? What are your limits for stoicism in your own relationship? I feel silly asking, but is it weird when someone actively refuses to declare a relationship status on Facebook, keeping said status as "Single"? Is there any way I can ask for more affection without coming off like an insecure mess?
posted by Hey nonny nonny mouse to Human Relations (48 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Facebook is one thing (I really don't want every one of the random people I've semi-willing accepted a request from knowing the details of my love life) but if someone flat-out asked, in person, what my relationship status was, and I didn't say "Yeah I'm with X", then that would be the signal to me that I needed to not be with X any more.

And vice versa. I don't wanna be anyone's bad habit. You may be a little paranoid on this topic, but that one behavior would be enough for me to have a sit-down with my partner, and if they wouldn't talk about it, I'd walk.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:22 AM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


If this person is not similarly enthusastic about me, I would prefer to end it now.

You've listed many ways in which they just aren't very enthusiastic. How more examples do you need? If this is how they act when they are into you, this isn't what you want either - move on. Good luck.
posted by Brent Parker at 8:23 AM on November 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Well, it sounds like your needs are not being met. Does it matter if this is due to his or her personality or due to his or her lack of interest? Either way, you're not happy.

The only way to really get the answer you are looking for is to have a frank conversation with your partner.
posted by reverend cuttle at 8:24 AM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


If this person is not similarly enthusastic about me, I would prefer to end it now. However, I am also aware I'm insecure due to me initiating every "progression" of our relationship and my SO's refusal to publicly declare our relationship exists.

It seems like the reasons you list for insecurity are evidence that your partner is not as enthusiastic -- I don't mean to be harsh, just that to me it sounds like your gut feeling is correct.

What actually changed when you moved from FWB to an official relationship? What did you need/want to change?
posted by ecsh at 8:25 AM on November 4, 2010


I feel silly asking

Sorry, you need to talk to your SO about this.
posted by John Cohen at 8:25 AM on November 4, 2010


I have tried to chalk some this behavior up to a combination of being extremely private and being worried about being hurt again. However, I'm paranoid because all of their behaviors above are the behaviors I've seen (and unfortunately practiced) with someone who feels genial to their SO, likes the benefits of dating someone, but is not really enthusiastic about that particular person and is subconsciously keeping an eye out for something better

Self-reporting is usually quite reliable.

You will have to accept that this is more about the karma from your past and the way you might have treated someone else. Because you did that you are susceptible to believing it is being done to you, even if it is not.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:25 AM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Honestly it just sounds like you are not very compatible. You have distinct emotional needs, which are not unreasonable by many people's standards. Trying to wring a certain kind of relationship out of a person with very different expectations is always going to be difficult. There will probably not be some magical "melting point" at which the dam breaks and you get the validation you crave. It will most likely be meted out a bit at a time, with you always feeling half-wild and guilty for wanting more than you have.

You deserve someone who reciprocates your enthusiasm.
posted by hermitosis at 8:27 AM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, as a connoisseur of the Strong Silent Type, I came here expecting to say what I've learned the hard way, which is when a person loves you they will let you know. They'll let you know either in words, actions, or the way they advertise to others what you mean to them.

lack of public affection -- I thought, that's OK, lots of people (including me) hate PDAs when they are actually really affectionate at home.
lack of ... willingness to publicly admit our relationship -- but then this is not OK if what you are looking for is a committed relationship that you and the world take seriously.
They have said ... [they] became more stoic after an acrimonious break-up with the ex involving repeated infidelity. -- unless you're the ex who's gotten back together with them, it's irrelevant and invalidates you as a new, separate and innocent person.
my SO's refusal to publicly declare our relationship exists. -- this person is not giving you what you want. My advice is to stop asking for something that he or she is not going to give. As in, initiate the end of the relationship and find someone who digs you back.

It's not "weird" if someone refuses to declare a relationship status on Facebook if they, in fact, feel that they are not in a relationship. I don't think this person thinks that they are in a relationship with you -- definitely feels convenient and fun, but this person is keeping his or her options open. Sorry.
posted by motsque at 8:29 AM on November 4, 2010


These behaviours do not demonstrate respect, care, admiration, pride, maturity or even lust. Aren't you worth more?
posted by honey-barbara at 8:29 AM on November 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


You're still their fuckbuddy whether you realize it or not.

They're not stoic. You're convenient and maybe they're still not over their last relationship. Maybe they're still juggling a couple other friends-with-benefits as well. Hard to say.

Of course they're going to say they're stoic. They're not going to say "I am doing the bare minimum to keep you around because you suit my needs at present."

Look, here's the long-story-short of it. The way they're acting doesn't square up with what they're saying. It'd be one thing if they said they didn't really want a relationship and were okay with what you already had. But as it is, this person is absolutely not similarly enthusiastic about you, and doesn't respect you enough to be up front with them. If they're going through some hard times, that sucks for them and all, but it's not a license to treat you as anything less than a person.

That was something I used to do because I didn't want a public declaration to block other romantic prospects from approaching me but I liked the other person and being in a relationship enough to continue the relationship itself.

Look, you've already got this figured out, and you probably have for a while now. At this point you're just looking for the moment when you cut the cord. Well, here it is. By the power vested in me by the international court of monsters, I hereby grant you permission to go find someone who'll treat you decently - or at least honestly.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:31 AM on November 4, 2010 [10 favorites]


Whether or not your SO feels the same way you do about your SO, s/he's not displaying the kinds of affection and communication that you want in a partner. If s/he is unwilling to do so (for whatever reason), it seems that this will hurt your feelings, so it's best to see if you can ask that her/his behavior changes, and if s/he can't commit to doing that, then it's time to move on.
posted by xingcat at 8:32 AM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Either your SO is one private, icy-cold mofo, or isn't really that into you. Either way, you're not getting what you need.

There have been a number of questions on the green from people who just weren't sure whether their (usually short-term) SO was really "into" them. In my experience, your gut ALWAYS trumps your brain in these cases.

If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck and quacks like a duck... your brain, desperate for reciprocal love and affection, will try to convince you, "Well... maybe it's a genetically-modified goose! Maybe it's a lemur that was in an industrial accident!" But deep down? Your gut KNOWS it's a duck.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:34 AM on November 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


This person is just not that into you. A person who was into you, no matter how "stoic" (what exactly does that mean, anyway?), would be happy to share the news, dance in the streets, whatever, to let people know that they were in a relationship with you AND treat you the way that you want and deserve to be treated.
posted by so much modern time at 8:37 AM on November 4, 2010


I think you deserve to be with someone who isn't dealing with the problems of their last relationship by doing things that hurt or disappoint you.

There's a lot to say about this, but the short version is that (and this is just my opinion, of course) your SO has some serious issues about vulnerability to work out, and they must work it out on their own. Until they can love you unreservedly, you will always be wondering if they really care or not, and that's not only an awful place for you to be emotionally, it's a rather unkind state of uncertainty for them to allow you to languish in. I'm not going to say DTMFA, though this person richly deserves it, but I will strenuously recommend considering that the only relationships worth your time are ones that make you feel wonderful, totally loved, sure and at peace, and that there are people out there in the world who can make you feel that way.
posted by clockzero at 8:38 AM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


You seem to be concentrating a lot on what this behaviour might mean, in terms of your SO's feelings towards you. Which is fair enough. But, what if you do establish to your satisfaction that s/he's crazy about you and loves being with you - but still doesn't want to publically acknowledge your existence? Is the behaviour something you're uncomfortable with in and of itself?

I can see how it would be easy, in your position, to feel like you couldn't really outright object to your SO's behaviour and demand that it changed in X, Y and Z ways ("it really hurts me when people ask you if we're together and you won't say we are; either that stops, or I'm gone"), because objecting would turn into a how-do-you-feel-about-me referendum. But if you separate out your problems with the behaviour from your problems with potential causes of the behaviour, that'll be easier to address.

is it weird when someone actively refuses to declare a relationship status on Facebook

It's not exactly weird (although a little inconsiderate given how much it means to you as your SO's partner), but...

keeping said status as "Single"?

Yeah, that's not OK.
posted by Catseye at 8:39 AM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


People can be very good at adopting fancy, intellectual-sounding philosophical or psychological terms to explain away the fact that they're simply an asshole. In the end we ought to be judged by our actions, not the labels we stick on ourselves.
posted by hermitosis at 8:41 AM on November 4, 2010 [49 favorites]


I would almost qualify as "stoic" under your public definitions. I am madly, ridiculously, head-over-heels in love with and 100% committed to my SO. We are getting married soon. That said, I refuse to put my relationship status on facebook (though it doesn't say I'm single, it just doesn't say anything at all), I am strongly against any sort of PDA (though he likes it to an extent, so we've compromised now), I won't wear an engagement ring (and in fact we had trouble figuring out how to tell friends we were engaged, because it's really awkward to bring it up, we were engaged for several months before most of our group of friends knew about it), etc.

That said, I would never have said "no, we're not in a relationship" as a response to a direct question, and I told and was excited for him to meet my family, who I'm close to. And [I like to think that] in private, when it was just the two of us, there was never any question. There is a difference, in my mind, between keeping your love life private by non-disclosure to people you don't know all that well (the public, many of my facebook friends who were people I went to HS with and whatnot) and outright lying about it to friends & family

I can't quite tell from what you've written here if you've had "the talk," and in private he says "yes you are my [gender]friend". If you have had that talk, then I think what your SO is doing is... very suspect. If you haven't had that talk, then maybe SO is just in a different place than you, and not ready to really be in that type of relationship, even if whatever you're doing is monogamous (because those are not necessarily the same thing).
posted by brainmouse at 8:46 AM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hermitosis, that is goddamned brilliant. I've run into a TON of people who use "oh, but I'm [X or W]" to explain [Y or Z, where Y or Z is some heinous form of misbehavior]. We are - or SHOULD BE - more than the sum of our self-imposed labels and much-cherished past traumas.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:49 AM on November 4, 2010


Everyone above is correct, except, I don't hold out hope that a conversation with your SO is going to give you the answers you are seeking.

Someone like the SO you describe isn't EVER going to give you a straight answer. And that is shitty.

Your "straight answer" is that they refuse to acknowledge you in public as their SO.

Denying the existence of someone you are dating takes a lot of energy and effort, as you well know.

This person isn't committed to you. Even if they *think* they are on your side, you can do better. Someone above nailed it - your needs are not being met in this relationship, no matter what the status of the relationship is. Proceed accordingly.



The big tip-off here, btw, is that this started out as FWB. I'm sure folks move beyond that stage intimacy-wise, but in this case, the person you consider a SO hasn't moved significantly beyond FWB status regarding you. I'm sorry.
posted by jbenben at 8:52 AM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Your SO is denying you in public, thereby denying you respect. I wouldn't even keep someone like this around as a FWB because in my world, no respect -> no friendship.
posted by tel3path at 9:00 AM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


"I don't want to put my relationship status on Facebook because that's silly" = someone who is deeply private.

"I put my relationship status on Facebook as 'Single'" = someone who is looking for someone else.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:09 AM on November 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm not proud of it, but I had a half-year long "relationship" in college where I did each and every one of the things you described (including lots of affection in private, lying to friends, refusing to invite him to family dinners) to someone who didn't deserve it. I liked him quite a bit, but thought that he was too ugly to introduce as my boyfriend.
posted by halogen at 9:10 AM on November 4, 2010


First off, you need to clarify what your needs are. I don't put much stock in facebook relationship updates but it sounds like your need for validation goes beyond that. Then, you need to have a heart-to-heart with your guy and put this stuff on the table. Express what your feelings are for him and ask him to express what his are for you both in the present and how he sees you in the future. Then, I'd back waaaaaay off. Make him come to you. If he doesn't come to you, regardless of his expressed feelings, that is your answer. You guys kind of slid sideways into this relationship and I think that's muddying the waters a bit. You need to find the reset button. And if he does come back to you, take it slowly. Pretend it's a new relationship and see how it builds. Meanwhile, take a look around, this isn't the only fish in the sea.

Good luck!
posted by amanda at 9:13 AM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


He is using you. You are wasting your time.
posted by uans at 9:15 AM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you queer, and if so, is your partner closeted? That would change pretty much everything about the way I'm reading this question.

Otherwise, "private" and "stoic" or not, your partner's refusal to acknowledge your relationship publicly, in any way, would lead me to exactly the same conclusions everyone else is drawing.
posted by amelioration at 9:29 AM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


I only mention the Facebook thing because of his continued "Single" status and because they are a very extensive user of Facebook as a social outlet. It is not like 95% of their profile is not filled in and they only log on once a month to look at pictures. If I felt they acknowledged me in other areas (told people at work, told friends, etc) the status thing would not matter as much. It is a part of the whole.

When I first asked to transition from FWB, there was a nail-biting 24-hour period where I did not get an immediate answer. Then they said yes, with the main explanation "I realized things wouldn't be all that different" (at that point we hung out as much as if we were "official" and only I was the one who actually went on occasional dates with others). The first time I referred to them as my "{gender}friend" they were a bit weirded out (though it initally sounded weird to me too) and do not readily use the term themselves.

The hardest part of this is I consider myself to be a stoic and have been labeled as such by friends, and am not one for cutesy displays of physical affection and hanging all over one another in public and running around telling all of my friends the moment I enter a relationship. When we transitioned from FWB I did not want nor expect a 180 into lovey-dovey territory but I guess I believed they would be a little more emotionally affectionate with me. I am trying to come to grips that though I eschew a lot of that I would still like to hold their hand in public once in a while and have some public acknowledgement our relationship exists. To be the less stoic one makes me feel wimpy; yes, I have issues with vulnerability as well, though how much I like this person makes it a lot easier to get over them and express affection.

Ironmouth, I do have karmic paranoia. I probably would not be posting this question if I wasn't worried I was seeing things due to it.
posted by Hey nonny nonny mouse at 9:37 AM on November 4, 2010


Sounds like he doesn't like you and doesn't want to admit he's with you, and also doesn't respect himself for being with you so he's rude to you because he doesn't see himself with a person like you but you're what he's getting.

Substitute "he" with "she" if it's appropriate to your situation.

It's not supposed to be this complicated.
posted by anniecat at 9:48 AM on November 4, 2010


To be the less stoic one makes me feel wimpy

You're not a wimp for wanting to be treated with a basic level of decency.

If you don't want to flat-out break up with them, you need to tell them that the way they're behaving is hurtful and makes you feel like they don't take you seriously or value you as their ___friend. If they get defensive, or if they nod passively but make no changes to their behavior, you should break up with them.

That said, I would personally not continue such a new relationship that's gotten off to such a terrible start. Unless there's a reason you're not telling us why they would want to keep your relationship on the DL (for example, if you're in a gay or lesbian relationship with someone who hasn't come out yet) there's absolutely no excuse for this kind of behavior.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:02 AM on November 4, 2010


One solution is to get rid of your expectations. He's your lover -- for now. There is an extremely high probability that he won't be around forever, so enjoy the friendship for what it is. If you can go with the flow -- rather than strive to be madly in love together and live happily ever after -- and just appreciate the good aspects here and now, you'll be much better off.

It took me a long time to figure out that (modern?) romantic relationships are frequently transient experiences.

But that's what I would do. You, however, have a desire for the outward trappings of a romantic relationship, and you're looking for commitment. Your lover is not going to offer you the sort of commitment you're looking for. He miiiight eventually come around, but probably not if you're pushing for it, and you shouldn't count on it. For you, it sounds like it is time to move on. Don't let it be a messy pseudo-break-up, and don't let his desire to keep having a lover keep you from your desire for a different sort of relationship.

Relationships like this are fine for a while, sort of like popcorn and ice cream are fine for a while. It really sounds to me like you might need to be on your own for a while. You can do it! Learn to be extremely comfortable in your own shoes, without a relationship. Then, when Tasty Salads and Five Course Dinners comes along, they'll think you're the cat's miaow because you're comfortable being you and they'll appreciate that, and it will be a more satisfying relationship for you than what you have now.
posted by lover at 10:04 AM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would still like to hold their hand in public once in a while and have some public acknowledgement our relationship exists.

You are not going to get this from this man (you've already blown the gender gaff by using "his").

DTMFA.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:07 AM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think "stoic" is the right word here. This guy just doesn't sound like he wants to be your boyfriend.
posted by something something at 10:26 AM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yes, good point, something something. "Stoic" is not a synonym for "uncaring about other people"--the principle of Stoic philosophy was that you shouldn't care what happens to yourself.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:32 AM on November 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, sorry. It's one thing to not want to be all junior high school make-out session everywhere, and it is COMPLETELY different not to "even admit our status when asked directly by mutual acquaintances who see us together."
posted by grapesaresour at 10:47 AM on November 4, 2010


Look, lots of people think I'm stoic, I keep things very private (including, when I was much younger, the surreptitious holding-hands-but-no-one-in-the-room-can-see thing) and I can't stand to watch kissing on TV, PDAs annoy me so much. I have vulnerability issues the likes of which would stun mere mortals into a catatonic fugue state (this is what I say to feel better about myself.) This is true, to a lesser extent, of the guys I tend to date. When actually in love I still end out telling friends eventually, and most of them are "yeah, I could tell" about it.

I just don't think this guy is in love with you. Gut impulse. And like people above say, you don't seem to be getting what you need here. You deserve better. Tell him/her that.
posted by SMPA at 11:08 AM on November 4, 2010


It doesn't matter what the explanation or the label is; this behavior is unacceptable:

They are extremely reluctant to publicly admit our relationship exists

They also engage in a lot of criticism of my physical characteristics

joke a lot about hook-ups with people at work showing interest in them.


They also are extremely adverse to me meeting any member of their family, despite being very close to them.

Being stoic does not give you the right to be a jerk. A guy who loved you (or even just really liked you) and wanted to be in a relationship with you would not do all of these things. You deserve much better.
posted by yarly at 12:09 PM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


They have said ... [they] became more stoic after an acrimonious break-up with the ex involving repeated infidelity. -- unless you're the ex who's gotten back together with them, it's irrelevant and invalidates you as a new, separate and innocent person

OP, I would stay away from this entitlement model of dating. One has to accept that the person we are with has past experiences and that those experiences are going to color what happens today. We are not entitled to be free of our SO's baggage, like it or not. It is a fact of life.

Find a way to ask for what you want. If he refuses, decide how much you are willing to give on the issue. If he can't meet your needs, then move on.

I just don't think this guy is in love with you. Gut impulse

I think AskMe in general has insufficient data for meaningful answers on questions that large.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:10 PM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think AskMe in general has insufficient data for meaningful answers on questions that large.

I think "he still has 'Single' as his Facebook status" is pretty much all the data we need for a meaningful answer to the question of whether or not this relationship is going to give the OP what they want.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:21 PM on November 4, 2010


willingness to publicly admit our relationship exists

If someone you consider your S.O. isn't willing to admit to other people that you are dating at all, there is a strong likelihood that one of the following is true:

A) That person does not consider the two of you to be in any sort of relationship at all.

B) That person does not want what's going on between the two of you to become public knowledge because they don't want it to be going on at all.

C) That person has conniving reasons they don't want anyone to know about your relationship.

D) That person has some fairly severe problems with how they relate to other people, whether that's within romantic relationships or in terms of the outside world.

None of those things bode well. All of them are a much bigger deal than "this dude doesn't like to talk about gushy emotional stuff".
posted by Sara C. at 1:04 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dude isn't in a relationship with you. He hangs out with you and has sex with you, and the only reason he hasn't let on that he's not your boyfriend is that he's afraid the sex and hanging out will stop if he does.

So this isn't a DTMFA situation; there's nobody there to dump. If you're cool with sex and hanging out, you can keep doing those things, and if you're not, you should stop doing those things. What you shouldn't do is stress over the status of your romantic relationship, because actually, you're single.
posted by longtime_lurker at 2:25 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hate to be the one to bring this up, but all this secrecy points to you not being his only FWB. I'm sorry. It sucks to be in this position. If it's any consolation, the only one who looks "wimpy" in this situation is him -- he's obviously unable to be assertive about what he really wants from you, or worse, deliberately manipulative.

I think it's really fucked-up how a woman asking for her needs to be met in a relationship somehow got twisted in our culture to mean that she's clingy. I really implore you and anyone else reading this to stop drinking that brand of Kool-Aid.
posted by xenophile at 3:12 PM on November 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


I think it's really fucked-up how a woman asking for her needs to be met in a relationship somehow got twisted in our culture to mean that she's clingy. I really implore you and anyone else reading this to stop drinking that brand of Kool-Aid.

This is so true. Listen to xenophile. You are being played by a guy who knows he's being a cad.
posted by anniecat at 3:26 PM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah. It's not wimpy to refuse to cooperate with someone who shows you no respect. Totally the opposite in fact.
posted by tel3path at 5:54 PM on November 4, 2010


I've said this a few times before on the green but it's probably worth repeating. If you spend a large portion of your relationship analysing it, wondering what they mean by this or that, trying to decipher their actions or work out their games or wondering how much they're into you, it's not worth it. And they're not into you.

The right person won't constantly leave you with questions or prey on your insecurities (or get off on the added attention they get as you twist yourself into a pretzel trying to figure them out). The person who loves you will go to great lengths to let you know that simply because they won't want to lose you, and if they realise they've done something wrong, will at the very least explain or apologise or try to make it better, and you will do it for them too. Because that's how things should work.

Put simply, it shouldn't be hard all the time. You'll have your moments, but if it's always like that, it's not the right relationship and all you're doing is stopping yourself from finding the person you actually should be with. Unfortunately, for most of us, experience tends to be the only teacher we listen to.
posted by Jubey at 8:46 PM on November 4, 2010 [11 favorites]


I am so you about 6 years ago. I totally "dated" this guy. I put "dated" in quotes because like you, he was so reluctant to acknowledge our relationship most of our friends didn't know. This went on for like 2 years. 2 years!!

We finally ended things when he went to New York city for a weekend with a few friends and came back and told me he "met a girl". Actually he dumped ME. RAGE!!

I couldn't believe how stupid I'd become, I was like some donkey and he was dangling this carrot of commitment in front of me when all along there was no carrot. You're not being insecure, you're asking for the bare minimum - acknowledgement!

Save yourself the time and heart ache and dump him because you deserve better and there are better out there.

I've just married a guy who proposed to me on a busy shopping street. After that other jerk who wouldn't even hold my hand at the park I know which one I prefer!
posted by like_neon at 5:48 AM on November 5, 2010


You have a pretty good consensus here, so just to add to the pile: I've heard lots of stories from my friends about SOs who wanted to keep things secret, stay single on facebook, not seem like a couple in public. Not a single on of those stories has a happy ending. I have never, ever heard of a person who behaves like your SO eventually coming around.

Now, you could twist yourself into knots trying to figure out why he's acting this way, but does it really matter? This behavior is unacceptable in general, but more importantly it's unacceptable to you, since you're not getting what you need.

Time to move on. This is one of those cases where, with hindsight, you won't believe what you were once willing to put up with.
posted by Ragged Richard at 8:02 AM on November 5, 2010


His explanation of why he would move to "relationship" instead of just FWB is incredibly telling. He said he realized it wouldn't be that different- when clearly you want it to be- and he's making it the same as it was before. I imagine that "it wouldn't be that different" was meant as a reassuring statement to himself (and perhaps one you even made), but the reality is that it's a smokescreen. He's not acting any differently, but you think things are different. They're not. You shouldn't have to talk someone into being in a relationship with you, and it sounds like you're compromising an awful lot of what you would like/need to make him feel "comfortable" when really, it's enabling him to continue this convenient situation without giving anything he doesn't want to.
posted by questionsandanchors at 8:42 AM on November 5, 2010


His friends ask him if you two are dating. He says NO. Believe what he is saying and doing. He insults you, denies you are dating, lists his status as single, pursues others. You are not dating; you're secret FWB with a jerk.
posted by heatherann at 6:37 AM on November 10, 2010


I guess I should follow up. I did indeed have a break-up conversation with my SO. It did not end in a break-up, my SO asked me to give them another chance to change their behavior and since then they really did. They were much more open, much more affectionate, much more public, and now, half a year later, I have no doubts as to their fidelity or interest in me. Their explanation was they were used to being single and was not sure how to change, and were still guarded due the many infidelities of their previous SO.
posted by Hey nonny nonny mouse at 4:27 PM on June 14, 2011


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