He is not sure about me or what he's doing with his life?
November 14, 2011 3:07 PM   Subscribe

As everyone has already reminded me, I asked questions on here before about my bf. He admitted he is not in love with me but cares deeply for me? Still wants to be together?

So everyone already knows my story and if you don't, well, you know where to find it... well I already attempted to break up with the guy and have even tried going on other dates but I still love this person as much as I hate to say it. We saw each other a few weeks ago and the day was fine and all but something had been eating at me because a few days before I had come over and he was angry at his mom; he's always angry at her. He revealed some more things I didn't know about his family; his mom had custody of him when he was little and she never cleaned the house, he grew up in filth, and to even take a shower he had to go to his father's military base because she couldn't afford the water bill. His dad was in Iraq for awhile as well... He said she was careless and inconsiderate. I admit that's really very sad. This person grew up as a child with nobody around and was an only child... well anyways he vented to me in the car that he was angry at her for not cleaning the house and making him remember what it was like when he was little to live with her when they got evicted. Then he casually said his dad was planning that he get his associate's degree and then maybe join the air force or army.

He was saying he was sick of our town and wanted to leave and that it was starting to sound better and better. I kind of realize now that he probably isn't serious about joining knowing the kind of commitment it would bring and besides that, he's overweight and such. I know this person has a lot going on and maybe he really doesn't want to give me his full attention because other things demand it more and he is somebody who doesn't want to talk or associate when he's upset, which has been often. Yet even though I know these things and know that I could have another relationship if I wanted, I still love this person somehow. Even with people telling me I'm "in love with a relationship" with having experienced some dates and opportunities... I still love him.

That night I brought up what we would do if he left and he didn't want to talk about it. He got upset with me but I got worried. He was saying we'd probably break up but mostly because he didn't want a dear john letter later on? He stressed the fact that he had not even acted on it. I said that it might be easier to handle the pressure of a military relationship with love there and that since he didn't say he did he must not love me. He said that it was true, he did not love me. So I proceeded to get upset and leave breaking it off. He previously told me he was not sure about me. I wondered why he could fall in love with the girl before me in a span of 3 months but surmised it was probably just infatuation. He still holds onto hurt from that girl who ran him around with other guys; he told me he had a dream about getting revenge on her, he had sexual messages saved from her for a whole six months into our relationship, I forgot to mention. He never brought her up until I wanted to know he says it still bothers him but he's "over her." So he posts a sad status on facebook and lets me change our relationship status first. Four days later, I'm getting messages saying "how are you doing?" and then "don't forget to vote today" another day and he goes out and gets drunk and tells me about it so I'd feel bad. He told me just because he isn't head over heels in love with me does not mean he doesn't care for me very strongly, that he said he loved me at first because he didn't want me to dump him.

What I don't understand is why he can be so unsure, not know anything, and then once I'm gone he can't leave me alone. "I miss you, I want to talk with you." The first time he'd said it in 3 months. What does this person want? I love him but I'm risking so much... and he's not figured himself out and him holding onto me isn't making it any easier for me.... why does he not want me to dump him? Am I just some friend with benefits and never really was a girlfriend?
posted by Chelsaroo650 to Human Relations (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For god's sake break up with him and be done with this. You're not even a year into this relationship and it seems to be nothing but angst.

Of course he doesn't want to be really alone - it's lonely! He wants some combination of mom and provider of sex, and he doesn't want any of the "inconvenient" stuff that comes with relationships (like communication, consideration, etc.). He using you and you're letting him. Dump him, and tell him no contact for a while. Filter his emails, block him on social media, delete his phone number. And go make yourself busy doing something else - get a new, absorbing hobby.
posted by rtha at 3:13 PM on November 14, 2011 [22 favorites]

This situation sounds like a huge energy suck. How are you helped by holding onto this? Think about the things you could be doing, learning, creating, places you could be traveling to, with this energy.
posted by angrycat at 3:18 PM on November 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

Bad relationships are bad. You're in a bad relationship with this guy. Cut him off and be done with him. (When you get into a good relationship with someone else it'll all become clearer to you that this is not what quality relationships are about.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:20 PM on November 14, 2011

He admitted he is not in love with me

He's telling you, despite knowing that you love him, that he does not love you. He does not love you! Unfriend him on Facebook, label his number in your phone as DO NOT ANSWER DO NOT TEXT, and try to move on with your life. You deserve better.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:22 PM on November 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

There is no upside here, only lots of stress and unhappiness. Cut the cord now.
posted by fenriq at 3:25 PM on November 14, 2011

>>why does he not want me to dump him?

It's an ego boost and flattering for him to have you in his life because he knows exactly where you stand and he doesn't have to make any effort at all.

If you made a list of "what positives is he getting out of this" and "what positives am I getting out of this," his column has a lot of items and you have none.
posted by spec80 at 3:29 PM on November 14, 2011 [11 favorites]

Do you realize that you are allowed to be happy? Most of all, happy without him? You love him, but I am sure you will find love with someone who can love you back the way you need to be loved.

He is not your problem, you are not responsible for his happiness. You ARE, however, responsible for your own happiness.

What is your objective in this life? Mine is to try and be happy. That alone has been an arduous task for me and I really try to spread the happy in every direction. If it is this difficult to make oneself happy, there is no making another person happy. Especially if that person is not working on it himself.

Go your way, smell the autumn in the air, watch the sun set, jump in a pile of dried leaves and listen to the rustling, but for the love of goodness get away from this person because he is a leech on your good energy!
posted by Yellow at 3:30 PM on November 14, 2011 [10 favorites]

You say you "still love this person" but it doesn't sound to me like you love him much at all, at least not in the sense of being "in love." He is a sympathetic character, with a tough upbringing and no real direction in life, and it sounds like you feel an obligation (perhaps even a desire) to take care of him. That's not what a relationship is for; that's what therapy or social work is for. I mean, sometimes a relationship will involve taking care of someone for a while, but it sounds like that's ALL you're doing here.

Particularly if you've already tried to dump him, and he expressly says he doesn't love you, just break it off already. This isn't helping anyone.
posted by rkent at 3:50 PM on November 14, 2011

What I don't understand is why he can be so unsure, not know anything, and then once I'm gone he can't leave me alone.

It's called "being a schmuck." I know. I was a schmuck, too. Most people grow out of it (jury is still out on me). You must protect yourself from these people.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:50 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

He doesn't have the courage to dump you yet because he doesn't have anyone better lined up. Maybe he's a looser and never will find anyone better, and you can spend 20 years with someone who doesn't love you.

Dump him and you'll be helping him to grow up. Do it now.
posted by General Tonic at 3:53 PM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

Am I just some friend with benefits and never really was a girlfriend?

When he dumps you in some really callous, hurtful way in a few months, I want you to remember that this was the last of about three thousand words you wrote on the subject of your ex-boyfriend. The thing that you ultimately came around to understanding, on your own, after talking it out in front of all of us for the third time, was exactly the truth of this situation. Remember what you wrote. You know the score and yet you keep going back.

Why do you keep letting yourself down over and over again?
posted by TryTheTilapia at 3:53 PM on November 14, 2011 [13 favorites]

He's behaving this way because he's a jerk.

Seriously, that's about all there is to it. There's no deliciously complex mystery to unravel here, though the intensity and confusion you're feeling suggests that there is. The fact that he keeps you guessing keeps you tied to him, makes it feel as if there's some prize to be won if you can just figure out the puzzle of what makes him tick.

But there's no prize here. He's never going to treat you well because that's not who he is as a person. He has shown this to you repeatedly. He might one day become a better person who doesn't treat women like this, but you'll lose years -- decades, possibly -- of your life if you stick with him, waiting to see if he changes for you.

Let me ask you this. Removing your attraction for him from the equation, if you knew everything about him that you know now, would you set him up on a date with your best friend? I am virtually certain that you wouldn't. And why not? Because you know he'd treat her like shit, and you like her too much to let her be treated that way by some guy.

Do yourself the favor, and treat yourself with the same consideration that you'd treat your best friend.
posted by scody at 3:54 PM on November 14, 2011 [6 favorites]

Look, if you don't completely break things off with him, at some point you are going to be the woman on the other side of this question. Do you want to be that woman?
posted by lalex at 4:04 PM on November 14, 2011 [4 favorites]

lalex, I thought of the same thing...

Please listen to everyone here, and in the last thread, and in the thread before that. (I don't fault you for writing all these questions because sometimes you need to hear the message repeated a bunch of times before you accept it. I totally get that, and that used to be me before I had any self-confidence. And I really want to believe that through your writing and the responses you're getting you are gathering the strength to dump this guy.)

There is a better life with this behind you. I don't even know you but I can promise you that.
posted by swingbraid at 4:17 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

What does this person want?

why does he not want me to dump him?


Why do you need to understand that this person treats you like shit (or at the very least, not how you want to be treated and doesn't want the same things as you, with you)? Isn't it enough that he does?
posted by sm1tten at 4:24 PM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

I just exited a relationship that sounded so close to this (right down to the other woman) that for a moment, I thought perhaps I HAD written this (er...somehow in my sleep or something, under an assumed name).

I was deeply in love with a man who also told me he was not "in love" with me but convinced me that perhaps it was a matter of semantics and that I should stick around. So I did stick around, for another couple of years. And what I found out was, "Huh. Yeah. This guy is not in love with me." It hurt very badly--not just in the end (which has been torment), but also during the entire time that we remained together after that, while I was desperately trying to figure out ways I might actually MAKE him fall in love with me.

So please be kind to yourself. Everyone here is right on, and I wish that someone had told me to run far away as quickly as possible. (Come to think of it, people DID tell me, only I didn't listen. So, I wish I had listened.)

Your energy is precious and valuable, and by walking away, you will be reclaiming it for your own use. (So that you can then do something totally awesome!)
posted by exploringoptimism at 4:24 PM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

Your energy is precious and valuable, and by walking away, you will be reclaiming it for your own use.

This x 1000. You don't put a lot of detail about how you are feeling in here, but I am still just emotionally drained reading your description. I can't imagine how it must be to be you in this situation. It sounds exhausting. That's not what love is. It's not even what like is. Relationships are work. And maybe you've heard that lesson and thought that this is what that is -- but trust me, this is not it.

Walk away. Perhaps you think his bad behavior to you is somehow excused by his sad childhood. It's not. It's sad, sure, but lots of people who have managed to have it a lot worse manage to be decent boyfriends. Or hell, decent human beings. It doesn't sound like he's there yet, and it's not your responsibility to get him there. In fact, if you're hoping he'll 'get better' if you stay around, you are probably doing him a disservice. The more you reward him for this bad behavior, the less incentive he has to change.

One day, hopefully soon, you will be in a better relationship, with a more deserving partner, or maybe even you won't be but you'll still be removed from this situation, and you might be embarrassed you even had to ask, given the unanimity of the responses here. Don't be embarrassed. We all have to learn these lessons. But I think you should consider this one learned and move on.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:39 PM on November 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

I was once in a situation like yours. I waited for him to fall in love with me for nearly four years. I spent those years riddled with fear that he'd meet someone else. I hated myself because I couldn't be enough for him. Every flaw of mine seemed magnified and unforgivable. He flaked on me, flirted with other women in front of me, invited other people to our anniversary celebrations. He didn't like my friends and made no effort to get to know them. He, too, "cared deeply" about me. But he did not love me. By the time he left me, I was a depressed, isolated mess. I had no hopes or dreams for my future; my whole life was wrapped up in doing things for him in the hope that he would love me. I was obsessed with the relationship and was constantly anxious. I could have written your posts. I thought that pain was the price I had to pay to date the kind of person I could love.

I've since learned that I don't have to hurt myself to have a good relationship. I learned that when a guy really likes someone, he goes out of his way for her. He thinks her faults are cute, communicates often, shows up on time, and takes care of her. He remembers her favorite things and plans dates with her. Even when he's extremely busy, he'll take time to be with her. Good relationships are amazing and there's nothing wrong with you for wanting one. What's wrong is that you think that the relationship he's giving you is the best you can have. You are settling. There is no reason for you to settle. You're attractive, kind, and have time on your side.

When he left, I thought I was going to die. However, I'm so happy now that I can't believe that I lived that way for four years. Life is much better when you don't have a constant reminder that you're unlovable around.

You are right. You are risking a lot by staying with him. You are risking your self-esteem and your precious time. You are on the cusp of your twenties. It's an amazing, wild, lonely decade. Spend it learning about yourself, building skills, laughing as much as possible, and seeing beautiful things. You love him, but he's just a sad, pathetic, guy. You can't change him or help him become better than he is. Don't make him your life unless you want your life to be sad and miserable, too.
posted by millions of peaches at 4:46 PM on November 14, 2011 [10 favorites]

he goes out and gets drunk and tells me about it so I'd feel bad.

Why would you stay with someone who wants you to feel bad?
posted by hermitosis at 4:51 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

He said that it was true, he did not love me.

You need to believe what he is telling you. I'm truly sorry, but your relationship is over.

Be strong. Cut off ALL contact. Be strong. Be kind to yourself. Be strong. Figure out what you want from your next boyfriend, and don't settle for anything less.
posted by Specklet at 5:01 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you were to meet another guy tonight, and he swept you off your feet - was kind to you, made you feel loved, had a life of his own that made him happy... would you even want this guy in your life as your boyfriend? Or would you just care about him as someone you once were in love with, but whom you now see as a friend who needs help and isn't trying to drag you down with him?

Your answer to that first question is going to be yes, because you are right now in despair, hurting. But what you don't realize is that you're afraid of being alone, of not being loved, of not having someone to always talk to and spend time with. The thing is, you ARE alone (he's selfish - his childhood is no excuse for this), he doesn't love you (he told you so, and he's using your feelings for him as his own security blanket)... and he doesn't really look like he wants to spend time with you. You're afraid to let go of this relationship because you're afraid you won't find another one. There are no guarantees here except for two things: you are young, and this relationship isn't going to end well. Wait, it HAS ended - you're just prolonging your pain.

The scary thing is, we can all tell you this until we're blue in the face but you won't hear us because you're in denial. I know, because I was you. And then one day I got sick of being miserable and wanting him all the time. You will find out you're better than this, that you deserve better than the misery he's causing you, the hurt that he's bringing into your life and making you write all of this time and again. For your sanity and and well-being, I hope that realization comes sooner rather than later. Good luck, kid. We're all pulling for you.
posted by Everydayville at 5:27 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some part of you is loving or needing this drama. You are getting something from it, but not something that is making you happy. Let him go, you are going to disappear in this relationship if you don't.

You will find someone who loves you back in a healthier way. The sooner you cut him off, the sooner you will get there.
posted by Vaike at 5:39 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

He said that it was true, he did not love me.


Sorry for yelling, but it could not be clearer. I mean, that's not even the "Gee, I don't think I've ever been 'in love' with anybody" excuse that my first ex gave me, that's a straight out "I don't love you."

He doesn't love you. That isn't going to change. Yes, you are just a friend with benefits. No, you are not really his girlfriend. That's not going to change either.

But! If you break up with this guy and get your head clear of him — and I say this from direct, personal experience (e.g., the above-mentioned first ex, who was also my third ex because I was foolish enough to get back together with him) — you will open yourself up to all the other possibilities that are out there. Being on your own gives you more freedom to figure out who you are, what you want, what you need, what you enjoy, etc., and it's easier to do so if you aren't focusing a large part of your energy on a relationship partner. (I highly recommend doing some traveling alone, if you haven't already.)

There are a lot of guys out there who are smart/funny/silly/creative/etc. who would be thrilled to be your boyfriend, but you'll never meet them if you stay stuck on this guy who DOES NOT LOVE YOU (ahem) and does not want to be with you.
posted by Lexica at 7:30 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

The only piece of advice I can give you is this: If you love this person that much, let them go. Let them go and figure out what they need to do, whether it may be joining the military, or sorting out his family, etc. Trust me as someone who has been there, figuring out how to deal with his fucked up and dysfuctional family is/will consuming all of his heart, energy, and time. If you love him, stop enabling him. Respect him and his wishes when he tells you that he doesn't love you. Respect yourself and acknowledge that perhaps this is a situation that you can not fix, and need to give yourself both space to figure out where to go next.

What does this person want?

Well this is just pure speculation, but given his family background of neglect and abuse, I think he's looking for stability. He can not comprehend what it is like to be in a stable and loving home environment, and is using you for the stability, love and needs that his parents/family are not meeting. This is a normal human reaction to things. However, using you as an emotional crunch in this way will do nothing for the both of you over the long term. In fact, it will encourage him to continue the unhealthy habitats and coping mechanisms that he has learned from his family.

My suggestion? If you love him as much as you say you do, let him go. Give you both the time and space you need to figure things out. What you want and need from a relationship. Which means a period of no contact, for the sake of both of you. If you have access to therapy, this would be a great thing to help you figure this all out.

Good luck, and all the best
posted by snowysoul at 2:13 AM on November 15, 2011

Yet even though I know these things and know that I could have another relationship if I wanted, I still love this person somehow. Even with people telling me I'm "in love with a relationship" with having experienced some dates and opportunities... I still love him.

This is normal. It takes a long, long time for your emotions to catch up with your brain. A break of a few weeks is simply not enough time. I know it sucks, I've been there myself, but you need to recognize what your head is saying and then avoid contact with this guy for a long period of time (give it the same time as you were in a relationship--about 9 months, from my count) to let your emotions heal. I promise you, it does get better. You will find other people who you can love, and some of them will be much nicer than this guy. But it's not going to happen overnight.
posted by anaelith at 7:25 AM on November 15, 2011

You're spending an awful lot of time worrying about what he wants. That's because of what you want: you want him, and you think that if you can make yourself into what he wants, you'll get what you want. I'm sorry, I don't want to hurt you, but I think this needs to be put as bluntly as possible:

You can't have him.

He has told you everything you need to know. Hell, he told you he doesn't love you. He knows that you love him and that he doesn't love you, and yet he won't leave you alone. In other words he's fucking with you. The most charitable interpretation of his behavior is that he's behaving selfishly and not considering your feelings as much as he should. The more likely interpretation is that he's an asshole.

None of that matters, however, because the simple fact of the matter is that the happy, lifelong relationship that you're picturing yourself having with this guy is not going to happen. It just isn't. I know that's upsetting. But your refusal to accept that is leaving you wide open to so much more pain. Because every day that you try to figure out how to make him love you is a day that you tear out your stitches.

I think the main problem here is that you're romanticizing your feelings for him - I think on some level that you think if you love him enough, if you suffer enough for him, the universe is going to compensate you by delivering him to you. But it doesn't work that way. Think of some other things you've wanted in your life that you couldn't have. You survived, right? You'll survive this too. But first you need to accept the reality of the situation and stop talking to him. Block his calls and emails, unfriend him on facebook - do not accept or initiate any contact with him. You won't start healing until you do that.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:47 AM on November 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

You need some friends, some real friends who will go and sit with you in a cafe and listen to you say these things.

This is because there is nothing like seeing the shocked faces of your peers to help build and reinforce some boundaries about how you allow yourself to be treated.
posted by Sallyfur at 1:14 AM on November 16, 2011

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