relationship beanplating: edition 1,232
August 13, 2012 7:17 AM   Subscribe

realtionship question filter: things dragged on for half a year very casually. I've decided I'm not getting what I need out of this. Should I try to turn it into something more serious or has this ship sailed?

I've been seeing this guy for around six months now. We are both mid-20s. It never really progressed into anything serious, we get together about once a week-- sometimes we go to dinner or something like that but mostly just hang out at his place. He's pretty affectionate when we're actually together, but that's as far as it goes-- we barely talk when we're not actively arranging to hang out, and I almost never see him on weekends (mostly his fault, he often is out of town or is doing hobbies that I don't have the skills/equipment to do with him... I think he might make time for me if I pushed the issue but I don't think he'd particularly want to, honestly). I've met a couple of his friends, he hasn't really met any of mine (I am fairly new to the area and don't have a lot of close friends, I was always going to bring him to a bbq or something, it just never worked out). We are not exclusive, or at least we haven't talked about it specifically.

Anyway, this was a little more casual than what I'd been looking for but I was actually 75% sure I'd be moving in August (he knew), so I didn't try to push for anything more.

But, recently got a new job here, looks like I'm staying in the area at least a little while longer. I know that this relationship isn't enough for me right now, but I don't know how to approach making it more serious-- is it salvageable? should I try? It kind of feels like things have fizzled but I still enjoy spending time with him and it appears that he does with me, just not to the extent that I want. Not sure if I can redirect things or how to do it-- I'm super bad at this kind of thing, I haven't actually been in A Real Relationship before, not totally sure how to do it or what I would want out of it.

Anyway, what is the best way to approach this? Should I cut my losses and stop seeing him, should I be more aggressive about asking him to spend time with me, should I sit him down and be like "in light of my sticking around, this either needs to change or end"?

I'm super terrible at this kind of thing. geez.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Should I cut my losses and stop seeing him, should I be more aggressive about asking him to spend time with me, should I sit him down and be like "in light of my sticking around, this either needs to change or end"?

No need to give up, be super aggressive, or lay down an ultimatum. Just say "hey, we've been going out for a while and I've reached a point where I'd like things to get more serious, what do you think about that?"
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:21 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

The best you can do is tell him that it now appears that you're not moving away and, in light of that, you've been thinking about maybe going exclusive. Then ask if he has any thoughts about that.

Having said that, it's been six months and you haven't even discussed exclusivity, so I kind of feel like what's going on is he likes hanging out with you well enough but isn't super into you. I could be wrong, but it's the feeling I get based on the information provided.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:29 AM on August 13, 2012

Ask him on a real, old-school courtship-style date, mainly as a symbolic gesture that tell him you're interested in him, but you're not going to dive in head-first. Instead, just put your cards on the table and get the process that may eventually lead a relationship with this dude in gear:

"I really like you, but I've been keeping this whole thing at arm's length because I thought I wasn't going to be sticking around here. But now I'm staying and how about we go out on a real date?"

You might go on this date and, bam, twenty minutes later, this is your boyfriend. You might go on this date and realize that when the cards are on the table, he's not the right guy for you. You might go on five more dates and figure it out then. But do something.

I'm super terrible at this kind of thing. geez.

I can tell you right now that no one is good at it. Seriously, everyone is terrible at this stuff and goes through forehead-rubbing "oh-for-fuck's-sake" moments about it. And if they don't, they're either quite lucky or emotionally stunted. So this is just standard human-condition stuff; no need to be afraid (well, more afraid) or get down on yourself.
posted by griphus at 7:31 AM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]

Sure, by all means ask him for something more serious, but I wouldn't expect to get the response you're looking for. If he's been letting it drag on like this for six months he's probably not that emotionally invested.
posted by timsneezed at 7:31 AM on August 13, 2012

Also, don't feel bad if you decide you want to just end it with him. If you are not getting what you want out of a six-month-old relationship, you are under no obligation to try and make it work. It's never a bad idea to put forth at least a little effort, but life is too short and there are too many fish in the sea to require otherwise.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:42 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cut your losses, or 'become friends'. Relationships don't get more serious because of Discussions, they get more serious because each participant cares deeply for the other person and wants to spend lots of time with them. A discussion won't make either of you feel that way if you don't already.
posted by Kololo at 7:49 AM on August 13, 2012 [17 favorites]

Reading between the lines, and looking at your tone, it just sounds to me like you're not totally happy with him. So, a breakup sounds like the right idea.
posted by Citrus at 7:52 AM on August 13, 2012 [7 favorites]

I know that this relationship isn't enough for me right now

But, recently got a new job here, looks like I'm staying in the area at least a little while longer.

New job by chance is not a reason to settle for an unfulfilling relationship.

Have a frank but gentle conversation about how you both want to go forward. The way you've described your situation here does not come across as "invested in growing and nurturing this particular relationship with this person at this time." If your partner is working under this assumption, or is hopeful, it's unfair to your partner to let him continue this way. Do the decent thing and talk with one another about where you each are in terms of this relationship. That's a tough conversation, and I wish you strength for it.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:05 AM on August 13, 2012

As much as you'd like the magic pixie dust to hit you both, you're going to actually have to discuss this.

Before you do that, ask yourself, "Do I want to have this be more serious?"

You got into this relationship thinking it would be casual and that it had an expiration date. It didn't much matter about compatibility because you weren't expecting the relationship to mature into anything in particular. (Which is perfectly fine!)

Now, you're sticking around, but you're not 100% sure for how long, and you realize that the short-term casual thing was fine, but now that you're more long-term, it isn't.

So, do you want this guy to be your boyfriend? (Check Yes or No)

If you do, then have the talk. "Hey, it seems that I'm staying in town. Since that's the case, this is usually the point in a relationship that we decide if it's working for us and that we want more of a commitment. What do you think about this?" Then hear what he has to say. If he seems like he's on the same page, great. If he just wants more of the same, "Oh, that's disappointing. I don't think this is going to work out. Have a nice life." And that's it.

If, after weighing your options, you realize that what was good for fluff, isn't good for the long haul, just break up with him. Go to his place and say, "Hey, it was great while it lasted, but I think I'm going to move on now." If he truly has no investment, it shouldn't be that difficult.

From what you describe I don't think he's boyfriend material. But that's for you to decide.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:10 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't see anywhere in your question where you say anything along the lines of "I really like this guy." Do you?

not totally sure how to do it or what I would want out of it.

It sounds like what you've got with him isn't working for you, but there's nothing about him or the relationship that's got you hooked & wanting more. There's nothing wrong with ending it for just that reason.
posted by headnsouth at 8:27 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I totally dated this guy. We wouldn't do anything unless I initiated, and then it was mostly dinner or a movie at his place, that kind of thing. He had hobbies that I wasn't interested in (rock climbing, other outdoorsy stuff) and placed his rock climbing friends, his regular job, his new startup job, every damn thing in the world ahead of me. I finally got fed up and told him I wanted to be with someone who made me more of a priority than he did, so we split up. A few months later I met an awesome guy who I've been with ever since (going on 6 years). Didn't regret it for a second. You deserve to be with someone who'll put at least as much effort into the relationship as you're putting into it, and this is not the guy. Break up and move on.
posted by jabes at 8:40 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

It is not clear that you have told him what you want, or that you have asked him what he wants. Indeed, it is quite possible that he is as ambivalent about what he wants as you are about what you want.

I play poker sometimes, and 'reading the hand' of someone else (determining what they are thinking and the cards they are holding) is important. But even more important is reading your own hand! Have you done this? If so, it isn't obvious.
posted by Mr. Justice at 8:48 AM on August 13, 2012

It doesn't sound like you're that into him, more like you just want a relationship because that's what you're supposed to want on the date -- sex -- relationship -- cohabitate -- marry -- kids treadmill.

I mean, do you really want to date someone who you can't spend weekends with? It all sounds pretty meh to me.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:13 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've dated women where I couldn't figure out if they wanted more or less interaction on a daily basis, so I'd let them dictate the terms. It never made me terribly happy to wait for that to happen, and in no case did I want less interaction - I'd just back off if they seemed sated or even overwhelmed, in some cases. It's impossible to say what's going on here objectively, so talk it out and trust your instinct. Also, it's OK to make a mistake in hindsight, should you see a few years down the road that you were the one holding back more than you thought (for instance).
posted by kcm at 9:15 AM on August 13, 2012

Also, I think it's a bit of a waste of time to try to guess what he's thinking after six months. Figure out what you want, and then ask him for it. Or break it off. Or continue things the way they are.

The whole idea that women shouldn't dare to pester men with our feelings unless we're 100% sure the guy shares them is kinda bullshit. If he doesn't want a relationship and you do, you talk about that, he balks, you know where you stand, everyone is fine.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:15 AM on August 13, 2012

You don't sound keen on him!

You'd need to be A LOT more positive and turned on by this guy to turn this into something deeper. Spending more time will not equal "deeper" - know what I mean?

Go find someone else!!
posted by jbenben at 9:29 AM on August 13, 2012

You don't need to wait for things to be really bad to stop dating someone. You're young and (from the sound of your post) you're not in love. Maybe it's time to try something or someone new.
posted by pinetree at 11:56 AM on August 13, 2012

I do think that when you've dated someone and there's been a potential end date in mind (in this case, you were supposed to move) it can dampen the impulse to really invest in someone, so I'm not totally blaming either person for not moving it forward. However, I think you may want to consider whether, sans expiration date, would you have wanted to keep dating this guy? Does this guy have potential, or is this guy just available?
posted by sm1tten at 5:06 PM on August 13, 2012

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