I acted needy- can I do anything to rectify this?
March 11, 2013 2:40 AM   Subscribe

Been dating a guy for 4 months and I acted needy, is there anyway I can resolve this. I don't want to lose him but fear it may be a little late now!

I have been dating this guy for four months and thinks have been going relatively well, we still haven’t had the bf/gf conversation but I was happy. On my birthday he made a real effort, took me to a lovely restaurant and bought me lovely gifts. We were seeing each other regularly.

The following weekend it was my birthday drinks with my friends and he was meant to be coming. Instead, however, he ended up getting drunk with his football friends I had to chase to see what was going on and he kept on delaying turning up. In the end I told him not to bother and stayed with my friends. The next day we met up to talk about what had happened, he apologised profusely and said it had all got a bit drunk , I told him exactly how it made me feel and dealt with it.

Anyway, following this he has been busy at work and not particularly there, saying he was busy so couldn’t meet up. So I text him and said ‘Is everything ok, you have seemed distant this week and I know you are busy but if you it’s because you are not interested please let me know- I would rather know the truth.’ (I know NEEDY) I’m just fed-up of games from the past and thought I’d give him the opportunity and let him walk away. But he said no that wasn’t the case and he had been useless and busy and that he wanted to meet up- so he cooked me dinner that evening and it was fine.

This week he was texting me fine etc, then it came to Friday and asked if he wanted to meet up and he said he didn’t know what was going on had a busy weekend and needed to sort stuff out. Later that evening he text saying he needed an evening to himself. So I decided to play it ‘cool’ and said that’s fine have a good weekend, I’m off out for work drinks- hope you feel less stressed and I’ll talk to you soon. I also said I am here if you need any help sorting stuff.

Instead I got drunk with work colleagues. When he then text me ‘saying depending on plans, I’ll try and see you this weekend what are your plans?’ I read it badly and flipped – I ended up saying ‘I think you should do your thing this weekend and I’ll do mine, I am fed-up of being an option, I see you when I want to see you not because I have nothing else to do- when you are ready to see me let me know!’

I never got a response, the next day I rang and left an answer phone message apologising saying I had read his message out of context. He text me later completely ignoring that but, asking me how I was and if I had recovered. We had a bit of a light conversation- which ended with him not replying to my last text and I haven’t heard from him in the last couple of days….

So I know I have dealt with this badly and completely wrong, acting so needy- think I was feeling bit rubbish about how things were going and it came out in one drunken mess. Any advice out there? Shall I wait for him to contact me now? Is it too late- what should I do?

I'm thinking I should wait for him to get in touch and see what he says. If he doesn't then I guess I know my answer :( Wish I was better at this stuff.
posted by artystar to Human Relations (38 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm thinking I should wait for him to get in touch and see what he says.

No, if you care about him and want to make this work, it's your responsibility to talk to him directly and openly about something that's bothering you. Stop with all the texting and game-playing.
posted by John Cohen at 3:01 AM on March 11, 2013 [8 favorites]

What I always think is, if someone needs something, they need it. Its easy to say "I was too needy", but actually look at what you needed. And that was, reassurance that you weren't this guy's fall-back option. It sounds like things were going well, but then he cooled off a bit. I think getting too drunk to turn up to your birthday celebrations is really thoughtless. Maybe there was something going on for him - would this have been his first time meeting your friends? Does he prefer when its just you two and not a group of people? But regardless of why, he let you down. You naturally were left feeling a bit insecure about this, and so you wanted some kind of reassurance that things were still on track, but it doesn't look like he gave you enough. So its not surprising that despite trying to handle it in a mature way by talking about it - which you did - when you were a bit drunk your real feelings came out.

I wouldn't say you've blown it by being too needy, I would just chalk it up as the relationship not working out because he backed off and the neediness came from that, not the other way around. If you text him last and he hasn't replied I'd be inclined not to try and contact him again - unless you want to send him an "I guess we're going our separate ways, good luck" kind of thing. If he gets back in touch see how you feel, but don't think you need to carry the whole responsibility of it ending. Be nice to yourself. Hugs.
posted by billiebee at 3:02 AM on March 11, 2013 [31 favorites]

The only needy thing about all this is you feeling bad about it and wanting to rectify it. You said how you felt and expressed yourself.

This guy doesn't sound like an open communicator. Sounds like he throws crumbs your way.

It's okay to have needs. You're not being needy. Stop feeling ashamed.
posted by discopolo at 3:04 AM on March 11, 2013 [45 favorites]

I mean, honestly, getting too drunk to come to your birthday? You're not being treated well, you're forced to tiptoe around him because he falls silent and doesn't care about your feelings.

End the relationship, honestly. Too drunk to come to your birthday? Pfffft. This guy is treating you like a doormat. Do you want to be a doormat for a guy who doesn't even seem to value you as a person or as a friend, even though you've been dating for 4 months?

If you think about it rationally, despite your feelings for him, youll probably realize that he's just not that special. No one should treat you thoughtlessly.
posted by discopolo at 3:09 AM on March 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

I think you were being direct, not needy. You have needs and should feel at ease expressing such (feelings, concerns, worries, etc) with your SO. His response might not be what you had hoped for, but, reading this, that's all on him.
posted by marimeko at 3:18 AM on March 11, 2013 [15 favorites]

Also–the things you said that you refer to as having been 'needy' were in response to his carelessness/disrespect. Why should you pretend these things didn't bother you when they did? Texting might not have been the best method for having such a conversation, but to otherwise squelch your feelings in order to not appear needy is not respecting your own feelings and boundaries (something that, imo, is way more important to your well being than whatever this guy thinks).
posted by marimeko at 3:41 AM on March 11, 2013 [14 favorites]

Had he met your friends before? If not, that may have felt to him like it was moving into girlfriend/boyfriend territory and so he avoided it.. because he doesn't want more.

I think too much text messaging about this sort of stuff isn't helpful, so if you want to talk to him, call. But don't consider yourself needy and don't think you have to continue to give him the benefit of the doubt in circumstances where he could easily be in touch with you or make a timely decision about what he's doing.

If you think his behaviour is rude or not how you would treat him, think carefully about whether you really want to continue this relationship. It is hard when there are a lot of reasons why you do enjoy his company, but you can consider it a mismatch in styles. Being treated in a way that makes you spend much time either anxious or confused is not good (read your last question on this guy and recommend you re-read the answers).

If you decide not to keep going with it, go cold turkey. Take his numbers out of your phone and details out of online contact lists (write them down somewhere if you like). It will hurt for a while, and then you'll be glad you made a decision to look after yourself.
posted by AnnaRat at 3:45 AM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think you were being direct and honest too - not needy at all. And maybe that's why you felt the need to apologise (because you were honest). But you shouldn't - he seems to be treating you like an option and you don't have to politely put up with it.
posted by heyjude at 3:45 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'll go against the grain and say I don't think your texts were needy -- in that the needs you expressed were unreasonable -- but your tone was definitely insecure.

In my younger days I can remember sending nearly identical texts to a couple of guys -- "You seem a bit distant lately. Are you losing interest at all? You can be honest." I would always cringe after hitting send.

There's something very desperate about this question, especially with the added assurance that the person can be honest. You're saying that you're more concerned with how the guy feels about you than how his behavior makes you feel.

This is more confident:

"I understand that you're busy, but I'm starting to feel frustrated with the level of inconsistency when it comes to planning/keeping dates. You're an important part of my life and I need to know that you feel the same way. We should talk about whether we're on the same page."
posted by timsneezed at 3:47 AM on March 11, 2013 [48 favorites]

*only edit I would make to my suggestion is to take out the "I understand that you're busy" clause. That's BS anyway. ;)
posted by timsneezed at 3:53 AM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think the only thing you're doing wrong here is stressing, beating yourself up, then freaking out. Rinse, repeat. Step back for a second.

If you are thinking "how can I hang on to this guy", it won't work because you're (no judgement) objectifying him. You're turning him into a thing to try and keep instead of a human that you're in relationship with. People fuck up. He does, you do. Everyone ypu've ever had any kind of relationship with has. You keep them in your life because they are important to you, not because they are perfect. This relationship is like all others in that respect.

Listen, love isn't money. You can't earn it by being the perfect, cool, not-needy girl you think you're supposed to be, and you can't use it all up by fucking up and acting like a real human being with quirks and flaws. It happens or it doesn't. It's out of your hands. Be real. Just don't be mean. That's the mistake you made; you were so afraid to be reap that by the time it finally came out it was mean. Don't do it that way bevause mean will hurt love.

You want needy? Listen, one time my boyfriend cancelled a date with me because he was sick in bed. I called him up crying because I was afraid he didn't love me any more and he was avoiding me. That's needy and self absorbed and kind of nuts. I ask him pretty often if he still loves me. Sometimes he gets a bit annoyed, sure. But you know what? It's fine because he loves me and he knows I'm insecure. It's just how I am and I don't try to pretend not to be. I told him that I'm insecure and that's part of who I am. It's ok. The best thing about love is not having to pretend not to be how you are. He's an interrupter. It's ok. I don't love him any less for it.

Do you love this guy? Lay it out. Wanna be his girlfriend? Lay it out. Feel abandoned? Lay it out. Just be real and kind about it instead of making yourself into a scary mess trying not to be how you are, because that will scare him off if anything will. If he loves you, or cares about you, this is repairable- but you need to have a calm, real life, sit down conversation. If he doesn't, he doesn't, and there's nothing you can do.
posted by windykites at 4:26 AM on March 11, 2013 [45 favorites]

It sounds like you hit the sort of bump in the road that comes along after a few months and maybe you're discovering you're not all that compatible. I do think you got your wires crossed a bit, and all the drinking and texting-- instead of talking face to face-- hasn't helped.

The thing that stood out for me was in this paragraph:

The following weekend it was my birthday drinks with my friends and he was meant to be coming. Instead, however, he ended up getting drunk with his football friends I had to chase to see what was going on and he kept on delaying turning up. In the end I told him not to bother and stayed with my friends. The next day we met up to talk about what had happened, he apologised profusely and said it had all got a bit drunk , I told him exactly how it made me feel and dealt with it.

The two of you had celebrated your birthday previously so maybe in his mind, it's not as if he skipped your birthday celebration. He may have thought it wasn't important for him to be there and/or that he might be a third, fourth or fifth wheel if he did show up. Saying he got drunk and spaced it out would be very irritating to me, but some people roll that way. So then he apologized. Did you accept the apology? I can't tell. I think he may have interpreted all this as meaning that what he did was a dealbreaker for you and he may be realizing that he's not willing to adjust his behavior as much as you want. After four months, that's pretty legitimate. Just as it's legitimate on your side to want a boyfriend who shows up when he says he will.
posted by BibiRose at 4:35 AM on March 11, 2013


I’m just fed-up of games from the past and thought I’d give him the opportunity and let him walk away.

It sounds like you're in a negative feedback loop where you worry about exhibiting this "needy" behavior until you're almost guaranteed to do it. I love what windykites said about the pressure to be the perfect cool girl. There's a wonderful send-up of that sort of thing in Gillian Flynn's novel Gone Girl. It's not a huge part of the book, but I think anyone who's ever worried about not being the cool undemanding girlfriend should read it.
posted by BibiRose at 4:45 AM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks guys a lot of this is very helpful. As to the question about my birthday, it was the first time he was going to meet my friends and he was definitely scared! It got to 11pm and he was like where are you off to next (club after the bar) I'll meet you there. but by this point it was too late most of my close friends had gone and it just felt rubbish.

BibiRose I did accept his apology and forgave him but the last two weeks haven't helped.

I want to talk to him about it in person am fedup of the texts myself, which is why I rang him the day after I sent my messages but got his answer machine.

I guess before I give up entirely, I would like to have the conversation and lay it down - just say 'look I care about you, I see this as exclusive, are we on the same page' I also want to say to him 'we are mature adults, every-time something goes wrong or we need to talk about it I don't want you to just ignore that it happened or bury it under the carpet.'

But how do I orchestrate this? Is it too late now. Should I suggest a meet up? Or see if he gets in touch and then try and arrange one? I guess if I haven't heard from by the end of the week I'm juts going to send an email with this in and say look this is how I feel- clearly you don't, we want different things, lets go our separate ways!
posted by artystar at 4:59 AM on March 11, 2013

I don't blame you about being fed up. I don't date now, but I couldn't stand it when a guy wouldn't commit to weekend plans but said something like "depending on plans, I'll try and see you this weekend." If you do talk to him, tell him your prefer to make dates at least a couple of days in advance, and if he can't do that, then you will be moving on. But if I were you I'd forget seeking him out for a talk and let this one go.
posted by murfed13 at 5:14 AM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

I mean, call him if you must - but I am afraid this relationship may be over. Not through your fault, even though texting people is a bad way to communicate emotional stuff, but because you were dating a guy who did not respect your time or boundaries, no matter how nice or fun or cute he was. A lot of people can be really nice and fun as long as everything is going exactly their way.

If I may make a larger suggestion which has really helped me: when you are not in the middle of a relationship, visualize what you want in a partner and how you want to be treated, plus consider things that would be dealbreakers. Really focus on "how I deserve to be treated" (which does not mean "flowers and candy at every date"; it just means "I want to date someone who wants to see me approximately X often; who wants/does not want to meet my friends/family; etc). And use those metrics when you're meeting guys. Does Guy X seem like he's going to be a flake? Don't go out with him. Does Guy Y make jerky comments to the waiter on the first date? Don't see him again. When you're young, you (or I did anyway) ignore a lot of warning signals and tend to prioritize "getting dates" over "getting dates I feel happy about", and put up with a lot of soul-crushing stuff and it does not help us to be healthy people.

While I agree that texts are a lousy way to resolve a conflict, I want to foreground that you are not being needy when you expect people to be where they say the will be and do what they say they will do. It is not needy to expect a guy to respect your time - if he doesn't want to go out on Friday, he should let you know so that you can plan to do something else. It is disrespectful and selfish to assume that someone else is waiting around for your call/text, forgoing all the fun she could be having, just because you are too foolish to make up your mind.

There is this whole rhetoric of "women who set boundaries are too neeeeeeeeeedy and women who expect any kind of social/emotional support are too cliiiiiiiiiiiinnnnngy, and naturally guys should run a mile from that because it is so awful". So a lot of girls end up being treated like service providers - and cheap service providers at that - being on call for the minute the dude wants to see you just like you're on call for work, happy to be a booty call but never expecting any respect or support, etc. This is sexist and creepy, and you need to internalize that guys who hate girls who are "needy" are not ready for relationships.
posted by Frowner at 5:15 AM on March 11, 2013 [36 favorites]

Drop this guy. Anyone who gets "too drunk" to make social commitments is a child, and the texting backs that up.

The lessons-learned bit here: with whomever you date next, look for someone who (1) naturally values communication of anything non-trivial via phone, (2) treats you like an equal, and (3) does not exhibit signs of alcohol abuse.
posted by ellF at 5:21 AM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

Irrespective of how things work out in this particular case - stop using text messages to discuss your needs and expectations or resolve your relationship problems. There is way too much room for (mis)interpretation and miscommunication. Discuss on the phone or in person.
posted by koahiatamadl at 5:23 AM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

You're in the UK, right? Because 'dating' for four months but not having a conversation about whether there's anyone else in the picture for either of you or whether you're boyfriend and girlfriend seems pretty unusual in UK terms, if what one of you actually wants is a committed relationship. I understand it's more common in the US to go about things this way, but over here, the only time I've known of/been in such an arrangement is when either a) both parties were happy with a casual relationship or b) one party wasn't but wasn't saying so.

So I'm not saying you shouldn't run your relationships however you like - do what makes you happy! But it doesn't seem like this is making you happy, and maybe that's because he's acting like someone who is only interested in something casual, who doesn't want what you want. So you feel insecure and like you don't know where you stand with this guy, which is where all the reactions you see as 'needy' are coming from - but that feeling is totally reasonable. It is not 'needy' to say "look, here's what I want, what do you want? Are we in a relationship or not?"

Also I suspect the communication-via-text thing is also a bit of a UK/US divide, but regardless - yes, it's not a good idea to have these conversations via text. Still, though, I think the fact that you're doing this via text is a symptom rather than the cause. If you only communicate intermittently, he doesn't meet you when he says he will, and he doesn't answer when you phone him, then he really isn't acting like he's interested in anything more serious than what you've currently got. Maybe that's how he really feels, maybe that's just how he's coming across, but whatever it is, you can't just quietly go along with this situation and expect to just stamp down on your own needs and wishes.

Stop asking him what he wants. Tell him what you want, and ask how he feels about that.
posted by Catseye at 5:36 AM on March 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

I don't think you acted needy, I think he acted rude.

It doesn't matter that he may have thought he'd already celebrated your birthday with you. He made plans with you and stood you up. Making plans with you is an important enough occasion not to blow off.

Next we'll have people saying "maybe he thought it was OK to blow off your birthday because maybe birthdays aren't important in his mind," "maybe he thought it was OK to blow off $OTHEROCCASION," "maybe he thought it was OK to blow off $YETOTHEROCCASION because in his mind these things are important enough to accept invitations to but not important enough to actually show up to." People are always thinking *something* when they're being rude to you, but the important thing is that they're being rude to you, not that it's possible to rationalize why.

I don't think you did anything wrong, but if you wanted to play it cool, you could have expressed it a little differently:

YOU: Hi, we're at $VENUE.
HE: On my way, just finishing this last round with my drinking buddies.
YOU, HALF AN HOUR LATER: Hi, didn't we agree on 8pm?
HE: Sorry, got carried away with my drinking buddies, be right there

HE: I'm too busy to meet up
YOU: Understood, looking forward to hearing from you when you're free

YOU: Thank God It's Friday! Want to meet up tonight or this weekend?
HE: Hem, haw, how can I possibly know what I will be doing?
YOU: [silence]
HE: Hey, maybe just maybe I can squeeze you into my ultra-busy schedule this weekend?
YOU: Oops, too bad, I already made other plans! It's tea tasting at the Academy tonight, I've got the Telegraph Pole Exhibition tomorrow after Afro Fusion Slam Dancing in the morning, then it's Happening Restaurant in the evening, Sunday morning I have my walking group meetup, Sunday afternoon I'm going round to see the family, and Sunday night I promised my sister I'd watch The Notebook with her. Hopefully see you during the week, or there's next weekend.
posted by tel3path at 5:55 AM on March 11, 2013 [23 favorites]

Oh gosh, you are not being needy. At most the needy vibe stems from the flip outs, which come from not feeling like you can express yourself comfortably.

So personally, and from experience, I would just be true to yourself and express clearly what it is you want - no game playing or anything. Just "hey, I like you a lot. I would like to be your girlfriend (or whatever). If you want this too, great! But if we do this, standing me up like that is not okay. If you don't want to do this, that's cool, I'll be bummed but I'll get over it. Have a think and get back to me."

Or words to that effect - the key is not to get snippy and not to pile on the other person all the stuff they're doing wrong, that'll just make them defensive. You get to say what your terms of the agreement are (ie, not being dicked around), he gets to decide without pressure whether or not he can meet those expectations. If he says yes and can't meet them, then DTMFA. If he says no, you know what? Not only do you get to move on, but you took control of the situation, set your standards and stuck to them, no weird behaviour, no flipping out, nothing.

You can't simmer and then make indirect overtures to get clues as to what he's thinking, that's just going to lead you to flip out land. That said, if some dude pulled that on me I'd get pretty pissed too.
posted by mooza at 6:04 AM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

Sort of what mooza said, but show, don't tell.

My bark is not worse than my bite, because I don't bark.
posted by tel3path at 6:08 AM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

The sad fact of the matter is, I don't think this guy was as into you as you were into him. Oh well, plenty of fish in the sea.

You are allowed to be cheesed off that your date got drunk and blew you off. Being upset about it isn't needy, it's appropriate!

I'm with others here, use texts to communicate facts, talk to people to communicate feelings.

So if you want to send info about where and when, text is fine. If you want to know if this guy is serious or what, that's face-to-face, or a phone call at minimum.

I don't play games, and other grownups don't either. It's perfectly okay to say, after a prudent period of time, "I really like you, I'd like to be exclusive, what do you think?"

For the record, a prudent period of time is when you know enough about him to really see him for who he truly is, NOT who you wish he'd be. So you know that he dropped out of grad school, you know why he broke up with his ex, you know if he's a good driver, you know if he's a decent housekeeper, etc.

One reason we don't assert ourselves in a relationship, is because we KNOW that the guy isn't really all that keen. He likes us fine when he doesn't have any other options, but we're in no way truly important to him. So we don't ask questions, we don't press issues and we don't dump his ass when he's being a dick. We're so desperate to be hooked up with a dude, that we'll take whatever pitiful crumbs he's offering and not ask any questions.

Then we'll torture ourselves over what we said, or did, or didn't say, or didn't do. We'll spend hours dissecting our last date, looking for clues to try and read his mind.

When a guy likes you, and believes that you are important to him, you'll know it. He'll say so, and his actions will reflect it.

You know how I know? Because we've all been there. So file this guy away and learn from what happened.

You have a right to be your fella's number one priority. It's not needy, it's how you want your relationships to be!

So pretend you broke up, work to get over him, and move on. You'll be so much happier!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:09 AM on March 11, 2013 [19 favorites]

wow, I think I'm going to take the side of the boyfriend a little and say that although I can understand where you're coming from, I'd say you were acting needy, in that this guy seems to make effort to please you and has expressed interest in you directly, and yet on instances where he failed, you reacted as if he always treats you badly or that he's playing games with you, to which if I were the guy I'd feel very unappreciated and unfairly judged. Yes it's ok to have your needs and it's great that you express them, but it's also worthwhile to note that a relationship isn't a tool to have all your needs met, and often times when you focus on what you need, you don't see what you already have in front of you. He's definitely screwed up, but he seems to be able to recognize when he does, and he can apologize and have conversations with you about it, which is something. He's only human, you should cut him some slack if you like him. People can surprise you when you give them space to grow by themselves. So let him take things at his own pace for a few more days, and then hopefully you can have another mature conversation about this and he will understand where you were coming from, and cut you some slack as well. I don't know why some people judge that he's not that in to you from what you wrote. If I were in his position and I didn't care much about you, I would run and not contact you after the last incident to have a light conversation. It seems to me that he's hoping to get along with you as well.
posted by snufkin5 at 6:19 AM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

The fact that you've been dating for four months, but not discussed exclusivity, is not an accident.

He started cooling off on you not necessarily because you started acting needy but because you started acting like a girlfriend. It is not a bad thing to act like a girlfriend, but it is not something he wants or is ready for. The exclusivity conversation hasn't happened because on your side, you don't think it has to, and on his side, he's putting it off because he'd prefer to let it lie rather than say he doesn't want to be your boyfriend.

He pretended your text never happened because he doesn't want to talk about Feelings. He missed out on your birthday thing because he thought of it as optional (since he had already done something with you for your birthday) and because, honestly, he'd rather go get drunk with the lads than meet your friends.

This dude will be happy to continue remaining a part of your life as long as the status quo remains and you don't present much of an inconvenience to him. At this point he's beginning the process of a fade.

My advice to you is this: Wait and see if he texts back. Give him a week. If he does, then hooray, but what I said above still applies. If he doesn't, consider that a (shitty, cowardly) breakup. It sucks, but people are dumb sometimes. Go meet someone awesome. Good luck.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:24 AM on March 11, 2013 [7 favorites]

One thing that I can't reiterate strongly enough here is in the future, text facts, not feelings.

Yes, I know that most of us text pretty much everything pretty much nonstop, but even with all that practice, texting feelings other than, "I love you, sweetie," seems to cause confusion and miscommunication.

My advice to this guy specifically is to really think about whether or not you're comfortable with the pace he wants for your relationship. It's hard to read; it is possible that he's really into you but he just moves.very.slowly.

But it seems like, in any case, you're not happy with the pace. And that's fine. Listen to that inner voice of, "This is mostly fine but y'know, I'm not entirely thrilled here," and move on.
posted by kinetic at 6:42 AM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

There's nothing at all wrong with your first expectations (he made plans with me, he'll keep them barring serious external obstacles). Not the least.

I would say, though, that whatever happens this time a good life lesson from this is "act, don't react." Your feelings got the better of you, and you sort of escalated your followup communications, lending a lot of drama and heightening the tension of the situation. If he wasn't scared before, that would certainly help do it. Try to identify what it is you want in any situation, calmly state it, and let the chips fall where they may. Taking it further to the reacting stage, where you're making emotionally driven assumptions about what he is or isn't thinking, does or doesn't want, and reacting to those imaginings - that's going to make you both feel crazy.

This is one of those things where learning the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness will assist. If you know what you deserve and feel confident asking for it, you can assertively say "I was really disappointed with how the drinks night went. I was looking forward to your meeting my friends. I want to be sure that when we make plans I can be confident you'll keep them." And then see what his response is. Honestly, some guys will be ready for this kind of discussion. Some won't. You probably don't want to date the ones that aren't, and haranguing them won't make it better.
posted by Miko at 7:17 AM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]

I don't think you need to break up with this guy. The way I see it, you've both had bad timing: he screwed up one weekend by getting too drunk to folllow thru on plans (and really, he DID celebrate your birthday already, so he probably thought he was fairly optional). The next weekend, you screwed up by getting too drunk to communicate well (and the "you seem distant" message is absolutely NOT what someone wants to read in a TEXT forchrissakes, so yeah, don't do that again).

Why not call up and tell him you both screwed up and so the score is even? Just chalk it up to normal mistakes all people make, and make plans for another dinner where you two can relax and catch up. Even if you think maybe he should be the one calling you, swallow your pride and take action so this little situation gets resolved.
posted by see_change at 8:32 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

My read on all of this is that each of you seem to be making some poor decisions while drinking.

Beyond that, I agree it is "normal" to start meeting each others' friends after three months. But a cold open group meetup on a special occasion might be somewhat of a tall order. Perhaps consider breaking that out into shorter interactions with him meeting one or two friends at a time, until he has rotated through most of your social circle. Then you can do the big meetup for a significant event.
posted by 99percentfake at 12:27 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Anyway, following this he has been busy at work and not particularly there, saying he was busy so couldn’t meet up. So I text him and said ‘Is everything ok, you have seemed distant this week and I know you are busy but if you it’s because you are not interested please let me know- I would rather know the truth.’ (I know NEEDY)

I don't have much advice to give that hasn't already been given. Like many others have said, I don't think this is needy, but you do sound insecure and a little bitter perhaps from previous experiences. It's OK to feel insecure, but some people will not react well to it, which is not a big deal - just be honest and direct, and don't be ashamed to express your feelings, even if you think you sound needy.

On that note, who is telling you that you're needy? The internal voice that is telling you you're being needy is so loud it's consuming your thoughts and is clouding your judgment. Is this coming from your current partner, or is it something you heard from someone else? That you just started thinking this spontaneously is unlikely. Figuring out where that voice came from is worthwhile, so you can learn how to silence it.

It's OK to feel insecure and to express that to your partner, but in the long run it's going to be difficult if you can't recognize your baggage for what it is and communicate openly and honestly about it, instead of internalizing some negative stuff someone once told you. You're carrying some of this dysfunction with you, but it's not your burden to begin with, and you can let it go.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:24 PM on March 11, 2013

I think you both behaved badly.

I'm not saying that you should just drop it and move on, but I will say I don't think you should do this:

I would like to have the conversation and lay it down - just say 'look I care about you, I see this as exclusive, are we on the same page' I also want to say to him 'we are mature adults, every-time something goes wrong or we need to talk about it I don't want you to just ignore that it happened or bury it under the carpet.'

What you and this guy have is not going to survive that kind of conversation.
posted by sm1tten at 8:04 PM on March 11, 2013

Response by poster: Ok just as an update he has messaged me- being lovely and said that maybe we should go out tomorrow. If not when else am I free? He said 'I will have to manage my work so not sure when I will be free until each day comes :(- sucks I know' and said ' hope you have a good day adn I am sure we will sort something out.'

posted by artystar at 2:55 AM on March 12, 2013

I think he's going to keep on doing this - not making plans with you more than a day in advance, keeping in intermittent contact, maybe ducking out on pre-arranged things like your birthday drinks, and then going silent for a few days when you blow up at him before resuming communication by text like nothing happened - because this arrangement works out fine for him.

Is it working out fine for you? If it is, great - meet up with him whenever you're both free, don't bother trying to arrange things much in advance, don't rely on him to be around in your life in a boyfriend role, and enjoy what you've got. If it isn't, then don't keep on doing it.

Personally, if I cared enough to be doing the obsessive text-message analysis thing (and no judgement, we've all been there), I would not be happy with this arrangement. I would also be far from thrilled at being told that it's because he's just so busy at work he can't ever make plans more than a day in advance, when he'd been so flaky and unreliable beforehand. But, different strokes.

(Are you sure he doesn't have a girlfriend who doesn't know about you?)
posted by Catseye at 4:41 AM on March 12, 2013 [5 favorites]

I'm not one for last minute dates. If he cared about you, and really wanted to see you, he'd make firm plans, in advance.

I'd simply say (not text). "Sorry, I'm a bit busy myself. Let me know when you can commit to something and I'll see if I'm free, otherwise, I'll just continue on with my plans."

The idea is that you have nothing better to do than wait for his call, which is...crazypants. And/or, that you give him a list of dates when you're available, and he'll decide if and when he can meet you...uh, are you a hotel room? I didn't think so.

You teach people how to treat you, and what you've taught this guy is that you'll drop whatever, whenever he's available.

I'd stop texting him, and responding to him in general. I don't think he's ready for a bf/gf relationship right now, and if that's what you want, you're wasting your time.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:43 AM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Ok just as an update he has messaged me- being lovely and said that maybe we should go out tomorrow. If not when else am I free? He said 'I will have to manage my work so not sure when I will be free until each day comes :(- sucks I know' and said ' hope you have a good day adn I am sure we will sort something out.'


My thoughts are that he's pretty much proving me right: The most important factor in your relationship with him is his convenience. If you act in a way that's inconvenient to him, he withdraws, and now he's trying to set the terms of your relationship along the lines of his convenience with no regard for your own. He's doing the equivalent of saying, "Here's my phone number but, you know, my phone is weird, sometimes I don't get texts or I don't see a call," or what have you: he's covering his ass by saying he can't plan in advance at all, essentially setting the stage and ensuring he always has a convenient excuse if he doesn't want to see you that day.

If you still want to date him - which I have to say I think would be a mistake - then maybe just tell him to let you know when his schedule is looking a little more reliable. I'm pretty sure that what follows will be a lot of radio silence from him.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:38 AM on March 12, 2013 [4 favorites]

Wow. I have friends who are residents, working on movie sets 18 hours a day, and everything in between. They still manage to make plans (sometimes weeks in advance...but still). Unless this guy is the president (in which case Michelle would prob be pretty pissed) I would let him go. If he wanted to see you, he would. Do you seriously think he is incapable of making plans until the day of? What exactly are you getting out of this?
posted by murfed13 at 10:26 AM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Nah, I also think this is going to continue to be a problem for you. I don't get the sense he is interested in any sort of serious relationship with you, and it sounds like that is what you want. I think this will just get harder and you will feel better if you draw a clear boundary about how you want to be treated. Don't let him make excuses to you that you would not be prepared to genuinely use yourself. If you feel like you would have to justify his behaviour to friends when talking about him (or worse, if you feel that you can't tell them what he's doing to you because you think they'll judge), that's a sign that in your heart you don't believe what he's saying, even though you really want to believe. I'm sorry, but I really think you should move on.
posted by AnnaRat at 3:15 PM on March 12, 2013

Dude, you've been dating for FOUR MONTHS and he's still "I'll let you know day by day if we're gonna see each other"? Does he honestly expect YOU to always keep your diary open just in case he's free that day? And he texted you this?? You may think he was being lovely but he's actually pretty inconsiderate and just plain lazy. I find it extremely hard to believe that if he was really into you he couldn't just call and say, "I'm so busy it sucks, but I really want to see you so let's just pick a day and see what I can do about it." None of this day by day BS, he's not the president or Batman.

Sorry, a bit ranty but honestly I don't know why you are being so forgiving of him when it doesn't sound like he deserves any of it.

I don't necessarily think you need to lay your feelings on the line, but I do think he needs to stop jerking your chain. Listen to Famous Monster, wise words.
posted by like_neon at 5:42 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Help me make the most of my US trip   |   Help me find a mini fridge that wont leak or make... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.