Will I sound insecure if I ask my boyfriend if he likes someone else?
October 16, 2013 6:20 AM   Subscribe

Will I sound insecure if I confront my boyfriend about his feelings for another girl?

Okay, so background on this situation. My boyfriend and I dated close to 4 months and then he broke up with me suddenly. He told me he still had feelings for me, but something felt off. He has never had a long-term relationship, so I just took it to mean that he had commitment issues. I was really hurt, but went no contact and started to move on. 2 months later, he reached back out and confessed that he just panicked and missed me, etc. etc. I believed him and I still cared about him, so I decided to give him a second chance. Especially because he admitted that he took me for granted and he really is a good guy.

Things were great for several months, but now he's falling back in that same old pattern of taking me for granted. We've now been together (this second time) for almost 3 months and he is becoming distant again. Several weeks ago, he met this girl at a work thing. He's brought her up (out of the blue) a couple times now and they keep liking each other's statuses on Facebook (I know, I know- Facebook is stupid and evil).

I guess I can't shake this feeling that he's trying to find reasons to break it off with me again OR I'm just feeling insecure again since we're getting close to the period where he ended it the first time. I DO care about him and we DO have a great connection. I've tried to communicate that I need more and I appreciate his small gestures of affection.

Things I can't get passed though:
He hasn't come close to telling me that he loves me.
He hasn't planned dates in a month- he's never taken me out of town.
His family lives close, but I've only met them once even though he's met mine several times.
I'm never included in his future talk.
We are both in our 30's and he still has 3 male roommates.

I don't want to push him away. I'm not an insecure person, but I do get anxious in relationships so I'm just trying to figure out what steps to take. I'm ready to settle down. I'm ready to find my person.

Sorry for the long drawn-out post. I'm just feeling frustrated about this whole situation. I think I'm trying to hold on to something that's not going to work in the long run.
posted by Lillypad331 to Human Relations (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It makes not one lick of difference whether he likes this other lady or not, because it doesn't seem like he likes you all that much.

He may be a good guy, but it doesn't seem like he's a good guy for you.

You can try sitting down with him and telling him that you want him to plan more dates, and you can ask him why you don't see his family more often, and see what he says. But it sounds like you guys have had a pretty tumultuous few months together and you're not happy.

If I were in your shoes, this is about the time I'd be breaking up with him and moving on. It doesn't have to be some big to-do. He's just not what you're looking for.
posted by phunniemee at 6:26 AM on October 16, 2013 [17 favorites]

Listen to your instincts. You know this guy better than you wish you did. It's a pattern, you recognize it.

Also (and this is a general comment, not limited at all to this guy), don't worry about seeming insecure. You are insecure. You don't feel secure in your relationship or its future. You don't feel secure that this guy is feeling what you're feeling. That's totally legitimate. Rather than trying to suppress feelings of insecurity, address them directly. "Hey, what's up with this other girl. Here's how I feel and what I'm looking for, and I'm not seeing that you feel the same way. Tell me what's going on."
posted by headnsouth at 6:27 AM on October 16, 2013 [16 favorites]

Agree with the above. This sounds exactly like he's already out of the relationship.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:28 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Will I sound insecure if I confront my boyfriend about his feelings for another girl?

Yes, but you are feeling insecure - and understandably so - and as such it is inevitable that you need to reveal some vulnerabilities in order to communicate with your boyfriend.

However, I think you might be burying the lede here. What do you want from this relationship? What are your needs? Do you need greater commitment? If so, I think you should ask for it. If he can't give you the reassurance you need about the direction of your relationship then you might want to consider calling it a day.
posted by dumdidumdum at 6:31 AM on October 16, 2013

Honestly, if you have to ask three questions in five months about this guy, then he's probably not the guy for you. Healthy couples have problems for sure, but very young relationships shouldn't be THIS hard.
posted by lalex at 6:31 AM on October 16, 2013 [9 favorites]

Either your relationship is broken-ish, in which case the other woman isn't that important, OR his inappropriate behavior is making you insecure about your relationship, which is, on-the-whole, OK.

You'll have to figure out which it is... But either way, his behavior with her sounds a little inappropriate. You could tell him that you feel uncomfortable about the way he's acting, and ask him to stop hanging out with her for your sake. You could leave it at that OR use it as an opportunity to kick off a long round of What Is Wrong With This Picture where you hash out all your problems. Maybe all you need is the former, but from your questions it sounds like the latter would be helpful.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:46 AM on October 16, 2013

I think you need to basically tell him what you've told us and see what he says. Something like "I care about you a great deal and I can see a future for us, but if you don't feel the same I need to know pretty sharpish so I can dump you and move on." I think this is the crux of the issue and the "other woman" insecurity is a bit of a red herring.

Hugs, I've been through something sort of similar recently and I know it's hard.
posted by peanut butter milkshake at 6:52 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding lalex. If you've got doubts this serious and he's treating you the way it sounds like he's treating you three months into the second time round, it's unlikely that those things are going to get fixed (even if you try very hard to fix them) and that the result is going to be a fulfilling relationship for you.

Items one, two, three and four on your list of worries were some of the exact things I was dealing with in my last relationship, and I stuck with it for fifteen months hoping that I could win him round somehow. But I couldn't - and not because I didn't try. He wasn't interested in loving me, in planning a life with me, in introducing me to his family (who live ten miles away and whom he saw every weekend), or in planning dates with me (hell, he wasn't all that interested in the dates I planned, either).

In retrospect, I wish I'd broken things off much sooner. By the end of the relationship, I was incredibly angry and resentful, and I'm still sitting with a lot of those feelings.

And, in total contrast, I started dating someone else about a month after the breakup, and in the three months since then: we've been equally involved in date planning (and have planned a trip overseas for December), I've met his mother on multiple occasions and am planning on introducing him to my family next time they're in town, and we say "I love you" multiple times per day. We're both 24 and content to let the life-building stuff wait for a bit, but the rest of the blocks of what I need and want in a relationship are there, and he's a loving, affectionate and communicative partner.

This is all stuff that's important to me in a relationship, and in my last relationship I just assumed either a) that my needs weren't needs, they were just wants, and I could do without them, or b) that this stuff would come if I gave him more time (and I was doing this on a full-on batshit magical thinking kind of level - bargaining with the universe that I would keep quiet about how unhappy I was and keep persisting because I believed [somewhere, and whilst knowing somewhere else that it was all futile] that I'd win him round eventually).

But my needs were needs, and the rest of the stuff never did come, and I ended up resenting the hell out of my ex for it while we were still together.

To answer your question more directly - sure, it might sound insecure for you to confront your boyfriend about the other girl. But it also sounds like there are a lot of other things about the relationship which are making you feel insecure, and confronting him about one thing probably isn't going to massively bolster your sense of security.

I'm really sorry - if what you're going through is anything like my last relationship, which sounds likely based on what you've said, then it's a horrible experience (and not a true partnership) for the partner who is continually feeling let down. Especially if you're like me, and most of the communication going on about what's wrong with the relationship is a conversation with yourself happening in your own head over and over again.

But it's also a big old cluster of red flags. He probably won't change, and you confronting him about one aspect of the stuff that's making you feel insecure probably won't make you feel better about the whole relationship. Leave him, and find someone who at least has a shot at making you happy without having to totally overhaul their personality and/or attachment style.
posted by terretu at 6:58 AM on October 16, 2013 [9 favorites]

there's nothing wrong with being 30 and still having roommates, but 30, with roommates, has spurts of relationships, has never had a long term relationship, keeps checking out after a few weeks, getting flirty with another woman while he's not still wooing you - all of that is a big bag of nope for me. you're allowed to want more than this, but i don't think this is the guy to give it to you. i do think you probably know that already.
posted by nadawi at 7:03 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

I don't really think there's much to salvage here. You're not happy, and at this stage of the game, you're not that invested. I'd just break up.

"Lloyd, for a while now I've been feeling neglected by you. I need X and Y and Z to feel loved and happy in a relationship and I'm not getting that from you. I would like to break up so that I can find someone who fully invested and willing to give me what I need in a relationship."

It's okay to verbalize what you need in a relationship, people can't read your mind. But if you tell them, but they don't give it to you, then there's not a lot you can do.

Break up, change your number, go total no contact.

It absolutely sucks, and I totally feel for you, but twice now you've been through this stuff with him, and it's not better this time, is it?

He's not a bad guy, he's just a bad guy for you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:16 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

It bothers me that so many women are more concerned about appearing "insecure", than they are about being treated well in relationships. It's a pervasive worry among single women I know, despite that it gives their partners miles of room to walk all over them - because if the women question such poor treatment, then they're met with "Why are you being such an insecure person?"

You're afraid to confront this guy about acting like a gigantic child, because you don't want to be The Insecure Girlfriend. Thus, he gets to treat you however he wants and control your reaction to it.

Despite what our culture is (apparently) desperate for you to believe, you're entitled to question behavior like this, without being subjected to the label of "insecure" - which would be applied to you, in this case, solely to minimize your legitimate feelings.

There isn't anything insecure about wanting to be respected and loved like a human being. This feeling you're calling "insecurity" is really your interior warning system telling you that this guy is a jerk, and you need to get out.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:24 AM on October 16, 2013 [35 favorites]

He's trying (and failing) at practicing commitment. Just like you think he's a great guy (he probably is) so you gave him a second chance, he thinks you are a great person, and he would like to be a person who can commit to a great person so he is trying a second time to make himself commit to you. He can't. You, nor any other person, will become the magical conduit through which he unlocks his commitment-bravery achievement level; only therapy or at the very least a serious inner look is going to cure that. You are insecure about your relationship with a good reason for being so, but the fact of the matter is unless the outcome of confronting him about it is that he goes to therapy of some kind and you tolerate feeling insecure for a few years while he works his own self out, there is a better good guy boyfriend out there who is ready to be in a secure relationship.
posted by itsonreserve at 7:29 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

If he cannot talk to you about your totally legitimate concerns regarding this relationship like a grown-up, respecting them and giving you honest answers to your questions, then he is not worth dating. You are insecure in your relationship and that is a totally logical and defensible thing to be.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:43 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Actions speak louder than words. Recognize the pattern. He is in his 30s and lives with 3 roommates. He has never had a long term relationship. He broke up with you once. Both times you have been dating him he failed to meet your basic emotional needs.

You cannot change him. Don't settle. Move on and begin the path of meeting your next bf.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:50 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for the suggestions. I know you're right. It's hard, because I do care deeply for him, but he just isn't meeting my needs. Sigh...
posted by Lillypad331 at 8:09 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

You deserve somebody way better than this. He's an immature idiot, and is treating you like an also-ran. Dump permanently and move on.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:38 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Listen to your gut. You deserve someone who's crazy about you, not someone who merely tolerates you.
posted by ravioli at 4:41 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Coatlicue, where were you when I was in my 20s? Your answer should be automatic recommended reading for so many of the questions we get from young women asking where they stand in their relationships. The poster should move on, as I've said before, a guy whose into you will show it. Life's too short to try and convince him of your awesomeness, let him find out the hard way, when he bumps into you and your great new guy.
posted by Jubey at 6:11 PM on October 16, 2013

I don't want to push him away. I'm not an insecure person, but I do get anxious in relationships so I'm just trying to figure out what steps to take. I'm ready to settle down. I'm ready to find my person.

Why are you so willing to settle for a faux relationship where all you get is a shred of dignity?
posted by discopolo at 6:48 PM on October 16, 2013

Are you me?

My boyfriend just dumped me out of nowhere on Monday after I asked about work-girl. It was really hard for me, and I wish that instead of meekly saying "hey what you're doing is making me uncomfortable" I had said "hey, I deserve better than this, so scram."

I wish I'd broken it off with him. Instead I accommodated, turned a blind eye, and acted ok with behavior that really is unacceptable.

Speaking from the eye of a sudden breakup: don't do this anymore. I suggest breaking up with him before he does it to you.

I'm sorry.
posted by sockermom at 8:16 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm ready to settle down. I'm ready to find my person.

It's good that you're ready, it's good that you know this about yourself. But being ready doesn't make it happen; it doesn't make anyone else ready when they aren't, and it doesn't make a ready person appear out of the air. All it does it make it that much more critical that you dump the people who want a different thing than you want. Sorry :/
posted by like_a_friend at 9:34 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

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