I know I really should, but I'm not letting go
October 7, 2007 4:48 PM   Subscribe

I know I should break up. I know breaking up is probably what's best for me. But I'm not willing to let this one go without another shot yet. So where do I go from here? DTMFA unnecessary, and unwelcome. I'm looking to make the one last stand here. Quite a bit more, comme toujours.

First relationship, we've been dating for a year and 10 months. We're both in first year undergrad at the same out-of-town University.

He lives in residence, whereas I opted for off-campus, as it is cheaper. We're in different programs, but our school is one where the inter-program hostility could not get much higher. There's much exclusion in terms of what "we" do and what "you" do.

The transition to University has been an extremely difficult, for me. I've lost more or less my entire support network, am totally isolated and when I do hang out with people, all I hear about is the things that go on within their res and it inevitably makes me feel like the outsider. He knows this.

He's not a very good communicator. We both know this. He's great when he's around, and I can't help but be happy when he's around. But he's not around much. It's a bit "out of mind, out of sight" with him. My place is a 15 minute walk and at the end of the day, even that seems daunting. I see him, say, two or three times a week - which is a big change from when I saw him daily in High School, mind you. That, plus the release of Halo 3, and other friends to play other FPS games online with, and the typical residence related social dynamic means that I don't even see him much on MSN, and if he is on MSN he's usually distracted, and the rare time that he calls he's usually a completely different person because there are other people in the room.

He knows I feel isolated, abandoned, and hurt. He knows I cry over this. It makes him feel like absolute and complete shit and he does try, very hard. I've told him he needs to be around more, I've told him he needs to show me that he cares more and not rely on the "I love you" at the end of the night that's more routine than anything else. And it has gotten better. As I've settled into my program a bit more and gotten a bit more used to the idea that all friendships will be superficial, for a while, things have gotten a little bit better. But he also seems to have ADD - nothing ever bothers him for long, so nothing that bothers me will stay on his mind for long. Things might change the next day, linger a week, and return to status quo.

And that's the issue, I think. He's living in status quo and not adapting to the changing dynamic between me and him and assuming things will always be as good as they have been.

And they have been good. This is the one caveat, really. I know we're young, etc., but I do love him, a lot. And he loves me. And when we're together, by ourselves, I can't imagine being with anyone else. Except at this point, when I'm bitter at night and ranting to my friends, I think of how being single would be easy because sure, I'd be lonely, but I wouldn't expect to be otherwise.

I can't let go of the idea of more with him, not when we've been talking about moving in next year when everyone gets out of res and a bunch of friends rent a house together. I do want to see this go farther, but it's gotten to a point where the person is worth the effort, but the effort isn't worth the effort. Does that make sense?

So where do I go from here? What can I do to save this relationship? He knows pretty much everything I feel, he just doesn't really know what to do about it, or remember it the next day. I'm not ready to give up, are there other options barring an ultimatum?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
You sound like you've done everything you can for the relationship. You've communicated openly and honestly with him, you've given him chances to respond and you acknowledge the changing circumstances of your situation that led to this.

You could, ultimately, wait it out until next year when you move in together and hope that things get better. The challenges that life throws you are always going to be different and even harder than the ones you're dealing with right now. If he's unwilling (or too immersed) in his own life to work towards a successful relationship then there doesn't seem like any other option can be taken.

That said, it seems like you guys have different views on what a relationship is and requires. You're both young, as you've stated, at the type of commitment that you're looking for just might not be the one he's ready for yet. It was easy in high school because it is easy. Seeing each other daily back then wasn't even a choice, it was just the way things were. So you could cut him some slack, but at the end of the day if you're so unhappy about the situation that you think you'd be better of single, then maybe you would be.

Good luck.
posted by liquorice at 4:59 PM on October 7, 2007


I can't let go of the idea of more with him, not when we've been talking about moving in next year when everyone gets out of res and a bunch of friends rent a house together.

In fact, you can let go of it. It's just that letting go of it will be painful, and will precipitate having to address your personal feelings and social situations which you would prefer not to. So, to be more accurate, you don't want to let go of the idea. Which is fine, but in order to move on -- with or without him -- I believe you need to use language that is an authentic reflection of your actual circumstances, so that you actually look at your feelings, needs, hopes, and choices in a more useful way.

Words like "can't" trick you into believing that the situation is (to at least some extent) not in your hands, that it's beyond your control -- when in fact, precisely the opposite is true: it is in your hands, and whether you keep with him or not in the face of what appears to be his disinterest in improving things is entirely your choice.
posted by scody at 5:07 PM on October 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


I sympathise with you situation enormously, but in the end, I don't think this about your guy.

He knows I feel isolated, abandoned, and hurt. He knows I cry over this. It makes him feel like absolute and complete shit and he does try, very hard.

It's not up to anyone else to bring your life to you. Really! I can not stress this enough. If you feel lonely and isolated, then get out more. How about you walk the 15 minutes to see him.

Yes, you are young, and one of the biggest tells is the mention of the inter-program hostility. WTF? Shrug it off. It's childish, and unworthy of you. Sure, they can be dicks, but that's not your problem. Choose not to notice.

If you feel lonely, find ways to be with more people and do things you find interesting. Maybe keep three spots open for him a week. It'll make you less available and more desirable. And if it doesn't, well, the relationship was over anyway.

But the most important thing is, don't ever ever give your potential for happiness up to someone else. You don't NEED anyone else to make you happy, okay? You choose to have them in your life or not, but you don't NEED them, even if you think you do.

Oh and see a campus counsellor for dealing with this. Your isolation and anxiety might be related to depression or something similar and maybe you need help working with it.
posted by b33j at 5:14 PM on October 7, 2007 [6 favorites]


I can't let go of the idea of more with him, not when we've been talking about moving in next year when everyone gets out of res and a bunch of friends rent a house together.

Right, because nothing is more romantic than having your very own little love nest....with 6-12 other college students, many of whom will flaunt their time living all the fun your relationship is missing. Is that really what you want? Really? What do you want, exactly? I would wager that you want someone who wants to be with you as much as you want to be with them. You do not have that here. And you can't change other people, so what you would have to do to make this relationship work is change your expectations. You have to decide if you can deal with that. Frankly, even just reading about your relationship drama exhausts me, so I wouldn't want to live it, but that's me. You have to decide for you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:17 PM on October 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't say DTMFA, because he doesn't sound like he's a bad person, just that he has a different definition of what a relationship means. Really, seeing your SO 2-3 times a week is enough for a lot of people. It's not for you? That's fine, there are lots of people who think the same way. Looks like your current boyfriend isn't one of them.

What you can do to save this relationship is adjust your expectations. You can't wave a magic wand and adjust his instead. If you keep insisting that things be done your way, you may eventually drive him away anyway.
posted by grouse at 5:18 PM on October 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


He's living in status quo and not adapting to the changing dynamic between me and him and assuming things will always be as good as they have been.

Yeah, but can you blame him? It seems like you tell him all these things that he needs to do, and all these things that you need from him, and then if he doesn't do them the consequence is that you're upset for a while and you bitch to your friends. He has lots of reason to believe that things will continue on like this.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:23 PM on October 7, 2007


What if you pretended in your head that you'd broken up, so the expectations went down, but didn't actually break up?
posted by salvia at 5:29 PM on October 7, 2007


Forgive me if this comes off as harsh, as I don't mean it to be. But it sounds like the problem lies more within you than within him and/or the relationship. He doesn't sound like a MFA to me.

Unless he's in a dorm with a whole lot of your common friends from highschool, he's lost a big chunk of his social network too. So he's making friends there and among his classmates, which seems perfectly reasonable.

Suppose you two end up staying together for a very, very long time. You'll probably end with completely different jobs, and therefore separate sets of co-workers who might evolve into after-work friends, yes? Perhaps different hobby-related friends too. Would you hold that against him then? Should he hold your separate social network against you?

Maybe there's an on-campus club that both of you would find interesting. That could give you more time together, and expand your social circle at the same time.
posted by CKmtl at 5:36 PM on October 7, 2007


it sounds like you're growing apart. it happens with so many high school relationships (friendships, too) going into college. it's sad and painful, but you're probably better off accepting it and moving on. don't let your frustration over him ruin your first year of college--this is the time to be reaching out and making friends and building your own little community there.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:40 PM on October 7, 2007


You could try setting expectations explicitly, with regular weekly times that you both see each other. It sounds like you both could use more, well, formality in your relationship, since you can't count on just running into each other as much as before. Also, if you knew you were going to see him, say, tomorrow afternoon, you could relax and not try to look for him in the meantime.
posted by amtho at 5:51 PM on October 7, 2007


He knows [this], he knows [that], he knows [some other piddly thing]. He probably does. He probably hears about all your slights and fears daily. And he's not around more? Hm. You think he has ADD because your slights and fears slide off his back? Hm. You rag on him to all your friends? Hm. Maybe it's not him you need to change.

Stop expecting him to save you from your isolation and watch magic happen.
posted by sageleaf at 6:09 PM on October 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


If I am reading this right, you are both newly minted Freshman and haven't been away at school for more than 6 weeks.

First, it sounds like you depend on him for a lot more than one can reasonably count on a freshman to provide.

Second, it doesn't sound like you are giving yourself enough time to adjust to going away to school. I'm really sympathetic to how difficult it must be to be a freshman off campus at a large school.

Rather than fretting about your relationship, the undergrad politics of your school, and your loneliness and isolation, I'd suggest putting your energy into finding ways to connect with people. Look into student clubs, etc. See if people in your classes would like to do regular study sessions. Look for a part time job somewhere with other students.

As for the boy. Let it ride for now. You may grow apart. You may end up spending the rest of your life with him. You may have a huge fight and not see each other for 3 years and then bump into each other and fall in love again during finals week your senior year. Whatever happens, you'll need to make a life for yourself outside of this relationship.
posted by Good Brain at 6:23 PM on October 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


First, concentrate on making some of your own friends. It's going to be somewhat more difficult since you're off campus, but you need to. Your boyfriend can't be your world, I learned -- it's only going to make both of you resentful of each other. This means people who aren't your boyfriend's friends, or people that live on you boyfriend's floor. I had a friend in my hall freshman year with a boyfriend who lived off campus. He became friends with all of us, but then when they broke up we were the only friends he had... and that breakup soured the rest of our relationships, and then he was alone in a strange town with no friends. And yeah, it takes time to build real friendships, which you seem to get, but they get better with time. Keep putting energy into that.

Like you, I'm a pretty emotional person and my boyfriend's pretty mellow & easy going. We struggled for awhile with him not realizing that things were bothering me and me resenting him for it. One of the things that took me forever to learn is that I can't expect my boyfriend to know what makes me feel better. I've learned to tell him what he can do to make me feel better -- just this last week I was feeling really bad about a lost dog I found but couldn't catch and called him to help me feel better. He was trying, but he wasn't saying the right things. I stopped and told him that I wasn't concerned about doing all I could have done, but whether the dog would eventually get back to its home. It's a lot more romantic if he intuitively knew what to say, but that's not a realistic expectation. After awhile he's learned and now it's easier, but it did take a lot of effort for both of us. I can't tell from your post if you're talking as frankly with him as you might need to. You say he's trying, but it might just be that he doesn't know how to make you feel better -- not that he doesn't care.
posted by lilac girl at 6:43 PM on October 7, 2007


"My place is a 15 minute walk and at the end of the day, even that seems daunting."

Dude, he's not willing to put 15 minutes worth of effort into the relationship? That was, like, the dividing line in casual dating—if she lived over fifteen minutes away, that was a relationship that required work. But 15 minutes away? You could hit that and be back within the hour.

If he can't trudge for fifteen minutes, it's not a relationship. Sorry.
posted by klangklangston at 6:57 PM on October 7, 2007


This isn't about dumping, it's just about accepting that you can't make something happen if it isn't happening. All that stuff about relationships taking work: yes, they do, but it's teamwork, not trying to force someone to be what you want them to be. He's not, at least not by your description, and you can't.

There's nothing abnormal about how you feel, though. This urge to force the bird in your hand to be It is just human nature, it's just not taking into consideration the actual human factors involved. That's a part of the experience of having relationships, learning the difference. The "click" of good relationships happens with both the right person AND at the right time. This isn't his time, and you probably aren't the right person. Statistically, the odds are bad on your end as well.

Focus on you right now; you've got some dependency stuff going on that should be dealt with now rather than later. If it's going to work out, it's more likely to do so if you've really got it together.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:17 PM on October 7, 2007 [3 favorites]


What can I do to save this relationship?
The question really is not what you can do, but should you do anything? Should you change something about yourself or your expectations for someone who can't be bothered to walk 15 minutes to see you? I don't think so.

I don't think so.
posted by dg at 7:25 PM on October 7, 2007


It sounds to me like you're expecting your boyfriend to fill all your social needs.

Once you start to make friends - and a good way to be open to making friends is to not demand that your boyfriend fill all your social needs - you may well find that seeing him two to three times a week is just the ticket.

Frankly, he just doesn't sound like an asshole to me. He sounds like he got to college and realized that college is awesome, and I wish the same for you.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 7:32 PM on October 7, 2007


First, I sympathize with you. I lived in on-campus housing my freshman year, but it was housing mainly occupied by sophomores. I picked it because the freshmen dorms were crappier and I figured I wouldn't mind not having the extra socializing. God, was I wrong. I missed out on a lot of adventures and potential friendships as a result of that small isolation. And the freshman dorm was only five minutes away!

You're fifteen minutes away. That is huge for a college freshman--it doesn't seem so big when you're 35 and are used to traveling those distances to see your peers, but we're talking about freshmen in a strange city alone for the first time in their lives. Walking two blocks to the local grocery is a hike that requires back-up. The dorms are hopping with possibilities for human interaction available just next door--so your tolerance for travel to meet other people drops dramatically. Even if that person is your girlfriend or boyfriend. Especially if there's no other social interaction beyond that one person when you get there--every time he visits you, he's leaving a non-stop party for, well, what? Cuddling and watching a movie? When he gets back he's going to hear how his buddies just filled the tampon dispenser in the girls' restroom with Cheetoes or how some dude has been dropping water balloons from the roof all night. Things are happening fast. People are trying on relationships--romantic and platonic--like they're the season's newest shoes. You don't know who you hate and who you love yet and it adds a recklessness to the situation that is rarely found anywhere else. He probably feels even visiting you the two or three times a week is making him miss a huge part of the action. That fifteen minutes isn't fifteen minutes. It's a fucking Grand Canyon.

This is hard for him, and hard for you. The loneliness must be terrible. But I second those who say the problem isn't so much him for not running out to you every night--though that is a big indicator of where your relationship lies on his priorities--but that you aren't running to him. You need to take responsibility for your social life. He can't be it. You gotta go visit the dorms and hang out with more people. This will probably mean crashing with him or on a couch more than you'd like and waking up at 6:00 in the morning to run home. If you don't, it will just get worse, and a year from now even if you do get that house with the other friends everyone will reminisce about that wild dorm party and you'll realize how much you missed. And God forbid the two of you break up--you'll be completely alone. Something tells me the fear of this has more to do with sticking with him than actually wanting to be with him. Get more friends. Find your own life. Once you do that, you'll have a better bead on whether or not you love him--or just not being alone.
posted by schroedinger at 7:33 PM on October 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


Self diagnosing him with ADD is a little harsh. I bet he thinks it's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't situation" - whatever he does is never going to make you happy. And if he did do everything you wanted him to do, it would make him unhappy. Why would you want to do that to someone you loved?

Wouldn't you rather have him do things because he wanted to do them? Because he wants to make you happy? Instead of doing things to placate you temporarily?

It just seems like everything is conditional with you. Even with the wording of this question. You ask for advice yet "it's not welcome here to say DTMFA."

I think whatever advice is given here is going to be hand picked to suit your outlook, and that's fine. I just hope you are able to take a step back at some point and realize what you can learn about yourself from this relationship. But I guess it's all a part of growing up.
posted by spec80 at 7:49 PM on October 7, 2007


Excellent advice above about finding other ways to fill all your social needs. First year at university is hard for everyone, extra hard if you're living off campus, and super-extra hard if you are trying to hold on to high school relationships during the transition. I promise that it will get better. Take active steps to improve your life - this means more-actively seeking friendship opportunities. Seems like a pain, but it will pay off. Make your social calendar full - maybe full of superficial hangout time for now, but for every 10 people you superficially hang out with a few times, you'll find one good friend.

Also, you say: I can't imagine being with anyone else. That's the main thing that jumped out at me. This is a mark of a long-term relationship when you're relatively young. It can be paralyzing, when you think in your heart of hearts that your relationship isn't working out, but you literally can't imagine what it would be like to move on. this more than anything else is a good reason to break up for now, and explore for a year or so. You need to be able to imagine being with other people, or being single and having it be okay.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:58 PM on October 7, 2007


Hey there anonymous, how you been, your 'DTMFA unwelcome' notice is unwelcome. You said:
I know we're young, etc., but I do love him, a lot. And he loves me. And when we're together, by ourselves, I can't imagine being with anyone else.
You can't imagine being with anyone else? What you're describing is a failure of imagination. Sorry that the world is this way. You'll change your mind, inevitably. That's what minds are for.
That, plus the release of Halo 3, and other friends to play other FPS games online with, and the typical residence related social dynamic means that I don't even see him much on MSN, and if he is on MSN he's usually distracted, and the rare time that he calls he's usually a completely different person because there are other people in the room.

He knows I feel isolated, abandoned, and hurt. He knows I cry over this.
Tell your fucking boyfriend to quit PLAYING VIDEO GAMES when his girlfriend is sitting at home, only 15 minutes away, crying her eyes out. You want a last stand? That one should be easy: 'Dear college freshman, your girlfriend is posting anonymously to online bulletin boards asking how to save your near-dead relationship, and you're too busy playing with your X-Box to even notice.'
I can't let go of the idea of more with him, not when we've been talking about moving in next year when everyone gets out of res and a bunch of friends rent a house together. I do want to see this go farther, but it's gotten to a point where the person is worth the effort, but the effort isn't worth the effort. Does that make sense?
No.

If your relationship is fucked up, moving in together - even/especially with a bunch of college buddies - isn't going to fix it. Indeed, you can print that out, take it to a tattoo parlor, and have them ink it on your forehead as a message to every other n00b in Datingville: Moving in together won't fix a failing relationship. You've had a great run, and you guys are messing things up in a way that's common, predictable, regrettable (sure), and not easily overcome: you're growing apart.

That means you're growing.

Which means on the other side of the deep sadness coming (of which you're already getting a preview, it would seem), things will be much, much, much better.

Get a bicycle. Ride to BF's dorm room. Unplug his X-Box. Stop dreaming and start moving.

Good luck. Everything gets better (but worse is first).
posted by waxbanks at 8:10 PM on October 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


Give it up. There is no way you will make this work, and you shouldn't try.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:12 PM on October 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Neither of you is willing to walk 15 minutes to see the other. I don't know how you can even call that a relationship. I walk that distance when I need to pick up a thing or two at the store.

I don't know where some of the above posters are getting the idea that only he would be able to walk to her, not the other way around.
posted by jejune at 10:02 PM on October 7, 2007


"As long as you can find someone else to blame for anything you are doing, you cannot be held accountable or responsible for your growth or the lack of it."
Sun Bear

"No one can give you wisdom. You must discover it for yourself, on the journey through life, which no one can take for you."
Sun Bear

Realize that you are entering a period of your life when you are growing and changing in every possible way. You're surrounded by opportunity and challenge. Sometimes you'll feel like the world is your oyster; at other times you'll feel adrift in a sea of loneliness.

I'm about ten years older than you, and I remember being in the first years of college and having a boyfriend who I could not imagine not being in my future. It sounds like not everyone responding to your question can relate to that, or that they've forgotten how difficult it is to imagine your life without the one person who you've known in both your old life and your new.

I wonder what you'll wish, in ten years' time, you'd been able to tell yourself at this very moment? What would you wish you'd been able to see that you can't see right now, without the benefit of perspective and wisdom that time often brings?

I don't know how you'll answer those questions for yourself, but here are my thoughts: I wish I had put myself first more often. I wish I had spent less time trying to make other people happy, less time trying to "make" certain relationships "work," and more time working on my personal growth. I wish I'd spent less time worrying about what my future would look like, and more time living in the moment and making the most of it. I wish I'd realized exactly how unique a time in my life college would be.

These sound like regrets, and they are in some ways. But the fact that I know what I wish I'd done differently means I've changed and grown as a result of those experiences. I'm the same person I was then, but I've changed in ways that allow me to look at my past self with both critical eyes and compassion. College was an intensely difficult time for me emotionally and socially. I'm proud that I made it through and came out of it all a better person. I learned how to get help when I need it, how to seek out work that is meaningful to me, and how I need to take care of myself before I can bring other people into my life. I learned that no matter how bad I feel at certain times, I am happy to be the person I am.

You know what I've realized? Two things that are alluded two in the quotes at the top of my response.

(1) It is essential that we each take responsibility for ourselves - our words, our actions, and our thoughts. This is so much harder than it sounds. As long as you're wrapped up in someone else's life ("why is he playing computer games instead of being with me?" "why does he know I'm hurting, yet doesn't know what to do to make me feel better?"), you're not facing your own honest thoughts and feelings. This is so difficult to do. It has taken me years, and I'm still working on it. Be honest with yourself, and take responsibility for yourself. When you can begin to do this, you'll realize that this is not a limitation that you're imposing on yourself. Rather, it will allow you to free yourself of the despair and doubt and fears that you're currently mired in. Instead of trying to figure out why your boyfriend is/isn't doing something, focus on understanding why you're doing things a certain way, thinking about your circumstances a certain way, or feeling a certain way. The return will be much greater.

(2) In the end, we each move through our lives as individuals. We meet people along the way, and some of us prefer to be around people as much as possible. Even then, however, we travel through life as individuals. You can fight this, or you can figure out how to accept it, love it, and take comfort and power from it. Once you are at peace with the idea that you're the only person who's always going to be with you, you'll find it much easier to reach out to others, and to form relationships with them. You won't be depending on them for things that you feel you need (to visit you a certain number of times each week, to promise you that they'll stay with you forever). Of course there are certain things we get from others that we can't provide for ourselves - companionship, for example. There's a difference, though in whether you desire it and seek it out as something pleasant, or grasp it like it's a lifeboat you'll drown without.

I hope this doesn't sound too new-agey...I'm not that kind of person at all. Just someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about these things, and who sees some of her past self in the question you wrote.

Moving away from home, sorting things out, worrying about changes in your relationships/surroundings/self, and always having your future in the back of your mind can be intensely stressful. Put yourself first (and don't feel selfish about it), and take advantage of the opportunities around you. Even when you feel bad, take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Value yourself.

Maybe a first step would be to read the responses here, realize that they are all intended in good faith, understand that none of them is personal, and recognize that you have the intelligence and strength to use the ones that help you, and to set aside the ones that don't.
posted by splendid animal at 10:38 PM on October 7, 2007 [6 favorites]


But what options do you have for a last stand, exactly?

You're going to either have to change his expectations of the relationship, or change yours. To do the former, I can't see anything doing it beyond the ultimatum. But I think you can sense which way that would go if presented. The other way is to reconcile yourself to the lowered expectations, which is painful, but it seems much more attainable (though not by much, I suspect.) If you can't do either, well, I think the aphorism "expectations are resentments under construction" applies.

Some speculation which hasn't been touched on AskMeFi yet: There is the possibility that his indifference is him trying to force you to end the relationship -- a passive aggressive, non-confrontational way of ending the relationship where he doesn't have to stick final nail in the coffin.

There could be many reasons why he'd be doing that: you said he's not a great communicator, which would lead me to believe that he just may not know how to end the relationship; he may even think that he's helping you by not giving the relationship a proper end (a train of thought that goes something like "if she's this distraught now, I can't imagine how bad she'll get if I actually do break up with her"). Regardless of the reasoning, this situation is not doing you any good, and dragging it out will only make it worse. It would also mean that there isn't any way to save your relationship. I hate to use another funereal metaphor, but maybe you should bury the relationship, grieve at what's lost, remember the good times, and part ways?

At least if you do it sooner rather than later, you won't have any more time to build new resentments.
posted by Weebot at 12:51 AM on October 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some speculation which hasn't been touched on AskMeFi yet: There is the possibility that his indifference is him trying to force you to end the relationship -- a passive aggressive, non-confrontational way of ending the relationship where he doesn't have to stick final nail in the coffin.

Firstly, the personality type you descibe I know very well, and I have to add from experience that ultimata do not work.

Secondly weebot's quote above will hurt you deeply, but you must consider it, it certainly rings true for me. I have a thing about respect being fundamental to love, so when the respect isn't there, as I believe it isn't here, then the love is on shaky ground.

Finally, plan an exit strategy which includes the advice above on putting you first, varying your social life, making new friends, taking responsibility for your growth. If your relationship is meant to survive, you're taking some of the pressure off by doing this and perhaps giving it some more time. If it doesn't , you've done something for yourself.

I echo the call to see the College counsellor.
posted by Wilder at 1:19 AM on October 8, 2007


Let me preface this by saying a have never met a single couple from high school that survived the transition to the university setting. Not one. I'm not saying it's never happened of course, but I think the odds of success are remote at best. I entirely agree with Weebot that his remoteness may his attempt to get you to break up with him, this sparing him the always painful conversation of "I'm just not that into you". Yes, it's a chickenshit way out, but it happens ALL THE TIME.

If you really want to save this relationship (bearing in mind what I just said), it seems clear that you need to be more proactive. If he's not willing to walk 15 minutes to see you (which is laughable), you can hardly complain about it if you're also not willing to do it. You need to reestablish yourself as a presence in his life. Fantasies about moving in together next September are so far away from reality, you can't rely on them to hold you together. It seems like you've been at university for less than 2 months, I guarantee those sort of plans will be changed up until the day you sign the lease.

Good luck, but I'm not hopeful. Yours is a very old story -- university/college when people meet, try, and do all kinds of new experiences, and that is very hard on any relationship. It's quite common for people to say they weren't really ready for a truly committed relationship until they'd been through college and a) grown up or b) just gotten some stuff out of their system.
posted by modernnomad at 1:45 AM on October 8, 2007


Your boyfriend will have other friends. He'll play Halo 3 with them. That's what college is for, not spending all your time alone with your high school girlfriend. Either YOU make the trip over there and maybe - GASP! - play some Halo 3 yourself, or if your idea of gender roles (or his) won't allow this, find yourself some friends of your own and have pillow fights in your nighties or whatever it is you're supposed to be doing.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:56 AM on October 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Let me preface this by saying a have never met a single couple from high school that survived the transition to the university setting. Not one. I'm not saying it's never happened of course, but I think the odds of success are remote at best.

All stories I've heard where it does work involve a period where the couple is not together. My best friend and my cousin were a couple in high school, but spent most of college apart (they were at separate colleges; first in different states and then in different parts of the same city). But they reconciled and have since married. Think on the words from that Mariah Carey song:

Spread your wings and prepare to fly
For you have become a butterfly
Fly abandonedly into the sun
If you should return to me
We truly were meant to be
So spread your wings and fly, Butterfly

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:25 AM on October 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was in a situation very similar to this. I stuck it out pretty long and one of things that kept us together was that I started planning things for us to do. I'd be like "oh, there is apple picking on Friday at 6. Do you want to go?" That way, I'd be on his calendar and I think doing activities kept him thinking of me and interested in being together. You shouldn't rely on him to plan seeing you. Men his age can be pretty bad about such things.

Ultimately though, it was a relationship on life support. Maybe yours will develop to be deeper and better, but make sure to do other things at uni in case it doesn't. Join a club, get a job, so something so you don't depend on him so much.
posted by melissam at 8:31 AM on October 8, 2007


He will not pay more attention to you if you live together. At least not the kind you want. The quantity of attention may increase, but the quality will almost certainly not. If he needs a lot of time alone now, he will still need that when he's around you. If he's distracted now, he will still be distracted when you're around all the time. How will you feel when he wants to go into the next room and play video games instead of being with you? Trust me, that is exactly what will happen, especially since he does not perceive a problem with your dynamic.

If he does in fact have ADD, it may be hard for him to do anything about a problem unless it's an immediate crisis. My guess is that you've been in a cycle where you get visibly upset, he consoles you, he promises to change, and he does, for awhile. When things seem "okay" again, he goes back to the status quo, unless you're in crisis mode again. It's not that he doesn't care. It's that nothing short of immediate crisis even registers on his radar.

Read up on ADD, and brace yourself. This is an opportunity for you to become really strong and secure in yourself. From my personal experience, I think a relationship composed of an insecure person and one with ADD is doomed. ADD will trigger every insecurity you could possibly have. His personality won't change. Your sense of self can.
posted by desjardins at 8:38 AM on October 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Add me to the "you need more friends" chorus. It's not just risky and ill-advised for you to make him the source of all your self-esteem -- it's unfair to him. He's just a kid trying to find his way in school too, trying to learn how to be social and figure out his place in this world, just like you.

I'm not saying DTMFA at all. I'm saying that YOU need to build a life for yourself, not rely on him to provide one for you. And it's entirely possible that once you branch out, join some clubs, make new friends, go to parties, meet new guys, etc., that you'll find he's not even what you want anymore.

Or maybe he is.

But, seriously, get out there and interact with people. Even consider joining a sorority. (My 20-years-ago self can't believe I'm saying that.) Unless you go on to work retail or restaurants, college is the closest thing you'll get to a Social Education. I encourage you to make the most of it.
posted by LordSludge at 9:11 AM on October 8, 2007


The college sounds a bit hostile, and you sound a little co-dependant. I honestly think this relationship is in serious trouble and as painful as it is should be put to bed. Then, you should change colleges, join clubs and work on becoming resilient.
posted by edgeways at 9:29 AM on October 8, 2007


"My boyfriend only sees me 3 days a week, and hasn't given me friends for the other 4. Why is he such a jerk?"

You're not walking that 15 minutes either. It's not his job to address your concerns. It the collective job of both of you, but it's your responsibility to take the lead.

Three days a week is a lot for many people; if it's not enough for you, maybe you need to make your own social outlets. It's not fair to him to expect him to fill that much of a void.

Make friends, do your own thing, then think about what this relationship means to you. Visit home more. Join a club. While the relationship is now over, I met a wonderful girl who made me very happy during my college years from the university chapter of Amnesty International.

As for Halo 3, yeah, it's lame, but if I were in a college-age relationship, I'd want to blast some aliens too.
posted by spaltavian at 11:07 AM on October 8, 2007


NOTHING here indicates he has ADD, except for the OP's assertion "he also seems to have ADD - nothing ever bothers him for long." If that's a disorder, sign me up.
posted by sageleaf at 12:42 PM on October 8, 2007


As desjardins wrote He will not pay more attention to you if you live together. At least not the kind you want. The quantity of attention may increase, but the quality will almost certainly not. If he needs a lot of time alone now, he will still need that when he's around you. If he's distracted now, he will still be distracted when you're around all the time. How will you feel when he wants to go into the next room and play video games instead of being with you? Trust me, that is exactly what will happen, especially since he does not perceive a problem with your dynamic.

Quoted For Truth.

I married a fellow a few years older than I am who was briefly in my life at fourteen and re-appeared my freshman year of university. We immediately began cohabitating. Not long after, we married and twelve years later we divorced (without children.) Our "dynamic" further devolved into no growth in any form.

The OP's story sounds strikingly similar to what became of our marriage--things get taken for granted, situations devolve/grow, and sometimes things aren't meant to be. I'm simplifying my personal experiences; however, the submariners of my soul are shouting out to anonymous, "Dive! Dive! Evasive maneuvers! Be your own person for awhile and, if you want, wait for someone else who is his own person, too!"
posted by bonobo at 10:01 PM on October 8, 2007


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