Q: I’m so confused. I don’t know what he wants.

So I’ve been seeing this guy for 6 months now. At the beginning he stressed honesty and trust was important to him and told me that he just got out of a 4 year relationship. Concerned that he wasn’t ready for anything yet, I asked him if he wanted to just see other girls and he told me he only wanted to see me.

I was still skeptical about it but I went ahead with this anyway.

Things were going great and then he went away for a group vacation with his ex, which they had planned together months before. Since he came back things were different, he didn’t really put forth the same effort as he did before. Recently he told me he realized he was being a jerk and the reason he was behaving that way was because the moment it reminded him of a relationship he froze.

Now he’s just plain confused.

He doesn’t know what he wants anymore and I’m getting the idea that he’s just too scared to end it.

Could it be possible that he still wants it to work out?

Last time we spoke we tried to compromise “arrangements” and such (ie. how often we talk, see each other and such.) but could he just be stalling?

I’m just really confused at this point. I’ve told him I don’t mind trying to work on things, and all I’ve gotten in response to anything is “I don’t know.”

A few specifics that have pushed me beyond confusion:

-He tells me he feels guilty for keeping me in this and selfish above anything else, and hints at me seeing other guys, as long as I tell him about it.
-He got angry when I told him I saw him as just a friend.
-We have had sex on plenty occasions but at times he’ll refrain from having sex because he wants to “prove to me that he enjoys my company.”

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A: First of all, thanks for the email I appreciate it.

I definitely have a few thoughts on your situation.

Important points to pay attention to:

  1. He came out of a 4 year relationship.
  2. It’s only been 6 months.
  3. He was dating you exclusively but still went on vacation with his ex.
  4. He’s been acting distant and will even encourage you to date other guys.

I think I know what’s going on with him.

I was married once, to a girl I was with for about 9 years. Eventually I ended it, which was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And afterward I felt horribly guilty for the pain our divorce caused her. Unfortunately I brought this pain with me when ever I started dating new girls.

As a matter of fact it was this “guilt” that made me keep all my “girlfriends” at a distance.

What I was doing was keeping them at a comfortable distance where I wouldn’t feel bad if we broke up. This is why most of my relationships lasted 3 months. My REAL fear was that if I dated a girl for more than 3 months, but wasn’t REALLY into her, that every moment we spent together would be a “lie” and that I was only leading her on.

When girls wanted more I’d instantly want less.

Perhaps in your case your boyfriend is having this same dilemma?

You’re MORE into him than he is into you, and he’s feel “bad” because he feels like he’s leading you on. He’s confused because he wants to date other women BUT he likes the attention you bring him. PLUS you’re likely a well spoken girl who treats him well… so he’s confused.

Here is my point: He’s unsure about your future together so he’s feeling like he’s leading you on by continuing to date you –  meanwhile you’re becoming more and more attached to him (or so he thinks.)

What’s the solution?

That’s a tough one.

1) Talking through how he’s feeling, and being really open to his thoughts is a MUST. If you can make it clear to him that you’re just as frustrated with the future of your relationship as he is, perhaps he’ll relax. He needs to believe that he can tell you anything without it destroying you. We guys will sometimes keep our truths to ourselves for fear we’ll hurt you – which is silly.

2) You need to decide for yourself what your needs are and if he can meet them anymore. There’s NOTHING wrong with having needs and desires, and if he’s being “unsure” for TOO LONG then he’s no longer helping the relationship – he’s hurting it. Decide for yourself how much longer you’re willing to wait around for him to get back in the game. Don’t forfiet a happy life waiting for someone who’s refusing to be a MAN and make some positive decisions.

3) Realize that he is likely still coping with past baggage, and this baggage is NOT your responsibility. All you can do is provide him understanding and support should he require it. Being patient is the best thing you can do, and being a willing ear for him to share his thoughts. Being nonjudgmental is the KEY. So don’t try to PRY, just try to listen.

4) Give him the gift of missing you. This means giving him the physical and emotional space he needs to self-reflect. All relationships have a subtle power struggle/balance, and by giving him space you’re actually taking some of your power back. What many girls actually do is they start to panic when they think they’re losing their boyfriend so they start to LEAN into him even more – which gives him power but has the effect of smothering him – which pushes him away further. By leaning back, giving him space, you’re helping him to feel less worried about you, and more focused on himself.

5) If you feel too upset about waiting around for him to Wake Up, then let him go. As a matter of fact you need to realize that letting him go is THE best feeling you can have, because it strengthens your ability to be NORMAL when around him, instead of acting needy and desperate. If he’s going to suddenly regain his interest it’ll be when you’ve shown him that you can let him go. Of course this may be what he really wants anyway, in which case you’ll have to let him go ANYWAY.

6) Take this time away from him to realize how important you are as a woman, and how lucky he is to have someone like you in his corner. If he ultimately decides he needs his space, then take your new freedom as a good thing. It’s better to have love and lost to have wasted your love on someone not worthy of it.

I believe life is about the relationships we build and let go and that each person we meet provides us with knowledge and power that we would otherwise have lacked. Appreciate the time you’ve spent with him, and appreciate the time you’ll spend with the next Mr. Wonderful!

I hope this helps, and let me know how it goes.

Best of luck!

~ Robby