What To Do When He’s Always Around – But You’re Going Nowhere

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Question From Caroline:

Rori, I have realized that I am not happy with the results I am currently getting in my relationship. My boyfriend and I have been dating for just over a year, and he basically lives with me.

He does have his own apartment but stays with me every day. He does work many hours, as he is in his first career starting job out of college and business school. I have been his number one fan and have been extremely supportive through this past year (we met about two months before he started working).

He brought me to meet his family after just a month of dating, and the chemistry and connection was through the roof immediately. Through this year I have justified the results I am getting, and not getting, in my relationship by telling myself that he does not have the mental capacity to really even focus on a relationship.

He has also used that with me before in conversations we’ve had that I have initiated when I am feeling sad about the way things are going.

I had written you guys before about expressing my concern or confusion to him about why we aren’t living together when he basically lives with me and just spends wasted money on an apartment of his own.

That conversation went poorly and we almost broke up. I ended up apologizing the next day and telling him that he is completely right about not being ready to move in together, and I asked that everything would go back to normal. He obliged. This was about three months ago.

To give you some background, my boyfriend works in investment banking and he is a first year analyst, with a ton of responsibility and expectations to meet. At the end of this month he will learn what his subjective bonus amount is going to be, which he will receive in February – all based on his performance and work ethic through this past year.

We expect him to be paid more than 100% of his base salary as a bonus, which he more than
deserves. I do know that I am with a really great guy, however, I am still not getting the things that I need in a relationship.

This past weekend we had planned to celebrate our 1 year of being together. The previous weekend was New Year’s Eve weekend and he got so intoxicated when we went out that I didn’t even see him when the ball dropped.

He has lost 20-30 pounds since starting to work at this job and letting loose on New Year’s Eve led to him drinking more than his body could handle. It ended up being a pretty terrible night, but what made it worse was that he chose to golf and spend time with his friends rather than with me. Our one year was technically January 4.

He was working. He did get me flowers, which are beautiful. I ended up saying something about feeling disappointed because I had expected to spend time with him the previous weekend and he said he was really sorry and messed up big-time on New Year’s Eve and that he just wants to lay low and hangout with his friend (who is single and also works in banking and who is really great), and that we would celebrate next weekend.

I really don’t care about doing things that involve money or major planning, and I do just feel really good being with him, and I explained that to him and he seemed to like that. The next weekend we had an OK weekend just sort of laying low and hanging out. One thing that has been missing in our relationship that I know I need, is the expression of how one feels about me.

He has not told me he loves me yet. In writing this email and thinking back on how I handled this next conversation that I am going to tell you about, that is essentially ending our relationship, makes me question if I went about it the right way or not.

On Sunday I made a comment to him about feeling weird when we’re not connected and things are weird between us. In his eyes, he was totally taken off guard and didn’t feel anything was disconnected or weird between us. I continued to say I’m just a girl here and girls need attention and affection and to talk and be admired and something I need as well is to be told how someone feels about me.

I continued to say you’re amazing and I love being with you, and I don’t want to put any pressure on you or our relationship, but is there something I should know or is something going on that you’re not telling me ?

He was confused and asked if I meant, was he cheating on me? I said no and I continued to explain that this past year I’ve totally understood why things haven’t progressed very much because of how much he works, but that I had hoped our one year would come along and that I would get some sort of validation from him about how he feels being in this relationship.

I heard the same sort of response from  him as I did months ago – that he hasn’t been able to even focus on our relationship really because he is so consumed by work (and I do believe that to some degree).

I continued to say that I totally understand and I also need to do what’s right for myself and for what I need, and be open to other opportunities.

He definitely didn’t like this. He told me that he’s just not ready to say that I’m the girl he loves. He also said that he doesn’t think we’ve spent enough quality time together to be able to say that we are actually  in love. And I even agreed that it’s safe to say we aren’t in love because you know when you’re in love, but that I do know I really care about you and love being with you.

I reiterated that I’m not expecting him to say anything and that I don’t like that I’m even having this conversation, and that I don’t want to force anything. But that all I really hoped for was that he could just let me know how happy is that he’s with me and how appreciate if he is for me being there for him this past year, anything.

Mind you, I do his laundry, my apartment is always clean, I cook for him sometimes – he has it pretty made living with me. And he is appreciated of of those things and pointed those things out during the conversation. But what I couldn’t really get over is that he said that I was right and at this point after being together for a year he should feel some sort of way differently and he just doesn’t.

He also said he hasn’t really been that great of a boyfriend lately and that he feels ashamed and that I’m right and it’s just not good timing for him right now because he has so much to focus on with his career. I am so proud of him and respect him for sticking to that, but I also feel like it’s bullshit.

I’ve been using Rori’s tools a lot and I feel like we’ve connected more and more, however I feel like it’s subconsciously impossible to progress if things stay the way they are ( him coming and going, having a key to my apartment, staying with me every night, being exclusive without a real commitment).

We had a very mature conversation about ending things and he cried a lot and so did I. He took his things from my apartment and it has been two nights of not sleeping together.

I do feel good about the way the conversation went for the most part because I was able to express how I feel and uncovered an issue that seems like it could have been fixed a long time ago. I am supposed to see him sometime this week to get a couple things that I had brought over to his apartment ( his apartment has essentially been a storage unit for the past year ).

I’d really like to speak to someone on the phone to get advice on how I should feel about the way I handled the conversation and moving forward what I should expect. He had said that he wants me to be careful and he’s right down the street and we can still stay in touch and the one thing that’s really going to bother him is the thought of me being with other men.

We ended the conversation by breaking up but he was still calling me babe and we still had sex before he left which was weird and I wasn’t even able to have an orgasm.

I also cried afterwards secretly (he doesn’t know that). This is all really hard for me to share with a stranger but I’m really just looking for some advice. I do know there have been things I’ve done in our relationship that play a large role in why things resulted in the way they did – for example letting him stay at my apartment and have a key and come and go as he pleases and not have my own things going on as much as I did prior to meeting him.

I’ve already made attempts to get out there more – I went to a hockey game last night and have plans to hang out with friends later tonight. A positive in this is that I am already focusing more on bettering myself and my own career, something I should always be doing regardless if I am in a relationship or not. It’s all good life lessons. I guess I just would like to know if this man is someone who is not able to love me right now or if there is hope.

I don’t want to start dating other people or sleep with anyone and have it ruin the chances of being together. I also don’t think I’m ready to do that. It’s hard when you’ve been with someone for a year, and you wake up and realize that you may have been in an imaginary relationship this entire time.

However, I want to stress that he has made me very happy and we have had significant time together with his family and mine and time that we have spent together on weekends or holidays and every night he comes home and sleep with me etc.. part of me thinks that he has been so used to not really having anything to lose, which is why I made the comment that I think it’s bullshit for him to say he just doesn’t feel any certain way after this long.

He was crying so much when we were having our break up talk so how could this man not love me? He did say and I do care about you so much but I just can’t not focus on my job right now. He asked if he could still call me when he finds out how much his bonus is going to be, while breaking down and crying.

I feel so bad for him because I feel like he has worked insanely hard this past year and feels like he’s being backed into a corner and forced to say he loves me when he can genuinely say he does.

I told him of course he can call me and I hope he does and I started crying again too because I am so proud of him and of all the hard work he has put into starting his career this year. We both shared how lucky we felt being with the other person and how excited we were to tell people about each other when we started dating and even still but then the conversation sort of looped back to me being right and it not being good timing for him to really invest in anyone right now.

And when I said OK I understand and thank you for telling me how you feel, it was almost like it made it harder for him to stick to this decision of him leaving. He said he knows we are both going to do great things and maybe in five years we can be together.

My response to that was that I know we are both going to do amazing things and that I’m so proud of him but that I just don’t think it’s meant to be. He kept calling me babe – it just hurts when you care so much about someone and you feel like they care so much about you but then they tell you that they’re just not there yet.

Thank you for everything.

My Answer:

Caroline – where we women ALL get ourselves into trouble and heartbreak is in insisting that we know best.

Insisting because we feel love – that it must BE love.

Insisting that our brains are telling us to give him more time, more space, more whatever he needs because this is “true love.”

Insisting that just because we believe we love him – because we’ve given our fabulous emotions meanings they may not at all carry – that the whole “package” must be “right” and therefor accepted.

We work hard to make him feel good. We work hard to understand. What the man is “on paper’ guides us – even if his relationship resume is empty or in the negative, we find it endearing.

Next time, Caroline. just take a step back. Forget what YOU feel about HIM!

You’re SUPPOSED to feel! You’re supposed to feel a lot of things, all the time. That doesn’t mean big decisions need to be made from any of those particular feelings, and NEVER from your emotional attachment to him.

Instead – look at THESE feelings:

How do I feel about myself when I’m with him?

How do I feel about myself when I’m NOT with him.

How do I feel when he does what he most often does.

Am I feeling fulfilled, taken care of, loved, given to, emotionally provided for?

Or is all this love mostly coming out of me and going to him?

Yes, I know there are stages of life and stages of a relationship. Yes, I know the “knight/king” thing. And none of that makes any difference.

Every man is unique – and you are totally unique.

What you are looking for is “Partnership.”

I know it doesn’t sound sexy. It doesn’t sound like “love.” it doesn’t sound like fairy tales.

Partnership sounds like business, like friendship, like a contract.

And yet – it’s a man’s ability to fulfill THAT that sets the entire basis for a relationship.

A man can either hold up his end – NOW, not LATER – or he can’t.

(If you’re married to a good man, and suddenly his fortunes change and he goes through a rough patch – if that’s your situation, write me – the solutions there are completely different than in this dating scenario.)

So – what does “holding up his end” look like?

It looks like he’s sensitive to YOU – not just sensitive to himself!

A crying man can open the doors for great mutual vulnerability and honesty, or he can reveal narcissism, emotional immaturity and an inability to partner.

Dating is where we learn about a man. If he can’t open doors and buy you a burrito now – where will he be when you need him later on?

The tragedy of a feminine energy man is not that anything’s wrong with him. He can be lovely and wonderful and caring and supportive – if that’s how his feminine impulses work.

YET – a feminine energy man can let loose the masculine energy inside US – and make it seem natural to us to let our inner boys run our lives.

We become controlling and overfunctioning (exactly what you describe in your letter – go ahead and reread it, and see if you can spot how you instinctively started to “take over.”)

Look for clues about a man’s “rightness” in how you’re feeling about yourself.

Look for vague resentments where you’re missing something.

Look for a feeling of peacefulness that’s either there or it isn’t.

Love, Rori

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  1.  #1Angela on February 17, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Wow I always love Rori’s advice. She sees things so clearly.
    “Look for clues about a man’s “rightness” in how you’re feeling about yourself.”
    I know this is so damn true.
    When i feel not enough, ugly, abandoned, not worth it, needy. If, after communicating my neediness and feelings, things are not improving, I most certainly know that I am not with the right man.
    A partnership to me feels secure when he’s around, and when he’s gone as well.

    Caroline I hope you take Rori’s advice. And even if you might be uncomfortable, circulate date, it will help you so much.
    He will just turn into an ordinary man, who doesn’t hold your happiness.
    Rori is right, your feelings are beautiful and they should be embraced, but it is also true that they might sometimes lead us down the wrong road.
    Circular dating will hep you see things so clearly.

    I did it too, when in my relationship I was having so many problems based in my inability to communicate properly, my partner got tired of my drama and left.
    What did I do? First, I freaked out. I thought he would meet so many other women, the right woman for him (he did meet someone else, but of course it didnt last, us women who have been practicing roris tools, have the tools that other women dont! we know how to be vulnerable with our emotions, share our feelings, appreciate a man, and never try to change him -sorry i just feel proud of myself for that, to does make a man crazy about a woman in my experience), i thought he would forget me, he didnt though.
    I promised that I would better myself, and if god wanted us together he would come back.
    I went out met so many men, some not great, others were ok. I felt way better, there were other men out there who would be willing to make me happy.
    It is not easy to open up, but it is rewarding.
    If this man is the one for you, he will see the shift in you.
    You will no longer be the woman who takes crumbs. You will only want the best treatment. If he’s the one he will change and make you incredibly happy. Trust!
    Love to you!

  2.  #2IamHis on February 18, 2017 at 7:53 am

    We’ve been writing so much and we’re going to meet and a part of me already feels like pulling away. It’s so easy to be vulnerable in writing, but so not easy in real life. UGGGGGGGGGGG.

    Also, I have a stupid crush on someone again and I just can’t hide my stupid crush feelings, even though I want to. We’re not supposed to hide, right? But I’m triggered and emotional, way more than I want to be. I had this fantasy, of us getting together as a sort of SCREW YOU to the other guy, it was going to be like this poetic SCREW YOU, this perfect knife twisting SCREW YOU. So, I guess the feelings have more to do with that than with the actual person(s.) I don’t know. I feel stupid.

    He’s trying really hard to let me down easy, and it’s nice. I know you’ve got to be cruel to be kind in these types of situations. But I can’t believe how much it’s triggering me. It’s like…noooo don’t leave me, just please let me use you like I wanted to.” I want to use him. I can’t remember ever wanting to use a person. I mean, I’m sure I have, I’m just more aware of it it this time, maybe?

    I feel guilty. and I feel embarrassed, because this is literally nothing, it’s a story I’ve made up in my head.

    But then, I feel angry, because sometimes the stories are true. Our intuitions are correct. Our minds want to fill in the missing pieces, so we make up stories, like he must be this evil sexual predator out to molest women, because he molested me. I am a woman. He is a molestor, because he molested me. It doesn’t matter if he mollested other women or not.

    and then I feel embarrassed because I know other women wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. It wouldn’t affect them, because they have so many sexual experiences and so many men in their lives, and such high self esteem. I hate their self esteem! Not really, I’m just triggered and jealous of these women. Not of their sexual experiences, but of their I don’t care, I love myselfness. I want to not care. I want to love myself.

    But I am innocent. I have many men in my life, not in the dating sense, but I DON’T BELIEVE IN USING PEOPLE. and yet here I am, wanting to use somebody, anybody. I want poetic justice. I really cared about him. The story I made up was real to me. And I at least have evidence that SOMETHING HAPPENED. The fact that I quit my job tells me that SOMETHING HAPPENED.

    I feel angry because I never feel believed. I want to feel believed. It hurts not to feel believed.

    This long distance guy seems like my dream guy on paper. I’ve written to him about stuff that I haven’t told to hardly anyone. It seems silly and imaginary, but on the other hand, real, because my friend Dan is setting us up because Bob is interested in getting to know me better, and Dan and Bob are real people. Real. I know Dan. Dan knows Bob. Real. Real.

    What is real? Real makes me feel angry. Imaginary makes me feel angry. I feel angry. How do you move it? Drop your thoughts to your pelvis. Be in your body, not in your head.

    I was telling my back that I loved my back, because I struggle with loving my aching, archy, soft back. and I start sobbing. I love you, Back. Thank you for being my back. For having my back. You are my Back. I will never turn my back on you.

  3.  #3IamHis on February 18, 2017 at 8:08 am

    How do I feel about myself when I’m with him?

    How do I feel about myself when I’m NOT with him.

    How do I feel when he does what he most often does.

    Am I feeling fulfilled, taken care of, loved, given to, emotionally provided for?

    Or is all this love mostly coming out of me and going to him?

    Why does that happen? Out of me and going to him?

    Fulfilled, taken care of, loved, given to, and emotionally provided for.