I met this guy online about two years ago. Everything was amazing at first and we dated for a month before he left for medical school. For that whole month, we saw each other almost every day and he said he really liked me and I was everything he was looking for and all the stuff guys say in the beginning when they really like a girl. After that month he left for medical school in Nevada (I live in California), making it a long distance relationship.
We tried to keep it together at first, I even flew out there one weekend, but he ended up sending me a long email telling me that he just couldn’t handle a relationship at that time because he had just started medical school and he was dealing with a lot. I didn’t talk to him for about six months after that. For the last two years we have been talking off and on but never actually got back together. Recently, we started talking again, but just as friends. About a month ago he confessed that he’d had a girlfriend for the last 6 months and she just broke up with him and he was really upset.
I gave him advice and I was there for him as a friend, trying to make him feel better, all the while still having feelings for him and wanting him to like me. I finally decided to tell him that I wanted a relationship and nothing else and if he didn’t want the same thing I couldn’t handle being friends with him and to not call me again.
Read on for the rest of this question and our guy’s response!
After I said that, he said that he did have feelings for me. We hung out twice after that, but he didn’t make any moves or anything, which is fine because I wanted to take it slow. Plus, he was still on the rebound. When we hung out, I felt like he was into me. I mean it seemed like he was always trying to make an excuse to touch me, or be close to me, and he opened up to me a lot, and talked to me more than he had throughout the whole two years I have known him.
About a week after we had hung out, he called me and told me that he was gonna be really busy the next month or so studying for his boards and he wasn’t going to be able to call me as much anymore. I freaked out because I felt like he was pulling away, and I tried to get him to define whatever was going on, which was probably too premature. But now, he’s not really calling me as much. When I asked him if he liked me or what he wanted, he said he didn’t know and that he wanted to keep things exactly the way they were and go with the flow and not think about the future . He also said that he wasn’t ready to get into another relationship again, which I completely understand, and I have not asked him to get into one with me. I just want him to be honest with me. When we went out, he either felt sparks again or he didn’t but he won’t tell me. He just keeps saying that he doesn’t know and that he can’t think about that right now. I feel like he’s pulling away again.
Anyways…my question is, do you think he really does like me and is just too busy or does need time to get over everything? Or is he “just not that into me”? Should I be patient and see what happens, or run for the other direction?
Here are my thoughts on the matter:
The first time you guys were going out, it became a long distance relationship and usually that’s bad news. Not every long distance relationship falls apart, but the majority do. So I would say that it’s not surprising that it ended, especially with the amount of pressure of being a med-school student (I dated a medical school student for a year a while ago.)
My feeling is that regardless of whether or not he likes you (and he does, no question), you are talking about pursuing a romantic direction with a guy who’s incredibly busy and just broke up with his girlfriend. I think you’re asking “does he like me?”, but I think the better question to consider is: “Do I really want to pursue a relationship with a man who’s going through emotional trauma and is incredibly busy?”
I’ve been in scenarios like this. My feeling on the matter is that it’s nice to be with a girl that I like (and who likes me too), but it would add pressure to my life having to be “her man” at that moment. Being a boyfriend (or the guy that the girl is “seeing” or whatever you want to call it) is pressure to a degree.
Generally speaking, whenever a guy takes on something in his life, he wants to do a good job at it. You could say that everyone does, man or woman, but what I am saying here is that a guy will not get into a relationship if he doesn’t think he can be the man that he knows the girl wants him to be. And in a way, that’s the ultimate form of the guy liking you – he doesn’t want to take advantage of you or hurt you – if he doesn’t think he can deliver, he won’t get you caught up in something that he won’t be able to do.
I cannot tell you if you should or should not choose this man… nor would I want to do that. There’s no way that I could know everything there was to know about the situation and even if I did, the end decision is your responsibility and can only be answered by you.
However, what I can tell you is what I would consider if I were in your shoes.
I’ve said before that the more we do for a person, the more we end up liking and investing in that person. Have you ever had a relationship where you weren’t that into it, but you ended up doing more and more for it until all of a sudden, this relationship began meaning everything to you when at first it meant nothing? There are a lot of factors in relationships, but one factor I want to highlight is that the more sacrifices and accommodations we make for another person, the more we invest in that person and, thus, the more that person/relationship means to us.
So if I were in a position where I was casually dating someone who was absolutely, positively buried in work and could not put time into accommodating me, I would not put a lot of time into accommodating that relationship. Again, my reasoning is that the more I end up doing for that other person, the more attached I will become to that other person (who I already know isn’t really available at this time anyway).
Yes, the other person appreciates it. Yes, the other person thanks you. BUT the other person does not end up loving you more for it – you end up loving them more. For them to love you more (in the sense of binding to you more), they need to be investing their energy, efforts and attention in you.
Think of the guy who bends over backwards to accommodate his demanding girlfriend. He caters to her every wish and does everything. Then they break up… the one who ends up devastated is NOT the girl (who no longer has a guy doing everything for her), but the guy who was doing everything! It’s a weird, counter-intuitive thing in psychology, but it’s true.
Be that as it may, I would say be careful with this piece of information. It would be a mistake to think of relationships like a poker game, where you’re hiding your cards and throwing chips in only if they do. That’s not what I’m saying here - I believe in a relationship acts of love should be given freely without conditions of a return. Love should never be a bargaining chip.
However, I do think you need to consider if you have a guy who is already in a position where he cannot invest love back into you (whether it’s because of his schedule, his lifestyle preferences, his manner, etc.), then you need to consider that you may up investing heavily in someone who will not be able to give back what you need in a relationship. From my point of view, investment determines his level and ability to commit to you, so if you want that you better make sure he is in a position where he can invest time, energy and attention with you.
What if he’s not? Well, then I would say you don’t have to leave, but be mindful of the accommodations you are making to have him in your life. What are you sacrificing? What are you doing for him? What are you putting in? Can he match it (note that I’m not saying will he or does he want to…. CAN he?)
That is what I would consider.
– eric charles