Ask a Guy: On and Off Relationship – Is it Meant to Be?


I have been dating this one guy for about two years now, off and on. When we first started dating, he chased after me and took me out to expensive dinners and such. In the beginning, I told him that I didn’t want a relationship and after that its all been downhill.

We do date other people but for some reason we always come back to each other and date off and on. He doesn’t call unless I call him first and then he starts the conversion about us hanging out and making plans. I haven’t talked about a relationship with him for a couple years now but I’m sick and tired of this off and on thing. We don’t break up or anything we just loose touch and then reconnect somehow.

His friends have made comments to my friends like “they are probably gonna end up together.” Does that seem like that he talks about me to his friends? What can I do to take this to another level? Should I just outright talk to the guy? I don’t want to scare him off. And if he says that he doesn’t know how he feels or ‘lets see where this goes,’ does that mean he isn’t interested? After two years a guy should know.. right?

Overall does it seem that the guy is interested in me?  Do you think it’s wrong to tell him that either something happens with us or that’s it and we need to go our separate ways?  I feel bad because I feel that I’m giving him an ultimatum.

Oh by the way, we haven’t slept together, so its not a booty call, I think!

See our guy’s response after the jump!


First off, you say that you fall out of contact with him and then somehow you reconnect. Keep in mind, it’s not “somehow”. You are part of what’s happening every step of the way, so when you fall out of touch both of you are responsible for that. When you reconnect, you are both talking to each other too.  Just remember to keep in mind how you fit into all of this and what you have been doing when you fell out of contact and when you got back together.

Second, you said that two years ago, you two started getting into a relationship of sorts, but you said you didn’t want a relationship. I would say it’s reasonable to expect that a guy will not totally invest in a relationship with a woman who’s said that she doesn’t want a relationship. And since he’s not totally investing in you, the behavior you see from him isn’t totally committed.

You asked me if I think he talks to his friends about you… I’m sure he does. People talk – it’s just how people are. But the fact is  neither one of you has made a commitment to the other.

Where the relationship is now, I could see it being one of two scenarios: Either he wants to keep it where it is, as in, he likes how it is and wants nothing more or he would be open to something more but doesn’t think that’s what you want.

I believe that in this case the only way you’re going to know is if you discuss it with him frankly. My opinion is that having a frank discussion with him is the only way to get off the fence about this particular relationship. Something along the lines of: This is how things started, this is how things have gone so far, this is what I am thinking now, what are your thoughts on the whole thing?

And then listen. Even if you want to speak, listen some more. My bet is that once you’ve said your piece and you listen fully to his feelings on the matter, you will come to a decision. It may be that you commit to a relationship or it may be that you make a clean break from each other. Either way, you’ll be off the fence.

Just check in with yourself about what you really want. Start by getting clear within yourself about what you want (as best you can) and if you need a change, then talk it out. That’s the only way you’ll truly get clarity.

However, if both of you are taking cues from one another and neither one of you is making any firm commitment then things will continue to stay the way they have been into the future. Ultimately, you both have to claim responsibility for exactly what you’re doing and decide if it’s what you both really want.

Let me step back and give you a perspective on where it appears you’re coming from on this.

I realize you are asking me the question of whether or not I think something is there and if it could work. And I want to make clear that I cannot answer that question and I don’t think anyone can… Even if you had written me a 20 page e-mail… I still wouldn’t be able to tell you, nor could anyone else.

From what you’re asking, I get the impression that you want to get an answer that removes all doubt of what’s happening and removes any risk of you being hurt or disappointed. Truth is, I don’t think anybody can give you an answer like that.

I can say that if you talk to him, he will be able to clarify where he stands. It may or may not be an answer you would like, but you would have clarity and you could make a decision.

Sometimes relationships can remain ongoing for a long time because nobody says anything. Meanwhile, both people are not happy, but they don’t want to rock the boat. In a case like this, talking is not going scare him off – all it’s going to do is bring to light what both of you are already feeling.

Now, this is a much different scenario than a woman who’s been seeing a guy for six weeks and then wants to have a talk about whether they have a future together (as in, total commitment). It’s not unreasonable for a guy to want more time before having a discussion when he doesn’t feel like he knows the woman as deeply as he’d like.

But two years? I would have to assume you two know each other well and know the nature of your relationship. Anything that gets said at that point is stuff that each of you have felt and thought about for a while.

I can make a few suggestions about how you can talk to him about this without it turning to an ugly situation:

1) Stay calm and speak in a matter-of-fact manner.
2) Be a really great listener and take in what he’s saying.
3) Be as open as you can be for him to say anything
4) Go first – share how you feel and what your thoughts are. If you want him to be straight up, frank and honest with you, demonstrate it to him through how you talk about it. This will pave the way for him to act accordingly.
5) Be as clear as you can possibly be yourself on what you need before you have this talk with him.

If you are not prepared for things to change one way or another, don’t have this discussion yet. Get clear first. Talk to people close to you.

If you have thought everything through and want things to change (even if it means a clearly defined end to your relationship), then have the talk with him.

I realize that my response might not be as clean-cut as saying “Yes, he’s into you” or “No, dump him”, but this is the best response that I think you can get on a question like this. My opinion is your only move is to take ownership of the relationship, get clear on it with him and see it for what it actually is (versus speculating whether or not it is what you want it to be). Only then will you have the power to decide.

Hope it helps.

- eric charles

{ 15 comments… add one }

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kelli

I’m still in love with my first love from wen I was 16. Now I’m 25 and he’s 27. Over the years we’ve been broken up we’ve reconnected and hoped up a bunch of times and also there have been times When we just reconnected and talked and talked about meeting up but never did. We broke up Wm I was 17 cause he had cheated even tho he wouldn’t admit it. And allot of the times we stopped talking or hanging out after we had reconnected was cause of his ex girlfriend the one he cheated on me with. But no matter he always comes back to me more than once saying he regrets ruining our relationship ND that he takes full responsibility and that he had it made with me how I was so cute ND how our sex life was amazing. We hadn’t spoke in a little while like over a year. ND I’m now in the hospital from a serious car accident where I need reconstructive surgeryon my arm so it’ll be a few mon the until I can go visit him.he had moved to another state but has asked me to come visit wen I’m better.t h e first week we reconnected this time he was very sweet saying you call anytime that he’s here for me ND being flirty ND saying all those mushy things he’s said before and some. But after talking and reciprocating those missing u feelings ND flirting in return..after a week he has stopped texting everyday before he would text just to day ho before falling asleep if we hadn’t spoken all day.but I’ve had to text him first that last 2 times we talked ND the conversations were short ND he’d say I’ll call u in a little bit hun and never did. Those 2 times I texted first are the only 2 times we’ve talked in a week. I truly believe he is the one. I still love him just as much as I always have. But now idk what to do.did I get a little too mushy and make him feel like he don’t have to try anymore cuz I’ll be here whenever he wants me. What do I do? Do I leave it alone for now since I can’t even go visit for a while anyway or do I give it another week or 2 and text or call him if I haven’t heard anything? Plus I love him ND our sex life was great and neither of us have been with anyone for about a year.is he playing games to keep me around for a visit full of fun and sex? I want more than that. I want us committed nit just hooking up cause that didn’t help keep around the other times we reconnected. Please help! Need advice

Reply July 12, 2014, 10:24 am

Zanata

How do I comfort my boyfriend after I found out he is cheating?

Reply May 14, 2012, 9:16 pm

Karen

You want to comfort him after you found out he’s cheating? You’re really a forgiving girlfriend… wow.

Reply May 14, 2012, 9:21 pm

Sidney

I think Zanata meant “confront,” not comfort! At least I *hope* that’s what she meant. :) Either way, Zanata, good luck to you.

Reply March 24, 2013, 3:18 pm

Susie

“But two years? I would have to assume you two know each other well and know the nature of your relationship. Anything that gets said at that point is stuff that each other you have felt and thought about for a while.”
Wow, I have never heard this explained as clearly as this. I have been involved with someone for going on 10 years in a very similar situation to this one. It might be six months or a year that we will be apart and then all of a sudden things are good for a while and then nothing. Feelings have never been discussed (maybe once 10 years ago, when he said something along the lines of “not now but maybe someday”) and I am finally on the verge of laying out just how I feel. Unfortunatly things have been complicated by me marrying someone else (7 years ago) and still being married. He got engaged a few years ago, and it broke my heart. I’ve always said that he was the love of my life. Their relationship didn’t last though and to the best of my knowledge he hasn’t been in another serious relationship. I am making myself miserable with the what might have been’s and want the questioning to be over.

Reply November 9, 2011, 2:37 pm

Eric Charles

Whoops – you happened to quote a section where I have a grammatical error. Gonna fix that. ;)
.
Sorry to hear about the heartbreak. Relationships are tough – but if you’re in the game, everyone gets their heart broke at least a few times. Part of the journey…
.
Glad you liked the post.

Reply November 12, 2011, 4:50 pm

Alan

You’re married and you’re still chasing a guy that doesn’t want you? Pathetic.

Reply June 22, 2012, 3:19 am

Samantha

I’m 8 months pregnant (20yrs old) & I feel like I have it more together than my ex(bbyddy) he turned 28 today & he says he wants a “break” because he wasn’t happy , so of the things we been through. He also said he feels like he’s missing out like he wants to have fun,mess with other girls & stuff! He’s talking to others girls too, & there’s one that he’s having sex with. They know I’m pregnant but they don’t care & he says she’s just a “friend w/ benefit”. I feel like he might be going through a mini “crisis”. He feels that he’s getting old,he’s about to be a father he hasn’t even been going to work(soo not like him) its like he has no focus. He talks to me still b/c were like best friends but he needs space. What do you think? I tried everything that I shouldn’t (constant calls/ txt etc) so now I’m doing NC until he visits & calls/ text me!

Reply October 2, 2011, 3:08 am

Katie

Eric, great response! It’s definetly unlike all the other answers out there that don’t have a clear idea of how the person really feels. This is what i’ve been wanting to hear, and it sure does soften my worries a lot :)

Reply August 24, 2011, 11:03 am

Eric Charles

Thanks a lot – I appreciate that and I’m glad it was helpful to you.

Reply August 24, 2011, 4:35 pm

LANa

Katie, I’m in a spookily similar situation right now. I would love to know what ended up happening with you and this guy?

Reply April 20, 2013, 9:16 am

Anon

Christina,

Move on you’re way too young to deal with that bullshit! He’s not appreciating what he has!

Reply June 14, 2011, 3:02 am

christina e

I have been dating this guy for three years now. He is 37 and i am 23. I know big age difference but i do love him, too much i think sometimes for how im treated. We have been together for so long now, and still i feel like he cant commit to me. We met online three years ago, and the first date we had he asked me to be his girlfriend. He is legally seperated from his wife, but has told me for three years his divorce is in the works, but is having alot of problems becoming final, or so he says. He has two children, and they are his to care for all week and thier mothers on the weekend. Me and him only see each other once a week, if HE can make it. If he cant make it , its always an excuse that he has to take the kids, or he has a job he just has to do, or he’s not feeling well. Do i have the right to feel kinda neglected? Each year he promises me we will move in together, and each year he lets me down. In three years i have no ring, we are not together full time ( which is what i want, and what i thought he wanted,) and i dont even know his children all that well. We have broken up before, once i broke up with him for about a week, then last year he broke up with me for about two weeks. He found another girlfriend at that time, but she wasnt what he wanted so he asked for me back. In a week , we will have been together for exactly 3 years, but im not happy. Also when he calls, he always seems to be in a bad mood, and i try to cheer him up, but he always takes it out on me. Then later that night, texts me an appologie. Lately, hes been working more and more, even odd jobs at night. He says that he is working more, so we have money for our future. I just wish i knew what my next step should be. Should i just end it? i need advice. thanks

Reply May 19, 2011, 9:29 pm

mat

Hello Christina, it sounds as if he is using you just to get an ego stroke, and using you as a garbage bin to drop his problems because you allow it. Do you feel that he even likes you? What is the problem with the divorce? Though legal fights can indeed drag over several years, in any case he should be able to very clearly say what the actual current state is. Demand that he do so. Money for “our” future? Ask when that will that happen. He should be able to say when. If it then does not happen, why trust someone who cannot hold his promises and continues to make execuses? If he only wants to see you once a week, maybe he is less interested in you than vice versa.

Reply January 14, 2012, 6:11 am

mehgeeh

Eric, you’re good! I’m almost like that girl’s situation but not two years, not 6 months, but 3 months. Andd your words clear off my confusion. Thumbs up. *Hugss* but I still don’t know what I really want.. ): sigh. I want comfort but I know it’s sinful to say this. sighhh

Reply April 3, 2011, 12:35 am

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