Ask a Guy: How to Solve Issues Without Ruining Your Relationship post image

Ask a Guy: How to Solve Issues Without Ruining Your Relationship


I’ve been having some issues in my relationship and I’m wondering what is the best way to go about resolving them, instead of making things worse and getting into the same fights over and over.

One issue I’m currently dealing with is my boyfriend has me blocked from some of his social network activity. I discovered it recently and haven’t said anything yet but it’s really bothering me. Should this be raising red flags or am I just overreacting? And what is the best way to bring it up without pushing him away?

That does strike me as a red flag but I think what’s more important now is to try and get on the same page with him and voice your concerns in an effective way.

Bringing up issues in a way that leads to clarity and connection, versus lobbing back a counter-attack, isn’t always easy but it can massively improve your relationship.

From my perspective, it’s far more poisonous to the relationship to have worries floating around in your mind and then trying to figure out where you stand… than just to simply have a conversation in an open and honest way.

The trick is to have that conversation in a way that’s open and doesn’t make him feel like he’s being cornered or trapped in some way.

It’s not that guys don’t want to talk about relationship stuff… it’s that they don’t want to feel like they are going to upset you and then have to deal with the emotional aftermath. If they feel like that’s what they’re being confronted with, most guys are going to just avoid the conversation or put up a wall. It’s not that they want to hurt you or shut you out – men just simply don’t want to feel trapped in a no-win conversation.

The truth is, you can – and I believe you would do well to – ask him some questions instead of analyzing what he might be thinking.

If you can ask what you would like to ask in a way where he feels like he’s free to answer you without pressure to say the right thing/not say something that will upset you, it will cut the endless cycle of analysis in your mind and allow you to be present in the relationship (versus being caught up in your mind).

MORE: How to Stop Stressing Over Your Relationship 

Whatever he’s thinking/feeling is already what it is… so really, it’s just a matter of giving him space to communicate it to you… not through hints or allusions, but through him simply saying it.

The best way to approach it would be to simply say it how it is for you… something like, “Listen, I don’t want to invade your privacy and I don’t want to worry about this, so I just want to ask you something… and anything you tell me is fine because then at least I know the truth and don’t have to speculate or worry… can you tell me why you have me blocked on all your social networks?”

And just let him answer and listen. Try your best to be open and not attack or react… give him the space to answer honestly (and the majority of men will give you their honest answer if they feel like they have a safe space to have that conversation with you)…

When I say listen, I mean listen completely. Listen with your ears and listen with your gut. When your attention is 100 percent on him (and not on your internal fears, worries, anger, etc.) then you’ll pick up the whole message… sometimes with your ears, sometimes with your gut.

MORE: How to Listen to your Gut 

You’ll get the whole transmission, and hopefully you’ll be in a place where you can really accept it as where things are right now (and not try to excuse it, ignore the parts you don’t like and hang on to some glimmer of hope that he’s not saying what he’s saying). This is a skill and if you’re not used to it (or you’ve been avoiding a conversation like this), it might be very challenging… but it is what needs to happen to improve things from here.

From there, you’ll have clear information and you can make a decision on whether or not his reason is a problem for you. If it is, then you can make a decision on whether it’s something you can overcome or, if not, then it’s time to open yourself up to the possibility of leaving this relationship.

In all this, I want to make clear that I’m not saying that this conversation excuses him or that you’re expected to put up with something that’s unacceptable to you. What I’m saying is that the place to start is always to reach a point of clarity within your situation and then be able to make a clear decision based on clear information (not on worry, speculation or fear of the unknown). You might get news you don’t want, but at least you’ll have clarity.

Bottom line: The place to start is being able to have a clear conversation that gets you the information you need in order to know where his head is at… and to do it, you have to be able to have a conversation that is open, safe and without hostility. It’s not to excuse him, it’s to get the clarity you need.

Hope that helps,

eric charles

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Justine

Dear Eric,
I met this amazing guy online and he caught my attention most because he was so genuine, charming, and charismatic. He gave me his number after a few chats and we talked everyday until early morning around 4. He flirted and teased me sometimes when we would text and I took it for interest. I did not really take this thing going on too seriously and talked to him like I would normally to any friend with some occasional flirts. He respected me and was very polite. Said “sorry” when he couldn’t text me right away and we talked about our personal lives sometimes, so it was more than just getting me to have sex with him. We finally went on our first date and it was very comfortable with him. Like I knew him for awhile already because he made me feel that way around him. I didn’t have to try hard to impress him. I am simple, straight-forward, honest, silly, talkative, and polite so I wasn’t trying to hide anything from him. I would tell him what was on my mind, and if I didn’t agree with something he liked, I’d say it. I knew it didn’t bother him that I was that way because he seemed to be very interested in me. I had many things to do the next day so we didn’t do much on the first date, but he seemed very nervous around me and stumbled on a few of his words. He even took initiation to grab me and kiss me, but I pulled back (though I did enjoy it) and told him I would text him. He told me he was sorry if he freaked me out and I just told him that he didn’t. I wasn’t creeped out, I just told him it was too fast and it took me by surprise-which was the truth. He continued to text me.. a lot, and so did I. I was able to be open with him. I asked him to text me more often when I was bored and he didn’t mind that I asked. He told me he would do it for me. He also wanted to see me again and told me that countless times, so we did a second date which ended well. He had to go on a business trip and we emailed when we could. As soon as he got back he insisted on seeing me right away. He had expressed that he did miss me a lot which reassured me that he was still interested in the thing that was going on between us. It has already been two months at this point. We hung out and had a great time. We talked about personal issues or issues other than our relationship, sex, or anything that might seem like we are only here to get into each other’s pants. He and I both were truly enjoying each other’s company. I knew he wasn’t head over heels for me, but that he was very interested indeed. We did have sex that night and we talked some more on a personal level. I asked him what his dreams and goals were and I don’t know if that sparked something in him but he and I got intimate a second time that night. He has been very busy and very tired lately, so I try my best to sympathize him; allowing him to rest.
After that, our communication just spiraled downhill. He texted me less, like maybe once a day asking how my day was, then never replying back. He doesn’t answer my humorous sarcasms anymore and seems to kind of go MIA. And while I think he is M.I.Aing, and I forget about this thing we had, he then finds his way to text me and when I text back he goes missing again, until the next day or so. I’m so confused. He might not want me to think that we are exclusive so he is withdrawing but I show no signs of being needy. I don’t pressure him to answer anything and I don’t ask him any questions because I know we both are busy and have our own lives. I do, by the way, converse with him like I normally would before our dates but he doesn’t reply back like he normally would-like he is interested. In fact, I don’t text him unless he text me.
But I feel so confused at the moment. Does he just want sex because that’s totally not him, at least it didn’t seem like it. Or is he not ready to be close to someone; afraid to get hurt from maybe a past relationship? Or maybe he wants a partner; someone to talk to, but not someone to commit to? I’ve thought about all the possibilities and have tried to sympathize with him or whatever he has on his mind. I feel like he is interested because he does check in on me once a day or two or so, but he is scared of something..maybe his freedom, his space, his feelings? But I do my best to let him know I am nothing like any of that. Because so far I haven’t said anything when the communication drastically changed.
I’ve said before that I am a person who is straight-forward on what I want and don’t want and I hate feeling this way. I try to stay away from situations like this. It makes everything easier and me less worried. I just want to know what he thinks, but I know bringing this up would make him withdraw.
If he doesn’t want to proceed I understand and I’ll have no hard feelings and if he wants to proceed then I want him to communicate some more-like if he just needs some time alone or something and I will understand. It’s been three months now and he is slowly starting to pull away. I don’t want to sit here confused; I just need an answer. A confirmation is better than none. Is it bad to tell him this:
“I know you’ve been working hard lately and have been very busy, but things seem to be a bit weird and confusing lately between us. I know you probably have a lot on your plate and I understand. I don’t want you to think I’m saying this because I’m being naggy or needy; that’s the last thing on my list. We both have our busy lives to tend to but I want to confirm if you’re still interested or not. That’s all. No speeding up the relationship, no title..nothing. I want to know for myself to rule out if I or we both should proceed or not.”
Something along those lines is what I want to say. I’ve been thinking about talking to him, but I keep putting it off thinking that it’s a horrible idea. I’ve tried to ignore him and not text him, but he will write back if I don’t write to him in a while. I know he is on social media and touching his phone, he just won’t text back and I feel like this is a waste of time. What is he doing here? Keeping me or pushing me? because I honestly hate this and want to get out of this thing. I hate guessing games as much as men hate women expecting men to know what women want. I won’t sit here waiting and I don’t, but he keeps texting me when I don’t text him-as if he still wants me to wait for him. I just want to know what he wants and be straight-foward. If he wants to proceed, but take things slowly than it is fine with me. But if he is losing interest, then he needs to tell me and I’ll be more than happy to finally get this confusion off my back, because this phase is really starting to bug me. I’m a big girl and I can take the truth. I don’t want to wait for something I don’t need to wait for. PLEASE HELP ME ERIC! Should I tell him what is on my mind?

Reply March 15, 2015, 11:23 pm

Mary

I very much enjoyed your 10 part series where you bared your soul Eric Charles on your past relationship with Amy and Suzanne. It was eye opening and very helpful in understanding how men think. I hope you will continue the newsletter series. I look forward to reading more.

Reply February 17, 2015, 7:26 pm

Debra

I always seem to attract married men. Once I find out their married I send them packing. Why do married men need to cheat?

Reply February 16, 2015, 8:26 pm

Ana Maria

Hi,
I have been separated from my ex for almost a year, was planning to divorce him.
He treated me like crap, stole all my savigs, etc
Three months ago I have met a guy who treats me like a Princess, he values me.
Problem is, Im in touch with mu ex due to divorce papers.
He is my mind all the f time, I hate it.
How do I tell him to f off?
My new guys does not deserve this.
Please help!!

Reply February 5, 2015, 7:15 pm

Daniel

thanks for an article)

Reply February 5, 2015, 2:59 am

Megan

What to do with while dating a man who still loves his ex and he said those feelings just don’t disappear. He knows it upsets me when him and his ex talk and I told him that I don’t appreciate when he talks to her because 3 weeks prior to meeting him they had “hooked up” This was his first love. He dated her for two years in the time she had cheated on him with his roommate , she had an abortion. After their relationship she had dated other men and in between they had talked and even hooked up with in the year since the break up. I met him the beginning on December in California while taking a trip with my friend we stayed with him ( this was her friend ) He was just living in Cali temporarily and had to find his next move he’s from Chicago like me funny we live 5 minutes from each other. Christmas day he flew back to Chicago and said he wanted to give me and him a real chance and wanted me to make this “official” with him I wanted to take things slow and was skeptical as I had just gotten hurt in a previous relationship where my ex left me for another woman. So on new years at midnight after he kissed me he asked me to check my Facebook he had put up a profile picture with both of us and had put in a relationship he said he wasn’t taking no for an answer. I realized I should give him a chance he makes me happy.. That happiness soon came crashing down the next morning when I realized he had changed his picture back asking why he said he didn’t like the way he looked but thought the picture was cute and thats why he originally posted it however later that day I realized that there was more to the story. His ex had texted him saying I didn’t expect you to get into a relationship so soon you were going to fly me out to cali ( the same time I was there ) but she couldn’t she had an interview. She told him the picture reminded her of their pictures and that he couldn’t repeat history and try and make a new similar memory. She called him and texted him and I was hurt. I found out the time he was in cali he was still talking to her and I couldn’t possibly begin to understand why they were still talking it upset me because she was saying mean things, out of emotion. I told him He should have thought about his feelings and where his head was at prior to starting a new relationship I told him I didn’t think they needed to be talking and there was no point if she wasn’t helping him or bring positivity into his life. I asked if she was benefiting him in any way he said no. I asked if he would delete her from Facebook and snapchat I wanted to trust him . He said he would delete her but not her phone number that he refused to do. I said fine. He said this was the first time he was ever in love before and starting fresh with a new relationship and didn’t really know what was executable and unexceptable. She continued to contact him and he ignored her. He later told me about a cool app called trivia crack which we started playing later for me to find out he was playing with her. I was upset again. Later on She had messaged me saying they were just friends and that she felt he was the only person that understood her with her family problems etc. I told her I understood friendship if it was platonic but I had my doubts because they had hooked up 3 weeks prior to me meeting him. And that I felt that they had been apart for a year and she needed to find someone else to talk to about her problems. I told her That he respected her and her relationships in the past and that she should do the same for him out of respect she told me she wouldn’t talk to him anymore she called him crying saying “goodbye” that was short lived she blocked him on the game and soon later unblocked him he was playing with her again I told him I thought this was in the past he said its” just a game” I really didn’t think about it or your feelings I’m sorry. he blocked her. Well it was a rocking two week beginning and things were getting better then I found I’m pregnant he was an asshole unsupportive freaking out and said some mean things. He said he didn’t know me long enough to think of 18 years of being stuck with someone he didn’t know if it would work out with he freaked out I asked if it was his ex would it be different he said yes possibly because he knew her well. I was anti – abortion and he was pro- aboriton we have been fighting since. He called his ex at 3in in the am. telling her he made the biggest mistake of his life. – he wouldn’t tell me everything they talked about or what he really meant. I asked him if he meant being with me and not her he said no. He said he told her “I’m pregnant” he said she was the only one that would calm him down and he needed to vent and I should understand. He also told me she met someone and they guy was talking about asking her dad for her hand in marriage.. I’m not sure if I believe that seeing as they had only hooked up in November where had this guy come from. Anyways he told me he was drunk upset and he didn’t know what else to do or who to turn to anymore. and that I should be understanding. Me and him have barely been talking because of the whole pregnancy thing. There was a snowstorm and he didn’t even care if I was okay or find. I later noticed when I asked to make a phone call from his phone that he had called her at 6pm that day of the snowstorm. which was upsetting because it meant it wasn’t a oh my gosh I’m freaking out one time phone call which I originally thought and felt I had over reacted. He also that night he got drunk and called her added her on Facebook again he even liked her picture. I just find all of this so upsetting with so much going on I know a lot happened maybe to much to soon for everything. But I just don’t understand he kept telling me before I got pregnant I choose you not her why are you so upset you need to trust me. At this point I’m so confused I finally decided I’m going to get an abortion because he’s not ready and I don’t have the financial means and I don’t want a dead beat dad. He’s the type of person you can’t force into anything he doesn’t want to do. We talked about maybe starting are relationship over after the abortion and starting from scratch. We had a rough month he started a new job hated it and quit he we had ex- gf drama he screwed his best friend over after hiring him for a job that will no longer be and felt crushed by it and he had to deal with me being pregnant I feel he is overwhelmed. He kept telling me our relationship was on “hold” we had bigger issues meaning the pregnancy. Im just not sure even if we start over if he’s really in this for me. Im concerned he still wants to be with his ex because he loves he I’m really lost and confused is she just his support system does he have hope of being with her i don’t know. I just don’t want to give someone a chance and work so hard to make something right if there not going to being in this 100%. How to I go about handling this? I know he loves her, do I ask him if he has feeling for her in the sense of wanting to still be with her ? Do I ask him if she was to want to give him a chance and she was still in love with her would he go to her? do I ask him theses things to get a sense of where his heads at? I told him a few days ago that if he wants things to work with me and him that he has to cut ties because I can’t worry about him and not trust him. After that he liked her Facebook picture and I know its just Facebook but Am I just insecure and jealous ? What do I do is he not ready for someone like me or this relationship ? I told him I felt looking back he wasn’t ready for this that maybe he needed a few flings to get on his feet again after her and he said no he was ready and thats why he choose me but I’m not so sure anymore.

Reply February 4, 2015, 12:40 pm

amber

Oh let’s kill a baby because we were ready for sex but not the consequences. You’ve been together a few months that’s it dump him and move on.

Reply March 13, 2015, 9:36 am

sruthi

Hie…me and may man have been in a relationship since abput 5 years and its a long distance relationship…we both came long way until marraige..He came to may country to fix wedding….i donno what happend in his home his parents dosent like or weddinga nd they emotionally blackmailed him…he has been very supportive in all thick and thin even when my dad was lost he took outmost care… and he loved me truly and all his friends acceptsthis…and when he is leaving the country he kept me a mail that his parents dosent like our wedding its takes time and asked me to wait and when he is back he is not interested and started blaming me in everything and looks like he is not interested at all…he stopped caring anymore and he says now, I am not a right girl for him and all… he never replies to my email…he told my friends I need to be independent and all…he says i never care about my life and I never care about my parents…..he never says he is leaving or he is going to comeback…but he is totally ignoring..he blocked me on Facebook linkedin and changed his number but only kept me on gmail….I dont have a job then…but now I am searching for it…he wanted me too change and all….I told him that M trying to change and taking care of my mother …I dont know he is blaming me for everything and avoding the topic with his friends and I heard his mom helath is not good sinc eshe is not interested in our wedding…so could u please explain me what I am going through….belive me he loved me truly and thats why he bough this far….its all with heart…5 years of long distance relationship!

Reply January 30, 2015, 11:54 pm

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