Ask A Guy: He Said He “Can’t Make Me Happy,” What Does That Mean? post image

Ask A Guy: He Said He “Can’t Make Me Happy,” What Does That Mean?


When my boyfriend and I broke up, he gave the reason that he’s not sure he can make me happy, because he’s not happy and he doesn’t want to bring that into the relationship if he can’t make the girl as happy as he is.

What does this all mean?  What do you think he’s going through and how can I help him get through this phase?

Let’s start with the most obvious explanation:  He wasn’t happy/fulfilled in the relationship and so this is what he said to let you down easy.

Like I always say, “When a guy tells you he doesn’t want a relationship with you… believe him!”  It’s often a mistake to fixate on the reason he says he doesn’t want a relationship.

The better strategy is to accept that he doesn’t want a relationship with you and calmly, gracefully move on.  It’s a win-win since:

a)  If he realizes that breaking up with you was a mistake, he will work his hardest to win you back.  He will put on his A-game to have you back and he will pursue you.

b)  If he really, really, really has no interest in getting back together with you, he will let you go.  If there’s any time that a guy is going to fight his hardest to keep you in his life, it’s when he thinks he could lose you to another man and/or lose you forever.  If he doesn’t try to get you back, you know you’ve just saved yourself tons of heartache by not chasing someone who doesn’t want you.

Moreover, when you chase something, it retreats.  By moving on, you avoid falling into the role of being the chaser – trying desperately to win him over as he retreats further and further.

Now, with all that said, let’s dig a bit deeper in talking about guys and happiness.

It is true that if a guy truly doesn’t believe he can make you happy, he will leave the relationship.  But I suspect this is not what happened in your case… reason being that he followed it up with “… because I’m not happy,” which I believe is the real message he was trying to convey.

However, all is not lost.  It’s true that he might not be happy, but it might not be your fault that he’s unhappy.  Men need to feel like they’re a “winner” in the world or they tend to fall apart – it’s just how we are.

If he doesn’t feel like a winner in the world — if he feels like he’s a loser at life at the moment — then that can be enough to keep him from wanting to be in a relationship (especially if he’s been feeling this way for a while).  The best solution is to stand back and let him work out his issues.

If he’s already broken up with you, then move on – start getting new dating options, start meeting new guys.  You would be amazed at how quickly some guys get their act together (even after months of turmoil) when they think they could lose their girl to some other guy.  And the best part is, in the end he’ll thank you for being his inspiration and motivation to becoming a better man.

You’re not going to get there by coddling him (that will just make him feel pitiful).  You’re not going to get their by begging him (that will just make him feel that you’re desperate).

The solution is that you motivate him to come back to you… or he doesn’t come back and you move on.

I know it’s not easy, but that is your best bet.  Good luck.

Hope it helps,

eric charles

{ 26 comments… add one }

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fely

Hi Eric,
Boyfriend broke up w me because he was unhappy internally, yet still hopes to be with ME when he is ready for a relationship. What is your take on this? :/

Reply October 27, 2014, 1:00 pm

Allie

If you want a good relationship then you need a stable partner.Not someone who is arrogant and selfish etc..The reality is that no person online can give you good advice.Why? You need to hear both sides of a story to understand what happened. You should seek advice from a therapist or pastor. You maybe getting the wrong advice. Your ex or boyfriend may be mentally unstable. If you push someone to far they could hurt you .In today’s world its best to be careful.So ladies seek help in the real world.It will make you feel better.Because you need to talk about it to a professional that has a degree. No guy online can give you good advice .You dont need a man to be happy.You should also be very careful when dating a guy you met online.If you have kids and a guy is acting out.Its time to get help .If he refuses to get help then you move on.Because you deserve better.

Reply July 13, 2014, 4:29 pm

Sweets

I have been in relationship with my bf from 4 years. He broke up with me saying that he is not happy with and it cannot work out in future.I asked the reason then he said that he gets irritated by my small things and he said our nature our conflicting.when i asked what small things and nature he said that they cannot be changed and he cannot hurt me by changing my nature or things.He is not ready to listen to anything.Just 1 week back he was texting me i love you and spend my whole life with you and suddenly he talks about only break up.I know everybody advises the hard part to move on but how does it takes 4 years to figure out that he was happy or not and our nature our different.Is their anything i can do at this point or just hopes ..?

Reply June 12, 2014, 1:04 am

shellebadd

He broke up with me I was devastated I tried and tried to get him back ,nothing worked he got more distant. Well after about 7-8 months I gave up.. Well 3 months later he contacts me saying he really really missed me and loved me but he just couldn’t see him giving me the love I need.. I’m lost, hurt and confused … Why even contact me after I left u alone to just hurt me again. Help? Who does that and why

Reply June 4, 2014, 8:40 pm

lorraine

Hello Eric,
My names Lorraine and oh wow! this website is amazing! definitely the kind of source i need right now. Eric, i’m curious, you mentioned how when a guy says he doesnt want to be in a relation “with you” then believe him, but what happens when he says hes unhappy, but happy with the relationship; but knows deep down inside its going to hit turmoil, what does that means? I’m the type of woman who over analyzes the situation or spoken words and I need a guys perspective. My boyfriend is very forward and honest, as of late he’s admitted to being unhappy and that he doesn’t know what it is, he says he feels like there’s something “missing” that he’s broken, he’s had woman cheat on him in past relationships, he says he’s admitting these feelings to me so that i don’t freak out and assume that i’m the reason for his unhappiness and that i’m actually, or the relationship is the only thing making him happy right now. But i begin to second guess all of this when he also admitted that when we barely begun seeing one another he had known from the beginning that our relationship would be hopeless, though he still continues with it because he wants it to work. We’ve only been dating for 7 months, but we’ve moved rather quickly and its my first serious relationship, i’m 20 and hes 21, there’s also a catch where things get complicated, he was originally supposed to leave to boot camp about a month ago, but was pushed back 2 months because he didnt fit the physical requirements, this has happened twice, the first time he was pushed back it was only for 2 weeks, with him having nowhere to go, and considering how much time we spent together, i suggested if he needed a place to stay he was more than welcome to crash at my place, that way we could grow closer before he left (we decided we’d try for long distance before him being pushed back) and it would be easy and not as scary since it would’ve only been for 2 weeks, though within the 2 weeks he was pushed back another 2 months due to not fitting the physical requirements again, anyhow, i love this guy, and i’m not sure how upfront he’s really being, considering the situation, and i just dont have the closure that he honestly wants to be in this relationship, it makes me unhappy that hes unhappy and i dont want to date a person if they’re not genuinely committed. The gist of it all is that he says i can’t help him with him being unhappy. I dont know what to do! please help, it’d be greatly appreciated!

Reply October 2, 2013, 10:34 pm

D

If a guy says he wants you to move in then says he any handle
A relationship right now, what is going on? So I walk away yet communication via phone still exists. Why does he call? Is he trying to be friends even though he knows he broke my heart!

Reply September 18, 2012, 1:59 am

bv

What does it mean when a guy says: you are such a nice girl, you will make some nice guy really happy as a wife one day. I’m a douche and I can’t make you happy.
Thanks

Reply September 7, 2012, 9:51 pm

bv

Should I change myself so I am not nice or emotional and someone who he thinks can handle a douche?
thanks

Reply September 7, 2012, 9:53 pm

alex

i professed my love to this guy, he told me that he’s not going to leave his girlfriend because he doesn’t want to hurt her.?
what does that mean?

Reply August 18, 2012, 5:28 pm

Jen

Okay I’ve Been with my fiance for 4 years now, I’m pregnant to him as well right now. I love him very much & he’s stuck by my side through a lot of hard times in my life & I’ve done the same for him. When we first got together 4 years ago he was the sweetest guy I ever was with. He was so different from every other guy I was with and that’s what attracted me to him the most was his caring personality and he always kept me straight and on the right path. Which in return I gained much respect for him because of that. Now were at our 4 year mark & last year while he was working he came home to tell me that he had gotten wrote up for an intimate embrace with a female employee. To this day he says the only thing he did was give the girl a hug. I personally never believed him over his boss who wrote him up. I never got over the fact he gave another woman a hug, a random woman at that. & now it’s been a year later & he has a new job now. I’ve noticed he’s picked up more overtime work & mandatory 6 hours of overtime almost every Saturday. It makes mr wonder if he’s doing the same thing he did to me 1 year ago. He’s lost interest in sex with me as well as intimacy like holding hands kissing hugging and ect. I’ve asked him if he’s bored of me he said no. I asked him if he still has a physical attraction to me & he said yes. I’m very confused… I need your help & advice. What Is going on? Please help.
-Jen-

Reply July 18, 2012, 10:32 pm

April

Hey Eric,
all this advice is pretty helpul to i think almost every woman with a guy in her life. My question is how can I contact you with my question.

Reply July 4, 2012, 12:20 am

Eric Charles

Hey April,
.
I do check the comments that come in on A New Mode and in the forum, but I can’t always answer them.
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If you want the highest likelihood of me answering them, make them super short. Like… twitter-length (140 characters). If it would fit in a tweet, then it’s short enough.

Reply July 4, 2012, 12:25 am

Scarlett

Hi Eric,
I have been seeing a guy for a few months, we are in the same friend circle and hit it off. The first month and a half was amazing, we had mutual feelings and enjoyed eachother so much. All we did was laugh. We had both recently gotten out of long relationships so we just wanted to take things slow, but we became invested and exclusive. He always wanted to hang out. After about two months he started making things kind of serious, even
giving me a ring he wore and I have always taken it day to day. Then in the last few weeks he has become distant but still reassuring me everything is fine, I know he likes his alone time. I am really caring and persistent so at times I’d invite him out, showing him I wanted him there. He started rarely ever hanging out and would sometimes be rude, so I began to confront him because it started to bother me. He would apologize but then told me he doesnt want anytning serious, so I was trying to have fun and take things light hearted! But he was still up and down.He gets jealous and thinks every guy wants me, but will pull away at the same time. He tells me I’m amazing, even with how I deal with his inconsistencies. He told me the other day that he is always thinking of me so he feels guilty of the way hes acted. Just today, I got to the point where I kind of called it quits because I’m tired if the effort I’m putting in and not receiving, he told me he loves spending time with me but suggested that I let men walk all over me (but nothing really happened for him to say that), when I’ve had an issue, I’ve addressed it and moved on. I really like him and think he’s great, he has made done a lot for me and has made me laugh harder than I have in a long time. I’m more mad than anything, I need space but I think he definitely does as well. Any suggestions with his behavior? Or how to go about it since we have many mutual friends.

Reply June 24, 2012, 12:53 am

Beth

Eric, I am amazed at how on-point your comment seems to be. I am in a year and half relationship that has had its ups and down. We got back together a few months ago after a pretty long break-up. It was then that we decided to really give this our all. I have no doubt about my feelings for this guy and know that I want to be in this for the long haul.

Now recently, he is going through this “I’m not feeling like a winner in the world” phase. I really don’t understand it and have obviously done the wrong thing by trying to direct his focus towards all that he’s accomplished. His doctorate degree, house, car, boat, etc. etc. He keeps telling me that he feels as though he should have accomplished more by now and its making him terribly unhappy. He doesn’t want to hear about all those things I keep harping on.

So, In an effort to improve his situation, he is applying for jobs and was offered a great job out of state. However, I can’t move because I’m not licensed in another state. Plus, I just found a really great job and my family is here. Therefore, he stayed.

Today, we sat down to a meal and he tells me that he’s not sure he can make me happy. He says that he’s given up hope that he’ll accomplish all that he wants to and has lost his passion for everything. He said that the passion in our relationship was always in the background when everything else was going poorly but now he feels as though that is fading too. When I asked why he thought it was fading, he said “if we were in love as much as we are suppose to be then we would be happy all the time.” I’m very confused. I explained that it is impossible to find a relationship where you are happy 100% of the time.

Basically, I read where you stated that if your guy is feeling like he’s a loser at life for the moment, the best solution may be to stand back and let him work out his issues. Is that accurate here? Should I just stand back and be supportive? We spend every night together and all of my things are at his place. Should I stand back and be supportive from a distance (aka – pack my things and stay at my place for a while)? Should I move on?

I’d love to know what you think…

Reply May 17, 2012, 2:11 pm

G

I just went through a very similar experience. He felt like his life was not going in the direction he desired, namely his career and that we should be happy 100% of the time. I think those were his exact words too. Things between us were going well and I would say I was happy with the relationship the majority of the time however we seemed to encounter only one issue consistently. I wanted him to initiate and plan more stuff with me and he took a much more casual approach. I confronted him and said I was bummed that he didn’t make plans to see me when he returned home from a vacation. I made the mistake of expecting him to do things the way I would and as a result pushed him away. He basically reacted by saying that the relationship was causing him even more stress and that he felt he couldn’t give me what I wanted. I’m sad he didn’t want to make an effort to improve things but if our relationship was that volatile then what the heck would he do if something major came up??
Where are you guys at now? I would say take a step back and give him space. You’ll only give him room to come closer. It totally sucks especially when you have such a great connection but if someone is in a $hitty place in their life they can’t really bring much to a relationship.

Reply May 30, 2012, 6:40 pm

Idk

My Boyfriend and I have been broken up for about a month. We have not communicated since then, but just recently his friend got in touch with me and told me that he could get through to him because he himself knew I was great girlfriend. I received a txt from my ex saying that his friend talked to him and he said that he loves me always and forever but he has nothing to say. For while I was confused by what he said to me and then it came to me . What he was saying was that he still loves me and care for me , but right now he needs to get his self right before we get back into a relationship. Am I right?

Reply May 14, 2012, 12:18 pm

Bella

Ok, so I am in a confusing situation and I am not sure what to do….I met this guy from work. He would walk by me and smile and say hey and just walk away. I didn’ t think anything of it and just thought he was being friendly. Then one night we were both working and he said we should hang out sometime again I didnt think anything of it and we hung out and texted alot. We would even go into the place where we both worked together. This went on for about five months. So one day I decided to ask him where this was all going and he said that he wanted to wait and see. I took that as a “friends with benefits” type of relationship and told him I couldn’t do that. Some time went by and the more I thought about it the more I thought I was overeacting. Ofcourse I still saw him at work and we didn’t really talk. Then one day, I got enough courage to ask him if he wanted to hang out. He laughed and said “I thought you dodnt want to hang out anymore” I smiled and he said “ok I will text you”. So from then on things have been weird from my point of view. We have hung out a couple of times, he goes to school with me so I see him around campus and ofcourse we work together so I see him there. For some reason I really fell for him and for a while I have been trying to get over him but recently he has been acting a little different. A couple of days ago I was walking by him at work and he came up to me and started flirting with me. I brushed it off as no big deal. Then later that night the flirting continued and he told me I was beautiful and things like that. He even stuck around for awhile after he got out and talked to me while I was still working. He even asked me to hang out and I told him him to text me when I got out. He didn’t text me until an hour after I got out. I decided I wasnt going to answer him back. The very next day we worked together he was still very overly friendly and complimentative. And not to mention stood very close and hand his hands on my face and arms. We got out at the same time and we talked and were suppposed to hang out again but the plans fell through. The next day I posted a picture of myself on facebook and he “liked” it almost instantly. I am not sure what to make of this. I guess my question or I should say questons are….Does he like me? why doesn’t he want a relationship? Is he using me? should I not talk to him at all?

Reply May 8, 2012, 12:47 pm

Lolly

Hi guys
I really neeed advise here.
My boyfriend and i got back together a month ago after He cheated on our 22 hour drive long distance relationship. (I was the one who dumped him). To make a long story short, he as relocated to come and look for a job in the same province where i stay now and we are now just staying 3 hours apart where he can visit regularly.
At the beginning of the relationship(before the cheating), i had felt that he is my everything. Now i feel so bored with him. I feel like we are not compatible, and like we don’t connect. He came to my house and stayed for a week over the weekend and we spent every bit of the time together. Even though he was here, i felt bored and like we aren’t compatible and like; only if he could offer more, shower me with more love pamper me more-i don’t know. I love the man, but i just feel flat bored. Could this boredom continue for ever or is it just a phase i’m going through because of the affair.
Lolly

Reply May 4, 2012, 5:07 am

nelly

wow Ive been in this position before and i never came back but he kept on pursuing me when he found out i was dating someone else.

Reply May 3, 2012, 1:02 pm

Ann

Eric,
I love reading ‘Ask a Guy’ and your advice always makes perfect sense.

I guess my question is why do guys use excuses like; ‘I just don’t want a girlfriend right now’ or my personal favorite ‘We are too good of friends and I don’t want to risk losing you?’ In my experience it hurts way more to hear a excuse than it does when he is blunt and straight forward by just saying ‘My feelings have changed I don’t want to be with you anymore. I hear over and over again that men are straight forward but I more often that not I hear stories where it’s the guy who beats around the bush.

Reply May 3, 2012, 1:46 am

Eric Charles

Men are straight-forward with people that can handle “straight-forwardedness.”
.
But when a man thinks he could hurt a woman’s feelings, it is far more likely that he’ll do anything and everything to avoid having to face seeing a woman hurt.
.
As a result, men will avoid something that will upset a woman at all costs – it starts out with good intentions but usually ends up creating a big mess.
.
Men make excuses to soften the blow – they say they don’t want a relationship, but they’ll give a reason why it’s not the woman’s fault so she doesn’t blame herself.
.
In the man’s mind, he feels his job is done: He told her it’s over and he doesn’t want a relationship.
.
In the woman’s mind, she thinks that he DOES want a relationship, but he can’t have it with her because of the problem he named. And so she sets out to solve that problem… not realizing the real message was: “I don’t want a relationship with you!”
.
The road to hell is paved in good intentions.

Reply May 3, 2012, 3:05 pm

jen

When girls point out the things that the guy did to hurt her, does that make a big impact on a guy’s decision to back out of the relationship – adding to the factor that he can’t make her happy? I think as girls we use the word hurt subjectively when we are angry but doesn’t mean it’s not a forgiven or a thing to forget. Why do they lack so much confidence just hearing those things? I’ve noticed a pattern of it with my guy friends backing out of relationships like that.

Reply May 7, 2012, 2:51 pm

clare

Eric, I have a question. ABove you say that when a guy says he doesnt want / cant have a relationship that just basically means ‘….with you’ specifically. But in another article you wrote you stated that sometimes guys are genuinely just not in a place where they can have a relationship. For example if they know they have to move overseas in a few months, or they have other troubles in their life which means they cannot put 100% into a relationship at that time, or they simply just want to play the field. Which is the case? Is it always about the particular girl or can it genuinely sometimes be down to bad timing?

Reply May 15, 2012, 1:45 am

Eric Charles

Well, to drill it down to it’s core:
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“When a guy says he doesn’t want a relationship… BELIEVE HIM.”
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Regardless of the reason he gives you, it doesn’t matter. You aren’t going to be able to force a guy into a relationship and a guy isn’t going to tell you he doesn’t want a relationship and then change his mind.
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So my answer is that his reason doesn’t matter – it doesn’t matter if it’s just that he’s not ready in general or that he doesn’t want you specifically.
.
The only thing you can really do in those cases is start playing the field yourself… if there was any chance at all that the guy would have a relationship, he’ll realize that he’s “ready now” for a relationship and fight hard to get you. And if there was no chance you’d be able to be in a relationship with him, you’d save yourself all that time and agony of chasing a dead end.
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Don’t waste your time trying to read a guy’s mind when he says he doesn’t want a relationship. Just accept it, play the field and if he was just “confused”, he’ll come running to lock you down officially.

Reply May 15, 2012, 3:07 pm

Pinky

I also fell into the same situation about 8 months ago. I empathized with him for every excuses he gave me. I would asked him to go to events with me or if there was something funny I would send to him. If he’s sick I would send him encouragements. After 6 months of me chasing him, I called him out for not doing his part as a friend since we agreed to be friends after the break up and see where it would go. He followed up with a “I think we can try to be friends. But I don’t want to hurt you like that. I hope by me talking to you doesn’t mislead you….” I got really upset that he would bring up such and told him all the reasons why he’s already hurt me. His response was he doesn’t want to deal with drama that he didn’t think should be there and his life is complicated already as it is.” He really pushed my buttons with those remarks. Ever since then he blocked me on chat. I even tried a few more times to get him to discuss the issue, but all I got were silence or excuses. I later found out that when he said he was busy, he had time to hang out with a new girl, go to dinner with her, run with her, flirt with her on facebook, etc. When I found out, I deleted him on facebook. As much feelings as I still have for him and it hurts a lot when I had to make that extreme measure of detaching myself to move on…. but I know that this is best for me to move on, find my confidence and my happiness back. What are my chances do you think of him coming back to me after all that happened between us?

Reply May 1, 2012, 7:27 pm

Nina

And when the guy breaks up with you using this “can’t make you happy” excuse, you move on with your life and one year or more later, he starts to contact you again out of the blue?

It happened to me, it happened to many of my friends and as I see on NM Forum (and others) it’s quite common. If the guy wasn’t happy or couldn’t make the girl happy, fair enough. But then years later he writes saying the same stuff again (“you deserve better, I feel guilty, wish we could keep in contact, blablabla”) just make this woman/man dynamics totally crazy!

By the way, the peace of mind “Ask a Guy” gives me is just amazing. I do get your point of view (even in the most delicate subjects) and I’m glad you are truly honest. Hopefully you’ll ship your book overseas!!

Reply May 1, 2012, 6:46 pm

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