Interaction has changed with boyfriend

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  • #857422 Reply


    I have posted before in this forum several weeks ago before we made things official.

    I’m 35 and my boyfriend is 30. We’ve been dating since February and officially together since March. We share a lot of goals and values including religion, marriage, kids, etc the romantic/sexual vibe has always been strong, and we have always been easily able to talk about all different subjects. He’s opened up to me about a lot of things and shared that he trusts me and is happy in the relationship. Both of our previous relationships were with people who essentially had mental issues. My last relationship was a very serious one and ended in the beginning of January abruptly . I wasn’t really planning on meeting someone who I’d connect with this much so soon. I’m seeing a counselor to deal with healing from the previous relationship since my ex was a narcissist and said a number of cruel things. I have been up front with my boyfriend with all of this and he’s been supportive.

    The thing is that some things have changed in the vibe/interaction in the relationship over the past few weeks. A very important factor here is that my guy works for an oil company and has crazy hours. He works 12-13 hour days for 14 days straight on the day shift from 3am-3pm..then is off for a week, then 14 days on the night shift from 3pm-3am. This makes communication and seeing each other some what challenging at times. I work a normal m-f 7-3 job. During the first few weeks it seemed like everything was easy and I never stressed about it. He was on day shift and made time for our first date and texted me often..even called sometimes. The conversation flowed well and we got to know each other and there were flirty messages and sweet/sincere things being said. I felt very confident of him/his interest. Sometimes we talked more than others but it was always fine. I think things started to shift a little during one of his weeks off. He canceled a couple different plans..was in contact during those days, but didn’t wind up telling me he wasn’t coming or we needed to reschedule until the last minute. It caused some friction and us to have a couple of “emotional” talks which he said he hated having because there wasn’t really a problem. Then on the night shift he went from sending 10-60 messages a day to being in almost no contact so I talked to him about communicating more which he’s been better about. Thing is that he calls a lot when he’s off which is great and we have long conversations and he isn’t in a rush to get off..but I noticed in the last few weeks the calls and texts don’t ever seem to be very flirty or affectionate like they were previously. We’ll talk about his job, any random topic under the sun and the conversation will end and he’ll be like have a good night I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Also my boyfriend never calls me pet names like sweetie or babe which I think is odd and have never dealt with before with someone. In person there doesn’t seem to be as big a shift but he did comment that I seem to always want to be touching/cuddling even when he’s trying to make dinner. When we do touch and cuddle other than that, it’s great. Sex is still great and happens frequently. We have fun together.
    Yesterday I tried to talk to him about why the vibe had changed and why he doesn’t send me as many romantic or flirty messages any more. Initially he seemed okay and said he could improve that and there wasn’t an issue, but then I brought up something about stressing about our plans for today and he kind of went off. Said he’s tired of having talks with me where I act like I’m our relationship counselor. Said he just takes awhile to call people pet names and that because I brought it up, it will take longer to say them probably because he feels awkward now. He says sometimes he feels like I just expect him to be attentive to me 24/7 and he’s not doing that. Said he still wants the relationship to work and thinks this is our only issue. he did call me back and talk for a couple more went okay but again no personal talk just talking about random subjects.

    I’m supposed to go see him after work today and stay over. He hasn’t contacted me today. I want things to go back to the way they were before where we talked and flirted openly and it was relaxed. If I stop having the “talks” about problems do you believe it will improve? Should I just try to be in the moment and enjoy things with him tonight? Do I need to back off or just be more relaxed around him?

    #857499 Reply


    Yes to all 3 of your questions. Enjoy the moment and stop worrying about the future. You’ve told him what you want/like- if he doesn’t do it then he doesn’t want to and you can decide if it’s something you aren’t willing to negotiate on and leave the relationship. If he’s not that into you- there’s nothing you can do about that. Talking about the relationship too much and acting needy- which it appears that way- will not go well in this relationship or any relationship. My overall take is that you weren’t over your previous bf and this may be a rebound guy.

    #857522 Reply


    Things might go back to the way there were but you got to stop complaining to him about how he is not doing things right (in your eyes). No one wants to be complained to, especially on the phone. This is who he is and you can’t change him. Plus, it’s only been a couple of months. You are still getting to know each other. If he doesn’t meet your needs, move on.

    #857563 Reply

    Liz Lemon

    To answer your questions- yes, yes, and yes.

    You posted about this before. I remember your other post. I remember you were way, way overthinking things, and I see you still are. You’ve been officially together one month! Why so much pressure? Why can’t you just hang out with him and let your interactions develop naturally? Constant “talks” will kill a budding relationship. No one wants to feel like their behavior is constantly being scrutinized, and found lacking. That’s exactly what you’re doing to him.

    And if I may say so, it seems like you’re so laser-focused on your intense needs (which he can never seem to measure up to), that you’re not trying to be a good partner to him and give him what HE needs.

    Him not calling you sweetie or baby– he’s right. It takes time for people to get comfortable with pet names. It took my bf awhile before he started calling me pet names. And more importantly, it has to come naturally, not because you’re pressuring him to.

    I agree with Anon that you probably rushed into this relationship too soon. You had a serious (and from what it sounds like, toxic) relationship end in January. Within a month, you were with this guy. That’s not enough time to process the previous relationship- especially a toxic one- even if you’re in therapy.

    #857578 Reply


    You need to be his soft place to fall. (I think that phrase might even b used in some articles in this very dating site?)

    These amazing ladies are giving you great advice,, I hope you read their posts a few times over.

    He’s trying — even if everything was going great, that job schedule is ROUGH — on him, on his loved ones, on life in general. I work for a wellness company and from what I know… shift work is a HUGE health risk factor. Give him space, work on yourself, and maybe you’ll both find a rhythm. <3

    But I wholeheartedly agree that you need to work through your remnants of your last relationship regardless of your current one. Stop taking it out on him, it honestly sounds like he’s doing the best he can (kudos to you for being as honest as you can about it).

    #857614 Reply


    Yeah. I’m exhausted reading about the neediness emanating from you. Let this dude breathe!

    #858596 Reply


    Thank you all for the feedback. I do appreciate it and went back and read my old post/the responses as well. I also took a little bit of time to think on it and there’s some additional information to share regarding the relationship, my current bf, and my past relationship.

    Anon: I do think you make good points. I have communicated with him about my needs and I do think he is doing his best to be true to himself and still meet my needs. I’m sure I come off clingy and needy and have come off more that way towards him. I do not believe he is coming from a place of not being that into me or caring about the relationship, because he has demonstrated in several ways that he cares. He’s called and texted more frequently, he’s stayed on the phone for hours a few times discussing issues I’ve brought up (he says the emotional problem talks are like the worst thing to him, but he stays on the phone sometimes late at night to make sure they are resolved), he comes down to my house to take me out to dinner or back to spend time with him, he generally asks about my day and if I mention I have any issue like a headache or something bothering me, he always follows up later to ask if I am feeling better. I’m into pro sports especially my NBA team and he’s not super big into sports, but last night I drove up to his place and he took me out for wings and sat there and watched the whole game with me. He was focused on watching it even when I went to use the restroom and truly making an effort. It is because of that and other efforts he’s made in the relationship that I truly believe he cares and I care for him for a variety of reasons. I realize it is soon after my previous relationship to be in another one and I feel like if I share some more details it would make more sense.

    My last relationship went on for almost 3 years. There were multiple breakups and they all were in the heat of the moment/spontaneous and initiated by my ex. After both of the first two breakups, my ex apologized and begged for me to come back a few months later. I really shouldn’t have especially multiple times, but I always allowed his rough childhood be an excuse and figured we could work through things and I cared for him a lot. This last breakup was the worst and done over the holidays and dragged out over weeks of being given the silent treatment. I realize I am not completely over everything that happened, but just realize I was dealing with this in December and during the previous breakups as this isn’t my first time getting over him and he seems to contact me once I have spent time getting over him.

    I got on a dating app as more of a distraction than anything in February. I am not someone who wants or can handle hookups well. I figured I could talk and get to know people slowly and see what happened. I matched with my current bf and one thing I haven’t shared is that my bf and I actually talked on a dating app a few years ago and had matched before. This was in between my previous 2 relationships. We never went out in person back then but he definitely had qualities I was looking for in a person long term and we had good conversations. Not too long into us matching and exchanging phone numbers, he stopped talking to me. Nothing weird had happened and no plans were canceled. I remember being frustrated but just letting it go figuring he had met someone else. I later learned he had started dating a girl he’d known for a few years that he’d been friends with first. I matched with him on the app again and we talked but I didn’t think much of it. In one of our early conversations he called me out in a polite way and said he wanted to get to know me but he wasn’t sure I wanted to get to know him since I was sending short one or two word answers. I was honest with him and spoke to him about that I was dealing with issues trying to get the rest of my things moved from my ex’s place and about him stopping talking to me before. He didn’t additionally remember me, but shared the details of how he had started dating that girl and it turned into an off and on relationship for two years. Similar to my situation his ex was the one always calling things off and begging back. He was really supportive about what I was going through with moving and changes in my life, so we shared a significant early bond. That led to us being able to have really great conversations and we were really open with each other. Those conversations and text messages meant a lot to me because I realized we wanted so many of the same things and I could be open with him. It led to the conversations and texts I missed having that this original post was about. It made me feel close to him even when he is busy with work or we can’t see each other in person for a few days. I have other things in my life that are important and I’m not trying to come across as weak or clingy.

    Penny: I agree. I don’t always want to be complaining to him and I don’t want to change him. Any changes or evolutions he makes in himself need to be his own doing and because of his desire to do so. That being said, he is trying to improve on his weak points in order to be a better man and a better partner. He admitted to not being good about checking his phone at times and being a bit of a flake when it came to plans and has made significant efforts in both areas.

    That brings about more that is important to consider in this situation. My boyfriend and I come from very different relationship backgrounds. His most serious relationship happened from high school to early college which was several years ago. His most recent relationship was a long distance one (his ex lived in his home state) and it’s the only other relationship he’s had since being in this kind of job. His ex was always breaking things off, regularly leaving her phone off even when they weren’t ok, their communication was off and on, and they rarely saw each other. All in all, he admits he stayed in the situation way too long and it is the total opposite of our relationship. He’s never lived with a girlfriend before or been engaged and married. I’m the first woman he’s given his apartment key. He admits he is learning to be in a more serious relationship and adjusting to seeing/talking to someone more frequently. I think we have both made solid efforts when it has come to seeing each other.

    Liz: I definitely I agree that I have been overthinking things. Also that having so many talks could kill a budding relationship. It was never really my intention to do so in the first place. I realize now I could have just said something to him in a conversation like I really appreciated how he’s been so supportive of me in the relationship, especially early on and that I value our flirty banter and being able to talk with him with no inhibitions. It could have been a positive appreciation thing instead of a psychological talk. You are accurate that at times I have been better at considering his needs than others. I try to do things to show I care and be there for him like taking out the trash or doing his laundry when I stay over with him, so he can relax after work. I think you are correct on the pet names any rate someone should say them when they feel comfortable.

    This brings me to another point. I think a large part of this that has thrown me off so to speak is that in going from one committed relationship to another relatively quickly, that I was used to being in that later stage of a relationship with my ex, whereas even though we have developed a lot in our relationship for a short amount of time, my current bf and I just haven’t been together that long. I went from living with someone and planning every meal together, seeing that person every day, planning a future together etc. to a new relationship with a guy who is a totally different kind of person. In a lot of ways it’s great. My boyfriend is extremely ambitious, has money saved, and has spoken about wanting to be the husband and provider for a family. We have already had discussions about the type of house we would both like to get and places to live..he has mentioned he can see that future with me. He’s also used to focusing a lot of attention on his job and is completely self sufficient. I don’t want to compare the two, but my ex was the opposite. He had some good qualities and we spent a lot of time together, but he didn’t have much of a work ethic and we lived together so the relationship functioned completely differently.

    mama: Thanks for your kind words and support! <3 I believe he is trying based on his actions and the effort he makes for us/me especially with the schedule he has. It cannot be easy and he showed me a lot of care and affection in person last night. I think we can find the rhythm you mentioned, especially if I relax about the relationship and work on myself..which is what I was doing when we met. I especially agree the point that you made…stop taking it out on him what happened in the last relationship. He’s his own person and someone else’s actions are not his fault, nor does he deserved to be compared to anyone.

    I did relax and things went well last night. I will refrain from the talks and focus on the present in the relationship! In order to minimize that anxiety and just to have something in mind, I did have a couple of questions… He is off the rest of this week and starts his new shift Tuesday. He will be temporarily working in a neighboring state for a couple of weeks and it will be on night shift, so he might be harder to get a hold of. He also invited me to come visit him on one of the weekends and stay at the hotel up there, just needs to find out more details. As I mentioned before, I am more of a planner..he makes plans more spontaneously. He’s indicated that he will see me this weekend/before he goes but hasn’t mentioned any plans of which day yet. Also a girlfriend invited me to hang out saturday. Normally, I wouldn’t try to make all the plans around my guy, but since he works two weeks straight after this and will be out of’s a factor. I don’t want to come off clingy, so maybe give him tonight and some of tomorrow to mention plans and if not, I could just say something like “Did you come up with anything you’d like to do together this weekend?” Or would you say something different?

    The other question(s) I had involved reaching out to him/balance in the relationship. Since we are in a relationship now, I assume it’s healthy to call or text him first sometimes? I can still let him do it more often. I guess I just want to show interest, but keep him interested. I want to work on myself and show him that I am confident in myself and in the relationship. Do you have any suggestions in how to do that or what works in your own relationships?

    #858672 Reply



    You’ve been dating since February and are discussing issues?? What happened to your honeymoon stage? Too much. Ease up. Or you’ll run him off.

    #858978 Reply


    Amy, you really need to stop complaining, and nagging him so much. This kind of ‘talk’ is not what excites a man but will turn them off quickly if they can’t do anything right. Men, in the beginning, will go the extra mile to woo a woman over but once in a relationship they simply cannot sustain that type of wooing long-term. The relationship period is when you should be feeling confident, safe, and secure in the relationship that you don’t need or require your man to constantly validate you—that would be too exhausting!

    A man’s primary purpose will always be their career! If a woman cannot support the man in that endeavor he will find one who will. The fact is, you knew going in what his schedule would be like, yet you put your blinders on, and ignored it. Now that its become reality, the blinders have come off, you don’t like it, and your dislike of it is now creating too much tension in the relationship.

    I get it. I was married to a military man who was gone a lot! But, I understood going in that it could happen, and when it happened I didn’t harp on him, or make him feel bad or guilty when there were times we couldn’t talk for one or several weeks (before VM, cell and internet)! I allowed him to do his mission by managing the homefront so he didn’t have to worry about us. That is the type of support a man NEEDS, and when he comes home he will double down (go the extra mile) to show you how appreciative he is of your support! The moment you stop, is when the relationship starts going downhill, because he feels unsupported.

    My current partner goes out to sea for several months, and I have never once made him feel bad or guilty about it. In fact, I’ve always been his biggest supporter, and by doing so he feels so safe that he NATURALLY contacts me, two times a day, because I don’t complain or nag him. 4.5 years later we are still in our ‘honeymoon phase’ :o)

    #859039 Reply

    Liz Lemon

    “I think a large part of this that has thrown me off so to speak is that in going from one committed relationship to another relatively quickly, that I was used to being in that later stage of a relationship with my ex, whereas even though we have developed a lot in our relationship for a short amount of time, my current bf and I just haven’t been together that long. I went from living with someone and planning every meal together, seeing that person every day, planning a future together etc. to a new relationship with a guy who is a totally different kind of person.”

    This is exactly why people need to take a break when a serious relationship ends. It’s not a good idea to jump from one relationship and enter into another right away. You need time to process the breakup, and clear your head. You shouldn’t jump into another relationship right away, because your mindset will still be in the previous relationship. Your brain is expecting your current relationship to follow the same patterns as the previous one, because the previous one is not out of your system.

    #859040 Reply

    Liz Lemon

    About your questions. You still seem very anxious to me and like you’re overthinking things. Another poster commented that this is the honeymoon period– that’s so true. This should be the best part of your relationship, the easiest and least anxiety-provoking. I really think you did yourself a disservice by jumping into another relationship so quickly, within a month of another serious relationship ending. But whatever.

    If you’re in a relationship I think it’s fine to initiate calling/texting with your boyfriend. In the situation you describe, where he’s leaving next Tuesday to work out of state for several weeks– I think it would be fine to hit him up and tell him you want to see him before he leaves town, but you need to plan your weekend and want to make sure you make time to see him. I’m also a planner, and my bf is not. So that’s what I would do. You don’t have to sit around and wait for him to tell you when he wants to see you, especially if a girlfriend wants to make plans with you. You can take the initiative. Just my two cents.

    #859050 Reply


    Amy, I think you should look into both love languages and into insecure attachment styles, and then focus on discussing these things with your therapist for a while and *not* with your boyfriend of only two months. It sounds like a lot of what you’re doing is because you had your boundaries steam rolled in your abusive relationship and have low self-esteem and trust of partners right now, which is completely normal so soon after and I’m sorry that all happened to you. But that is not something your boyfriend has caused and therefore is not something he can fix. You need to work on it within yourself, because that’s the core issue. If you keep trying to go in circles having emotional conversations with him, it will never be enough because it’s not where the core problem stems from. It’s being projected onto him by where you’re currently at.

    Understanding the love language stuff may help with the flirty / banter texting gap and the physical hugging etc. differences you were talking about, and maybe once you learn more about that you can briefly tell him why the flirty texts and hugs are important to you (it sounds like you most receive feelings of love from others through words of affirmation and through physical touch, and right now you’re still healing from abuse so you feel secure when you’ve got validation). But again, you can’t expect constant validation from him because it’s unreasonable to need another person to soothe and regulate your emotions for you, and expecting it will make him feel more like a parent on some level which will feel gross to him in a romantic context, and will push him away because it’ll be crossing healthy adult boundaries if you want him to pick up the slack when it’s actually about feeling secure within yourself.

    It sounds like he may have issues too based on his past relationships that he may need to work on if he hasn’t already, but your issues you post about here are yours to work on, his are his, and you dating each other gives you the opportunity to see whether or not you’re compatible together or there’s a third separate set of relationship issues that you need to work on together. Communicating needs is always good, and problem-solving together is fundamental in any healthy relationship. But it sounds like you need to sort out which problems are yours, which are his, and which are yours together in the relationship, and then work on your communication and boundaries to get it all functioning better. Which is totally doable on your side with the tools and help of your therapist.

    #859062 Reply


    Just a quick observation: Your sheer volume of words when you post means you have a lot of time and obsession on your hands. And we can kind of see into why you’re a handful for your man.

    Have you thought about going to see a therapist/counselor (in person)? If it’s safe for you to do so (covid restrictions etc), I really do think just having a professional to bounce all your huge energy off of will help you in the long run. I did this in the beginning of my relationship so I wouldn’t do it towards the boyfriend and it’s been amazingly helpful.

    Our partners aren’t our do-all/end-all. They are our PARTNERS. We enjoy time with them, set mutual goals/dreams, and work on these things together but in a way that each can also sustain themselves individually. You are not one-half of a whole, you are one WHOLE person coming together with another WHOLE person.

    Work on your whole person.

    #859365 Reply


    I love the advice from mama- that’s a very good point to make about coming together as a partnership, not to have someone make you feel whole.

    #862385 Reply

    Mary sheley

    One simple question for you, if you can answer it, you’ll have solved your concern: why on earth would you be with someone who gets irritated or doesn’t like to be cuddled while cooking? This shows incompatibility and you are trying hard for someone who is not a match. You are affectionate, work normal hours have steady schedule, he is not affectionate (from the way you’re describing his reactions), works unconventional hours and has less free time, so again my point. Do u see this long term? Logically no, so please put yourself first and emotions aside for some time. Let him step up his game if he wants you in his life. If he doesn’t, it’s a win for you. Opens the door for someone you will welcome your cuddles while cooking and wouldn’t bring it up as a point of irritation. Your relationship is one sided. He just gets emotional support from you, someone to listen to him without giving. Life is too short for this. You deserve someone who cares to meet you halfway. Cut ties with him, this is toxic for you and painful.

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