Salvageable or should I end it?

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  • #740408 Reply


    I’ve been dating someone for eight months and we’re happy and the relationship is good but as things got more serious he became aware he’s got some reservations about going “all in” with the commitment side of things.

    On a day to day basis, he’s committed. We’ve always been exclusive, always consistent, happy to spend time with my family, happy to make longer term plans, always reliable, always supportive and a great boyfriend so I didn’t actually notice we had this problem until about the seven month mark when I noticed he was maybe a bit secretive or evasive and kept me apart from the rest of his life.

    Example, I noticed he was not telling me basic life stuff like about illnesses in his family or introducing me to them or those sorts of things. So this isn’t about me wanting to move in or get married, but more about that I felt he had walls up of some sort that wasn’t fully normal for my past experiences of longer term relationships.

    I raised the issue and we talked about it and the summary is that he is admitting to being scared of jumping all in with the relationship, and he thinks he’s held back emotionally and in other ways to keep some sort of distance and one foot out of the door. He was hoping that fear would dissolve but he realises it’s been putting the relationship into jeopardy.

    He wants to work through it, but I feel hurt that he’s been not fully available and open in the same way I have and that now I find myself in the position of feeling like I have given more than he has. He’s upset and doesn’t want to breakup and I am upset and confused.

    Is it salvageable, and if so, what should I be asking for from him? I felt very secure in the relationship, very trusting, and now I don’t.

    #740411 Reply


    There is a fine line between a man needing some space to think about his relationship and a man completely disengaging. You’re going to have to rely on your gut instinct here. If he says he needs some space, ask how long he needs. If at the end of that period, he’s still disengaged, he’s hoping to avoid conflict altogether. It’s time to end things.

    If he’s unwilling to be honest with even himself, let alone you, about his feelings, then it’s not your job to try to change that. Because you will fail if you try to change a man. Move on and make yourself available to a man who isn’t afraid to feel real feelings. That’s what makes a real man: he’s not masking emotions but rather facing them and owning them.

    I hope you find a solution to this one way or another. :)

    #740414 Reply


    Well he hasn’t disengaged at all, if anything he’s engaged in trying to sort it out and he’s made it abundantly clear that if his choice is between getting his stuff together or losing me that he chooses option 1 but I really don’t understand how simple that is.

    His explanation is that he’s held back, that he’s not sure he’s fully emotionally available, he’s got some self defence mechanisms in place, he’s got walls up and he was trying deliberately not to turn out relationship into the full enchilada. So you know with complete sympathy to him for obviously genuine fears, I am sad he didn’t speak to me about them and instead left me second guessing over many, many weeks why my boyfriend was distancing.

    I don’t want to be dramatic about it, but it made me feel pretty foolish that I am walking around on cloud nine and thinking how lucky I am and how in luuuurve we are and how great everything is and then finding out he’s not in that same place AT ALL. Also made me feel less trusting of him, as he’s hiding things like this and not communicating honestly. Also made me feel like he’s lacking some basic skills required for a relationship in the first place.

    On the other hand, he’s a pretty great guy and I am sure he didn’t mean for this to happen.
    But it’s not like if he’s not there he can suddenly be there tomorrow right? I wish it could be salvaged but also feel a bit like I am going to be sitting there waiting for my own boyfriend to fall in love with me and be happy about our future, which is something I thought I already had.

    #740416 Reply

    my opinion

    On the positive side, he’s been completely upfront with you about what he’s been doing after you talked with him about it. I think you need to pay attention to what he does NOW, after you’ve talked. Maybe you can give him some specific things that would make you feel closer to him (i.e., more involved in his life, less walls up, etc) such as going to dinner with his family, or having conversations about what’s going on with his family. He might be basing some of his behavior off of what he learned in his family — some are very private about things like illness.

    He could probably benefit from some counseling on his own. If it were my guy, I would ask him to go see someone/a therapist or counselor to work through the reasons behind his behavior otherwise your relationship is not going to progress. Would I end it? Not immediately, but I probably would give him a chance for a while to see what he does to work on his issues and fix this issue he has with walls up. It may take some time but if he was trying on his end, I would stay (for a while). But if I saw that he wasn’t taking any measures to move the relationship forward by improving himself, I would probably end it.

    #740417 Reply

    T from NY

    As much as this information and the conversation hurt — it is extremely good that it happened. I don’t find this man not being a real man with you. I find him to be a man who loves you, sees your value — and might be wondering why he “can’t get there” with his feelings. Love is a funny thing. It comes in so many forms. Loving you and being “in love” – committing to abandoning his freedom – taking next steps…. all of it… is very different than being an amazing boyfriend.

    Of course he could have some emotional dysfunction (most of us do). A propensity to self sabotage something perfectly beautiful. A fear of commitment that could stem from a million things. But the way you’ve described his abilities to partner with you for the last several months leads me to believe he may just be coming into the realization himself that — he isn’t sharing all he is, and has, with you — because he doesn’t want to. He’s not ready. For YOU or for that kind of committment.

    This does not make him a bad man. This is good information for you. If it were me — and my partner had been so honest — I would take a very big step back from the relationship. I would express to him how very much I cared but would allow him some space, maybe a couple of weeks, to think things through. If, at the end of whatever concrete time period you feel is appropriate, he is still feeling the same way — I would end it.

    I am not one of the those women on this forum that say that lightly. Good relationships are difficult to come by. But let me tell you why. When a man begins to draw back as you describe (withholding parts of his life) and then the WORDS have been said on his part that he doesn’t know if he’s ALL IN — this is usually a very clear (though often convoluted by lots of good feelings and good times and no real issues) indicator that the man does not see a future with you or does see himself committing to anyone at that time.

    Maybe he’s just scared. And there is the possibility that he just needs a little space from you to realize how deeply in love he is. Men fall in love in our absence. But — if stepping back and doing your own thing for awhile doesn’t make him have a huge change of heart BELIEVE HIM when he says he doesn’t see a future.

    #740419 Reply


    My question for you is, how old are you?

    If you are past the child bearing age, or in your 20’s, I think you can give this guy a little time to figure himself out, if he is who you want. But if you are really getting to that point where you are looking to settle in and start having kids in the next couple of years, you need to sit him down and have the serious talk about a woman’s fertility timeline. If you are say, 34, you don’t want to waste more time on a guy who may say “you aren’t the one” in a year. If you have your kids already or are in your early 20’s with another decade of fertility, it isn’t a big blow.

    A lot of men have no concept of why women at certain life stages need to commit. It’s not unreasonable- it’s about your biological clock. And if you are at all concerned about that, you can’t be as patient as other women as a guy figures out life and commitment.

    #740420 Reply


    I fully agree with T her assesment and advice. Im also not one that suggests to leave an already long term relationship. But you felt something was off and he told you why you were feeling things right. This is were you take a step back instead of staying not knowing what he wants or feels. I would ask for a break where both can sort through your feelings. Like a month. You cant force a guy to fully feel it so he has to think about it and if he cant be all in, you dont want a half in guy. Thats not fair to you. Be glad you had this talk because now you can act on what you know. I know it feel hurtfull but i dont think he did this on purpose. Take care and be logical

    #740421 Reply


    Everybody these responses have been so helpful so massive thanks for me on them.

    As a few notes thast might be relevant:

    HIM: 40, long divorced but has more or less been in relationships solidly since age of 18 and I think decided before he met me to get out there and have fun and was not expecting to settle down again within weeks of arriving in the new city he moved to after his relationship breakdown, so NO, he wasn’t looking for this but he says it just happened. He is also naturally emotionally restrained and I don’t see him throwing around words he doesn’t think through carefully or being overtly gushy about anything anyway.

    ME: 40, long divorced and met him off the back of a string of commitment phobic nightmare men who jerked me around no end and so when I met him I had completely had enough and was totally unwilling to date anyone who wasn’t clear from the outset that I was looking for a relationship. Since day one, he WAS committed and never gave me a moment to doubt him until all this cropped up.

    So we’re both in a position of facing something hard that we didn’t plan for and this is not fun for me either because I was thinking “whoah, finally a good guy”. to the point he’s the first person to meet my friends and family and kids in SEVEN YEARS. So yes, to me it was serious.

    *But the way you’ve described his abilities to partner with you for the last several months leads me to believe he may just be coming into the realization himself that — he isn’t sharing all he is, and has, with you — because he doesn’t want to. He’s not ready. For YOU or for that kind of committment.*

    ^^ this is almost word for word what he said to me is his situation. And I did make the choice on that basis to end it, particularly given that he said he wasn’t in love (which he claims has to do with his own emotional state)

    He has asked me to go away with him for the weekend this weekend (we had it booked anyway) just so we can talk and enjoy some time together on the basis that he doesn’t want to end it and I don’t want to be with someone who openly says they don’t love me and can’t commit; we compromised that after the weekend away we would then take a few weeks apart to see if he can resolve whatever is in his mind, and if at the end of that time if he can choose to give me his all or choose for us to stop seeing each other.

    So I guess the plan you recommended is already in place. I just feel so awful right now and am trying to understand this but it feels horrible inside knowing my boyfriend isn’t sure about me in this way. I want him to be in love with me, I thought he was.

    #740422 Reply

    T from NY

    Based on the new information regarding your ages and experience with life — I would like to caution you to prepare to almost completely emotionally withdraw. Any man this age knows himself. And if he, at this age and stage of life, is not singing from the damn roof tops of having found a woman such an amazing woman — whom he likes so much, is compatible with, who’s good to him etc — he is most definitely not all in.

    Additionally, of course he doesn’t want things to end! Of course he wants to keep your upcoming trip in place. Men are biologically able, and therefore masters of, being able to enjoy the present moment. While women on the other hand have to consistently work on being ‘present’ and not future think.

    I am very sorry to say that this does not look good. I feel truly your only hope of possibly getting the outcome you desire — is to be completely unafraid of losing him. If you still want to go through with this trip (I know from past experience with a man I loved deeply who was not all in — that now I would never be able to do it) — please look at it as a last trip. A goodbye of sorts!

    As much as women bash how clueless men are in emotions and relationships — I have found ample evidence that men know themselves better sometimes than women do. They know when their heart isn’t fully in it. And when it is — NO man who loves a woman madly takes the chance of losing her. He wants this trip because he loves and cares for you enough to want to hold on to every last moment you will give him. He may even be angry at himself for not feeling more and wishing he could give that to you.

    But see this for what it is. Prepare yourself. And lean into your belief of your own goodness and worth. The man for you, long term, will be sure. As sure as you are about him. Best of luck.

    #740424 Reply


    I don’t think I amt capable of loving someone who doesn’t love me back so there’s no chance of me sticking around unless he has a huge turnaround here. I don’t really believe in unrequited love because I think being in love is a mutual tango that requires both to participate. So while he says he’s not in love, he certainly made me believe he was for a prolonged period of time (he sure had my family and friends enthralled too on that one and they are BRUTAL)so my feelings for him grew on the basis of me believeing we were both on the same journey.

    No he never said “I love you”, but he said all the other things and in a million different ways. He always thought I was beautiful, no matter what was happening. He believed in me and inspired me. He always fought clean with me and if we had a problem he wanted to sit down and talk and change whatever was required. If I had a problem, he always wanted to know “how can I help?”. When I was sick a few weeks ago, he’s over here cooking up meals for the week and freezing them. If I am tired, he wakes up super early to clean the kitchen up for me. He reorganised my closets so I could get at things easier. He checks my travel times without telling me so he can make sure I am safe and he never says a word that he’s done it. He always walks me home. He always wanted to see me. He always misses me after we’ve been apart 24 hours and tells me that always.

    So you know, this is new information and it changes all of that. I am not saying I fell in love because he did stuff for me or because he loved me (he is also smart, kind, fun to be with, completely honest) but it’s definitely a part of it. I don’t go around falling in love just because someone has good qualities, but because they’re deeply connected to ME.

    So if he can’t change this or have a complete turnaround after some time apart then this is goodbye from me because I know it would change how I felt, even if I wanted to try and be patient I don’t think I could live a half life. I can live with a lot of disappointment but I want to know the man lying next to me every night loves me back.

    #740425 Reply


    I’d like to add to the above that I was equally loving and caring towards him. It was just a great relationship. Truly does suck

    #740426 Reply


    Of course he doesn’t want things to end with you–he gets all of the sexual and companionship benefits without having to officially commit. If you want more than this glorified FWB with him, he’ll move on. There are so many women these days willing to sexually and emotionally accommodate a man without a commitment that there is no incentive for men to commit. It’s unfortunate you waited 8 months to find out where he stands.

    #740427 Reply


    If you are planning to end it or walk away- I would not go on the trip. I think that will make it so hard for you to end it then afterwards. You guys will both bond spending time together, but that will not change how he does not want to commit to you. If you walk away and be willing to lose him, that will force his hand to step up to this relationship or step away.

    #740428 Reply


    I think you already know. The man who is into you 100% will not have doubts about you or the relationship. But I think its salvageable if you want to. Take a step back. Stop asking him about his feelings or how he feels about you. Go out with friends, make jokes, be light about life, smile more when you are with him. Make him wonder if you are still into him. Make him realize you are slipping through his fingers. Not need for heavy staff, just make your life fun without him not only with him. He will step towards you

    #740429 Reply


    Since you are both 40 and he sounds like a good guy, I’d stick around and give him more time. It sounds like he takes actions that shows that he loves and cares for you. FWB don’t meet your family and care for you when you are sick. That’s the kind of thing you can’t fake. Would it be nice if he was certain and forging towards marriage after 8 months? Yes.

    IMO, it takes longer than 8 months to really know someone, so I think its worth it to be patient. Enjoy what you have and give him more time to be all in. If you don’t see it getting closer then reconsider down the line.

    #740430 Reply


    I really don’t need him to want to get married, I want love though :)

    #740431 Reply


    Lou – your story seems to be incomplete, at least to me… I am not saying you are interntionally hiding info, but I feel like that are signs that you have been missing all along in this relationship….

    I can’t imagine a guy doing all these things for you yet remains uncommited in his heart… Either he is a good actor, or you have been blind to things….

    I am in a 8 months young relationship as you are, my BF doesn’t do nearly as much as your guy, yet I feel he is very committed….

    #740435 Reply


    I too feel there are conflicting facts, and hence I agree that we are missing some info.

    If a guy is 40 and out of a long term relationship, he comes to a new town, he was probably hoping he’d get to fool around, date and sleep with multiple woman, but then he met you and things happened.

    I think he does like you a lot but he was genuinely “not ready” for anything serious, and in this state it is very hard to fall in love.

    The way he treats you is amazing, but he also directly told you that he is not in love with you. A man in his age and with experience understands that this is a very hard thing to take for a woman. I don’t know many women who’d be able to move past that and feel secure in a relationship. A guy would need to be reassuring them of his undying love daily LOL

    I think going on a trip would serve him very well. He’d get to be with you, and if it is the end, then he gets to prepare. But it goes against your interests.

    If you want him to fall for you DESPITE his V plans (sorry!), you need to deny him yourself completely. Withdraw at once and let him suffer from missing you. If you are looking for things that could salvage this situation, this is one of them that is likely to work.

    Do not engage in lengthy discussions, simply say you need to end it, as you feel let down, no one’s fault, but you can’t help this feeling. And let it be. Go in to a complete clean no contact. He is not prepared for that, obviously, so this would cause him to miss you BADLY.

    During the weeks that you are out, when he is missing you, he might start dating around and might sleep with other women (trying to catch up). Then when he’d realize that feelin of love is much more rewarding than exchange of bodily fluids, he’d come running to you. Be prepared for this type of an outcome if you are going to take my advice (which I am 99% sure you won’t) LOL

    #740440 Reply


    I’m sorry if it sounds confusing, but that was what he was like so I assumed that he was very committed and had no problem with that. Not just loving to me all the time – he also did all the stuff men do when they are serious – He volunteered to meet my friends after we’d been dating for a couple of months, he volunteered to remove his dating profile after the third date, he met my parents and I never had to really ask, he always just wanted it.

    In terms of signs, I did notice a few things but he put those down to him not being good at sharing his emotion and being closed off. Red flags I noticed were (1) a family member passed away and he only told me once he was away at the funeral 4 months into the relationship (2) he has not introduced me to his family and they don’t know I exist – which I only discovered very recently (3) he has been a bit resistant to talking about himself like his past relationships and childhood and it’s been very slow progress to get any info. So there were signs but I think I either didn’t know about them or they seemed to be just his personality.

    Also, to make him even more confusing, he was actually keen to make future plans so he had every intention of STAYING in the relationship long term and does not want to leave it now. Actually if there was even a hint of the idea of a breakup he got worried. He has said if I split up with him now that he won’t date anyone else because he’d be too sad for a very long time and that he’d only end up with the same result until he gets past this problem.

    I believe him, he’s a totally honest person. I think he will just be sad for a long time.

    So I don’t think this is remotely about wanting to date or sleep with a lot of women after a long term relationship. I think it’s more about feeling unable to be vulnerable with me for whatever reason (which is what he says). HE says it’s a self defence thing.

    #740441 Reply


    As a note here: maybe the fact that he was so loving and did all this kind and sweet stuff for me is the reason I didn’t notice he was emotionally holding back. No, we didn’t do the thing where we shared a lot of childhood stories, but he was always holding my hand or fixing something in my house so I guess when you say I missed something it was probably that. He did show emotions to me, but it was always more in acts of helping to make my life / day better

    #740443 Reply


    And one more note: yes, I am going to go on the weekend but to be clear there is not a chance in the world of any kind of sexual or romantic contact from me unless this is completely resolved (which I don’t think it will be). I want to cancel if I am honest, because my instinct is to run away because he hurt me and told me he didn’t love me but I am going to go for a few reasons:

    1. He sprung this one me and I cried. I was pretty calm, and didn’t say anything too humiliating at the time, but I cried and I don’t want the last time he sees me to be be crying and weak like that – sorry if this sounds childish but hey, I have pride.

    2. We both have teen kids and crazy jobs and we planned this weekend trip months ago and it was hard to put together and all paid for, so it’s not like I can just re-book next month so I want to go so I have a memory of a fun time.

    I’ve already decided on separate rooms and keeping it light. His attitude to the whole thing right now is that he will do whatever I ask of him and that he’s trying to find a way to get past this blockage and I actually think he’s more likely to be able to do that if we have a fun and light weekend being like we always were, than he would be after us staying awake all night with me crying like last time.

    I have to say in my heart of hearts, I think we can’t work this out. At least not now as he probably needs to be without me for a few months to realise how crazy this thing is and I know myself well enough to know that I won’t take him back in a few months because I am already so slow to love people that if they hurt me once I am done.

    So for me, it’s a goodbye, and one where I get to not be so sad and weak. I loved him, we were happy. I can’t say I understand what he’s saying or agree with it but I am definitely not going to continue unless there’s a total reversal

    #740444 Reply


    Lou – sorry this happened to you… I am at a similar stage of a relationship, so I can totally imagine how you feel now…

    It is not end of life, and wish you all the best….

    I still dont understand how this man can do soooo much for you, but not love you ….

    #740445 Reply


    Thanks so much sisi, that means a lot and sending love to you and your BF!

    #740448 Reply


    I don’t know the point of the trip and separate rooms. I would not go, period. Men fall fast. If this one has not, it’s not about you, but this whole situation won’t end well.

    #740449 Reply


    Op said she already paid for the trip and that is why she is going

    Lou -did this man ever explicitly ask to be BF/GF? Or are you just assuming that ?

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