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Friends come first

Tagged as: Dating, Friends<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (14 July 2022) 4 Answers - (Newest, 15 July 2022)
A female United Kingdom age 22-25, anonymous writes:

I shall try and keep this as short as possible, but my boyfriend does not spend any time with me. However, he will happily make time for his friends.

We have been dating for a few years now and like many relationships, we had our honeymoon phase where we did things together, everything seemed perfect and no arguments. Now that we have come out of that phase, a good while back now, he just does not seem to care.

I moved to his town to be with him and although not a massive distance away from my hometown where my friends are, it is still nearly on hour to drive and on the train.

We have a couch and an armchair and he constantly sits on the armchair away from me playing games on this phone and talking to his friends. When I ask him, every so often, if he wants to sit with me and cuddle whilst we watch a move together, he just tells me "not right now," and carries on with his game or messaging his friends. When I asked why he constantly feels the need to sit away from me every single time, he told me it was because he likes his space. I get that, we all do. However, I don't ask all the time, but would be nice of him to take up the offer every so often but he never does.

We never go out on little dates here and there anymore. It only seems to be on special occasions which means that we often go months not doing anything together and we haven't really spent time with each other. The odd time that we have, he always tries and invites his friends out too because "the more the merrier." I like most of his friends, but our time should be valued too.

I suggested recently that we go out for a meal, and he said it was "too expensive." I did not suggest any where specifically,just a meal and we always split; no one get the full bill to themselves unless it is for birthdays and we treat the other.

However, whenever his friends ask him around to their house or go out for some drinks, he turns into a completely different person. He gets all excited and hyped up for it. When we go out, it is like I am dragging him to these places which makes me feel terrible and that my time is no where near as valued as his friends.

I work from home now and I am starting to get cabin fever. He wanted to go hiking with his dad, something that he knows I enjoy, but he made sure that it was a day where I was working from home so I could watch the dog so he and his dad could go out. Again, just made me feel like a dog sitter and just felt pushed to the side again.

I am going out with my friends too, but our work schedules clash sometimes so it can't happen every week. I also don't want to compare relationships either, but my friend and her partner go out and do little things like eat out and go for walks in their local area. As I said, don't want to compare, but it shows what we could be doing.

I am not expecting fancy restaurants or glamorous holidays every single week, or even every other month. Just want to get out and about with him and I feel like it tearing me up inside.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (15 July 2022):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntYou say he acts like he doesn't care. Here's a wake-up call: it's not an act. He has shown you in every way he can that you are not a priority in his life. Why are you still making him a priority in yours?

Start thinking about where you go from here - without him. This is no way to live a life.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 July 2022):

If you are living with your boyfriend, and you've been together going on for years now; the novelty of the relationship and spending time together has worn-off for him. He probably feels "married." He feels trapped in a relationship; rather than feeling he's a willing participant in it. To put it bluntly, he's too young to be so serious; and he still has a lot of wild oats to sow. His immaturity is a wedge between you. It has lost its fun-value for him, and he's acting as if he feels smothered.

You used to have to travel a distance to see each-other, and work-around your work schedules. Now you're a fixture. Like a house-guest who came to visit, but never left. Maybe he wasn't ready to live together, but just went along with it.

You didn't take a hint, when he didn't bother to meet you halfway when you moved to be with (or nearer to) him. He made you come to him; because everything he needed was where he's at. He accepted being/living together; because you weren't likely to have it any other way. Having to pull-up roots to relocate should have discouraged you, but it didn't. He probably liked things the way they were before you moved, but may never admit it. Maybe not to hurt your feelings, or the idea of having sex readily available on-demand was too good of a benefit to pass-up.

You moved to his town, to be with him. He didn't move to your town to be with you. He's in his element, near his friends, probably living in the place (or town) he was living when you started dating. You moved-in with him; so he is going about his life as usual. He's not adapting to any changes for your sake; so that's all on you. He's the guy you want to be with. He never gets to miss you anymore, because you're always there. Two healthy young-people in their early 20's. Early on, when you're dating, he has to keep you entertained. As time passes, that quiet romantic stuff for-two becomes a drag. He wants to raise a little hell with his friends, like in the good-old days!

You're right, don't compare relationships; because you're different people. Everyone negotiates and develops their relationships based on their individual needs. The relationship is formed according to their personalities, and how compatible they are. You only see the surface of other relationships; you do not know what happens behind closed-doors. You may not be the kind of woman she is, and your boyfriend isn't the kind of guy her boyfriend is. Comparisons are, therefore, irrelevant.

When you're not married, there is no "honeymoon stage." People frequently use the term out of context. You can't liken living together to a real marriage. All your promises are based on the honor system; no vows were exchanged before witnesses, or an officiator. If he breaks his promises, you can breakup when you've had enough. You can pack-up and leave anytime you wish. Neither party has a legal right to anything the other owns. He can just decide he doesn't want to live with you anymore, and just go. There would be nothing you could do about it.

He doesn't feel snuggly or want to go out on dates. You've complained and tried to discuss it with him. Has anything changed? He gets more excited about being with his friends, because he longs for his freedom. The relationship as you know it, has run its course. He's doing what most guys do when he's tired of being in a relationship. He pulls away, wants his space, shows little affection, and gets more excited about going-out with his buddies; than cuddling together to watch movies. He claims going out for romantic dinners is too expensive; because his head and heart wouldn't be in it. He's long past that stage in the relationship. If he could be honest, without you tossing a hissy-fit (not that you would, he assumes you might); he'd probably admit he wished you didn't live together. Maybe that he liked things as they were before. He can't make up lies or excuses to getaway, or to change plans at the last-minute. You're right there!

You can keep pushing, coaxing, nudging, and begging. You'll decide when you miss your hometown, your friends, and your family. He misses having his place to himself, doing things on a whim, or on the spur of the moment; and just doing guy-stuff without fluffing-up everything with romance and cuddling. He wants to do things without you tagging along; hence, he plans things when you've got to work.

Maybe it's time to call it quits. If you've got to force him to do it, it means he doesn't want to do it.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (15 July 2022):

Are you chief bottle-washer,dogsitter,cleaner and cook?

Maybe that's how your boyfriend sees his future with you...So if you feel neglected you need to tell him because he thinks you're in agreement with him!

Can you visit friends or family away from him so that you can add some perspective?

Are you planning on having children?

If yes, then he sees it as a logical conclusion that you will do all the domestic stuff as he views it as woman's work!

The dog is both of your child substitute so he naturally assumes that you should do the dog sitting because if you have a baby with him, he will continue to go out and leave you at home with the baby!

Ask him what his expectations are for you as a couple, then you'll have a chance to understand division of chores.

In your household it might work for you to be at home with a small child or a baby.

If you want a different lifestyle you had better start to persue it now.

So consider all your options and tell him that you don't want to be treated as a separate category and you want a bit more coupledom!

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (15 July 2022):

Honeypie agony auntOK, OP

What EFFORT does he put into the relationship? Any at all?

He goes out of his way to go hiking with his dad so YOU can dog-sit? While working from home?

He doesn't want to cuddle on the couch for a movie anymore.

He doesn't want to go out to eat or on little dates. But WHEN you do he bring along friends.

To be really frank with you, it seems like he wants to break up with you but he doesn't want to be the "bad guy".

Someone who works that hard to avoid "non-sexual intimacy" - like cuddling on the couch and occasionally going on dates WITH their partner (but brings friends?!) just doesn't seem all that keen on the partner (in this case, you)

How is the sex life?

Do you two cook together?

Run errands together?

Who does all the chores?

Does HE have financial issues?

How much do you contribute to the household? Both financially and chore-wise?

How often do you do things by yourself?

You have been dating for a few years so it is kind of natural that people take each other for granted (not always in a bad way, but in an "I know what to expect of you").

Maybe this was ALWAYS who he was you just didn't get to SEE it until you moved in with him. Because BEFORE you lived together he WANTED to cuddle on the couch, he WANTED to take you out for meals, he WANTED to spend time with you. NOW you are around 24/7 and he feels crowded by you. THAT is my guess.

Personally, I don't really think you can "fix" this. And he doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong here. So he treats you like a roommate (maybe apart from sex).

Maybe you should take THIS as a preview of what is to come.

I hope you are on birth control. And that you perhaps consider that you two are not going to work out long term because he puts in ZERO effort. "Letting" you live with him is financially HELPINg him (if you pay your share of the bills there) so how can he not afford to go out for a meal (where YOU pay for yourself?) Hint, it's not about money, it's about not WANTING to go out with you. Let me guess, YOU do the majority of the cooking? So he rather stay home and have YOU cook so he doesn't have to spend money but still gets fed?

Sorry, OP I think your relationship is not just out of the honeymoon phase but he is tired of it.

Lastly, You DO sound a little clingy. But that is said by someone who isn't a hugely tactile person. I do NOT need my husband to cuddle me to watch a movie ( I actually rarely watch TV). But we DO go out for meals together, we run errands together, he doesn't like to hike (I do) so I hike with one of the kids, I garden with one of the kids, but he will do "other yard work" at the same time, so we are in a fashion hanging out together. We play online games together. And we have been together for well over 25 years now. So if your BF is acting like he rather not be near you or spend QUALITY time with you after a couple of years... it kind of sounds like you two aren't really compatible long term.

Also, WHO doesn't bring their dog on a hike?!!

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