General Question

femmefatale's avatar

Is this a normal “cooling off” period or silent treatment/emotional abuse?

Asked by femmefatale (114points) January 29th, 2013

I have been dating a man for just over a year. We broke up at one point for three months because he got cold feet about the relationship. (He’s been divorced for a number of years and hasn’t had a committed relationship in that time, only dated minimally. He said what he had with me “seemed too good to be true.”) He came back to me, wanting to get back together, and I accepted. He wanted to be in an exclusive relationship and see each other every weekend, which we had been doing before, and I agreed. By the way, I’m in my late 30s, and he’s a little over 20 years older.

Here’s our dating schedule: we go out Friday night, usually a movie and/or dinner, occasionally attend an event or go out of town for something. Then I spend the night at his house. On Saturday we just do fun things, watch TV, etc. Sometimes we go out Saturday nights; sometimes we stay in. Sundays, he makes me breakfast, and then I usually leave around 2 p.m. He’s a self-employed lawyer, and he has a routine where he likes to go into his office Sunday afternoons and work. Sometimes on Sunday evenings, he has to look over files because he has court Mondays or watch cop videos. I’ve kind of gotten used to his routine. We rarely see each other during the week unless he invites me to go to an event or sometimes out to dinner.

I am involved in community theater, and we both enjoy going to plays every few weeks. This past Sunday night, we tried something new at the theater: a cabaret where local patrons could sign up to sing, read, do a performance based on a theme. It’s just a new idea we’re trying to garner interest in what the theater has to offer. It was set up a month ago, and I invited my boyfriend to come. He questioned why it was scheduled on a Sunday night. I told him the director set it up. I assumed he would come because 1) I had invited him a month ahead (plenty of notice) and 2) he would figure it was important to me. Hell, I’ve watched several football games with him, which is something I wouldn’t do on my own, but I enjoy doing it with him, because it’s with him.

So Sunday as I was getting ready to leave his house around 2 p.m., I asked if he were coming after he worked in his office. He said probably not, and he thought the idea of the cabaret was “kinda lame,” which hurt my feelings. I didn’t know what to say. Again, I guess I assumed he knew it was important to me. I told him I was going to read some poetry I had written (I have two graduate degrees in writing, and I teach.) He urged me to have fun.

I was so hurt I didn’t know what to do. I texted him about half an hour later and told him the event was important to me and I was sorry he thought it was “kinda lame.”

He texted back and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know how you felt about it.” Then half an hour later, he texted again, “I’ll come by if you would like, but it’s not a good day for me.”

I didn’t respond because I was still hurt. Later, I sent him another message, right before the event: “If I hadn’t wanted you to come, I wouldn’t have invited you a month ago. I was hoping you’d want to come. So much for that.”

He responded a little while later, after the event, “If I had understood this event was important to you, I would have to have rearranged my activities on Saturday.” We had spent Saturday at his house as normal, just watching TV.

Today, Tuesday, after we didn’t communicate all day yesterday, I sent him a message in the afternoon: “I don’t think this silence is doing either of us—or our relationship any good.”

He replied a couple of hours later, “I’ve been kinda ill about the events of Sunday, and felt like I needed some time to cool off before we talked further.”

Tonight, I texted him over an hour ago: “Can we just talk and get this over with?” I was hoping he’d call me, and we could discuss the matter and get it behind us. No response as of yet.

First, was I wrong to be hurt about him not going with me? I’m asking because, obviously, I’m very close to the issue. Second, is this a normal “cooling off” period or silent treatment/emotional abuse/manipulation? It’s now been two days, and the absence of communication hurts immensely.

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76 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

You can’t be wrong or not-wrong for feeling hurt. You feel how you feel, and you don’t need to apologize for that.

But I somewhat agree with him that you should have communicated – explicitly – how much the event meant to you. You assumed that he would understand that because it’s an activity that you enjoy and you invited him a month ahead of time. Obviously, that wasn’t a clear enough indication.

As to the current lack of communication, I haven’t got an opinion on that yet.

But if you’re in the market for another 59-year-old boyfriend, I’m available.

Bellatrix's avatar

No you weren’t wrong about him not coming to your event. You gave him a lot of notice and it is something you are involved with and so is important to you. I am assuming you talk about this group and what you are doing? He should have known it was important to you. He is presumable of average intelligence and I thought lawyers needed to have at least an inkling about human behaviour.

The cooling off period does sound passive-aggressive to me.

I have to say it sounds as if he has his cake and can eat it too. He has his weekend rendezvous with you when you presumably fulfill his physical and emotional needs in terms of female company. Then he goes back to doing his own thing for the week. He doesn’t need to commit to you. He doesn’t need to do anything to keep the status quo. You rocked his perfect little boat by asking him to do something for you. He didn’t like it and he didn’t come through.

The ball is currently in your court.

Ela's avatar

I never assume someone knows something is important to me. I don’t think it’s fair to be upset with him for not assuming. He apologized and said he didn’t know then offered to come. I guess I would have told him I’d like that very much (that he’d come by). When I saw him I’d tell him thank you, it meant a lot to me he was there and I appreciate it very much.
I don’t know if he’s cooling off but I doubt he is “giving you the silent treatment”.

Rarebear's avatar

Sheesh. It seems like he apologized about 10 times. Give him a break.

femmefatale's avatar

Well, he’s refusing to talk to me. Normally, he texts me a few times each day. And he’s not responding to my last text. He did this once before in December when we had a minor disagreement/miscommunication (wouldn’t talk to me for a day or two).

We discussed the event several times when I invited him. He didn’t like that it was on a Sunday evening, and complained about that.

Rarebear's avatar

Look. Just back off and give him some time.

Ela's avatar

Is your relationship worth less than the event? You won’t necessarily always be able to make it to each other’s events. He offered to come. I mean no offense, but “If I hadn’t wanted you to come, I wouldn’t have invited you a month ago. I was hoping you’d want to come. So much for that.” Comes off as a bit bitchy to me. : ( Personally, I can’t fault him for taking a cool down.
If it meant that much to me, I’d have told him yes, I’d like very much for him to be there. But that’s just me.

femmefatale's avatar

If it were something he proposed, I think he’d been fine with it. He varied from his routine once because his parents had asked us over for dinner on a Sunday night.

It just hurts that he minimized something that was important to me and called it “kinda lame.”

Bellatrix's avatar

How often does he attend things you organise or that are important to you? How often do you drive the things you both do?

femmefatale's avatar

If it’s on a Friday or Saturday, he plans them and often asks for my input. However, Sunday afternoons/evenings are usually off limits—and generally, he’s not too keen on getting together through the week (unless he proposes it) because he says he’s just too tired after work and has long suffered from low-level depression and usually just doesn’t want to see or talk to anyone at the end of the week day. I also teach evening classes Mondays and Wednesdays, so I’m pretty busy, too.

Ela's avatar

Having someone tell you something important to you is lame does suck. That would have really hurt my feelings. I guess I would have told him that at the time. Letting stuff stew isn’t fair to anyone in a relationship, imo. I get the feeling if he was told from the start that it was important to you, he’d have rearranged his schedule for it. I don’t know the guy though. I get the feeling he is sincere… not sure where that comes from, tho

gailcalled's avatar

“I assumed he would come because 1) I had invited him a month ahead (plenty of notice) and 2) he would figure it was important to me.”

Again, I guess I assumed he knew it was important to me.”

Assuming anything with anyone is presumptuous. If you feel strongly about something, you say just that.

“This is really important to me” leaves no room for misinterpretation.

Bellatrix's avatar

I agree you can’t assume he knows, but I would think you have a pretty clear idea about how much discussion took place about this event and the content of that discussion. It feels to me that this relationship is fairly one-way. His way. I could be reading more into this than there is. It also might not be important to you that your interests have as much importance as his. It would matter to me. Do you feel he considers your needs and the things that you value?

wundayatta's avatar

I assume there’s a reason you choose to call yourself “femmefatale.”

From your story, I wouldn’t have gotten, simply because you invited him a month in advance, that it was really important to you. How is he supposed to know? You’ve never done this before. He can’t read your mind.

Now if you explicitly told him how important it was, then I think he might reasonably be expected to know that, but he said he didn’t know that, and as soon as he found out, he offered to come, even if it was still saying, “but only if it is extremely important.” Saying that he would have reorganized the Saturday also is consistent with the idea that he would have shown up if he had understood how important it was to you.

So my money is on him being sincere in saying he didn’t know.

As to what happened after, well, it sounds like you don’t have much history with arguments. When I’ve been hurt by a woman, I’ve done that, too—the silent treatment. I argue with myself when I do it, but I honestly have no idea what to do. I am hurt. I am scared. I feel I fucked up, but I’m also angry with you. I want to be with you, but I also want to punish you. I feel petty, and confused. Why are relationships so hard?

You’ve been reaching out, but he isn’t ready yet. I suggest you keep on reaching out, but in a humble way. I’m ready to talk when you are. And just cool your heels. I’m sorry. Relationships are hard. Guys and girls don’t speak the same way. Our body language is different. We interpret signs differently. Guys need you to say stuff explicitly. Girls think the symbolism is obvious.

Relationships are hard, so you need to both give each other a break. Maybe one person gives the other more of a break sometimes. You can’t keep score or the relationship will die. At the same time, we do keep score, because if things get out of balance, the relationship will die.

Be patient. Keep the door open. You’ll talk. He’s hurt. He probably is worried. Maybe he wonders how high maintenance you are. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask. Right now, you are waiting. It’s hard. I’m sorry.

glacial's avatar

I haven’t read any of the other responses, but my first reaction is that he probably didn’t appreciate being harangued by text message. I would have been hurt by his comment, too, and I would have expected more from a significant other than “this thing that you love to do is lame”, but if you’re going to call him out about it, you should do it in person. After the third text message, he’s probably thinking… “Is she ever going to let this go? If she was that upset about it, why is she doing this by text message?” Giving him the benefit of the doubt (which I’m not at all sure he deserves), by communicating in this manner, you’re not giving him any opportunity to make a heartfelt apology. Tell him how you feel in such a way that he can see how much it means to you, and that he can respond appropriately.

femmefatale's avatar

He seems to prefer communicating by text, glaical.

Bellatrix's avatar

What do YOU prefer?

Relationships are about TWO people. We have to meet in the middle. Sometimes it leans in one person’s favour at other times it leans towards the second person. I keep reading what he wants. What do you want?

glacial's avatar

Hmm. Well, the silent treatment is pretty much a dealbreaker for me in relationships. I have zero tolerance for “punishments” by a significant other. It’s supposed to be a partnership, you know? I hope you find a solution that makes you happy.

femmefatale's avatar

In the beginning, I liked text and FB messaging because I’m kind of shy when I’m first getting to know someone. Now that I know him, I would prefer talking on the phone, and I’ve told him he can call me if he’d like. He said, “I thought you weren’t a phone person,” and I told him I wasn’t in the beginning. He calls occasionally if he needs to finalize weekend plans, but he never calls otherwise. As I said, he says he’s too tired during the week most of the time to get together or communicate extensively with anyone.

Bellatrix's avatar

So does this relationship meet your needs? And yes, as @wunday suggests, call him. Or would he not like that?

femmefatale's avatar

Regarding the advance notice, I thought inviting him a month ahead of time would be part of the signal that it was important to me so he could rearrange activities. Also, we discussed it. When I told him about it, he complained about it being on a Sunday night. He said, “Why is that Cabaret Night on a Sunday night? Seems an odd choice for those who have to work on Monday.” I even asked the director why she scheduled it on a Sunday night, and gave him her response. He still complained about it again, questioning her choice. He said, “I don’t have a dog in this race, but it seems to me you won’t get many people to come on Sunday night. Just wonder if she doesn’t have a good feel for human nature, like having three-hour rehearsals for upcoming plays, which may scare off people who may otherwise want to be in plays other than students, retirees, and those without jobs.”

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Just sit back and relax and let him make the next move. It seems he is just using you for company and keeping you at a distance when it suits him. Obviously the man is in no mood for a serious relationship and all that goes with it. He sounds a bit selfish. Don’t invest too much time and feelings in this relationship. Keep things cool and don’t come across as a “needy” woman who can’t do without him. Sorry, but it seems you can do better and certainly deserve better!

Bellatrix's avatar

I used to be in a relationship like this. It suited me at the time. I met him to suit his schedule and we did things he mostly wanted to do. He would ask me ‘do you fancy doing this?’ and the like but he was really setting the parameters for the relationship and it wasn’t going any further. As I said up there ^, it seems to me you rocked his nice calm boat and asked him to do something you want and he chose not to. If that works for you, go back to doing that. In future, if you want him to accompany you to some event, stress how important it is to you and see if he can fit you into his schedule. From what I have read here, it might be a good idea to think about what you want from this relationship. Good luck with it – whatever you do.

femmefatale's avatar

Ok. Just got a text reply. He said, “Let’s talk tomorrow. I’ve had a long night and I was still a little agitated. Didn’t want to talk while I was still pissed.”

wundayatta's avatar

Feeling better?

femmefatale's avatar

Sorta. I guess I’m realizing more and more—probably validated by your comments, that everything is on his schedule. We talked a little about this last week. I mentioned that he wasn’t very affectionate when we weren’t together during the week and mainly texted each other. He used to send somewhat affectionate text and FB messages but hasn’t in a while. He says he’s “not the type to fall all over a woman.” So he’s not very verbally affectionate. But, don’t get me wrong: he takes me out, pays for dinner, does nice things like make breakfast, so maybe he expresses affection in a different way.

He said he probably could be more affectionate and had fallen down in that area, but he didn’t know if he could be a “7-day a week” kind of guy because of the long hours he works and being tired during the week. That comment stuck with me.

Bellatrix's avatar

You are still a young woman. Think about what you want from a relationship and where this one is going and if that works for you. He is tired during the week. Do you want to still be his weekend woman in five years from now? Just start to think about it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Please reread @Bellatrix ‘s answer above. There’s a lot written into those few lines.

Response moderated (Spam)
JLeslie's avatar

I haven’t read above answers.

Honestly, he sounds like a very nice guy, and you both just miscommunicated. I think he meant he would have done more on Saturday if he knew Sunday was for sure going to the theatre. Could you have gone with a girlfriend or alone instead since you it was important to you? So you didn’t miss it.

In his mind I think he thought you mentioned the caberet in passing, and did not put it on his calendar.

Just a lesson for next time, make sure something is actually a confirmed date. But, I am sure you both have figured that out already.

I just saw @bellatrix recent answer. Do you want this to move into a permanent relationship? Or, are you happy dating?

CWOTUS's avatar

I prefer to communicate in bed. I’m just sayin’.

dabbler's avatar

A) “I thought inviting him a month ahead of time would be part of the signal that it was important to me so he could rearrange activities.” As others note your assumption was clearly incorrect. It’s really unfair to assume someone else will pick up on your hints, you are setting up a ‘gotcha’ situation whether you intend to or not. Just tell him what you mean. If you insist on hinting don’t blame him for not getting it, or even resenting that you are playing a game with him. Your hint resulted in failed communication. Take responsibility for what you want and communicate it.
Imagine how differently it may have unfolded if you had said, a month ago, “I am reading at this cabaret event, and it would mean a lot to me if you are there for me. Please come!” It’s that simple.

B) “Let’s talk tomorrow. ...Didn’t want to talk while I was still pissed.” I hope you appreciate what he’s doing here. He’s being honest and telling you why he doesn’t want to talk right now. And, in my opinion, he is being especially responsible to the relationship by saying that he wants to talk later, and just as importantly, when. That is mature stuff. You know where he is coming from, no assumptions necessary.

jca's avatar

I am curious if you “talked up the event” i.e. said “I am very excited about reading the poems” or discussed details of what the event was going to be and what it was going to be like for you. You don’t say in your posts if you discussed it much with him. If you didn’t, then he’s not a mind reader. If you did, than he should have, if he’s perceptive, realized that it meant a lot to you. He is a lawyer so he should be perceptive, as lawyers usually have to “read” people.

I agree with Bellatrix – if you are a young woman, you have to ask yourself if this relationship is fulfilling for you. Is it progressing? Do you want it to progress? Do you like just doing the weekend thing?

How far does he live from you? Is it very hard for you to get to see him during the week because of distance?

Did you every try popping in on him, on a week night, as a surprise? Just curious.

KNOWITALL's avatar

So you’re with a hard-working attorney with committment issues, but you are putting pressure on him to make you happy, without openly communicating your needs in advance, and then blaming him when you’re not happy, then being pushy about him not communicating with you?!

I’d be mad, too. He’s probably thinking about whether it’s worth it to him to continue or not.

janbb's avatar

You must be thoroughly confused by now! The answers are all over the map. The truth is no-one can know what is going on in a relationship except for the two people involved – and even they don’t usually know. I agree with you that the two of you probably need to talk things out but it is true that some people need time to process and his silence may not be totally passive-aggressive. And you did maybe expect him to read your mind. If you can wait until this weekend and then talk it out face-to-face when he is not working, that may be the best. But not easy I know.

Coloma's avatar

@femmefatale Everything else aside, but..he has been very clear about not being cut out to be a “7 day a week guy.”
I am a 53 year old female that has been divorced for 10 years and I feel exactly the same. This is one big reason I have not dated more in the last 2–3 years. I do not WANT a full time, full blown relationship.

I also have no interest in a casual relationship, so I know myself well enough these days to currently opt out, period.
I am busy and tired too and most days I just want to come home, rip off my bra, put on my funky PJ’s and relax. I do not want the hassle of “scheduling” a relationship and all the work that involves at this time of life.
A 20 year age gap along with personality differences and obviously, communication issues, doesn’t bode well for a LT scene.

He is not going to change, repeat, he is NOT GOING TO CHANGE!

Rarebear's avatar

stuck on the image of @coloma coming home and ripping off her bra :-)

Coloma's avatar

@Rarebear LOL, yeah elipticals make great bra hangers. Gotta exercise those bras.

femmefatale's avatar

Yes, jca, I’d eventually like to have a fully committed relationship with someone: either a domestic partnership or marriage. I’m not saying I want it with him necessarily (I might), but I am open to that and desirous of it. I don’t want it for a while because I have been married before for 15 years and want to take some time off from being married. But I do want it again. And, yes, I’d like this relationship to progress.

Regarding the distance, he lives about 14 miles from me. But I don’t think it would be good to “pop in” during the week as a surprise. I don’t think he’d like that or be receptive to it, unless he had asked me over.

femmefatale's avatar

He must be over being “pissed” now because I see about half an hour ago he sent me a text asking me if I was familiar with some poet who used to do regular commentary on NPR and which he enjoyed. NPR and literature are both common interests of ours.

gailcalled's avatar

You are still dancing to his tune, you know.

You can’t pop in without an invitation? Not a good sign.

He is now over being pissed…lucky you. Are you over being pissed? Would he care?

glacial's avatar

@femmefatale You’ve been dating for over a year, and you can’t pop in? Dude, you could do so much better than this.

janbb's avatar

@femmefatale I don’t necessarily agree with that about the not popping in. He clearly has set some boundaries between his weekday and his weekend routines. The question is whether they are ones you can live with and only you can decide that.

diavolobella's avatar

@femmefatale It touched a chord with me when you mentioned having been previously married for 15 years and your age. I divorced after 15 years of marriage and met the man I am currently in a relationship with. Our relationship is very much as you describe yours. We see each other almost exclusively on the weekends, we usually do what he wants to do (although he asks for my input to a degree) and he pretty much has molded the “format” of the relationship and has always managed to control the level of commitment involved. One difference in our situations is that I am the older party. When we met, I had just turned 40 and he 30.

We are now in the 11th year of our relationship and nothing has changed. We still do not live together, we are not engaged nor do I believe we ever will be. I have come to realize that the relationship is very convenient for him as it is and he has no intention of changing it regardless of what my feelings may be. I invested 10 years in this relationship before I finally was able to accept that nothing will ever EVER change. I now feel that any chance I ever had of remarrying is gone and now it is too late to attempt another relationship, even if I had the heart for it, which I do not. It makes me very sad. I have had to start viewing the relationship the way he does, as a convenience, because that’s all it is and it’s all I’m apparently going to ever have. I have given up any hope of ever being married again or having a true partnership. It’s obviously not going to happen.

So, if you really do want a fully committed relationship, you should take a cold, hard look at the relationship you are in and ask yourself realistically if you think this man will ever give you that. If, in the cold light of day, the answer is no, I urge you to get out now and save yourself a broken heart.

dabbler's avatar

I think @janbb is right, the popping-in boundary would totally be his right. He may be someone who relaxes and recharges only when alone.
You can turn the question around and establish a mutually agreeable pop-over policy. Call first, give him the space to say no when he wants to, make a date the day before, stuff like that.
If you were living together he might need his ‘office hours’ or time off while you go out.

jca's avatar

I agree with @gailcalled‘s most recent post. It sounds like this relationship is great for the boyfriend, but not necessarily for you. His needs are met; are yours?

Also I recommend you look at what you want out of a relationship, and decide if you want to let years go by with something that you are not happy with. Buttonstc wrote something on another post in the past few months about “wasting the pretty.” It was about not letting your youth go by (and your prettiness) with a relationship that you are not invested in.

femmefatale's avatar

Well, diavolobella, this is a man who has told me he’s indecisive. I am pretty indecisive myself, though.

Early on (last January), we were sharing things about our past when we were getting to know each other, and he said of his failed marriage, “It took me a long time to get in to that relationship—we went out for 7 years before we got married—and with little kids when we split, it took me a long time emotionally and financially to unwind from that relationship. So, relationships scared the shit out of me. Don’t think I’ve ever articulated this to anybody before.”

When we broke up for three months starting in August (when he said he felt like something “was missing”), and he came back and pursued me in November, he said, “If I hadn’t been thinking about you, I wouldn’t be writing this. I think the thing that was missing was something I wouldn’t or couldn’t let through. You probably don’t want to hear all this stuff, and why I have reacted as I have, but as I said, I’ve been struggling with this myself, trying to figure out why I’ve behaved in a way that’s hard to explain rationally.

I know this probably sounds like a lot of psychobabble, but I guess my problem has been opening up emotionally, i.e. defense mechanisms. I’m beginning to feel like a neurotic Woody Allen character here, so I’ll stop before I make your head want to explode, but I’ll get back to you and maybe we can find a time to talk.”

After we got back together, he cried two different times when we were talking about our relationship. (I’ve also seen him cry at a couple of movies.)

I’ve wondered if he’s emotionally unavailable, but he expresses his emotions at times…

KNOWITALL's avatar

Sounds like he’s trying to analynze himself and grow, as long as those defense mechanisms don’t push you away while protecting him. Only you know whether it’s worth it to you, just don’t settle for less than you deserve.

femmefatale's avatar

Yes, KNOWITALL, I just don’t want to be stuck in a relationship of convenience where the other person is getting sex and companionship on his schedule, and I feel alone and without affection. I want a partner.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@femmefatale You could always ‘take a break’, date someone else and see how what happens. He did it to you.

Or you could be one of those women who settle for what their man will give them, glad to be with a successful man and revel in his glories as his ‘support system.’

Probably time to have a great meal, great time in the sack, and sit in bed and talk a bit afterwards or on Sunday morning. If you tell him what you need and he blows you off, you’ll know that he’s not respecting you and your needs/ desires.

“I feel alone and without affection”- that is not cool and if he doesn’t get that, he may be a selfish jerk, but I think he may surprise you. All you can do is keep trying until you’re tired of it.

Gabby101's avatar

I have to agree with those that say you probably needed to be more explicit. I would have been hurt by what he said and as a friend, I would have understood it was important to you, but I find that (in general), men are not as sensitive about this kind of stuff. I’m very explicit with my husband – I would say something like “This is really important to me and it’s important to me that you come to this event.” If this guy were a jerk he wouldn’t have apologized and would have told you that you wanting him to attend was “lame.”

Everyone is different, but I find that men like to have a little space to think things out or let things cool down rather than talk about what happened and try to solve it that way. I wouldn’t keep reaching out to a man, but let him come to me when he’s ready and then you can both talk about it without so much emotion. The trick is to have faith that he will contact you once he’s ready and to know that if he doesn’t, nothing you could have said would have fixed it.

femmefatale's avatar

Ok, he called and apologized and reiterated that he didn’t realize it was that important to go to. He thought I was required to go because I’m on the board of directors. I apologized for the miscommunication on my part and the assumption.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@femmefatale Solved and solved. Woo hoo!

jca's avatar

This issue was solved and that’s great, but the real issue (in my opinion) about what you want in the long term and whether this man can accommodate that remains to be seen.

wundayatta's avatar

Whoa! You women think that’s a solution? An apology? You’re willing to drop the issues about not getting affection and feeling lonely just like that?

It’s a start and it’s a good thing. But miscommunication and especially the failure to communicate and negotiate over important needs is still an ongoing issue that isn’t solved by an apology.

@femmefatale Does he know you feel lonely and in need of affection at times?

Now, just because you communicate about something doesn’t mean you will get what you want. But if you don’t communicate, you guarantee you won’t get anything. You guys have opened a door a bit here. I think the door has more to open. I don’t know what will happen. However I think you will feel better if you start talking about what you want. Not what you need, but what you want.

It’s not that you are demanding anything, either. It’s about communication and understanding, not about manipulating each other. Hopefully he will be able to give you more of what you want, and hopefully you will also be able to give him more of what he wants. Reciprocation. To me, that’s what builds a relationship.

jca's avatar

@femmefatale: Please consider posting an update in the future (near or far, or near and far), if you’d like, as to how things turn out for you.

The Update Lady

femmefatale's avatar

I will update even further later.

He’s asked me to stay and watch the Super Bowl with him tonight. I’m still at his house, and he’s gone to his law office to work this afternoon. He’ll be back just before it starts at 5:30. I was hoping he’d ask.

I asked him last night while we were lying in bed talking if he thought he was beginning to be able to open up more emotionally and not be so closed off, and he said, yes, he thought he was making progress. He’s also asked me to go with him to New Orleans to hear his son play in a band the first weekend in March. We’ll be gone for four days.

Last year, I was kind of hurt when he went to a jazz festival in Colorado in August and stayed at his brother’s second home and didn’t ask me to come along. (We both like the same kinds of music, one of our common interests, but I’m the one really into jazz even more than him.) He said his brother was “kind of different” and he couldn’t really bring anyone else along, but I wouldn’t have minded staying in a hotel. However, we have only been going out for 6 months and so I accepted it. That’s right before we broke up.

I think he’s probably planning to go again this year, and he hasn’t said anything about it to me. I would love to go but am not going to invite myself. I have two questions:

1) Am I right to feel this way about the trip? I don’t mind us doing things apart, but this is something I’d really enjoy doing, and I don’t know why he wouldn’t want me along.

2) How do I discuss this issue with him without seeming pushy? I had dinner with his parents and sister last night, about the third or fourth time we’ve been together. I said, “When do I get to meet your brother?” He said, “I don’t know. He’s kind of strange. We might have to go to Nashville to see him.” His brother’s primary house in Nashville. No mention of any future trip to Colorado.

jca's avatar

@femmefatale: Just a suggestion- post those as a new question because it’s possible that many people that originally were following this thread are no longer following. I would post the questions as a new question to get a maximum number answering. Perhaps put a link to this question so people can fill themselves in.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@femmefatale Maybe his brother is VERY different and he feels awkward about you dealing with it if you went. One of my husband’s brothers is different and it makes him a little embarassed sometimes.

gailcalled's avatar

In a nutshell, he is still calling all the shots.

You are still asking a group of strangers to validate your feelings.

You still are wondering why “he wouldn’t want me along.”

The devil is not in the details but in the sense, still unchanged as far as I can tell, of the macro-relationship.

Reread all the earlier answers. They still apply.

JLeslie's avatar

When I was dating and falling in love with my now husband the relationship happened like the most natural thing in the world. If you constantly feel like you are waiting for him…waiting for him to get over being angry, waiting for him to say yes to plans, waiting for him to want to take the relationship to the next step…then I would assume you can’t feel completely happy and secure. You might feel elation at times on your roller coaster, but not that steady calm that feels secure and loving.

Of course I can’t know exactly what it is like in your relationship, all of us here are just basing our answers on several paragraphs of information. I think you should think about what you really want in a relationship, make a list. Think about the relationship your parents had (what I mean by that is the adult relationship you most grew up witnessing in your home) the relationship you had as a child with your parents, and the previous romantic relationships you have had. Are you repeating relationships that never made you very happy, but feel familiar? Does this guy treat you as your father did? Does he stir up familiar feelings? Waiting for approval? Hoping he still wants you? The age difference bothers me a little, but not much considering you are well into aduthood.

Generally healthy relationships feel great during the calm. Some people feel bored when it is calm, and are drawn to volatile relationships. I am not assuming anything about you specifically, but I do think you should look inward at what you desire in a relationship and make sure this guy really fits, and try to step away from the pure emotion you feel for him. Be a little analytical about it.

When I was first dating my husband he asked me if I would be willing to move for his career pursuits. Seems his girlfriend before me would not consider moving at all, and although they were very happy together he broke it off. Don’t settle. I don’t mean you have to bail on the reationship if he is just moving at a slightly slower pace on the committment scale, just don’t ignore red flags if they are there.

Like I said above, he seems like a good guy overall, but just know there are many good guys, seek one that makes you very happy.

Inspired_2write's avatar

He thinks like a lawyer. he never said tht he would come,period.
Law is his bread and butter.
You would not accept his choice anyways.
Maybe could have had the whole poem reading filmed and viewed it together.
He had spent a long time to set up his schedule of activities with you.
Maybe he is a slave to schedules?
He found someone to fit in his schedule nicely without complaint until now?
Wait until HE contacts you, instead of constantly calling him?
Let HIM have the opportunity to miss YOU for once.

Bellatrix's avatar

I wonder how this has developed?

Inspired_2write's avatar

yes you are right to point that out.
It happened two months ago.

jca's avatar

The OP has not logged on since around the time of this question two months ago.

femmefatale's avatar

We are still together, and things seem to be going well. He seems to be warming up to me the longer we stay together.

gailcalled's avatar

He seems to be warming up to me the longer we stay together.

Again, he is in charge.

I wish that I could change my comment of two months ago, but sadly, I need to repeat it.

” ...he is still calling all the shots..”.

JLeslie's avatar

I have to age with @gailcalled, you are in a waiting and hoping mode, letting him control the relationship. Find someone who you both are head over heals for each other.

JLeslie's avatar

Should be agree with @gailcalled.

glacial's avatar

@JLeslie Nice Freudian slip. :)

JLeslie's avatar

Not Freud; typo on my part with iPad autocorrect added in.

glacial's avatar

@JLeslie That’s what she said.

Bellatrix's avatar

He’s “warming up to me”? I feel sad that this is enough for you.

Ela's avatar

^^ no doubt

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