Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“How Can I Make Him Want a Relationship With Me?”

I have been with this guy, “Tony,” for a year and four months. He’s 30 now and I am only 24. Age is not an issue in this case though. At the beginning, he told me he did not want a relationship due to the fact he had been cheated on by his fiancée in his own bed five years earlier. Months went by and I asked what we were and where we were going, and he said he just wanted to take things slow, which I understood because of his past. Then somehow I ended up staying the night at his place so often that I was basically living with him; I had my own drawers full of clothes and everything. One night I brought the dirty clothes basket downstairs and he put a clean sheet in it thinking they were clean clothes. When I told him they were dirty, he snapped, and so I left the house that night and went to my house.

At that point, we were like ten months in. For two months after that he told me he was tired of leading me, that he didn’t want a relationship with me, and that he didn’t like how basically I moved myself into his place and overstayed my welcome. He then blocked my phone number, saying I called him too much throughout the day. He said we didn’t have to talk every day and spend every day together, but before that it had never been a problem. After two months, he was fine again, and we slowly started getting back together. I stopped myself from staying the night, but, though everything seemed good, I had a gut feeling something was wrong.

It turns out he had, in fact, been cheating on me. There was a girl that I thought maybe something had happened with, so I messaged her and asked if she had had anything with him in the past, and she told me to come over because she wanted to tell me face-to-face. I thought, okay, she is going to tell me about something that happened when he and I first started dating, but then she told me that they had slept together in early December, which broke my heart. Tony swears he was drunk and doesn’t remember it. He cried and apologized to me. I told him that if he wants me in his life, there will be a title or nothing. He told me he will not be pressured into a relationship that he isn’t ready for. I forgave him for cheating because, what can I say, we aren’t together. I can’t give up on him, but I don’t know what to do. I want to trust him, I want to believe he didn’t remember the cheating, and I want to believe he will never hurt me again, but he refuses to actually be with me.

P.S. We do go to family events together and his family loves me. — Loved By His Family

You can argue all you want that your age isn’t an issue, but I’ll tell you exactly why it is: Most women who are older and wiser than you are at 24 aren’t going to fall for all the bullshit lines and lies you have fallen for and continue to call for. If a guy says he doesn’t want a relationship with you because he was hurt five years ago, RUN. This is someone who is either using an excuse to avoid commitment with you — and thereby sleeping with whomever else he wants without getting in trouble because, oh well, you weren’t “actually together” — OR he has such deep unresolved issues that he’ll let an event that happened years ago in his life keep him from pursuing happiness. Either way, you’re not going to have a satisfying, healthy relationship with this guy. An older guy knows a younger woman who isn’t very wise yet is less likely to understand this important lesson, so he’s going to go for younger women whom he can manipulate into pseudo-relationships where he gets what he wants – sex, companionship, someone to wash his dirty clothes — without actually giving anything meaningful, like a commitment and love and respect, in return.

Second, only a woman who has under-developed self-esteem, which is far more common in younger women, would actually fight to be with a man who dumps her ass, blocks her number for months, cheats on her, and then arrogantly says he refuses to be pressured into a relationship he isn’t ready for. Going to family events with this guy doesn’t erase how horribly he treats you and how little respect and regard he has for you. He dumped you because you failed to tell him the clothes basket was full of dirty clothes that you were going to wash for him, and then he blocked your number for two months, AND YOU STILL WANT TO BE WITH HIM. If you can’t “give up” a guy who so obviously doesn’t want to be with you, who treats you like shit, and who cheats on you and lies to you and manipulates you, then I don’t know what to say to you except for the love of all that is still good in this world: please, please don’t get pregnant. Use multiple forms of birth control, and get regularly tested for STIs. You are absolutely not the only woman Tony is currently sleeping with, and you never will be as long as he continues to find women with low enough self-esteem to fall for his bullshit.

I am 22 and met this guy, “Rolando,” who is 14 years older than me. He is a very handsome and energetic man. He’s divorced and has a 9-year-old child who lives with the mom. Rolando, who was my friend before he became my boyfriend, hired me to be his nanny so he could take custody of his child. I agreed and moved in with him. But the child was not given to him by the mom, and the court issues have still not been settled.

During all the court issues, we fell in love with each other. But when we went out for a date one day, he told me he has a sugar mommy. I was heartbroken, but he later told me he was going to work things out to be with me. Well, when his sugar mommy found out about us, she tried to kill herself. My boyfriend wants to be with me, but he’s afraid of his sugar mommy. She showers my boyfriend with lots of gifts. Now my boyfriend is breaking up with me to be with her. But I love him and am not ready to give up on him. Please, what should I do? — Not His Sugar Mommy

 
Everything I said to the LW above and this: you are not his girlfriend and never have been. He probably isn’t even fighting for custody of his child. He likely just told you that to get you to move in with him. Let me guess: After you moved in, you started cooking and cleaning and, generally, taking care of the house, right? You do his laundry and clean the toilets and make his dinner? You know how I know this? Because I’m not a naive, malleable 22-year-old desperate for love and affection like you are. A man like Rolando can sniff out women like you — women he can manipulate and cheat on and take advantage of. He’s doing it with his sugar mommy, too, who is probably a lot older than you and still falling for bullshit because she likely never had anyone in her life who told her she was worth more than this and deserved better than this, or if she did have, she didn’t love herself enough to believe it.

I hope you can find enough love for yourself to believe me when I say: You are worth more than this, you deserve better than this, and this is not how a happy relationship begins. And if you aren’t there yet – if you don’t have that love for yourself yet and you continue sleeping with this user, please, at the very, very least, use lots of protection, don’t get pregnant, and make sure you are getting regularly tested for STIs.

But really: you’re better than this!

***************
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

27 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Fyodor January 16, 2020, 11:06 am

    If a guy repeatedly tells you that he doesn’t want a relationship with you, he probably doesn’t want a relationship with you.

    https://youtu.be/Zmvt7yFTtt8

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie January 16, 2020, 11:12 am

    LW#1 – listen to his words. He is telling you the truth. He doesn’t want to be your boyfriend. You were convenient until you weren’t convenient anymore.

    LW#2 – Why does he have a sugar momma – because he can’t support himself? Is he paying you while you play nanny-in-waiting? Is he paying you or is the sugar momma paying you? Why don’t you want better for yourself. You deserve better.

    How have we raised women to accept this?

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  • avatar

    anonymousse January 16, 2020, 11:47 am

    LW1- You can’t make him love you, if he won’t. You can’t make someone feel something they won’t.

    You tried. Pick up what’s left of your self respect and take some time to be single and maybe see a therapist.

    LW2- You should move on. He left you for his sugar momma. What else is there to do?

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster January 16, 2020, 11:54 am

    Jesus Christ ladies. AIM HIGHER ffs.

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    • avatar

      BonV January 16, 2020, 9:45 pm

      Love this reply! It’s so succinct!

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark January 16, 2020, 12:00 pm

    Both their letters are hilariously black and white. Oh, well.

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  • Guy Friday

    Guy Friday January 16, 2020, 1:05 pm

    I’m with Wendy on LW2, but LW1 . . . I think that the problem is her, not him. Like others have said before: “When someone tells you who they are, believe them.” He said FROM DAY ONE that he didn’t want a relationship, didn’t want the label, didn’t want to be tied down. WHY he didn’t want it is irrelevant; we don’t ask women to justify why they don’t want relationships with men, so why shouldn’t the reverse be true?

    So then she proceeds to imply that she’s OK with this, while moving her stuff in as she stays there every night, until there’s the laundry basket incident. Wendy interprets this as him making an excuse to dump her, and while I agree his communication sucks, I think an equally plausible interpretation is that it hit him in that moment that he was basically in a pseudo-relationship that he didn’t want to be in. So he broke it off, blocked her, and cooled it down for a few months, and then they got back involved after he (I assume) believed the LW got the message that he didn’t want something serious. And then she confronts him about “cheating” — and, again, you weren’t in a relationship, so it’s not cheating, and it’s ridiculous to argue that it is — and gives him a make-or-break ultimatum, and he chooses to break. Which, again, is HIS right to choose.

    I’m fine with calling out assholes for asshole behavior, and I’m in no way calling this guy a saint. But he’s not an asshole simply because the LW deluded herself into thinking he wasn’t telling the truth and she could change him and then being unsuccessful. That’s 100% on her.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse January 16, 2020, 1:18 pm

      Yeah, I agree with that. I think a lot of young, naive women agree to stick it out in casual relationships even if it’s not what they want because they believe they can change someone’s mind. They think if they play it right and act like a “cool girl,” they’ll eventually get what they want.

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    • avatar

      LisforLeslie January 16, 2020, 2:27 pm

      Totally agree. This was “what the hell did I get into?” moment. He always had a foot out the door, it’s just that she started getting really comfortable and they never discussed it. As I said – it was fine until it was no longer convenient to have a woman’s stuff all over his house when he wanted to have someone else sleep over.

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    • bittergaymark

      Bittergaymark January 16, 2020, 3:23 pm

      Agreed. He was never NOT clear about NOT wanting a relations. The subject of the delusion is NEVER to blame.

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    • avatar

      Essie January 16, 2020, 3:42 pm

      Also agree. He couldn’t have been plainer: he said up front that he wasn’t going to be her boyfriend. It’s not like he’s been leading her on. She seems to think that because he had sex with her and let her stay over frequently, that there was some sort of implied relationship or promise of monogamy, when he’s said over and over and over again that that wasn’t happening.

      LW, I’m sorry you’re hurting. But you’ve done this to yourself. You assumed that if you hung around long enough and slept with him enough times, he’d fall in love with you. That’s not how love works.

      Break it off, now. You say you can’t give up on him, but it’s not only up to you. He’s made it clear that he’s not interested in the kind of relationship you want. You can’t change that. Let this hurtful mess go, and free yourself.

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    • avatar

      FYI January 16, 2020, 10:43 pm

      I agree, but was he really crying because he was “cheating” (he wasn’t)? If so, that’s a bit much.

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      • Guy Friday

        Guy Friday January 17, 2020, 12:29 pm

        Unreliable narrator though. Was he crying because of guilt over “cheating” or crying because of something else in the argument she said or did, or even not really crying at all? We don’t really know.

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  • avatar

    BonV January 16, 2020, 9:44 pm

    LW1: Boy, he found a stupid sucker in you! You’re very young so perhaps you haven’t come across a person such as this before but he’s just testing you to see how much you’ll put up with. Run, don’t walk away from this “relationship”. Work on yourself and ask why you are willing to put up with such crappy treatment from someone (“But I LOOOOVE him” is BS, you love the drama or being treated poorly – no one would even treat their animals as bad as he is treating you).

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  • avatar

    Marta January 17, 2020, 2:40 am

    Girl. So what if he cried!! He lied to you and cheated on you no matter if he was drunk. Also he kicked you out of his place, and if he really loved you,

    1. He wouldn’t have kicked you out of the house
    2. He wouldn’t have cheated on you

    And if he cheated once, believe me, he will again!! You’re worth better than that. Girl power babe! Dump him!!!!

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  • avatar

    mellanthe January 17, 2020, 4:49 am

    LW1: If a man says he doesn’t want a relationship, listen. 5 years is plenty of time to get over a past relationship, and if he’s not over it then he has no business upsetting you over his issues. If it’s like 2 weeks in, then yeah, it’s a bit fast. But the point is, you gave him time – ten months! And he still decided he doesn’t want anything with you. He told you that you’ve overstayed your welcome, and he’s distanced himself from you. And he’s cheated. All of these suggest he doesn’t respect or value you, and can’t give you what you want and need. You’re wasting your time with him.

    I have friends who have done that for years, and no relationship happened. It’s cruel of him to bring you round to his family since he has no intention of you being his girlfiend. Some guys are very good at giving just enough of an impression that you might be their GF to keep you hanging on but fall short of delivering. And then when they want to, they throw it in your face. It’s sad that you accept being cheated on because ‘you’re not his GF’ but is that all you aspire to be in life? Someone’s bit on the side? You deserve better.

    LW2: He chose his sugar mama. If he could take care of himself financially, he’d be free to do what he wanted (and honey, you should aim for a man who can at least keep a roof over his head). Does he need her, or does he merely enjoy her gifs and attention and the drama that comes with them. Regardless, if he picked her, there’s little you can do, and you deserve more.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark January 17, 2020, 5:15 am

    What? My Mildly pithy post was edited?

    Lame. Very.

    Peace out. It’s been fun.

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  • avatar

    MaggieB January 17, 2020, 1:57 pm

    LW1, I could practically have written your letter when I was your age. So, I have a ton of sympathy for you, and therefore feel like people are being a little hard on you in some of the comments. In particular, guys like that often purposely send mixed signals so they can have it both ways–your affection and devotion when they want it, and their freedom when they don’t. When they’re saying they don’t want a relationship with you, but also treating you like a serious girlfriend in many ways, it’s tempting to take cues from what they’re doing more than what they’re saying, because you want to focus on the one that points in the direction you’re hoping.

    But every word Wendy said is right on the money. Apart from the self esteem thing she mentioned, one of the benefits of getting older is that the roller coaster ride of romantic drama often becomes less stimulating and more tedious, and someday you may well look back and wonder how you were ever in a headspace that made dealing with all that BS feel remotely worth it.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse January 17, 2020, 3:40 pm

      No, please don’t blame his communication for her hurt feelings. He has been very clear. She chose to pretend his feelings would change. She needs to absorb this and understand where she went wrong.

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  • avatar

    María Rodríguez Solís January 20, 2020, 1:54 pm

    I think this guy isn’t good for you. He has cheated you and you shouldn’t forgive him because he wants to be free and he doesn’t want to be controled.
    That’s why he told you not to go to his house, because he was taking girls there at night.
    You shouldn’t trust this guy. He wants to play with your heart.
    I also think he was the one who cheated his fiancée on their own bed, not the other way around.
    Boys who cheat you once will always repeat.
    You are young and you mustn’t have a toxic relationship you have a long life to meet someone who loves you.
    I think that you should get along with his family after all.

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  • avatar

    Anonymous January 20, 2020, 1:55 pm

    In my opinion you should forget him, because he doesn’t love you and I’m so sorry for tell you, but it’s the truth. Yo have to open your eyes and your see you situation because it’s ver difficult but I know that you can forget him and love yourself, because always you have to think in you before than other person. I know this sound very arrogant bit a lot of people think the same. In a relationship always should have communication, love and respect, this thins are basical in a relationship. He could love you but he chose other woman and lost to a better, but so much man are like that. He thinks in himself and no thought in your and he wasn’t sympathetic. Basically he disrespected you and if you accept this you don’t love yourself enough and I’m sure that you are a magnifical woman and for this you don’t have to go after him. I hope you take my advice and serve you. And remember you are an amazing woman.

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  • avatar

    Diva January 20, 2020, 2:40 pm

    How stupid are these young women? Do you not have access to therapy? Any man who depends on a woman to sustain his financial needs is a man not having. His telling the woman about you was a way to have the sugar mommy up her ante- she didn’t try to kill herself- but her bank account is surely dying. Seems like he was using you…but believe what you want. And a man who blocks your number is busy doing him…and whoever else. Some people have to learn the hard way. Seems like they’re in that category.

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