We both agreed that letting things progress organically is working well for both of us. I met his kids three times when he brought them into work (we work together, different departments but same building). However, I’ve never been invited to meet anyone from his life. He hasn’t had his kids around when we hang out together — just the few times in passing. Am I worrying too soon about when I should be meeting his friends, family, and kids? He met several of my friends for the first time this last weekend, and I have invited him to do stuff with my friends all the time, with this weekend being the first time he said yes. He has mentioned once or twice that I should meet a friend of his, but he hasn’t followed through. Do I just need to be patient and let him take the lead with his comfort level? He is slowly moving forward, but every now and then I feel him pull back. It hurts, but I let him. When I feel the pull back, I give him space and he comes back. How long will I be in this weird, don’t know if he is fully in, situation? Do you think the signs he is giving me now are enough to be patient and see where this goes? — Taking It Slow
I’m not sure why you are confused about whether or not he’s “fully in.” He most definitely is NOT fully in, or even partly in. He explained to you in the beginning, and then again before you had sex, that he doesn’t want a committed relationship. You seem to think that means he doesn’t want a “title,” but it’s more than that. He told you from the beginning he just wanted to be friends “without the pressure of expectations.” You are putting expectations on him/your relationship. You want to meet his friends and family, you want him to spend time with yours. You want to integrate your lives like couples do, but you aren’t a couple. You are friends who spend a lot of time together and now have sex, too, but you aren’t a real couple. He does not want to be your boyfriend and he does not want you to be his girlfriend. The expectations you have for your relationship are the exact expectations he hopes to avoid.
A few weeks ago, before you slept together for the first time, you had a long talk in which you agreed with him that “letting things progress organically” was working well for you. But it doesn’t sound like it IS working well for you. Or you wouldn’t be writing to me for advice. You want more than he’s giving you. Why did you let him believe you were perfectly fine with what you two had? Why are you afraid to voice what YOU want? Why is it all about HIS comfort level, what he wants, what he is ready for? You don’t want to push him, but even without pushing him he’s apparently pulling back “every now and then” and it hurts you but “you let him.” And then when you “give him space,” he “comes back.” You want to know what these signs mean? It means he doesn’t want a committed relationship with all the trappings and expectations. Nothing about that has changed. He doesn’t want to know your friends and family or vice-versa. He’s not interested. And you can justify it all you want by saying his ex hurt him and he needs time and you need to move slowly and be patient, but he’s a grown ass man who’s been married twice; if he’s not ready for a relationship, he shouldn’t be dating and fucking you and saying that you’re building a foundation for a future. If he’s not ready for a relationship NOW, how can he predict what he’s going to want in the future and when he’s going to want it? You’re supposed to just keep hanging around with him indefinitely, with zero expectations and unmet emotional needs until he’s ready to build something on this foundation you’re supposedly creating, who knows when that will be? No.
It’s beyond time for you to be honest with yourself and with him. You want something different than what you’re getting here. You’ve had enough with “being friends,” and you want a boyfriend and shared visions and goals for the future. Is he in or is he out? Ask him. And if he gives you the same dumb line about moving slowly, tell him you’ve been moving slowly and now you’re ready to pick up the pace and if he’s not, then you’re going to pick up the pace in the opposite direction because you’re a grown ass woman who’s been dating a man for six months, now sleeping with him, and you’re tired of pretending like this is just friendship. If he lets you go, he was never planning to hang on to you in the first place and better you know that now than after another year of “letting things progress organically.”
He’s open to telling me what they do/talk about and I’ve learned that they don’t talk about me aside from that she’s asked him once (a week after he broke up with her) if we’re back together, to which he answered no. She’s told him she loves him, but he told her he couldn’t say it back because it wasn’t right. She messaged him recently (when she was drinking) saying she wants to be more than friends and she liked and misses their sex, but he didn’t respond. She decorated his desk for his birthday and was going to bake him a cake but didn’t know what kind he liked. She drives him to and from work because they have the same shifts, she treats him to lunch a lot of the time, and she crashed on the couch once and then cleaned his whole kitchen while he was sleeping.
He says he’s trying to let his coworker down nicely/slowly so it won’t seem like he left her for me because he would like to still be friends with her and not have anything awkward at work. He says I have nothing to worry about and that things will work themselves out and that the only issue is I’m being jealous. I don’t mind if they’re friends and hang out occassionally, but I don’t understand why for the two months after they broke up he’s still keeping me a secret from her when they agreed to be friends. It hurts me and I feel that if she knew about me, we would all be better off. He knows it bothers me and I asked him when he’s going to tell her we’re together, and he just says that it will all work itself out, to trust him, and to stop worrying.
I trust him p, but I feel bad for her, and I’m not sure if I should wait to see how things unfold or if I should message her myself to tell her in a polite way.
I need some advice please; I’m not sure what to do! — Second Chances
No, you shouldn’t tell the other woman that you and your boyfriend are back together, but you should take heed of this enormous red flag flying in your face. Your boyfriend is being deceitful – to her and to you. He’s trying to have his cake and eat it too. And you are completely, 100% enabling him to do just that. He’s taking major advantage of both of you.
Let me ask you: the problems that existed that prompted you to break up in the first place – were they resolved somehow while you were dating other people? If so, how? In what way? I am guessing the more likely thing is that you decided you missed each other and should get back together and so you did. Maybe your boyfriend even suggested that the issues you had would “work themselves out” and to “trust him.”
Here’s the thing: issues don’t work themselves out on their own. You have to work through them, together, with effort and commitment. I just can’t believe that someone who can’t even fully break up with the person he was dating during your breakup, has bothered to work through and commit to fixing the issues he had with you. I don’t believe it for a second. And he hasn’t fully broken up with her, I don’t care what he’s told you. Guys – people — can be really, really good about letting someone believe there’s a chance for a future together without actually committing to a relationship or “giving it a title” (see letter one today); there’s an awfully good chance that he’s told this other woman that he isn’t “ready for a relationship” and there’s a good chance she agreed to “slow down” and let things happen organically. So she continues carpooling with him, and cleaning his kitchen (wtf, by way!), and decorating his desk, and telling him she loves him. And your boyfriend gets to enjoy all this attention and affection. He gets to keep this poor woman on the line while he leans into whatever co-dependecy you two developed in your eight years together that made it difficult – but not impossible! – to actually break up with each other.
Maybe I’m wrong, but the signs are clearly there: your boyfriend isn’t really interested in being committed to you. He probably finds a lot of comfort in being with you – it sounds like you’re an easy girlfriend to have who doesn’t put a lot of those tedious “expectations” on a partner. But it’s time to start, beginning with expecting your boyfriend to not be leading on another woman who’s professed her love to him. If he can’t honor that really very basic of expectations, it’s time to let him go for good.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.