Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend is Acting Distant with Me”

From the forums:

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost a year, and things have been over-the-top amazing—-until lately. I want to start off by saying I love my boyfriend and I also love spending time with his friends, but things have just been feeling off/distant. Last weekend he asked me if I wanted to go out after work on Friday for dinner and drinks, and I agreed. While I was on my way to his apartment, he texted me saying, “My friends might meet us at dinner if that’s ok.” Since I knew they were already at his apartment, I grudgingly agreed so as not to seem like a b**ch. Dinner felt very rushed as his friends decided they were no longer going to meet us and he wanted to meet up with them after we finished. When we went back to his place, all the guys showed up for a “guys’ night” with wrestling. Annoyed, I went home. He apologized for how the night had turned out and promised we would hang out the next night. I had already had dinner plans with my friends for a week, so I followed through on those and then met up with him afterward with my overnight bag, as previously planned, around 9 p.m. When I arrived at our meet-up, he and his friends were all making plans to hang out the following day for lunch. Midnight rolled around and I told him I was tired, but he continued to tell me he wasn’t leaving and if I was tired, I should just go home because he wasn’t ready to leave his friends. This turned into an argument as I had been under the impression that we were spending the night together, and I ended up going home alone that night instead. When I told him how much he had hurt me that weekend by making me feel like I was a lesser priority to him than his friends, we talked it over and he apologized for his behavior.

Fast forward to this weekend, I had invited him to dinner with my family Friday night. He told me ahead of time that his roommates were having the guys over and our night would probably end at dinner (which I was ok with). But then during dinner he told me they weren’t home yet and that we could do a wine-and-movie night. I agreed and went home to grab a few things. When I got home, he told me his friends had just gotten to his place, and I felt stupid that I had gotten my hopes up. I stayed home until later on when he realized I was upset and told me to come over. We talked it over again, and I told him how I understand that he needs “guy time,” but I want “us time.” Then tonight he asked what I was up to and asked if I wanted to come hang with him and his friends. He then said he wasn’t sure what they were doing and asked if I wanted to come over anyway. I agreed, only to have him say, as I was getting ready, “Change of plans – it’s actually just the guys.”

I am looking for some advice because I really don’t know what to do anymore. I love him so much and things have been so good, so I don’t want petty arguments to end everything. But at the same time, at the age of 23, I am beyond sick of crying over a boy every weekend — Feeling Dismissed

These aren’t petty arguments you’re having. Your boyfriend is regularly dismissing you and your feelings, choosing his friends over you, and sending a pretty clear signal that he has already emotionally moved on from your relationship. It may have been “over-the-top amazing,” but that is clearly no longer the case and your boyfriend doesn’t seem to care. Here’s the thing – the beginnings of relationships are often “over-the-top amazing,” particularly when you’re 23 and none of your emotional bandwidth is seemingly spent on things like, oh I don’t know, a raging pandemic and how to keep yourself and your community safe. When you are free of more adult-like responsibilities, it’s easy to devote a ton of attention to a relationship and feel like it’s super special as a result. But, if just a year in, the availability for the relationship hasn’t changed but the interest in it has – like in your boyfriend’s case – that’s a bad sign. It means the relationship has run its course. The excitement and thrill that fueled the early days have run out.

Making a relationship work when you’re fueled by thrill and excitement and lust is the easy part. The harder part – and the part that will really tell you whether a relationship has legs – is keeping it going once that initial rush wears off. And that’s where you are now. The initial rush is gone and your boyfriend is, frankly, over it. Not even the promise of sex (assuming that’s what happens on your wine and movie nights when you sleep over) wins out over a night spent wrestling with his guy friends. Dude, that’s not good. You’ve already discussed with your boyfriend how he makes you feel when he blows you off like he has (and that’s good that you are speaking up for yourself). He gives you platitudes about understanding and being sorry, but then he just repeats exactly the same behavior that you literally just told him hurts you. He doesn’t care. He can’t be bothered. He has already emotionally moved on. The only reason he hasn’t broken up with you is because that would take a modicum of effort. It’s easier for him to just keep treating you like shit and let you do the work of breaking up. I would advise doing just that and moving on already.

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

16 comments… add one
  • avatar

    cdobbs October 5, 2020, 9:28 am

    this guy is beyond inconsiderate….i would not put up with this rude behaviour that he will hang out when it is convenient for him, but if something better comes up he goes with those plans with no regard for the other person….ugh, just beyond reprehensible….i would lose this guy so fast

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  • avatar

    Kate October 5, 2020, 9:35 am

    I already commented on the forum post but wanted to also just say I think they’re WATCHING wrestling on TV, not actually getting together to wrestle. That’s a fraction less ridiculous.

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    Carrotstick21 October 5, 2020, 9:38 am

    Is everyone seriously hanging out in packs again every night? Am I the last person in the world still trying to avoid the virus? Dump this man so you don’t wind up like this guy (young people can get, and pass on, COVID19!!!) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/29/us/college-student-dies-covid.html

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    • avatar

      Kate October 5, 2020, 10:21 am

      Yes. I see it on my Instagram, which is a small bubble of liberal-leaning people. Baby showers. Weddings. Parties. Family gatherings. No masks. Even people who talk sanctimoniously about their “quaranteams” or “bubbles” are full of shit, because you do not know what those people are doing. My boss claims to be in a bubble or bubbles, but just manipulated a bunch of us into getting together. It was not possible to sit 6 feet apart and we passed food around. I’m the last person who wants to see anyone or socialize and even I got dragged into that. So yeah.

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      bagge72 October 5, 2020, 10:29 am

      Yeah, I don’t understand how people can feel comfortable doing this!

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      Kali October 5, 2020, 1:20 pm

      THIS!

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      • avatar

        Kate October 5, 2020, 1:27 pm

        If someone tells me they’re in a bubble, I distrust them because I assume they love to socialize and/or have to do activities for kids.

        NO ONE has been perfect. I got a real wake up call this weekend about how full of crap people are. I’m going to go back to just not seeing anybody ever.

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  • avatar

    bagge72 October 5, 2020, 10:07 am

    Your boyfriend keeps making plans with you and dropping them mid plan to be with his friends. This guy doesn’t love you, like Wendy said he’s just too lazy to break up with you! You are clearly not that important to him, and the fact that it seems like he doesn’t see you during the week, and when the weekend comes he’s only willing to have dinner with you and move on his way should be a pretty big red flag.

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  • avatar

    Rebecca October 5, 2020, 10:44 am

    I was dating a guy for a while who had a crazy schedule. It was *miserable* to pin down when he would be available for a date, and there were several last minute reschedulings because of work. But he never blew me off, stood me up, or made excuses. If I expressed frustration and asked for clearer communication, he gave it. If we confirmed on the day of, then he was there–he never made me wait. And so instead of being put off by how difficult it was to schedule, it really demonstrated that he was committed to fitting me in to his schedule.

    Find someone who respects you and your time, and who you can be excited about seeing. You deserve that.

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  • avatar

    Betty October 5, 2020, 10:49 am

    Quick question: does he have E.D. and is making up excuses for why you can’t be intimate? Assuming he is around your age, a guy in his early twenties turning down sex with his girlfriend repeatedly (or making out/whatever you do when you spend the night together) means that he either has E.D. or he is not interested in you. I would tell him that E.D. is nothing to be ashamed of and that you love him and together you can get through this. If he says he doesn’t have E.D. then you should act surprised and tell him that you’re breaking up.

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  • avatar

    Kc24 October 5, 2020, 3:01 pm

    I was in this relationship once. Turns out one of the guys included another girl. So there’s also that to look out for.

    Just end it. It’s not worth the hassle. He’s just being spineless by not ending it himself. Or just ghost him… because it’s probably what he’d do to you if you didn’t initiate all contact (which I assume you’re doing). Your call.

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  • avatar

    brise October 6, 2020, 2:05 am

    Feeling dismissed, I am sorry for this lousy behavior! You don’t deserve this. But let me comment on your reaction – the only thing you can control. You are way too gentle.
    – After the first mistreatment on the first Friday, you prepare your bag to go to his place as if nothing happened. No: a cold shoulder would have been appropriate.
    – After the second mistreatment, you invite him for dinner at your parents! But this is for good boyfriends, not lousy ones. It is also a commitment sign – the opposite of what he needs now. A break-up warning would have been in order.
    – And you accept his poor apologies and restart all this circus for a second week-end. His interpretation: “she can take everything, I can go on like this and avoid to make a decision.”

    The principle: reward good behavior, get icy to bad behavior. Like the other posters, I think he doubts the relationship and tries to withdraw without actually hurting you with a break-up. So: either dump him immediately with a short harsh letter, if you feel ready, or just disappear, ignore him totally. No call, no text, no sleepover bag, no sex. If he comes back on his knees, you can have a conversation about how serious he is about your relationship. And then date very slowly and lukewarm, with a drink. Be busy, have your next week-end fully booked, and make him wait. He has to deserve you.
    But all in all, a break-up seems the most probable. While you ignore him, get used to the idea that the relationship will end and then, if he contacts you again, break up when you feel ready.
    Your own good is what matters. You had a good relationship, but his behavior is untolerable. I would also avoid his friends in the future. They don’t respect you and seem utterly foolish.

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  • avatar

    Silje October 6, 2020, 4:58 am

    Only half-agreeing with the one above me here, rewarding or punishing behaviour is for dogs and very small kids, not your adult boyfriend.

    I see why this is hard for you since you have had a taste of how amazing your life with him could be, and maybe it’s just a phase and if you wait a bit longer and accept another brush-off then HE will reward YOU with good-boyfriend-behaviour again.. maybe? Please?

    No. I’m sorry. He will not change back and the sooner you accept that and move on, the better. I completely understand how you are tired of crying over a boy every weekend, so make this the last weekend you cry over him and tell him bye. Don’t let him sweet-talk you back in. Have YOUR friends over every night and do things you enjoy doing. No moping around alone. Good luck <3

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  • avatar

    Sea Witch October 6, 2020, 10:27 am

    Where the heck do these people live that they’re meeting up for dinner every night of the week?

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    • avatar

      SM October 6, 2020, 10:57 am

      Florida, maybe? That’s where I live, and we are in Phase 3 of reopening. Restaurants/Bars/Breweries can function at 100% capacity if social distancing can be maintained. Movie theaters, gyms, etc all allowed 100% capacity. We’re basically living the same as pre-COVID days down here. Masks are not mandated anymore and fines cannot be given, but are still required by a lot of restaurants and stores.

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      • avatar

        Kate October 6, 2020, 11:18 am

        It’s actually a blue state.

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