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Another recent issue I have is that my boyfriend recently became very cold with me and wouldn’t speak much to me. When I asked him what was wrong he was very quiet for a long time, and said that he felt like there was disconnect in the relationship and that I’d been shutting him out. This came as a surprise to me, and I asked him to give me some examples. He couldn’t give any. I am upset and don’t know what I did or what I can do to fix the situation. I told him that I feel like I honestly didn’t do anything to make him feel disconnected or excluded. Now I’m not sure how to act around him and I feel angry. He is saying he’s nervous about how I’ve reacted to what he brought up. I thought everything was fine, but he’s been very cold and quiet for a week, and then he told me he felt shut out when I pushed him to say something. HELP. — Cast Out
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caitie_didnt February 27, 2012, 9:10 am
I have so many questions for the LW:
– has your boyfriend always been a homebody/introvert or is this something new?
– if he’s always been this way, is it getting worse?
– does he have any friends of his own and does he go out with them?
– does he work outside the home?
– can he give you a concrete reason as to why he’s not interested in going anywhere with you? (i.e. finances are in bad shape and he’s trying to save money, you went out the night before, whatever)
– when you want to go somewhere, is it always where YOU want to go, or do you let him “pick” sometimes?
He’s not obligated to go out with you ever, but, yeah I’d say a good partner would be willing to compromise unless there’s a really good reason that he doesn’t want to go. Honestly, it sounds like your boyfriend could have social anxiety or maybe even agoraphobia (especially if he basically never wants to leave the house). But that depends on the answers to a lot of these questions and that’s something that a professional needs to assess. Otherwise maybe he’s lazy, maybe he’s cheap, and maybe you guys are fundamentally just incompatible. I’m not even going to touch on the freezing you out, because that just seems symptomatic of poor communication.
joanna February 27, 2012, 1:59 pm
From the way I read the letter, it sounds like everything she asks him to do is all about what SHE wants him to do and not what he wants to do. That leads into your last question for the LW there; does she do things that HE wants her to do? All in all it seems like a poor fit for a relationship.
Addie Pray February 27, 2012, 9:25 am
I like Catie’s questions above. LW, your answers to those questions could change things, but from what I can see, I’d say you two don’t seem like a good fit. It doesn’t sound like you enjoy the same things. I’m not saying couples need to do everything together, but when one is a homebody and the other isn’t, that seems like a difficult one to overcome. Throw in that you also don’t appear to have a good connection when you are together, I’d say, yes, this relationship doesn’t seem to be a good fit.
Will.i.am February 27, 2012, 9:28 am
“Now I’m not sure how to act around him and I feel angry.”
You should never have to feel like this. You both are old enough and have been in the relationship long enough to have effective communication. There is something going on with your boyfriend and that is causing you some problems. You want him to go out and do things with you and he just rather stay home and be a couch potato. I did that in a relationship once, and guess what happened, she found a man that wanted to do activities her.
I would talk to your boyfriend and find otu what the true root of the problem is. If he doesn’t want to tell you, next you need to figure out if this is an activity you could continue to put up with. At 34, I doubt he’s really going to change much.
TheRabbit February 27, 2012, 9:46 am
Caitie asked some good questions about the going out issue. And will.i.am is right that, at 34, this is probably not going to change. Is this something that you can live with? Can you meet this need to go out with friends? I don’t think that it’s his duty to constantly do things that he doesn’t want to do (that’s a recipe for resentment), but if you guys have completely different lists of things that you like to do, then the relationship will likely be difficult/not a good match.
Your second paragraph has me curious. I get that you’re frustrated that he’s upset and you don’t understand, but generally, if someone in the relationship brings up a concern or negative feelings, it’s not a good idea to respond that you’re not doing anything to make him feel that way. You haven’t provided a lot of details, and I could certainly be misinterpreting what you have presented, but I wonder if perhaps when you two are communicating it might help if you listened more and were more reflective. His negative reaction to your response makes me imagine a conversation where your desire to fix things is impeding your ability to listen.
Christy February 28, 2012, 1:20 pm
Your second paragraph is a good point. If your partner brings up an issue and your first response is “I never do that!” It might reduce his desire to continue talking. But you did ask for examples and he couldn’t tell you any, which is concerning. Obviously there are examples, but he might be afraid to tell you (because he thinks you’ll have a negative reaction). Think about how you react to negative information, get some opinions from others–how good are you at listening?
EricaSwagger February 27, 2012, 10:05 am
I’ve said this before on this site. Relationships are about being partners. Equals, there for each other, compromise, etc. When I think about good, strong relationships, these are the things that come to mind.
If you and your boyfriend can’t compromise about going out, it’s a huge problem that can only be fixed if one of you wants to give up what you want to make the other happy. Sometimes, you should just move on instead.
If your boyfriend can’t commit to date night once a week, where you go out to dinner or for a long walk or to the movies, then you need to find someone who can. It really is that simple. If NOT going out makes you miserable, and GOING out makes him miserable, I’m not seeing an easy solution. You should try suggesting once a week date night, or something similar, and see how that goes for a while. Maybe he’ll end up enjoying himself, or maybe he’ll be so miserable you wish you were out alone.
As for your issue about him feeling distance between you, I get the feeling you’ve been nagging a little about his lack of desire to get out of the house. If you’ve been nudging him to get out, asking him to come with, telling him you’re really unhappy that he never wants to spend time with you out of the house, etc., then I totally understand why he’s being cold toward you. If he’s so set in his ways and wants to be a homebody, yet you continually bug him to get out with you, I’m sure that’s gotten pretty irritating to him.
OR, you may have been “shutting him out” by choosing to go out without him? Maybe you’ve been acting distant because you’re finally fed up that he won’t come out when you want him to. Maybe he’s upset that you’ve stopped asking.
Basically, if neither of you will compromise, that’s that. If your boyfriend can’t muster up the enthusiasm to spend an evening with you out of the house, there’s probably a lot of men who would. It’s not unreasonable to want weekly or bi-weekly date night. It seems that maybe you two have just outgrown each other.
MiMi February 27, 2012, 10:06 am
Walk away, girlfriend. There is no roadmap or Magic 8 Ball on Earth that will make this man’s contradictory and confusing behavior make sense. Refusing to participate in the things you like to do, which are normal everyday things that the vast majority of people like to do, already shows him to not care about your wishes. Acting all put out and huffy when you do manage to drag him out is immature and again, not caring. Being cold and uncommunicative and then projecting his behavior on to you and making it your fault is ridiculous. Don’t drink his koolaid. You can’t please the unpleasable, you can’t decipher the incomprehensible, and you can’t waste your life with someone who is very okay with disappointing you and with blaming you for problems in the relationship without being willing to talk about them or work on them in any sensible way. There are good men out there who will be open and honest, who want to please you, who care about your feelings, and who want the relationship to be a success. Don’t waste any more time on this one – he appears to be broken and should be returned to store.
landygirl February 27, 2012, 10:41 am
I asked the Magic 8 Ball if she should leave her boyfriend. The answer: Absolutely!
lets_be_honest February 27, 2012, 11:30 am
My magic 8 ball lies. I was supposed to win the lottery so many times according to that dumb ball.
Francine February 27, 2012, 11:36 am
I know how you feel. Mine must’ve lied too cuz I was supposed to marry Donny Osmond “without a doubt” according to mine!
landygirl February 27, 2012, 12:08 pm
LOL!!! I loved Shaun Cassidy myself.
Eljay February 27, 2012, 11:55 am
Hahaha!! I asked my Sarcastic Ball if she should MOA. The Answer: Obviously!
pho_sho February 27, 2012, 1:36 pm
I second this advice. Life is too short to waste your time on a relationship that bores you to death. I dated a guy like this, and even thought I was going to marry him, but leaving him was one of the best things I could have done for myself. It’s so frustrating to have to drag a person to do something as normal as a date night, only to have them act sullen the whole time. I was wilting away as a person by being with him, and I bet that you will find that your life is more fulfilling single than it would be with somebody as uninvolved as him.
kittyk February 27, 2012, 10:22 am
I always get bummed when I’m looking forward to Wendy’s response only to find that its a ‘Your Turn’ column. No offense Wendy, I know you can’t answer em all! Take it as a compliment, I enjoy reading your well-thought out advice.
mf February 27, 2012, 11:34 am
I know! I’m just curious what her take on this situation would be. I’m guessing she’d recommend the LW MOA, but who knows! Sometimes she surprises me.
Kate B February 27, 2012, 10:33 am
I can only agree with what has already been said. You need to find a compromise between gooing out and staying home. As a bit of a homebody myself, I can sympathize. However, I will say that I can always be coaxed out of the house to do something I really like, or be with someone I really like. Before you can reach this point, however, you need to open up the lines of communication and TALK TO EACH OTHER. This means also listening when he speaks and really take in what he says. I would start by sitting down and telling him how you feel about what he said to you, and then ask him to tell you what he means. And then listen. Do not be accusatory or nagging, Just open the door. I wouldn’t bring up the going out thing at all. The two things are surely related and you may find that talking about one will start a conversation about the other. Let him lead. If the relationship means a lot to the both of you, you may find a compromise that you can both live with. The once-weekly date night is a good idea. However, you may also find that you are no longer suited to each other and need to move on. This is okay. It is not the end of the world. It only means that a new opportunity to find someone more compatible will exist for both of you.
Kate B February 27, 2012, 10:33 am
*going out* * sigh*
Caris February 27, 2012, 10:33 am
I can’t add much to what was already said. Personally I wouldn’t be able to be with someone that prefers to be at home ALL the time. I like my time at home, but going out to eat, watch a movie, walk around, go to a museum,etc is something I like to do every now and then and being all day every day at home is probably not very healthy. If someone showed sings of not wanting to do any of this at the beginning of a relationship I would call it quits. But you have been together for five years, so I have to wonder if he was always like this or if its something more recent.
If its something recent, then you two need to improve on your communication. If he is feeling left out then try to figure out why, and don’t dismiss his feelings or get mad at him for feeling that way. Listen carefully and think about what he says. Then have him do the same. And then maybe you can figure something out together. If you cannot communicate then the relationship will slowly deteriorate.
My mom is going out with this guy (who is an asshole for various reasons), one of the problems they have is that my mom would like to go out with him to different places, but he refuses to do this and every time they see each other is at HIS home and they just stay there. I know my mom doesn’t really like that because she has complained , but instead of doing something about it, she accommodates to what he wants. They have been going out for about a year and my mom has been unhappy and depressed ever since.
Now, I am not saying your bf is like this dude or that you are like my mom, but not being compatible on small things like this and having bad communication can be a recipe for disaster.
Will.i.am February 27, 2012, 11:09 am
How long has your Mom been divorced? My Mom is 61, and has been divorced going on 18 years. Of the two men I remember my Mom dating seriously, both of them had either a wife or girlfriend. I haven’t seen my Mom date a guy or really even talk about a guy in 10 years. After a while, she just got tired of being lied too.
It seems this can happen with women once they surpass a certain age and their kids get older. You get lonely and then you just settle for anybody. It seemed it the men knew this and would use my Mom. It was really sad to see and it was hard seeing my Mom go through it, because she really liked these guys and they were full of lies.
Dating, in general, gets much much harder with age.
Eljay February 27, 2012, 12:06 pm
I sooo agree with you. I’ve been divorced for 5 years and haven’t had a serious bf yet. At 47, it seems the dating pool gets smaller and smaller, and the frustration level increase x100. But I refuse to settle for less than what I want in a guy, will not ever commit to someone just because I’m lonely or desperate, and can’t for the life of me figure out why the guys I’m running into are doing these very things. Desperation is not sexy.
Will.i.am February 27, 2012, 12:10 pm
I’m 28, never married, no kids, college grad, career and my own place. I had better luck when I was 22, living with my Mom, going to college, and just working to make money.”
Funny how things have changed now that I’m older. Just take it one day at a time, because that’s about all you can do.
Eljay February 27, 2012, 12:48 pm
Agreed. Thanks, I appreciate the insight.
Will.i.am February 27, 2012, 1:22 pm
One thing that I’ve tried to stress when going on a dates, is doing something one of the people have never done before. I get really burnt out just doing dinner and movie. It’s so cliche and you will do enough of that when you are married or actually boyfriend and girlfriend.
Also, you get to see someone’s level of commitment if they are willing to branch out and try something that they don’t know if they like first hand. Also, this makes for much better conversation. The big thing we stress here is if you can’t communicate there’s no point of continuing the relationship.
bagge72 February 27, 2012, 1:24 pm
I wonder if it is where you live, because as I got older the easier it got for me personally. I think it gets harder for people when they get older, because they aren’t just looking to hookup, and date, they are actually looking for something serious right off of the bat. But being a 28 year old guy, if you aren’t looking for that, then it should get easier, because you have a lot of women out there between the ages of 21-25 that like older guys, because they have more money, have there own place, and seem more mature, than the guys there own age. If you are looking for love right away, I say still date these other girls, because 1. it’s fun, and 2. you really never know what can happen, or who you could meet.
Will.i.am February 27, 2012, 1:38 pm
I already have a FWB so I don’t go out looking for other’s. She has the power to date and so do I.
A lot of it is my area. I’m also a black male that likes white girls. Living so close to Oklahoma, the dating profiles in my area are generally white women looking for a cowboy type guy. I’m as far as they come from being a cowboy, so ultimately it doesn’t really work in my favor. I can usually average a date every 3 to 4 weeks, I just haven’t had anything that has really stuck.
Also, online dating I’ve had a harder time catching that chemistry off that bat like I can when I meet someone in person. Profile picture wise, I’m always going to lose picture wise. There’s always a guy bigger than me, taller, more muscular, and so and so on, so my personality is what can win me over. Sadly, women get emailed a lot in my area from creepy guys, so it’s almost more of a does his picture look better than this other guy.
I’m looking for something more serious, but the women just aren’t looking for that seriousness with me. I just try and remain positive and sooner or later, I’ll meet a good match.
bagge72 February 27, 2012, 1:40 pm
You need to move to Mass! Two of my black friends only date white women, and they seem to be doing better than the rest of my friends lol. You’re still young so you are right sooner or later you will meat a good match, I was 29!
Will.i.am February 27, 2012, 1:52 pm
Ha. I bet I could clean up well for myself. Haha. I’ve had success before and I’ll have success again. Luckily, I have enough going on just living life that I don’t tend to get too frustrated.
I think one thing that is frustrating about the women, is many of them are frustrated that they are getting a bunch of emails from creepy guys. It’s like they forget that dating websites are full of creeps and guys trying to get some strange on the side. If I was a woman, on a dating site that is full of men and very few women, you will get some disturbing emails.
I had a female friend that did it and she told me some hilarious stories.
bagge72 February 27, 2012, 2:02 pm
Oh I bet! I have some friends that went on dating sites just get some. They never were looking for a girlfriend, and to tell you the truth the were very successful doing it.
Will.i.am February 27, 2012, 2:09 pm
And you want to know why? That “bad guy” mentality can really fool some women. And some men too, if you like the “bad girl” type. So they date these guys, give it up, and then wonder why you don’t hear from again. On a scale from 1-10, if the guy is an 8, and you have really no idea how you got him to go on a date with you, you are not the only girl he’s taking out on dates.
I’ve never been into bad girl types, so I’ve been very fortunate there. I have some female acquaintances that have, and they would cling to the one text they would get from him every other day, and spread eagle for him at 2am, when he’s leaving the bar. When you settle for that kind of treatment, I can never understand how a man or woman could ever feel they really had a chance in the first place.
Kelly L. February 27, 2012, 11:37 am
Sometimes somebody is just a homebody…and sometimes people don’t want to go out because they’re actually married/involved! :/ I dated a guy for a while who never wanted to go anywhere, just wanted to hang out at his place all the time. And wanted me to come to him, too, never the other way around. Turned out his ex was not so very ex, and he was scared of being seen in public with me or his car being seen at my place and it getting back to her. Oddly, the OP didn’t ping my cheatdar, but somehow this story about your mom’s BF did.
Budj February 27, 2012, 10:36 am
Almost sounds like he is trying to get you to dump him for whatever reason…sudden distance…starting fights… Regardless I would chalk this up to an incompatability and find someone less introverted / enjoys going out and doing things.
Francine February 27, 2012, 11:02 am
Exactly what I thought when I read this!
Lindsay February 27, 2012, 10:41 am
Time to move on. It doesn’t really matter if it’s his “duty” to go out with you or not. The fact is, it’s something that is important to you and he is unwilling to do it. Sounds like a difference in personalities that won’t change. A compromise WOULD be nice, but it seems like you might be happier with someone who actually wants to go out.
As for his other behavior, I didn’t really understand what you were talking about. He acts cold, and then says you’ve shut him out, but won’t say how? Either you’re leaving out a lot of the story, or he’s not making any sense. If you do, in fact, know what you’ve shut him out over, then is it something that you can fix? Otherwise, maybe it’s over.
Something More February 27, 2012, 10:42 am
The date-night sounds like a good idea. If he can’t compromise to that, you have bigger issues.
As far as him acting coldy, I take issue with this: “I told him that I feel like I honestly didn’t do anything to make him feel disconnected or excluded.” You may not have done anything intentionally, but stating that you didn’t do anything is not the way to handle it. And my standard reply to “When have I done that?” (my boyfriend asking for examples) is “Well, I’ll start carrying around a pen and paper so I can write down all the times you _______” in a very snarky voice. He might not have specific examples to give you, but he knows how he feels and he knows he’s felt that way before. That is enough for you to stop and listen to what is bothering him without being defensive. Now, if you sit him down and tell him that you would like to figure out how to avoid whatever happened that makes him feel excluded and disconnected, you are willing to talk about it. But he needs to open up – you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. If he just wants to pout about it and not try to make it better, combined with the incompatibility of your social lives, then you should probably rethink this relationship.
Vathena February 27, 2012, 11:13 am
Agree with this, and what most others have said. It would be nice if we had more information to go on than can be submitted in a short letter. She definitely should try to have a conversation about what’s upsetting him – and try to listen and respond without becoming defensive. However, what jumped out at me is that he’s basically been giving her the silent treatment for a week or more. The Silent Treatment is deadly to a relationship. I’ve been at the receiving end and it sucks so much. That is NOT a nice way to treat your partner, and if you are upset about something, it’s most definitely not the way to fix the problem. It’s one of the most corrosive things you can do to your relationship. I’d say that this all by itself is a pretty bad sign if they can’t get past it.
Something More February 27, 2012, 11:47 am
Yeah, the silent treatment is a horrible way to get your point across. You’re right – it’s very corrosive and it’s just rude. I know he’s hurt or whatever, but he needs to let LW know what’s going on or what she did wrong. It’s not going to resolve itself.
YouGoGirl February 27, 2012, 10:51 am
The BF is putting the LW in an impossible position. He acts very cold and then when she asks what is wrong, he says it is her fault because she did not react “correctly”. Then on the few times they do go out, he sulks and acts as if she is asking him to do something horrible.
My husband did exactly the same thing and like the LW, I blamed myself for the problem. I would placate him as much as possible just so he would talk to me and spend a lot of time trying to figuring out what I did “wrong”. Only after he died did I realize that his behavior is abusive.
The LW should try once more to talk to her boyfriend. If he continues to punish her by withdrawing, then she should MOA like I wish I had done. We were married almost 21 years before he died. Leaving is hard, but she is only 26 and they are not married. I wish her the best of luck because she has a difficult situation.
IDreamofElectricSheep February 27, 2012, 10:55 am
I think the minute you start framing actions in a relationship into duties and percentages, you’re headed for trouble. Not because people don’t have responsibilities to their spouse or children, but simply because “duty” smacks of something that is defined as “something he/she should be doing as a matter of course”. Just as his “half of this relationship” results in mental mathematics of who contributes what and how much the contribution is weighed. Both lead down a path which you don’t want to travel on. They make a relationship into some type of contract, job list, or even contest instead of a mutually supportive partnership in which both people communicate and agree to give and take.
The argument you made…well, it could be applied to anything. By both him and you. If he enjoyed knitting clubs/football games/playing scrabble at home/gaming and you hated and rarely did xyz, he could say that it is your duty to participate because it’s really important to him. You get the point.
Basically, it sounds like he likes to stay in and you like to go out. I think it would be more helpful if you looked at this in terms of why this is important to you and how essential you view it in a relationship. Why does him not going out with you bug you so much? Is it because you want don’t like to do things by yourself? Does going out make you feel more revitalized and more accomplished? So do you view those who never do as lethargic and lazy? The why will lead to how much of a deal breaker this is for you. But until you are honest with yourself, you won’t be able to present it in a way he can understand, so he can explain to you why he doesn’t like it. And you won’t be able to even decide if there is a compromise that can be reached.
I’ve known people who fall into both categories who have been able to find a compromise and not. But forging one or deciding not to takes acknowledgement of your own preferences and needs as well as recognition that the other person has as much a right to them as you do. As for the other issue you have, I think it’s the more of the same: lack of communication and some maturity on both your parts. I think you both need to lay aside some of your unconstructive attitudes (being righteous, defensive, passive aggressive), be honest with yourself and each other, and just talk.
Francine February 27, 2012, 10:59 am
“Is it his duty as half of this relationship to give into my requests about going out more often, especially if I’ve let him know it’s important to me, or should I just accept how things are?”
Do you really want him to do something like that out of a sense of duty? I do think that it’s necessary to sometimes compromise in relationships and do things we may rather not do but to do it because you feel it’s your duty is different than doing it because it makes your partner happy. The difference may be subtle but there is a difference.
And the situation can also be reversed. You can ask that trips to the movies together be a part of your relationship and, likewise, he can ask that trips to movies together not be part of your relationship. How much does it mean to you to go out together and how much does it mean to him thst you both stay in? If both of you feel strongly about your position then you probably aren’t compatible as a couple.
And him shutting you out and then accusing you of shutting him out sends up giant red flags for me. He basically caused a disconnect and then complained that there was a disconnect. He doesn’t like YOUR reaction to what he brought up? Really? His reaction of being cold and not speaking was better? Sorry, but it sounds like he wants to break up and wants to make you he bad guy.
kerrycontrary February 27, 2012, 11:18 am
This situation reminds me of the movie The Breakup. Specifically their huge fight and she brings up the ballet and he says he hates the ballet. But the point was he should’ve gone to the ballet because SHE enjoys it. Sometimes we don’t always enjoy our partners hobbies as much as they do, but we do these activities because THEY enjoy them and we love THEM. It is not too much to ask your boyfriend to do an activity you like. His behavior of being put-out over going for a walk is frankly immature. His avoidance of going out in public really makes me think he has agoraphobia or a social-anxiety disorder. I am very surprised that you have stayed with him this long without this becoming a huge issue. I wouldn’t even enjoy someone’s company if they never went out on dates with me.
Not to be rude, but what do you two do together that’s enjoyable? Watch tv? Stare at each other? Did you go out in the beginning of the relationship and now that you are in a comfortable zone he’s just being lazy, or has he always been like this (and if he has, why did you start dating him in the first place if you are someone who likes to do things?).
Oh, and him being cold to you and blaming it on you so that YOU apologize is manipulative. I will bet that he wants to break up but is too lazy to do it, so he’s going to piss you off until you pull the plug.
MsK February 27, 2012, 12:03 pm
Is this new behavior? Are you sure he’s not depressed or going through other emotional trauma? Whenever something is upsetting or bothering me, all parts of my life are affected. I don’t want to go out, tend to avoid people and become really sensitive to what everyone says.
GertietheDino February 27, 2012, 12:35 pm
Honestly, my first thought was he was looking for a way out (albeit a really, really passive aggressive one).
AKchic_ February 27, 2012, 1:04 pm
Having dated guys older than me, and dated guys that are just plain chickenshit – this sounds like a cop-out.
He used to go out to places with you when the both of you were younger (and more desirable? better looking?) yet doesn’t want to now? Does he object to the places you want to go, or just objects to going out in general?
The whole “you’re being cold and distant” bullshit when you’re not is projecting. He’s doing it himself and knows it and is trying to lay blame on you rather than on himself.
Either he is going through a male midlife issue, is having some sort of mental issue (depression, for example), or he could very well want to break up but is taking the coward’s way out by making things so miserable that YOU leave him so he doesn’t HAVE to be the one to do it and he can play the victim to everyone else (“oh, she left me, and I don’t know why… boo hoo hoo”) and for the next girlfriend.
The only way to find out is to flat out ask, and not take diversions, evasions, or redirects for an answer. Get to the bottom of it, even if it means going to counseling, or even if it means writing off the relationship and moving on.
Leroy February 27, 2012, 8:33 pm
I wondered about the age difference as well. Not that 7-8 years is that much, but he may just be getting into a mid-life funk. Some people get old young. This couple sounds like one I know where he’s about 35 and she’s 25 or 26. At this point, she’s still into being very social and he’s kind of over the hill. I know that it’s causing a rift for them. The mid 30’s can be hard for guys, especially if they’re not happy with their life.
bagge72 February 27, 2012, 1:29 pm
I think you really need to get him to talk to you, and find out what’s going on, because it really isn’t doing either of you any good the way he is acting. From there you need to decide if he is still in this relationship or not, and move on if he isn’t. 5 years is a long time to be with someone, and acting this way, and if he hasn’t acted this way with you before, then that is a big red flag. The truth is though, that you both seems like two different people, and it is probably best for you to start dating other people again. You were really young when you started dating this guy, and there is a whole lot of fun things that you could be doing as a single girl.
oldie February 27, 2012, 1:34 pm
For whatever reason he’s doing this, just MOA. From what you wrote, there’s not enough here to try fixing. I suspect you’re in mental health territory with this guy, and that’s not something an amateur can fix.
Summertime February 27, 2012, 2:19 pm
Sorry, LW, I know this will SUCK to hear from everyone since you’ve invested so much time in this relationship…but this is not a match. Perhaps he used to go out with you because it was important to you. This is not at all an above-and-beyond request to ask of your partner. I’m more of a homebody myself but most of the time staying home makes my boyfriend feel like a dog in a car on a hot day. So he tries to think up fun outdoor things for us to do and I make it a point to take him up on at least half of them. Because that’s what partners do for each other – you make the effort. This guy has stopped making any effort for you. He no longer values you as a partner.
And other commenters have hit the nail on the head with him projecting this “distance” onto you. That is one of the jerkiest mind games people pull in relationships, because most people are chickenshit when it comes to emotions, confrontation or fights. He’s not even trying to do anything constructive – just putting it out there that he’s dissatisfied with something indescribable (blanket statement much?) so he can pull out that card whenever he wants; he’s trying to make a get-out-of-this-and-that-and-this-free card; or he’s just a wuss and is trying to make you do the heavy lifting of breaking up. If he’s soooooo unhappy making reasonable efforts to be a good partner to you, don’t make him. Trust me trust me TRUST ME, there are guys out there who will make the effort!
landygirl February 27, 2012, 3:01 pm
The minute someone points the finger at you as a source of the problem, it makes me think that the finger pointer is the actual source of the issue.
If you love him just the way he is then that’s great but you can’t change someone into what you want them to be. Either accept it or MOA.
Anna February 27, 2012, 3:17 pm
I’m surprised no one has brought this up, but maybe the boyfriend has Social Anxiety Disorder or very low self-esteem. Did he take you out at the beginning of the relationship or has it always been like this? I would also like to know if he ever goes out on his own, to get a beer with his guy friends or watch the game or something. That would provide a lot of insight into what is going on. Has he gained weight lately? Believe it or not, men can be just as insecure as women. My boyfriend is kinda afraid of being in crowded public places. I am too, so we choose dates that are more intimate and they are more enjoyable to both of us. For example, if there’s a movie we both want to see, we wait until it’s been out for at least a week before going so the theatre is less crowded. Or if there’s a restaurant we want to go to, we try to go on a weekday or a Sunday when it’s less busy. That works for us because we are both on the same page. If he were a social butterfly who loved to go to the club every weekend, our relationship probably wouldn’t be working out so well. Kinda ironic that we are going to Vegas together next month, but alcohol cures anxiety temporarily. 🙂
Just to give you some insight on what Social Anxiety can entail…when I am in a large crowd such as a crowded bar I feel very anxious and tend to withdraw. I look around at other people to try and gauge what they are thinking. If a crowd of “beautiful people” are laughing together and happen to look at me, I get very afraid that maybe they are laughing at me. It’s a by-product of being bullied severely in school. As you know, I still go out. I’ve talked to a therapist about it and come to the realization that the things my mind puts out there to scare me are not real and that everyone who looks at me is not necessarily judging me.
My point is that maybe there’s a reason your BF doesn’t want to go out and it has nothing to do with you or the relationship. If he is feeling anxious about going out in public, he may need to talk to someone about it.
HmC February 27, 2012, 3:52 pm
Just to briefly address your second issue of him acting cold, then you bringing the issue up, then him accusing you of shutting him out…
I feel like doing that type of thing, turning it around back on you, is a way for someone to start pulling away from a relationship without having to really take responsibility for wanting out. I mean, you’re “shutting him out”, yet you’re the one that brought it up? If you had been shutting him out, why didn’t he bring up the issue, instead of acting cold and passive aggressive?
I dunno, it’s hard to say what is exactly going on with the limited information we have here, but I feel like often when someone turns a problem back around on you in this way when YOU’RE the person who brought it up, they were acting that way in the first place as a way of getting out of the relationship without having to do the dumping.
I think I also am a little thrown by the whole “we get along pretty well” thing. I’m not one for fairy tales and I know that good relationships aren’t always rosy rainbows, but on the flip side it seems that most people are going for more than getting along “pretty well.”
Heather February 27, 2012, 4:25 pm
As the former girlfriend of someone (he struggled with depression) who NEVER liked going outside or doing anything, and often times was so broke from having to pay back school bills (he dropped out and so had to pay back right away) that the only stipulation was that if I wanted to do something then I had to pay, I can absolutely empathize with you LW.
There’s nothing wrong with staying in occasionally, just like you wouldn’t want to CONSTANTLY be going out-too much of anything is a bad thing. To me, it’s a concern that he isn’t even willing to compromise. Like others said, you need to decide how big of a deal this is. If you try to discuss this with him, and he makes it very apparent that his desire to stay in isn’t going to change, then its up to you to decide, and that’s the unfortunately difficult part.
For me, it became a deal breaker. I felt trapped. And while I never cheated, what other commenters said holds water-there may very well be someone out there who DOES like to go out and do things, and I think if you find someone like that you would be happier. Like I said, he doesn’t need to completely change 100%, but compromise in a relationship is essential on both ends. If he’s not willing to do that, to me that’s indicative of a bigger issue between you two. Good luck LW. I hope everything works out for you.
J. Walker February 27, 2012, 6:54 pm
A week!?!?! Even before we lived together, I couldn’t let a fight go on for more than a day without having it eat me up so much I had to resolve it by whatever means necessary… Icant imagine living in the same house as someone and getting the cold shoulder day after day x7. You need to sit him down and let him know you can’t live like that. As for the never going out thing, it’s not as though you’re asking him to go clubbing every night… A walk in the park a few afternoons and dinner out is what living together is about. I would say as long as it’s 50% activities you want and 50% chilling at home no one should do any complaining. Also if you find that once he’s out thee he ends up having a good time then a little more pressing is appropriate. My bf is a homebody as well but often has a good time once he’s actually at the bar or party so I usually remind him of how much fun he had the previous weekend when he says he doesn’t want to go out and it does the trick. I also consent to staying home with a movie on occasion.
wendyblueeyes February 28, 2012, 9:05 am
This whole situation is a puzzlement. He doesn’t want to go out, even to do free things, like take a walk. Then around the house he doesn’t want to talk. Hmmmm, seems like he’s just as bored as the gf. Looks like the bf just wants a bed partner who can shut up and leave him alone. MOA. Find someone who likes to talk and do things. Do you really want to stay with someone FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE who doesn’t do anything or talk to you?????
Bossy Italian Wife February 28, 2012, 1:06 pm
I feel like I am in a unique position to answer this because I am 26 years old and have been in a relationship with my 32 year old husband for 8 1/2 years. Because of the similarity of our age differences in the relationship department, I thought maybe we could relate in the context of this question. Some things come to mind right off the bat:
-Something fishy is going on. He seems to be projecting onto you the behaviors that you are experiencing with him. This is not uncommon, but it’s also not acceptable.
-Your boyfriend does sound to be a little depressed imo. Or possibly anxious. My own husband experienced this, and it was a little hard to work through, but not impossible.
I have experienced that my husband and I have grown more alike over the years and we have become more of homebodies as we age… but obviously I am no older than you, so this isn’t age specific, more of a personality or stage of life thing. There are times when we also go out, and sometimes I go places on my (like to a girl’s night). But for us, we do nearly everything together because we like it that way and we are very close. It’s important to have shared interests and to ENJOY your time together.
All of this being said, either you need to get to the bottom of what is going on his head–why is he acting this way (it might have nothing to do with you) OR you might just want to MOA. You deserve to be with someone who evolves with you. It’s not a case of him being older and you being younger, it’s a case of personalities and living together and accommodating one another.
I hope that helps.
Ms rodriguez, 40 yrs.old March 12, 2012, 9:27 pm
I am a 40 year old with a 57 year old man. Men donot change once they hit about 3o. I wouldnot keep badgering him about going out. You have a bigger problem here. Communication. He is introverted because you are pushing him away grilling on the going out subject. Go out and start doing things you want to do. Donot tell him your every move. There is one of three reasons . He has outgrown you or never cared in the first place or he is just self absorbed and a loner. If he has been married before he doesnot see the need to impress again. Hes don all that with one wife and now he just wants his freedom. Lastly he may already have moved on because of your badgering just doesnot know how to tell you without hurting you. He doesnt want the other one to see you and himout. Men play hide and seek. My man is a biker . If it isnot about motorcycles or something he wants to do he isnot going anywhere. He has been a flirt also very self centered from day one. i can handle him.
Moonie February 16, 2018, 1:16 pm
I’m curious how long you have been together, Mrs. R? You sound a lot like me. I was with someone who was self-centered and a flirt. I never nagged him. I told my self I could “handle” him. After five years I learned that by ignoring the flirting, letting him go off and do his own thing all the time and by not “badgering” him, I gave him a free pass to cheat on me. He left me for the 25-year-old co-worker whose FB comments and other red flags I ignored because I didn’t want to be like “other women” and “act all jealous.” Your partner might not be going anywhere because no one has taken the bait. Or maybe you just don’t care if he leaves or not.
While some of your advice is accurate – it may not be that he doesn’t want to go out, he just doesn’t want to spend time with her and she needs to find someone who does, it’s not fair to say that someone who is apparently doing all the heavy lifting in a relationship is badgering her partner just because she is the only one concerned that both of their needs are met.
“Go out and start doing things you want to do. Do not tell him your every move.” That’s what I did in our relationship, and that’s what I did when he left. And the fact that I didn’t go chasing after my ex is what brought him to back to my door six weeks later begging me to take him back. But I didn’t want to SETTLE for a man who was only interested in me when he wasn’t sure of me. The mane I started seeing afterward loves me and is interested and supportive and we do our own things apart while still having a life together. But he’s not self centered. I don’t have to play games like make him wonder where I am and what I’m doing to keep him around. Having to “handle” a partner doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me, but, you do you.
Melody July 9, 2021, 4:16 am
I have a similar problem. My boyfriend never wants to go out with me. He would hangout with his friends until 2 3am in the morning, yet when i ask he would always refuse or find an excuse like i am sick, today there is a match and so on. After like 2 weeks of asking we finally went out and he would barely talk to me and just walk like someone died. I ask him and he would say he has a stomach ache. So i told him let’s go back he would say no! I know you well you are gonna complain. For sure the date didn’t go well as he was keep acting like he is doing it for me. Thus i said we go home.
I understand that he had a reason but it hurts a lot to seeing him taking me for granted. All the other couples go out and have fun yet my relationship is like me waiting for my boyfriend to finish playing so he can hug me for 10 min and we sleep. I don’t want that no more
Hazel July 9, 2021, 2:54 pm
lose him. A partner should be just that, sometimes in times of stress people can be distant , but from what you say, move on, an actual companion is out there and he’s not them.