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"Boyfriend" doesn't know how to be a boyfriend


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Old 26th February 2018, 12:45 PM   #1
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"Boyfriend" doesn't know how to be a boyfriend

Hi guys,

I would love your advice here. There's a guy in my life who is a great human being, but a terrible boyfriend. I attribute this in large part due to the fact that he has never really dated anyone before despite being in his 30's, whereas I've had multiple long-term relationships. Through those relationships and some less serious dating experience, I've come to have certain expectations of what it means to be in a relationship. And I am fully aware that just because these are my expectations it doesn't mean that all relationships should be like that or that there's necessarily something "wrong" if they're not, so I'm not trying to say that, I'm just bringing it up as context. In the past, when I've been in a serious relationship with someone I'm used to talking to them every day (not necessarily all day every day, but keeping in touch in some form or another on a daily basis) and generally being pretty close and up to date on each other's lives. I'm also used to going on dates - not necessarily all the time and certainly not some fancy or super creative date every week or anything, but partly just doing things together, making plans to see each other, looking for fun things to do together, going out for dinner, etc. And I'm used to celebrating birthdays, holidays, special occasions etc., going away on trips together (depending on how serious it is).

So this guy, as I said, is a really good person, but doesn't do any of those things. We sort of keep in touch on a regular basis but it's much more superficial - we certainly don't talk throughout the day and sometimes we don't talk at all, but when we do it's probably like a cute picture or something and nothing more. He doesn't ask about my day, though he will ask me how I'm doing periodically, kind of like how you ask a friend how they're doing now and then but you don't keep up with their well-being on a regular basis. I met up with him and a mutual friend the other day (that I introduced him to) and somehow I felt like the third wheel because they had so much more to talk about because they work at the same place so they chat online at work, see each other and talk in person, get lunch together, share stories about coworkers and work experiences, etc. It's like the friend is 100% more involved in the guy's life than I am. I know it's not intentional and I understand that it's easy to have that kind of interaction with work friends because they're near you every day, and that doesn't bother me, but it's how far away from that that I am that bothers me a bit.

Also, he never plans anything (not only does he not plan dates or vacations or any other activity) but he literally never plans to see me in advance. He never tries to make plans to see me - it's always a text on the same day asking if I'm free to "grab a bite" or hang out at my place or his, often at the very last minute. And when we do hang out, we almost never do anything other than maybe get a quick bite and hang out at one of our homes. I know this sounds kind of like a guy who doesn't take this seriously or isn't interested in a relationship but just take my word for it that I know that's not the problem. He also has never celebrated my birthday (he will show up if I plan a get together and maybe send a happy birthday text but that's all), much less Valentine's day, and has never done anything romantic at all (in 4+ years I think the most romantic thing he has done was when he made a dinner reservation in advance one time and that was honestly really surprising). I know romance isn't what truly makes a relationship, but I'm also used to dating men who have been really enthusiastic and excited about dating me and would put in clear effort trying to show their love for me, do sweet and thoughtful things and make plans to see me and do fun things, and genuinely wanting to make me smile, so it's hard not to feel a bit underappreciated and unloved here, and those things DO bring me a lot of happiness and joy and foster a fun and loving relationship so I feel like it is important to an extent.

The question is, how do I address this with my guy? I want him to see that these things contribute a lot to a relationship and that I would really appreciate if he would make an effort, but I don't know how to "teach" him these things without coming across as demanding and without sounding like I'm trying to ramp up the relationship 1000x, but I feel like for someone who is satisfied in this relationship where we basically hang out at the last minute every once in a while, it could be overwhelming if I tell him I want to keep in touch more, go on dates, do fun activities, experience a little romance from him once in a while... And of course I also don't want to force him into it if he doesn't really want to do any of those things.

Any suggestions on how to get this across to him without overwhelming him and in a way that he can understand it? I also kind of want him to realize that plenty of other men out there are willing and happy to put in all of this effort and would be more than happy to take his place if they think they can make me happier. I don't mean this in a manipulative or conceited way and I don't mean that I want to threaten him or hold it over his head that other men do it better, but part of me feels like if a guy really loves a girl, isn't it natural to want to make sure he's not leaving a gigantic opening for other men to swoop in by doing things that he could be doing but isn't?

Any advice would be appreciated! He is a really good guy and as a human being has a lot of the qualities that I am looking for in a partner so I don't want to give up because of something like this, but I also don't want to resign myself to a relationship devoid of all of those joys and happy moments.
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Old 26th February 2018, 12:51 PM   #2
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You're a mature woman, you know when you meet a man there is no *fixing* him or *changing him*, what you see is what you get.

This man may be a great guy but he's not relationship material and nothing will change that, it also answers why he's never been in a long term relationship.

Please forget this guy, he sound emotionally immature and probably all of his life he'll think like a 14 year old boy.

The world is full of men, go find yourself one that has reached adulthood.
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Old 26th February 2018, 1:02 PM   #3
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So, what? is he great in bed or something? What are you getting out of this?
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Old 26th February 2018, 1:17 PM   #4
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Ha well yes, he is in fact great in bed (because he learned quickly despite the lack of experience). I have better chemistry with him than with anyone else I've met in that aspect.

But there is also the fact that he is in my eyes a "better man" than any other guy I've met, in that he is compassionate and caring and selfless when it comes to the outside world, and is frequently helping those in need in a way that I wish I had the strength to do. I admire and respect him in a way that I haven't with anyone else, which is why it's not easy to simply move on and find someone else.

Also, to respond to Gaeta's comment, perhaps you're right and this will never change, and I know to an extent we can never change a man. I think it's impossible to change a man and who he is fundamentally, but am hopeful that "how to be in a relationship" is something a person can learn, since we have all had to learn it at some point. The problem is, similar to what I just said above, there are plenty of men (including the ones I've dated) that do all of these romantic and other things, but are not as kind, or compassionate, or what have you - and those characteristics I would never expect to be able to change, whereas this seems less fundamental. Also, I think the reason for him not dating is not because he's emotionally immature (though he is in some ways I'm sure), but in part because of upbringing and religious reasons.

Last edited by lovelies25; 26th February 2018 at 1:21 PM..
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Old 26th February 2018, 1:49 PM   #5
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You can have it all if you keep on searching till you find it.

No one needs a special course on how to be in a relationship. If you were taught to be considerate of people's time, to not call last minute, to acknowledge their birthday, to pay attention during conversations, if you've been taught to be curious and open minded about life, to give back what is given to you in kindness : then you will be good at *relationships*.

To change this man you'd have to raise him from childhood again an instigate in him basic courtesy.

Reminds me of a blind date my sister-in-law set me up with. She kept saying what a great guy he was, he was the salt of the earth. I went on a blind date with him and got kind of mad at my SIL. The man hated his job, hated his apartment, had never been in a LTR at 45, didn't cook and fed himself frozen pizza all week long and 3 nights a week was poker night.

Now I don't doubt he was a good human being and a good friend, he surely was the type of man you could count on on moving day but for a woman he was not relationship material at all.
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Old 26th February 2018, 2:17 PM   #6
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He is emotionally inept, that is why he doesn't have what it takes for a relationship. He's never had the need or desire for emotional connection, that's why he's been single for so long. Possibly he never experienced affection from his parent or his parents were cold to each other, so he never developed to connect with people on that level. I know such a person. He has never had any real desire for a relationship and when he was in one, he didn't made any effort to woo her, didn't buy her anything for Valentines Day or bring her flowers, never took her out. That was years ago and he's hasn't bothered since.
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Old 26th February 2018, 2:27 PM   #7
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I am sure that sometime over the past four years you've communicated your dissatisfaction to him. If not, this is on you. He can't read your mind.

Assuming you have raised it before, I hate to say it, but men in their mid-30s aren't widely known for their ability to change. If he knows what you want and still isn't making an effort for you, that's not because he's sheltered or inexperienced, he just doesn't want to. It doesn't mean he doesn't love you, but he doesn't feel a need to change anything.

Have you talked recently about your long-term relationship priorities? Are you on the same page?
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Old 26th February 2018, 2:31 PM   #8
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Why are you settling for so little?
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Old 26th February 2018, 3:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovelies25 View Post
But there is also the fact that he is in my eyes a "better man" than any other guy I've met, in that he is compassionate and caring and selfless when it comes to the outside world, and is frequently helping those in need
So if he makes every effort for others, why doesn't he do it for you? I'm finding it hard to correlate a man that is completely giving to others but has such a hard time doing more than just the truly, absolute bare minimum for his partner.
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Old 26th February 2018, 3:10 PM   #10
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Its possible you are more into the relationship than he is. It also sounds like you have some idea in your head of what you want a relationship to be to you, and you want to mold him into that.

Never works. Ever.

When you really care for someone, you accept them for who they are and what they are. If you dont, you arent accepting of him or the relationship. And you wont ever be happy.
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Old 26th February 2018, 4:48 PM   #11
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From where I'm sitting, it's not that he doesn't know how to do it, it's more that he doesn't want what you want. You're wanting a proper boyfriend with all the trimmings, and there's nothing wrong with that. He's happy having a more casual but monogamous relationship, and there's nothing wrong with that either.

You could raise the issues, but I don't see it changing the type of relationship he wants.
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Old 26th February 2018, 6:27 PM   #12
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Sounds like a FWB relationship.

You canít change things after 4+ years. How did you even go on a first date with him? Did he text a couple hours before to grab a bite to eat? It sounds like youíre trying to change a casual sex relationship into a standard love relationship and Iím not sure thatís possible.

He hasnít been in relationships before for a reason, and his story about not having a lot of sexual experience could be a line that he uses to get women into bed. Just because heís never been in a relationship doesnít mean that he doesnít have a lot of sexual experience. It could be that he bounces from one no-strings sex relationship to another and each time he tells the woman that he hasnít been in a relationship so that sheíll assume that he hasnít had a lot of sex before.

Has he ever said that he loves you or cares about you? What is his response when you say those things to him? Does he give you a line about needing more time for his feelings to grow and here you are four years later and heís never said it?

Do you eventually want to be married whether to him or someone else? I donít see how a man who wonít ask you on a date and wonít celebrate birthdays or Valentineís Day will buy you a ring and propose.

This is who he is. If the sex is enough for you to stay, then enjoy it and stay, but donít waste time expecting him to change.
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Old 26th February 2018, 6:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovelies25 View Post
Ha well yes, he is in fact great in bed (because he learned quickly despite the lack of experience). I have better chemistry with him than with anyone else I've met in that aspect.

But there is also the fact that he is in my eyes a "better man" than any other guy I've met, in that he is compassionate and caring and selfless when it comes to the outside world, and is frequently helping those in need in a way that I wish I had the strength to do. I admire and respect him in a way that I haven't with anyone else, which is why it's not easy to simply move on and find someone else.

Also, to respond to Gaeta's comment, perhaps you're right and this will never change, and I know to an extent we can never change a man. I think it's impossible to change a man and who he is fundamentally, but am hopeful that "how to be in a relationship" is something a person can learn, since we have all had to learn it at some point. The problem is, similar to what I just said above, there are plenty of men (including the ones I've dated) that do all of these romantic and other things, but are not as kind, or compassionate, or what have you - and those characteristics I would never expect to be able to change, whereas this seems less fundamental. Also, I think the reason for him not dating is not because he's emotionally immature (though he is in some ways I'm sure), but in part because of upbringing and religious reasons.
If good sex is all he has to offer, that attraction will die over time. I didn't have my 1st relationship till I was in my mid 20s, from observation of relationships around me, I knew how to treat the partner that I was w/at the time. He will not change, if he was a great guy and loved you, he wouldn't need to learn how to treat you well, he just would. If you can live w/the way he is, well then you are good, if not you need to find someone else.
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Old 26th February 2018, 10:04 PM   #14
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I feel for you...this guy sounds like the complete opposite of me.

I learnt how women like to be treated and how to treat them through experience, but also the way I was brought up.

If by now he doesnt know how to treat a woman... I doubt he will be changing any time soon.

You have 2 options really. Talk to him and be honest, you need more from the relationship. I'm not sure why you are hesitating telling him. By now you should be able to communicate anything with each other, especially relationship stuff. How he reacts, and if he starts putting in more effort will tell you all you need to know. As right now he is taking the easyyyy life and you deserve a lot better.

Otherwise finish things and find someone else. Dont just settle as thats what it looks like you are doing, settling.

You are clearly unhappy as things are so one of those 2 options needs to happen.
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Old 26th February 2018, 10:13 PM   #15
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He's just happy to have someone to have sex with that's convenient and no effort expended. You'll never change this guy. You may nag him into something, but it will never be emotionally gratifying because you'll know he's only doing it because you nagged him into it and not because he wants to.
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