Waiting for intimacy
I have been seeing this guy since June. We knew each other before but never hung out. Anyway, in talking he says it takes about 6 to 9 months for him to realize whether he wants to date someone. We have never been intimate. He said he wants to wait for the right time however he has received some intimate things from me. We don't go out on dates. We have been out to dinner and movies and never once has he offered to cover the tab. In fact he asked me to once. I let him use my car, I take him where he needs to go all the time. We have been in a couple of arguments and he says that he wants me to be the one but I'm not sure if I believe that. Seeing how nothing has progressed. I'm tired of side hugs and he seems to bring up his ex fiancé almost every time I am with him. I think he is still in love. He knows nothing about my ex's. I don't discuss them. Do you think he's just using me. Or do you think he has good intentions for the future. I'm so confused. I want to believe him. I'm in my 30's and I am tired of wasting my time. I am afraid if I give up, I'll just be giving up like I did before. Please help. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Well, I can understand why you’re feeling frustrated. In my experience, many (not all, but many) men in their 30’s these days seem to suffer from a perpetual case of not knowing how to grow up. I know a lot of men in their 30’s who have their lives in order but I know an equal number who seem a little bit lost in adulthood. My suspicion is that your boyfriend falls somewhere in this category. He clearly wants companionship and his constant reference to his ex-fiancé is probably a sign that he really doesn’t know what he wants. How bad was their breakup? If he’s still actively licking his wounds, he may not really be ready to have a relationship yet.
There were a few things in your letter than stood out to me. First,his arbitrary 6-9 month period to decide whether to date. Hmmm. Ok, so I get that we sometimes make rules for ourselves. For instance, “I’m just meeting people, I’m not looking for a relationship” is not particularly uncommon. But why the timeframe? Two thoughts here. One, what has this guy been through? Why is he so gun shy? Second, why is he setting you up like that? If you ask me, this sounds like a safety barrier. He’s saying, “let’s see how things go before I have to commit.” While there’s nothing wrong with waiting to commit, but we’re not talking about marriage here, just dating. It shouldn’t be that scary.
My next little “eek” moment came in reading about his desire not to be intimate yet followed by your admission that he’s been on the receiving end of some hanky panky. That, coupled with his borrowing your car and asking you to pick up the tab at dinner is a pattern of behavior that I find troubling. And I think there’s really only one solution. You’re going to have to set some limits. I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay for dinner or take him places, but you’re not his mother. If he’s an adult then there needs to be some reciprocation here and the best way to ensure that is to talk about it, honestly, openly. You need to establish your boundaries and say, out loud, what you need out of this relationship. If he’s worth the trouble, he’ll listen to what you have to say and you’ll find a way to meet in the middle. If he becomes defensive or annoyed when you tell him how you’re feeling, then it might be time to reconsider the direction this relationship is going.
Believe me, I get the fact that men (and women) have baggage. We carry all the remains of every bad experience, every previous relationship, ever little quirk, and we impose it all on our romantic partners. He may simply be scared out of his wits to get involved in another intimate relationship. But allowing things to continue on so one-sided is not likely to leave you feeling fulfilled or loved. There may be great reasons for you to foot the bill at dinner or lend him your car, but unless you have an agreement and you both feel good about the terms its likely for resentments to build.
The truth is, you are dating, regardless of his hesitation to quantify it. If you’re hanging out, having dinner, seeing movies, having ANY intimate contact, its not unreasonable to call this what it is – a relationship. Now, whether it’s the relationship you (or he) want is a separate issue but I promise, either way, you’re going to have a much happier and healthier life if you make sure that you are clearly stating your needs, setting your boundaries and knowing that you are worth having those needs and boundaries respected.
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