[Two Pronged] My boyfriend doesn't make me feel valued
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr. Baer,
I met a guy through Facebook. He eventually asked me out. We constantly message each other which makes me feel special. But does not directly say what he feels or if he likes me more than a friend. We act like we are a couple whenever we go on a "date."
But when we’re not together, he does not communicate constantly, silent for at most two weeks. I got too scared to demand anything, afraid it may ruin what we have. This continued for over a year. Recently, I asked him what we really are. He said boyfriend-girlfriend. I told him my frustrations. He admitted he is not used being in this kind of relationship and promised to do better. The first few days, he kept his promise. But sometimes, he would not send a message which made me mad. I confronted him. He apologized.
I question his reasons (busy at work, poor internet connection) because I always find him online, but he doesn’t initiate conversations with me. Oftentimes, I message him first; his replies are dry as if he’s not trying to make me feel valued.
I question if I really am important to him. I feel that being in a relationship with me is a chore for him. He makes future plans, including me in it. But never said "I love you." I don’t want to do it first, fearing I might appear needy.
This is the first time a guy has made me feel undervalued. The ones before him really showed effort to make me feel special.
My questions: Is he for real? Is he just keeping me around until he finds a better one? Does he love me? Does he value me? Am I being over dramatic? Am I overthinking? Is it normal to actually feel this way? Help me!
According to you, your boyfriend (let’s call him Sam) makes you feel special but only when he is in contact, says you are boyfriend/girlfriend but has never said he loves you, has a habit of being out of touch and undervalues you, believing the relationship is a chore. In addition, the majority of your time together your contact is restricted to messaging, a form of communication which offers considerable scope for deception.
Remember you are at the beginning of a relationship, the so called honeymoon period, when each party is doing their best to impress the other with their most attractive traits etc. In the light of all this, let’s look at your questions.
Is he for real? It seems that he is doble cara in that some of the time he is sweet and caring, some he is distant and all the time he is unwilling to discuss his feelings.
Is he just keeping me around until he finds a better one? Given the contrast between his two personae this seems a distinct possibility.
Does he love me? No.
Does he value me? If you don’t think he does, it doesn’t matter.
Am I being over dramatic? It is highly unlikely you are being dramatic at all if you are “too scared to demand anything from him."
Am I overthinking? Is it normal to actually feel this way? You seem to have a very clear understanding of your situation, with one exception: you are worried about ruining what you have together.
Yet what you have described is scarcely worth preserving and what’s more holding on to it prevents you from getting on with the rest of your life. Move on.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. All the questions you ask can be divided into three general categories:
- How does he really feel for me?
- What is a normal BF-GF relationship? and
- What can I reasonably expect from a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship?
I will answer a representative question from each category, ask you a question and then share an observation with you.
Category 1: Does he love me? Whether or not he loves (or values) you is beside the point. What is important is whether he loves you the way you want to be loved,…to which the answer right now seems to clearly be no.
Category 2: Is it normal to actually feel this way? I think it is normal for every personin love to worry about how mutual the feelings are – both in quality and degree. This is at the beginning of the relationship. However if, after a certain amount of time, these feelings of uncertainty and insecurity (which, admittedly can bring a certain frisson to the relationship) have not subsided, then one can reasonably assume that this is not a relationship worth hanging on to.
Category 3: Am I being over dramatic? Am I overthinking? In my clinical experience, a person accused of “overthinking” is usually someone who has “forced” herself to be rational rather than do what she really wants to do, which is to fly off the handle, threaten the guy, and/or leave in a huff. So-called overthinking can definitely be useful, but there are just as many times when leaving is the better option.
My question: If “this is the first time a guy has made me feel undervalued. The ones before him really showed effort to make me feel special," why the hell did you fall for him this guy then? Answering this may help you decide what you want to do with your current boyfriend.
My observation: What you accept will continue. You may complain, harangue, cry and even threaten that you are “giving him one last chance,” BUT if in the end, you accept the status quo, then the status quo is what will continue.
True, there is no guarantee that if you do anything else, you will get what you want, BUT there is a guarantee that if you continue as you are now, you will definitely not get what you want.
I am so sorry that your choices seem so limited, Marites. But I have a feeling that the minute you make a decision about even a small aspect of your relationship, the bigger decisions that come up later will be much easier.
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.