My boyfriend and I have been dating for 6 months. We don't live together, but I generally sleep at his house around 3 nights per week. A couple of days ago, we had a big relationship talk. He mentioned that he was feeling "crowded." The way he explained it was this: he said that he didn't think we were spending too much time together, in terms of quantity, but that we were spending a lot of "low quality" time together.
Low Quality Time is, for example, when he's upstairs studying (we're students) and I'm downstairs cooking, studying, or puttering around. Sitting together, having a glass of wine, and just watching TV also qualifies as Low Quality Time. However, when we plan for me to come over to watch a movie on Friday night, this is not Low Quality TIme. He suggested that we should do more Quality Time things together, such as plan to go to the movies, go to a restaurant, etc. The way I interpreted it was that if he's going to be hanging around at home, he wants to be by himself. He also mentioned that it felt like we were living together, when we weren't. This, to him, seemed to be a bad thing.
He also expressed concern that I didn't have as much of a social life as he did. THis is true--I just moved to a new city over a year ago, and most of my friends are back home. It's also true that it became easier for me to call him up on the weekends and see if he wanted to hang out than to make my own fun with people I don't really know.
During our talk, a lot of other issues came out. He's 10 years older than I am (he's 34, I'm 24). The age difference doesn't matter to me so much, because I know I'm young and I'm not into getting married or anything like that. However, he says that it bothers him a bit because he knows that I don't want to get married etc. and that he's older and has to think about these things. He also mentioned that our relationship, in terms of an "end result" like marriage, is futile. He took this back later on.
We both said a lot of things during this talk--I said there was something missing in our relationship, and he agreed that what we had wasn't an "eternal love." He said that people all over the love spectrum date each other all the time. I said that there isn't much point (for me) in being in a realtionship with someone who won't be able to love me fully, even if it's not right at that moment. I don't need instantaneous true love, but i do need to believe that there is a possibility of that happening for me to try to make a relationship work. If I thought that he could never really love me, I wouldn't want to date him.
We're both very closed people, emotionally. I think it takes a lot for both of us to feel trusting and open enough to become emotionally vulnerable to another person. I don't know if we've gotten that far with each other. We used to say "I love you" sporadically, but neither of us really say it that much anymore. Sometimes I feel like we can never really emotionally connect because both of us are too afraid.
My question is this--after 6 mos, should I give us more time? After 6 mos, should we be a loving couple or is it ok that we still have a lot of distance between us? I don't know how to interpret these things he revealed to me during our discussion. Is it a signal that he doesn't want a serious relationship because he doesn't like me to be around during down-time? Should I take this as a rejection?
He's a good man--he's kind and doesn't run around or ignore me when i call or anything. I guess I'm just experiencing a crisis of confidence with respect to our relationship. What I really don't know is whether the chance for love has passed or whether it can still be developed.
I also feel uncomfortable going to his house now. We said we would take a week apart from each other (on Wed), but then he called me on Friday and asked to get together. Today, (Sat), he asked if I wanted to go to his friend's BBQ. When I got up this morning, I was unsure whether I should go straight home, or whether I could sit with him for an hour before my hair appt. When I asked if he minded whether I hung out for a little while because it didn't make sense for me to go from his house (uptown) to my house (downtown) for my uptown hair appt, he acted like this was a stupid question and of course I could stay. Am I just being paranoid? Tell me what to do!!!
Maybe I'm getting mixed mesages but it seems that the only high quality time is when he's in public with you. At home its pretty much all low quality, unless he plans it and "refers" it up to high quality. Outside its "Hey, look at me with this beautiful young lady on my arm and she's going home with me". At home it's "I want time alone since there's no one here to impress with my conquest". The object of my affection, not the woman of my dreams. Unless you wish to be treated as such my suggestion would be to move on and have a healthy relationship that will bring joy to your heart, not distance.
I personally think that love bond should get stronger as the months go on, not weaker.
I'm not sure about the 'quality time' concept he has, promize could be right. It does sound a little strange. Quality time to me is interacting with eachother for pleasure. It doesn't have to be important, cooking together, going for a walk, laying together watching a movie on TV, whatever.
It sounds like he finds you convienent, pleasant, and enjoyable, but not head over heels in love with you. If it is true, do you want to settle for that? What are you really looking for in this relationship?
Hrm. To *me* it sounds like your guy just wants a little more of your attention, or else for him to be able to give you more of his attention in what he deems as time that is set apart for the both of you.
I know that for me, I *hate* when my BF and I hang out and he's all busy reading his books while I'm reading mine, because although we're in the same room, we're actually worlds apart in every other way. When we are focusing on each other, giving e/o attention and love, that feels more like "quality time" to me, y'know? No distractions - everything else is just secondary to US. I dunno...that's *me.*
I would say that there isn't much to worry about. From you post it does seem he cares alot about you. He is at the time of his life though where he may just want some freedom to go out with friends and expierence the open life.
This doesn't mean he wants you out of the picture. Sometimes people take these breaks to regather some thoughts before moving to the next step.
You feel insecure, and for a good reason. Anyone would feel insecure in a relationship where a boyfriend is telling them basically that their relationship is going nowhere, that what you have is "not eternal love," and that he feels "crowded." The distinction between "quality time" vs. "low-quality time" sounds like some sort of rationalization to spend less time with you. Who cares about what you do, as long as you enjoy each other's company, right? I, for example, find myself missing doing the simple things with a boyfriend, like going grocery shopping, or doing laundry, or just having him around when i'm doing something else. The little everyday things are very important, in fact. I don't know your boyfriend, but from what you described it looks like he might be trying to warn you that you should not have high hopes for this relationship developing into something serious. He might also be scared, but at 34, one would think a man should know what he wants.
Thanks a lot for all of your messages, guys. It's funny that the responses I get (from you as well as my girlfriends) seem to be about 50/50. Half say don't worry, half say get out.
Well, we had a talk the night after I posted my original message. He apologized for the things that he had said (and I apologized for the things that I said) when we had spoken originally.
He said that his "crowded" reference was in response to the amount of time we had been spending together studying and doing other un-fun activities that one is more productive doing by oneself. After our first discussion, when I posted, I I felt like he was rejecting me by not wanting to do mundane activities together. After six months, we should be a "regular couple" and do boring things together like shopping, laundry, and vegging out on the couch. Right?
It's been a week since our discussion, and I've backed off completely. I don't call him up, and I don't make plans for us. I don't offer to let him use my parking permit (which means I have to hang around and give/get it from him), and I don't offer to pick stuff up for him when i go to the store. The result? It's been great!
I realized that it IS nice to do without him sometimes. I didn't realize before this that I actually missed having time to myself to do random things like clean, paint my toenails, and cook a nice dinner for myself. It's also nice not thinking about whether I want to call him and figure out something for us to do, or whether he's going to call me and if he wants to hang out with me.
It's also nicer when we see each other, because we haven't spoken at length in a couple of days and there's more to say. I know I really enjoy his company after not seeing him for a day or two, and I can tell he feels the same way.
As for the "eternal love" comments--those were in response to my statement that there was "something missing" from our relationship. He explained that he had gotten very upset when I said that because he really does love me and is happier than he's been in a while. He also said that he can't quite believe it and it makes him nervous because I'm younger than he is. We're at different points in our lives, even though we're both in graduate school. Since he graduated college he lived in NYC for four years, was a prize-winning journalist abroad for four years, and lived in DC as a freelance writer. He's really done a lot and seen a whole lot at the (relatively) young age of 34. However, I'm just starting out. he says that when he thinks about how much he cares for me, even though it makes him happy it also makes him a little sad because he knows that I have a lot to do before settling down. this IS true--I DO want to move in a year or two and I don't see myself getting married for at least five or ten years.
I really can understand how he feels because I feel the same way--he has come back to his home city with his family, bought a house, is going to start his career here, and won't be leaving again. It's sad for me to think that there are other cities (and maybe countries) I want to live in and that if I did go, he wouldn't come with me. I guess the worry is even more immediate for him since he's older (I guess guys DO think about their biological clocks a tickin').
We kissed and made up, told each other we loved each other, and it's been very nice since then. He's been extra sweet, and he calls almost every day to talk for a few minutes only, to see how my day went etc (we're not phone people, so this means a lot because I know he actually does want to talk).
Finally, I realized what his definitions of Quality Time and Low Quality Time mean. QT isn't always a huge plan or even necessarily time we spend with other people. He just needs a plan for SOMETHING, even if it's just renting a movie, having a beer at the local bar, or watching a game on TV. I know now that this is just his personality--he's a real "go get 'em" type, always on the go and always doing "something." To me, watching a movie and having a glass of wine is simply vegging out and doing nothing. To him, if we rent a good movie that's worth watching and we both wanted to see (last night it was Capturing the Friedmans--documentary about a sexual abuse case in the 1980s--absolutely fascinating), get a bottle of wine, and cuddle on the couch, we're doing Something. I can live with that.
As for groceries, laundry, and other mundane stuff--he's right, we DON'T live together. And I don't WANT to live together. I don't think he does either. Maybe in another six months I'll feel differently--who knows? I was afraid that we were maturing in our relationship at different speeds. I'm happy to know that he cares for me as much as I care for him. All I know is that we have plans to go to his friend's wedding in a month, so we'll be together for that long. After that, who knows? Thanks!!
Good for you! So many people go through life not really looking at what they are doing in their relationships or what they want. It sounds like you've figured it out. The age difference can be a stumbling block. I know, my boyfriend is 13 years younger than me. I'm learning to honor and enjoy my life for today. For the time being, we've made an agreement to not make plans for our future. It's made things easier since then.
Well this is good....You both got sometime alone to regather your thoughts about each other. You both saw what you miss in each other when you went a few days with at a time seeing him. Now you guys are back haning and taking things at a time. You may feel different in 6 months about moving with him but I would wait till you both are ready.