I’m having a problem with the guy I’m seeing, but I don’t know if I’m being unreasonable, or if he’s just not that into me. I’m 23 and he’s a year older. We met at a friend’s party a couple of months ago, and started hanging out pretty regularly after that. He treats me really well – he is attentive and affectionate. I see him at least a couple of times a week. It’s pretty obvious that all of our friends consider us a couple, and I agree that’s what we look like. That’s what it feels like. We never talked about it though, and it’s been on my mind. I wanted him to bring it up, but I could tell he wasn’t even thinking about it, so last weekend I asked what it is we’re doing. Basically, he said that everything is great exactly the way it is, and he doesn’t want to label it. That pissed me off – I asked him whether in this arrangement with no name he would hook up with anyone else. He said that he isn’t hooking up with anyone else, which didn’t really answer my question. I know I’m making him sound like a jerk, and he isn’t. He’s a great guy and I really like him. I guess he just doesn’t want a relationship, at least right now, or with me Should I stop seeing him, or am I being too rigid?
You are spending time with someone you’ve grown to care about, and you’re having sex. It is natural for you to want a commitment with a man you are intimately sharing your body with. This is entirely reasonable, and you would be justified in ending this “whatever” with him if he cannot give you what you want. However, you are understandably reluctant to give up on someone you like if there is some possibility of things working out in the future. Let’s break this down a bit.
The R Word
Relationship has become a very loaded word. It seems like whenever guys feel a relationship talk coming on, they all yell “Incoming!” and duck. There are many reasons why guys prefer to “not put a label on it:”
1. They don’t have to. It sounds like the man you’re seeing has everything he wants right now. Men perceive that being in a relationship means signing up for a bunch of troublesome stuff:
Being obligated to communicate regularly, not just when they feel like it.
Planning romantic gestures, paying special attention to birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.
Being called out for behavior that isn’t boyfriendy enough.
Recently, a guy about his age (who is in a serious relationship) told me that the only reasons guys are ever willing to be in relationships is because they are secure and comfortable. In other words, getting out there all the time and hitting on women is exhausting, and sometimes a guy gets in the mood to settle down a bit. It’s nice being with one woman who digs you.
Essentially, from a guy’s perspective, being with women is a pain in the ass, as it requires time and effort to get sex, one way or the other.
Your guy is making an effort to maximize his return with a small emotional down payment. You are on layaway!
Go with the flow, but KEEP LOOKING. By all means, spend time with him. Enjoy one another’s company. If you can enjoy the sex without a commitment, fine.
Cultivate and nurture your other friendships. Be active in pursuing your own interests that don’t include him. Schedule a bike ride with someone else. Go away for a weekend in another city with a girlfriend.
Don’t play games. I’m not one for Rules, I think it’s stupid to strategize about how long you should wait before returning a text or call, etc.
Don’t try to make him jealous. Guys hate feeling jealous, and they’ll dump a girl rather than be in that state for long.
I am a big fan of Saying What You Need to Say. Tell him it’s cool, you would like to continue hanging out, and that you will make some adjustments in your own life to reflect the two of you not being exclusive. Then go and be fabulous. Consider yourself single. Go out to parties, etc. with the specific idea that you could meet someone new.
This approach does not guarantee you’ll get the guy, but it does make you less of a sitting duck for heartbreak. And it gives him an incentive to be exclusive if he likes you. You are the one in control of deciding whether or not you want to keep seeing him, under the current terms. You’ll need to allow some time, though. He will not want to appear like he is caving in to your demands.
Likelihood of success: Hard to say, I’d put it in the 60-75% range because he is displaying strong interest.
I feel that it’s important to address the question of sex. I am not a fan of EVER having sex with more than one guy at a time. It geometrically increases the risk for all kinds of unpleasant stuff, most notably messing up your head. It is very, very difficult for women to pull this off.
I am also not a fan of having sex with a guy who is having sex with someone other than me. Again, nothing good can come of this.
You need to come to an agreement with him that each of you will let the other know if you decide to have sex with someone else. If you meet someone else you want to go there with, it says something important about your feelings about your Whatever. In that case, I would advise making a clean break.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’ll come to his senses soon. If he doesn’t step up, you deserve better.
Don’t take yourselves off the market for Whatever, ladies. It’s bad strategy. You can’t force someone to commit to you. But you can refuse to participate in an arrangement that makes you feel like a loser.
Question: Do you agree with me about the Sex piece?