Dear Nice Guy and Fuckboy,
My name is Chelsea, and I am 22 years old from Los Angeles. I'm currently having relationship drama with a guy I've never officially been with. We've been on and off for the past three years.
He's never been "sure" of our relationship. He has admitted countless of times he is afraid of us getting together and screwing things up so much that he'll end up losing me forever. So instead, we've been stuck in this in-between relationship for so long.
The problem is no matter how hard I've tried, I haven't been able to shake my feelings for this guy.
I've tried dating other people. I've gone off on my own and had amazing life experiences. I've even seen him with other women, all while telling myself that I don't love him when in reality, I never stopped.
I have this unexplainable connection to him that keeps drawing me back. We constantly get into arguments about our relationship. I always express my desire for more, telling him that if he isn't willing to give me more, we need to end things.
He always says he understands. He'll give me some space, and then in a couple of weeks, he'll text me as if nothing ever happened. And every time this happens, I give in because those last weeks without him were so hard. I start off strong, swearing I'll never see him again and finish off so weak.
During college, I left one semester to study abroad. While I was away, he got another girlfriend, whom he appeared to be more serious about than he ever was with me. He was "official" with her and posted about it on social media. Something he never did with me.
He was "official" with her and posted about it on social media. Something he never did with me.
My heart broke and I thought, well, at least that's the end of that. When I got home from studying abroad, he would look for me, try to talk to me, try to be friends with me, anything he could to not let me go, despite having another girl in his life.
I tried being friends with him. I believed since he was with someone else and all hope was lost for us, why not at least try to be friends. But he was never truly capable of being my friend.
He would text me provocative things and hit on me constantly when we were together. He was acting so shady to his girlfriend, and in my heart of hearts, I knew he would do the same thing to me if we were ever together. I couldn't help but wonder if he knew this too, and that's why he never wanted to commit. He didn't want our relationship to come to that.
We've known each other for so long and shared a lot of great memories together. I've never been able to cut him out of my life completely because we have the same circle of friends, which has made things very difficult.
If he came to me today and asked me to be with him, I know I would initially resist. I'm so afraid that he'll break my heart even more than he already has, but deep down, I know that if he persisted and fought for me, I would give in because my feelings for him have never faltered.
If he came to me today and asked me to be with him, I know I would initially resist. But deep down, I would give in.
So I guess, the questions I'm asking are: Is there a chance that he truly does care about me and is just afraid of losing me forever, hence his reservations of giving our relationship a real shot? Or is he just using me because he likes knowing that I'll always be there for him?
Why is it so hard for him to just let me go when I've begged him so many times to do so?
Sincerely, Confused in Los Angeles
Let me get to the point real quick: This guy's a manipulative asshole.
This guy's a manipulative asshole.
He strikes me as the kind of dude who has four or five girls on his rolodex at any given time, giving each of them the same, rehearsed lip service that's never ever failed him.
He's not worth your time, which I understand is easy for me to say because I don't know the guy or even you, for that matter.
However, what I do know is that there was once a point in my life where I was completely infatuated with a girl, we'll call her Jackie, when I was around your age.
In my early 20s, I foolishly thought she was the one that I was meant to spend the rest of my life with.
The problem was, she had a boyfriend. A much older boyfriend who had a vintage bike and could afford to shop for T-shirts at American Apparel. I knew I couldn't compete with that. The dude was the ultimate hipster long before being a hipster was even a thing.
But, whenever they'd go on a break (which happened often), she'd come crawling back to me, and each and every time — like the idiot I was — I'd be thrilled.
What I ultimately discovered over our two years of nonsense was that I always made her a priority in my life, but this indication was never reciprocated.
Looking back, I always kind of knew this as fact, but I couldn't imagine leaving her. Yet, she'd leave me whenever her boyfriend (who at the time, was discovering his his bisexuality) was willing to take her back.
I knew I didn't deserve to be treated the way I was. Hell, nobody did. But deep, deep down, I was almost certain she would always love him more than she could ever love me. I just chose to ignore the fact, which is why I wasted so much time on something that was — in hindsight — so obviously destined to fail.
I bring this up because I feel like it's a very similar experience to yours, and I don't want you to waste any more time on this intangible person like I had. I feel like you know what he's been saying to keep you interested in him is BS, but you, like me, don't want to — or can't — imagine a life without them.
But you have to.
I feel like this guy showed his true colors when you left to study abroad and some other girl snagged the “official” title that you had been so steadfast in achieving. I can guarantee you it didn't take this girl three years to attain the title, so I just want to mention this observation before I give you my all-or-nothing approach, which I think is your only viable option at this point.
If he's truly afraid of losing you forever like you mention in your message, I want you to give him an ultimatum: A be-with-me-now-or-lose-me-forever kind of thing.
I want you to give him an ultimatum: A be-with-me-now-or-lose-me-forever kind of thing.
By giving him an ultimatum, which I don't normally recommend, he's either going to prove to you that he meant what he said, or that he just used it to keep you on the line while he fished for other women. It's time to put his words to the test and finally reach a destination with this dude, instead of riding idle to god knows where.
If he fails, which I think he might, then at least you'll know h never saw you as an exclusive partner. He just used his words to manipulate your emotions and keep you exclusively interested in him while he could pretty much do whatever he pleases with whoever he pleases.
This guy's either a textbook chauvinist, or he's just super young and immature. Since you mention you're only 22, I'll take it easy on the guy, and go with the latter.
I know this is the most frustrating advice ever, Chelsea, but you're too young to give your all to a man who doesn't give it back. I promise you're going to find a guy who won't make you question things to the point where you feel obligated to ask two millennial columnists what we think you should do.
There are better things out there, but you're going to have to step out from under his shadow in order to see it.
Best of luck!
You're asking if there's a chance his willingness to commit to you changes over time. I guess there's always a chance, and being a central figure of his adolescence likely gives you a leg up in the matter.
We build loyalty to the people who stick around long enough for us to drag them through our mud — call it emotional capital, if you will — and this phenomenon isn't exclusive to non-fuckboy and bring-home-to-momma types. All us humans do it.
The question isn't whether you've built this up in him, but whether he'll want to cash in on it in the future.
But I think the larger question you should ask yourself is: Do you really want him to? The answer depends on how you want to look at it.
Because you could view him doing so as him realizing his love, affection and need for your companionship, him finally coming to terms with something he's been destined to for some time.
Or you can see it as him settling. And that might be how he sees it: a shrug, a look around and assessment of who's left standing. It sounds like you want to be that person there, after the dust has settled.
If that were the case, what would your life be with him? Would it be everything you thought you ever wanted? Or some cruel, realistic twist on a fantasy scenario that you conjured up in your mind?
The reason he can't let you go is because you've never given him any real notion that you will. No matter where you are, you've always been available for him emotionally. You've always been ready, able and willing to drop everything. You've never been taken away from him; nothing has ever threatened his ability to have you.
The reason he can't let you go is because you've never given him any real notion that you will.
Even the best of us humans need to be conditioned to realize we can lose something that's never shown any inclination of being taken away. This phenomenon, again, isn't exclusive to non-fuckboy and bring-home-to-momma types. It's true of all of us.
Show him your status in his life is fluid, that it's not contingent on him just existing. I'm not saying blow up at him or come out of the blue with a dramatic diatribe.
Don't demand loyalty. That'll come across as a desperate plea, a beg. But leave yourself open to other opportunities, and take advantage of them if they present themselves. Talk to other people. Leave yourself open to the possibility of ending up with somebody else.
Leave yourself open to other opportunities, and take advantage of them if they present themselves.
And let him see it.
It's nothing short of silly to repeat the same patterns and expect dissimilar outcomes. You want something to change in your relationship? Throw a curveball at it.
You may not like this constant ambiguity of you and him, but it has become your comfort zone. It's become what you know, and in the meantime, what you and him are.
If you want him to let you go, let him go, or at least, this dependence on him that you can't seem to shake. The truth between you and him will make itself clear when you do.
Unfaithfully yours, Treez