How To Tell if You're Actually In A Relationship With A Guy
Dear Nice Guy and Fuck Boy,
My name's Laney. I'm 22, I'm a single mom and I've been seeing this guy, Jared, 28, for about four months.
When we first started talking, we met online and talked a lot. He initiated a lot of the conversations and stayed interested in them, too.
Then, around the holidays, he was busy with family, and I was, too, so we didn't talk much. But we saw each other about once a week.
Honestly, I didn't make him wait for sex. After the first date, it felt right, so we went for it. We don't have sex every time we hang out, either — probably two-thirds of the time. We have agreed to only see each other, and we've told each other before that we are not talking to anyone else.
Recently, though, he's been more distant. We don't talk as much, and he doesn't initiate the conversations or stay interested.
We still hang out two to three times a week, and by "hang out," I mean at his house. We hardly go out on dates anymore. When we do, he says it's because I deserve a date, but those are just words.
I recently asked him why he's been distant, but he denied it and everything else about the way he's been acting.
I want to have the dreaded"what are we" conversation because we haven't met each other's friends or anything, and he hasn't told his family about me. I wonder if he's just keeping me around for the sex or if he actually likes me.
I was honest with him from the beginning about wanting something serious.
I was honest with him from the beginning about wanting something serious, and he said he just wanted to take things slowly because he hasn't been in a relationship for a long time.
But I feel like it's been plenty of time for him to know if he wants to be with me or not.
Let me clear some things up for you from the get-go.
You say in your message you both agreed not to see anybody else. But then, you say you're reluctant to have the dreaded “what are we?” conversation.
Am I missing something here? If you've both agreed to see only each other, you're exclusive, which means you're dating.
Sometimes, guys don't feel the need to get down on one knee and propose when they're dating, Laney. It just kind of happens.
Sometimes, guys don't feel the need to get down on one knee and propose when they're dating.
And because you're dating, he probably feels he doesn't need to impress you anymore, which is why you think he's become distant. As a girlfriend, you're a prize that's already been won.
This sounds shitty, I know, but as relationships carry on, we tend to feel less inclined to impress you because we kind of don't have to.
This doesn't mean the romanticism stops. It just may not be as frequent as it once was.
This is totally normal, and women do the same thing — don't try to tell me they don't.
As relationships carry on, we tend to feel less inclined to impress you because we kind of don't have to.
For example, what was once a shiny, meticulous hairdo has become a messy bun plopped on top of your head. And what were once slim, butt-hugging jeans are now our boxer shorts, sagging off of an otherwise beautiful ass.
He “denied” your accusations likely because he honestly doesn't know why you think anything is wrong.
What I'm saying is, you were introduced to the best version of him. Now, you're meeting the real him. The more you spend time with him, the more his layers will peel away.
I think your particular problem stems from a lack of communication. You feel like he doesn't know where you two stand, yet you're reluctant to ask him because it's awkward; both of those instances seem like communication is the issue.
And because I know me telling you earlier that you two are already official doesn't make it true, let me give you some helpful ways to find out where you stand, without having to flat-out ask him:
How does he introduce you to people?
When you run into people in public, does he introduce you as his friend or his girlfriend? The difference between the two is astronomical.
But because you said you two have never met each other's friends, this common circumstance may not have happened somehow.
My suggestion? Make it happen. Ask him to go out with some friends. This way, you finally get to meet his pals, and you get to find out how he introduces you. Win-win!
Have a friend do it.
Have a friend stop by and casually ask him if you two are dating. I mean, sure, this feels a little sixth grade, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work.
Do you speak in future tense?
When you two are chatting, do you make a lot of future plans together? If he wants to go on vacation this summer, do those plans include you?
If a guy is speaking about you in future tense, it's usually a pretty good sign he sees you as something more official.
Do you speak daily?
A man is not going to talk to a woman every day unless he sees it going somewhere.
This is especially true if these daily texts don't always get sexual or if these conversations are actually the phone, not just through text.
Do you have your stuff at his place?
Have you left your toothbrush at his place? Did you wear one of his shirts and bring it home with you? If you guys are already settled into each other's places, it's another pretty good sign you're official.
Have you asked him to meet your folks?
No guy likes to meet his potential in-laws unless there's a reason to. So casually ask him to dine with your folks and see what he says. If he says yes, then you know where he stands.
You could also ask, “What should I introduce you as?” before heading over to put the ball in his court.
There you have it, Laney. It's time to act — that much is certain. But which path you take is up to you.
Best of luck!
I implore you to ignore the instinct to assume it's been enough time for him just because it's been enough time for you. To do so would be to trip down a faulty logistical trap many before you have fallen into.
Everyone has what I like to call a “relationship clock.” It's basically the time it takes for someone to come to terms with the idea of spending a better part of his or her foreseeable future with one person.
We respond to situations like yours all the time here, and an overwhelming majority of them center around women distressed at the inkling that their partner's relationship clock is ticking slower than their own.
In these cases, I preach patience.
You're not going to get him to commit faster than he wants to without sprinkling seeds of resentment into the foundation of a relationship that, if you do convince him he wants it, will eventually wither away because of that very foundation.
Anything that goes wrong, in his mind, will be invariably related to a commitment he felt forced into in the first place. Trust me. I've been there.
Compounding this particular sentiment in your case is your kid. If he's going to commit to you, this guy also has to commit to your child. He knows that. He's probably more than a bit apprehensive about it, and he probably should be.
So while it might be frustrating and inconvenient for you, his skittishness shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
Committing to a woman can be a challenging concept for certain types of men to come to terms with. It's a decision that brings with it major changes.
And committing to a woman with a child doesn't just change your life – it gives it a complete facelift. For me, at least, and for most men in their 20s, it would be a daunting ask.
So it's possible he needs more time.
It's also possible, though, that these warning signs you're seeing are also symptomatic of his decision already being made.
If this is what your instincts are telling you, I wouldn't ignore them. Women can be pushy and paranoid about these types of things, but people, in general, are pretty good at perceiving when they're losing someone. It's palpable.
In general, are pretty good at perceiving when they're losing someone. It's palpable.
But that doesn't necessarily mean he's growing disinterested in you in the way you think he is. (Though, he may be, and you may be right.)
But there is another option: It could be he's bored, scared and wants to leave. He could also be growing disinterested in you in the very normal, benign way most people in relationships grow disinterested in one another. The fireworks fizzle for everybody.
All that stuff you're describing – diminishing date nights and such – sound like a relationship growing older, more comfortable and more tepid, as they all do.
Diminishing date nights and such sound like a relationship growing older, more comfortable and more tepid.
Don't attack him over it. Catalogue it, process it and react productively to it. Give him rope if you love him.
If you don't, see the writing on the wall and don't make the mistake of continuing to walk into it. Walk away from it — and him — before he does the same to you.
Tick, tick, tick.
Now you're the one on the relationship clock.