Mind Games/Is he playing games with me
Hi im a 23 year old female and i've been with my boyfriend for 1 yr and a half. We are very similar in most regards but somehow I always feel as if I care/love him more than he loves me. A year ago we got into a pretty bad fight due to the fact that he never seemed to want to spend time with me.We text everyday during the week and sometimes he calls one nights but weeks would go by without seeing each other. Finally I asked him if he felt that i loved him more than he loved me ..his response was yes. After that things changed a bit we saw each other most weekends now he comes over for sex once a week stays for an hour and then leaves. He never has plans or initiates going out/hanging out. If he called id drop everything and anything to be with him I have before. I am not saying he doesn't care my grand father passed away this year and he was there for me, he helped me through a health crisis and is actively helping me to find a new job. However I cant help but feel ..lonely. Its at the point where I'm tired of a text relationship id like to see him a few days a week or go for a movie. I think if he really loved me as much as h says he does he would make an effort. In addition he can never discuss relationship questions. I got so upset one day I asked him if he wanted to be friends his response was that he won't answer that question while i'm upset. I just wanted a yes or no to that. I'm always living with uncertainty its like i have to interpret how he feels because he simply doesn't know or cant tell me. My knew strategy is to simply back off and give him all the space in the world, no more messaging or initiating plans or asking him if i can come over. Our relationship has had its ups and downs and we have stuck it put because I thought he felt the same ...now im not so sure. What should i do?
Relationships can be tough. We all want to feel like equal partners when it comes to where we stand with our loved ones, and we all want to feel that we are loved and cared for. But what that means is relationships, to an extent, are about power. Without power as one of its facets the idea of equality cannot exist. They are intertwined.
Whether or not you are consciously aware of it, you are assessing the power balance in the relationship. You said:
*You love him more than he loves you. You went so far as to ask him, to get a clear assessment.
*He never seems to want to spend time with you, even though he has been with you for over a year and a half, which implies that you want HIM to spend more time with you.
*You are measuring how much time is spent doing certain things and at what frequency.
The truth is, no two people look at love and relationships in exactly the same way. These types of conflicts will come up no matter who your partner is. In addition to that, not all people need and, along with that, are willing to give the same things as everyone else. Some people do not need or even want to spend that much time with their partner, or talk with them that much, or communicate or discuss feelings that much. Often when these priorities do not coincide with our own we misinterpret them as an imbalance in the relationship, or as a lack of love, which it seems is what is happening here.
Let me be perfectly honest in my assessment of the situation from the information you have provided: For starters, I get the sense that you have conferred an enormous amount of power on to your boyfriend as the steward of your happiness, but that is, ultimately, YOUR responsibility, not his. It is the duty - if you want to call it that - of the boyfriend or girlfriend to SUPPORT each other's happiness, not provide it.
Secondly, it seems you have managed to cleverly disguise your intentions within your language so that it looks like he is to "blame" for these problems, when really what is happening is you are making indirect demands of him that he simply seems unwilling or reluctant to comply to or, possibly, he is not picking up on. What you are actually saying when you try to measure the equality of your relationship status is that he is not doing enough for you. You are essentially creating a decree or standard for what is and isn't love, based on your personal definitions of it, and implicitly expecting him to live up to it.
Having standards and needs is fine. It is not only fine, it is essential for a healthy and happy relationship. What is not fine is the underlining expectation that he should have the same ones or that he should be able to pick up on them on his own. What is not fine is waiting until you are in an agitated state to express them to him; coming to him from a place of fear, a feeling of needing not certainty, but control.
This is what I see as the main problem here: you are looking to control this relationship, and no one, including your boyfriend, is interested in being controlled. You demanded answers from him when you wanted them, the way you wanted them. I saw no indication that you understood your boyfriend's point of view in this matter. He was within his rights to request that the two of you wait until you are not upset.
You said you are "always living with uncertainty." Well, welcome to life! All of us always live with uncertainty to one degree or another. It's not a matter of being able to live with complete certainty all the time - that is a pipe dream - it is a matter of knowing how much certainty you want, how much HE is willing to give you, and whether or not you can live with that. After that, it's a matter of communicating that in a way that is respectful. If you can, great! If not, then you'll have to assess whether you need to change or the relationship needs to be redefined.
In the final analysis, I'm glad you decided to actively seek a solution to this problem. That requires the willingness to be vulernable, which is an act of courage. However, none of what you want can be accomplished without the same vulernability and the same courageous dialogue with your boyfriend. What you need to do is learn to communicate these feelings and wishes to your boyfriend directly and assertively, rather than seeking answers from other people or waiting until you are emotionally riled and then letting them all explode out. That is not vulernability, that is self-protection FROM vulnerability. That is not the way to conduct a healthy relationship.
Remember, no two people are going to agree completely on what they define as love or the roles of romantic partners. It is going to take patience, understanding, courage, open-mindedness and work to either achieve a happy compromise or to realize that both of you would be better off with different partners. Relationships are not easy but, with this challenge they are an amazing opportunity for growth. I hope you can see this great opportunity you have and utilize it.
Hope that helps, and good luck with everything!