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How to Strengthen Your Relationship/I feel like he isn't as interested, but he says he is. What can I do to feel more secure?

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Question
My boyfriend used to live a few hours away.  Now that he lives closer, we don't talk to each other as much. It's like pulling teeth to go on a date.  Things became so distant that I flat out asked him if he had lost interest in me. He said this:

"The change has nothing to do with me not being interested in you as much anymore. I've been very involved with trying to get things situated after my move.  I desperately need to land a job.  I literally have no income coming in other than what I earn through temp agencies which are sometimes only a day's work for an entire week. My bills haven't stopped coming and I have children that rely on me.  

When I lived away, you were actually spending more time with me than my kids were.  They simply couldn't spend time with me with school and I couldn't drive to see them as often as I liked.  I now spend most of my time with my kids to make up for that time apart. I've only done any type of entertainment twice this entire month.  It definitely isn't because I don't want to have fun,  it's because I'm giving all of the time that I don't spend looking for work with my kids.

I try hard to satisfy everyone."


I know the saying that if a person wants to be with you,  they will find the time blah blah blah.  But,  I seriously don't know what to make of this.  It's hard because I want my relationship to work.

Answer
Hi, Erica,

Your boyfriend sounds like he put a lot of honesty into that answer, including his feelings, for example, desperation.  If you were to assume that he is basically an honest man, then I would accept he is struggling, and not challenge it.  Real life has real challenges.

What you could focus on is your desire to stay emotionally connected with him, even if there isn't a lot of time to actually be together.  Let him know that what's most important to you, especially during this time when he's trying to get established, is to be able to share with each other what life is like for you each - to emotionally connect.  You could suggest that you have phone time at the end of the day where there is nothing else pressing to do - or that you have dinner together at night.  See if he is open to that, and if so, what his ideas are.

There are hard times that make us feel insecure, and we need to learn how to nurture and comfort ourselves through those times while we keep faith with those we love, who are facing hard times of their own.

Keep communicating!  Out of caring - not fear.

Good luck to you!

Jan Harrell, PhD
www.SeekingSomethingMore.wordpress.com
Author:  Love Again~ Creating Relationships Without Blame

How to Strengthen Your Relationship

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Jan Harrell, PhD

Expertise

I believe I can address any questions and concerns a person might have.

Experience

I have been a clinical psychologist for 32 years. I co-authored a book on relationships, Love Again ~ Creating Relationships Without Blame, with my husband of 40 years, who is also a psychologist. I have taught at UCLA and at Southern Oregon University. I was the psychology columnist for the magazine, Make You Happen! for 1 1/2 years.

Education/Credentials
I have a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California.

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