“You should never have to look for evidence that someone loves you. True love is crystal clear.”
~ Mandy Hale
Receiving mixed messages about how your significant other feels about you or the relationship?
If so, you’re likely confused, unsettled, and dedicating a maddening amount of time trying to make sense of his contradictory behavior.
A partner’s inconsistencies give us more to chew on than meets the appetite. To help you understand his behavior, four common scenarios along with an explanation for each are outlined below.
- One week he’s eager to see you and the next he’s inaccessible.
He replies to texts without delay and proactively makes plans. He’s attentive and talks enthusiastically about your next date. And then… You don’t hear from him for days.
When he resurfaces, he explains that he’s been buried in work and dealing with a family crisis. It all adds up, and you feel relieved – until his next disappearing act.
Typically, this pattern signifies unreliability and an aversion to commitment. He likes you, but he’d also like to keep his options open. Tell him you prefer the consistent, predictable type. If he doesn’t promptly change his ways, he probably never will.
- He doesn’t want to lose you but can’t commit.
You laugh at the same things, spend most of your time together, and discuss the future.
So, what does he mean that he’s “just not ready” to take your relationship to the next level?
Probably one of two things:
- his readiness to commit is contingent upon something specific, like a promotion, or
- he’s not ready because he’ll never be ready.
Ask him what would make him feel comfortable moving forward.
If he can’t identify what’s stalling him, he might have a case of wanting to have his cake and eat it, too.
This state is common to narcissists, who consider you lucky to have them even as they continue girlfriend shopping.
On the other hand, if he names something tangible, he might simply need time to establish his individual footing before more fully committing.
- He wavers between enthralled and distant.
At times, you have his total attention: eye contact, follow up questions, and feedback. At other times, he’s physically there, but his mind is elsewhere. Ask him in his aloof moments where he’s gone.
Most likely, he’s the preoccupied type, with a mind that’s prone to getting hijacked by life’s stressors. Bringing his attention to his tendency to drift off will help, but he’ll probably still need the occasional cue to “come back into the room.”
- He’s often upbeat, but sullen at times.
He’s the most fun and loving person you know – except when he’s not. You find it hurtful when he withdraws and your efforts to perk him up either annoy him or go unnoticed. Perhaps you worry that he’s losing interest in you.
More likely, your partner suffers from a mood disorder, such as depression. When in a low mood, he probably loses enthusiasm for most things, so don’t take it personally.
See if he believes this could be the case and let him know you’d like to help. Encourage him to exercise, socialize, and pursue enjoyable and meaningful activities. If that’s not enough, he might need professional support.
If his mood lifts, your relationship will benefit.
If he still has his lows, your ability to distinguish a bad mood from relationship discontent will spare you some unnecessary anguish.
Maggie Vaughan, MFT, PhD – www.everyoneneedstherapy.com
Sorry to say this, but if your man doesn’t know what he wants, then it must not be you.
Think about it. If he wanted to be in a relationship with you only and did not want to risk you being in a relationship with another man, he would know it. The excuse of saying he doesn’t know what he wants could really mean, he does know but is afraid to let you know.
Let’s turn the question to you.
What do you want?
A relationship is about two people’s needs, wants, desires, dreams, and goals.
Ask yourself if you want to be in a relationship with a man who does not know what he wants.
Do you want to be in a relationship where you feel confused, frustrated and helpless, or do you want to be in a relationship where you feel peace, contentment, and satisfaction?
Instead of staying with someone who cannot decide if he wants to spend his future with you, go find someone who does know.
You deserve this. You are not in a relationship to merely please your partner and your future is not at his whim. Go get the future you want!
There are plenty of good men who know what they want and know a good woman when they have one. They would not risk losing this woman to another man by not committing and cherishing her. This is the man you probably want.
Still, are you also confused about what you want?
Perhaps that is why you stay in a confusing and frustrating relationship.
More questions to ask yourself are:
- Do you believe you deserve a good man?
- Do you deserve to be loved?
- Do you deserve to have peace and contentment?
- Are you trying to finish unfinished business from a previous relationship or resolve issues from your family of origin?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, these are great areas to explore with a good licensed therapist!
Dr. Tracy S. Kelly, LMFT – www.DrTracyKelly.com
You have been seeing a guy who you think is great.
There are so many wonderful things about him and the time you spend together. But, he is also wishy washy. One day, he is all about you and your relationship, and the next he isn’t returning your call or inviting you as a date to the wedding that he’s attending.
This is a common story, and it is all too painful.
Maybe you have had times when you got to a point where you made a decision about your relationship and without any expectations gave him an ultimatum.
You were fine if he hit the road, because you were fed up with feeling left out.
It’s likely that this led to him recommitting and saying that he wanted you in his life. But then, he couldn’t keep it up. Over time, he started to fade into his old habits and quit including you or doing things that made you feel loved or special.
You may have asked yourself what you did to deserve this.
You may have felt unworthy of love or even trapped by his unpredictable behavior. If that’s the case, there are some things that you need to remember:
People can tell you all of the right things, but what you need to watch are their actions. If he tells you one thing, but does another, it’s a red flag.
His lack of commitment and elusive behavior is less about you than it is about him. Maybe he is scared of being alone or he has his own unresolved issues that he needs to work on.
You should take a long hard look at yourself and consider what you deserve.
Do you treat your partner well? If so, then you deserve someone who treats you as well as you treat them.
Finally, think of yourself five years in the future.
Would you still be okay with things if they were exactly as they are now? Be honest. You deserve it.
Emily Garcia, LCSW, CPT – www.tribemindbody.com
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