How to talk to boyfriend after taking time apart?

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Registered: 05-10-2013
How to talk to boyfriend after taking time apart?
9
Fri, 05-10-2013 - 10:07pm

My boyfriend and I had been going out for 3 months and we both believed it was wonderful.  We connected right away.  We're both very kind, sweet, caring people.  We both also had bad relationships prior to meeting each other.  He had a bad marriage and divorce.  I had a boyfriend who didn't care about me and cheated on me.  We were excited we found each other.  He gave me love, attention, and affection that no one has before.  He told me that I'm the sweetest woman he's ever met.  There were times he said I was too nice.  

One problem was that I am not as open with him as both of would like.  He tells me how he feels about us and I feel the exact same way.  But he is frustrated and says I keep him at a distance.  I didn't think that I did.  I had been out of work and feeling ashamed that I couldn't treat him to things and give him a special night out, like he has done for me.  I would cook for him and I helped decorate his apartment and I was so happy to be able to give him something that was also a part of me.  But that's not enough.  

He had left on a business trip for 3 weeks and during that time apart I was thinking about our relationship and how I wanted us to grow stronger together as a couple.  I was ready to open up to him because the one thing we lacked had been communciation.  I wanted to be his best friend, not just his girlfriend.

When he returned we met for lunch and I was happy to see him again.  During his time away he had thanked me for being supportive of him being away and said he owed me.  But the day we met I thought we were going to catch up and spend a day together.  Instead he tells me that he doesn't know where the relationship is going, that I don't talk to him, asked me if I knew who I was, said I wasn't comfortable in my own skin.  I was so hurt and emotional but all of it that I froze and couldn't respond.  He said he hadn't been direct with me before because he knows I'm sweet and nice and I guess he didn't want to scare me.  But if I was afraid of him I wouldn't have wanted to be with him  He said for our relationship it would be good to take some time apart, for me to figure things out.  

Well, that was a week ago and I asked him to meet me for dinner and to talk.  I know what I want to say in terms of my heart and how I feel about him.  Because it seemed to me that he felt I wasn't making myself emotionally available to him.  In my own way I was doing things for him but I know now that words get more notice than gestures sometimes.  I'm nervous I'll say the wrong things to him when we meet.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 12:11am

First of all, three months is barely a "relationship".  He knows that.  You think you know him, but you don't, and he's told you that he doesn't like what he sees in you......which is that you're closed off, and not open with him.  Your priorities are way off, too.  I know all about women's lib, but why would you feel you have to treat him, just because he's treated you?  I'm sure he's not looking for that!  You cooked for him.......and helped him with his apartment......that's more than most guys get in 3 months. 

You didn't "take time apart", he went on a business trip, and if his job requires travelling often, then you'd be apart a lot.......but that's not the same as "taking time apart".  You know you have a problem being open with him, and he's had time to think about that......and he doesn't like it.  If he's not happy, then now is the time for him to end it........not in a year, or two years.  When there are red flags, then you acknowledge that, and if you feel you can't fix it, you end it.  That's what he's doing.

You need to work on yourself.  You had a bad relationship, but that's over, and you need to move on, and learn to trust again.  Men sense when you don't trust, when you're not open.  If you care about him, then tell him that.  If you speak from your heart, you won't say the wrong thing.  You're not afraid of him, you're afraid of being yourself.  But if he's still not receptive, then it's time to say "it's been nice, and have a good life"......and let it go. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 11:09am

Just because your BF says something does mean it's "true."  People have their own emotions and perceptions--these things are feelings, they aren't facts, if you know what I mean.  He felt that you weren't communicating enough and you felt that you weren't being distant--maybe each of you has different things that you need from a relationship.  Personally I don't want to be talking about my feelings all the time--I figure if things are good, why do you have to keep analyzing it?  But maybe some guys wouldn't like that.  Did he explain exactly how he felt that you were holding back so you can see his POV?  Is it something like he would say "I really care about you" and you would just say nothing?  I think that would be frustrating for someone.  Did you ever express to him that you felt bad because you were out of work & didn't have enough money to treat him?  I would think that those are feelings you might want to share, but honestly I don't think that most men expect women to be treating them to special nights out--they are probably thrilled when they do get a home cooked meal.

Also there is a book called something like the Five Love Languages, which I haven't read but I have heard people talk about it a lot.  Apparently people have different ways of expressing love and you have to understand what your partner's way is--it seems like for your BF, he needs to hear words of love while to you, you express love by doing things for someone else--both are valid ways and it's not really fair for your BF to put you down just because you haven't said a lot if he doesn't recognize your gestures.  To me, people can say anything they want, but it's what they do that's important.  My ex used to give me compliments and say nice things all the time & then he'd turn around & treat me badly so words don't mean that much to me.  

Now do you feel that you don't understand yourself as a person?  I just think that you need to talk to him honestly and then the 2 of you figure out if your relationship has a future or not.  If he still wants time apart, then I'd just tell him to forget about it--you can just find someone else who wants to be with you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-18-2009
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 12:47pm
In a 3 month realtionship, you have been apart for 3 weeks and one of your major relationship problems is lack of communication. Does that sound right to you ?If it does, you really need to look at yourself in the mirror very honestly.
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Registered: 05-10-2013
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 6:12pm

My boyfriend is more articulate than me.  He has told me he loves me and cares about me.  He's told me he's already judged me and there's nothing I should be afraid of.  And I've responded to all of these by telling him I love him, that's the most affectionate boyfriend I've ever had, and I'm comfortable with him.  But he also pours his heart out to me by telling me how he sees our relationship, us, and the future.  When I hear those things I'm thrilled, overwhelmed, happy, and I have a strong desire to tell him the same thing.  I tell him I feel the same way and I do feel the same as him.  I've been wanting to tell him my heart and take him out to show how special he is to me.  I remembered him saying on our first date how he wanted some nice scented candles for his apartment but he didn't know where to get them.  Majority of the candle stores in my city are pricey.  Those candles have been on my list of things to do for him.  He knows I've been out of work but he thinks I was focusing too much on getting a job and making money.  He didn't understand that I wanted a job so I can do things for him.  

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

westkym wrote:
<p>My boyfriend is more articulate than me.  He has told me he loves me and cares about me.  He's told me he's already judged me and there's nothing I should be afraid of.  And I've responded to all of these by telling him I love him, that's the most affectionate boyfriend I've ever had, and I'm comfortable with him.  But he also pours his heart out to me by telling me how he sees our relationship, us, and the future.  When I hear those things I'm thrilled, overwhelmed, happy, and I have a strong desire to tell him the same thing.  I tell him I feel the same way and I do feel the same as him.  I've been wanting to tell him my heart and take him out to show how special he is to me.  I remembered him saying on our first date how he wanted some nice scented candles for his apartment but he didn't know where to get them.  Majority of the candle stores in my city are pricey.  Those candles have been on my list of things to do for him.  He knows I've been out of work but he thinks I was focusing too much on getting a job and making money.  He didn't understand that I wanted a job so I can do things for him.  </p>

Whoa!!! Judged you? Who is he to "judge" anything?  Observe? Yes...  Notice? Yes...  Judged? Hay-ell no.

BTW--you should want a job so that you can take care of yourself, not spend your income on pleasing him because there is one pitfall of trying to please someone--there will always be something else they dangle in front of you in order to please them. Right now, it's scented candles (he can pick up some at the supermarket--that's where I get the cheap ones... or at Bed, Bath and Beyond); next time, it could be something that is out of your price range.

Instead of spending your way into his heart, why not be yourself as a way of getting into his heart? Why not work on putting a voice to your feelings for him? Why not examine why the first thing you reach for is distance when emoting is what is required from you by him?  That right there is worth more than a room full of scented candles.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2013
Sat, 05-11-2013 - 8:19pm

Thank you to everyone who's replied so far.  I appreciate your comments and views.

I am going to tell him how I feel, how he makes me feel, what it's like for me to hear the things he's said to me. I feel awful that he thinks I'm keeping away from him.  The gifts and taking him out were suppose to be part of the entire expression of my feelings.  On my birthday he took me out to see a show, a nice dinner, and over dinner told me how he felt about us and the future.  Since then I wanted to do the same thing for him.  I had waited for him to return from his 3 week business trip to tell him and show him how I felt.      

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2010
Sun, 05-12-2013 - 1:59pm

My guess is that he has realized that he was moving too fast. In 3 months he had already figured out the future for your relationship? But at the same time he doesn't seem to have accepted who and how you are emotionally. If you were not yet comfortable with him enough to be able to tell him that you are embarassed that you don't have a job or money, then he couldn't really know you that well and be able to make projections for the future.

Three months is an early stage in many relationships. Typically the couple is still learning about each other. Its unlikely that he could already know you well enough to be able to judge you, whatever that means. If he feels the need for instant emotional intimacy and cannot accept that you move more slowly, then maybe he's not the right guy for you. If it takes you a long time to open up to someone, that's okay. If you're worried about finding a job and having some money, he should be supportive of that (how does he think you can live with no money?) You are who you are and that's okay, if you change yourself it should be because its what you want for yourself, not because its what a man wants you do or because you're trying to save a fledgling relationship.

Taking some time to reassess the relationship is the right thing to do. Being kind sweet caring people is not enough to sustain a relationship. Accept that it can take a long time for people to really know each other, and for a relationship to develop.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009

YOu want to get a job so you can do things for him??????   No, you need to get a job to take care of yourself.....that's what adults do.  So what if he took you out to dinner and a show?  That's what guys do on dates.  There is NO reason that you need to do the same for him.  I doubt if he expects you to do the same for him!  As for candles for his apartment, there are all kinds of discount stores and dollar stores that sell them very inexpensively.  Or, be creative, go to the grocery store and buy some parrafin, and make your own candle.  That should be appreciated 10 times more than buying one.  Anyone can buy one.  If you don't know how, you obviously have access to a computer, google "making candles"......and you'll find directions. 

Something isn't quite right with this guy......he's moving too fast, it's only 3 months, and you haven't even been together all that time, because he travels a lot.  Also, him saying that you're too focused on getting a job and money?  That sounds like he wants to control you.  Be VERY careful with this guy, you sound naive, and he doesn't sound "right". 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Actually your primary focuse should be on getting a job & making money because you need to support yourself and it's a bad economy and jobs are hard to find--how does he think you're going to continue to support yourself if you don't have a job?  And if a guy started telling me after basically 2 months (cause he was on business the last month) how he saw our future, I'd think he was nuts--2-3 months you are just getting to know each other--there should really be no talk about future except maybe what you're going to do this summer.  Soemone who starts telling you that you're the love of his life and maybe you'll be getting married is moving way too fast.