Is this a real relationship?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-22-2009
Is this a real relationship?
Fri, 10-23-2009 - 12:14am

I'm super confused and don't really have anyone to ask. I'd appreciate any advice.

I consider myself somewhat relationship "stunted" and I don't have the experience to compare my current situation with. I'm 35 but I've been a very on-off relationship with a guy named Jay. We've known each other since I was 17 and he was 20. We met while he was divorcing his first wife and had a very casual relationship, but we were sexual. This went on for a while, until I left for college and things fizzled out and I moved on. He always told me that "he didn't want to tie me down" because he knew that there were a lot of things I wanted to do (finish college, travel, etc).

About 10 years ago I found out that he was married again. This hurt a bit because I always considered him my "first love". I've only had sex with 2 guys and haven't been on any other dates or had any other sorts of relationships since (sad I know, but I'm shy and not very outgoing).

About 5 years ago, out of the blue he sent me an IM. He was divorcing his 2nd wife and was hurting. We talked some and ended up meeting for sex a few times. It didn't seem like it was particularly serious until I had found a job in another state. He was devastated and it was really tough for me to leave. But it was too late, I'd accepted the job, packed up my life and I had to go. He didn't beg me to stay. I assumed it was over for good.

2 years ago he contacted me again. He said he'd been talking to his best friend and I was the woman for him. Long story short, but I ended up finding a job near him and moved back. We began "dating" when I came back almost a year and a half ago but this is where I get REALLY confused.

We've had some sexual issues relating to my desire level (it comes and goes, I think due to depression and body image issues). When I first moved back he kept telling me that he was so excited to spend a few nights a week at my house and so on. As of today, he hasn't spent one night at my house. I'm always going to his. We IM daily (with me initiating 95% of the time), and see each other maybe once a week for sex (always at his house). If I'm lucky we go out once a month for dinner or a movie. I feel like I get a lot of mixed signals from him. We rarely talk on the phone, but mostly communicate by IM. I feel like a booty call most of the time. But then he'll say something in passing on IM about living together, or even marriage (in passing) and I get SO confused.

I get jealous of his friends (one of whom he lives with) because they are always doing things together. I feel like I'm harping if I ask for more than a night together. We've known each other forever, but I really would like to spend a night together once in a while watching a movie on the couch - but his friends (and roommate) are always around. They have priority, I don't.

I feel like his girlfriend, but then I don't. He's 38, I'm not pushing him to marry me, but I would like to either move this relationship forward or let it go. His mixed signals confuse me so much! He recently changed his Facebook relationship status to "It's Complicated" and mentioned that he's interested in women. I found out that he had a profile on a singles website by glancing over his shoulder as he was checking email one day. I confronted him about it and he said it was nothing, that the account was created from one of the other websites he visits. Granted his profile was really sparse, but why did it have his picture? I feel like he's still out there looking.

Am I just a booty call? Is this a relationship? I don't know...
Sometimes I feel like I'm reading way too much into everything and should just be far more casual about it. Not everything is as I see it! I just really feel like I'm more into it than him and that he's just telling me things to keep me coming back for more nookie. I've tried to talk to him but I just don't know how. I seriously feel like I'm 16. Help?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-18-2006
Fri, 10-23-2009 - 8:57am

Unfortunately, you are a booty call. You see that everytime he has come back, you have not only left the door open, but welcomed him in each time without any work on his part. Plus you are giving it up to him everytime, and then he gets bored with you and moves on to the next conquest.

You are ALL of the initiating too, which is also another red flag. If he really had an respect for you in the first place, he would have let you go the first time, and not called you again. You have to see that to him you are an easy target to fulfill his needs.

More than likely he's got other girls on the side, and he's getting bored with you and you will need to be the one to end it. Mainly because if you stay, he'll continue to use you till you have had enough and you move on, it's easier for him.

Remember if you are 2nd guessing yourself, more than likely it's time to go. This is NOT a relationship, but more of a use and abuse situation. You however need to realize that things are not going to change no matter what he says, and this will never ever work. He has blown it way too many times, and remember that you deserve a LOT more than what you have been getting. If men have an interest in you, they will be doing all of the calling, planning, and taking the extra effort to show how much they like you w/o the sex. Sex is a bonus, but a relationship is way more than just that.

So what to do from here. I would start by staying away from him completely and have ZERO contact. That means blocking him on IM, changing your phone numbers, and blocking your email. You need to throw away the temptation because this will never work. Keep yourself busy in other things that will distract. Think of this as a learning lesson, so you know what to watch out for in the future.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2007
Fri, 10-23-2009 - 9:05am

It sounds like a relationship of FWB.

Seems like everytime he has a marriage problem, he finds you, you are his backup.

He can't use you as a booty call unless YOU let him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-1999
Tue, 10-27-2009 - 6:07pm

I doubt you changed jobs and relocated just so that you could have something casual. He treats you much more like a friends with benefit relationship than like a girlfriend, and I have to wonder why you put up with it. If you wanted to spend your life in a friends with benefit relationship, that would be one thing. It's clear you don't though. That's not being at all selfish. That's having reasonable expectations for yourself. You shouldn't have to lower your expectations to the little that he is willing to offer.

I can relate to what you're saying about not going on any dates or having any relationships because you're really shy since I used to be the same way. I reached a point, though, where I realized having somebody to grow old with was important to me. I pushed past my shyness, made the leap of faith that there was somebody out there for me, and now I am happily married to a guy who always puts me first. Being shy is not an excuse to settle for a second-class relationship.

Right now, you are doing all of the giving, and he is doing all of the taking. You deserve much better than that. You need to start believing that you deserve more than that, or else you will always settle for much less than you should. It may be a good idea to look into counseling so you can figure out why you accept this type of treatment from a guy and how to change things. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-03-2009
Tue, 11-03-2009 - 9:12pm

This is a problem we have. We over-analyze things without finding out if there is anything to over-analyze. In other words, if you haven't had the relationship talk yet, you need to! It sounds like you've had this pseudo relationship on and off again for years. And now he says he wants you and you change your life for him. Does he realize how much you've done for him? Definitely sit down and talk to him and ask him where you stand.

If it's exclusive for him, if he wants it to be exclusive and where he really sees things going. And not to tell you what he thinks you want to hear; just the truth. And tell him outright what you want from the relationship. That if you're together, you expect to actually spend some one on one time together that is not just sex. Not that you expect to go on a date all the time, but to just stay at your place and cuddle and watch a movie or cook together or for each other. And just do coupley things. Romantic things together.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-29-2006
Thu, 11-05-2009 - 11:30am

Hi and welcome to the board! I found this link that I think may help you figure things out: DTR: When to Define the Relationship