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Hello, I am hoping for some advice on my situation.
I have always found it difficult having relationship talks with boyfriends, as I always thought a good relationship would naturally progress. Perhaps I was naive? I think the time has come to be an adult about things, especially as I am mid 30s, and I am desperate to have a husband and family.
I've been with my boyfriend for almost a year now. In the first five months, he was head over heels - there was no disputing that. He told me he loved me within three months. I told him I felt the same. He is six years older than me, in his early 40s, and well established professionally and financially - the same as me. We share similar interests, such as keeping fit.
He was opening up about his family and getting me involved in the renovation of his house. He would tell me 'when you meet my family' one day, and one time his sister was due to stay with him for a while, and he said I would meet her (she didn't make it in the end). The one hiccup was sex - he clearly didn't have any confidence, and has been taking medication which affects his libido, but a few weeks in, the sex was good - he was intiating and it was nice. Very early on, I checked that we were on the same page in terms of looking for a partner to start a family with - he agreed. Finally, I thought, this might be it, after years of being avoidant, and drifting from one dead end relationship to another.
Things changed since lockdown though, six months into the relationship. We ended up arguing a lot, and he was a lot less affectionate, and not into sex at all. We haven't had sex in four months. He said he didn't want me staying over so much during the week, because his work was stressful. Before lockdown, we were spending several nights together. Also, he is very protective of his time on the weekend - he wants a day to himself. Bearing in mind, he lives entirely alone, away from friends and family.
His sister came to visit, and there was no mention of meeting. His family still don't know about me. He finally admitted that he isn't sure about us, and he was concerned about my weight (I have put on a tiny bit of weight, despite being very active before, as I stopped going to the gym - I am a size 10). He said he would fancy me more if I lost some weight and toned up. This was my plan anyway, but it was a real kick in the teeth. He's hardly perfect himself! I’m back on a healthy diet and working out now - more for me, than it is for him.
Things feel like they have stagnated, and we are definitely out of the honeymoon phase now. The other day he was grumpy as he had to get off the phone, and I said to him we don't have to talk every lunch and evening, if it's too much for you. He agreed. He hardly messages during the day. I asked him if he really wanted to be with me - he seemed genuinely surprised and asked 'where has this come from, of course I do.'
I sense he may have an avoidant attachment style. When he used to talk about the future, I think it was always such an abstract thing for him, well into the future. But we have been together a year now, and I think we should be spending several evenings together (he agreed to spending more time during the week), and slowly introducing each other to our families, and really planning having a family - not right now, but in a year or two I would definitely like to start trying.
He had only one previous girlfriend, who he was engaged to, but didn't feel sexually attracted enough to her because she was overweight. He dated a woman last year who he felt had too many wrinkles around her eyes. How he objectifies women is concerning because it shows to me perhaps he lacks emotional maturity and depth for a real life relationship. You know, the avoidant man who subsconiously does not want to settle down, and finds faults with his partners, and he doesn't even realise what his problem is.
We are going away for a short weekend break soon. This was all instigated by me, which was a shame - I thought he would get excited by the planning and get into it with me. You know, our first trip together.
The more I type, the more I realise it sounds like he's just not into me. There are positives of course, especially in the last 2-3 weeks, he has become a lot more affectionate and playful, and there seems to be a bit of a spark back in the relationship, and he agrees we should spend more time together during the week.
I thought after our trip, I would bring up very gently and nicely, where things are going for us - we don't need to make a decision now, or get engaged in the next 6 months, but just to check in and see if we are still both wanting the same things long term. But I feel it's a shame I have to bring this up, I miss just knowing how strongly he felt for me, and how I didn’t need to doubt.
Not sure why I am typing - thoughts and support please?
What do you get out of this relationship now?.
What did you learn about relationships when you were growing up?. What sort of an example did your parents show you?
I hope you are not desperate enough to make this man your husband because he is not good relationship material at all. This really sounds like another dead end relationship here.
Re your comment:-
"the avoidant man who subconciously does not want to settle down, and finds faults with his partners, and he doesn't even realise what his problem is."
Think you've hit the nail on the head there yourself. Its not you, its him.
There are some red flags here re this man anyway not least of all his comments about your weight and comments re objectifying women. You have not to date met his family, you have crap sex with him, he made disparaging comments re his ex and he further wants you involved in the renovation of his house (note his house, a house in which you have no ownership of any sort in).
It matters not that he likely has an avoidant attachment style; the fact is that you're with him and you're unhappy in this relationship. He's behaving a bit better now but that's also because he can sense you are pulling away from him; he will revert back to being less playful and affectionate soon enough. That is more than enough reason to leave him and he is basically treating you now like he treated his ex partner; he will tell the next woman who comes into his life that you were overweight or some other guff too.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply AttilaTheMeerkat
My mum and dad have been together over 40 years and have a wonderful relationship. I had a very loving, stable upbringing, and I am keen to start a family, following on from all the love my parents have shown me.
I agree, this relationship has not been good for a few months, and I don't have the luxury of time to hang about.
There are lots of red flags, I agree, but he does have good points, which I have not included - he is caring, affectionate, is in touch all the time, opens up about his life, there are no secrets, he is very generous with money etc.
I just think things have stagnated and I don't feel like a priority anymore, although sometimes I wonder if I am being demanding. Or maybe I need to tell him what I want. When I suggested we spend more time together during the week, he agreed. When I suggested a weekend trip, he agreed. There just isn't a lot of initiative from him lately, and I am feeling taken for granted.
Worst of all are those comments he's made about exs. I'm sure it's his insecurity talking, more than anything.
I was planning to end things, but then I thought I could chat to him. I'm not ruling out walking away because I know I have a lot to give, and do want a family with a man who is similar minded. If only he wasn't so difficult to find!
This man will never, ever give you what you need. He simply isn't capable of fully sharing his life with someone. If I were you, I would end this today. I honestly don't think he'll even care.
You said he has concerns about your weight, what are those concerns? Did you ask him. Because I can't fathom what weight concerns someone might have about a size 10 person
Actually, what Aquamarine said.
I know there isn’t anything ‘wrong’ with me and it’s totally him. I explained to him there is a pattern here of him dumping women for pathetic shallow reasons and I’m sure these women were perfectly attractive and just fine. That seemed to shut him up.
How he objectifies women is concerning because it shows to me perhaps he lacks emotional maturity and depth for a real life relationship
You have pinpointed exactly what is going on yourself OP, would you really want a future with this man, what happens when you grow older, as we all do if we are lucky. What happens if you get ill, what happens if you have DC and your body changes? He has told and shown you who he is, listen to him and believe him.
Has he shown that you are really a part of his life after a year, promises mean nothing and he will waste your time promising the world while doing nothing. You deserve better than this, his time wasting will cost you the opportunities and life you really want.
Aquamarine1029 he was very open in the beginning. Bought lots of things for me to keep in his house for when I visit, such as a hair dryer, towels, dressing gown etc. He even kitted out his kitchen with new utensils for us to cook together. But yes it’s all become distant now and hasn’t progressed and he’s 42 and never lived with anyone. I think the same as you.
I do wonder if it’s worth talking to him again though, at least I’ll have no doubts or regrets if and when I walk away.
This is hard work.
Rather than looking at him, I would be looking at me.
Why am I prepared to accept these crumbs of relating?
Willing to be in relationship with someone who needs my body to be a certain (unrealistic) way?
Put that thought, effort and love into yourself.
Plenty more fish in the sea, and even if I'm on my own, so what.
Better that than be with someone who is, frankly, a drag.
He bought you things so you would not get an opportunity to leave your stuff at his, you would not encroach on his territory. It was not an act of kindness, it was an act of control.
I do wonder if it’s worth talking to him again though, at least I’ll have no doubts or regrets if and when I walk away.
Nope, it's not. You will never get any sincerity out of him.
if and when I walk away
How much more time are you willing to waste? All of which will be at your expense. If you want a family, you need to take the blinders off now or it will be too late for you.
It's been less than a year and only the first half was good and even then there was problems with sex. The rest has been crap, he's distancing himself, likes his own company more than yours, dangles meeting family which never happens, haven't had sex for four months, etc etc. Have you meet his friends yet? And you putting on a couple of pounds is enough for him to question the relationship and 'be concerned' about your weight. Wtf is he gonna do when your pregnant?
He seems to be making the right noises now, but do you think he can sustain it? He might seems great on paper, but he sounds insular, too self sufficient, superficial and rigid in real life.
Oooh @Dontbeme I'd never even of thought of that, but bloody hell it's really clear now you've said it!
Yeah just end it! There would never be babies as he can't be bothered to have sex and he would turn it around and make it all your fault...
You could host a bunting festival with all the red flags here..
Aside from anything else, his attitude to women’s bodies is despicable. Dumping someone for having wrinkles.. facepalm
Surely you realise you can do better than this barrel-scraping excuse for a man?
Whatever you ask him and whatever he says won't mean he'll be sticking to it OP. My guess is he'll say whatever you want/need to hear but it doesn't mean it'll happen. You know better than anyone what he's like, he sounds selfish.
Maybe break it off and see if he steps up then. If not, you'll have your answer. Better now than another year down the line wasted.
OP I started a thread on attachment as my ex I'm pretty sure suffers with it. We'd been together nearly 4 years though and although I can't relate to some bits the commitment game (or so it felt) was an issue for me.
I've met his family, done multiple holidays, he'd met me kids etc.. All great.. But they retract and want ideally to spend a lot of time on their own. Sad really
size 10 and he's commenting about your weight? Really? and this is a guy who you want to spend the rest of your life with? and start a family with? Really?
Firstly, how about you look in the mirror, tell yourself god made you absolutely perfect, and you deserve somebody who see's that perfection.
Secondly, there's a guy out there who is looking for someone just like you - to cherish, wine, dine, one day start a family - how long are you going to keep him waiting. Because for the time you're with your current partner you are not going to find him
The problem here is when a guy pulls back, we are 'biologically' wired to feel pain. So it won't be easy for you to walk. But imagine you are 80 years old, you're sat in your rocking chair. Your sat out on your balcony reflecting back on your life. You start thinking about regrets. If this guy continues to treat you like he is, would you regret giving your life to him? would you regret depriving yourself of true love?
Life is long, please do not feel you are not capable of finding a man who can love you - who you would connect with too.
If you think that's not possible then you need to pick your self esteem off the floor, look in that mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are.
Then face your guy, and tell him straight - you are done. He no longer gets to make you feel crap about yourself, and you are going to find someone who you deserve.
Walk away, head held high. No game playing - just tell him straight.
Then I'd download the bumble app and have a good old swiping session. And if you have any single friends, get them to do the same.
I met my guy on Bumble - been together 18 months now and he is absolutely amazing - an absolute genuine soul.
There's some idiots on there - so you have to be cautious. My motto was "if they don't give me butterflies, and they don't kiss me how a man should kiss his women - then there aint no second date" :-)
I got my prince in the end, and had such a laugh in the process.
If you're struggling what to do, read the book called 'Attachment' by Amir Levine - he explains with evidence psychology why we put up with crap relationships, and the negative effects it has on your health, your self esteem, confidence - it's a really interesting read, and I doubt very much after reading it you would still want to be be that guy.
Please remember that you are beautiful, and any man who lays a judgement on you - is not a judgement on you, but a judgement on themself.
Big hug to you - now get swiping on Bumble :-)
You say you are desperate to have a husband and a family
Be careful there. If your desperate you may settle for second best.
I think he's had enough time to prove himself to you - he's not hit the grade, clear him out and make room for someone who fills you up, and makes you feel amazing :-)
He said he would fancy me more if I lost some weight and toned up.
This is awful, Why are you accepting being spoken to like that?
As pp said, if you want children you definitely won’t stay a size 10 and then what will he do!
Imagine your friend sent you your op, what would you say to her.
I’d tell him to go shag his bike.
He is deflecting his sexual issues onto you. Very unpleasant
This is not the man for you. He is keeping you at a distance and trying to make you jump through endless hoops to meet his unrealistic and unpleasant gaols. Don’t fall for it, walk (run!) away and don’t waste time on him. Don’t be hoovered back!
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