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He doesn't love me. Stay or go? WWYD?

(98 Posts)
ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 10:34:24

I used to hope (maybe even assume), like most people, that I'd meet someone and we'd fall in love. However, I have a very rocky relationship history. No love and I've never felt special to anyone.

Nearly a year ago, I started seeing someone I'd known for a couple of years. I never had any sense he was attracted to me at all and then, late last year, we bumped into each other and he asked me out for lunch. Now, 11 months later, here we are.

We socialise as a couple with couple friends (as much as restrictions have allowed); we are in a support bubble; we see each other for most of the weekend, every weekend except when either of us has plans and in the week when life allows. He's kind and considerate to me and definitely isn't seeing anyone else. We behave like a couple - he refers to us as a couple and refers to me as his girlfriend; we are supportive, encouraging and accepting of each other, so he doesn't treat me badly, but he doesn't love me and doesn't behave in a way that would give me false hope either. I appreciate the honesty of his words and actions but it makes me sad because I wish he did.

I decided a few weeks ago that I'd give it until the year mark and then, if it was no different, I'd end it. If he doesn't love me after a year, he isn't going to. Would that be foolish of me?

I would like to find love but it's never happened before and, despite the lack of it, this is, in many ways, the best and most real relationship I've ever been in - which is sad because that's clearly not the case for him. Should that bother me?

This relationship could tick along pleasantly for years but I'll still never have known love. So I plan to talk to him at the 1 year mark and essentially tell him this. I know though that I could lose what we do have and still never find love.

It's 4 weeks until my self imposed deadline. I feel that if I don't address it in some way then, I'm just going to be kicking the can down the road but I don't know if ending it would be hasty.

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AltoCation Sun 27-Sep-20 10:42:15

I think you should act in accordance with your feelings and an in-depth talk with him about your relationship rather than a rather arbitrary deadline.

It sounds as if he is happy to bumble along in a cosy caring friends with benefits scenario (and nothing wrong with that) whereas you are looking for something deeper, and with the commitment of love.

His preference is sustainable for him long term, but long term your needs are not going to be met by this. And it might be distracting you from seeking what you really want.

You sound very hard on yourself.

Also your post is all about his feelings about you / your relationship.

Do you actually love him? Heart, soul, passion and depth?

I would say draw yourself up to your full value and go out there and look for someone with whom you have a shared long term future.

ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 10:53:50

AltoCation

Yes, a cosy, caring fwb situation is how I feel it is sometimes - but i wouldn't say there's enough sex for that! There's no expectations of sex and, whilst it usually happens at least once over the weekend, there have been some where it hasn't. It hasn't been a problem.

I've had fwb in the past and it's no disrespect to the other person - I really liked them, but I wouldnt ever have fallen in love with them. You can't help that.

I've held myself back from loving him. I could- if I let myself - but it's something I'm so used to not having that i don't love easily.

I would say draw yourself up to your full value and go out there and look for someone with whom you have a shared long term future.

I won't bother again tbh. There doesnt seem to be much point.

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MMmomDD Sun 27-Sep-20 11:33:29

OP...
I am not sure you’ll ever find what you want by just sitting there passively and expecting someone to come along and ‘make you feel special and loved’.
It doesn’t work like that. You need to be open to people, and emotionally available, even vulnerable.

If people sense being distant and holding back, they would also do the same. And it is like a vicious circle where you will be reinforced in your belief that you are somehow ‘unlovable’.

I think setting artificial timelines on checking in with your bf on whether or not he had fallen in love with you is silly. Especially as it’s not even clear whether or not YOU actually feel anything for him, other than desire to BE loved.
I think you need to start with some self reflection. And then - let yourself feel and express your feelings. And then see what happens.

ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 11:59:39

It's not really about setting an artificial timeline, more that this could go on for months or years. There needs to come a point where a decision is made either way - it's either a proper relationship or it isn't.

I don't really want to be in a situation that just happily bumbles along aimlessly.

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ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 12:04:15

It's things like, he's met my (older teen/adult) children, we've spent evenings together at my house and they all get on and like each other. But I keep them quite separate generally.

It might be considered necessary to do things together occasionally (and they're all open to it) in order to cement and develop the relationship/connection but I'm only willing to do that in a serious relationship. My children don't exist to validate my sense of a relationship.

I don't want them to become close to someone who only sees us as 'casual' or fwb. But I understand that, in order to 'progress', he would need to feel the potential to be part of 'us'.

That's the sort of thing where I feel stuck.

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ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 12:06:37

I feel like I am open to him. I don't really know what being vulnerable would look like.

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ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 12:15:09

As for expressing feelings, I'm not really sure how I should be sometimes. I don't know what the parameters of the relationship are so I'm unsure how to behave within them. I do hold back but feel I'm taking my cue from him.

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Sakurami Sun 27-Sep-20 12:19:36

It must be hard for him to feel stuff when you have closed yourself off. Be passionate and loving and open and vulnerable and he may reciprocate. If not, at least you tried. You've spent nearly a year together so it is worth a try.

ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 12:19:49

Really, my question is more about foes it matter that I'm in a relationship where I'm not loved. Is it important?

Also, I am not sure you’ll ever find what you want by just sitting there passively and expecting someone to come along and ‘make you feel special and loved’. I don't think I said that I did this. I have relationships just like anyone else does but they've never resulted in love.

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ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 12:23:55

Sakurami I feel like I have done that. The only reason i started to hold back was because i felt that from him.

I did try to talk to him about it previously- just a bit of a 'what are you looking for from a relationship?' type conversation. We talked for a couple of hours but I came away not feeling any the wiser if I'm honest.

I think my biggest takeaway from it all is that, he would want a loving relationship but not with me. He comments positively on other people's relationships and I know he's been in love before but I don't recognise what we have in any of that.

I don't think he does feel anything for me. That's the point.

OP’s posts: |
iMatter Sun 27-Sep-20 12:31:47

What specific things do you get from the relationship?

Company, friendship, kindness, fun, bit of sex?

It really depends if that's enough for you or if you want the intense being in love, head over heels stuff (that doesn't always last)

Do you think he's settling for you and he'll be off like a shot if someone "better" comes along or do you think he'd be happy to plod along as you are?

Flittingaboutagain Sun 27-Sep-20 12:34:06

I think it does matter yes.

To feel loved and belong to someone else, to exist in the mind of an other is a fundamental part of feeling whole and human. For many people this comes from having a network of people not just one person. For others it comes from existing in a team of two and the necessary illusion of security in that couple unit they need to live well. Neither is wrong but you are not being fulfilled here.

You are right to raise this with him soon. Otherwise you will look back on a life of bumbling along with a friend not intimate partner and think what if I had talked to him?!!? It sounds like a lovely companionship. That isn't enough for many. It wouldn't be for me.

As for giving up in the future. Imagine what might happen if one day through a friend or at work event...you can never say never.

WiserOwl Sun 27-Sep-20 12:35:03

I'd rather be on my own than be with somebody who KNEW he didn't love me.

Some of your needs are being met which makes it seem like a hard decision to leave.

But none of those needs being partially met in the short term makes up for the damage done to your sense of your self over the longer term.

I had this once. A man who acted like my bf but kept telling me he wasn't. It really eroded me.

I ended it and felt a withdrawal for between 3 and 6 weeks but after about 7 weeks I felt a lot better and clearer about everything.

Frolicinameadow Sun 27-Sep-20 12:51:26

Has he stated that he doesn’t love you and doesn’t view what you have as a relationship?

I had a friend with a very similar situation and her partner never said he didn’t love her. They were a couple in every possible way, but to him declaring love equalled getting married and living together and after a very painful divorce he didn’t want marriage and wanted to retain his own property and what was for him his own security.
She spoke very baldly to him, there was no skirting the issues. She told him she wanted to know if he loved her and he if saw a future for them together. Once she knew the answers to those questions they could work out the rest.

Ohdear101 Sun 27-Sep-20 14:26:21

Op, I feel that you need to tell him what you want . I couldn’t be a semi relationship with someone who doesn’t love me.

chatterbugmegastar Sun 27-Sep-20 14:32:14

I do hold back but feel I'm taking my cue from him.

You ask what being vulnerable is

It's not this (above) - definitely NOT the above

Being vulnerable is saying :

'I want to be in love with you but I keep holding back. I want you to love me but I don't think you do. I want a full loving relationship which will lead to marriage. Can we have this, you and I? If so.... let's start now'

ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 14:38:45

What specific things do you get from the relationship?

Company, friendship, kindness, fun, bit of sex?

Yes. He's also supportive and encouraging and helped me out recently practically with something I couldn't logistically have done on my own. He also accepts me and isn't critical of me.

I'm not really fussed about intense head over heels love - you're right, it doesn't last but being loved is different to that I think.

Do you think he's settling for you and he'll be off like a shot if someone "better" comes along or do you think he'd be happy to plod along as you are?

Both. I think he's happy to plod along as we are but he'd be off if he met someone and 'fell in love'. And I would understand that. Everyone deserves to feel loved and fulfilled.

I suspect he also knows that's unlikely in the current climate so it makes sense to carry on as we are.

Flittingaboutagain

It is a lovely companionship. But, no, it's not enough really. Then again, I've never had what I want and I'm in my late 40s now. I'm jaded by the whole dating thing and wouldn't have any interest in that again. As for meeting someone through friends or work, practically, that's unlikely due to the nature of work and the fact none of my friends know any single men! I'd been single for a while...

I have good friends and that is great. But I feel like if I'm going to put time and emotional energy into a relationship now, I want it to be meaningful. I've done casual relationships and 'for the moment' relationships and thats not what I want anymore. I've also done many years being single and enjoying the benefits of that. I dont want either of those anymore.

I want a partnerships with shared goals and commitment. But I feel I might as well be saying I want to win the lottery and making plans around that. Which is silly.

But none of those needs being partially met in the short term makes up for the damage done to your sense of your self over the longer term.

I know. That's what I keep thinking about.

He does call me his girlfriend and refers to us being a couple and in a relationship. All the elements are there - he just doesn't feel it.

Has he stated that he doesn’t love you and doesn’t view what you have as a relationship?

No. He refers to it as a relationship. He hasn't said directly that he doesn't love me but he doesn't need to. I tried to open up a discussion a few weeks ago about it. I know he wants a 'life partner' (he's not a player, he doesn't date loads. He doesn't seek attention from other women). But he has spoken about those things generally in the past, such as when telling me his experience of online dating and his hopes and fears for the future not in relation to me. We talk very little about 'us' and I don't sense any real fondness from him towards me yet he speaks very fondly of, and behaves fondly towards, others. Tbh, I don't think anyone would believe me if I told them. He values his friendships very highly. As he should.

Anyway, I told him that I wanted love in a relationship and that I was no longer interested in causal or 'good enough for now' relationships and asked him if he could see a future with me. He just thanked me for my honesty. We talked a lot but I didnt come away with any sense of what he wants. Or rather what he wanted from/with me.

I couldn't ask him if he loves me and that's not my intention. I already know the answer to that. I was really thinking I'd tell him that I've really enjoyed the relationship we've had (because i have) but that I really want love and to be able to plan a future with someone who loves me and that what we have isn't enough for me beyond a year. The gulf between what it is and what I want it to be is widening as time passes.

But I'm wondering if I should try and be happy with what we do have? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and all that.

OP’s posts: |
ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 14:45:30

'I want to be in love with you but I keep holding back. I want you to love me but I don't think you do. I want a full loving relationship which will lead to marriage. Can we have this, you and I? If so.... let's start now'

Wow. Yes, i can see that. Although I feel daft and anxious just reading it.

A year seems very soon to be even thinking of marriage but I understand the sentiment.

I suppose...

"I want to love you but I keep holding back. I want you to love me but I don't think you will. I want a full a loving relationship with commitment and a future."

Is probably something I could manage. But I'd feel a bit silly asking him if that is something he and i could have because I feel I already know the answer.

I feel more that it would be an explanation for breaking up rather than a blueprint for moving forward together.

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ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 14:47:19

Hence why i feel a conversation around the 12 month mark would be appropriate.

He can't come back to me with 'enjoying getting to know each other' type responses after a year.

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chatterbugmegastar Sun 27-Sep-20 14:49:19

You need to ask him to be sure. You might be surprised. If you're not surprised and he can't love you, at least you'll know and you can make choices for you

But you DO need to learn to
Open up and be vulnerable imo

ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 14:53:32

chatterbugmegastar

Thanks. You're probably right. When we talked, untold him a couple of things I do that made him feel kept at a distance. I've tried to change those but I'm not very good at being vulnerable, no.

I feel I'd find it easier to be vulnerable if I didn't have this overwhelming feeling that I'd be overhearing with someone who doesn't see me in that way.

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ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 14:55:58

I suppose, my previous experiences make 'not being loved' the default so it's hard to have any real perspective on it.

I feel that sharing my thoughts on it are akin to me telling him that I'm disappointed I'm not a professional male footballer when I have no footballing skills and I'm a woman. But with far greater emotional weight.

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ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 15:17:24

I suppose, my previous experiences make 'not being loved' the default so it's hard to have any real perspective on it.

What I'm trying to say is that I find it hard to believe that it could happen which makes it all the harder to talk about it. I don't talk about it to my friends either because I feel that, whatever they said, they'd be thinking, "well, dur..!" I feel like I sound unrealistic, needy and a bit 'head in the clouds' about it all.

All of which makes it harder to talk about.

I feel that he (and others) would see me as someone who would realise I wasn't going to be loved and so being explicit about it feels unnecessary. If that makes sense.

Again, a bit like someone explaining why someone wasnt going to win the lottery despite never buying ticket. You wouldnt feel the need to point that out to someone and would assume their "when I win the lottery..." dreams were just that. You wouldnt feel the need to point it out to them.

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ColdLeatherSofa Sun 27-Sep-20 15:18:13

I feel like it probably hasn't even occured to him and he doesn't really realise that it's an issue for me.

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