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Is this worth pursuing?

(223 Posts)
maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 00:18:20

I'm sorry - this is long. I'll try to be succinct. I just need some perspective.

A few months ago I started seeing someone having just ended a long term relationship. We both agreed it was casual at the beginning, meeting just for sex. I would go to his place (I was staying on a friends sofa bed at the time) and go home that night. He didn't want a relationship and neither did I. That was fine, for a while. I started to have some feelings but I kept them in check as I didn't want to get too close.

Things started to change a little, in that I started staying overnight at his invitation and we would spend time talking about our lives rather than just having sex.

Around the time I moved into my own place I decided to take a risk and ask him on a real date. He said he was comfortable with that but jokingly said he might freak out if I asked him to move in or something. I said he didn't need to worry about that at this point (for goodness sake!). We were both nervous on the date but it was lovely.

A few dates and weeks later he turned up at my place late one night telling me how much he liked being with me and how he hadn't slept with anyone else since we met. I didn't really respond much because he was a bit drunk at the time and I was a bit caught off guard and didn't know how to take it. However we kept seeing each other, having a really good time and started alternating staying at his place and mine, going on proper dates and not always having sex, just being quietly comfortable in each others company. We didn't talk about that night again.

I've met his brother who he lives with, and he's met my best friends who I live with. We have socialised with both. We haven't met any other of our groups of friends. He has told his work mates about me and I have told mine about him (our companies are linked). He's agreed to come to a work function with me, no hesitation.

We now spend practically every weekend together, it's grown to three nights a week if we are both in town. He takes me to nice places and seems proud to be seen with me. I feel the same way.

I started to feel I needed to know if we were heading somewhere. Unfortunately I decided to raise this at 4am when we had both been out drinking. I thought I asked him if he saw me as a potential girlfriend when or if that time came, he thought I was asking if he saw me as his girlfriend right now. He said no. He said he is enjoying what we have and how we are getting to know each other now and he wants to see where things go. He got quite upset, talking about how when he moves in with someone it'll be the person he wants to marry. I asked who had even mentioned moving in? He really jumped the gun but as I say, we had been drinking. Next morning we talked a little more. I cleared up the misunderstanding about my question the night before but made it clear I don't want to get hurt again, waiting around for something that might never happen (as in my last relationship). He said he understood but he wants to take things slow, by which I took to mean he felt I was rushing him. He had to leave for work then, he was concerned I was still a bit upset, gave me a hug, kissed me several times and left.

We are affectionate in public and he holds my hand and is a gentleman in general. He has passed the waitress test with flying colours and is generous and kind to all. He has a great relationship with his family. However, he has told me how he has ended relationships in the past because he realised when they started talking about moving in together that he didn't want to marry them, so he called them off. He did live with one partner and from what I gather it ended badly, which may be where his fear of commitment stems from, I don't know.

So my question is, dear mumsnetters, am I wasting my time or should I give him some time to see if it goes anywhere? I don't want to be a mug but I don't want to let something potentially good slip through my fingers.

Apologies for the epic length of this post!


LemonPeculiarJones Mon 29-Jul-13 00:27:53

He's done this before, on several occasions (run from past relationships). Probably in each case he gradually led them to feel and believe that he cared deeply for them. Then, buggered off, scared/reluctant/not emotionally engaged enough.

I would tell him that you want to be in a proper relationship with him, that to all extents and purposes you have been gf and bf for some time anyway, but that you aren't prepared to be messed about. That being single is preferable to being locked in some emotional limbo he controls. Then back off and see what happens.

I think he sounds like a time waster. One experience of having your hopes dashed doesn't make everyone into a serial commitment-phobe. He wants all the perks without giving anything real.

Sorry sad

tallwivglasses Mon 29-Jul-13 00:36:38

You sound really nice, crapartist, and you're far too good for him. He's a twat. If he doesn't want to give some commitment to you after this reasonable amount of time, he should fuck off.

maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 11:12:21

I was afraid I would hear this. I really don't want to stop seeing him as he has been so good for me and I feel like I can just be myself with him. But I don't want to waste more years of my life waiting and waiting.

Dahlen Mon 29-Jul-13 11:30:14

If you're spending most weekends together and 3 nights a week, that's not casual FWB sex, that's a relationship. Whether it's a serious exclusive one is irrelevant. Arguing semantics over whether you are a girlfriend or not is a distraction from what's really going on.

You're only a few months down the line. It's perfectly ok for him to feel that talking about moving in or marriage is too soon. But the way he's reacted to you wanting to know if your relationship has the potential to get serious is way, way OTT. It's like if you'd asked him if he'd like fish and chips for tea and he's interpreted that as if you'd asked him to go halves on buying the chip shop. His reaction either stems from an irrational fear of commitment (in which case you're wasting your time) or a level of emotional immaturity (not great either, although has the potential to improve). It should be possible for grown ups to talk about hypothetical futures without it being interpreted as pressure for wanting that hypothetical future right now.

I wouldn't be writing it off because of his unwillingness to commit right now because it is still very early days. My prerequisite for continuing with this relationship would be whether he is able to discuss his feelings about commitment fully and openly with you.

tallwivglasses Mon 29-Jul-13 11:30:39

Sorry, love sad

Maybe you should give him some time (6 months?) but in that time build up your social life/support network, so that if you do decide to call it a day you won't be left with a void. And who knows? Maybe in that time you'll meet someone else who values you enough to offer commitment.

maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 11:40:39

Thank you.

He did over react, thats for sure. He seemed genuinely upset, like he was afraid even talking about it was going to ruin what we have built so far. But it is such early days, perhaps i was wrong to raise it so soon.

I have always been careful to keep my own life, see my friends, not be needy (I don't need his approval), never blow off plans for him and I intend to keep it that way. But you're right, we need to be able to communicate and if he can't even manage that then I will have to end it.

maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 11:47:40

Also, do I have any right to start making demands about not having my time wasted when we started out the way we did? Yes he said what he said about liking me but it wasnt exactly clear and we never discussed our "relationship" beyond agreeing that it wasn't just sex anymore.

Dahlen Mon 29-Jul-13 11:51:14

Yes of course you do. Relationships are fluid and change all the time, and you have the right - as does he - to change your mind at any time.

Jan45 Mon 29-Jul-13 11:53:28

Looks like he doesn't believe in living together but prefers marriage, perhaps he just needs a bit longer then and will be asking your hand in marriage in the future! I would wait and see if I was you, things sound great so why would you give that up, don't - time will tell if it's meant to be.

maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 12:15:40

Time will tell, but I fear I will get too invested if I allow too much time. At the risk of scaring him off I'm going to have to be very blunt about what I need from him now. So what do I want from him now? To be able to have discussions without him freaking out, to ask for honesty about how he feels. What else?

LessMissAbs Mon 29-Jul-13 12:24:40

I also think he sounds like a timewaster. Not calling you his girlfriend when you spend 3 nights a week together and have met his brother and he your friends is just ridiculous!

You must really like him and I think he sounds like a fool. I suspect his talk of marriage is a red herring.

tbh if you really want to know what he feels about you, all you need to do is stop the contact and leave him to do the chasing. If he asks you why, just tell him he's upsetting you because he isn't making you feel secure enough in the relationship. If he then runs away and you never hear from him again (which I think he will) then you have your answer.

My guess would be is that he is a person who for whatever reasons in his personality, struggles with forming and maintaining close social bonds with others. I suspect he will flit from one woman to another without any real emotional attachment as soon as one relationship becomes too much mental effort to sustain.

He reminds me of another man I knew a long time ago. He was very good looking then but is now in his fifties and still behaving the same, still single, and spends his time on internet dating sites and going to classes, claiming he is looking for a girlfriend and then finding excuses not to have one.

maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 12:38:53

I don't want to make excuses but I dont think he is a flitter. He is 38 and has had 3 relationships. I think he really does want to get married, but marriage and having children scares him. When he looks after his little niece he jokes that he just wants to keep her alive!

Oh I don't know, perhaps I am making excuses. He's just so lovely otherwise. He is sweet but not over bearing. He loves his parents and his siblings. He has a good job and he shares his good fortune with them. He has friends going back to when he was at school that he has gotten teary about (only for a second mind wink) when talking about what they mean to him.

Oh ffs I'm doing my own head in now.

Dahlen Mon 29-Jul-13 12:52:39

Are you capable of letting your head rule your heart? Being too emotionally invested is only a problem if it starts affecting your judgment. Obviously it's going to hurt a lot more if you're deeply in love and then reach the conclusion that the relationship is going nowhere so decide to break it off. But is that going to mean your life feels as though it's over? If it does, that's another issue altogether, but really you should have plenty of other things to support you through until you feel better.

That said, I don't think there's anything wrong with setting a timescale on things - as long as you recognise it for what it is (an ultimatum) it makes it clear to both of you where you stand. You must be prepared to walk away if you don't get a commitment at the end of that timeframe though. As for what's a reasonable length of time - well, how long is a piece of string? Could be 6 months, could be a 2 years. Anything more than that though and I'd say you're on a hiding to nothing.

brunette123 Mon 29-Jul-13 12:53:59

if it were me in your situation, I would want to be called "his girlfriend" and it be acknowledged by us and the world at large. It would make be unhappy if it was a sort of de facto bf/gf thing but he wouldn't call it that.
Secondly it all seems to be on his terms.
Thirdly completely understand you are doing your own head in - I have done that before over men.
He is 38 - do you REALLY think he wants marriage and children or is that what you want to believe? If you genuinely do believe that, maybe give yourself a time limit say 6/9 months and if nothing has changed get out of the relationship but that is extremely difficult to do - certainly I have tried to give myself time limits etc and have ended up farting around wasting time when in my gut/head and heart knew the bloke would never change/never commit whatever.
I really feel for you but I do understand. I bet it isn't doing his head in. He may be genuinely upset but may be that is because he does like what he has with you and doesn't want to lose it BUT that does not mean he will ever want more.
HTH - just a different perspective - am better at giving advice than following it myself.

maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 13:08:19

All of your advice is appreciated and helpful. It makes me see things from many angles to decide what I am willing to put up with.

From the failure of my last relationship I learned not to give up other areas of my life for a man, and to be aware that the things I want are important too. I do worry there is a danger I am projecting these issues onto him too early, but its clear he does have commitment issues of his own.

I don't want to give up yet so I will try to let my head rule instead of my heart and be honest about what I want. Its scary though, if I or he walks away there will be more pain and I've already had enough of that this last year.

mrsgboring Mon 29-Jul-13 13:43:10

From what you say he does sound lovely but his reluctance to engage with you on the subject of commitment.

I don't feel that qualified to comment since I've been married from the year dot, but if I were you I'd keep being as honest and as rational with him as you can about the fact you want to have a real relationship with him. And also be as honest and as rational as you can with yourself about the fact you want a real relationship with him. Perhaps give yourself a deadline by which you should be feeling more sure of where you stand.

Personally I wouldn't do something like suddenly stop contacting him as pp suggested. If he does struggle with commitment the best way you can help him is behave as straightforwardly as you can. But if, after a reasonable length of time he seems to be beyond help you will have to walk away.

maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 13:51:57

Agreed. I need to think about how long that time limit should be. I don't want to play games, we are not teenagers but it so difficult to remain level headed and unafraid of scaring them off when you really like them.

justgivemeareason Mon 29-Jul-13 13:53:29

You could take the risk and call his bluff. Say you want all or nothing and walk away. You will soon know how he feels. It is unreasonable of him to not class you as his girlfriend. You should be insulted by this. If he is genuine he will at least commit at a basic boyfriend/girlfriend level.

maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 14:02:12

I don't see how my being insulted will help the situation. But I do see where you are coming from. It may well come to that.

Val007 Mon 29-Jul-13 14:17:55

You are wasting your time. You allowed this guy to have fun with you from day one and you agree to do this for free. Please, think about it - how is he going to respect you well enough to even consider making you his wife? To him you are just a cheap plaything, and when he is done and ready to have a family, he will look for a woman who is respectable (hard to get) and does not sleep around. Sad, but true!

DelayedActionMouseMaker Mon 29-Jul-13 14:21:50

What he is basically saying is that he sees women in two camps, those he wants to fuck and those he wants to marry. I personally would have a problem being one of the first and feeling like I had to 'play the right game' to become the second.
You are already talking about holding back your own feelings until he decides if its you he wants. It shouldn't be like that. Surely, if you have already passed the FWB stage yourself you should be looking for an equal footing with the person you are in a relationship with, rather than being 'on trial' to see if you fit the bill at some undisclosed date in the future.
I'd personally be running for the hills as fast as my legs could carry me. I've been there more than once in my early 20's and it never ends well.
This guys sounds like he is about 18, I was shocked when you said he was 38!

maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 14:22:50

Wow Val, really? Thanks for your helpful insight, because I hadn't already thought of that as being part of the problem hmm

scrazy Mon 29-Jul-13 14:24:47

You will be taking a huge risk if you give him an ultimatum, I'm afraid. I would bet that he lets you walk away, then gets in touch a few weeks down the line, you will think he wants things to change but I suspect you will end up in the same situation.

1.5 years later and it could end up in an on off thing. OK I'm projecting as it is exactly the situation I am in.

I tend to look elsewhere and hope that one day I meet someone and I can blow this one off, but it hasn't happened so far. Good luck with it all and let us know what happens.

maryclarey Mon 29-Jul-13 14:24:57

Delayed has dealt with that particular angle in a much more sensitive way. Thank you Delayed, it is something I have also thought about it.

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