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Is he really that into me?

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Relationship advice So I'm confused about my relationship. I've been dating this guy for about 2 months now, and I go back and forth on if he's truly that into me. To begin with, he's older than me. I'm 18, he's 22, so there's automatically a lot of judgement that comes along with that, which might have to do with some of my concerns. Basically, he says he likes me, drives about a half hour both ways in order to see me, pays for everything when we go out, texts me almost daily, finds excuses to touch me, seems interested in learning about me, and came on a trip to Vermont with my family. However, he never asks to Skype or call anymore, hasn't told his parents about me, doesn't want to hang out at my house if my parents are there, I'm the one who asks to hangout (however I usually ask pretty far in advance), and when I talked about being official, he avoided the conversation. My friends and family all refer to him as my boyfriend, but I don't know. I recently had sex with him and it was amazing, but I worry that I shouldn't have because we aren't technically official. He's said he's not messing around, but I still worry because he doesn't want to flat out say we're boyfriend and girlfriend. Am I being silly in my insecurities?

Is he really that into me?

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It sounds to me like you're both into one another and maybe it takes him a little longer to make the decision about exclusivity. He's 22, you're 18, you live about 30 minutes from one another (which isn't that far) - You've only been dating a couple of months. You're ready to and want to take the relationship to the next level. It's pretty clear that he either doesn't want that, or isn't ready for it.

My advice is you need to decide if you're okay to continue seeing him under that premise i.e.; seeing one another, but not exclusively. And if that's not something you feel comfortable with, then you should establish what clear boundaries you need to stay healthy and be living well. Communicate all of that clearly with him and then do what you need to do for yourself if he is not on the same page, or in the same place as you.

Is he really that into me?

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When a man is genuinely interested in you as long-term girlfriend material and/or potential for-life partner AND has the room and energy (and no blockades) towards showing it (thereby proving himself relationship-partner material to begin with) YOU KNOW IT. So much so, you feel stupid for even questioning the fact.

I agree with THOMASFOOLERY except for the bit about this man not knowing whether he WANTS this relationship to become exclusive and committed. And the reason I do is because of the fact he at one point WAS behaving like a bloke who does:

1. going on a trip with your family BECOMES now not even wanting them to bear witness;
2. Skype-ing and calling BECOMES no longer doing either;
3. being the one to invite you on dates BECOMES no longer issuing invitations (despite accepting them).

He's for whatever reason - possibly to do with him more than you and who you are - decided to cease developing the relationship and instead has switched to simply MAINTAINING it. But less than that. Taken it BACK a few steps before then maintaining THAT level.

Never mind his blah-blah-blahs (like, 'I'm not messing around, promise!'). It's *actions* that tell the whole truth and nothing but.

Yes, you made a mistake in sleeping with him because getting that incredibly intimate with a bloke is - if a resultant relationship is what you're dating them for - supposed to be an act done out of recognition of a level of intimacy having been reached courtesy of the man's hard graft and the woman's constant acceptance of that hard graft (via her continual responsiveness) as builds emotional intimacy to a level *warranting* that next step (sex). It's a relationship perk, in other words. A promotion. Only this guy hasn't had to do the associative and requisite work, bar a quick, limited spurt very early on. Perk/promotion for free or for whittled down work = now where's the incentive to keep up the good work or even better it?! Answer: NOWHERE.

Next time you see him, DON'T sleep with him. And be perfectly frank about your reasons: "I'm sorry, but I only sleep with exclusive and committed boyfriends whereas your total actions to-date since Week X show that you're by your own hand no longer either. Prove me wrong and we'll talk again. If not - NOOOOOO.'

Trust me - sex becomes less and less amazing if you realise you're doing nothing but placing precious teabags and boiling water into what essentially is a chocolate teapot.

Stand up for yourself and REFUSE to be anyone's no-effort source of Number 1 Man Perk.

Is he really that into me?

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SoulMate, your posts are always interesting and informative. I appreciate reading your input as I am always interested in seeing how I can grow as a listener/communicator.

SerenaBelle, I definitely recommend considering what SoulMate's take on all of this is. In the interest of full-circle input, my reasons for stating that he may not have decided to cease working on the relationship, and possibly remains interested in cultivating it, but at a slower pace are:

1. He hasn't told his parents about you. I assume that was also the case when things were going super well, and he was behaving in ways (i.e., calling, skyping regularly). For some people this is a HUGE step, and one that he may have wanted to wait to initiate until he saw further development in your relationship. You've only been seeing one another for two months. It's possible that he wanted to be sure and clear about where your relationship is headed before he told them about it.

2. "I'm the one who asks to hangout (however I usually ask pretty far in advance)" - As a man who is really spontaneous and has a hard time making plans, and also moves slowly in developing relationships, this stood out to me. It's possible that he isn't good at making plans a few or couple weeks ahead, and much better at saying "Hey, want to get together tomorrow?" and if that has happened often, and those times haven't worked for you (a far in advance planner) - maybe that felt to him that you weren't that interested in HIM. He has told you that he's not messing around, and I do believe that actions speak louder than words - however, actions can often be misinterpreted and words/communication are extremely useful. Especially in cases like this.

Maybe he's having a hard time making himself vulnerable enough to say he likes you a lot and wants to work on this, but moves slowly. And when you were disappointed in his vague reply (not an outright no) to your questions of exclusivity, it may have made him even more afraid to ask for patience. So, he backed off. It's possible he's feeling unmet needs, but it's also not your job to read his mind, OR his actions.

Try to talk to him, clearly stating your needs, asking what his are, and see what you come up with.

Is he really that into me?

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Maybe this could have more succinctly be put as: People are different, with different ways of expressing their needs, navigating relationships, and living in general. Just because someone doesn't do or say what we'd like when we'd like it, it isn't fair to make out that he's the only one who has to "prove" his relationship "worthiness" -- after only 2 months, I'd say you're both still probably in that stage.

Every human relationship requires the willingness to be patient, work on it, and the effort of understanding. When they're worth it, the work is worth it. You are also due every effort you require to have your subjective needs met. There will always be compromise, you just have to know and listen to yourself well enough to know when a compromise is healthy and when it isn't. When you're willing to give in and when you're not.

That's just the way it is between humans.

Is he really that into me?

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TF,

Seemingly sound points and cheers for the compliments, however, this isn't about you or I but SERENABELLE's welfare so, for purposes of instant clarification and back-and-forth-debate avoidance, let’s just transpose your asserted logic and human contextual behavioural theory into the following scenario remembering that relationships, no matter on what end of the spectrum between Heavy and Light they lay, are still relationships thus still entail the same inherent, lay-appreciable rules and mechanisms:

Your application for a (let's say sales) job is accepted on the basis of you successfully completing a 3 month trial period. Until the 3 months is up, the company owner is your ‘would-be’ or ‘prospective’ employer. The deal in return for 9-5, Monday to Friday, includes a regular weekly basic salary (which is tacitly understood by all working individuals as payable on-time into your bank account without any deductions other than standard tax contributions). Included are typical, bog-standard employee perks: company car, petrol allowance, expenses account (for entertaining clients), private pension scheme, hourly-basis overtime earnings and on-target bonuses.

(You do not usually push for any specific promotion, transfer or formal, final job acceptance before this 3 month trial is up. Otherwise, you risk coming across as unwise, disrespectfully pushy, arrogant, and anywhere between impatient and overly desperate for security-any-security-this-will-do, equals Red Flag plus insult.)

For the first 2 months, your would-be employer fulfils his both advertised, promised and tacit side of the bargain, as do you. But then, suddenly, during the second month – with neither prior mutual consultation nor consent, and without discernible reason – he begins deducting not just back-owed overtime pay but some basic. And nor does he provide any compensatory benefits or items of value in lieu (not that you’d want them; you just want what was mutually agreed on both the explicit and universally tacit levels during the interview and offer process and thereafter by behavioural habit formation). Furthermore, he ceases offering further overtime, meaning you have to start asking for it. You obviously at some soon point enquire as to what’s going on and why, including, understandably, asking whether he's still serious about keeping you on beyond the 3-month trial period (all things continuing to go well from your side). Yet boss-to-be fails to give you any acceptable answer other than 'I'm not messing you around'.

Incredibly enough, even despite this confrontation he continues making these non-compensated-for deductions, further to which, you now have to *remind* him each week to execute the action of bank-transferring your salary altogether. Whenever you do, granted, he complies. However, not without these constant reminders.

Using your logic, DT, you claim that at this point either you yourself would (or only if you were a woman?) try to employ understanding and sympathy towards his feelings (as if he were already your permanent boss with a sound track record behind him), including going so far as making the gross assumption that his behaviour’s probably reflecting a concern that you might be losing interest in the job. All of this despite you’re still regularly asking for over-time *and* (albeit belatedly) making enquiring noises about where the position will eventually lead to in terms of future career with his company once beyond the trial period?

Furthermore, were a friend to advise you to take no notice of nor do anything further about your prospective boss’s behaviour given that
[1] employers are different so behave differently;
[2] he issued his statement (only under questioning) about how he wasn’t messing you around;
[3] an assumption made purely out of a conjecturing [because SB hasn’t given any such indication] that it must be due to your having more than once declined his offers of overtime whenever devoid of adequate notice; and
[4] devoid of any deeper discussion such actions are too vague to read and respond correctly to anyway,
then, you - despite the relationship weren't even *established* yet - would (or a woman should?) quite merrily continue as normal *or* ask for a further meeting to discuss and remedy the anomaly?

Correct?

If so, I can't agree. You may as well recommend a request for talks about teaching the guy how to tie his own shoelaces (in which case he's not boyfriend material to begin with). Because here’s the absolute litmus: were a man to become discouraged thus ego-nervous enough to back off issuing invitations out of (assumptively) a run of declinations from the woman, which he was incapable of working out were down to too little notice or of initiating his own polite enquiries, he would surely revert to wholly RE-encouraged once having witnessed the woman initiating her own invitations, even for the first time (let alone the second or third in a row).

Conclusion: he’s demoted her/the relationship but doesn’t want to fire her just yet and likes that she's making all the (normally male) moves. It’s called convenient Stop Gap, having decided against permanent employment. Not to say it's not remedy-able. But why bother, is my opinion. Life's too short to shoehorn to that degree, why not just wait to find the right fit to begin with.

That SERENABELLE enquired about her 'career prospects' ONLY in reaction to his pattern-changing/breaking/subtracting behaviours shows that she was neither outright unwise, arrogant, pushy nor desperate. HOWEVER!..., I would urge her to in future treat the first few dates as the interview sessions they in actual fact are, and, as such, benefit from her right to establish what his future intentions are over a pending relationship. With or without that, of *course* it's her job to read his (sustained/repeat) actions, in the same way that, whenever positive, these fundamentals are what are universally understood first and foremost as signifying one is safe to *proceed*.

In other words, he absolutely does - like everyone else on the planet - have to prove by how he consistently behaves and treats her that he's suitably interested as well as make clear *what specifically* he's interested in.

I agree 100%, however, that 2 months in is far too soon to expect an introduction to his parents (or even his social circle) - WHERE THE MAN DIDN'T EXPERIENCE LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, I hasten to add. So I'm surprised SB didn't feel likewise where her own extended parental introduction was concerned. I guess that *could* have come over (on reflection) as pushy or a bit desperate, meaning, I suspect the REASON why matey has decided against, long-term, is because SB's taken all the challenge out of it (which an unready-to-settle-down 22 year old would definitely need to keep him in the game). But that criticism depends entirely on whether or not SB was merely responding to initial keenness on his part at that earlier point.

I also concede that other than backing out in the real sense of the word, he might be doing so only out of present and future EFFORT-MAKING reasons, i.e. hoping to get to remain a lazy dater and/or then fiance then husband (whose wife ties his shoelaces for him). In which case, if she doesn't want to dump the at-present seeming dud, SB should immediately cease responding to crumbs with taking the male initiative, and mirror his movements to signify, 'ER, NO, not with THIS top tottie catch, thanks v much! :-p'. Whether she is top tottie or not relies almost wholly on whatever *she* communicates she is or isn't - via whatever she *shows* she accepts or rejects as ongoing treatment. It's called self-worth and confidence and is highly attractive for what it long-term represents in terms of life partner material.

...Buuuuuuut after all of that, it would appear SB has already done a bunk, LOL!

Is he really that into me?

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(sorry - don't know where 'DT' came from; I obviously meant TF. LOL, don't ask!)

Is he really that into me?

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Hey guys. Thanks for everyone's advice. I realize it's not a long time of dating someone to become official, but he's said that with his last relationship they were official after only 3 weeks. However, that relationship ended very quickly, so maybe he wants to go slower this time. SOULMATE- I had to introduce him to my parents. I'm only 18, I don't have the freedom he has, or the ability to decide when to tell my parents about a guy I'm dating. I live at home, so if I wanted to see him, I had to inform my family early on, which isn't something he has to do- you're right. Therefore, I'm not particularly offended about not knowing his family yet, it's mostly his response about officially that bothers me, as well as his decrease in the things I said earlier. However, recently we have started talking on the phone again more often; last night he called me randomly just to chat. He also said last night that I make him very happy. I agree with all of you when you said that actions speak louder than words. He tends to do very sweet things when we are together that reinforce him saying I make him happy, he likes me, etc. I think my problem was that I settled quickly. He didn't feel that he had to make the effort, like you said, because I gave him what he wanted without him making the commitment first. So, thanks to you guys, I think I've decided to casually bring up the question of being official again in a week or two, and if he still gives me the same wishy-washy response, to say "that's fine, but I'm looking for something committed, so I'd like to continue seeing you, but if you're going to keep your options open, I think I will as well." Perhaps this will spur him to create a commitment, and if not, I'll give it some more time, but ultimately I don't want to settle for something less than what I want. What do you guys think of this? Should I wait longer to bring it up again, and is this a good way of going about it?

Is he really that into me?

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Serenabelle, I think your approach and next steps sound wonderful! Give it a bit more time, what's comfortable to YOU to compromise (while taking into consideration HIS feelings, actions, and words - maybe needing more time to settle into something - especially after a failed "quick" last relationship), meanwhile communicating with actions your interested, then talk to him using words clearly stating where you're at and what you want. If he can meet you there, awesome! If not, then someone else may be better suited for you.

SoulMate, without fail, you offer incredible insight and I (among many others I'm sure,) appreciate reading your posts very much. You give a lot to consider - I guess my main point was that sometimes people take longer than others to figure out what they want - I have never decided to be exclusive within two months of dating, and I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm not sure if that's a "Guy" or "Gal" thing, but it's part of how I approach relationships. I appreciated most, and obviously stuck with the women who allowed me the time to take to figure it out. Also, I perfectly respected the ones who had to take off because they wanted more than I was able to commit to at that time.

Is he really that into me?

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Also (and as always) in the interest of keeping this about the OP, and not debate, but solely offering my perspective and how I agree and/or disagree with other posters in the interest of the OP gleaning as much insight as possible -

"Furthermore, were a friend to advise you to take no notice of nor do anything further about your prospective boss’s behaviour given that
[1] employers are different so behave differently;
[2] he issued his statement (only under questioning) about how he wasn’t messing you around;
[3] an assumption made purely out of a conjecturing [because SB hasn’t given any such indication] that it must be due to your having more than once declined his offers of overtime whenever devoid of adequate notice; and
[4] devoid of any deeper discussion such actions are too vague to read and respond correctly to anyway,
then, you - despite the relationship weren't even *established* yet - would (or a woman should?) quite merrily continue as normal *or* ask for a further meeting to discuss and remedy the anomaly?

Correct?"

Incorrect. I'm coming from a place of SB knowing what she wants, communicating that to him, considering whether his reply is something she can work with or if it compromises her needs more than she's willing to or not, and making her own decision about what's best for herself from that place, regardless of what he's saying or doing.

Is he really that into me?

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Hi again,

Okay, if one of your parents' conditions at this juncture is to insist on an introduction simply for your safety and their peace of mind reasons, that's different because it's not your own wish, it's theirs. He'd be aware of that, so we can disregard his thinking you were trying to rush and control.

Yes, "HMMMM...": Why would a man tell you, his only-just girlfriend, how quickly he and his last partner fell in love and become steadies unless it was intended to influence your behaviour somehow? It smacks to me of him issuing a friendly expectation come warning (love me and love me quick / "this high" is where the bar is at so please ensure to compete with my then-irresistible ex).

I'm thinking he could be a lot readier... that perhaps he was still too walking-wounded and loath to suffer another rejection so soon (common stuff), as well as too keen to (so to speak) however-much slot you into the cooling side of the bed before it felt to disturbingly cold (ditto), and that *as* still-walking-wounded, you and he having reached some critical quantum of closeness made him experience a giant wobble. Not that I agree he reacted to sensing you were liable to go off *him*. No. Rather, I think he's reacted to that wobble by trying to make himself safer the less honourable and brave way. HIGHLY common stuff. They suddenly withdraw their company or favours/perks... the woman reacts with alarm which makes her focus higher attention on him as well as walk slightly on eggshells in not daring to displease him in any way if she can help it, and - as you've just experienced - feeling X degree of mental intimacy, still, as gives her the sense of having the right and leeway to take the initative like some long-established steady. He waits until his slight withdrawal's achieved the desired effect and then resumes almost normal behaviour. Now and from here on in, he's guaranteed a constant, far higher degree of reassurances from her (to stave off any more wobbling) in the form of her over-attentiveness and taking the greater share of risks.

Whether an instinctive or calculated ploy, it's cheating. A man is supposed to GENERATE that level of attentiveness in a woman by the attention he plies *her* with. But, of course, that ongoing wooing procedure, as above-described, carries the constant risk of getting rejected at whatever point. (Yes, it's hard graft but the rewards are worth it.) Furthermore, despite he's happier on the one hand, on the other - his more sensible and forward-thinking side - he's removed that vital sense of challenge (getting a hold on her heart and a hold over his nerves and self-control): This very intermittent nervousness including regular wobbles he's been aiming to get rid of is, ironically enough, one of the very main mechanisms that bond you as a couple in the first place. Duuuh to him then. And then, of course, any couple-based behaviour that gets repeated enough becomes a habit. And once a habit as creates a dynamic sets in, trying to change it (particularly with your more stubborn, set-in-their-ways gender) to a fairer labour/risk division becomes like trying to nail jelly to the ceiling (to the eventual point of you wanting to nail *him* to the ceiling, LOL).

So:
"I think my problem was that I settled quickly. He didn't feel that he had to make the effort, like you said, because I gave him what he wanted without him making the commitment first."

Correctamundo!

This is one of the pitfalls that a woman, by a man's less-sensible hand, thus the relationship, can fall so easily into. You have to nip it in the bud lest you find yourself resigned to, as I said, either wearing the trousers (which is boring *and* frustrating for her) or the bloke bogging off out of there being too much predictability and insufficient nervous excitement and intrigue (equals boredom).

Back to the here and now: I can't know (unless you tell me what your sense is) whether he's 'come back' because [a] he's had time to collect himself and leave the last wobble behind, i.e. 'sensible up', or because [2] he thinks he's 'treated you mean to keep you keen' ENOUGH by now (i.e. come back to seek signs of success). Or, indeed, [3] because he wants more emotionally-satisfying company and sex. However, it's safest to assume a man *isn't* refreshingly exceptional in that point 1/2 regard, meaning: "I think my problem was that I settled quickly. He didn't feel that he had to make the effort, like you said, because I gave him what he wanted without him making the commitment first.", is again correct and it's just wiser and safer to start to be a little less on-a-plate predictable from now on.

Say it with me:
Perks are in return for work (and Blah-blah-blah is not work, it's practically effort-less).
Don't tell me - SHOW me! (- Eliza Doolittle)
Either piss or get off the pot.
(No extenuating circumstances? No being 'understanding' and certainly no dice!)

However, about this: "I think I've decided to casually bring up the question of being official again in a week or two"

NO. That is known as The Talk and is highly offputting to men. We're talking bucket of cold water. One, it's far too soon and, two, men need (not even consciously) to feel in the driving seat during chase and woo phases. You'll have to wait until he either indicates or spells it out that he'd like the pair of you not to see anyone else. Meanwhile, all you can do is watch for indicative signs as well as keep marking his performance basically out of 10. Think of yourself like Simon Cowell: he doesn't sit there asking them repeatedly for long-term assurances regards the intentions behind their actual performances, he asks them ONCE at the very start of the auditions. He doesn't need to ask again. Because he's learned to recognise the signs of such as well as those that run counter.

It's not difficult to tell whether a man is seeing you and only you, anyway. Here are some of the bog standards at this early stage, FYI:

1. *He* rings *you* - nightly or near as damnit - at that 'certain time': too early for you to be getting in from having been out on the town and also too late for him to believe you're still readying to leave the house - to know that you were staying in. Between approx. 8 and 9pm is that golden hour. (Think about it: you don't get in at 8 and you certainly don't leave after 9). He does this because he thinks of you as his and doesn't want you around other cruising males where he can't keep a protective arm around you or a bodily proximity (as say, Try it, bucko!). Understand that getting to CHAT is just a side-bonus, not the raison d'etre. He's not lonely and wanting company, he's monitoring and protecting his territory by ensuring it's 'with' him and not someone else ("What are you doing? What did you do today? What are you doing tomorrow?" are all the sorts of questions aimed at knowing WHO WITH.)

(Suggest you keep him on his toes and sometimes be engaged or let the a/phone get it before ringing back. Basically, don't ever make someone a priority whom isn't - phoning aside - clearly treating you as his.)

2. He wants to see you at prime lovers/dating times: Fri night, Weekend days and Sat night especially (if not also Sunday, depending on working week preparations). Again, he doesn't want you available to go on dates with other men or even with the gals as renders one vulnerable to other advances, so he keeps you 'with' him or wants to know your movements as constantly as possible during these prime times.

3. He retro- or pre-accounts for his own movements. Subsequent little pieces of evidence add up with his claims about where and whom he was with. (Men who are very keen even rattle off their next months' itinerary!)

4. He wants to recognise your birthday (and possibly any mini-anniversaries).

5. He's proud to have you on his arm so wants his (trusted) friends to witness you together.

6. He talks future, whether that be plans for a few weekends or a season ahead or even farther flung than that.

7. He takes great pains to ensure *you're* satisfied in bed. And I ain't talking toast & Marmite. ;-)

8. He in whatever available ways spends time and money on you. This is him literally investing in you both emotionally and practically.

9. He wants you to spend time as *his* house (and/or invites you to leave your toothbrush).

10. He gives you a pet- or nickname.

Those are main ones for now.

Your 'trouble' is, you want to know where you stand now so as to know whether to keep proceeding. But without the proceeding bit, you'll never BE where you want to stand. The answer is to stay quite vigilant, hard though it is under the influence of 'Honeymoon Heroin'. Men take more time to EMOTIONALLY attach than women. (Yawn. LOL) You need to wait until end of Month 3 before working out whether he thinks you/the relationship is a keeper of sorts (thus raises HIS OWN concerns over exclusivity). And then until Month 6 to decide whether he's now falling in proper love with you (as opposed to just like and lust) and THEN Month 9/10 or thereabouts, to know whether he thinks this woman he's formed real feelings for fits in with his lifestyle now and how he imagines it'll be in the future. Men are very practical creatures. He can be as in love with you as you like but if, for example, his whole social circle dislikes you or you don't fit with his future plans (e.g. he's always dreamed of emigrating and you're the opposite), he'll bite the bullet and fire you, albeit "wiv regret" (depending, obviously, on how deeply under his skin you've got), or demote you to Stop Gap whilst he either secretly shops around again or settles for a casual, going nowhere, FWB type set-up.

Exciting mystery and intrigue is enhanced if you try NOT to keep the game 'above the table' the whole time where vocalising lives. Don't tell him, SHOW him. And do so subtly to ensure you keep his interfering conscious mind and silly ego unawares thus out of it. It's your inner animal to his inner animal and your conscious minds just complying and justifying it to themselves as if all their own idea.

Only if by Month 3 or 4 you still really can't tell if he's displaying Wannabe Steady behaviour, THEN say something. Something along the lines of this (always, always in question form so he thinks it's all his decision-based prerogative): "Sorry if this is a stupid question, but... Are we still supposed to be playing the field?". Make it sound like no biggie, just something that's just recently occurred to you - in the same tone as 'Fancy a cuppa?'. And don't say 'committed', say 'exclusive'. However, like I say, if during Months 3/4 he introduces you to any acquaintances and as "my girlfriend", you have your answer and needn't say a thing.

Alternatively, in the event of lack of behavioural signs, you're perfectly entitled to take HIS lack of outright, verbal request to be exclusives as a sign that, no, the pair of you are NOT, and go date other men until he does. After all, modern beans or not - it's still the man's job to "make" you want to see him and only him. Right? ("Right!") Think of yourself as a pan of cold water on the hob (him). You don't turn yourself hot, do you. He has to light you and keep you lit as brings you to the boil. You then REFLECT your increasing heat onto him, as spurs him into wanting to make you hotter and hotter.

Am boring myself now, LOL, so I'll leave it there or otherwise I'm in danger of asking you if you've got a clean hanky!

Is he really that into me?

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TF,

"I'm coming from a place of SB knowing what she wants, communicating that to him, considering whether his reply is something she can work with or if it compromises her needs more than she's willing to or not, and making her own decision about what's best for herself from that place, regardless of what he's saying or doing."

Well, in that case we agree, with the one tiny exception about whether to spell it out or not. Irrespective of what anyone consciously *thinks* - in line with believing we're that much more 'serfistikayted' these days than when pairbonding first began - nature has proven that women are supposed to RESPOND, not initiate - in the earliest stages, I mean. So since *he's* avoided spelling anything out, neither should she....mirror, mirror, mirror: he turns the hob flame down, SHE COOLS; he turns it up, SHE HEATS UP. That were all... :-)

Is he really that into me?

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"However, about this: "I think I've decided to casually bring up the question of being official again in a week or two NO. That is known as The Talk and is highly offputting to men."

If you need to have that conversation (for you) to continue to move forward, then HAVE IT. it's off-putting to him, then you'll absolutely know that he's not the one for you right now. I think the amount of time you compromise (having already stated that you're ready to have the "exclusivity" talk) is totally up to you. You're already bending by giving him more time to consider, and that's awesome, but ONLY if you're comfortable with it and ONLY if it's not a strain on your emotional wellbeing. You may just be on totally different pages, and that happens and is okay. It's not any one person's job to light up, or win, or prove themselves to the other. It's about mutuality, reciprocity and communication.

Soul, you are a trip. :) - with love, DT


Is he really that into me?

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Wow that was a lot to go through. Ok, thank you both again. I have a few more questions for SOULMATE. I definitely agree with everything you said about him not wanting to get hurt again and thus withdrawing in order to get a response and attentiveness from me. It makes a lot of sense. In his last relationship, she broke up with him, and he's also said that in most of his relationships "he tends to care much more". I feel like I'm the one who's putting in more effort here, and maybe it's because he's tired of being the one who cares more and then ends up getting hurt. So, if I want to step out of the settling stage, I should allow him to make the plans first by not asking, correct? I should allow him to work a little harder to get to see me? Maybe not respond so quickly to every text he sends?

Furthermore, this is in response to:

"Exciting mystery and intrigue is enhanced if you try NOT to keep the game 'above the table' the whole time where vocalising lives. Don't tell him, SHOW him. And do so subtly to ensure you keep his interfering conscious mind and silly ego unawares thus out of it. It's your inner animal to his inner animal and your conscious minds just complying and justifying it to themselves as if all their own idea."

First of all, I don't really know how to take the sex back. I feel like if I suddenly say "heyo I'm not going to have sex with you anymore because I want something exclusive" after seemingly very interested in the physical part of our relationship, he'll feel like he is being punished. He never pressured me, he was great about sex, saying we didn't have to do anything until I wanted to, which made me want to give it to him because I felt so safe with him. So, how do I take a step back physically, thus settling less, without him getting angry and feeling like he did something wrong? Also, when you say show him, you mean show him I want to be official without saying it? He already knows it's what I want, so I'm not sure how to do this.

To DT and SOULMATE- I guess to wrap it up, I think I'll have the conversation if necessary. I don't want to scare him away. But I'm also not sure now to quit settling without saying "look if you aren't official I'm gonna see other people too." and basically allowing him to again initiate everything, which is difficult for me. I read that men are more likely to become exclusive with a girl that they fear is going to leave, I don't really want to "play the game", but I suppose that's what I have to do if I want him to try harder again. Should I make him think I might see other people, and how would I do this without outright saying it, which could come across as angry and mean? I really just don't know how to get out of the position that I seem to have put myself in, where I initiate making plans more often than he does, and where I've had sex with him when what I really wanted was something official first.



Is he really that into me?

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Good questions! I look forward to those answers, too.

If you don't want to "play the game", (and I don't blame you) then don't. If you don't want to settle (and I don't blame you), then don't. Trust yourself and listen to your head and your heart like you already are.

My opinion is that since he isn't able/willing to be exclusive with you, that you are free to do whatever you want without any obligation to him. You are not a couple - by HIS decision. So I suggest that you see other people, too. Go on some dates, see what else is out there. Not to play games, but to broaden your perspective as wide as his is right now. Even the playing field and power dynamic, genuinely - not by pretending. You might say "but I'm not interested in dating anyone else" - and I get that. Don't do it if it isn't right for you, but it's a solid option for some perspective and also gives you something to do other than waiting around for him. Even if you aren't that interested, going out with other people who are interested in YOU, can offer more insight into where you're at and what you want. Also, you might get surprised. :) You've had your eye on this guy for so long, who knows what else is under your nose that you haven't even noticed. Not only can you continue seeing and learning about him, while he's figuring out what he wants, but you're also getting know yourself and other guys better. No problem, and no obligation to communicate that to him. If he gets upset, all you have to say is "slow your roll, homie - YOU were the one who said we aren't exclusive."

He isn't the only one with other options. And the sooner you BOTH realize that, the better.

Don't see other people to lure him back. That's game playing. See other people because you're seeing someone who isn't ready to be exclusive and there's really no other conversation to be had with him about it until either you or he need to establish a boundary, i.e.; I can't keep seeing you because I want more in a relationship right now, or want to take it further, i.e.; be exclusive.

In the meantime, it's a big ol wide world out there, and you seem like a great person. Get yourself out of this mess by sincerely remembering that there are other options for you to explore while exploring this thing with him.

Is he really that into me?

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"Soul, you are a trip. :) - with love, DT"

Nay. A trip is a brief event whereas I go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and ON. Like reality. ;-)

"it's off-putting to him, then you'll absolutely know that he's not the one for you right now."

Nope, sorry, disagree again. It's quite possible in the early stages to turn someone off where otherwise they'd have stayed turned on *and, crucially*, long enough for actual love to kick in and take over from mere like and lust. Relationships are all about co-creation, meaning, you do have to take into account your own portion of responsibility (IN the right places, I mean). IMO, you're expecting too much of this bloke given how in the grand scheme of things they've practically only just met. He's not in actual love with her yet, not to the point of No Return. His behaviour - his meatiest actions - do show he's still at the point where lust and BEING adored reign. If at month 6 and beyond he found it off-putting, THEN I'd concede your point. Plus, it's fine to tell someone they can do as they please, but my response to that given where she right now stands as has led her to a forum, would be, 'How's pleasing yourself been working out so far for ya?'. (That's a Gotcha! ;-))

Secondly: "It's not any one person's job to light up, or win, or prove themselves to the other. It's about mutuality, reciprocity and communication. "

Tis-tis-tis-tis-TIS! (I'm telling mum!) ;-P. What you're talking about, again, kicks in **LATER**. This current chasing and wooing phase is ALL ABOUT the male impressing the female until she yields. And I'm not talking superficials like shiny cars. I'm talking demonstrating his mettle, confidence, prowess in seeing, wanting, chasing, getting, keeping (and repeat). Hunter-protector first, nurturer second: "Urrrr! / Ahhh..". Evolution led by the genes' influence designed it that way so that the woman ready to sprog as meant kid-bound for an unusually lengthy amount of years compared to other mammals, wouldn't select (accept the advances and fall in love aka become psychologically locked-in with) a limp lettuce leaf whom thereby would get the chance to bail out at the first hurdle, leaving her and their offspring's survival in serious jeopardy. And this primitive wiring is still to this day what runs the dating/mating game. Plus this is pretty bog-standard as well as long tried and tested dating advice.

And frankly (no offence, SB), if sitting on her hands for another 4 or so weeks could constitute that much of 'a strain' on her emotional wellbeing, she needs to toughen up a bit because the mating game when done with whatever degree of keeps as its aim is not for the feint hearted. Although, saying that, that was your stated worry, not SB's.

However, SB's over there with all the tinier, elusive signs and symbols as amount to knowledge that words can't express, and we're over here with only her recounting to rely on, so in the final analysis it's up to SB to decide which opinion resounds most inside her jello given said instinctual and elusively-gleaned knowledge. As long as it *is* instinct rather than fear, I should add.

...Not that I'm not up for a friendly arm-wrestle of course, heh-heh. But not in front of the children. :-D

("SUCH fun!")

Is he really that into me?

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SB,

"Wow that was a lot to go through. "

Yeah. Two motormouths at once. Sorry about that (she lied, LOL). TF started it, though (bloody did ;-p). Plus, being so incredibly young and innocent, I'm easily led. Anyway, back to the regular programme...

" In his last relationship, she broke up with him, and he's also said that in most of his relationships "he tends to care much more". I feel like I'm the one who's putting in more effort here, and maybe it's because he's tired of being the one who cares more and then ends up getting hurt. So, if I want to step out of the settling stage, I should allow him to make the plans first by not asking, correct? I should allow him to work a little harder to get to see me? Maybe not respond so quickly to every text he sends?"

He said, he said, schme schmaid. This is the bloke who oh-so-thoughtfully for zero reason given how his last girlfriend has absolutely NOTHING to do with today's price of fish, told you that he and she were locked-in by Week 3. Frankly, had you been more reticent about entering a relationship than you are, that kind of pressure of implied expectation could have put you RIGHT off. But if something doesn't make sense (this case, his telling you something superfluous to requirements) then fear (and lying) is usually behind it. So it's best to take no notice of that one. But as for the rest? YOU'VE GOT IT PEGGED! This is your path of least resistance or damage, anyway.

Yes, let him do his own role-based chores. As long as you respond befittingly each time, that's your job done for the time being. And allowing HIM the stage and positive consequences is the very thing that'll REBUILD his confidence. Win/Win.

"First of all, I don't really know how to take the sex back. I feel like if I suddenly say "heyo I'm not going to have sex with you anymore because I want something exclusive" after seemingly very interested in the physical part of our relationship, he'll feel like he is being punished. He never pressured me, he was great about sex, saying we didn't have to do anything until I wanted to, which made me want to give it to him because I felt so safe with him. So, how do I take a step back physically, thus settling less, without him getting angry and feeling like he did something wrong? Also, when you say show him, you mean show him I want to be official without saying it? He already knows it's what I want, so I'm not sure how to do this. "

It's your body. You have every right - EVERY RIGHT - if you're the type who's heart is accessed via her knickers, to decide to batten down that hatch because he's given you cause to suspect your heart being engaged that way could now lead to Heartache City! Certainly until he's increased your confidence in him once more. It's not a punishment, IT'S A LACK OF A REWARD FOR ZERO OR INSUFFICIENT REASON. There's the diff that makes ALL the diff.

That first act, at the time, was in recognition and acceptance of his wooing endeavours to-date, was it not? Seemingly, his endeavour level has now changed. And when things change, RESPONSES/CONSEQUENCES change. Or, what?...if you, every time he came to collect you for a date, slapped his face hard in greeting as if it were some great joke and he'd made it clear he didn't like being face-slapped, you'd subsequently expect him to still want to collect you from your door every time rather than meet you in full inhibitory eyeshot of public witnesses, and would dare call his change of heart unreasonable? Ey dyon't thyink syo.

Saying that, if you don't want to say it in words, say it in actions: simply fail to agree to getting into a position where sex can ensue in the *first* place. E.g., "Er...naaaah... I feel like going out tonight, not staying in". Basically, there are 50 ways to avoid getting nuddy with your lover, Jack.

"I think I'll have the conversation if necessary. I don't want to scare him away. But I'm also not sure now to quit settling without saying "look if you aren't official I'm gonna see other people too." and basically allowing him to again initiate everything, which is difficult for me. I read that men are more likely to become exclusive with a girl that they fear is going to leave, I don't really want to "play the game", but I suppose that's what I have to do if I want him to try harder again. Should I make him think I might see other people, and how would I do this without outright saying it, which could come across as angry and mean? I really just don't know how to get out of the position that I seem to have put myself in, where I initiate making plans more often than he does, and where I've had sex with him when what I really wanted was something official first.
"

The Mating Game. It's called a game because there are strategies involved. There shouldn't be strategies but unfortunately most peeps have lost the knack of doing what comes naturally/instinctually i.e. UNTHINKINGLY thanks to the fairly new development of our frontal lobes (consciousness including questioning and going against our own baser instincts, even wanted and useful good along with unwanted and non-productive bad). You initiating this early on is not natural. So it doesn't add up to hear you basically hear you wonder if you can't do something natural yet can something unnatural. I hear a semi-excuse trying to form... no doubt due to it having been 'amazing'.

You said it yourself in your OP, how you feel you *shouldn't* have had sex given how you hadn't been given the Green light called 'we're official'. That was your correct inner response talking. Well, if you insist on sleeping with him again and don't want to have to come back here with bad news, then, your only hope is to disassociate the sex act from your expectations. However, it won't feel quite as amazing, I guarantee you that. You'll end up feeling like in his eyes you'll do for sex for as long as you remain willing but fail to make his grade when it comes to formally and publicly being his bona fide girlfriend. So the only way around that is to take no notice of the fact you and he have had sex in terms of expecting it to have made him feel more bonded and beholden to you (like a boyfriend) and to behave accordingly. In other words, don't let the bedroom behaviour leave the bedroom. If you call him Gorgeous under the covers (although preferably not), don't repeat it out of them. And don't give him any special dispensations in the interims.

No, I agree with TF (damnit! LOL) (;-)): don't MAKE him think you could be seeing others, LET him. Leave it to his typically over-active imagination. Think about how confident and proud of yourself, how QUEENLY your whole demeanour would suddenly become if 'tomorrow' you realised from being chased after left, right and centre, you could have any man you wanted. Behave that sure of yourself (which includes not taking any crap) and he'll start to wonder what's created this very sudden, very specific, and very characteristic change in you, subsequently putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 5. But he won't be able to blame YOU for that conclusion and any resultant worry because he has ZERO PROOF, just a self-created suspicion. If asked, you could just deny it. ***INTRIGUE....MYSTERY....CHALLENGE (to win you off all those other blokes)***. Ta-daa.

Also, what TF says is true. It'll be a fun distraction that keeps you calmer and more laissez-faire and might well lead to you getting totally surprised by some new bloke who REALLY lights your candle! It happens. A LOT. ("Hello! :-)")

***********

PS: "and you seem like a great person. Get yourself out of this mess by sincerely remembering that there are other options for you to explore while exploring this thing with him."

Ooh, I say! LOL

Is he really that into me?

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"If asked, you could just deny it." - SB, I strongly recommend AGAINST any dishonesty. That's no way to casually or seriously date anyone, or to treat yourself - making yourself a liar by definition.

"Leave it to his typically over-active imagination." - (Simultaneously adorable and hilarious) - SB, what I meant when suggesting to date, had nothing to do with him and everything to do with you.

Do keep us updated, SB, hope you appreciate the differences (surprisingly!) similar opinions. Only one perspective isn't that helpful at all, now is it? Considering many, and coming up with your own is often the best way to go.

and Motormouth,

"...Not that I'm not up for a friendly arm-wrestle of course, heh-heh. But not in front of the children. :-D" - Were we wrestling? I hadn't noticed, you'll have to use both arms next time. ;)

"("SUCH fun!")" - Indeed.

Sincerely,
The Opinion Offerer Who Appreciates that Reality (Much Like Trips) Can Change in an Instant While Going On and On and On, etc. and Appreciates the Journey as Much as the Destination <3

Is he really that into me?

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Just in case it couldn't be worked out -

Do keep us updated, SB, hope you appreciate the differences (surprisingly!) similar opinions.

Also see:

Do keep us updated, SB, hope you appreciate the differences of and (surprisingly!) similar opinions.

Is he really that into me?

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Hi SB, is there any room in your piggy bank for another two pennies? Here's my thoughts from reading the above. I don't see the need for any direct talk just yet. It's still early days and as has been said before, actions speak! I think you can also convey your feelings in actions - unless you get the feeling you are his top priority, don't treat him like yours. Go out with friends and don't feel the need to inform him where you are or why you are too busy to accept his call or answer his text. Yes not your boyfriend hence it's none of his business where you go or what you do. If however he starts treating you like girlfriend material and tells you whhere he's going and what he's doing and wants to spend time with you over any other options then you can treat him more like boyfriend material.

As for sex, he made you feel special and like he would wait and take time to make you feel special enough to have sex, so his efforts paid off that time. That doesn't mean he has a free pass to sex whenever he is in the mood and there's somewhere to do it! If he's now backed off and isn't making you feel special...no sex. I don't see why you can't explain that to him if asked. Or like SM says - why allow him to stay over or stay in at all. If he's distant emotionally, then why can't the opportunity for intimacy be physically distant?

Do the dance, mirror his moves, you step forward, I step forward, you step back I step back. Unless he's a complete dummy that won't be too hard to understand!

Is he really that into me?

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Violette, I could kiss you!!! (but I won't, ew, LOL)

*Exactly*

You listening TF? (Hopefully it's a moot point now anyway since that dollop of enlightenment over on PaigeTurner's thread, but:) IT'S NONE OF HIS BUSINESS BECAUSE HE'S NOT HER STEADY BOYFRIEND YET (his unforced behaviour changes = his choice), meaning, she's allowed to deny whatever she ruddy well likes. Anyway, I wasn't suggesting she date other men purely for his made-jealous benefit. The effect is merely a *side* bonus. Dating is competitive so let him compete rather than expecting a three-course meal on a plate from her in return for crumbs from him.

Plus, he could long before now quite easily have been vocally honest in explaining why he's switched his attitude towards her, or even asked nicely for reassurance if he thought she wasn't as into him as he her, could he not? Why does SB have to be the squeaky-clean, own-interests-self-sacrificial one? What is she - his mother?

Absolutely, Violette: personal information divulgence to girlfriendly onus proportions has to be *earned*.

(Violette, not only do you have evident self-worth and dignity to an impressive degree but you're also extremely articulate, so please stick around, do!...even if only out of pity as my translator, LOL.)

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I am listening, SoulMate. Are you? :)

Whatever I wrote on PaigeTurner's thread was specific to that thread, and I stand by my opinions here and on any other post, as I see and approach them each subjectively)

I trust that SB understood my post, but in the interest of clarifying, in case she read what you did -

Knowing your own boundaries, when to draw them and when you're comfortable not to, IS an act of self knowledge and worth. I suggested the convo happen if SB felt that moving forward without having it were detrimental to her own sense of healthy boundaries.

What a firecracker!

Your buddy,
Tom

Is he really that into me?

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Why thank you Soulmate I think I will :) I enjoy your analogies by the way!

Is he really that into me?

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"I am listening, SoulMate. Are you? :)"

Whaaaat? Wassat? You're what? GLISTENING? Well, have a shower then, ya dirty boy. (hardie-har-har)

"Knowing your own boundaries, when to draw them and when you're comfortable not to, IS an act of self knowledge and worth. I suggested the convo happen if SB felt that moving forward without having it were detrimental to her own sense of healthy boundaries. "

Okay, fairenoughski, definitely agree with that. Obviously was just a different written comms wavelength thang.

Buddy? Well, in that case, where's me birthday pressie??? PS: cash will do. (just saying)

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Good stuff, Violette! We need a reliably strong team of advisers on here. Too many good'uns post once or twice, or even for months, but then suddenly ugger off again...., mentioning no a-HEUGH!ManAloneHeugh! names. (Sorry, tickly cough. ;-))

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"Glistening"? Not half as good a listener as you are a talker at times. (just a little constructive feedback coming back at ya, because I care - ya know?) :)

"Okay, fairenoughski, definitely agree with that. Obviously was just a different written comms wavelength thang." - As annoying as it may be to admit, I think this happens a bit more often than you realize. Although, I quite enjoy your ornate huffing and puffing when we do have a difference of opinion. (just saying)

"Buddy? Well, in that case, where's me birthday pressie??? PS: cash will do. (just saying)" - Cash?! HA. My gift to you is acceptance of your (mentioning no a-HEUGH!ManAloneHeugh! names. (Sorry, tickly cough. ;-))) Olive branch.

As ever,
Dirty Man

(You're not the only one raised by wolves. Dirty, I can't and won't deny, but boy? Nah, man, through and through)



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