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It started so well!

But now my new boyfriend is starting to lose interest. Did I do something wrong? 

Don’t take it personally, says our elder. Remember, dating is all about trial and error.

 

Dear EWC

Hello! Recently I’ve started dating a guy who my friend introduced me to. After knowing him for two weeks, we started dating for a month and a half. During that time, I was having a lovely time. He’s a gentleman, never forcing me to do more than I felt comfortable to do, giving me rides, and being just very sweet. However, I’ve started to notice that from the beginning of our relationship until now, he has been distant. He doesn’t call, or text unless I do so first. Our conversations are pleasant, but never have any depth. I’ve asked other people about this and there are so many different possible reasons for this. Maybe he’s a nervous person who still isn’t sure what to talk about with me and is still getting to know me. Maybe he is frustrated that I won’t give him more sexually (I said I wanted to take it slow). Maybe his aloofness and lack of overall effort is just his lazy personality. And maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t like me or see this as a serious relationship he wants to commit to. I’m not sure what to think and I don’t know how to go about talking to him without sounding overly desperate and needy. 

 

Maia replies

I’m sorry that the new relationship that felt promising at first doesn’t seem to be turning out the way you hoped. I know how disappointing that can feel, especially when the guy is as nice as you describe.

You seem to be aware of many of the reasons that could explain why he’s become distant. Any one of those is a possibility. It’s natural that you are curious about what’s going on with him, and it’s natural that you don’t want to sound desperate. But I think you could text him a simple question like, “I was having a lovely time with you, but things seem to have cooled off on your end. Can you let me know if you’re interested in going further? No worries if you’re not; just say so and I’ll move on.” That doesn’t sound clingy or needy; it sounds like you’re watching out for yourself and that you can handle it if he wants to end things.

Bear in mind that some people have a hard time being clear and up front about how they’re feeling in a relationship. He may be relieved you’re taking the initiative to ask the question, and give you a forthright answer. Or, he may ignore the question altogether. Even if he doesn’t respond to the text, you’ll still have the answer. If he wanted to continue dating you, he would. If he doesn’t reply to your question, you have some good information about his emotional maturity (or lack thereof) and you’ll be better off with someone who can speak his truth even if it’s uncomfortable for him to do so.

Dating different people is the trial-and-error way we find out whether we are interested in a long-term relationship with someone. Sometimes it takes a long while, and sometimes it only takes a couple of months. I’m guessing that he came to realize that he didn’t believe that you and he were a good fit together. Unfortunately, he maybe doesn’t have the skills to tell you that directly, so he is taking a more indirect approach and hoping you’ll get the hint. That’s really not very kind. If he hasn’t been able to tell you directly, that is a red flag about how he would handle other issues that might come up further down the road. 

You could create a dozen more possible reasons to explain why he’s backed off, but they would all just be speculation. At this early stage of your relationship, maybe the actual reason doesn’t really matter. Maybe it’s more important to realize that he hasn’t had the courage or the courtesy to let you know how he’s feeling. Let his behavior deliver his message:  he is distant, he doesn’t initiate calls or texts, he doesn’t want to have deeper conversations…. he seems to have lost interest. OK. Ask him about it, if you want, and be alright with whatever his answer is. Also, be prepared to see this brief relationship as an opportunity to learn something about yourself and about the kind of guy you want to have a real relationship with. 

Above all, don’t take this personally. Don’t feel that you’ve done something wrong, or that you should have done something different in order to “keep” him. This is on him. He had a choice to be truthful and clear with you, and he’s chosen to deliver an ambiguous message instead. This situation says way more about him than it does about you. See him clearly and know that you deserve to be treated better than this.

Take good care, and be kind with yourself. I wish you all the best.

Article #: 410002

Category: Dating/Relationship

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