Originally Posted by FeministInPink View Post
Ugh, it's complicated. What do you mean, haven't got the wild out of you yet?
Yes, we have talked about expectations, in a limited sense... his expectations have been a moving target, honestly. Starting out, he was saying, I don't ever want a relationships again, I don't ever want a girlfriend again... then six months later, he's saying that we're a couple and acknowledging that we are in a relationship, but claims he still doesn't want a girlfriend/boyfriend thing, because that means that we are thinking about marriage, and he never wants to get married again. And whenever he makes declarations about what he doesn't want, he always makes a disclaimer that this is the way he feels now, and he doesn't see it changing, but he might feel differently in a year. All labels aside, we're as committed as any two people who have been seeing each other exclusively for a year can be, and he asked me once what I expected/wanted out of a boyfriend, a gave him list of things that I expected from a boyfriend, and he said, I'm willing to give you all that, I'm just not saying that I'm your boyfriend because that's a precursor to marriage. I've never pushed my agenda regarding my expectations, I've been happy to take things as they come and let things develop in an organic way... it has only come up a few times, when I felt he was neglecting me/my needs or not making me enough of a priority; usually, he is very responsive when I communicate something like this, but if he's stressed about something else that I don't know about, he'll go into "I need to assert my independence and remind you that you're not my girlfriend" mode, which always results in a big fight, like the one we had last week.
And I DO want to get married again, someday, but only if it's to the right person, and I'm not in any rush at this point. At this point, I just want a boyfriend, and I am happy to stay at that point for a long time. He asked me, five months ago, to be patient with him, because he has a lot of baggage, and I have been very patient with him. Until this fight last week, we never really spoke about my expectations, and I was ok with that. I didn't have any expectations... expectations for the future keep you from living fully in the present, which is a waste when the future may never even happen. I was happy with our relationship, and I felt like I was getting my needs met in the current state of affairs. And if our relationship was meant to become something more, then that would happen naturally. Then again, I also thought that his behavior and affection was coming from a place of love, and that his feelings were evolving.
I was upset because he had come home from a week and a half in Africa, and I barely saw him in the week and a half before he left... and I thought that we would FINALLY get some time together now that he was back, and I felt like he was blowing me off in favor of everything else, making me wait another five days until the weekend to see him. I had waited three weeks to get some quality time in, and he was expecting me to wait another 5 days? That did NOT go over well with me, not at all. So we got into a fight about it, which led him to ask, "What do you want out of this relationship? ... because I get the feeling that you want more than I am willing to give." Which turned into another fight. And it became very frustrating for me, because a lot of his reasons for not wanting anything more serious sounded more like excuses and fear talking, than actual legitimate reasons. And it was very hard for me, too, because the whole thing triggered my fear of abandonment (it really felt like he was rejecting me on some level). (One of his things about us not being bf/gf is that if we aren't bf/gf, then we can't "break up"--neither one of us can't dump the other. He thinks it will protect him from being rejected. Which makes absolutely no sense at all. A lot of things about his arguments on this topic have been illogical.)
He says he's never met someone as compatible with him as I am. And he sees us together for years into the future. That I'm his favorite person, that he cares for me more than anyone else in his life. What I don't understand is how you could meet someone so perfect for you, whom you see a [short-term, few years] future with, who you care for so much, and yet... you don't want to even consider the possibility of something more serious, more permanent with them? It makes no sense to me at all.
I hate his XW so, so much. She screwed him up so bad... the sad thing is that the betrayal and divorce made him the man who he is today, and ironically, pushed him to learn how to be a better partner. And because he IS such a good partner is one of the reasons I like him so much. He said once, if I had met you instead of her, things would have been very different for us... and I said, if I had met you then, we wouldn't have worked. Our relationship would have failed then, because you were a different person then, and I'm in love with the man you are NOW. SMH.
FIP, your fella is emotionally unavailable. The push-pull thing he does, where he's your boyfriend except he isn't and wants to remind you of that fact, allows him to keep you on the hook and keep getting his needs met without making you an actual priority. And you're allowing it. You're projecting love and evolving feelings that aren't actually in him. You're holding on to hope because he's doling out hope-bait by telling you that his feelings might change - presumably if you're...what? More, better, different, what? You're trying to be patient and understanding and to not place demands on him. And all that would be fine, good even, except that you don't actually sound like you're really okay with this nebulous, no-definitions, boundary-less, quasi relationship you find yourself in. You honestly sound more like someone who's trying to be "low maintenance" because you're deathly afraid of being called "high maintenance" or "demanding". But the truth is, that it's okay to be demanding, when what you're demanding is honesty, respect, clarity, to have your needs met equitably in the relationship, and to put an end to moving targets. Expectations in a relationship are not necessarily a bad thing.
The problem is that your guy has told you what he wants, but you're still trying to figure out what he's saying. You've been together a year and he still insists he's not your boyfriend - to the point of feeling the occasional need to remind you of that fact. If you want a boyfriend, he's not your guy.