YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, ALI: Help! My boyfriend is always cryptic!
“Perpetually Confused Girlfriend” writes:
I have been dating this guy for about six months. I know that’s not a long time, but sometimes I feel as if we are good for each other and have potential to develop into a more serious relationship (e.g. moving in together). He recently brought up that he has plans to move away possibly, if he got a job he wanted, out of state. Also, he had asked me whether I would be interested in moving away with him and areas I’d be interested in moving to. This whole conversation was abrupt because I had no idea he had plans on leaving the area, nor did I expect him to ask me to move away with him.
However, stunned at this offer, I did not say much of anything other than that I would definitely consider it (in a mild tone, of course), mainly because he says abrupt and random things like this and never seems to follow through (e.g. he says, “I want to spend more time with you,” yet only sees me two days a week at the most without having some sort of panic attack). He mentioned in this same conversation that if we didn’t move away, that he wanted me to live closer to him (not in the same apartment).
Additionally, I had a conversation with him in the past month, which I had asked him what his intentions were for our relationship and he said that he does not love me and he has no intentions of moving in with me. I just find this whole recent conversation bizarre and am sick of thinking there is a possibility for us and then having to deal with his callousness (e.g. telling me that he’d never want to live with me, then asking me to do so a few weeks later). I can’t necessarily say he is lying, but I almost feel as if he is always looking for something better (even though he says I’m awesome, but “doesn’t love me”) and cycles on and off, settling for me when he can’t do better.
I honestly think that logically this doesn’t make sense, and I do believe he can’t do better than me in some ways, but nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t thinking it. Please help! I have no idea what he is thinking or feeling and am tired of the mixed messages.
Perpetually Confused Girlfriend
Dear “Perpetually Confused Girlfriend,”
No offense to you, but your boyfriend is cryptic because he is probably mentally ill and has no idea what he wants or who he is. How old is he? Has he had a serious relationship before and may be gun-shy about being serious with a new one, or is he inexperienced? Does he enjoy his current career? Does he have a local foundation (e.g. friends and family)? If he likes his job enough and has a foundation here, it seems like he isn’t going anywhere, yet he might be impulsive enough to just move away without notice. I highly doubt this, and I think that he is using tactics to manipulate you into staying with him because he is immensely insecure (e.g. asking you to move away with him when he has no real intentions of moving).
Pay attention when he says positive things. Did you two have a fight recently? Have you been talking as much lately? This might be a stretch, but what was his childhood like? What’s his relationship with his family like? His parents? I am guessing he had an extremely unstable childhood, where things were constantly unpredictable and changing. His hot and cold behavior seems to imitate what he was used to growing up with in a dysfunctional household. As adults, we try to imitate our family relationships with our romantic partners, whether we realize it or not.
What I suggest to you is this: Don’t take anything he says too seriously, and keep in mind that if you do stay with him, you’re going to be constantly disappointed by his seemingly “abrupt and random” on-and-off romantic behavior. I’d suggest talking to him about your feelings and ask him what his feelings are about your relationship. It seems like you’ve already tried this and wasted your time. If he says he doesn’t love you, he probably doesn’t, so whatever negative things he says are probably a more accurate reflection of himself.
Unless he learns to deal with adult relationships in a direct, positive manner, he will remain a sad and lonely person the rest of his life. It seems like you deserve better. If you believe you do, move on with your life. He doesn’t seem to know how to make anyone happy, including himself. Move on!
by Ali Pica
Ali is a graduate student, educator, and writer. She enjoys creative writing, painting, cooking, and running.