Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. We don’t live together. He and I have very different visions of time together in a relationship: In previous serious relationships, I always spent six to seven nights per week with my significant other, and he prefers to spend three or four. To compound matters, he doesn’t like to plan his time in advance, and I do.
As a result, every week, when we talk about the coming week, I vacillate between not wanting to push him too hard to schedule things (he hates that) and feeling like if we don’t schedule, then I will spend even less time with him than I already do, which already isn’t enough for me.
The whole process makes me feel weirdly insecure. I don’t want to feel at his beck and call, but if I just make my own plans, I DEFINITELY won’t spend a lot of time with him. How do I navigate this?
Make your own plans.
Maybe I’m reading more gloom into this than warranted, but if I were in your place, and if making my own plans meant not seeing my boyfriend much, and if my boyfriend weren’t disappointed enough by my absence to make an effort to see me (either to make plans himself or stop whining when I make them), then I’d wonder why this boyfriend was my boyfriend.
So make your own plans — not to make him miss you, but to make sure you have an actual life instead of this weird hybrid thing you have now, centered on planning how much to plan.
I mean — you want someone who’s happy to see you walk into the room, right? Who, when he’s off doing his own thing without you for the third or fourth time that week, thinks, “I wish Girlfriend were here”?
I realize people have varying needs for closeness, but to meet a general standard of a relationship that doesn’t stink, those needs should match well enough that whether you'll see each other this week is not an ongoing source of stress, conflict or insecurity.
Dear Carolyn: I’m a bisexual woman who has a huge crush on her best friend. She’s seeing someone and has been for a very long time. But she constantly complains about this guy and really doesn’t seem to like him very much. It’s all about how he’s lazy, or about glass-bowlish things he’s done. I sense inertia: It’s not too bad; it’s better than the unknown; no one’s planning on leaving, etc.
You’ve probably guessed my problem: the part of me that won’t stop yelling, YOU SHOULD DATE ME INSTEAD. She’s also bi, so a little part of me is convinced that someday she'll hear how much complaining she does about Guy and fall into my arms. How can I remind myself that real life is not a Hilarious Gay Romcom?
By saying out loud, “I can’t listen to you complain about this guy, in part because it sounds as if you don’t even like him anymore, and in part because I want to date you.” Confessed motives can’t be ulterior. Just be ready for rejection, and brave enough to withstand awkwardness while the friendship absorbs the truth.
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