Boyfriend says he needs time and is not sure about what he wants. How do I respond?

Boyfriend says he needs time and is not sure about what he wants. How do I respond?

Two weeks ago, my boyfriend of 1 year told me that he is not sure of our relationship. He says that he'd like it to be like it was in the beginning, and that he feels like we have lost our connection. Over the summer we travelled a lot and had a really good time, but since we got back early Sept we have hardly seen each other, aside from in the evening, as we were living together. He is struggling with his PhD and I have a startup, so many evenings have been about 'survival'; eating and sleeping. I think we had a proper dinner twice since early Sept.
I told him that I don't think he has given it a fair chance, because we have not actually spoken about the issues he raised. Only the week before, we booked tickets to go away for Christmas. He says he feels 'lost' and is unsure what is the right decision. He has been doing a bit of reading, as have I, and he recognises that probably time is the main cause. However, he is unwilling to make changes. He says that 'we always have a great time together' and that he misses our 'everyday life together'. I know that he struggles a lot with his PhD, and hence he is in the lab until past midnight many evenings to try and get results. I can understand that, and have been trying to support him, by making sure I made dinner that he could have whenever he returned.
One of the things he said was that he thinks it will be easier for him to be alone, because he wants to be a kind of boyfriend who can give me certain things, and I should expect certain things. This is not something I have asked him for, but rather something he places on himself.
I am the first serious girlfriend he has, despite being late 30s. I have had two long term relationships before. I don't believe that happiness just comes without doing anything for each other, but he believes it should do. That seems to me like a fairytale.
I love him, and we had plans for the future. What can I do apart from give him time, and focus on myself in the meantime?


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What Guys Said 6

  • He’s full of shit. He knows what he wants and it isn’t you and never will be. Your future is over. This is over permanently and completely and you will not reconcile and ride off into the sunset together and live happily ever after nor will you remain friends even if he suggests or agrees to it. He’s too much of a pussy to just say so. It makes you think he’ll want you in the future which never happens. It also leaves the door open so he can drift in and out of your life using you to fuck when he can’t find someone else. Your response is “Well when you do know let me know IF I’m still single” and get on with your life

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  • Let him take his time sometimes its the only thing to do n its best and you on the other side focus on ur self.. do things which u always wanted to do but u couldnt somehow so during all this time u can try doing all that.

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  • Move on without him. He doesn't know what he wants fine but if he wanted you now or in the future he wouldn't fuck you about.

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  • Everyone needs their space in a relationship. I learned this the hard way and this caused me and my girlfriend to break up after 2 years. I felt like i was smothered and couldnt be who I wanted to be. Try giving him the space he wants and he might come bak to you with that strong connection that you guys had at the start

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  • There is nothing you can do but give him time and focus on yourself. That is it. If you are unwilling to do that, end the relationship

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  • Ok get back to me when you are ready

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What Girls Said 2

  • Just exactly what you are doing "give him time, and focus on yourself"... I would not brace for a happy movie ending, it usually doesn't end well for one reason: both are focused on different things. On question remains important: What brought you together is still there? In other words, the beginning of the relationship had very specific needs and situations, are those elements still there?
    Love comes in two forms, one that lasts and another that doesn't. The one that lasts is built from a conscious (mind+heart) commitment to do whatever is necessary to make it work, the one that doesn't is made from an emotional (heart+mind-sometimes) that places the relationship on a "potential" that never seems to materialize.
    Usually the second type is the one that tries to "change a little bit" the other to make him/her to "fit" the description. And change is not a problem as long as it doesn't ask the other person to be someone that he/she is not.
    It is easy to be with another person when all is going nice and well, when things go tough, "love" is put to the test.

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    • Hi Marianne, thank you for your response. I agree with you that it's largely about commitment, and I don't think he is ready to make that. You ask if we still have what we had in the beginning. I would say, that for me, yes, we do. Above all, we are good friends, and seem to understand each other well. We have been supportive of each other, and our goals (primarily work related goals), during our relationship. It has also been caring and loving. He has told me over a couple of months, that life has been hard for him, he feels like he is always behind and that it is chaotic. About a month before 'giving him time' he raised that maybe he should be alone, as this is how he knows to deal with difficult times. He has not been in a relationship before, and is unable to e. g. reach out to his parents to speak to them about his issues. He has only been speaking to me about them, and now, he has still not sought out any friends/family to speak to. It is like he is inside a hole.

    • From what I am "hearing" I would say that you have the first half of the answer when you say that "at least for you, yes, you still have it". On the other hand I think he is not ready for "adulting". Growing up is about facing your fears and frustrations (not necessarily to run away or tear them down as in a movie, but to realize that there is more in life than them) and work around them. It means that you can talk like an adult and you don't need to retract. We all start relationships at some point in our lives, being the first one doesn't mean that you get "rookie points" as credit, it means that you are supposed to let yourself "guided" through a mature conversation.
      He is also not alone in the hardships of life, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us" - Gandalf the Grey - Lord of the Rings

  • Just feel like you barely see each other and he still wants space? I don't know what to really say but if you keep waiting for him, it will be painful. It look like he indecisive. There this quote I remember, one man’s “im not ready” is another man’s “i knew the second I saw her”

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