When I asked my current boyfriend out, I was very clear to explain that I wanted something casual and certainly not monogamous. But somehow, he now thinks that we are a monogamous couple and is planning our future together. He keeps planning for events I don’t want to attend and talking as if we will always be together. He has become repulsive to me and I no longer feel that I want to be in a sexual/close emotional relationship with him but at the same time want to keep him as a friend. With that said, I am currently looking to pursue others outside of my boyfriend, more specifically someone of the same gender. Another complicating factor is that he and I volunteer for the same organization and within the same department, which means I need things to go amicably whether it be a relationship restructure or moving on. How do I get him to understand that we both feel differently about this relationship and its future and do so in a way that will not make it uncomfortable to work together in our volunteer work? Should this be the end? Is moving back to friends a possibility? — Romantically Doomed and Challenged
Yes, this should most definitely be the end, and no, moving back to being friends probably isn’t a possibility — at least, not right away. I’m not sure where or why there was miscommunication, but obviously somewhere along the way, your signals got crossed. As soon as your boyfriend showed signs of being more committed or invested in the relationship than you were prepared to be, you should have alerted him to how you were feeling. But it sounds like rather than speak up, you let him continue thinking there was more between you two than there actually was … to the point of you being repulsed by him. I don’t think we’re talking about a couple days of miscommunication here. If you’re repulsed, I’d imagine this has been going on for quite some time. Which is why you’re going to be hard-pressed to seamlessly move into a drama-free friendship with the guy after you break his heart.
But make no mistake about it, you do have to end things with him — for both your sakes. But I would end it with an apology. Apologize for leading him on, for one thing, and for being unclear about what you wanted from him. And then explain to him that part of your murkiness was because you weren’t entirely clear yourself what you were looking for and it’s only been very recently that you’ve realized you are perhaps more interested in dating women than men. I can’t promise he’ll accept that or even buy it, but if you’re honest and genuine (and apologetic) about where you’re coming from, at least you’ll have a clear conscience.
As for working together, you’ll have to play things by ear. Luckily, yours is a volunteer position and not one upon which you’re dependent for a paycheck. If things are awkward, as they probably will be at first, you could experiment with moving to a different department within the same organization. But if that isn’t an ideal compromise, or if you find you simply cannot work that closely, you should probably find a different organization to volunteer for. I’m sure there are plenty that don’t have your ex-boyfriends working for them that would be happy to have your help.
I’ve been dating a guy for a month who initiated most dates and texting at first. But then last week, we went out to lunch and made arrangements for him to come over later. Around 9 p.m., he texted me to let me know he was running late, but then never showed up. This was a first, and I panicked all night, but only sent 1-2 texts to see if he was coming over or canceling. The next day, he sent an apology and said he would call later to talk, but he never did. As it was near the holiday, I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t hear from him for two days when he texted me at 3 a.m. I sent a snippy reply as he woke me up, and apologized the next day and left it open for him to call me. I still haven’t heard a darn thing.
Now, my friends, who are all well-meaning, all have differing opinions on what I should do. I’d say there are two camps on this:
1. “He’s Just Not that Into You.” Nearly all girls and some of my guy friends fall into this camp. If he isn’t texting or responding, then it isn’t worth your time. Why do you want someone like that in your life?
2. “Assertive Women are Hot.” A surprising amount of my guy friends and nearly none of my girl friends fall into this category. If texting him would make you feel better because you can express how wrong it is, then be bold, be blunt and tell him. It makes it easier for the guy anyway and you get what you want!
I tend to go for option two, mainly because I don’t mess around with games. Option one is painful, but worth trying to see if it works out for once. With my guy, it could be something happened in combination with the holidays. I have read your column in the past and completely agree with you that men should be the first to drop the L word, but how assertive or passive should women be in dating? — Passively Waiting
Oh, girl, this is a MOA situation if ever there was one. Your girlfriends are right — this guy clearly isn’t into you. And your guy friends are right, too — assertive women are hot, which is why you need to woman up and tell this guy you will not tolerate being treated the way he’s been treating you and it’s over between you. The thing is, it’s already over, but you’ve totally given him the power to drag out the breakup as long as it suits him. You need to nip that crap in the bud, take the power back, and let him know you are too good to be stood up, blown off, ignored for days on end and then texted in the middle of the night like you’re his damn booty call instead of his new girlfriend. And to think YOU apologized to him. Honey, get some self-respect!
Look, there will be other guys. This isn’t your only chance to find a happy and lasting relationship. But the longer you waste time with this yahoo, the less time you have to find someone who actually respects you as a human being and will treat you the way you want to be treated. So tell this guy you’re over — be explicit in why you’re over — and in the future, make it clear from the get-go, you have a certain standard for relationships and if the guy isn’t up to it, he can hit the road. Women should never, ever, ever be passive when they’re talking about demanding respect and common decency from their suitors.
Original by Wendy Atterberry