‘He said we are still together . . . but not dating.’ What?

We’ve been FaceTiming and texting daily. While I think our communication is 10 times better, we are at an impasse on how to move forward. I told him we must keep taking steps forward. He expressed that he is not ready to take steps (for example, I suggested Zooming to watch one of our favorite shows together, which he shot down). He said he doesn’t know when he’d be ready, and that he feels pressured when I ask what we can do to meet each other in the middle. He said we are still together (i.e., boyfriend and girlfriend), but not dating (i.e., not doing couples things). He said he is committed and a lot more optimistic about the trajectory of this relationship, but I am really confused by these parameters.

I get disheartened from time to time when our progress stays stagnant. What is some general advice for how to navigate this? I want this relationship to be a priority for both of us, but I don’t want to push him too hard. I fear he’ll change his mind and want to break up with me. I don’t like this power dynamic.

– Disheartened

A. “I don’t like this power dynamic.”

I don’t, either. If he doesn’t want to see you, and you feel like you’re running in circles to become worthy of his company, it’s bad for you and the relationship. This has created new resentment.

If you’re FaceTiming and texting every day because that’s what works for him, he’s not thinking much about your experience. Or he thinks he always knows best, which is just as frustrating.

I know you fear a breakup more than anything, but the relationship isn’t going to work if it’s on his terms, at your expense. Tell him that talking to him daily, without any promise of growing together in person, is making you focus less on self-improvement and more on meeting whatever goals he has for you. That’s not healthy.

He might feel more optimism right now, but you don’t. It doesn’t feel like you’re working together.

A breakup would be difficult, of course, but maybe a real break — like, no talking — would make it easier for you to focus on yourself. If he won’t meet you halfway with clear intentions, tell him it would be healthier for you to be on your own. I know you don’t want to lose him — I get that — but you don’t want to lose yourself either. If it’s too difficult to explain over a FaceTime, put it in writing. Let him know how being back together might look. Maybe offer alternatives to this break, like therapy.

Because if you’re not together, you’re not together.

– Meredith

READERS RESPOND

Realize that he may be looking elsewhere while keeping you parked in reserve, and move on accordingly. HIKERGALNH128

You’re either broken up, or you’re not. This is some sort of weird enforced limbo. Cut the cord. WIZEN


Find the latest season of the Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show. Meredith Goldstein wants your letters! Send your relationship quandaries and questions to [email protected] Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/04/06/magazine/he-said-we-are-still-together-not-dating-what/

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