Is She Acting Too Needy?

needyg

 

Name: TJ
:
Question: I’ve been dating someone exclusively for around 8 months, though I have known him for 4 years, and we dated briefly about 2 years ago when we were each rebounding from other relationships. We live about 50 minutes apart (door to door).

We usually see each other one or two times during the week and spend weekends together, and everything is generally great, especially when we’re together. When we’re apart, we generally message/text/talk at least once a day.

But we’ve been struggling with the communication when we’re apart, because our styles and needs are so different: I work at a desk and have lots of downtime (i.e., computer time), and he doesn’t. He mainly uses his phone for all communication and is rarely at a computer. We have gotten into multiple arguments about my “neediness” when it comes to communication, and I have toned it down significantly. In return, I’ve asked him for two things: Text me before bed and at least acknowledge me with some sort of response when I contact him (even if it’s “Can’t talk right now.”).

I’ve made it clear, several times, that the good night text is important to me, especially because we live apart and I like to know he’s home safe. Yet he still forgets to do it if I don’t prompt him with my own goodnight text. It hurts my feelings and makes me feel like he doesn’t listen to me or care. I don’t see how it’s so difficult to text me good night, especially since I know the last thing he does before sleeping is hop on Facebook.

I feel like I need a reality check from people who don’t know me. Am I being unreasonable with my request? Should I just let this stuff go since everything else is so good? I guess I’m stuck on it because of the whole “not caring” bit. It’s enough of a recurring thing that it’s starting to affect our relationship. It probably doesn’t help that I have trust issues and tend to think negatively, even though he’s given me no reason to doubt him.

Thanks!
Age: 36

 

Thoughts?

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48 Responses to “Is She Acting Too Needy?”

  1. MsAdvised Says:

    “I’ve made it clear, several times, that the good night text is important to me, especially because we live apart and I like to know he’s home safe.”

    You really want him to text you “good night” because you want to know he’s home safe? This seems a bit disingenuous to me. I don’t know you, but based on this letter alone, it seems more likely that you want reassurance that he’s home — and home by himself.

    IMO, asking someone with whom you’re in an exclusive relationship to acknowledge your texts with some sort of response, even if it’s “can’t talk right now” is a reasonable request. Asking them to text you “good night” every night sounds like the kind of request that a guy would resist, even if he is otherwise well-meaning. Even a man who generally wants to make you happy and wants to improve communication channels with you would probably balk at texting “good night” because he’s being TOLD to. Yes, I think it comes across as too needy, FWIW. And more so if you told him it’s because you want to be sure he’s home safely. Because now you sound like his mom, too. Not a hot look.

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  2. Speed Says:

    I don’t think that the texts that the OP requested are some unreasonable demands. In fact, they’re sort of low-maintenance compared to phone calls/Facetime, etc. If a person can’t even manage some regularity in texts, well…I don’t think that’s an especially good sign.

    The larger issue is the notion of “clinger” or “neediness” that gets tossed around so much on dating sites—usually as a caustic accusation. The Nobel laureate neuroscientist Daniel Kahneman wrote mental/emotional intimacy is an absolute core human need, right up there with food, shelter, clothing and sex. To be human, according to his research, is to be “needy” to some extent or another. As primates we are, after all, social animals.

    Yet, for some strange reason nowadays it has become so “boldly modern” to claim that you don’t need anybody else for anything, or that you need the opposite gender purely for sex, attention, or meals/money. If you claim to be “evolved” like this, you will get a ton of Internet praise, as a person who is sophisticated, savvy, worldly, and realistic, etc.
    In fact, people who make these claims of being “above” the need for emotional intimacy are either liars, “gods or beasts (Plato)” or psychopathic.

    I digress too much, sorry. OP,don’t expect anything more from this relationship.

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  3. yb Says:

    the OP’s requests are very reasonable! a good night text and acknowledgment of texts sent. what i don’t like is the term “neediness”. if he in fact has referred to you as such, that is a big red flag. as the poster above mentions, to be human is to have needs.

    is everything else really ok tho?

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    • MsAdvised Says:

      There’s a difference between having needs (which is reasonable) and being needy (which is unattractive). In my opinion, that line is drawn between having a conversation about what you need (“Hey – this is important to me – can we work on it?”) and being *prescriptive* about what you need (“I need a ‘good-night’ text every night”). Even the context she provides in her email (“I’ve made it very clear that…”; “I know the last thing he does before sleeping is hop on Facebook”) makes it sound as though her “basic human need” for a goodnight text was probably communicated in a demanding way — and I doubt it went over well. And that’s why she’s encountering some resistance.

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  4. yb Says:

    if things are really all ok, then just go ahead and keep initiating the good night text. pretty simple for you to do on your part. and respect the work day as a time you don’t need to communicate unless it is a real emergency. i also have a desk job and a lot of free time sporadically through out the day, but i keep my personal communications to a minimum. it is good self discipline and a good boundary to keep.

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  5. fuzzilla Says:

    Eh, I can see where the OP is coming from. I’ve felt like this, although I didn’t insist on a good night text.

    I felt this way with one guy where we had limited time to see each other (basically just on the weekends). During the week I’d text or e-mail something light and funny and he wouldn’t respond. Okay, not the end of the world, but…that kind of thing is important to me. I didn’t think he was off screwing anything that moved, I just wanted to sustain and build an emotional connection, and his lack of response made me feel…empty. Bored. Unfulfilled.

    This one was a decent enough guy but we were just kind of a mismatch as far as lifestyle, and the different communication styles really didn’t help (I remember constantly thinking, “Oh my God, whyyyyy is it so difficult to communicate? I mean, am I actually speaking English?”). We lived close to each other, and only saw each other on the weekends because of wildly differing schedules. The next guy (the one I’m still with) I only saw on the weekends at first because of distance, but he very much enjoys keeping in touch throughout the day. We’re a much better match as far as communication/personality style.

    So the takeaway for the OP is – eh, maybe she’s a little needy, but maybe it’s a perfectly reasonable response to perfectly reasonable needs not being met. It does sound like she sees him a decent amount of time (weekends *and* two days during the week? It’s not like there’s tumbleweeds rolling through the calendar squares between visits).

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    • Eliza Says:

      Fuzz…true. You need to look at the circumstances too. When you are around someone that basically is glued to their cell, and is constantly monitoring it (in your presence), and texting away frequently, it IS quite odd, to not receive a simple reply to one of your text messages–and would share in that frustration of not getting a simple reply. And then there are people, like myself, that do not constantly check their phones (even on the weekends…my bad)…much less at work, when I am completely inundated with other demands from work colleagues. But my level interest alone would compel me to want to be in touch with someone. We all have needs…and if someone tells you they have zero needs…that is a red flag. Reciprocity is a need, doesn’t mean the person is needy.

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  6. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Is the OP living on a planet in a different solar system? On earth, there are 7 days in a week consisting of 24 hour days. Here, if you see someone every weekend plus two nights per week, that is basically seeing someone every single day (if you’re sleeping over). What’s it like on your planet, OP?

    Yes you are being too needy.

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    • yb Says:

      (2+2) does not equal 7.

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      • MsAdvised Says:

        he said “if you’re sleeping over,” in which case you add one morning to each of the to weeknights, and then you have 6, which is almost every day. i think that’s his point.

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        • fuzzilla Says:

          If you spend the night during the week you’re most likely both skedaddling first thing in the a.m. for work. Which is fine, but that doesn’t really count as a day together.

          Her needs seem reasonable enough, but then “multiple arguments” about texting during the week? Hmm.

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          • MsAdvised Says:

            It doesn’t count as spending the day together, no, but I can see how (to him) it counts as “I just saw her this morning.”

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      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        You’re right that is “ONLY” four days out of seven. Jesus way to miss the point.

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  7. Tinker Says:

    If he texts you back when you text him goodnight I don’t see what the problem is. It’s a bit off putting to be told you have to text someone goodnight, especially when they are feeding you a line about wanting to make sure you are safe- that’s bs and he might be subconsciously resisting it for that reason alone.
    Wanting a goodnight text isn’t needy. Demanding one, being disingenuous about why, and nagging when you don’t get it is.

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  8. ATWYSingle Says:

    her reasons for wanting him to text her goodnight are absolutely b*******. he could be anywhere in the world sending her that text. She knows that him sending a text is no confirmation that he’s at home and safe. She wants him to text her so that she knows he’s thinking of her and she can keep track of him.

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    • BTownGirl Says:

      Cosign! Also, I really don’t think 50 minutes is really all that far? That’s about how far I live from my boyfriend and I’ve never given it a second thought. The letter almost reads like they are waaaaay farther apart, which I’m thinking is part of the whole justify-the-text thing.

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      • Katie2 Says:

        50 minutes is just far enough that you probably can’t casually/spontaneously pop by unannounced and see what your lovemuffin is up to. And that’s probably feeding into her insecurity (sorry, her need for more consistent communication).

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        • BTownGirl Says:

          Seriously! Mind you, “the pop-in” is rude even if they live around the damn corner hehe!! ;)

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        • Eliza Says:

          Katie–popping by unannounced is quite rude…and would probably only alienate the OP from the guy. Nothing worse than an insecure person, monitoring your every move.

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          • Katie2 Says:

            Yes, I know. Sorry, my post wasn’t written very well. By no means was I suggesting that popping by announced is acceptable behavior, no matter how close you live to someone. The point I was trying to make is that if someone lives an hour away, you can’t call them up and be like, “hey, hon – what are you up to? Oh, nothing? Hey, me neither – wanna come over?” or make any kind of spontaneous, last minute plans. The inability to do so – even in theory – makes some people uneasy because it’s a reminder they have no idea what the other person is really up to. Whether he’s an hour away or 8, the same insecurities that any LDR would trigger are relevant here. I wasn’t suggesting that if he lived closer she should do drive-bys of his house or anything…

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    • Bill Says:

      Yup, Mox… and it’s exactly the reason he balks at it. It’s a power play, sh!t-test, game-playing move.

      And, she’s ignored his boundary request… please don’t text me during work hours because I’m busy… working. Then, she doubled down with the at least text me that you are busy.

      Yup, limited shelf life on this one.

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      • TJ Says:

        To clarify, he never asked me not to text him during work hours. Right now, he’s hardly even working (summer break).

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  9. Wondering Says:

    A daily good night text is definitely too needy!! Wanting him to respond to all your texts is perfectly reasonable, unless you’re texting him multiple times per day when you know he has a difficult time responding due to work. If these are your “toned down” requests, I do think you sound high maintenance (and I’m a woman).

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  10. Katie2 Says:

    I think it’s interesting that the OP writes that he still “forgets” the goodnight text unless she prompts him with hers. I think it’s pretty clear he isn’t forgetting to do it. People tend to do what they want to do, and not to do what they don’t want to do. He doesn’t want to initiate goodnight text exchanges with the OP. There are any number of reasons why. But he’s not forgetting that she wants them.

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  11. K Says:

    If a friend asked me for advice about this, I would say I totally get it, but you have to decide what your deal breakers are. Everything can’t be a deal breaker. I had a great boyfriend once who on his own called every night. He was bad about keeping weekends open for me. I have no idea if I’ll meet someone again who would text/call each night. I had a bf tell me once HE wanted that and bc I cared I did it. All you can do is express a desire, but you can’t make someone do it. Maybe try dropping the issue, stop nightly texting and see if he does it without you pressuring him. Also, do you sense you like him more than you? I realize when there is an imbalance I tend to focus on these types of things more.

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  12. HerGuyFriday Says:

    Yes, she is being too needy.

    She gave her boyfriend a daily assignment. No one likes homework in a relationship.

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  13. Nia Says:

    I can see both sides of this. She wants to feel that he’s invested and thinking of her. She wants to feel that texting her is his first/top priority, not hopping on FB to mess around and waste time, when he could be texting her sweet nothings.
    I get it, I’ve been annoyed by the same thing and hurt as well. When I’m dating and really like someone, I think about them all the time—what are they doing right now? What would being here (this art gallery, restaurant, park, walk in a cool part of town) with them be like? Are they thinking of me? I mean, not literally every minute, but every happy minute could be enhanced by their presence. It’s hurtful to think that he doesn’t feel the same.

    OTOH, it’s muddying the waters to say you need that goodnight to know he got home safe. Just tell him the real thoughts “Jeff* *not his real name*, listen…I know it’s a little silly, but I just want to feel like you’re on the same page and have the same intentions as me, which I measure by actions–actions like texting me goodnight. It just makes my day when I can go to bed with a smile on my face thinking of you. Can you do that for me? It would mean so much.”

    Just approach from a “what do I want” standpoint not “what are you doing wrong” and you might succeed. Good luck!

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  14. Parenting Says:

    Its not unreasonable to request one text a day. But demanding that the daily text must be sent late at night is weird and shows a lack of trust. Does she think that getting a text at 11pm proves that he isnt spending the night with another woman?

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Oops, I meant to hit “like.”

      Yeah, the OP needs to unpack what’s driving the need for the late night text. For instance, in my case – no, it wasn’t urgent for the guy I was seeing to respond to the article I shared with him, but that kind of thing in general is important to me to feel an emotional/intellectual connection with someone. I cut him slack for working crazy hours, so it didn’t have to be at a specific time, but it was like, “Come on, dude, you don’t work 24 hours a day. A response to my attempt to connect with you is not unreasonable, and I can’t be happy in a relationship where I’m made to feel it is. If talking to me and keeping in touch with me is a chore I have to nag you to do, then later, bro.”

      Sure, all relationships require compromise, but are you compromising so much for someone that it’s impossible to not feel resentful? Also, has *every* boyfriend found the OP needy or was this just not an issue in other relationships (thankfully it was door #2 for me)?

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  15. Speed Says:

    I guess my key point is that the OP is asking for a very small thing—a late night text. Perhaps she’s asking for it for illogical, insecure or ridiculous reasons, but that’s okay. It’s still very easy to do (you can just set your smartphone to send you a daily reminder to text her, even), it keeps the peace, and makes your partner happy. So why not do it?

    Believe me, your partner will also see some of your own quirks as ridiculous, insecure or annoying. If it’s easy for her to do, (ex: one of mine: “Please don’t mention the New England Patriots around me, honey.”), she’s probably going to do it. That’s one of the basics of relationship maintenance. If it’s simple or even trivial to do (ex: nighttime text), it’s easiest to just cave in for the peace. I actually read that here or on some other site, and I applied that advice to my own life and found it be true.

    That’s my core point: the texts are very important to her (rightly or wrongly), and its’ trivially easy for him to do. If even trivially small requests have to be subject to heated lawyerly debates on personal rights, schedules and costs, the relationship has no future. If the OP wants to keep dating the guy just to enjoy the relationship experience, that’s okay. In that case, drop the request for texts, and just roll along. However, don’t think of him as future husband or long-term prospect. That’s my two cents.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      **If even trivially small requests have to be subject to heated lawyerly debates on personal rights, schedules and costs, the relationship has no future.**

      Yes! Exactly. A quick text is not a lifestyle limiting thing (such as, say, side-eyeing every female friend of his would be). And who cares who’s right or wrong, fighting over something this small shows incompatibility. Yes, relationships require compromise and working through fights, but you should not be fighting constantly about small things. It won’t be all rainbows and puppy dogs, but it should not feel constantly exhausting.

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    • The D-man Says:

      Eh, I’d say it’s easier to remember not to do something than remember to do something. Seeing your SO get triggered after you mention the New England Patriots a couple times will teach you to hold your tongue.

      But taking a positive step every night to fulfill an expectation? I would have to set a calendar reminder.

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  16. BRM Says:

    This underscores the frustration of human relationships in general and romantic ones in particular: people disappoint and rarely get everything they want. A good relationship always means both sides are giving up something to get somethings they want in return. When there’s a big mismatch in giving and taking a relationship is destined to die a quick or slow death.

    I think this is the reality of Hunan relationships. The depression in relationships for me has been hoping someone would change and they didn’t (guess I was delusional).

    To the OP, if you’ve got a guy where things are going good and you’re getting 4 days a week plus some communication outside of this you’re doing well. Just remember how hard it is to find someone capatible at all these days and realize if your relationship ends you could be single A LONG time in the current environment. Frankly I’m jealous :-).

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  17. BostonRobin Says:

    Get a life, stay busy, stop working so hard on this guy! Let him initiate more. If it bothers you so much to not hear back from him when you text/call/email, then stop. Back off. If he doesn’t move closer, you have your answer.

    I don’t see what’s so great about things in this relationship, as far as the letter goes. Are your communications emotionally satisfying to you? If you feel like he is just showing up and doing time with you, then that could be triggering these needy feelings. I know whenever I’ve been with someone keeping me at arm’s length, I start to second guess everything and it’s a terrible feeling. I learned to Use My Words and life got better. I suggest the same for anyone!

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  18. mxf Says:

    “and I like to know he’s home safe.”

    Girl… I see what you did there. As someone currently in a LDR, I’m familiar with the teeny, tiny discomfort that occasionally rears its head when your partner is bedding down somewhere far away. “Home safe” means “home safe and alone and tucked in to bed at the same time I’m tucked in to bed, thinking of me the same way I’m thinking of him. Whew, no shenanigans here.” You mention trust issues – it’s good that you know the goodnight text is about your trust issues, not his communication issues.

    So you know it’s a bit irrational but it’s also not that big of a request… should he *have* to do it? Women (myself included) have a habit of framing things in a “if he cared enough he would do xyz for me” kind of way. A test of caring. But people are really, really complex. What if you knew unequivocally that he cares about you? That he forgets the text because he doesn’t care about *it*? If you would feel better knowing that, then the conversation you might want to have is about his overall investment, your overall investment, and what page you’re each on. Even getting the nightly text like clockwork won’t feel great for long if you don’t have the underlying need brought out into the open.

    That’s my two cents. Also, seeing each other 3-4 days a week looks like a veritable feast of togetherness to me. If you want more than that, maybe cohabitation is the conversation that’s trying to happen here.

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  19. TwoCents Says:

    The thing is, if he wanted to do it because he was into her, he’d do it, even if he thought it was ridiculous. That’s what people do in relationships: they take the other person’s feelings into consideration even if it’s inconvenient or annoying or unreasonable. Or, if he thinks it’s unreasonable but still really cared, he’d say, “listen, babe, we go to bed at different times, sometimes I pass out on the sofa, whatever. I know it’s important to you and my not doing it isn’t an indication of how I feel about you or not caring.” He’d acknowledge her need and do something to assuage the feeling. But he’s just *not* doing it, which is passive aggressive. People feel needy for a reason and OP should think about the signals he’s giving her that make her feel this way. Her feelings may be legit or not, but if they are in a real, moving forward relationship, they need to have a conversation about it, rather than being demanding and passive aggressive.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      **He’d acknowledge her need and do something to assuage the feeling. But he’s just *not* doing it, which is passive aggressive.**

      Yeah. I remember with my Exhibit A guy that reminds me of the OP’s situation a bit, I said, “I need more communication to be happy in a relationship.” He said, “Well, I can’t do that.” Ho-kay, so you’d rather just lose me than lift a finger to try and meet me halfway. L8r, duderino. (And this was one of those, “No, really, I’m SO into you, we should move in together” guys. I think this one was just immature, while the Worst Guy Ever was controlling).

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    • MsAdvised Says:

      “The thing is, if he wanted to do it because he was into her, he’d do it, even if he thought it was ridiculous. That’s what people do in relationships: they take the other person’s feelings into consideration even if it’s inconvenient or annoying or unreasonable. Or, if he thinks it’s unreasonable but still really cared, he’d say, “listen, babe, we go to bed at different times, sometimes I pass out on the sofa, whatever. I know it’s important to you and my not doing it isn’t an indication of how I feel about you or not caring.” He’d acknowledge her need and do something to assuage the feeling.

      Here’s the thing, though: we don’t know that he DIDN’T say any of these things, or something along these lines. Fairly easy to gather that these two have had more than one conversation about this issue, and newsflash: we’re only hearing one side of it: hers. And right out of the gate, pretty much everyone’s BS meters went off when she said that she needed the goodnight texts because she wanted to make sure he got home safely. So it’s safe to assume that there’s a whole lot more that she’s leaving out.

      OP’s own words: “It probably doesn’t help that I have trust issues and tend to think negatively, even though he’s given me no reason to doubt him.”

      If you already know that you tend to think negatively and be mistrustful, then you need to acknowledge that those feelings are always going to be in the car with you, so to speak, but you can’t ever let them get behind the wheel and drive. It really doesn’t matter whether your request is reasonable or needy: cases for both have been made in this discussion. You’ve spoken your peace, and he’s heard you. Now, I think it’s time to back off a bit. As K said above, “all you can do is express a desire, but you can’t make someone do it.” True dat. Yes, it could be deeper compatibility/investment issue, but it would be a shame if everything really going well otherwise, and you let your admitted insecurity/negativity run it into the ground. Lay off of this issue for awhile and see how it plays out.

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    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      “he’d do it, even if he thought it was ridiculous.”

      Lol Nope. If only he liked her enough right? “Relationships” are not sanctuaries for ridiculous conduct. Even with respect to seemingly minor issues. This is the fallacy here. Normal, healthy people don’t tolerate (let alone welcome) ridiculous behavior in others.

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      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        Also speaking for myself, there is nothing more damaging to relationships and my view of others is not being appreciated for my efforts, even small gestures. I love receiving cute random texts from women and love sending them. Being required to send texts on some expected schedule would devalue the thought behind the gesture and ruin it for me. Similar to paying for stuff. At some point, if it’s expected, you are not being appreciated – you’re just meeting ex

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        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          …Expectations.

          And if I reply to myself again, I might generate a singularity. And then where would we be?

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  20. Yvonne Says:

    It does sound like this guy isn’t very good at responding to texts in general. How do you two make contact? Are you usually the one who initiates? Also, the fact that you’re at your computer and he’s mostly on his phone doesn’t seem to be a issue to me. It’s just as easy to communicate using a phone as it is a computer, and maybe easier because of texting. If you’re the one who’s always texts first, are you perhaps more into him than he is into you? Is the goodnight text an issue because he rarely or never initiates it?

    Telling a guy you want him to let you know he got home safe is acting a little too motherly, in my book. In any case, I’d stop arguing about it, stop insisting, stop initiating so much. If it bothers you, I’d actually pull back a bit from the relationship and see if your boyfriend picks up the slack. If he doesn’t, is that okay with you?

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  21. No Disrespect Says:

    For my LTR, I do ask that he texts when he leaves work. We live together though. I do it for planning purposes, to know when dinner needs to be ready. (And also, really, to know if there may be an emergency, if he doesn’t come home within an hour or so of the text.) I don’t see it as a control thing… I just like more information. He doesn’t like it, but he does it anyway. Because we all do things that we rather not to do to keep the peace with our significant others.

    I’m too minds about OP question. On the one hand, if her boyfriend won’t even do something that takes all of 5 seconds a day, what bigger things may he bail on in the future, if it isn’t up to his preferences? But she’s in a different situation than me. They don’t live together. So why should he have to account to her every single night? Take from my answer what you will. I don’t get the feeling that OPs relationship is as stable as she presents it.

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  22. Mark Says:

    Every relationship as a certain amount of give and take to it. Some call it compromise.

    So here is my question to the LW. If he agrees to your requests about the goodnight texts then all is well and there is then no need for further requests/demands from you. Sorry, but fundamentally, he simply seems to be the type of guy who just doesn’t do that. If he is putting a good faith effort in this thing otherwise then you might want to think about this one request.

    Are there any requests that he has made that he has made known to you that you are similarly willing to agree to? IE this is a mirror. Are you reciprocating on your end?

    If you are finding that what you want or need is critically important but what what he wants/needs is negotiable then you might want to think about the possibility is not a good fit for you. You said it yourself, you have trust issues and tend to think negatively.

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