I’ve been in a relationship with Chris for over a year and a half. Although I’m in school, when I come home for breaks I stay with him at his place. We have been through a lot together and have supported each other through job changes, family drama and distance.
Recently Chris has moved from the suburbs to share a place in the city with a friend and now he always seems to be too busy even to call or text me during the day. I am busy too, but I always reach out to him. I feel that he is completely neglecting me.
Although we never agreed to an open relationship, he did tell me that he “slipped” a few times while I was at school. Now that he has moved into the city and is more distant, I am worried that the cheating will increase. While I understand that it is hard to go for months without sexual interaction, I feel a strong sense of loyalty toward him, so have chosen to be celibate when we are separated.
I don’t want our relationship to fade away. Is it crazy for me to ask him not to ignore me?
You can ask Chris not to ignore you, but that does not mean that he will start making you the priority that you want him to make you.
From what you describe, the two of you don’t have an agreement about your level of commitment to each other. For example, you are sexually exclusive, but Chris is not. You reach out to him daily, but he is distant. Without a shared understanding of what a relationship actually means, the one who cares more (you, in this case) is likely to get hurt.
I suggest that you have some discussions with Chris so that both of you can get more clear, with yourselves and with each other, about where you stand. Together, you might consider questions such as:
- How important are we to each other?
- Are we friends, friends with benefits or boyfriends?
- How much time would we like to spend with each other?
- How can we stay close, if we both want to, when we’re often separated geographically?
- Do we want to have a monogamous relationship?
If you do talk, the two of you probably won’t agree on everything, because two people almost never do. But it’s certainly worth discussing these points rather than making assumptions or hoping that Chris feels the same way that you do, only to be disappointed if you find out that he doesn’t.
While you absolutely can advocate for the relationship that you would like to have, know that you cannot make up Chris’s mind for him. Each of you gets to decide what kind of relationship you want, and then see if there is enough common ground to go forward. In all of this, be prepared for the possibility that you won’t get what you want. Chris might not even be willing to have a conversation with you about clarifying the boundaries of your relationship, which would, of course, give you all the information you need.
One more point: I’m curious about your interest in a man who, from your description, doesn’t appear to be that into you. Ask yourself if there is something appealing about this dynamic. If you’ve been in this position before or if you’re turned on by the challenge of winning over an unattainable guy, consider working with a skilled therapist to help you stop going down the road of pining for a guy who you aren’t likely to get.
Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with gay individuals and couples in D.C. He can be found online at personalgrowthzone.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to Michael@personalgrowthzone.com.