Ask Ciiku: He doesn’t want to define the relationship

Hi Ciiku,

I’ve been seeing this guy for about 3 months now and everything has been going great. I recently brought up that I would like to initiate a relationship in the near future thinking we are on the same page, when he revealed that he isn’t sure of what he wants, generally, and by extension, whether he wants to be with me.

What makes this incredibly confusing is that he says he loves me, and expects that we be exclusive. On the one hand his actions are affirming and make me feel secure in what we have at the moment- up until this moment he had not given me any reason to doubt his intentions/ actions. On the other hand it feels like he is comfortable with things as they are and doesn’t intend on moving things along but wants to keep me at arm’s length. (I want a clearly defined relationship and not this hanging-in-the-balance business, he knows that).

Am I being irrational for feeling all this discomfort and anxiety around his inability to declare *any* kind of intention for us/me? He says he needs time and this would be perfectly okay for me if he had any idea of what he wanted, but he doesn’t and it bothers me. Should I give him the benefit of doubt and give him the time he requires to think this through? Is 3 months too fast too soon or should I give us more time? Help!


Hi Anon
 I do not think you are being irrational at all. Your feelings are completely justified. What time is enough time? If he tells you he wants one year to think about it, would you be OK with that? If the shoe was on the other foot, would he be making excuses for you?
I find the concept of “enough time” fascinating. Because there are some who would say that three months is not enough time to say “I love you” to someone. And others would say that it is plenty of time. I say to you, what matters is the discomfort you feel. Because there is, I believe, a basis for it. If he wants to be in an exclusive relationship, or at least, expects exclusivity, why is he not willing to define the relationship? What are his issues specifically with defining it?
You say that he wants to keep you at arm’s length (have you around but not say you are his girlfriend) but has he explicitly said this? There is the chance that he also thinks three months is too short of a time to define the thing and maybe he thinks you should spend more time together before deciding where to go.
There is definitely a case for both sides of the coin here and I think that what would matter most is continuous communication without any assumptions. For example: When he says he needs time, I hope you realise that it is not something you can control, and that 5 years to him may seem as reasonable time to be given. Also, you say “when he revealed that he isn’t sure of what he wants, generally, and by extension, whether he wants to be with me.” and that is indeed something to think about seriously. If he has explicitly stated that he doesn’t want to be with you, why then, are you even considering giving him time? Or even more importantly, why are you still in the relationship?
In offering my help, I say this: Ask the questions and get the truth. Do not make any assumptions of what his intentions are or reading between the lines. From that, then it will be obvious what the appropriate response will be: Leave the relationship, or give it time (whatever you both agree this is).
Go where you are wanted Anon.
All the best,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s