Dear Neil: I have a boyfriend who I think of as my soul mate, and I love him dearly. The problem is that he rarely calls me, rarely has time to get together, rarely invites me out to dinner(or to other forms of entertainment), and seldom is endearing or romantic toward me. He is preoccupied with his work, which is very demanding, and because of that we seldom actually see each other. I know we’re destined to be together, but I’m not feeling special, valued or important to him, and I don’t know what to do about that.
Restless in New Jersey
Dear Restless: Men know that it’s basically their job to pursue and invite even if some are shy, nervous or afraid of it. A man who’s interested in you acts in pretty predictable ways. He is attentive, he wants to be around you, he desires to take you places and do things with you, he values your feelings, desires and dreams, he creates time to be with you no matter how busy he is, and he wants to romance, wine, dine, entertain, woo and seduce you.
People say every day how they feel about you by the way they treat you. If a man desires a relationship with you, there’s little need for you to guess about how he feels because he’s very obvious about it. He’ll go way out of his way to romance you, treat you special, impress you and pursue you.
On the other hand, if you’re not feeling treated as if you’re valued or wanted, then I’m sorry to say “he’s just not that into you” as the recent expression goes, and your chances for a healthy, long-term relationship with him dramatically diminish.
Here’s what you can do: Tell your boyfriend exactly how you feel, what you expect from him, what you’re needing for him to do differently right now—and what you anticipate you’re going to need from him into the foreseeable future. Be very clear and specific about what you want and need from him—and about what behavior is acceptable to you in a love relationship—and what is unacceptable.
If you can tell he is making an honest effort in a genuine attempt to honor your requests, there is hope for your relationship. Perhaps all he needed was guidance and a nudge. But if he doesn’t make concerted effort in doing what you say matters to you, or if he does it for a week and then drops the ball, or if he makes excuses as to why he can’t be more attentive, romantic and caring toward you, dump him. He doesn’t value your happiness or treasure you, and therefore he isn’t your soul mate after all.
It’s not good spending your time, energy and hopes pursuing or waiting for someone who doesn’t want you. It’s a dead-end street, it keeps you from meeting someone else, it’s hard on the ego and it hurts. We all want someone who will treasure us. If your boyfriend doesn’t act as if he treasures you, drop him and find someone who will.