Saturday, February 8, 2014

Boy Problemz

As promised:

There are actually two separate guys that I am having issues with, but the situation is too complicated to explain both, so I'll with the tougher case for now: Boy A is a PhD student who I've become really good friends with since we met about a year ago, but it's gotten to the point where he is clearly wanting MUCH more from the relationship than I do, and I have no idea how to handle it. We used to get coffee about two or three times a month, and just chat for an hour or so. But then it started turning into dinners, and movies, and random outings (he's the one who took me skiing a couple weeks ago) and he always pays. Like, doesn't even give me the option, no matter the cost, and lately it's been getting more and more insane. Like skiing, for example: he bought my ticket and paid for my equipment rentals, which came out to over $100. For my birthday, he bought me a $50 gift certificate for a massage. No matter how much I protest or reason with him, he refuses to ever split the check. I've told him over and over again that it doesn't feel right for me to let him pay, it isn't fair because I know he's on a budget, and that I am HAPPY to pay for myself, he doesn't listen. So it's gotten to the point where I find myself just turning down invitations because I don't want to face the issue anymore.

I think he's in love but doesn't quite know how to express it. Maybe it's a cultural thing? He's Asian, and much more reserved than most American guys I know. He's never made a move or anything like that, but I do get the sense that I am a big part of his social life. There was this happy hour event thing at school earlier in the semester, and when I saw that it was going to be in the building right next to his office, I texted him to ask if he would be there. He said to let him know when I arrived. When I did, and he showed up, I realized that he had only come to see me, but I was already chatting with people from my own program and didn't really get to spend much time with him. Eventually he must have left, although I didn't notice. Afterwards I stopped for a drink with some friends and must not have checked my phone the whole time. When I got home later, I saw that B had texted me a couple hours earlier asking if I wanted to get dinner with him after the happy hour. I texted back apologizing, telling him that I hadn't seen the text in time. He responded: "That's okay. I haven't eaten yet if you still want to go."

So that was when I realized that he had been waiting for me all night. And naturally, I felt awful and sad and depressed for him because I'm really not interested in dating him, like, at all. He's a perfectly lovely person, but the spark isn't there. Nor do I have the time or emotional energy right now to pursue a relationship that doesn't feel right.

And to be honest, I am starting to get frustrated with how much of my time he is taking up. Pretty much every week he wants to try some new restaurant (OBVIOUS ED STRESS) or go on some outing that, frankly, I have no time for. And I find myself feeling the need to save my free nights for him because I feel bad turning him down—to the point where it feels like I'm neglecting other relationships. So essentially, it's like the time-suck of having a boyfriend without actually having a boyfriend.

Plus, he's several years older than me (I'm 23 and he's 30), so I get the feeling he is really looking for a serious relationship, and I am not. Then I end up feeling guilty about it, because I don't want him to be wasting his time on me, but I also don't know how to officially turn him down when he's never tried to kiss me or make it official or anything like that. My mom and my best friend have both told me to have an honest talk with him, but it just seems so hard and awkward. I don't want to hurt him, but I also really need to look out for myself right now too, and at this point the situation is all stress and no fun. Ugh, I hate this.


  1. Eek, this sounds like a frustrating and difficult situation! It's really unfortunate that he doesn't have really any other social life so you don't feel like you have to spend so much time with him. The money part sounds really frustrating also. I'm really glad that you're very self-aware about not having the emotional energy to deal with this, and that you're finding less time for other relationships too. I really do agree with your mom and best friend about the need to be honest with him. Can you try sort of rehearsing exactly what you need to say ahead of time so you don't get flustered, and just try to stick with it? You could maybe downplay the romantic let-down and focus on how busy you are and how you feel like you spend all your free time with him (though you'll probably somehow have to be clear that you're not attracted to him romantically). You could also bring up the payment part, as that would maybe let him know you're not interested in a romantic relationship. Good luck!

  2. Nobody has a right to tell you how to spend your time. And in subtle/coercive ways, when you have to lie and say you have dinner plans when you don't just to not have dinner with him, when he's so persistent and convincing-- you have to take a step back and if you don't wanna spend your v limited "free" time with him, you have to say so. Older men can kinda be/seem more aggressive about these sorts of things too.

    I had a situation where I didn't wanna let a guy (also significantly older) down too hard, and so I just kept saying I was busy when he asked me to do things with him. Eventually he blew up at me and told me my priorities were all messed up and I was a workaholic etc, and then I said it's not that I always do work, it's just that when I'm not doing work spending time with you isn't a priority! That didn't quite squelch the attention, but at least after that was out I felt fine just saying NO. Not, No because of xyz. Be careful, and know that its 100% okay to opt outta plans with other people just because you feel like it.