Question: We’ve been going out for 2 years now. About six weeks ago I told him I wanted more out of the relationship. He got upset and said he needed his space. Last week he fell ill and I took care of him. We had sex. We’re back to the way the relationship was. When I call he calls the next day. When I do not call (I usually call after two days) he does not call me at all. I told him I want us to work on our relationship and he said “I do not know about us yet”. Does our relationship have a future or I’m I wasting my time?
The Love Doctor’s Answer: When someone says “I do not know about us yet” what I hear is “I am not sure this is what I want” or “I want more time to see where this is going”. People usually say this when 1) they feel something is missing in the relationship or the relationship does not fully meet their needs and wants, 2) when they feel they are not emotionally there and 3) when they feel that the present arrangement works for them, so why change it?
It can be one of these reasons or all of them. Since I do not have more information to go by, I can’t say for sure which is which. What is clear is that this is a one-sided effort. You’re right to ask for more input from his end. Again you do not say much about how you asked, so I can’t really help you on that. Sometimes it’s how and when one asks, not that one asks that can cause the other person to want “their space”.
You started seeing each other again when he fell ill. The timing of when you started seeing each other again coincides with when he was emotionally vulnerable. Times like this people seek what is “familiar” to make sense of the world around them. You may have been — and still be — the one familiar or stable thing in his life, and that’s what this is all about.
If he is still in that place where he feels emotionally vulnerable then he is not emotionally prepared for a relationship. In this case there is not much you can do except go with the flow until when he is a more prepared. Anything you do when he is still in that place that says you want more than he is capable of giving right now will be perceived by him as “pressure.”
My suggestion would be for you to try to ask him what his “future” plans are. Not plans about the two of you, but just his “future plans” for himself. He’ll be more open to talking about himself than about the two of you. That’ll help you figure out if he sees you in that future.
Try to leave “some time” between contacts and see how much initiating contact he does. Sometimes when someone is used to a routine (like you calling every two days) and you disrupt the routine, they wonder what’s going on and will call to make sure everything is still the same.
Of course not everybody will call when you disrupt the routine. The person has to really care about you enough to be concerned. This can be a very good way of finding out just how important your presence is in his life.