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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Affection in a relationship

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Author Topic: Affection in a relationship
Ann109
Neophyte
Member # 54210

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Hello. I'm a 21yo girl that is in a relationship with a colleague from uni(we're in the same department or whatever the translation of having the exact same courses is) that is 2 years younger than me.
We've been dating for a month now and from what i thought, things were going pretty decent, swell,dare i say. Apparently i couldn't be more wrong,because on his end of the relationship things weren't that peachy. The problem? I am not affectionate enough in this relationship. Here is my dilemma. I am not a very romantic or affectionate person by nature. I believe that couples should be couples in the privacy of their own promenades or dates or whatever, not when you're in class or going out with friends.
He, on the other hand, blames me for not caring about him and not showing my affection towards him. He thinks that i should change my behavior and try being more affectionate in public with him and stop being so distant. My issue with all this is that i am the one (usually) that kisses him(when it's not just the 2 of us,like at uni) or initiates a hug, so i am at a loss of words about the whole situation. He even listed a bunch of demands that he has from a girlfriend,saying that i should try and mold myself after those guidelines in order for our relationship to work.
I do understand his need for affection , cause i know he cares very much about me, but i can't really understand why am i the one that is supposed to change her behavior in order for him to be satisfied ? Don't get me wrong, i care deeply about him and i want this relationship to work , but i'm not a lovey-dovey person and i really think that if i start being like that in order to please him , all those kisses and hugs and etc will turn into mere gestures that i have to do.
So , if anyone had the patience to read this whole mambo-jambo , i'd really appreciate some help in the matter, cause i really have no idea what to do :(

Posts: 26 | From: Romania | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Hey there, Ann.

What I'm hearing you voice here is simply that you two are very different people in this regard.

And you magically just changing is about as likely as it would be for him to change to be more like you. Not only is it really not sound for us to ask partners to be different people than they are, it also isn't likely to work, anyway.

To boot, this "list of demands" sounds like...well, it sounds pretty outer limits. You're a person, not a restaurant. Not only does he really not get to make "demands" of someone he's dating -- though he, like you, can certainly have boundaries, limits or preferences -- I'm not sure why he's giving you a list rather than initiating a conversation where you BOTH get to talk about what you each want and need, and where you may or may not connect.

You know, one month into dating we're still usually just getting to know each other unless we had a relationship before we dated. Finding out in the first month or two that we don't really work as a couple is really common: more common than not with most people any of us will probably ever date, I'd say.

What do you think about the possibility that this just might not be something that's a good choice to pursue as a deeper relationship that you both stay in, given the different things you want and need, and things like this "list of demands," which seems to suggest he isn't really seeing you as a whole person in your own right, but as someone who will or can make herself into who he wants for himself?

Flatly, if you're asking me, if someone gave me something like that I'd started dating, I'd not be running towards them, I'd be running away. probably as fast as my little feet would carry me.

[ 04-22-2013, 04:27 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ann109
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Member # 54210

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The odd thing of the matter is that he didn't specifically tell me he wants for me to change, but rather asked me if i could or would be the girl that he envisions as his girlfriend...wow, writing that down makes me think that the slight phrasal difference isn't that much of a difference as a whole. or is it ?

The 'demands' were normal , as in he talked about a caring , affectionate girlfriend that makes him laugh , that understands him in his highs and lows and other of the sort. What amused me about this list of demands is that after talking about it , he told me about what he thinks i expect from a boyfriend (like being protected, having fun, having a lot in common) and he ended with 'I don't know if I am or can be that man, I know you could be the girl I dream' ... again basically arguing in favor of me changing , rather than him...

Well, in a way i am confused about the whole issue, since in a way this is one of the few relationships i had that i think could go far. That's why i even said at the beginning that from my end of the relationship things were going quite ok. I don't really think he is an unreasonable person, but in a way i think his past experiences and insecurity concerning our relationship clouds his judgement.

Haha, i do understand what you're saying, that is the main reason i just had to ask. Because i'm not really sure just based on my perspective.

Posts: 26 | From: Romania | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Yeah, sounds pretty much like exactly the impression I was getting.

In other words, "Here is the carefully constructed shoe I have crafted for you that has everything to do with me and nothing with you: does it fit?"

Know what I mean?

Personally, I don't think delivering a list of demands, no matter what's on it, is such a great sign. Same goes for TELLING you what he thinks you want instead of ASKING you.

If this is something you otherwise have a really good feelings about, maybe the next step is to tell him that you think you two are just different per the kind of affection he wants, and what he wants isn't who you are, and won't be who you are: how does he feel about that? Then perhaps you can ask to talk about what each of you wants and needs, listening to each other -- not telling the other what they want like they somehow don't know -- and then talk about if it seems like those wants and needs are a good fit together or not?

In that conversation, I'd also voice that you want to make sure he understand you're a whole person: not just a girlfriend, and that the girlfriend you can be to him or anyone is the person you are. Not someone trying to become who the other person wants, and, vice-versa, not looking for anyone else to try and be anyone other than who they are.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Molias
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 101745

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I wonder if this person maybe has some unrealistic expectations of how healthy relationships work in general. I don't think it's sound for anyone to approach a relationship with a list of attributes to ask another person to match up with, or to say "I have a vision of my perfect girlfriend, can you be that person?" Because no matter how great you are, you can't. No one can. Like Heather said, a relationship is made up of people who have their own distinct lives and personalities, not just a "boyfriend" and a "girlfriend" (or whatever configuration of people are present in a given relationship) who exist only to be someone else's partner.

I find it really helpful, whenever conversations about relationships happen, to be specific about qualities you might want in a partner in a way that relates to your own life and situation. As in: what does it mean if you say, for example, that you want someone to make you laugh? Does that mean that you want a partner to be able to lighten your mood if you're upset? To watch silly movies with you? To be able to trade terrible puns with you?

I make an effort to say pretty specific things like "if I get upset the best thing you can do is listen and not offer advice," "I will hug you and hold your hand in public as much as you like, but any kiss more intimate than a smooch on the cheek is something I want to save for private spaces" or "I really like it when a partner enjoys cooking with me." These aren't demands, and they're generally statements that are as much about me as they are about a person I'd like to date. It's more of a way to see where I'm compatible with someone else than an attempt to squeeze them into compatibility if it's not already there.

Posts: 1352 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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