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Ask Jen Helant Your Own Question

Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1363
Experience:  I have a degree in psychology and worked with many couples. I am happily married and have been for 10 years.
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Customer Question

My boyfriend and I are both 19, we've been together for 4 months, dating for 5. Although we live less than 5mins away from each other, we only see each other once a week. We used to contact each everyday without fail, but now it's once every three or so days. He says that he likes that I'm independent and I know that's an important quality to have, to remain your own person in the relationship. But this feels ridiculous. I feel neglected. I try to contact him more often at times, and I've spoken to him about this before, but then he claims that its because he's busy with work. I know for a fact that he doesn't work so often that it'd make it difficult to contact me. I also know that he goes out with friends quite often.

We're seeing a movie together in a couple of days (as per my request) and will talk to him about it on that same day. I have no idea how to bring this up again, or whether to call it quits.
When we're actually together, everything's perfect. He seems fine, is caring, considerate (usually), eager to help out with things etc. I couldn't ask for more. If I leave it up to him to contact me during the week, it'll be twice.
Is this even normal? Every other relationship around me, they are with each other quite often, most days.
Does it sound like he's just not interested? But then is so lovely in person? I'm hesitant to break up with him, seeing as we just get along so well, so effortlessly when we're together.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to help. I understand where you are coming from and why you feel like this. Every couple is different and at different stages. I understand that it may be natural to feel the urge to compare, but it is best not to because sometimes things seem good on the outside, but may not be as good as it seems on the inside. You both may have different priorities currently. Maybe he enjoys being with friends or alone time and feel he needs that right now. This is not necessarily right or wrong. Its just that some people are ready for certain things at certain times whereas others may not yet be. You may be ready to step the relationship up by being together more and lessen the time spent with friends and he may not be. This doesn't mean that the relationship is not good, but it just may mean the timing is different for the both of you. It seems that he is a good guy and you get along very well. It would be sad to let that go due to this. However, your concerns are real and should be addressed. I think the best thing you can do when you have the talk with him is let him know how you feel about him. Tell him how good you think the relationship is between the two of you, but explain that you think you both may have different ideas of how the relationship should be as the present time. Tell him you would like to go over what it is you both want and see for the relationship to be sure you are both on the same page. Tell him you don't want to force him to be ready for something he is not, but do think the relationship is wonderful and would like more of it. Try and find out what it is he wants in order to determine if you feel the relationship will eventually lead on the path you are looking towards or if you feel you both just have completely differently goals and there is no hope of it changing in the near future. I believe talking about this is the important factor and getting to the point of whether or not you both are on the same page. I do not see that it is a question of if he cares about you or if the relationship is good or not. He does seem to care about you by what you wrote as well as seem interested in you. It is more based on the fact of you both having different goals and priorities in a relationship at the present time. This is why if you both can discuss these issues directly I think you will be able to get to the bottom of this in order to make a decision best for the both of you whether it be stay together as is for now, make a compromise, separate, or etc. At least you will both be on the same page, do what necessary, and then go from there.

I wish you both well, but if you have any more questions or need clarification about this then please do not hesitate to ask me I am here to help.
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 2 years ago.
Hi Melika,

I noticed you have not left a positive rating for me yet, so I just was wondering if I can help you any further.


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
It was a low quality answer. It was expected to answer with a "talk it out". I need a better quality and REAL help
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 2 years ago.

Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.

I can see how a "talk it out" approach would be frustrating here: he's a nice guy so talking can feel like you're being just demanding and a complainer. Of course, the problem is: how are you going to communicate what you want and ask why you're not getting it without talking?

So our first decision has to be: are you trying to decide yes or no on continuing with him on your own based on the information you now have? Or do you want more information?

If you are not interested in asking him, then I need to get a sense of how you see him: is this a "values" problem? Meaning, are you interested in a more intense, love oriented relationship? And he is interested in a more casual, friends with benefits relationship?

If so, are you willing to have this friends with benefits relationship or is it time to move on?

Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.

Dr. Mark

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yeah that is exactly how i feel

i want more of a love oriented relationship, not being friends with benefits


I am just not sure how to solve this. Obviously, talking will occur but I just don't know what to say

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 2 years ago.

First, let me say you are both still very young. And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. I see from what you have written me the sincerity in your desires for this relationship. And it seems he is also sincere in his desires for this relationship.

But I also see that you two are seeing two separate relationships, like we discussed above. You are ready and want to sign up for a real full-time relationship that might go to the next level or might not; but it will at least develop as much as it can. He seems to have bought into the friends with benefits model that a lot of young people are trying on.

Partly, that model protects young people from getting hurt if the other person does something that would be hurtful. But it also prevents the kind of bonding and learning how to love that real full-time relationships give the couple.

It's important to note that neither you nor he is RIGHT or WRONG. It is not a situation that being boyfriend/girlfriend is your way or his way. It is that both boyfriend and girlfriend have to share the same outlook or there will be problems. Like the problem you are encountering.

And I'm glad you are willing to try to see if you can share what you feel and see how he reacts to it. I think that he's so nice makes it worth to at least present what you see as the desirable way to be together to him and give him a chance to think about it and try it on instead of the casual approach he's comfortable with.

So I want you to spend a little time first thinking about what relationships mean to you and what your VALUES are and how you feel relationships need that intensity to actually be growing experiences and to be fulfilling. Then I think when the two of you are together, go to a Starbucks or other quiet place and discuss it. Have a serious adult discussion about values, what you each see as being the parameters of your relationship. What you each are looking for and how you would like the other person to see the relationship. And see if they match. Or see if either one of you is prepared to truly be happy living with the other's values. This will tell you what you can expect from the relationship.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Expert:  Jen Helant replied 2 years ago.

I understand that you were looking for a different answer, so you relisted the question, but I see you have not accepted the other expert's answer yet either. I noticed that you said you do not know what to say to your boyfriend, so I was just wondering if you would like me to write examples of conversation that you could use to talk about this issue with him?



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