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Cher, Relationship Enthusiast
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 21421
Experience:  Extensive experience as Educator/Teacher, M.A., Counselor, Spouse, Parent, Psychic Advisor
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I recently started dating someone new--I am 38 and he is 45.

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I recently started dating someone new--I am 38 and he is 45. I have known him for awhile, but the relationship became romantic a couple of months ago. He says he cares for me and wants to be with me, and is very affectionate and loving at times, but most of the time he is very selfish and inconsiderate. I don't think he is cheating on me, but I feel like he doesn't really care about me a lot of the time. He is not abusive, just irritable and very inconsiderate and unwillling to budge or compromise on anything. I have voiced my feelings several times, but nothing ever really changes. What is going on here and what should I do? Is there anyway to get him to change his behvior, or do I have to leave?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.

Unfortunately, it's very difficult to get a man to change his ways, especially at this age.

If, at first, when the relationship was new and exciting and he was/is affectionate and loving at times, but as you mentioned, is selfish and inconsiderate most of the time, being unwilling to compromise and selfish, doing what he wants when HE wants to do it, I don't think you'll be happy in furthering this relationship.

You need someone who is considerate of others, as you are, and willing to compromise when an agreement can't be reached; a nice 'give and take' relationship. He sounds too 'rigid' for you, if he's not willing to compromise or at least take a hint when you voice your feelings. You're not leaving him to 'guess'; you're actually telling him what's bothering you, and he does not respond positively. He either needs someone who has very little self esteem and will go along with whatever he says, or someone who's stronger than him, and thinks SO much of herself, that she will 'out-selfish' him. You are neither of these, it seems, from the way you expressed the situation.

It might be best to move on now, before things get more complicated. You respect yourself too much to stay. You're not happy, and you deserve to be happy. A tiger never changes his stripes and if you stay in a relationship thinking, oh, I'll change him with time, you're setting yourself up for disappointment, as it just won't happen.

I wish you much good luck!

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks. I guess I already knew that, i just thought maybe there was something else going on that I was missing. I have heard that he had multiple relationships end badly, and many people warned me about hearing things where he was very cold and inconsiderate to the women he was dating, however, they said they had never seen him so "into" someone as he was with me, and they couldn't believe how sweet he seemed to be with me. He is still like that sometimes, but lately it seems like everything is "his way or the highway." I don't understand how someone can be so cold and unfeeling towards someone they say they care so much for. The other thing is: when we are in bed (and not just being sexual) or even just laying around the house, he is very tender and affectionate, but then he will randomly just be rude --he doesn't call when he says he will, doesn't always thank me when I do something nice, takes me out but then goes where he wants to go, etc. I just don't get the whole hot and cold thing. Why are some people like this? Fear of intimacy? Parents spoiled them (he is currently living with his mom after his dad died last summer)? He also has a bit of a drinking problem and seems to be depressed a bit, though he would never admit it (I know, I know). I guess I don't want to just ditch him at the first sign of trouble, but I agree that men that age rarely change. is there any recommended way of communicating with him about this? I admit that when I have said something, I have always been very upset or angry and kind-of blown up. Do you think he is "just not that into me?" or is this about him and he would treat any woman this way? Is there any way to get him to see things from my perspective? He acts like he thinks I am just being "crazy and moody," but he also never denies that his actions are inconsiderate, just kind of clams up and brushes over them. It is so maddening. A final thing: he is very much an "alpha male" type, and I am known as being a pretty strong, outspoken woman. I have been told the other women he dated were all pretty passive. Do you think his behavior is a way of trying to control me or "letting me know who's boss?" Sorry if this is too much info/or too many questions. I would appreciate any insight you have. Thank you.
Expert:  Cher replied 8 years ago.
Hi again, and thanks for your reply with more information.

Please don't apologize; there can never be 'too much info'! : ) I'm glad you included all the details you did, so I can get a better idea of the situation you're going through.

I think he's basically a selfish person who's always wanted to get his own way, but he does have his good qualities, and has shown you his loving side because he does care for you. If people who know him well, and have seen him with other woman, told you that they've never seen him so loving with another woman, I don't doubt that's true. His personality is cast and has been reinforced, all his life. He can't help the way he acts or RE-acts, and doesn't see anything wrong with it. OR, he may know he's not acting very appropriately, but can't help it, because it's just part of the way he's built.

In situations like this, his 'bad' behavior is who he is and when he acts tender toward you, he means it, he just can't be 'that' man, for too long; he doesn't know how and it takes too much work. You are not doing anything wrong and I do think he's that into you, he just is incapable of acting any other way.

The only thing I can suggest at this point, is having a real heart to heart discussion with him, bringing up all your concerns, and being honest, but not in an angry way; no yelling, no accusations, just letting him know how YOU are, and how you act in a relationship, which after all, is a 'give and take' situation, and a 'compromise' of sorts, and that you always expect to be treated nicely, although you know all relationships are not 'sunshine and lollipops'; they have their 'bumps', and if the feelings are there, the bumps can be successfully dealt with. Listen to what he has to say, and if he says he'd like to try more or he'll be 'better', tell him you'd like to make it a 'game'. Every week, you will each do something for the other person, to make him/her happy, even if it's something you don't particularly want to do. This is a good 'unselfish' test, to see if he's capable of doing at least one thing for you, that he wouldn't ordinarily do. He might agree, and surprise you, by following through, or truly not be able to, but if he tries, that's worth a few points!

Your happiness is important and if he doesn't make you happy due to his erratic behavior and selfish/irritable side, all the nice things he does occasionally can't really make up for them. If you'd like to give him a little more time, see how things go; try not to yell or blow up at him, which I know you do out of frustration, and see if some quiet 'suggestions' will work better.

If it's meant to be, you'll know it. If it's not meant to be, you'll leave the relationship and find someone who will appreciate you for the person that you are.

Cher and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you