December 13, 2013

“So I’m feeling very single at there moment. My bf has flaked on our two last date nights because he’s drunk and passes out. We’ve had a great time just hanging out the night before our date night both of those times, though.

“Now he’s gone two days without even texting me – we typically text at least once or twice a day, but I always initiated it, so I wanted to see what happened when I didn’t initiate it.

“We’ve been together almost two months and set expectations & rules. I realize this is an open relationship, but I’m feeling more like it’s a failed relationship.

“I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ that bitches a fit over nothing, but I’m definitely feeling neglected – and I feel he’s ‘cheating’ on me with alcohol. So I’m kind if lost. I’ve had enough failed relationships & want him to work out – I haven’t felt the ‘I’m in love with you’ thing, but I have felt the ‘spending time with you makes me really happy’ thing. Should I say fuck it? Should I confront him? You always are strong for open communication & I’ve pushed open communication a lot in this relationship, but right now I’m just feeling… Disowned, despite my calls for communication if we have issues. I guess I don’t know if this is worth the effort or if I should just abandon it.”

For me, I make the decision to end a relationship when the negativity of the relationship outweighs the positivity of the relationship. If I am left with negative feelings more often then I am left with positive feelings, or the negative feelings I feel far outweigh the positive feelings, it’s a signal that things are not working out. That’s when I make a decision to change the nature of the relationship. One of the other things that I’ve learned is that communication in a relationship is not always verbal. Your partner is communicating with you by his actions, whether or not he realizes it. Your response is a form of communication as well. Be sure you know what you are communicating when you communicate with your partner.

Here is what I hear your partner saying in this situation: “You are not currently a priority in my life.” Your response says, “If I am not a priority in your life, I am not going to make you one in mine.” Now you have a conflict which you can resolve, ignore, or allow it to break your relationship. The choice of how you deal with that conflict is up to you. In your case, it could be as simple as sending your partner a text that says, “I miss you” and if questioned about it, make “I” statements. “I feel like I have not gotten enough time with you lately.” “I feel sad because our last two dates were cancelled.” Don’t make your partner the subject of your statements, own your feelings, and let your partner decide what to do with that information.

Remember what I say about cheating. Cheating is breaking the defined rules of the relationship. If there is no defined rules around alcohol or breaking dates, then your partner is not cheating. If you feel that there there should be some defined rules regarding keeping dates once made, then the next time you are spending time with your partner, or in part of your discussion about your feelings regarding the last two dates, propose a rule that says that once made a date should not be broken. Legitimate, death-in-the-family common-sense exceptions aside. Don’t try spell out what those acceptable exceptions are, because then you’ll end up arguing over whether it’s an exhaustive list or a list of examples. And you’ll be focusing on whether or not something is a legitimate excuse, rather than focusing on the real problems.

Focus on yourself, and what you need and want out of this relationship. Then you can communicate to your partner whether or not you’re needs are being met. Remember, use I statements. “I need a partner who will [blank].” “I feel that my need for [blank] is not being met.” Since you’re already in an open relationship, explore the possibilities that your needs could be met elsewhere. See if you can find a respectful way to inform your partner that you are getting, or looking to get, your needs met elsewhere. Your partner may take the opportunity to start meeting those needs for you.

Remember also, communication does not always require partners to sit down and have a serious conversation with each other. Anything you tell your partner in words and actions is communication. If you don’t want to be “that guy” then don’t. Just let your partner know how you’re feeling. You don’t have to make a huge ordeal out of it, just take the openings you’re given. When you see your partner out at the bar after two days of not texting, give them a kiss and say “I missed you.” When they propose another date, casually ask if they are sure the date works for them, as you don’t want to be stood up again. Don’t be passive aggressive, don’t be vindictive, just be communicative.

Do you have a question for “Ask Daddy”? Contact me with your question and I’ll give it my best shot.

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