Why Men Lose Focus on Relationships (And How To Gently Pull Him Back)

why men lose relationship focusI am no one special. Just a common man with common thoughts. And I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect, I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived. I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and for me, that has always been enough.
– Duke (James Garner), The Notebook (2004)

Duke got it. Success is as simple as real, lasting connection with another person. This is true for both women and men. We’re all hardwired to crave relationship.

Our connections with other people give life its greatest purpose.

But sometimes men lose sight of this basic truth. By nature, men tend to focus on goals and achievements, and it’s easy for non-relationship goals to take center stage.

That’s fine when it happens for a short while. It can even be good since it allows for razor-sharp focus. The problem occurs when a man forgets to bring his attention back to his relationship with you once a mission has been accomplished.

Let me explain why this happens to men. Imagine what life was like for humans thousands of years ago. Men were typically hunters. The man would leave his family and go out into the wild to find food.

Why? Because he loved his family and wanted to provide for them. Relationship was his ultimate goal. By hunting, he was providing for his family. When he succeeded, he felt joy because of what it meant for his family.

But the thrill of the hunt, developing new skills, and seeking prestige among fellow hunters can cause a gradual shift in attention. Seeking success in hunting can gradually remove his focus from his partner or family.

The same thing happens to modern man. The rat race is fierce. It takes intense focus to climb the corporate ladder, stay out of debt, win the approval of friends and family.

When a man invests himself in his job to the degree that he forgets the rest of his life, we call him a “workaholic.” Like a prehistoric hunter, his job can steal his focus.

Sadly, guys don’t even need jobs for this effect to play out.

Young men in college can become distracted while building the perfect physique, or trying to become popular. Even the quest for the ultimate bro-adventure can become an obsession.

While this is happening, he may pay lip service to the woman in his life, saying she’s the most important thing. But in reality, she’s only getting the left-over scraps of his attention.

His passion is pointed somewhere else. She may even be reduced to just another “accomplishment.”

Of course, eventually those non-relationship accomplishments reveal themselves to be empty. If he’s lucky, he sees that quickly. For some unfortunate men, it takes years.

Why am I telling you this?

Because it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter this dynamic at some point with a man you love. He may not lose sight of you completely, but you will experience at least mild effects of this phenomenon. If you understand it, you can learn to see past the surface level symptoms to what is really happening.

That kind of insight will benefit you in two ways.

First, you’ll have compassion. This is a natural thing that all men deal with. When you understand and accept that, it’s much easier to be sympathetic toward him instead of hurt or angry.

Second, you’ll be in a position to help pull his attention back toward what really matters. He knows the truth, but he may have forgotten it. You can gently remind him what real success is.

Real success in life comes from our connection with others. Our relationships are what make all the other goals worthwhile.

why men lose relationship focusTo remind him of this, don’t nag him or point out his failure. Instead, help him remember that the greatest joys in life come from relationships.

Share some of that joy with him. Create positive experiences, while also letting him know you appreciate his focus and hard work.

Build him up while lovingly calling his attention back to you. In doing so, you’ll help make him an even greater success in the way that matters most.

James Bauer

His Secret Obsession

Discover something every man is secretly obsessed with.

It's something he CRAVES... More than love, more than money, even more than sex.

This one secret obsession holds the key to winning a man's love, attention, and total devotion for LIFE but not one woman in a thousand even knows it exists!

And those that do almost never share it with another soul.

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57 thoughts on “Why Men Lose Focus on Relationships (And How To Gently Pull Him Back)

  1. Latisha said:

    I recently cancelled my be irresistible insiders club subscription because I was not satisfied with some of the coaches advice. However, I must say that since I left i began to take advantage of some of the advice they gave me and I am seeing positive results amazingly. I must say it wasn’t overnight ,but their advice on giving Indirect compliments and your training materials has helped me tremendously. My ex wouldn’t really call me at all. At first after we broke up I had to do most of the contacting and it was just different. I ordered His Secret Obsession and What Men Secretly Want and I can definitely see a change. The Hero Instint is amazing once you know how to tap into it and the Respect Principle is really important when it comes to men. Thanks so much for your writings and training materials. They have really helped me.

    • James Bauer said:

      Wow, that’s great to hear, Latisha! Thanks for sharing the good news about how you have used these ideas to enhance your relationship.

  2. Crushed said:

    Dear James,
    Just lost a 6 month relationship and not even really sure why.. Like someone above mentioned, he was an entrepreneur and very busy.. initially he seemed to always make time for me and we had great communication and time spent together.. there were times he would get a bit distant and I would simply text him with a “thinking of you” or “hope your day is going well, miss you” to reinforce my understanding of his busy life and obligations but still show my dedication to “us”.. within a few days he’d come back around and things would go back to normal but in the last month he completely confused me.. a week before he decided to end things, he was telling me how much he loved me and I’d never felt more adored.. then the next week he pulled back again, and (the morning he ended things) he texted me “good morning, love you” and later that afternoon told me he didn’t see any reason for us to stay together, that I felt like an obligation and not something he was excited about or looked forward to and he was pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to be.. what gives?!

    • James Bauer said:

      🙁 I’m so sad to hear that.

      It sounds like he is so focused on achievement that he is not willing to make space in his heart for a relationship right now. It’s sad, because it seems like the wave of increasing feelings of love triggered his realization that he just isn’t willing to let himself have that experience yet.

  3. Carol said:

    Hi James,

    Thank you! You have clarified things for me that I did not understand, and I will use your advice in my current relationship.


  4. Lorna (LaLa) said:

    Carmen, Thank you for your response. I am so very, very sorry for your pain. I can understand exactly how you must feel. I think I said a lot in my response above. But only YOU can make this decision. Maybe if you tell him how you feel (I imagine you are worried about not being able to start a family) and explain that you are anxious and wondering whether to look elsewhere for what you need, just maybe he will come round to accepting how you feel. But the fact that he is that little bit younger than you, may have some bearing on it all, and that men do not seem to want to grow up these days.One comment my sister made, which might make a difference for him, is that actually having a baby need not actually cost a lot of money. It is when the children get older that it becomes expensive. It is possible to have a baby on a shoe-string. There are some wonderful second-hand bargains to be had, if you are not too proud, and friends and family will always help. Of course, you would have to give up your income for a while, so that is a major consideration. Also, I have found that it is not good to spoil children with every last thing they demand of you monetarily. It is much more character building to teach them that they can’t have everything, and need to do chores and save up or do without – just as long as they have lots and lots of love and attention. I think a lot of parents feel guilty and try to buy their children’s affection with expensive toys, etc. As James says, what ever you do, do not make a rash decision before weighing up all the pros and cons. I wish you luck. Big hugs!!! Lorna

  5. Carmen said:

    Hi James. It really resonates with me when you say how goal orientsted men are. My bf of 1.5 years seems to care more about himself and his goals over making me happy. I want to move in with him but he has massive commitment phobia. Doesn’t believe in marriage and just believes in relationships being about having fun and living in the moment and that I need to relax more. He says he likes his own space a bit more and doesn’t want to move in with me as he needs to focus on setting himself up for the fitire financially. And that he won’t want children for a couple of years atleast as he refuses to bring a child into the world whilst renting and not having ang income from another source other than just his wage. Am I wasting my time with this man? He uses commitment phobia as excuses and when I am pulling away he says exactly what I want to hear, that he loves me etc to pull me back to him. Thanks for your help.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Carmen. I certainly understand why this relationship has you wondering if you are wasting your time.

      On the one hand, it sounds like he has been very honest with you about the kind of relationship he wants and the kind of lifestyle he’s trying to build for himself. It sounds like he’d like to invite you to continue with him in that lifestyle. The only problem is, it’s not what you’re looking for.

      Or is it?

      Maybe it would be helpful for you to spend a little time writing out exactly what you want from a relationship. Then contrast this with what he’s looking for in a relationship. You may find there’s quite a lot of overlap. But it’s the places where your desires conflict that you’ll need to look more carefully. Decide if those conflicts are the kinds of things that time will resolve, or the kinds of differences that will ultimately drive the two of you apart.

      Naturally, if you see differences that are unlikely to resolve themselves, it’s best to give a partner the opportunity to see this problem and talk it over with you before making any sudden decisions.


      • Carmen said:

        Thank you!

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Sound advice again from James, Carmen. You do not say how old you are – and that makes a huge difference to any decision you may make. My youngest daughter, who is now almost 33, is in a similar situation as you. Her bf moved in with her about 4 years ago (she owns the house), but has the same attitude that yours has. He has always said he does not want children until he is financially stable (which I don’t think he will ever be). He does work very hard at his own business (has his head in the clouds) but does not seem to get anywhere. And as for helping with the housework – forget it – for him it doesn’t exist!! He is a lovely, lovely man, sweet and gentle and they obviously love each other. My daughter has now, after much soul searching, come to the conclusion that she wants him 100% just as he is – warts and all – and that is a huge decision to make on her part – as they may never have children. (They have talked about fostering – which pays, of course). I really admire her strength of character and courage. She was a teacher until recently and has just started up a speciality pizza parlour with a friend, which is doing really well. SO – she is getting on with her life, but keeping herself open to changes as they happen. They are very happy, have loads of lovely friends, two cats they adore, and seemingly do not want to be with anyone else. Men see things from a different perspective to we women – so we have to try and get inside their heads. They are driven biologically, emotionally and instinctively to provide for any potential family – that must be really, really scary, you know!! Whereas we just sit back and expect them to do that, while we pop the babies out! How scary is that for them? It’s huge pressure. Give him time and space and he will probably come round to your way of thinking – especially if he sees you out and about doing YOUR own thing, enjoying life. James constantly tells us that we have to make our own happiness, and not expect someone else to do that for us. Try to do that. Relax and don’t worry so much about “what if”. Dont nag, pout, winge or jump up and down – that is not attractive. Smile serenely and relax. Your bf is right, try to have fun and enjoy life for now. Or else you’ll scare him away forever. I’ll tell you now – once you have kids your life will NEVER be the same again!! EVER. It’s not all sweetness and light and happy families ever after, believe me!! (Two of mine are still giving me grief now at ages 42 and 36 – they never grow up!). SO – now is the time to just enjoy each other. I have a saying – “Don’t spoil the present by worrying about the future”. Best wishes, Lorna x

      • Carmen said:

        Hi Lorna. I’m 36 and he is 33. We have been together for 1.5 years. It’s mostly because of my age that i worry so much about the way he is I guess. Otherwise I would be more care free and not thinking about that stuff if we were younger.

  6. Jenny said:

    OMG when I read the reply’s I feel I am not the only one in this type of circumstances , I often wonder are we talking about the same guy lol. I read as much as possible on men’s behavior and think I learn something that I will use , then when in the presence of my boyfriend I having been dating going on 4 years now , I can only get part of what I learned down because of fear of getting it wrong , my man and I argue so much that it over not spending time with me well I will bring that up he will say until we stop having fights he won’t spend time taking me no where , I will agree that he has a valid point , I will have a better attitude about our relationship and then bam it will hit me that we still aren’t spending time together , I will say it doesn’t make me happy that we don’t do things together and I only want us to enjoy our relationship to the fullest , that we are partners and I enjoy being with him he says he understands that I feel like that , but here is another thing that gets between us , h E is a musician and doesn’t work other then plays in his band we are both in our 40s and I work a full-time job , he lives with his mom he has a studio that he is active in with recording his sounds of nature and his computer and it’s all sit up nicely but reality is other then just playing on the weekends he isn’t going anywhere with all that work he spends a lot of time on his computer , I actually busted him on a porn site as you can guess I was not happy , I keep yelling let me see what’s on your computer he covered it up when I shocked him by showing up , now that being said I love making love to him I have never not once turn him down not because I couldn’t because I didn’t want to , I have been so patient with him but the problem is when I know that someone else might of have up I haven’t , now he has gone cold on me I let his porn thing go , I just looked at him and said why didn’t you involve me why couldn’t you share that with me , he kinda grin after that we are always arguing I swear I try to stop and put myself in his shoes I will express the action that hurt me not say you did this or that , I say it doesn’t feel good to me when we are not loving or not acting like partners . I always give him compliment when he does something nice for me , I tell him how much he means to me and now I can’t hold on much longer for fear I may be missing out on someone else love but I want us to get this right I tell myself nothing g good is easy . Help me James Bauer I feel so hurt I don’t know what to focus on anymore . I try to focus on me but I get side track by our miscommunication and it bothers me .thanks giving it all I got Jenny from Ohio .we use to argue over facebook I let that go . Glad I did
    Time together is important to me he knows that .

  7. Jarrett said:

    I don’t know how, but your articles alway seem to come at the right moment. I’m struggling right now when I don’t think I ought to be and after reading your blog, I have a new attitude. I am in my mid 40’s, divorced, 2 teens, and I have been dating my sister’s best friend’s single brother-in-law (same age, single never married). I heard this weekend not to put all my eggs in one basket, that he has a track record of not committing. I have been dating this man for the last 6 months. He is gone a lot with work, but I know that I am the only woman he sees and our relationship is slowly growing. He is very focused on his job because he is bi-coastal and owns his own business. He is underwater in work and because of that we don’t see each other all the time. I know in my heart he likes me a lot. He shows it and he makes time for me when he is not buried in work or traveling. He professed to my sister that he is crazy about me and is ready to start thinking about a future. It is the opinion of his sister-in-law that has upset me. My sister says she has no idea what she is talking about but I wonder if she does. Sorry to go on and on… Just looking for guidance and this article helped.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Jarrett, You have not said what his sister-in-law’s opinion is? Was it to do with not putting all your eggs in one basket, as he has a track record? Maybe we could respond if we knew more of the details. You must surely be aware, however, just how catty and jealous some women can be, for no apparent reason? I would go with what your sister says, your gut instinct and how he treats you when you do see him. He may very well have had a track record in the past, but it seems that you are the one to stop him in his tracks now!! Six months is not long to get to know each other. Never forget how important a man’s career is – especially if he is self-employed and having to travel a lot. In spite of “so-called” women’s lib – it is still the man who is expected to bring home the bigger share of the bacon. I have three daughters, so I am not anti-woman’s lib – very much the opposite. All my girls have first-rate professional careers – but facts are facts. Men still can’t have babies, and it has always been the job of the man to provide for his family – at a very primal level – he can’t help how he feels instinctually. Just count yourself a very, very lucky lady to have what sounds like a really lovely man. Enjoy him and don’t worry about the future. You are probably feeling a bit vulnerable and insecure because of your divorce. Just relax. Don’t scare him off by getting anxious and het up. Best wishes. Lorna

  8. Tara said:

    Great article! I do understand it and I do see what you are explaining. But I’m torn.. I do out this to use with my boyfriend and give him what he needs when he needs it. I guess my question is when does it become selfish on his part? When can a man recognize what he might be going through or dealing with and instead of going quite, communicate what he needs so I don’t feel left in the dark.?.?
    This just happened to me last week. My boyfriend is away for work and this time it’s been 6 weeks. He is normally consistent with communication and considerate of knowing I like it when he stays in touch. But then silence. I let it go because of what I’ve learned from you and just thought he needed to do his thing. But after to long, I just asked if thing were okay and mentioned I hadn’t heard much from him. The response was ridiculous! He’s just not into his phone right now. And made a reference to me wanting him to want to do the dishes. Meaning I want him to want to call. I was beyond hurt and honestly was over the attitude. It’s the same attitude that pops up when he wants to just F off and not care and do his own thing.
    We’ve talked lots about this as I’m told him it’s totally fine if he needs his space to do his own thing, but to just let me know. Rather than just disappear. For example going for drinks with the guys and not hearing from him for 24 hours… Not cool!
    For everything I’ve read it all comes back to me (woman) not saying anything and letting them fulfill there needs and me understanding this.
    So my question again is when does he take responsibility for his actions? When does it cross the line from being a man and needing these things from us to being selfish? When do our feelings take priority?
    I want to talk with him about this when he’s home and I don’t want to kill things with us. But I don’t want the yoyo affect of going from considerate to feeling like he doesn’t care or being hurt by his actions.
    Thanks James!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey, Tara. He’s not meeting your needs. Your response to this will depend on what kind of commitment you have to each other.

      If he has committed to a relationship with you and invested in the idea of making you happy as a big part of his life goals, then he is totally failing in that commitment. And if that’s the case, you really should not continue to invest in a relationship where he does not show an intrinsic desire to make you happy and keep his commitment to you.

      However, the nature of your relationship is unknown to me. I suppose it’s possible that he is your boyfriend, but you have only a loose understanding that you both like each other and occasionally like to spend time together. If that’s the case, your next step is different. You would need to open a discussion about what he’s looking for in relationships at this point in his life. See if there’s a match between that and what you are looking for. If not, you’ll want to move on from this relationship.


      • Tara said:

        Hi James! Thank you for getting back to me. We have been together for a year now, and known each other for three years. We have started to live together and he talks about marriage and we’ve talked a lot about what we want and the future.
        And yes you are right, in some things he is not meeting my needs. We’ve talked about this and he has said he wants to do better and that he is trying.
        But every once in a while things like this come up and I’m just left with a WTF moment. I give him his space when he needs it and understand all of that. He hasn’t been home in 6 weeks so we haven’t had anything come up. But I almost want to tell him to leave that behavior where he is and not bring it back with him.
        This whole not calling lately thing threw me, because it isn’t like him. And his attitude about it kinda sucked. Before this happened we were talking and he said he had been doing a lot of thinking, which he normally does when he is away, and said he has a 3 part plan that he has come up with and he wanted to talk to me about it when he came home. I honestly think he wants a life with me, and I do with him to. But then I feel like every once in a while it’s like he rebels and pushes against this and just F’s off for a night or something. Which I think is very hurtful.
        I just don’t know what I am supposed to do or say.

      • James Bauer said:

        Tara, try narrowing down your request for him. Focus on just one hurtful behavior. Then frame it as a positive. An opportunity to make you happier. Tell him there are a lot of ways people can make each other happy or miserable, but only a few “leverage points” (small things that take little effort but yeild a tremendous result). Tell him this request is about one of those.

        The reason I suggest this approach is because of the things you’ve said about him. He seems to operate from a linear, analytical style of thinking. This way of framing a request may click for him better than expressions of emotional discontent followed by various examples.


  9. Linda Williams said:

    This is a great article as usual. Lots of “good” insight.
    Question: Does this article pertain to someone who “is not” in love, yet respects and enjoys the company of the person she’s dating. Especially when the other person has expressed great interest in the woman (me). How should I “work” through this period of “quiet time”?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hmmm…if I understand what you mean, then yes. In a platonic relationship with the same thing can happen.

  10. maudeline said:

    I really enjoy your articles. I have a question if im with my boyfriend almost a month but he is an entrepreneur we used to talk very often not texting a lot. He told me soon he will b busy not really have time by Nov15 . Now we talk not as much as we used too .I don’t bother him I sent trxt messages to let him know I know that he is busy I miss him. Is that a good thing the way I do it?

    • James Bauer said:

      That sounds pretty good to me. You are not being pushy, yet you are letting him know you still appreciate the relationship and wish for more interaction. It sounds like you are in sort of a “wait and see” mode with this man. I suggest you ask questions so he realizes it is important to you to know how long his extra busy schedule will last so you can have a better idea regarding whether or not this relationship is realistic for both of you.

      • Vera said:

        I am an ardent reader of your blog posts. Recently my boyfriend broke up with me because he said he wants to focus on his career. It left me hanging because I thought we should be a team. It came to me by surprise because we haven’t had any major argument to draw us apart. Its been a month now. I know I love him. I believe this can be handled if we communicate. Thing is I don’t even know where to start or if I should just let him be. I’d like to get him back but in a dignified manner. No games. No begging

      • James Bauer said:

        Hi Vera. I’m glad to have you as a reader. Men often feel they have to choose between pursuing a career or pursuing a committed relationship. Sometimes it helps if you sort of interview him about his career goals and get him talking about what he’ll have to do in order to succeed. Then you have more information to go on if you choose to suggest to him that you could be a support to him on that journey, and not a hindrance. However, you should only have that conversation with him if you really believe you can support him in his mission and be satisfied while dating a guy who has less time available to spend one-on-one with you.

        If you have not already gone through my relationship rewrite course, you may find that gives you some key insights that help you win him back without begging or pleading.

  11. Sofia said:

    Dear James, I really like your articles but I have to ask this question: Why isn’t a direct approach the best? If a man is neglecting me I should just say so and not have to wonder about the ancestral meaning of his actions. This is hurtfull and smoothing it out doesn’t solve the problem, I think, it just delays it’s resolution, and it send a message to myself that it’s a problem I have to solve, when it should be ours. He should bring an equal effort to the relationship and if he’s off focus, why isn’t letting him know enough?


    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Sofia. That’s a good question. And the answer is that you should do exactly what you are thinking. As I said in the article:

      Second, you’ll be in a position to help pull his attention back toward what really matters. He knows the truth, but he may have forgotten it. You can gently remind him what real success is.

  12. Excellent said:

    Excellent article, James! I think it’s the best yet! SO real to me right now!

  13. Joy said:

    James, I always enjoy the way you word things concerning relationship. You are stop on, but how do you lovingly call his attention back to the relationship? This is exactly going on in my relationship currently. I have a good man, loyal but seems “zoned” out of the interactions of the relationship. I have let him alone, put on my happy face, done my own thing, wondering when will the focus come back the the relationship and it be one of mutual goals. Currently it seems “one sided”, and I don’t want to seem needy but I’m not getting the attention that made me feel happy. Like we were partners. Don’t want to ruin a good thing by nagging and yes I have told him my need. Deaf ears or no care. Help.

    • James Bauer said:

      Good follow up question, Joy. Does he care about anything? Is he just dead to the world, surviving with little motivation for anything in particular? Or is it just you he has pulled away from? The former would suggest depressed mood or loss of a meaningful life path. The latter would suggest it’s time for something a little stronger than what I am discussing in this particular article.


  14. Heather said:

    I should have learned and implemented the last 3 paragraphs…especially the last but one below… wise words James. Thank you Hx
    PS: From NOW on……..

    To remind him of this, don’t nag him or point out his failure. Instead, help him remember that the greatest joys in life come from relationships. Share some of that joy with him. Create positive experiences, while also letting him know you appreciate his focus and hard work.

  15. Sarah Dodd said:

    The most perfect time in the world to get this. Thanks.

  16. kay said:

    hi james, now i feel conflicted after reading this article. i just ended a relationship with a man that i thought was the love of my life. it started with the couple he became friends with. I live on the west coast and he moved to the east coast before we became involved (we’ve known each other while he lived here but he had a gf and i had a bf). LDR is hard enough so he became friends with this guy I was actually glad that he had someone he can hang out and not be alone. the problem is when i visited him he couldn’t wait for me to meet them (his friend and his wife. they are in their mid 20’s and we are early 40’s). I visited him for 5 nights and we spent 3 nights together (dinner and bar hoping. i don’t drink much and my bf knows it well), except 2 nights when we went to see his parents. First night i noticed the wife acted cold and aloof with me. (just me, 3 of them shared inside jokes, my bf was acting not like his normal self, rather hyper round them) on top of that my bf was agreeing everything comes out of her mouth and busy conversing with her, didn’t even notice i was bored and uncomfortable. after 1st night, he defended her without me even saying anything ‘she must be really tired. she is usually bubbly and friendly’ i didn’t say anything of it still, thinking yeah maybe. not everyone warms up quickly. i gave her the benefit of doubt, saw them 2nd time and 3rd time, not much difference. it wasn’t bothering me too much because they (actually more her) weren’t important to me. that was until he forgot to call number of times when he was with them (instead, after he was with them he showered me with texts saying he was thinking about me the whole time and how he missed me there). we talked about it and i thought it went well. and i have a good boundary as to what i’m willing to accept and what i am not. he said we don’t have to hang out with them anymore as a couple and he agreed that she is a cold stuck-up and full of herself. he’s seen her tuning people out all the time and his friend really should say something to his wife. a week later, he back paddles. i said i think she was being territorial with me because it’s been 3, 2 guys and a girl and she must have liked the attention he was giving and she doesn’t like that i came in the picture. he said that she wasn’t being rude she was just being quiet and she isn’t like that with any other friends’ wives/gfs (its a small circle of friends there and i think he is trying to fit in because he just moved). we had a huge fight for the first time – and thought we came to a resolution that he would try to avoid meeting his friend’s wife even if it means he has to avoid his friend. he told me even his dad said he cannot keep the same single life once he has someone because his life has changed. yes, i feel jealous and insecure about the woman because i felt that my bf has taken her side instead of me, and protected her feelings not mine. i asked him why he did that knowing it would hurt me and he said he doesnt know why. he says he doesn’t care about her, im the most important thing in his life. without me he is nothing and he would give up everything for me to move again west to be with me. even though i didn’t understand why he defended her in front of me and it hurt i tried to accept and move on. a great opportunity for him just came by and he was to move next month then this happened. i had a nagging feeling and it turned out that he did hang out with them (they drink heavily usually when they hang out and even smoked pot this time) and he intentionally “forgot” to mention her name. i was upset and he tried to minimize by saying i wasn’t clear enough and i cannot leave the grey area. i have to tell him if i am not ok with him hanging out with them. i said ‘i though i was clear?’ then he said ‘geez you really think that she wouldn’t be there?’ later it became a half ass apology – ‘i’m sorry you feel this way’

    i felt that my feelings were not respected. he said i am bringing it up all over again and not moving forward but i think he has to hold up his end of agreement for us to move past this. i think he says things that he thinks i want to hear to get out of situation and later he cannot follow through his words. i thought it was disrespectful and again if she wasn’t important to him and he doesn’t care about her then why his action doesn’t match his word? he is making me a jealous and insecure person (btw, he said it about all of his exes) and i saw a pattern. i decided not to continue.

    now i am feeling a little confused after reading this…. can you help me understand?

  17. Julie said:

    Thank you so much for that once again very well written article, James.
    It came at the perfect time when I needed it actually. I’ve been in a relationship with someone who has been a friend for almost a year now and we started being closer this summer. He “chased” me for several months before we became serious and I love that we took our time to get to know each other and ask ourselves if that’s what we really wanted. We both admire each other very much for different qualities and as I told him, to me he’s an example of strength, composure and thoughtfulness. I just love who he is and who he’s becoming. He told me that I make him a better man. His presence soothes me, he’s a genuine person who’s very dedicated to the ones he loves, family and friends.
    We’re both extremely busy as I’m working full time while taking classes to change career, and he’s training to become a police officer while taking care of his 3 year-old son -part of the week. He lives about 50 minutes away from me so we typically see each other every other weekend, in the evening after his training. He graduates next month and I can’t wait for it, although I’m hoping and wondering if he will be that more available once he starts as a recruit.
    It’s been a few days now since we haven’t texted, and I’m trying to refrain myself from doing so, reminding myself that he’s probably exhausted. It can be quite frustrating and the fact that I’m not there to actually see him leave home early and come back late exhausted makes me forget it sometimes. We talked a lot about our feelings for each other but I like to have some reminders that he’s thinking of me so when he goes silent for several days, I tend to wonder what’s happening, if I did or said something… you know just be anxious.
    So I wanted to thank you for your great article that helped me see my situation as less worrisome as it is.

    • nat said:

      I am in exact same situation as you! For me it helps when i extend myself towards him when I miss contact from him (just in a very brief and non-needy way). His warm responce and greatfullnes makes me realize how it is his life situation making him like that and nothing I said or did (never be insecure like that, doubting yourself). Right then I understand him better and feel happy in myself!

  18. Penny said:

    This is HUGE…and a big reminder I needed in my struggles with my guy! Thank you!!

  19. Kathy Yeager said:

    Thank you so much for reminding us. You know sometimes women
    forget to focus. I’m guilty of letting my goals taking control . Life
    itself brings on an overhead for women also.

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