Help! My Boyfriend Wants to Be Young & Live His Life. Make Him Stop!

HELP! I am a 20 year old girl in university. My boyfriend of 5 months says he doesn’t want to get serious. He says we’re not compatible because he’s a Pisces and I’m a Gemini. He might go to England next year and he says he doesn’t believe in long distance relationships. He doesn’t have time for me so we meet once a month. But my problem…I’M CRAZY ABOUT HIM. I do stuff for him that I wouldn’t imagine doing for anyone else. I would leave everything on a day he’s free and I’m not and go see him. Why is this so one-sided? I would do anything to be with him and he wouldn’t? He says whatever happens in the future will happen. I don’t like that. I can’t seem to think about anything but him and this isn’t good for my studies. – Bella


My dearest Bella,

So you’ll do anything for him, but he has no time for you. You see him maybe once a month at best, not only because he lives far away as you said in the unabridged version of your note, but also because he chooses not to make time for you. He says you’re not compatible, that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, and doesn’t believe in long-distance relationships.

The biggest question for you is: Um, are you even in a relationship now? Doesn’t sound like it. In fact, I would put dollars to donuts that you’re not, and that, as hard as it may be to hear this, that since he’s not acting like a boyfriend toward you, he’s not behaving like a boyfriend when he’s not around you, either (which, it seems, is most of the time).

I know you really like this guy. That’s why this is some tough love right here. I know it’s hard to focus on this hard truth, because right now you’re soaring sky high on a toxic blend of hormones and fear and a deep sense of need. But hear me out.

Believe what he says

The biggest mistake women make is not taking men at their word. When he says, “I’m bad for you,” “I can’t take care of you the way you want,” or for God sakes, “We’re not compatible,” — believe him. Because he’s telling you the truth. He doesn’t want something serious; he doesn’t think you’re compatible (though super lame to blame your sun signs–really dude?); he’s young and you’re young and he’s not ready for much more. If he doesn’t like long distance relationships, England is not the end of your relationship, because your relationship doesn’t even exist. At least, not the way you want it to.

I venture to say that part of the reason you ARE so crazy about him is BECAUSE he’s not all over you (if you doubt me, hit me back next time a guy is on you like white on rice — you’ll hate it). What it seems to me you want to do is: change his mind; make him stay; make him do what you want–marry you, commit, keep things as they are forever and ever. I’m so sorry, Bella, but this ain’t happening.

Get Busy

My advice: Get busy. In more ways than one: Be less available. Wish him well and be positive, enjoy the time you have together, but on your terms, not when he says “jump.” Be a bright spot, rather than this looming shadow darkening his door, waiting for his return. Enjoy him, sure, but be just as interested in your own life as you are in his decisions, which, by the way, you have no control over.

He’s right: You ARE young. You’re 20 years old. You think this is the last time you’ll be in love? No way. And I know you really like him. But just because he may leave doesn’t mean he won’t be back. Catch is: You can’t stand there waiting for him. A watched pot never boils. But men can and do return–and they return to people THEY want to go after, not someone who’s waiting unhappily for them, ready to lock them down or bar all roads that lead to anywhere but her.

You must be as engaged with your own life as he is with his. And when and if you do make time for him, be the best, least needy version of yourself. Show him the woman he likes so much, and let him adore and want you. And if he doesn’t go out of his way to see you, he doesn’t want to. MOVE ON. You being this available and eager does nothing to make him want to be with you–it’s so easy he doesn’t have to make an effort.

Most of all: NO bitterness, resentment, late-night texts, inquisitions as to where he’s been and with whom. Let go. There is some truth to that adage–that if you let someone go, if he wants to come back he will. Keep him guessing; turn down an offer to see him because you have plans once in a while. Be less available to him. Trust me, this shit works.

Expand your world

Also: Start seeing other people. And that is an order. If he doesn’t want a relationship, he is not expecting commitment, and he likely isn’t maintaining any kind of exclusivity, that I promise you. (Though if he gets the least little bit afraid you are, let him be–it’ll ignite a little more interest in you than he currently has, that I promise you.) So, start going out on dates, flirt with new guys, expand your world. I’m NOT talking revenge sex because sex from an angry place will leave you in tears. I’m talking about really being interested in other people. He is NOT the only man in the world, and certainly doesn’t deserve you. I see my dry cleaner more you see this guy.

A coach once told me, hunting rabbits isn’t fun when the rabbit jumps in front of the gun. And while the metaphor is violent and limping, it is true–so don’t stand there gazing needily down the barrel of his attention. He will go searching elsewhere, if he hasn’t already. Better to leave him looking back, looking for a way to return to you. But he won’t if he isn’t even looking for reasons to see you now.

I know it’s hard. It gets easier. Trust me on that. Oh—and stay in school. Don’t you DARE let your studies flop over this guy. I will come there and beat you with a wooden spoon.