Q: Hi Meredith,
I met this guy online in June. He lives across the country, and I'm here in Boston. Since we started speaking, he's visited me in Boston twice, and I visited him once. I really like him. I mean, I think he's very attractive, he's a good person, and he's good between the sheets.
But I feel like he shows no interest in my life. Meaning, he doesn't ask me any questions, shows no curiosity about what I do, where I come from, what I like, who I am ... anything. I'm not used to this, I guess. Usually, when I first start to date people, there is a passion, a light, an energy where we are both starved to learn about the other.
With this guy, for example, when I visited him in his hometown, at one point we were in the car for three hours, and the car ride was essentially silent. We don't know each other that well yet so I felt/feel like there should be so much to explore, talk about, and learn about each other. But when I tried to start conversation, he responded, "You don't like silence very much, do you?"
I tried to explain that I have nothing against silence, but I feel like we should be chatting and learning more about each other at this early stage. So then he asked me, "How was your day?" and I responded, but I had spent the entire day in the car with him, so there wasn't much to say. But then it fell flat again, though I did my best to reply with open answers and questions back at him, modeling the behavior I was hoping for from him.
When I try to bring up the fact that this really bothers me, he responds defensively, saying something along the lines of "Ugh, why are you complaining?" So, I end up laughing it off for fear of coming across as needy or uptight. When I tell him it really bothers me, he assures me I shouldn't take it personally. However, when I am with him, he always seems interested in other things -- his phone, outside, something else, anything else.
Despite this, I am somehow still attracted to him and somehow still think he is a good person. The occasions when he does seem tuned in to what I'm saying, he comes across as kind and insightful. In between visits, we do talk on the phone, but the conversations are light, casual, and mostly about him.
I know that I won't be able to get everything I'm looking for in one person. But given the fact that we live so far apart, and that this is a substantial concern (right?), I don't know what to do. There are some times that I have an absolute blast with him and we have similar goals and desires and come from similar family backgrounds, so I could see myself possibly building a future with him. But then there's the rest of the time.
What do you think?
– Troubled in Maynard
A: You're not compatible. Sorry.
You want to develop an emotional connection with this guy, but he wants to talk about himself and look at his phone. He's not curious about your life and he wants you to be quiet. He's not a bad person, he's just wrong for you.
It sounds like you're sticking around for the sex. You're attracted to him and you like that part of the relationship. If there were a way to enjoy him with no strings attached, I'd say go for it. But you're already in too deep and you're clearly looking for a real partner. Sex can't keep a relationship together. I mean, it can ... but not for very long.
Let him go and find someone who wants to know more about you. Leave him with his quiet time.
Readers? Is this a long-distance problem or a personality problem? Should she walk away? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.