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Over my years on MB, you good people have been a wonderful sounding board for me and have provided me great advice. I am now in need of a reality check because I am not sure whether I am being unreasonable in my expectations given the situation or if I have big red flag hitting me on the head....

Started seeing someone I met online in July 2008. He is in emergency services and works 12 hour shifts (that can and often do extend into 13 or 14 hour shifts), one month on nights and the next on days. One week, he works Monday, Tuesday, has Wednesday and Thursday off and then works Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The next week, he has off Monday, Tuesday, works Wednesday and Thursday and then has Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. He also has a small Internet business - not sure how much of his time it takes, but it does take some time. At the beginning of our relationship, we would spend his Wednesdays and weekends off together. After Hurricane Ike hit us, things changed a bit....he had a lot going on trying to get the insurance and repairmen lined up to fix his house and switching from days to nights, which takes a toll on him sleep-wise. I wouldn't hear from him for several days (not unusual as he is a quiet guy and has never been a call or text or e-mail every day kind of guy - usually, its every few days) and for a while there were several weeks when we didn't see each other. When we were together or talked by phone or text, everything was great.

Then things got back into a balance. Things have been cooking along and he is joining my son and me on a week-long ski vacation at the end of January. He is hiding my son's Santa Claus presents in his garage and we are planning to spend NYE together. He is very sweet and thinks of me and my son in little ways....including, coming to my son's birthday party, bringing a gift, putting up with 20 7 year olds for 3 hours, helping me clean up afterward (which is more than I can say for XH and his fiancee who only stayed an hour), and then taking son and I out to dinner besides.

I am now in a place where, for me, things are out of balance again and I am not sure whether I am being unreasonable under the circumstances or if there is something for me to be concerned about. For the last month and for the foreseeable future, two guys who do what BF does are on medical leave, which means BF is scheduled for tons of overtime. His schedule, now, is work 12 hour shifts on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, have Thursday off, work Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, have Tuesday off, work Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and have Saturday and Sunday off. He also just switched to nights. In addition, he is a procrasinator (boy, we make a great pair) and has waited until now to complete some mandatory training requirements that will require about 30 hours of computer time by the end of the year. This must be done when they are not responding to a dispatch. Finally, too, he is getting all of the repair work done now that the insurance has come through after Ike. Now, it is once again as if I don't exist except every few days and getting together once every week or so for a few hours. I have no reason to believe he is seeing anyone else...first, from what I have observed to date, he is a man of character and integrity, secondly, his schedule just doesn't permit it and lastly, if he is, he is doing a great job covering his tracks and he certainly isn't taking them to his house because they would see a few things there and realize he's involved with someone. Also, he trusts me enough to leave his dog with me, give me the access code to his house and leaving me at his house, alone, on several occasions.

I keep going back and forth in my mind about whether I am being unreasonable, expecting too much at this point in a relationship or he is just self absorbed. On the one hand, I too, work long hours, but its a fairly regular work schedule with tons of flexibility. After work, though, I then have a little boy to take care of. He has no children. BUT, he is only home for a short while (maybe 2 hours) when he is not sleeping. I am woman, I multitask with the best of them. He DOES NOT multitask and, in fact, can only focus on one main thing at a time. I can function in my job with not enough sleep and do not require tons of sleep to function day to day. His job is high risk and requires that he be well rested for safety reasons. He also is just one of those people that requires a lot of sleep. For what it's worth, from the outset, I have let him pursue me. I rarely, if ever, initiate a text exchange or e-mails (have only recently begun sending e-mails or texts and those are few and far between) and do not call - I let him do all the calling. Given, his wacky work schedule, am I being unreasonable in thinking I am not a priority to him because we are not talking by phone/texting as much and seeing each other only rarely? Am I expecting to much given his increased work schedule and having just gone on nights? Is this a good tempo for a 5 month old relationship? (In a recent conversation, he told me this is the speed at which his other significant relationships have progressed because he likes to take things "slow and deliberate").

Finally, I should add that the majority of my previous relationships have moved at light speed and, with the exception of 1 or 2 out of many, they have ended up being completely dysfunctional.

Thanks for your thoughts on this!

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Yes, you're expecting too much from him. Try to imagine having to fit all that on your plate with 2 hours a day. And with many of the items having finite deadlines that can't be missed - a lot of stress.

This says it all; you answered it yourself:
 Quote:
BUT, he is only home for a short while (maybe 2 hours) when he is not sleeping. I am woman, I multitask with the best of them. He DOES NOT multitask and, in fact, can only focus on one main thing at a time. I can function in my job with not enough sleep and do not require tons of sleep to function day to day. His job is high risk and requires that he be well rested for safety reasons. He also is just one of those people that requires a lot of sleep.


Consider this a chance for an investment in your relationship. You'll be able to show him just how supportive you are of his ability to be a good provider, a man of integrity (as you said), and a great catch. He definitely sounds like a keeper!

You might even ask him what you can do to help him out in these stressful times: shop for him, meet the construction people at his house for him, handle paperwork...great time to build up some points in the ol' Love Bank.

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Yeah, I'd have to say you're being unreasonable and I say this mostly because I'm in a somewhat similar situation and I'm kind of acting just like you. Only I can look at your situation objectively from the outside, LOL!

You answered your own question, you're just having trouble seeing it because you're hurt right now. I'm doing the same thing.

I'm working through it myself, so I don't have any advice, but just try to be understanding and not take it so personal.

and I agree with Cat 100%

Last edited by BetrayedCajun; 12/16/08 12:59 PM.

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Currently he is not making any deposits in your love bank.
You have a choice:

1) Find another guy

2) Put up with less contact for now

3) Initiate contact and try to put some in his love bank. What if he thinks "I am working my buns off, and I still have to do all the work in this relationship as well!" or then again he might be thinking "OP is awesome for not pressuring me when I have to work this overtime".

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 Originally Posted By: wannabophim

3) Initiate contact and try to put some in his love bank. What if he thinks "I am working my buns off, and I still have to do all the work in this relationship as well!" or then again he might be thinking "OP is awesome for not pressuring me when I have to work this overtime".


I agree. I was thinking of posting this before I read it. If he is as busy as you say, he is probably exhausted when he gets off and has things that have to get done. He also probably knows that he always has to initiate contact and i am sure it bothers him somewhat. He may be testing you to see how you respond if things are tough on his end. Will you cut and run or step up to the plate and initiate contact. JMO


Me: 32 BS DDay: 9/14/08
Slowly coming to the realization that I
am one of those who can't get past it.
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Thanks, all, for your insights. His XW left him for her HS sweetheart because "we never see each other anymore." Being aware of this, I try very hard to be respectful of his work schedule and down time. In fact, every time we talk, I take the opportunity to acknowledge his schedule with comments like "you must be exhausted," etc. He then minimizes it all but its clear he is pleased that I am not riding him about it or demanding of his time. In fact, last night when we talked (it was his day off), we discussed plans for this Saturday (he's off) and then he mentioned that his BIL may be in town (all his family lives up North). I immediately said that family comes first and if he does come to town that he should spend the time with his BIL instead. Interestingly, he seemed to imply that if BIL does come to town, I would be included in their plans. (Well, we'll be eating dinner at some point, so he can do that, too).

My big quandry here is that I have never had a "normal" relationship that progressed slowly...all of my relationships took off like light speed with multiple calls a day, seeing each other 3, 4, 5 times a week, etc. This type of situation is all a bit new for me and it makes me question whether he is lukewarm or just really busy. With regard to him initiating contact and, essentially, pursuing me, I have learned from many bad experiences that it is best for the man to pursue the woman just long enough for her to catch him? \:\) Also, a very wise poster here on MB turned me on to a great book called "The Rules" (essentially what our Mothers taught us girls but we chose to ignore because we thought we knew better) and, while I haven't followed it completely, I have taken on board the advice to let the man be the one to do the pursuing.

My phone conversation with BF last night left me with an even bigger thought to ponder.....We were talking about a Christmas Party at my boss' house this past weekend. BF could not go because he had to work. He is familiar with the development in which boss lives and was asking about what street, etc. When I told him he commented that its definitely not the poor neck of the woods and I agreed saying boss' house had to cost at least $1 Million. I also commented that I was nervous inside because it is so beautiful. BF then commented about my house being the same way to him...that he's not comfortable at my house because its decorated so nicely and he's afraid because I have such nice things. YIKES!!!! How do I resolve this one??????? Or do I just leave it sit? I have worked at decorating my house and it looks quite nice, but is an average house for which I paid not much more than BF paid for his. However, because of the part of town I'm in, I got more house than BF did for the money. The interior decor isn't that significant its just done in very dark/rich colors. Right now, my inclination is to say nothing more....he saw my house on our second date and has been here since, so apparently it wasn't enough to make him run.

Gosh, I'm glad I have you folks as my sounding boards!!!!!!


Last edited by Brit\'s Brat; 12/17/08 05:52 PM.
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 Originally Posted By: Brit\'s Brat
I keep going back and forth in my mind about whether I am being unreasonable, expecting too much at this point in a relationship or he is just self absorbed.


I think you left out the most obvious answer - you are not unreasonable, and he is not self absorbed. It is just that you are you and he is he. He has a job that requires a tremendous amount of his time, but you knew that going in. It sounds like you, on the other hand, want someone who can devote more time to you, which is also reasonable. But he cannot give you that, and again, you knew that going in.

So instead of worrying about which one of you is right/wrong/unreasonable, I would suggest that you take who he is at face value, and decide if that works for you. But do not try to change him or yourself.

AGG


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Brit ~ You are getting some great replies here. I will add mine. I also am in a high risk, time away required career. In my case pro pilot.

These sorts of careers demand a certain type of accomodating partner to have any chance at success.

So like AGG said, one choice here is it's not that you are too demanding or any red flags from him -- rather it's about making an adult level decision as to whether this "works for you / him" or not?? And yep you guessed it!! Only YOU and HE can answer that.

I would say one thing more: It's not unreasonable for you to surface this discussion with him at the right time. And also not unreasonable to negotiate more contact between you two. I find that texting is especially convenient, requires a very SMALL time commitment & can do wonders for staying in touch. I do believe that communication is the fundamental bedrock of a great relationship, therefore if it is so limited as to be non-existent for days, then that creates a void that then leads to .... well THIS!!! Just what you feel now.

Lastly, I also am firmly commited to the concept that men should be the iniator / take the lead in pace setting in a relationship. I too think they more often get dysfunctional, off-balanced & normally fail if this formula is not followed.

AND...I have had a VERY difficult time finding any woman who will accept the pace (spiritually, emotionally & physically) that I feel comfortable at. By definition, if you see each other a ton & are in constant communication, the pace will accelerate.

I've been on the fast track paced relationship treadmill most of my adult non-married life. But I've learned a better way by far!! And yet I don't find that the women around are accepting of a slower pace in general.

Food for thought.

God bless you in this relationship,
High Flight

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What's right for you is the correct approach. The idea that somebody must be at fault, wrong or in some way deficient is not correct. Some relationships just don't work for some people.

I was in a roller coaster relationship for some time. But, I left it months ago and life has been much happier. While it was nice to have a steady girlfriend, about half the time we were together, we ended things unhappily. It's hard to describe, but she teneded to disapprove of many things and was not very tactful about it. Part of it, I am sure was her own insecurity. And part of it was my own imperfections. Whatever it was, the relationship just wasn't working for either of us.

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Thanks all for helping me to explore this from all angles. I should clarify that BF is not aware that I am thinking about this and there is no conflict between us as to who is right or wrong. In fact, in the almost 6 months now we have been dating, we have never once had any conflict or disagreement.

In asking whether I am being unreasonable, it is me evaluating my own thinking about the degree of contact between BF and me. I have always been in relationships where multiple calls a day and seeing each other 3, 4, 5 times a week is the norm. This only talking by phone and texting every few days us different which then raises the question in my mind "Is he only lukewarm?"

High Flight, thanks for your input as your profession sounds very akin to his...he is a medical helo pilot.

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High Flight, I should add that I lived with a commercial airline pilot for 4 years and know the lifestyle well...and, actually, found that I didn't mind it. Guess I should spend some time thinking about how the two relationships compare in that respect as I may find my current relationship is much the same and my anxieties over the whole thing are really because of past triggers with other men I dated and not my current BF.

Thanks for giving me that to chew on!

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BB,

you had been looking at the relationship solely from the point of view of when you are together, how the relationship works. Now, you are looking at the relationship from other points of view, other dimensions so to speak. First, from a time availability point of view, which you have to determine if you are OK with lots of single time in the relationship, as well as lots of uncertainty. Some people can handle uncertainty well, others can't. Some people are independent enough to realize that an every day relationship is not a necessity.

But your concern should an issue which you have to resolve about yourself: namely, how much regularity, consistency do I require for a relationship?

Secondly, there is another sign of socioeconomic differences which came up about the economic symbolism of your house, your bosses house, etc. That is an issue which needs to be explored with your BF, but in a very subtle way, by asking him questions which you will get a clue about his ability to "move up" or deal with your lifestyle. .

happy holidays

wiftty


Learning from your own mistakes creates experience, learning from books creates knowledge, combining the two together creates wisdom => You start with a full bag of luck, and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.
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Hi, to me there are several issues here.

1. How to carry out your relationship (within it's severe time restrictions) to meet both your needs.

2. The question of "matching lifestyle choices" when it comes to career, relationship focus, and time.

3. The question of "matching lifestyle choices" when it comes to type of home, money spent on home, material things, monetary issues, etc.

4. The important question that will eventually demand an answer:

"Given what I know now about this person, how much he chooses to work, how he chooses difficult working hours, knowing that this will not ever change, and the fact that his EX could not live with such limited time with him, would a permanent relationship WORK well with this man???"

Dating is a taste of what it would be like LIVING and being MARRIED to a person. His limited time is not just helping you to feel rejected but it is showing you his priorities and what he would be like if you were married. If you are OK with seeing him TWO hours nightly, never having meals with him, having him work odd hours and then have to adjust to normal time, etc, then go for it.

Time will tell whether you can TAKE this type of relationship or not. Just be open to it either way. Because this is not just a sometime thing, extra hours worked. It is going to be his lifestyle. Forever.

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I also have to wonder what time he could afford your son if the relationship progressed to marriage. It would be nice to find someone who could be a central part of your son's life and vice versa.

That doesn't mean it couldn't work. My father worked swing shifts as a mechanic, and he and my mother have been married for 53 years. However, you have to ask yourself what, in all practicality, you're looking for and will be happy with - not just for yourself but also for your son.

Not sure how old you are, so your age and how much time you're willing to devote to the decision-making process also needs to be addressed. If you aren't 25 but heading for 35 or 40, maybe you don't feel you have as much time to play around...?

I think there's a lot to be said for being practical, especially the 2nd time around.


Sooly

"Stop yappin and make it happen."
"The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you."

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I want to point out that a lot of what she described was a TEMPORARY situation! House repair, insurance, etc. - these are things that will go away. Try to consider what he's like when all these extra items aren't in the picture.

Are you working on meeting his ENs? Have you offered to help?

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I have spent much of the time since my original post thinking about my needs and how they are being or, in this case, not being met. I also considered long and hard, the ideas raised by WIFTT. I came to the conclusion that I was being unreasonable given his situation. I do believe I could be happy in a long-term relationship with him despite his work schedule/lifestyle because I am very independent and would (and have) felt smothered by men who have to be joined at the hip with me! I think that with some give and take negotiation, my needs could be met if we were open to such. Well, I never got to explore that....

It is absolutely incredible - there several points in my relationships where the end...the first is the magic 3 month mark, then 6 months, and then 18. 6 months to the day (well, almost) and it looks as though M has gone "poof." M and I have been dating months, today.

Its not unusual for M to go several days without texting/calling (he's a quiet guy) - but never more that 3. I rarely if ever call or text him first. He spent Christmas morning with my son and me and was very generous to both of us, gift wise. Son and I went out of town for the weekend and M and I texted back and forth a few times. Got back late Monday. M called Tuesday, had a normal conversation - nothing out of the ordinary. It is now 5 days later and I have not heard a word from him, not even a reply to one of the rare texts I initiated, which just said "Happy New Year Baby!" (He had to work the next morning, so we did not get together). Having not heard word one, I tried calling him yesterday and he didn't answer his phone so, instead of leaving a message, I sent him a text that just said I was touching base. No reply. After many, many hours of swinging in limbo, I sent him a text that said, "Four days without hearing from you is a bit unusual. If you just need time to yourself, say so....if you are walking away, please show me the courtesy of telling me, even if by text."

NOTHING!!!! I gave this man the easiest out possible. All he had to do was text me that he was done and, despite the easy out, NOTHING!!!!! What in the world have I done to warrant this being ignored?

We are supposed to go on vacation together at the end of the month - he even bought his airline ticket - what the heck??????

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 Quote:
"Four days without hearing from you is a bit unusual. If you just need time to yourself, say so....if you are walking away, please show me the courtesy of telling me, even if by text."


This would put me off big time. I think this is probably a bigger DJ than him being out of touch for a few days. Meeting DJ with DJ isn't going to help anything.

That text also exposes your insecurity. What's wrong with sending a text and not expecting a response? You're dating a few months...you're not married. What's a few days between contact?

Also, instead of scolding with your text you might of offered some concern for his welfare. Like.." It's been a while since I've heard from you. I hope all is well." This is more likely to garner a response than an insecure DJ.


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Thanks ba109 for your insights. I did text what you suggested earlier in the day. I am sorry, though, I think 5 days without any sort of contact is rude. At a minimum, I think anyone would expect and think it rude that they did not receive a response to a Happy New Year greeting. Yes, we have only been dating for 6 months, which is why I do not think it unusual when I don't hear from him every day or every few days, but 5 days without contact signifies a "casual" dating relationship - one where you're also dating other people and definitely not sleeping together, spending Christmas morning with them and planning a vacation with them.

Last edited by Brit\'s Brat; 01/04/09 12:34 PM. Reason: Add additional thoughts
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Hi, I remember when my dating relationship with my (now) husband was heating up we called every night and stayed on the phone for an hour at least.

I would be hurt also.

I have to ask, do you think he senses your insecurity even though you try and hide it from him? If you were secure, you might call and say, "Hey, give me a call so we can do something fun this week?" or something secure and confident like that.

If you are mentioning ON HIS VOICEMAIL about him possibly dumping you, no man will want to call you back with that.... mentioned since that is a red flag to him about how BADLY YOU NEED TO MANIPULATE HIM TO CALL YOU TO EASE YOUR MIND.

YOU NEED him to call you. YET YOU WILL NOT OFTEN CALL HIM. It is not a true two way street,, this communication. Rather you are playing GAMES with him trying to MANIPULATE him to love you, prove how much he cares by how much HE calls, and call you more often.

No man likes this. Few men like little GAMES.

I would say give your "games" all up and try and become more real and confident within yourself. Then, whoever you date will sense the TRUE confidence you have inside you and go from there.

From 10 miles away, a man could see how insecure you are. You constantly look at how this man is treating you, looking at you, how often he calls, how he likes or dislikes you decorated home, etc. You constantly weigh and measure the relationship and look carefully at HIM and HIS NEXT MOVE. You have forgotten who you are and what you want and need. Get your true identity back and start exhibiting it to him.

You have a trip planned, then perhaps assume he is still around....IF you have not totally TURNED him off with your neediness.

I hope you can become more confident and recover this relationship enough to learn more from it. Or have a better NEXT relationship.

I think you can learn. I hope with counseling or by yourself you can learn to be TRULY confident instead of "playing like you are confident".

Just a note; If you start off having equal communication and equal communication and relationship progression rights, in other words, either person can and does call the other one, go over there etc, and either one can speed up or slow down the relationship at any time, then it is much easier to conduct a healthy relationship.

If one person is holding back calling the other one (a typical game of insecurity and manipulation to see if the other one likes them enough to call) because of some old fashioned "dating game ritual", then the other one is going to know it is just a game and they will not want to play that game for long. These kinds of games tend to BURN OUT a good relationship. Because they involved manipulation and are carried on by an insecure partner.

Have you dared to even show him you like HIM???? Could you explore how confident you could become in yourself? Do you see how you are now insecure and fear the breakup that you think is on the horizon? Have you come to terms with dating to find your MATCH and nothing less will do but that MR RIGHT that is out there for YOU when YOU are ready?

This may be the wrong guy for you.
This may be the wrong time for you.
You could be too insecure to handle a deeper relationship.
You could need some work on yourself to go furthur.
Men could see how needy you are and run
You could need time to get more confidence.
You could discard the game playing, manipulating, and letting a man determine how loveable you are.


Or,

This man could come call you back and all will be OK.

Last edited by Stellakat; 01/04/09 03:48 PM.
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Well, the man surfaced - phone call. It would seem that nothing was wrong and he was being his usual quiet self. I was the one who overreacted because I did not have the facts. He has a terrible time switching from days to nights and that is when he will go the longest without calling or texting, which didn't even cross my radar screen because he switched to days just a week ago. WRONG! He switched back to nights and, in addition, had to work two of his 3 days off this weekend. He worked Saturday night and will work tonight because someone is sick and then work his usual days tomorrow and Tuesday. He has off on Wednesday and suggested we get together. We also talked about some logistics re: our vacation.

Long and short, this resulted from his failure to communicate. I WILL address this in a positive way after the dust settles. Maybe bring it up in the context of EN's and what my top 3 are....

Thanks Stellakat for your perspective....you've given me food for thought! I do know there are experiences from my past that make me feel insecure - especially, if I think I'm being ignored (when I was a teenager/young adult, my mother would ignore me if I did something that made her unhappy). A popular writer about male/female relationships suggests that only 10 percent of what is going on in our current relationship is the result of what is going on in our current relationship. The remaining 90 percent are the glasses through which we look at our current relationship based upon our previous relationships.

Stellakat, I have told him I like him and believe my actions match my words. The only reason I do not do the calling, etc., is because I believe in the idea that the man pursues the woman - a little old fashioned, but I got burned many times the other way. It is my counselor who suggested I let him do the pursuing.

Last edited by Brit\'s Brat; 01/04/09 03:44 PM.
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