Discarded Girlfriend


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Dear Hoopers,
My boyfriend and I have been dating for five months and I love his personality. I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in a relationship! He’s outgoing, adventurous and loves to socialize. The only problem is when we’re out. I’m having a hard time with some behaviors my boyfriend is displaying. He’s cool at home, but when we go out the dynamic changes. I’m more of a home body, but understand he likes to get out. I like to get out too, but when we are out of the house he is a different person. Instead of fawning over me like he usually does, he pays all of his attention to other people and to women in particular. He touches the small of their back when he talks to them and compliments them on their looks. I really like him and want to stay with him, but I don’t want to be discarded every time we go out either. When we’re alone he’s all compliments, so I’m not sure why he behaves like this. Should I be concerned?
-Discarded Girlfriend

Dear Discarded Girlfriend,
In some ways you are quite stimulated by him. The energy and fun that he brings is exciting and different, leading to some of the most enjoyable few months that you’ve had in awhile. At least when you are alone together. When you are out with other people he turns his affections away from you. It doesn’t sound as though he is purposefully attempting to leave you behind, but it’s as if he can’t help but seek others out.

While it is possible that he may soon have an awakening to your concerns and could begin fawning over you in public and private, I wouldn’t count on it. I believe that what you are describing about your boyfriend is a part of who he is; it is part of his personality. This energy and excitement that makes him fun and outgoing has another side to it. He is a forward mover. And with forward movers, they almost always move towards others people and other things. Many times that it is towards you, but many other times it will be towards others.


I would start by letting him know how you feel when he leaves you by the wayside, with a particular focus on his boundaries with other women.

-Dr. Ryan

Remind yourself that while we can often influence our partners, we can’t control or change them. If you want this relationship to work it will likely take honest communication and some changes on both of your parts. I would start by letting him know how you feel when he leaves you by the wayside, with a particular focus on his boundaries with other women.

I’m not quite sure where you draw the line, but it sounds like his touching might be a place to start. Next, are there some changes you are willing to make about the way you approach nights out? If you feel too reliant on him, try to find your own ways to engage and connect with others. That may mean getting out of your comfort zone, but it sounds like that may be good for you.
-Dr. Ryan

Dear Discarded Girlfriend,
It sounds like you are generally very excited by the relationship. Does this behavior flaw outweigh the characteristics that you find so attractive? If not, let it go. However, if you feel this behavior could cause a long term problem, it’s time to speak up. Complimenting can be a nice gesture, but the lack of inclusiveness you feel when you’re out with him should be discussed.

Let me first say, it’s normal for partners to think other people are attractive. You’ve probably turned your head at a beautiful human from time to time too. However, if it’s really weighing on you, have the talk.


Complimenting can be a nice gesture, but the lack of inclusiveness you feel when you’re out with him should be discussed.

-Kate

What to say? To best avoid a heated argument, I would approach the subject in a premeditated, calm manner. Express to him that when he compliments you at home you feel loved and appreciated. This will give him a little verbal pat on the back to let him know you appreciate the attentiveness. Also tell him that you have more fun with him than you have ever had in a relationship. Have you ever told him that? Then ask him the question, “When we’re out, are you aware you also compliment other women on their looks?”

If you frame the question as more of a discussion rather than an accusation, you should be laying the groundwork for a healthy conversation. Maybe he’s not fully aware of how he’s acting. Or maybe he is aware, but doesn’t know that it’s bothering you. Before addressing, I would evaluate how this issue makes you feel in the scope of the relationship and as the saying goes, “choose your battles wisely.”
-Kate

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