Dating, friendship, relationships

He Doesn’t Put Me First

 Hi T,

As always, I really enjoy reading the advice that you give others.   This is a long one, so I am going to dive right in….

My boyfriend and I have been in a serious committed relationship exactly 6 months today. I will admit that the relationship took wings and has been soaring pretty high with a few bumps here and there. We have taken a cruise, flown across the country together, and done many things that relationships well over 6 months have yet to see.

I can’t help but to feel that his best friend of 20 years has some strong influence on his life that I feel is negatively affecting our relationship. I’m not placing blame on the best friend, because my boyfriend is the enabler.  I have a best friend and several close friends, but when it comes to him, I don’t allow the friendships to supersede my relationship (from a priority standpoint) and my friends all respect that when I’m with him they keep it short and sweet when they call or text.
Since the beginning, there was a red flag that I chose to address, but still ignored.  I have dropped him off at the bus station for him to help this best friend move and when he arrived, he didn’t even think enough about me to let me know he’d made it safely. He’d been there, had breakfast and was chilling.  I ended up having to ask was he okay, after noticing that he’d logged onto Facebook.  The biggest issue I am having is I am constantly being made to feel as if I’m not a priority when it comes to his best friend.

What’s been bugging me the most is that when I call him (if he’s on the phone), will either forward me to voicemail or won’t click over.  I know it may be small, but to me it’s big. My own mother can call me and if he were to call, I’m not about to end the call with her, but definitely make sure that he is okay. We have had this issue at least 4 times, one of which he lied to me and told me that he was away from his phone. Once I verified that I knew he was on the phone, he went defensive.  It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t just sit down and have a heart to heart last week about how this makes me feel.

The energy between us and our bond has been weakened for about the last month and we both agreed that we wanted the relationship and would work to make it better. The last straw occurred yesterday. He had a tooth extracted yesterday morning and he called me afterwards and we spoke. About 3 hours later, I phoned him to check on him to see if he needed anything or was okay, and he forwarded my call to voicemail. When he called me back, of course he was on the phone with his bestie discussing their plans for the weekend. To me, a simple “hold on” would’ve sufficed. I am not implying that you get off the phone ever but don’t forward my calls to VM. It’s a form of ignoring me.  If I tell you how much it annoys or frustrates me, why continue to do it?
Apparently you don’t respect the relationship or me enough to not be so hell bent on not adjusting the behavior to maintain the peace.

His rebuttal is always it’s not that big of a deal, you’re over-reacting, I always call you back within 15 to 20 minutes.  How do you call me the love of your life, but when you see the love of your life calling you can easily ignore the call?

I’m a big fan of relationships and putting in the work to make it successful, however I don’t work alone. It takes two.  I broke up with him yesterday because I’ve had enough of my feelings being downgraded to over-reactions, being made to feel 2nd, and saying the same thing over and over.

What are your thoughts here?

-Priority Number 1

 

Dear Priority Number 1,

Thanks for writing to me.  Like I always say, I really appreciate reading positive feedback.  I love when people tell me they enjoy reading my site.  I hope you continue to stop by According to T and that you tell your friends about it, after the advice I give you today.  As you know, I try to give you an honest and impartial opinion, and today will be no exception.

As most people know, friendships are something very important in a person’s life.  When you’ve found real friends, those people that will support you in the trenches and always want nothing but the best for you in life, you’ve found a blessing.  There are countless people that are hard-pressed to name at least one person that fits this definition of friendship, so if your ex-boo has a REAL friend, I can’t be mad at him for that. Heck that’s a 20 year bond.

With that said, I’m a believer that when we as human beings engage in romantic relationships, it’s up to us to find a proper balance between the romance and our other relationships with family and friends.  It is completely possible, that he has just not been able to find that balance yet.  And it takes time.  I know in the past I’ve had an issue with splitting my time amongst my man, my family, and friends.  Except in my case, I became one of those folks that got wrapped so tight in my romantic life, that I was making sparse appearances with those in my life that I’ve known forever.  Which is not hot.  Thankfully as time progressed, I saw the error in my ways and fixed things.  Perhaps with some more time, your ex would be able to find that good balance for him.

Now I’d be lying if I told you I thought you were blameless in this scenario.  Based on what you wrote here, I’m left to assume that you actually may have been a little bit of a nagger. And that’s no shade intended.  Gay or straight, grown men don’t like to constantly be told what to do and when to do it. Telling him when to answer the phone, when he needs to call, and instructions on what he needs to do if he’s on the phone when you call, can be a bit overwhelming and slightly annoying to a lot of guys.  And while you think repeatedly telling him about himself will help, it can actually make things worse.  I imagine the communication between you two got worse, because he didn’t feel like being b*tched out every time he answered the phone.

And I’m also curious about this man’s dating history.  I congratulate you and him for making six months, but if he doesn’t have a good track record for long relationships, that brings in a whole new can of worms.  It could be possible that he prioritizes his 20 year friendship over his romantic relationships, because he doesn’t expect the men he dates in life to be around long.  If this is the case, he probably just needs your patience and commitment to show him you aren’t going anywhere, and he can let you in.

Suggestions going forward.

  1. If you love this man, meet up with him and try to work this out. Have an open and judgment free conversation.  Apologize to him if he felt like you were nagging, BUT also calmly explain to him that you just want to feel important and loved.  Also, make sure to connect the dots that communication is one way to show you how he feels about you.
  1. Make a point to hang out with him and his friend together. Let the friend get to know you more, so the friend knows you are a good guy.  The better the friend feels about you, the better your chances are that the friend will start nudging your ex to hang with you. Also, knowing you may make the 20 year pal feel guilty for monopolizing the ex’s time.
  1. If need be, try finding the friend a date so he has a little distraction in his life.
  1. Oh and in my opinion, calling you back within 15 minutes isn’t a huge deal. So you could cut the boy a little of slack.
  1. And be aware that while communication is important to you in showing love, it may not be his symbol of love necessarily. Find out his love language.

As always nothing but love,

T.

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6 thoughts on “He Doesn’t Put Me First”

  1. Priority 1 says:

    Thanks for your insight and your advice. I have been the one to reconcile on our differences regardless of who’s to blame (there’s the slack), so this one is on him to step up and fight if he sees that it’s worth if. I’m tired (not from nagging and b*tching… Lol) but feeling like the one putting in the majority of the work.

    We as adults don’t like to be told what to do, however if it is something that you are doing that causes the one you call the love of your life to feel a certain way, put your selfish way of doing things to the side. It’s not about you, it’s about us. If he comes around, cool. If not, that’s cool too…. in his two previous relationships he’s been twice cheated on and had another one leech off of him and ran him into the ground. I have been nothing but loyal but when my small request falls on deaf ears… It’s his job to recognize my value and not me convincing him of my worth.

    Thanks again for a fresh perspective. 🙂

    1. AsAccordingToT says:

      Oh in that case yeah, you don’t want to be the only one putting in work to save a relationship. No one wants to feel like he wants his man more than the man wants him. I completely get you wanting to see if he wants you when you’re not there (in Bey sorry voice lol). And also interesting what you said about his exes. I think what I said about his past affecting his present in terms of relationships is probably right.

      P.S. Glad to see you recognize your worth.

    2. Geek In Chic says:

      I will be the first to admit that I have BIG communication issues. Like your ex, I have been cheated on twice before
      I remember after one day I met up with my best friend after I had broken up with my ex. After a two hour conversation he said “I missed you man. It seems like you were gone forever.” Hearing those words were a big slap on the face. I thought I was doing a good job at being present with my friends when I was in my relationship. From then on I vowed that I would never choose a guy ever my friends. at the end of the day it’s my friends that stuck with me.
      I say this with the most respect, but that also holds true with your ex. You left, but his friends are still there for him. Maybe I’m being a little biased since I have gone through your exe’s situation, but knowing and having a friend that doesn’t give up on you when other people will…well that’s more than what a lot of people can say.
      I do hope that everything works out for the best for you two. Everyone deserves to be happy!

      1. AsAccordingToT says:

        Definitely a valid point. It’s hard for anyone to go into a relationship without a past that determines how he acts with his boo. Heck that’s impossible as you get older.

      2. Priority 1 says:

        It’s a balance. I would never say diss your friends, don’t talk to your friends, don’t hang out and spend time with your friends. I have friends and they have been there through my different relationships, so I get it. My friends don’t feel threatened by a relationship because the friendships are solid. However, they know that my partner is an important priority in my life (as he should be). It doesn’t lessen who they are to me or who I am to them.

        1. AsAccordingToT says:

          Oh I completely understand your point. Trust me I do. In my romantic life, I expect a little priority as well. However, I can also see if a person doesn’t have the best dating history, why he would be inclined to prioritize his life long friends over his boo. As good as you are too him, until he is able to shake the past and live in the moment with you, he will continue to see you and possible future men as temporary, and not fully invest and prioritize the boo over a long established bond.

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