brena asks: I am lacking my boyfriends attention. He hardly texts or calls me. We are on a VIP text plan that gives us unlimited text for a month, but if I get ten texts from him in those days I am lucky. This has been going on for a long time now, and has reached the point where I have thought about cheating on him just to get a little attention. I really do love him and I know he loves me – whenever I tell him the way I feel he says he will change, and just for a day or a few hours he does, but then the same thing takes place. There is a lot more but I just can’t bother to write it all out. He spends more time with his friends than me. I am lonely and confused I just want a little love and affection! I was at church and I found out that a younger boy likes me. I was so happy that someone still likes me and looks at me and smiles – that shows I am beautiful and I’ve still got the looks to steal a boy’s heart! I love my boyfriend so much I won’t cheat on him, but I really need the love and the attention – without that this relationship can’t work. Maybe I just want to stop speaking to him? I can’t bother with the way he treats me!
Hi brena –
Once, a few years back, my friend Handsome got extremely busy on a work project. He only came home enough to sleep, every day for three weeks. And even after that, he was gone twelve or more hours a day. It was just awful for me.
The first few days were intolerable. I was so lonely! I would sit around the house, wondering why he didn’t like me or care about me anymore. But then I noticed something – rats! Our neighbor had rats in their yard. And at times, they would run on power lines from their yard into others, through our yard. And they’d go through our trees!
Now what was really interesting about this is that I never could tell if there was a rat in our trees. It wasn’t like I could see them in there. So whenever even a slight breeze would blow the leaves, I would assume a rat was there, and jump as high as I could to try to see, and catch, it. And this was a windy time of year, so I spent most of my day jumping, trying to catch one.
It was so fun doing this that, even when Handsome would come home, exhausted, for his few hours sleep, I was completely obsessed with rat-hunting, and wouldn’t pay that much attention to him! Yes, the guy who I’d been pining over for days!
As his schedule started to improve, though, he wanted to spend more time with me (He’d actually missed me!). And I’d start to get re-attached to him, but then he’d leave again, or get all “I’m too busy on the phone” on me. All that kind of stuff.
Finally, he had a day off. And both of us were overjoyed to have a day together. We slept in, and he made breakfast and shared it with me, he put on music we both liked, and all seemed great. And then he settled himself down onto the floor, with a big pile of mail, to do paperwork, and promptly ignored me.
I was furious! I had put up with so much, and now he was going to do this?! So I did the one thing I could think of.
In those days, he had a white couch. And I was allowed anywhere in the house except on it, because my dirty paws would discolor it. So on this day, ignored, I walked over to the couch, and, watching him intently, climbed onto that couch and sat on it. Saying as clearly as if I had a human mouth, “So are you gonna pay attention to me now?!”
Handsome was shocked, and yelled at me to get off of it. But then he realized what was going on, and laughed at us both, and said, “Okay, knucklehead. Let’s go back outside.”
We went out into the back and did the single thing we most needed to do: We PLAYED. We played catch, we played tag, we ran and tumbled and chased each other and tug-of-warred, and re-built the connection we’d lost a little of. It wasn’t that Handsome hadn’t cared, or hadn’t loved me. He’d just gotten so wrapped up in his work that he’d lost touch with how much he needed to connect with me – in a doggy way!
Okay, why am I telling you this long story? Because everything you’re telling me about this boyfriend reminds me of how I felt while Handsome was off working. But what I don’t know is: is your boyfriend just consumed by something, as Handsome was? Or is he truly not caring enough to pay attention to you?
If it’s the first, then I suggest you go stand on his couch! But if it’s the second, then it’s time for you to think, very strongly, about how you want and deserve to be treated. Maybe you think you’re being silly, and all is really fine. Or maybe you think you want to spend the rest of your life being treasured and honored and noticed. And if so, maybe this isn’t the boy to do that. Maybe he’s a nice, cute, attractive guy – and should be with someone else. Someone who doesn’t care about getting lots of attention. (Or, more likely, maybe he’s a nice, cute, attractive guy, who needs to learn what a relationship really needs!).
So what’s his “couch?” What sort of test can you give him, to see if he cares, or really doesn’t? Can you ignore him a little, and see how he responds? Can you treat him the way he treats you, and see how he likes it? Can you make a point of making sure he sees you flirting with other boys?!
And if you do something like this, see how he reacts. Does he go “Oh! I need to work harder to keep brena! I hate feeling like I’m not important to her!” Or does he shrug and say “Oh well, she wasn’t all that important to me anyway”? Or does he get angry and mean (which might mean it’s best to break up with him, since that sort of behavior you definitely don’t deserve!)?
Whatever it is, you’ll learn some truth about him then. And when you do, that will point you the way to go.
And who knows? Maybe he acts in a way that makes you break up with him, and THEN he begins to realize how important you are to him, and he starts to ‘step up’ and give you what you deserve. That’d be great too!
Whatever it is, brena, it’s time for you to determine, for yourself, what your worth is. And once you do, you’ll know what risks are worth taking. Maybe risking losing a guy who doesn’t treat you right.
Or, in my case, risking getting really yelled at about getting on that couch!
Best of Luck!