When Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Act Like a Boyfriend

he doesn't act like a boyfriend

If you have followed Katarina Phang you have probably heard her say “A boyfriend is as a boyfriend does.”  Yet countless women continue to act like a girlfriend to a man who does not provide the actions of a boyfriend.

They remain loyal to a title and in the process self abandon.  Not all proclaimed boyfriends are actually boyfriends. I can give countless real life examples.

I have experienced many times where I had the girlfriend title, but the actions where lacking.

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When You Want More Time with Your Boyfriend

A common question I see in Katarina’s group is how can I get my boyfriend to spend more time with me, or call or text me more.

Many will say you need to talk to him.  Share what you need to feel safe in the relationship.  While I am all about getting our needs met, talks rarely work.  The reason is if he wanted to be more in touch and spend time with you, he would, without you having to ask for it.

I had a boyfriend like this once.  Probably the most fun boyfriend ever.  We had a date every Saturday night and he called me about once a week.  Dates were always fun, sex was great. He treated me great.

When we were together, life was grand.

Once a week.

The other 6 days a week I had no clue what he was doing.  He did like to party.

This worked for about six months until I started wanting more.  I talked to him and he made it clear that he wasn’t ready to give up his freedom.  Yet he still called me his girlfriend though sometimes I was introduced as his “friend”.

I did not protest, I did not talk anymore, I started acting single on those other six days.  I talked to other men while I was out.  I went for drinks. I had fun.

Eventually I met a man who wanted more.  Larry found out.  He was hurt, he suddenly wanted to step it up, but it was too late.  Took him 4 months to notice I was backing slowly away.

I believe a boyfriend would have noticed much sooner, hence be very cautious of using a label “boyfriend.”  When his words and actions don’t line up and you feel much hesitation and distance in him, he’s a non-boyfriend and very likely he’s still talking to -or even sleep- with other women.  You’re free to date others till a guy really claims you with both words and actions.

Staying Loyal out of Fear, Obligation and Guilt

Many would not do what I did above because they fear if the boyfriend found out, he would get angry and leave.

I could have held on to the status quo and been stuck on the dead end street for years.  I could have just ended it, but at the time, he was the one I thought I wanted.

My gut told me that his lack of a full commitment was him keeping his options open.  He later admitted this to me.

Many would say I cheated, but the reality was he was not really a boyfriend.

Many would fear a man’s reaction in a case like this.

They have a man that has the boyfriend title and they just keep talking, trying and pushing to get more hoping he will step it up.

They do the same thing and hope to get a different result.

I didn’t set out to meet someone else.  I just kept my options open as well and it happened.

I mirrored his investment. That is really all I did.  I had no agenda and I wasn’t looking for anything.  Just living my life. Allowing life to happen as opposed to trying to control how it’s unfolding.

Larry was ready to forgive and start over, but months (close to a year) of him not acting like a boyfriend, finding someone who did act like a boyfriend who wanted to spend more time with me (with no effort on my part) changed my heart.

All really is fair in love and war.

When It Moves too Fast

When one commits to exclusivity or being boyfriend and girlfriend too fast, often a few months down the road, the boyfriend stops acting like a boyfriend.  He gets distant. You begin to feel taken for granted.

In this case, you failed to pace.  I have seen women agree to exclusivity in a week or a month (or a first date) only to discover later down the road that he wasn’t boyfriend material to start with.

Often they don’t see it this way.  They are now invested without spending any time in the observation mode.  It takes time to get to know a man and if he is actually worth your investment.

Women are scared to not accept such an offer for they fear if they don’t, he will leave.  They might miss a good thing. They fear being alone.

Honey if he leaves he wasn’t the right man anyway.

You don’t know him or his behaviors this early, nor does he know yours.

More times than not a relationship that starts out with a bang, ends with a bang. Women that accept the girlfriend title quickly often are those that attach easily and attach hard. That however, is a different blog post.

Exclusivity with a Non Boyfriend

The agreement to become exclusive with a man as in not date or have sex with others doesn’t always mean he is committed.

I have been exclusive with men and it lasted around a year before it hit me like a ton of bricks that this was as far as it was going.

The signs are there if you are paying attention.  A man can call you about everyday, take you out consistently and still have no intention of committing long term.

This was Larry above.  It was also Mike.  Mike was another exclusive boyfriend.  He acted like a boyfriend with one exception that was very telling.

Although when we were together everything was great, I was excluded from his outside life.

It’s difficult to explain, but my gut told me that there was so much I didn’t know about him.  It’s like he compartmentalized our relationship.  When we were together, he was completely attentive.

Any family event he had, I was not invited.  He didn’t share about his day or work life except for brief details.  He bought a house and I didn’t see it until weeks after the paperwork was signed.  That’s when I really knew.

It also dawned on me that he knew very little about me.  He didn’t know I was raised by an unstable woman.  He didn’t know anything about my family.  In hindsight, perhaps I didn’t feel safe to share any of this part of my life with him either.

Deep conversations just never happened. A bit odd for a man I talked to every single day for a year.

I had devoted close to a year being exclusive with a man and what he was offering at that time was all he was ever going to offer.

It wasn’t going any further.

It wasn’t a bad relationship. It was stable. We got along well and rarely had any disagreements.  Something was off though, I could feel it.

If you find yourself wanting more and it’s not moving forward even though you are exclusive, he may not really be your boyfriend at all.

There is a difference in long term dating and an actual relationship.

Know when to cut your loses and start dating others. Listen to the whispers of your gut, your intuition and tune out those thoughts of what it should be.

When a Boyfriend Isn’t a Boyfriend

A man invested into you, that cares about you wants to make you happy.  He wants to spend time with you.

  • He doesn’t go days and weeks without contact.
  • He doesn’t flake on plans.
  • He follows through
  • He doesn’t live in your phone, but is present in your life
  • He isn’t too busy at work to give you attention
  • He doesn’t withdraw in his rough life patches
  • He does what he says he will do
  • He includes you in his life and world

If your boyfriend goes days with no contact, flakes, lives more in your phone than in your life, withdraws for long periods of time when he is busy with work or stress and doesn’t do what he says he will do or follow through (words not actions), he is just a man you are dating so adjust accordingly.

He isn’t full in. Adjust your sails.  Live your life.

To continue to give all of your heart to a man who isn’t giving back is being the one down and giving your power away.

Take you power back.

Don’t wait around on hopes he will change or step up.

Get busy. Put the focus back on you and things that make you happy.

Know that you have options.  You do have those you know.

Don’t be scared he will leave.  Be easy to lose.  If he leaves, he didn’t care that much.  If he cares, he is going to step it up.

My favorite quote.  I have a ring with this engraved.  To thine own self be true.

Read More on Navigating Dating Below:

Dating More than one Man

Can You Date When You are Still In Love with an Ex

When He is Not Ready for a Relationship

Do You Want To Know When To Speak Up and How to Communicate In A Way that He Can Listen to and Make Him Love You Even More? 

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