"I have been in a relationship with a man for 1 1/2 yr now with a few breaks in between. We live 2 hrs away from each other. We are both stubborn. We have a disagreement then don't talk for a bit then we start again.
This last time we fought was I feel he does not make me a priority. We did not speak for over a month. He would send a text but I ignored him. He sent a joke, not a real comment.
The last time he texted, I did respond. I missed him. He told me he was thinking of me and wanted to see how I was doing. So we are back to talking but he hasn't asked to see me. He did this while we were together too. He is busy but I just don't understand why he obviously missed me too but does not ask to see me.
Why does he pop back in but then not say what he really wants?!"
The short answer - you're experiencing a (stubborn manly) power struggle and having very common communication issues on both sides.
It appears when there's fight, both of you like to retreat and take a passive aggressive stance which causes the silence and communication problems.
This silence is often common for men but not so much for women.
From a man's perspective there's a part of us that likes to maintain some sense of power and control not only in the relationship, but in our lives too.
It's makes us feel safe, comfortable, in control, and strong. So it's not all a masculine problem but a normal thing when handled correctly.
Here's what he is thinking:
"If I give in too much, she will control me. If I'm controlled I won't feel happy and free.
When she tries to control me, my actions, or the words I avoid using to speak how I feel... She's trying to change me, my core.
AND if she's trying to change something about me (or us), then she must not like me for who I am. How can I make her happy this way.
If she doesn't like me for who I am, then why is she still with me. She MUST be trying to change me and take away my freedom."
Yeah, it's not all fun and games being a man. 🙂
This is a power struggle going on for his identity (or how much you're attracted to him) and because you're far enough apart (two hours) to avoid constant confrontation, it's all too easy to not speak for a month and still "call" it a relationship.
In fact it may not be clear to him what kind of relationship you have as there are clear communication issues going on.
Each of you may, because men and women often do, have two different definitions of a relationships or the level of the relationship.
In your eyes, him not making you a priority is a weakness in your defined relationship.
But in his eyes, a relationship of only marriage bound or a couple living together is when you give full priority to the woman.
The priority part is often argued among men and women.
One relationship expert in the field, Michael Fiore, in a quiz to help women figure out if a guy loves you or not, found his love is partly proven IF he makes you A priority in his life but the ONE priority.
Video Quiz - Instant Results - Affiliated Link.
If you two are not discussing this stuff, it will cause problem and lots of miscommunication errors often leading to fight like this and the response in the aftermath of the argument.
(Of course if it's found true he's not making you at least one proven priority then you have cause to further it and find an agreement that works, or unfortunately doesn't settle the dispute.)
The power struggle and why he pops back in but then not say what he really wants.
This often starts when seemingly irrelevant (often superficial) disagreements turn into silence. A deadlock where each draws a line in the sand and pulls out the rope for a game of tug and war.
The strangest part of all this comes down to something you might not know or assume about men.
How we really feel about you, how attracted we are to you, or how far or deep we want to be in a relationship is not overly affected by our ability to make you happy and keep you attracted to us.
In other words, how un-liked we may feel doesn't change or lower how we feel about you.
That means we're not going to stop missing you but it might mean we'll sit and wait and hope you'll do something to prove how much you do like or love us.
We're waiting or looking for a real clear and definite sign.
It also means we may not say what we want because that feels like again, we're giving up some of our power and if that power seems to rely on how we perceive you feel about us, telling you changes us into the person you would rather us to be.
He pops back in because his feelings towards you has not changed.
He doesn't tell you what he really want because (stubbornness) dictates, if she really knew me she should know what I want, and if she really wanted me for me, she should know that I want her anyways.
The "she should know" / "he should know" is a much too common statement or thought by men and women which will, can, and has destroyed many relationships.
"There's a conversation you're having every day, sometimes several times a day that may be creating distance between you and those you love."
He doesn't ask you to see him because when you told him about the priority issues he actually hears you telling him that "he's failing with you" and is not or can not make you happy.
He believes that unless he gives more, changes into someone you WILL like (from the power struggle above), then the relationship must be redefined or in the worse case, ended.
So he retreats and disappears for a while leaving you to come to him thus maintaining power and/or declaring proof that you're okay with who he is.
Obviously his feelings appear far-fetched and unproven as it is often the case. The problem is most of us let ourselves get stuck in a power struggle causing the communication to get all garbled up and misunderstood from the beginning and onward.
The solution is often as simple as it sounds but harder to achieve.
When two people have an amazing ability to keep their internal power (feel strong and capable and bendable but not breakable) under many conditions and stressful times, the lines of communication open up much easier.
From there we can enhance the power and actually make others feel
more powerful around us.
In this case though, from my limited perspective, this does not appear to be happening for both of you although I do NOT see any clear signs of a eminent failure...
It CAN be fixed!
The Ten Second Miracle.
If we choose the wrong words, based on fear and pretense, we may set ourselves up for years of misunderstanding and bad feelings.
If we choose the right words, based on the authentic way we’re feeling, we create a space where we can breathe easy and feel connected, even if those words are difficult for us to say.
Your relationship hinges on how you handle these important moments, ten seconds at a time.
You may even say that your happiness in life depends on it.
Affiliated link that may open in a new window or tab.
I'm sure he's eventually going to ask to see you again, as most men will in these circumstances.
However, the power, control, stubbornness, and conflicts of communication will not solve themselves and need to worked on or else I fear you'll both find yourself in the same predicament again and again.
Get together and find a way to better converse openly and honestly.
You're not always going to get the answers you need but most of the time even asking a simple question like, "What do you want?" will not be taken lightly or responded kindly to because:
- He's not sure what he wants making it difficult to say and even harder to put it in words you'll get without getting angry.
- Feels threatened as if it's an ultimatum.
- Afraid of telling you the truth of his conflicts and power struggle.
- Feels misunderstood as if you "should know" because of is actions and prior conversations.
- Feels like he's given up an internal power he maintains for himself.
Keep all that in mind when you start talking more.
Thanks for stopping by and writing in.
Related posts you might be interested in reading:
- Communication Mistakes That Kill Passion & What His Silence Doesn't Mean
- The Surprising Reason Why You Become Deeply Upset With Your Partner
- What Type Of Guy Hates Being Ignored and Why?
- His Silence Is Driving You Crazy...So Why Would A Guy Ignore You?
- Do Men Speak A Different Language Than You? Why He's So Hard To Understand!
Image of man drilling power and control by Gustavo Fring.