15 April 2008

Why does my boyfriend treat me differently than his other girlfriends?

My boyfriend is awesome, but he treats me differently than all of his other girlfriends. He held their hands on the day after they have been dating, and it’s been over a month and he still hasn’t made a move. Does he think it would be awkward or something? I try being patient and he says that he misses me when I’m gone and puts his arm around my waist sometimes, but it just isn’t the same as the way he acted with his other girlfriends. He says that he loves them and holds hands with them, but now that he dates me he doesn’t hold my hand or say anything like that. Is there something wrong or is it just me being too extreme? Is he just shy?

catherine duguay

Hi Katie,

Thanks for your question.

I know that you are probably feeling confused as to why your boyfriend is doing this when he has not done so in the past. It may be that he is shy, but if he is truly has been acting differently with other girlfriends in the past, and that you have been a direct witness of that, I would think it is likely that it is something else.

However, this something else is not necessarily detrimental to your relationship!

He could be acting this way more out of respect than because of a lack of feelings for you; people act differently in different relationships and that is totally normal. Just because he has acted more “lovey” in the past does not mean that he is not doing that with you because he does not have feelings for you; it may be the opposite!

If this kind of behavior bothers you, I think that it would be helpful to talk to him about it in a non-accusatory way. Try to be understanding, but don’t hesitate to disclose how you feel about his behavior. If he truly cares about you, he could spontaneously change his behavior because he realizes it is hurtful to you.

If the subject is brought up in a non-accusatory way, with you explaining how you feel rather than criticizing his behavior, he will probably feel like he can open up to you and by doing so, may help you to understand why he is doing this.

Also, if this kind of behavior keeps bothering you, both of you can also discuss ways of being intimate (in public or not) without it being uncomfortable for either of you; being intimate with someone should be based on the making the other person feels loved and respected, not uncomfortable and awkward. Keep that in mind!

I hope that this helps, and please write to us again if you have other questions,

Catherine, for AlterHeroes