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Love lessons from The Slumflower: Being nice doesn't make him The One

Each month, a guest Dazed columnist answers your sex and relationship dilemmas – today, blogger and presenter Chidera Eggerue speaks to a woman with a non-committal BF

I've been with my boyfriend for a year now, and although he is my best friend and we have a lot in common...I'm starting to feel insecure in the romantic sense. He's moving away soon, so it'll be a long distance relationship, and I don't think I can deal with the distance as I don't know how secure we are. You know what I mean? He's never once said where he sees me in his future, and when I ask, he just says he “doesn't like to talk about the future.” But how can I commit to a long distance relationship when it might end up fizzling out anyway? That said, we share so many hobbies and he genuinely makes me laugh like no one else ever has. Sometimes I wish we had just stayed friends as the romantic element is a struggle – but I crave romance! Please help!

He “doesn’t like to talk about the future” because he most likely does not see a future with you. This sentence is really hard to read, I know. You probably don’t agree, because you have a “bond”, and there are sides of him nobody else has ever seen. I hear you, I hear you, I hear you. But allow me to gently ease into an explanation that will help you see what you have been unwilling to see. Think about this: if you were to ask him a different future-related question – especially regarding something he’s expressed excitement about in the past – he would probably give you a much more enthusiastic response. Why? Because he looks forward to experiencing that moment. Key phrase: “looking forward”. Do you honestly feel like he looks forward to spending time with you as much as you look forward to spending time with him? Most likely, your answer will be “no.”

“You know what you want – but self-assurance terrifies the unsure, because it forces those around you to either live up to the truth or reveal themselves for the flakes that they are”

The truth is, he’s avoiding conversations to do with the future because it involves you, and he knows that if he avoids talking about a future with you, he won’t have any expectations to live up to. Expectations create accountability. People who have a weak relationship with the truth cannot handle the responsibility of being accountable, so they would much rather curate an environment that will allow them to execute an easy exit plan. This often involves either withholding certain parts of the truth, or creating an atmosphere of uncertainty. He’s definitely doing the latter.

Uncertainty is a breeding ground for insecurity. We become insecure when things stop adding up. Your insecurities are very valid. My past experiences – strikingly similar to yours, actually – have taught me that loopholes and distance make our insecurities louder. As much as I detect flakiness and a lack of desire to be with you, I also sense that he is probably scared he has taken on too much for himself. Too much of a woman. But you can only be “too much of a woman” for a man who does not know what he wants. As much as you do sound insecure (for valid reasons!), you also sound self-assured. You know what you want – but self-assurance terrifies the unsure, because it forces those around you to either live up to the truth or reveal themselves for the flakes that they are. Not everybody is built for this  – especially cisgendered heterosexual men. They are socialised to view women as docile, over-sensitive, and subservient – but they are also harmfully socialised to not prioritise their own emotional development, self-review, and healthy relationships with their own consciences. 

This has nothing to do with you. This is no measure of the weight of your love or the warmth of your soul. Straight men simply had to learn to be this way as a means of coping with the environment of their upbringing. Men, from the moment they are born, are encouraged not to cry, review their emotions, or speak in depth about their inadequacies, whilst women are. This is what creates the gaping disconnect between men and women. But it is not our job to educate men. It is not your job to save anybody.

Just because someone is nice, just because you are enjoying yourself, just because you feel “happy”, it doesn't mean you are giving yourself what you deserve. This man does not know what he wants. Indecision is still a decision. If he does not see you as a strong enough option at this point, he simply is not going to be able to live up to what you deserve if you manage to find a way to “make it work”. Moments like this remind me of why I am grateful for timing. Certain things happen to lead us to the side of ourselves that need work, nurturing, and healing. This sudden distance has appeared between you and your boyfriend because it’s time to nourish yourself! But he needs this distance too. He sounds like he’s got some healing to do.

Chidera Eggerue blogs as The Slumflower, and started the #SaggyBoobsMatter movement. Her debut book is out this summer.