Ask Dave-Am I About To Get Dumped?

Lately, my boyfriend's been acting less interested and is busy a lot. Am I about to get dumped?

By Dave Singleton

ear Dave,
I need some advice because things aren’t looking good for my boyfriend and me. We’ve been together about nine months, but I get the feeling he’s about to dump me. He doesn’t call me back as fast as he once did. He’s not reserving every Saturday night for date night, which we’ve always done. He’s seeing
I have asked him if everything is OK with us, and he dodges the question.
his friends more without me. He sounds aloof. Not good, right? I am trying everything I can. When he said he had to work all of last weekend, I sent him flowers on Saturday to cheer him up. I have offered to bring him dinner if he has to work. I don’t even have to stay. But he doesn’t seem interested. I am being as patient as I can. I tell him it’s cool if he needs to hang out with his friends. Then he gets mad at for me for sounding disappointed. It’s like I can’t win.

We’re about the same age; he’s 27, I’m 28. We live around the corner from each other in Chicago, so every time I go out I am always looking for him. I used to look forward to running into him, now I feel anxious just thinking that it’ll be uncomfortable, he’ll think I’m checking up on him, or something weird like that.

I have asked him if everything is OK with us, and he dodges the question. He says he’s got work and family problems on his mind. But he sounds irritated with me when he says it.

Am I being paranoid? It’s been like this for more than a month. Though I see him about once a week, the good times, connection and sex are few and far between these days. I am doing everything I can to avoid getting dumped because I really do like him and still want what we had. What do you think?
-Don’t Want to Get Dumped

Dear DWGW,
I agree with you that things aren’t looking good and there’s a good chance your boyfriend is considering dumping you. The absolute worst thing you can do when you think (with good reason) that you might get dumped is to hurl yourself at the object of your affection. You are trying way too hard to win back something that might not be worth winning back.

Of course, taking a laid-back approach to getting him back is much easier said than done. But this is when your self-esteem has to kick in and remind you of what should be a universal truth: You don’t want someone who doesn’t want you.

Why is it that when someone is questioning a relationship, we think that putting the emotional “pedal to the metal” (i.e., sending flowers, delivering dinners, generally subjugating your own needs in exchange for his) will change his mind? Usually, this extreme-overachiever behavior has the opposite effect. The recipient of this attention, already been feeling pressured, now feels
You’re counting on him to tell you what he needs.
overwhelmed. When people feel overwhelmed, they want to escape the source of the pressure. In this case, that might be you.

Since we can’t control what your boyfriend is going to do, focus your attention on these behaviors that will strengthen you, whether or not your boyfriend dumps you:

Acknowledge where you are in this relationship.
Next time you are together and relaxed, acknowledge that this is a strange time in your relationship. The connection isn’t as strong as it was. Though there’s nothing wrong with that, since all relationships go through unconnected periods, you want him to know that you’d like to work through this phase. Make it clear, however, that:
  • You can sense how your interest in helping him could be construed by him as pressure, and pressuring him is the last thing you want to do.
  • Your intention is to make your relationship work, but you don’t want to second-guess him.
  • You’re counting on him to tell you what he needs.
  • You have things you need to do and, while patient, you need to focus on your life.
You might feel you’ve already said these things in one way or another, but stating them clearly and simply in one sitting will reassure you that you’ve communicated effectively.

Don’t hurl yourself at him.
You say you’re “doing everything I can to avoid getting dumped.” That could be part of the problem. Stop the grand gestures, such as sending flowers and acting as a food delivery service. These gestures are indeed kind, but might work against you if he’s on the fence. They are reminders that he’s doing nothing for you. If he’s questioning and feeling guilty, these gestures are likely to push him into making a decision to move away from you and the relationship.

Feel liberated.
The truth is that you aren’t in control of what your boyfriend does. You have conveyed your interest in continuing and growing your relationship. Now, try to experience the liberation that comes with knowing that the answer isn’t up to you. You can’t fix something that might already be broken.

Boost your self-esteem.
In your situation, it’s easy to feel worn down, rejected and unworthy. That’s why you should work proactively at regaining your self-esteem. Fill your schedule. See friends who support you. Go to the gym and shake up your workout routine. Rent comedy DVDs, invite people to watch with you, and have a laugh-fest. Immerse yourself in activities you enjoy. Be so busy that you forget to worry about running into him on the street. And if you do run into him, you’ll give off an independent, attractive vibe.

Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Visit Dave’s website and send your dating questions and comments to him at
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