My boyfriend and I (age range 26-30, I'm the older one) have been together for two months now and for the most part it was great, we have similar interests, we do things together often, and we make each other smile and laugh often. However,I've noticed the following pattern that repeated itself around six times now:
- if he ever thinks I'm angry at him, he starts being way nicer to me than he usually is
- if I'm being very nice and kind to him, he stops caring about me.
What I mean by "stops caring" is:
- When we weren't in a relationship, he would remember every little detail about anything I did. However now, sometimes he doesn't even remember something I said yesterday. Sometimes he acts spaced out while I talk to him and doesn't even notice parts of sentences I said and I have to repeat myself.
- He used to look up information about me online and check my social website statuses, nowadays sometimes I send him a link to a joke in a text message and he doesn't even open the link.
- He acts very lazy around me and gets gradually more lazy over time. He used to invite me to hang out all the time, now he just tells me to go to sleep.
- His other friends ask him for help with something and he spends hours helping them. I asked him to help with something small that I know is easy and would only take him a few minutes, and he says he will but then forgets and doesn't even spend 5 minutes on it.
None of those would be an issue on their own, I could brush it off as just "him being this way", but I can visibly see that all of those things change as soon as I start being passive-aggressive towards him. This means I just act "normal" the same way I act to any normal friend, which is less nice or considerate towards him than he's used of me: I'm giving honest but short replies to questions without elaborating, I'm not trying to pry or analyze, I give off an attitude of "what you told me is fine and it's none of my business to think more deeply about it". Note that this kind of behavior is not actually negative in any way, my regular friends like me a lot when I'm like this around them, but my boyfriend sees this as passive aggressive because I'm essentially being less nice or considerate towards him.
Whenever I do that, suddenly he starts giving me lots of attention, checking out those messages I sent him that he ignored earlier, and starts planning occasions for us to hang out together, etc.
I'm trying to be very generous towards him and have almost no expectations at all, constantly reassuring him that whatever shortcomings he has are not an issue for me. When he says something negative about himself or how society views him negatively, I use facts and logic and expose to him that life isn't black and white and that there's a full half to the glass as well, help him see the bright side and his strong points and tell him those overshadow his weaknesses.
Basically no matter what I do, no matter if I buy him gifts based on his preferences, or play the games that he likes with him, or just act nice and accepting of his personality, at the end of the day he just takes me for granted and treats me worse than all the other people he hangs out with. If I ask him for anything small he pretends to not notice or forgets.
I can't even dream of him doing something small for me on his own. Although he is my boyfriend, I'm usually the more assertive one in this relationship. I clearly remember three occasions he was more assertive around me and I found him to be way more attractive in those times, I know he has potential, just wish he could show it more. I tried to encourage him multiple times to be more assertive around me in general but he seems too scared to do it no matter how cooperative I try to be with him.
The only times he's ever really nice to me and goes out of his way to consider how I feel and do things for me is when I make any sign of getting angry or upset and he feels like he might lose me. This is really upsetting for me. I don't want to feel like I constantly need to scare him to make him care about me. But it feels like nothing else works.
How can I make my boyfriend have the same motivation he had for me before we got together without constantly having to scare him that I might break up with him with passive aggressive behavior?
[Edit] After trying to communicate my needs, I was met with a wall. He did not want to communicate on the same level as me. We have ended our relationship shortly after.
I like both the answer by DDSK78 and by Kat, they both seem to resonate with my personal experience here. I can't choose which one is better so I'm not sure which one to upvote.