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My Boyfriend Doesn't Care About My Interests

"My Boyfriend Doesn't Care About My Interests"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 5 and 1/2 years. In most aspects, we have a great relationship. We like a lot of the same things, have similar "values," share many of the same friends, and just generally get along really well. We're passionate and love each other very much. The biggest source of contention in our relationship is that whereas I like 90 percent of what he likes he doesn't like most of the things that I like. I like the same music, movies, and activities as him. But the same can't be said for him when it comes to MY interests. So, when there's something that I want to do and want him to go with me, if it's not something he's interested in then he complains about it or refuses to go. He thinks I'm the one being selfish and unreasonable for wanting to make him do something that I know he doesn't like. Whereas, I feel like he doesn't appreciate my interests and doesn't want to put forth the time and energy to do the things that I like to do.

Keep reading for all the details of this dilemma.

The most recent example was that a local movie theater was playing my favorite movie of all time as a one night only event. I had asked him a week beforehand if he wanted to come, but he had kickball game planned already that evening (we're on a team together, but I can't play this season). I was understanding about it and didn't get upset that he kept his commitment to the team. But it rained yesterday so I thought the game would be cancelled and he would go with me. When I asked him about it again, he just flat out said "no." I told him that this was really special to me and I thought it would be kind of romantic. He didn't understand why it was a big deal and that he would be bored, so why would I want to drag him to something he's not going to enjoy? Obviously, a fight about it ensued.

It hurts my feelings when I feel like he doesn't care about the things that matter to me. I don't ask him to go to everything with me. And I don't always get mad every time he says no. But when special things come up, like going to my favorite movie or a wedding, he digs his heels into the ground and refuses to move or just complains about it before/after the event. He likes to remind me that he never makes me do things with him that I don't want to do. Which is pretty much true because I don't mind doing the things that he likes to do. And if there is something I'm really not interested in, it's never been a big deal. It's gotten to the point where I just don't want to ask him to do anything with me anymore and that just seems really unfair. I feel like he's being selfish and uncaring. Just once it would be nice for him to do something with me and he didn't complain about it.

We've talked about this many times over the years. As I said, it's always been the biggest source of fighting. I'm not sure what else I can say to him so that he understands where I'm coming from. Am I being selfish about this?

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LittleSuri LittleSuri 4 years
I agree with the other comments.  In my relationship, my fiance did not like to do some of the things I liked, but because he knew I would enjoy it, he did so out of a loving expression.  Here is how we do things:  If something comes up that I want to do, I rate it 1-5.  1 being not too important to me and 5 being really important.  If it is below a 3 for me, I could care less if he came or not.  If it is a 5 and he did not come with me when he could have, I would feel very hurt.  3 or 4, it's up to him...but it would mean a lot to me if he did--definitely an expression of love.  :) 
BiWife BiWife 4 years
@lisaknisa sounds like you guys had a communication failure, not even an issue of him not caring about you. keep working on those communication channels.
Mermaidfreckles Mermaidfreckles 4 years
I don't think you are being selfish at all. You deserve to have a companion that cares to be involved in your interests as well. I was with a guy for a year that didn't agree, and I realized that he didn't see relationships the same way I do and I was selling myself short. Have you told him outright that it makes you feel like he doesn't care? If so it seems like by ignoring your feelings, that kind of confirms that. At least thats how I would feel.
stuffings stuffings 4 years
 @lisaknisa It sounds like you are the one pulling the whole load of the relationship. After 5 1/2 years he has gotten very comfy. He doens't have to put in that effort because you do it all.  Are you afraid to stop trying incase he doesn't step up and put in the effort neccessary  to continue the relationship? Are you possibly worried that if you dont keep working at it, this relationship will slip through your fingers? Its terrifying...but you need to pull back and put yourself first. I agree with lisaknisa above. When it comes to his interests, simply dont. Just pull back....he needs to get back into that challenge of chasing and wooing you again. Seems silly but true.    
phantasygroove phantasygroove 4 years
I really appreciate *most* of the feedback (as I think Bubbles is making a lot of wild assumptions). It’s been very helpful and makes me happy I found this community that offers a lot of constructive advice. Generally when there’s something I really want to do (concert, movie, event) I just do it by myself or with friends and I’m usually okay with that. We’re both very independent and don’t limit what one another does, something I’m grateful for. However, I don’t want to ALWAYS rely on doing something with a friend or by myself. If something comes up that’s really special/important to me, I would like for my boyfriend to be a part of it. In this recent case, it was my favorite movie playing in a cinema for the first time and that was something really special I wanted to share with my boyfriend. As Lisaknisa pointed out, yes, I thought HE was being selfish since this is the same argument that crops up every few months or so. And it hasn’t been a reciprocal situation- I really don’t mind doing the things that he likes because if anything it just gives me insight into why he likes something and that helps me respect his interests. But yes, when that’s not always reciprocated, it leads to these arguments. It's not a dealbreaker, if it was I wouldn't still be with him after 5-1/2 years. I’m a very social, extroverted individual with a wide array of interests and hobbies- many friends and acquaintances plus a lot of community involvement means I have a busy social calendar. My bf keeps his circle of friends smaller and doesn’t like cocktail social situations. That was something I had to get used to and respect early on, so over the course of our relationship I’ve learned to not “force” him to attend cocktail parties, events, and functions with me if it makes him uncomfortable and to not get upset about it. In return, he goes with me to weddings and birthday parties without a fuss (or at least the bare minimum amount of grumbling). So we have a history of trying to compromise and find a middle ground we can both work with. We did sit down and talk about it over the weekend and I do feel there’s a certain amount of clarity that was reached. I basically told him what I posted here and brought up talking points left in the comment section. In the case of the movie, it was just something he didn’t have an interest in and said he’d be bored. He really didn’t realize how much this had hurt my feelings and he acknowledged that he should have handled the situation differently rather than just saying “NO,” such as suggesting something that we could do together in the recent future that would been fun and romantic for just the two of us. Also, with the fact that I don’t force my social agenda on him, he admitted he could have just gone to the movie instead of digging his heels like I was asking him to go to a black tie affair. He has agreed to really work on honoring our agreement that he will do 1-2 things a month that are “really special” to me without arguing against them and making me feel like he doesn’t respect my interests. In turn, I need to respect his comfort zone more when picking these outings and have agreed to not get upset with him when he really really doesn’t want to do something. I want to show him I appreciate him doing these things for me, so I’ll make sure I do something nice for him in return. I know that there will still be times we won't see eye to eye but I feel like we're making a real compromise here that we'll be able to work with. Anyway, I really appreciate the feedback and advice. I hope that if someone else finds themselves in a similar situation, they will benefit from it as well. Thanks!
BiWife BiWife 4 years
I think this is a "pick your battle" moment too, like Kurnia said. So you guys don't share all of *your* interests. that's ok, in fact, that's a good thing. Next time your favorite movie is playing at the theatre, instead of trying to drag your bf to it, why not go with a girlfriend or by yourself? There's nothing wrong with doing things by yourself once in a while, especially if it's something that only holds special significance to you. I'm assuming you guys can still find common interests and things to do together, right? If so, then let some of these other items go. Don't let it irk you so much that he won't get interested in certain interests of yours. It's been almost 6 years, so you two should have a good feel for what commonalities you have, build on those rather than trying to get him into more of your interests/activities. I also think there is something to be said for building your own group of friends to do things with that doesn't necessarily include your significant other. It gets difficult to talk about stuff you did today when you two did everything together and he was there when that funny thing happened, etc. It's important to make sure you're taking time to nurture your self and your passions, regardless of whether or not your SO is along for the ride. My hubby can't stand all the news and politics that I love, so I have a whole separate group of friends that I discuss that sort of thing with and do protests, etc, with. Meanwhile, he adores the old card game Magic, and while I do enjoy the game as well, I don't get as into it as he does. So he has a set of friends that he plays with and goes to tournaments with, which includes a couple of guys that I find completely repellent and obnoxious, but apparently they're worth it for the Magic games.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 4 years
I don't think that your bf doesn't care about your interests. I think he respects that you have your own interests (as you do for him), but he just minds that he has to be interested in things he's not into or participate in them. I understand it's frustrating because you wish you could show this movie to him, share with him your passion/joy and in result, you feel rejected and frustrated because he doesn't go for it. I also understand his pov that if you care about someone, why force him/her to do something s/he doesn't care for... But. If I were you, and if you're seriously wanting to enjoy this movie, go with a friend who shares this interest or go by yourself. ENJOY yourself. Believe me that you will end up not liking him going with you. No one wants someone who will be like a baby, whining/pouting because 'you make him' go to watch the movie, that's just a headache/fight waiting to happen. I have super different interests than my husband (different ideology too) but we don't clash that often because we both have in the beginning leave things be. He doesn't join in the stuffs I'm really into (anime, zombies, gaming, ballet, comic-cons, etc--I'm a geek, yes), while I don't do the stuffs he's into that I'm not (i.e. hunting, car shows, gun shows etc). I kind of picked my battle when it comes to trying to make him do something he doesn't particularly care about, i.e. a wedding in my side of the family, and vice versa on that one too. Another suggestion is, if you're going to kind of talk him into doing something he doesn't particularly enjoy, you may want to talk about rewarding him with something he loves..hey, sometimes you do have to train your man a little ;) So he won't protest too much. I agree that you do need to address this, at least you guys have some stuffs you kind of have to 'sacrifice' for the, once a year or twice a year or something. Find a compromise about this. I'm sure you can, you guys have been together for awhile, talk it out calmly :) Good luck.
lisaknisa lisaknisa 4 years
I don't think you're being selfish about this. I had this same problem with my ex and it grew to be such a frustration that it contributed in large part to us breaking up. The way I see it, it seems like HE is being very selfish. That said, it doesn't mean it couldn't be worked out, but he needs to figure out how to be more flexible. It doesn't sound like a horrible, unpleasant evening to sit through a movie that your significant other happens to love. It's just a movie, it's like 90 minutes of the day, and it's going to make the person you love happy - and why wouldn't you want to do something so simple that will make that person happy? I ultimately realized my ex's refusal to do anything he didn't absolutely enjoy was a sign that there was a future in store of many, many activities I'd have to learn to enjoy by myself, and I didn't want that for myself. Relationships are give and take and both parties need to realize that.    I understand you partake in activities he enjoys because you also enjoy them, but do you also do things you don't REALLY want to do, just to spend time with him? I used to do that a lot because it mattered more to me to have the time together than to complain that I was miserable or miss out on hanging out. The problem is when this kind of act isn't reciprocated. If that's what's going on, maybe try a test and see how he reacts when you say No to doing anything you aren't over-the-moon excited about doing. It'd be interesting to see how he would feel if you took the same disinterest, and would probably be a good time to show by example and then have a conversation with him once he's gone through the reversed scenario. When he sees that you're making small sacrifices for his happiness, hopefully he will start to do the same and not complain about it. It's worth a shot!   If you start to realize that he doesn't care if you accompany him or not (as was the case with me), then you might need to think about whether this is a good situation for you. Because it does sound like he's acting very uncaring and selfish right now. Ultimately, you deserve someone who wants you around and who wants to do the little things that make you happy.
mnp mnp 4 years
I agree with missmaryb. It is selflish that he won't make an effort to do the things you want to every now and then. Do you feel like this is a dealbreaker? Would you mind having friends do these type of things with you instead? Relationships are all about compromises and even if he doesn't share your interests, he should take joy in knowing that you're happy doing x,y and z so he'll go with you to support you.
missmaryb missmaryb 4 years
I do think it's pretty selfish that he won't sacrifice any of his time for you. Sometimes you just go along with the one you love simply because you love them and want to spend time with them, no matter what the event might be. However, it sounds like this is something you've discussed and he's not budging. I'm also assuming it's not a relationship deal breaker for you, so it's something you must find a compromise for. I would put the following ideas out could agree to a certain amount of things you'll do with each other that wouldn't be your first choice. For example, once a month you will each agree to do something the other wants to do without argument. Or you could let it go and plan to do those things with your friends and release him from any obligation. I don't think you're ever going to get him to go along with you 100% of the time, nor should you expect to. But I think it's fair to expect him to accompany you sometimes. Relationships are all about give and take and he has to do a little more giving. Good luck.
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 4 years
You need to develop more friendships instead of relying on him for so much. It would be a lot more attractive if you had a fuller life. When someone says no and you keep on pushing them to do what you want anyway -- that's just bullying. Does your family think that's ok to do to each other?
phantasygroove phantasygroove 4 years
Like I said, lucky for him I already like most of the stuff that he likes. Unfortunately, it's not vice versa so that's what the conflict stems from.
phantasygroove phantasygroove 4 years
re: not going with him to something I generally go and do the things with him that he wants to do without complaint because I don't mind doing them. Generally, it's something that we both like or if I know it's something he really wants to do, I'll go with him because he asked me to go. It's not a big deal for me to give up some of my time to do something with him that will make him happy. Usually the only time I decline an invitation is if he's doing a "guy" thing with his buddies and I want him to have time with them. Or if he's playing videogames with them. I'm not a gamer so when I do come over and he's doing that, I'll sit with him but bring a book or play Angry Birds. When the shoe is on the other foot, i.e. me asking him to do something with me, I always get flack from him for it. We made an agreement that I would pick and choose what's most important to me and 1-2 times a month he'll do that activity with me. But despite that, he still argues and puts up a fight about having to do it. I've gotten so upset before that I've just gone on to things by myself. I'm not asking him to like what I like. It's okay if we don't have the same interests. I just feel like he doesn't respect mine. I like the idea about doing a list. Thanks.
luckyduckyy luckyduckyy 4 years
Also, just go through this together, as an activity: ask each other to list all events they've gone to for each other, ones they've wanted to go to, ones they didn't want to go to but didn't make their objections known, ones they didn't want to do to and made their objections known, also list events you thought were most important for the other to attend, how you felt when they did or didn't attend, and reasons for attending or not attending. This will help you to see that your viewpoint may be a bit skewed, and you're just focusing on the negative when there is really so much more positive.
luckyduckyy luckyduckyy 4 years
When he invites you to an event you're not interested in, do you just suck it up and go or do you tell him you don't want to go and that's that? It seems to me as though you make it clear you don't want to go, and then he drops it and goes by himself anyway. When the shoe is on the other foot, though, and you ask him to go to an event, and he says no, you keep reasking him and complaining to him when he (undoubtedly) says no. Why is it that you keep pressuring him to go to an event AFTER he's made it clear that he doesn't want to go? To me, that is selfish. You can complain that you find his behavior selfish and uncaring or whatever, but try to take an objective look at how you're behaving and how it's making him feel. I'll bet you enjoy the liberty you have in being able to say 'no' to your bf when he invites you to an event you don't want to attend. I'll bet you also enjoy that he doesn't whine and complain when you say no. Why can't you give him the same liberty and respect?
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