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Boyfriend Is Not Chivalrous

Group Therapy: I Love Him, but Chivalry Is Not Dead!

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

Before I start going into details, there is a little background. My boyfriend and I have known each other for years. We met as freshman in college and are both 25 now. We were friends most of these years, although we both had interest in each other, timing was never right. Well, at the beginning of this year we started hanging out as more then friends and the timing was perfect! We have been "official" now for about five months and things have been going well. My father unexpectedly passed away about a month ago, and he has been my rock. I just have a HUGE issue, and that is the fact that he is not very chivalrous.

He does pay for dinner when we go out and such, but he doesn’t open the car door for me, and although he will open the front door he usually will walk in front of me. But what bothers me even more is that he doesn’t tell me I'm beautiful. He does not compliment me, at all. I know I am an attractive woman, and men hit on me constantly and tell me how beautiful I am, but I do not care about them. I want to hear it from HIM.


If I get dressed up when we go out to dinner, he may tell me “you look pretty” (but usually not). We went to a friend's wedding and I got my hair and makeup done and wore a very sexy dress, and he didn’t even tell me I looked good. I had to confront him the next day and basically tell him that he didn’t compliment me. It just drives me insane, because I always tell him he looks great, and such. I have always dated men that have opened the door for me, pulled the chair out for me, and complimented me, especially when I dress up for a date. Also, he hasn’t said I LOVE YOU to me yet, although he tells me he has “a lot of love” for me.

I don’t want to sound like a nagging gf, but this is driving me nuts. My dad was so chivalrous, he told my mother how beautiful and sexy she was (after being married for over 25 years) and would always hold the door for her and pull out her chair and such, that’s the example I saw and I want nothing less for myself. I just don’t know how or if I should even confront him about it.

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native210 native210 5 years
I had the exact same problems with my b-f of 6 years. I tried gentle hints, honest talks, I never ever nagged or complained, I always complemented him and used positive reinforcements. Nada. For six years, when it would get to me and I'd point it out, he'd only tell me that "you're not the first to complain. All my exes complained." But that's not an apology or any attempt. My mother warned me if it wasn't happening now, no amount of training would work. HIS mother told me not to expect any better because he was just like his father, a man she'd considered leaving for decades. It went beyond common courtesy...I could struggle through the door laden with grocery bags and he wouldn't even look up, let alone help me. If I did ask for help he got irritated and sighed heavily as he slowly got up. He always walked five steps ahead of me, everywhere, even at formal events. We both loved hiking but he was always out of sight ahead of me. After 18 months I finally told him I was falling in love with him, and he told me "I just can't say that right now." I said that was not the point of me telling him, to hear it echoed back, I just wanted him to know that I loved him. I waited another 6 months to say it again, and I got the same response. Nearing our five year anniversary I told him to tell me, in his own words, how he felt about me. He said he was "quite fond of me" and that he "kinda feels that way about you as you feel about me." Until nearing our sixth anniversary, when he told me "I care about you but I don't feel anything more." Then he left. Bottom line: he's not going to change. EVER. If you really need this kind of feedback, you won't be happy and he'll never be Prince Charming. Have a good talk and see past his answers to his emotions. My b-f didn't turn out to have any. If he knows how you feel, he will try. If he knows and he doesn't want to try, that's your answer
jazzytummy jazzytummy 5 years
My comment will be considered by some to be unhelpful, and I will own that now, but your post really annoyed me. You sound like a princess. Stephley is completely right...I dated a very charming man who did all of the "right things" that you wanted, but he turned out to be a liar, cheater, and a mooch. My father rarely complimented my mother, and wasn't one for general chivalry, but he was honest, caring, and worked his ass off to give her and his children a wonderful life. You can try to train him to be the performing monkey that you want, or you can look a bit deeper into your relationship and realize that you are fortunate he provides the most important things. Maybe when you get older you will see this. In the meantime, the 5 Love Languages would be a good read for you.
karlotta karlotta 5 years
If these are your complaints, then you should count your blessings and try to get over it. First of all, men are trainable, so if you gently nudge him (NOT NAG) towards being more courteous, by for example saying "I love it when you hold the door for me" or "it's so sexy when you pull up my chair" then he'll probably improve. But also, give it a rest. People can't do everything we want/need 100%, and fit the bill entirely. If he loves you, treats you well, and is otherwise fully committed and great, then it's really no big deal. I think it's just a sensitive time for you because you lost your Dad and the example he set for you with your mom is only more prevalent right now, but as great as he was, he's not the only model of a wonderful partner. Give him a chance to show his love HIS way. It doesn't make it less valuable, on the contrary.
chequettex chequettex 5 years
First of all, I agree with Helen Danger - take that advice, and ask him for the things you want in the moment - if you try to talk to him about it before or after, he will zone out or get defensive. Secondly, if this little training exercise doesn't work, you may want to consider finding another guy. If this guy is just the way he is, it's possible he will never change, and if this is important to you (being treated like a lady) then find someone who does. This is coming from a woman who "settled" (it didn't feel like it at the time) for a guy who is sweet but doesn't know how to make me feel like a lady. If you don't want this to be for the rest of your life, don't accept it.
shouldhavemadehimasammich shouldhavemadehimasammich 5 years
If you really expect this much from a guy, you better have huge.... Or, you better be busting out the knee pads. I can't believe women really think this way. What makes you so special that this guy has to go out of his way to try to fix your self esteem issues? Go to therapy for this stuff, and leave the poor guy alone.
ChrissyLee ChrissyLee 5 years
@Pistil: Love The 5 Love Languages... it's a must read for anyone who wants to have a fulfilling relationship!
Pistil Pistil 5 years
Everyone needs different things to feel loved, and everyone has different ways of showing they care. I'm thinking he does so in a way that you don't appreciate the same way you would verbal compliments and polite gestures. Doesn't necessarily mean he cares less. There's a book called The 5 Love Languages that categorizes expression in 5 ways: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical Touch. Google it, think about it, and talk about what each of you needs and expects out of the relationship.
ChrissyLee ChrissyLee 5 years
You deserve to be treated the way you want, and I don't think you are asking for too much. You should sit him down and talk to him about what you need from him. We all need different things to make us feel loved but it is up to us to make sure we are getting them. You may not be able to get all of the chivalrous stuff out of him, but decide what is most important and ask for that. If he's not willing to even do a little bit of what you need then that will be an issue, but you can't be blaming him for not doing things that you haven't even ask him to do. If you don't take care of this now you will end up resenting him and probably ending the relationship really badly. Never be afraid to ask for what you want, if he really loves you he will be willing to do what it takes to make you feel loved.
nicole121482 nicole121482 5 years
I think you need to get over yourself girlie...he's with you because he wants to be...I like Helen Danger's idea if you really feel that you need to hear the constant compliments and reassurances from him...but as for the I love you...let him say it when he is ready....5 months is not that sound really needy to me...sorry...
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 5 years
I think that if you want a bf who does those thigns for you, you should have them. Don't settle because it will just become more of an issue. Either try and make this work together or find someone new.
stephley stephley 5 years
How do you treat him? Do you compliment him regularly, do kind things for him? Manners are supposed to be inclusive, not rules for eliminating people. What does he do for you? Is he a good person? He's not your dad, and I've known men with impeccable manners who still were real sh*ts.
Vanonymous Vanonymous 5 years
To me, it sounds like you've got quite the catch. The guy loves you, knows you well, and was there for you during an incredibly difficult time in your life. I understand that manners are important (a man that doesn't say "thank you" to a waitress is immediately disqualified in my book), but the truth is, a lot of women today (myself included) would not want their chair pulled out for them. Yes, holding a door is common courtesy, but expecting him to pull out your chair and open your car door seems a bit much. Again, it's just my opinion. I think it's all how you're raised. You watched your father do this for your mother so you expect that. My mother was a 60s feminist and would find it ridiculous if my father was pulling out her chair - so I grew up feeling similarly (luckily for my husband :) .) In my relationship, I prefer that we treat each other as equals, not like one of us is royalty. If you love the guy, give him a break once in a while or at least a heads up of your expectations... but don't be surprised if he runs the other way.
missbowie missbowie 5 years
If he doesn't know what you want, then he can't do anything about it. Talk to him about how you would like to be treated, and why, and see what he thinks about it. He may very well surprise you.
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 5 years
Don't confront him. Help him. Ask for what you want IN THE MOMENT, not after the fact, and then go bananas over him every time he does it. Give no response when he doesn't. Do that often enough and always make it worth his while, and he'll remember and start doing it on his own. Then it's just a matter of staying appreciative so he'll stay attentive.
dahliadreamer dahliadreamer 5 years
I think you're asking a little too much from him. He's dating you. He wouldn't be if he didn't love you. He's not out looking for other girls, or not spending time with you. For guys, sometimes those sort of things don't come as easily as they might have for your dad. Also, it's a generation gap as well. While some guys in our age do still pull the gentleman card (mine does and I looove it.) others might not have had this sort of example growing up. I think what it is is that you need to be a little more considerate of the person he is, and appreciate for everything you DO have. You're dating him becausey ou love him, and not because he isn't who you want him to be. If your'e set on being with a 'chivelrous' man, then maybe this guy isn't for you. To me from an outside POV, it sounds like you're asking too much of the poor guy. You could very well try pulling back a little bit from him to gauge his reaction to the way you convey your love to him, but I wouldn't suggest it, since it could scare him away or make it seem like you really do love him less. Just remember that he loves you, whether he says it or not.
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