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In Public

This post comes from Group Therapy in our TrèsSugar Community. Feel free to add your advice in the comments!

I've only been dating my current boyfriend for three months and things are, I must admit, going much better than I could have anticipated. He's a good person, attentive, and understanding, the whole nine yards — except when we're out in public!

Part of the problem is that we live in the same building (we're both college students) and share mutual friends. We also started out as "friends with benefits" and it's been a bit of an adjustment moving publically from casual to full-blown girlfriend and boyfriend. Still, I struggle sometimes to understand how we can go — literally in minutes — from holding hands and being couply in his room or downtown, to playing completely platonic in front of nearly anyone else!


Any ideas how to make things more consistent? He always asks me what he can do to make things better — what's the "proper" way to act — and I'm not sure myself. I only know something needs to change!

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Flickr User Peter Gene

Join The Conversation
sourcherry sourcherry 7 years
Like anonymous said, take the initiative with a small gesture like holding hands and see how he reacts. If he pushes you away I'd be very worried, if he accepts it then it's only a matter of time until he's more comfortable with it.
janneth janneth 7 years
This is not a huge problem, so relax and work things out together.
JoeTyndall JoeTyndall 7 years
Pale (OP), you said, "I was more looking for advice about how he SHOULD be acting, in your guys experience, because neither of us is very experienced in this situation!" --> I think it mostly depends on if both of you are introverted or extrovertred, and what behavior both of you feel comfortable with. To me, this is the biggest point in deciding how he "should" be acting.
JoeTyndall JoeTyndall 7 years
"Maybe he's just not comfortable showing affection in public?" --> I agree, and I had not thought about it. The OP needs to find out if this is true.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
IMO he either has serious PDA issues or there is another player in the mix. The only way you're going to find out what's up is to talk to him but I would advise not approaching him like he's done something wrong because then you may trigger him to put up the walls and then you'll never find out the genuine truth. I used to be terrified of PDA but that's because I'm gay and I didn't want a base ball bat upside my head.
Jmartens Jmartens 7 years
nearly impossible to go from friends with bennies to a respected girl friend.
Veka Veka 7 years
I think there's a difference between the typical "PDA" and showing affection. I personally loathe PDA and I will not do anything more than hold hands, a quick kiss on lips or cheek, or have arms around each other when out in public. I think anything more than that is tasteless.
mix-tape mix-tape 7 years
I can understand where he's coming from. I hate PDA. I'm uncomfortable doing it in front of other people and I feel uncomfortable when other people do it in front of me. I believe affection is a personal matter and shouldn't be on display for everyone.
Veka Veka 7 years
Actions speak louder than words. If he's not willing to admit to his friends that you're bf/gf, that's a big red flag. As everyone else has already stated, tell him how you feel and ask him to show you more affection in public and actually act like a boyfriend.
jenni5 jenni5 7 years
Maybe he's just not comfortable showing affection in public? But like everyone else already said, you need to talk to him and see where you stand.
JoeTyndall JoeTyndall 7 years
Pale Blue Eyes, you said, "...he just doesn't know how to act and make the transition." --> Then make a list of specific examples of body language you want to see from him in public. What do you want him to do? Watch the things he does for you in private, like hold hands, put his arm around you, etc. Are there certain ways he makes eye contact with you, or certain ways he talks to you when the two of you are alone, certain things he stops doing as soon as his buddies are around?
PaleBlueEyes PaleBlueEyes 7 years
Thanks everyone for the advice. We actually have talked about this a lot and he seems WILLING to change but says he just doesn't know how to act and make the transition. Also, just to clarify, it was his idea to begin dating--he asked me several times before I agreed--and we have yet to actually have intercourse, so I don't think it's about the sex. I don't want to pretend he'e perfect, he has tons of faults, but being an asshole isn't really one of them. He's waited 3 months for me to be ready and he does amazingly sweet things for me all the time. I was more looking for advice about how he SHOULD be acting, in your guys experience, because neither of us is very experienced in this situation!
dikke-kus dikke-kus 7 years
yes. I would listen to his words. They will say all. If he says something about being just friends wb at this point I would beware.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 7 years
Speak to him and see where you guys stand.
Venus1 Venus1 7 years
I agree with all of lthe above. You MUST speak to him!
notinthemood notinthemood 7 years
The bennies are bad because it is rare that a man will respect a girl who puts out like that enough to transition into a full-on relationship. You give it up while asking for nothing in return, then suddenly there's supposed to be a price for the sex (affection). If a guy is saying "sure, we're bf/gf" but not following through in public, he's just telling you what you want to hear so you keep sleeping with him. That's a bad situation, and one I don't envy. OP, if I were you, I would decide what I wanted in a boyfriend. Then, tell him that you're going to go pursue that if he's not it. And follow through. Right now, you're settling for less and he's getting everything he wants... how long are you willing to go without what you need?
JoeTyndall JoeTyndall 7 years
njau, I think one mistake we often make is that one person acts condescending toward the other person, and the other person looks the other way in order to "keep peace." I think we all have to stop putting up with this, as you finally did with the way he treated you for your "countryside ways" etc.
JoeTyndall JoeTyndall 7 years
OP, Have you discussed this with him?
njau njau 7 years
I'm going to tell you my story, it may not completely 100% match anything that you are going through, but I've been through this situation. I started with my ex as a friend with benefit and it did quickly turn monogamous and what I thought was a strong 3 year relationship. He too was very awesome within the confounds of his bedroom but the moment we stepped out I was just his friend and nothign more. Like you, there were lots of mutual friends, but by around the 3 months mark, they sort of know what is going on between you two as much as you may/may not deny it. For me, at about the 6 months mark, I got really tired of hiding what we were and wanted to "come out" as a couple, and he gave me a million excuses why he didn't do certain things in public with me, like he wasn't into PDA but I wasn't wanting to make out with the dude, I just wanted you know to hug him or hold his hand and stuff, not crazy like you see some couples, but he couldn't even do that. In fact on my birthday one year, he grabbed my hand for no less than 30 seconds and I smiled because I thought this was a big mile stone, he noticed this smile and took his hand away and was like well... it was weird, I know. Skip forward until our breakup for a somewhat related issue, I found out a few months later that he was cheating on me for at least a year because in his mind we were just friends nothing more, so the cheating was 'justified', and he was also a little ashamed to be dating me for whatever reason in the first place- I have believed it was because I was a different nationality, my fashion sense, and my "small town" background.... very superficial I know. But when I look back on the lengthof the relationship, this started from day one and I allowed it to keep going on. I guess after that big blurb have you in fact had the talk that you are boyfriend/girlfriend? And you need it to be exactly those words. If you haven't you need to, and if you have, tell him it may be weird at the beginning but it's okay to embrace me as your girlfriend in public, and that you are pretty sure every one knows already anyways. Insights from my post break up and watching other relationships, a man shouldn't be afraid to hold your hand or give you a nice sweet kiss on the lips in public in front of his friends, if he is, it's a red flag.
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