QUESTION: Hello, I just today found your site and think its great that you guys can give helpful advice to the women of the world! Well my story is complicated.... at least to me, so I'd like any advice you can give!
Here goes: Ok my boyfriend and I have been together for 4yrs. We've known each other for around 10 though. He is divorced and has three children. I've never been married and have no children. We got together in a weird sort of way. I was his ex-wife's brother's girlfriend for 4yrs. We both pretty much broke up with our exes at the same time and have been together ever since. We both agreed at the start that we would be upfront and honest with each other about anything and everything because we both lacked that in our previous relationships. I guess you could say we both had certain issues that needed to be overcome. I can tell you now that mine was trust and I guess you could say his was being trusted. His ex was constantly accusing him of cheating.
He is a very outgoing person that is overly nice to people and as you know some women take that the wrong way. The first 3yrs went really well with just a few minor rows and the normal relationship issues. Then towards the begining of this year we started to become distant with each other. We both had to change jobs, money got tight, and stress was mounting on both ends. He spent more and more time out drinking and I spent more and more time at home alone being mad.
Finally it all came to a head and I was snooping (not good I know) and found some texts from a girl that I had never heard about. I'll tell you now that there was no real sexual meaning behind them but they didnt sound good either. I completely lost control and we started arguing. He had no explanations for the girl texting him and ending up storming out in the middle of the night. I didn't know what to do. I felt completely betrayed. The following day I changed the locks on the house and started packing his stuff because he refused to talk to me. I gave him a deadline in which to pick his things up and I was done. I cryed for the next 4 days straight. I couldn't let him or his kids go.
Over the next couple of weeks we started talking again and agreed that since we had known each other for so long that it would be stupid to never talk again. We had really long talks and he told me he never did anything with anybody else and I believed him. Soon we were sleeping together again, but we were calling it "friends with benifits". Then he told me he was sorry and that he really did love me but he was under so much stress that he didn't know what he wanted. (He runs a restraunt, has to work 50+ hrs a week so he doesn't fall behind on child support, cause if he does his ex takes him to court and tries to get him thrown in jail) To be honest all our problems started when he had to go to jail overnight for being behind. After that he was obsessed with work and said he would never go back. Anyway he started staying the night pretty much through the whole week. Things seem to be ok but there's alot of strain. One of the major problems is I can't let him move back into my house because my parents own it and they flat out said noway. He stays at his dads and neither one of us has the money to move right now. We both just started school so we can get away from the food indusrty. I know he's stressed about that because he can't tell his boss for fear of being demoted and falling behind in cs.
This past week he hasn't stayed the night with me at all. He's not as lovey as he usually is unless I initiate it. He still says "I love you" but it almost seems like its just habit. But at the same time we've almost been planning the future like we used to...looking at houses and talking about what we want to do. Do you think I'm overanalyzing or is he done? Is he just overstressed? I try and be as supportive as I can but it gets frustrating because I dont understand what he wants. *sigh* Well thanks for listening and I hope you can shed some light on this!
GARLAND: Thank you for your question, it;s a very good one that I think a lot of people can relate to.
Your man sounds very stressed, and stress, like most negative stuff, trickles down, in this case, to his woman. I think that this may be a time in your man's life that he focuses on his priorities, and while it may sound cold it's not meant to be, but you are probably NOT one of those priorities.
Let me explain - when I was single, I dated a reasonable amount, not a lot but not a little - sort of right in the middle I guess. But, while I would have liked to have had a girlfriend or at least a steady hanging-out-friend most of the time, I came across certain stretches where my money was funny, or I had to focus on getting myself squared away. It was during those times, that I didn't date, or I didn't kick-it with that special someone. I focused on me, my money and/or my situation. When I was on even footing as a Man, only then was I any good for a woman.
I think for Your Man, this is one of those times where he needs to get himself squared away and be gainfully employed, a steady father, self sufficent, and a more reasponsible man. He's divorced, struggling with child support, living with his dad, overworked, and I'm sure his head is all over the place. Honestly, I don't see where he has room in his life to try and be a decent boyfriend or partner to you. He is worried day-to-day about whether or not he's going to jail. He REALLY needs to work on the REAL issues in his life. And being the father of three, he needs to make sure he gets quality face time with his kids. He just sounds like he needs to prioritize big-time. Also, you sound like you have some things on your plate too, That's NOT a knock on you, but living in a house owned by Mom and Dad and just starting school, it sounds like you have dreams and targets you need to be concentrating on yourself.
Sure, you may have had a few good years - four - but think about the fact that you have, probably another 50 or 60 years ahead of you. Do you understand how much living THAT truly is. There is no rule that says you have to stay with a guy because you two have gone out for a few years - THERE IS NO RULE! It is okay to walk away from four years with a guy. He needs to get himself together and so do you - it sounds to me like being together is going to be more stressful than seperating from each other.
Right now, this guy sounds like all he can be to you is a Sex-Buddy. He has no money, he can't take you anywhere, he can't cook you breakfast in his own kitchen and he can't commit to you. Sex-Buddies are a dime-a-dozen, but a man that is ready, willing and able to take on a mature and healthy relationship with you is a true prize and one you are worthy of.
Good luck, and think about the next 60 years. Remember - YOU DON'T OWE HIM A THING, YOU ONLY OWE YOURSELF!!!
CHUCK: Confused, once upon a time, maybe during the 90's, there used to be a concept called "having it all." That referred to having everything in your life together and locked down. Your career, your home, your car, your love life: all sorted out. A lot of people had it that way, and thought it'd be that way forever. They were wrong.
Marriages fell apart, people got laid off, homes were foreclosed on, the snatch-man came for that E-class. Things changed for people who did not expect them to. Maybe that is what has happened with your boyfriend. His marriage fell apart, and now he is constantly trying to keep up with his child support. He's even been forced to spend time in jail. He's living with his dad, and cannot stay with you. He is very stressed out. Is this an ideal evironment for a relationship? I don't think so.
You don't explicitly state what it is you want out of this relationship, but it seems to me that if you want anything more than just the most basic stuff, and occasional "benefits," you're not likely to get it. It's not his fault, though. Circumstances have run this man down, and he seems to have decided to spend a good deal of his time at the pity party.
Is his situation tough? Yes, but not untenable. There are plenty of guy in similar broke, overworked straits, who do not have the love of a woman to see them through. He doesn't realize how good he has it.
If you feel you can be fulfilled with things as they are with him, very well. But I think now may just not be a very good time for you two. Maybe you should take a break for a few months and revisit your situation later. Maybe things will change for the better by then. But right now, I think your guy is on a bit of a downward trend psychologically. You're under no obligation to go down with him.