Question: Dear Luise: I can’t say my question is a dilemma but it is really causing a problem for me. I have been dating my boyfriend for 4 months officially, but I have known him for about 4 years. Anyway, we are both full-time college students, I work full-time during the week and he works part-time during the week and all weekend. We rarely see each other. And if we do it’s usually at night after 10pm or so, which is my normal bed time as I have an early morning. I guess what I’m trying to say is I sacrifice rest and any free time I have to see him when he isn’t busy, and he doesn’t do the same. He rarely visits me for my lunches during the week when he has nothing to do, citing sleepiness or that he’s going to see his friends. He goes out with his friends on time that I feel should be with me, such as lunches or Friday and Saturday nights when I’m able to see him, after all, he has free time to see his friends when we can’t hang out. He claims he loves me and I would assume that would make me some sort of priority but I don’t feel that I am. It also upsets me also that he’ll hang out with his friends until 2 or 3 in the morning, but any night that we are going to hang out he’ll be tired (I AM AS WELL! and will say he needs to go to bed, blah, blah. I needed to write you because every time I try to bring it up to him he shoots me down, claiming that he gives me all the time he has, which obviously isn’t the case, and basically makes me feel bad for feeling like this. I’m as understanding as they come, and I’m not a clingy girl at all. I just feel so unimportant and unloved right now. I love him a lot, but I’m young, I have options, and I don’t feel that I deserve this. Do I leave him or do I try to stick it out? J
Answer: Dear J.: Your guy may be lovable but you have different priorities. He is way up there on your list and you are way down there on his. You have one very strong thing in common…you both love him dearly.
Where you have lucked out is that many men set such behavior aside when they fall in love and then reinstate it after they are married…much to their brides’ dismay. On the other side of the coin, some women like this kind of imbalance. There is the essence of victim in it and something to complain about endlessly when they get together with other women who have structured their lives in the same way. Not everyone likes equality. Their battle cry is “but I love him!” Well then, have at it. Be second best. Wait for your man to come home when it suits him and to notice you when it’s handy, if that’s his definition of love. Whatever floats your boat.
What they don’t say, what they don’t even think, is what you said…”I have other options.” Good for you! You bet you do. You have the option to value yourself and to select a guy who does the same thing. You get to be considered when plans are made and you get to know what it feels like when another person inconveniences himself for you.
Gather up your self-respect and move on. He’s a very lovable, selfish, little boy. You can do a lot better than that. Someone who wants to mother him will come along and they will live happily ever after. Mothers sacrifice for their babies’ sake and some babies never grow up. Adults care and share without perpetuating the parent/child dynamic. Blessings, Luise