It Looks Like I’m Working Harder at this Relationship than He Is

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

4 Responses to It Looks Like I’m Working Harder at this Relationship than He Is

  1. S September 18, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    Dear Luise: Im tired of trying to make my relationship work. My man is to stubborn, not very emotional or sensual lately and doesn’t like to talk our problems out to see if we can fix them. He doesn’t talk to me until I’m the one to apologize even tho Iv’e done nothing wrong. I am always trying to get his attention in any way possible…dressing up and making my self look nice, cooking, cleaning and washing his dirty laundry. And that not even close to enough for him. No matter what I do, we can never come to a compromise. He is my high school sweetheart. We’ve been together for almost 4 years now. I am 18 years old and he is 20. We were young but very much in love. We have a 8 month year old daughter that means the world to us. And every time shes around her daddy, her face seems to light-up with a smile. I just wish I had that impact on him. I lost my self a long time ago and can’t really define the meaning of love any more except for my kid. Will I ever be treated with the respect that I deserve? Or will I always be a another shadow in the dark…..unseen and unheard? Sincerely, S.

  2. Luise September 18, 2008 at 6:03 pm #

    Dear S. My guess is that it’s going to continue to be the way it is. Men sometimes don’t flourish in a domestic environment. You want him to be different, (for good reason), and that’s probably not going to happen. Being in love is one thing and all too often being married is something else. Self-respect can be cultivated and you can learn from that how to acknowledge and honor who you are. Looking for it from another person seldom produces the desired effect and sometimes makes things worse. You are a good wife and mom. Give yourself a pat on the back. Blessings, Luise

  3. S. September 18, 2008 at 9:10 pm #

    Dear Luise: It’s me again. And was just wondering should I stay with someone that doesn’t really understand me tho I love him dearly..or should I just pack up and leave,knowing that nothing is ever going to change. I mean were not married yet and I really think that I should be with someone that deserves what I have to offer them, and would appreciate all the love i have in store.I hear the phrase opposites attract,but in my doesn’t. In the beginning everything was just fine, but I guess now that we been together for so long he feels to comfortable in this relationship and really thinks that we will last forever. But how can someone say they love you if they go through great lengths to avoid you. Again we are two different people that can never seem to get along. Sometimes love just isn’t enough. I mean a bird may love a fish, Luise, but were would they live? My mother always use to tell me that when I’d be having trouble with my love life, which was pretty often. Thanks for listening to me and understanding. Not many people that I know really understand where I’m coming from. Especially him! Thanks for all your support and kindness. S.

  4. Luise September 19, 2008 at 5:02 am #

    Dear S. There are very few choices in the adult world that don’t bring both challenges and rewards. If you stay, you will be loved in the way he can love you and if you leave you will enter into the unknown without even that. In the long-run, you may improve your situation radically but it won’t necessarily be easy. Your mother was a wise woman. We can love someone deeply that we can’t live with, once the novelty has worn off. To some men we become fixtures. And for some women, that’s enough. When we say the word love, there are as many definitions as there are people using the word. To one person it may mean sharing thoughts and emotions…hopes and dreams while to another it may mean the total and complete joy of not being abused. Expectations vary.
    You have a strong sense of self-worth and that will help you through whatever you decide to do. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. And perhaps you didn’t make a mistake at all. He may have been right for you when you were younger and hadn’t gained any wisdom yet about what you have to give and what you need. He had expectations, too, and probably has no idea what to do with your concerns. It may be that you have changed and he hasn’t or he tried to be what you wanted and couldn’t keep it up because it’s not who he is. The possibilities are endless but the resolutions are few; stay and adjust to his limitations or go and seek a fuller life. Blessings, Luise

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