Following are leftover questions from my live chat, “Stalled Relationships,” (Sept. 24):
My boyfriend’s 38, I’m 29; we’ve been off and on for several years. We lived together for 18 months, but we found that we both needed more space.
We weren’t ready then for a full-time relationship; we were both too independent. But we missed each other a lot, and when we got back together, I knew that I loved him.
He wouldn’t say he loved me, but he definitely wanted me to move back in with him and I did.
Now he’s still doing his own thing three-to-four nights a week, and sometimes he doesn’t even say he’ll be out late or where he’s going.
However, I do know it’s mostly out with workmates or playing poker, etc.
It feels like we’re back where we were over a year ago. How do I get him to move forward with me? I want a commitment from him to plan our future and have a family one day.
Ready for More
He knows what you want, but it’s not what he wants. It may not be, for a long time, since he resists being a settled team. Many men his age also think about the future and family, yet he’s still thinking of his next poker game.
He won’t say he loves you, and that says a lot. He wants/likes your being there – you’re the woman he can count on for warmth and sex when he’s finished playing with his friends.
You’ll have to move forward on your own. It’s the only way he might realize he can’t have it both ways, i.e. you alongside, but no commitment.
It’s a toss-up whether he’ll react by giving you what you want in order to get you back.
Meanwhile, give yourself the chance to have “more” by dating others. You may shock both him and yourself, by finding out you’re fine without him.
My wife and I work in the same profession and always had a lot to talk about. But she became judgmental when I went up the corporate ladder while she stayed in the ranks.
Financially, my higher salary was a great plus, and we were each doing what we wanted in our work life. But she started using phrases like “our side” and “your side” to have combative discussions.
I’ve become close in the meantime to a woman on my management team. I feel much-needed comfort when I’m with her, as well as passion, which had gone missing in my marriage.
I’ve tried to keep the marriage going because of our teenage son, but we’re both stuck in place, on opposite sides.
You’ve already found a team partner on “your side.” And you’re building a case for why it’s okay to leave your marriage.
Maybe it is. But if you want your next relationship to be successful, do some soul-searching on what your contribution may’ve been to the “big divide.”
(This doesn’t mean it’s only your fault, but a breach in connection such as you describe is rarely created by only one spouse).
Your office relationship in which you’ve already moved on emotionally, may never have the same job-related differences as developed with your spouse.
But make sure ahead that you’re someone who hears, listens to, and responds to what a partner’s saying. Especially if the real message is that she’s come to feel far less important to you.
I married a man on the rebound because he promised to look after me. However, I look after him.
He’s a hypochondriac, has food allergies, and will only travel and eat at specific places. He dreads anything new or adventuresome.
He wants me to give up my career and be his grandkids’ “Gammy” (I’m 52, he’s 65). I want to escape; yet I’m stuck here because of feeling guilty.
Can’t Take It
You’re neither stuck nor guilty. His hypochondriac nature won’t change no matter how much you do.
Ask yourself: Is there love, affection, or close connection between you? If not, then you both had the same agenda of seeking caregiving. But it’s not working for you.
Tell him how you feel. It may cause him to turn to his doctor for reassurances, and try to relate to you differently.
If he can’t, you need to move on. That’s not “escape,” it’s looking after yourself.
Tip of the day:
Relationships can get stalled when both parties refuse to compromise and adapt to each other’s needs.