I remember one of your previous “tips” in your column:
“When you know a relationship’s over, don’t blame someone else for ending it, do it yourself.”
However, before I could end our four-month relationship, the guy I was dating ended it himself.
I wasn’t surprised, but the sadness and hurt isn’t any less. I’m 31; he’s younger than me.
We liked each other a lot and, like all couples, had the usual phases of getting to know each other, which caused some friction as well as lots of happy times.
His patience ran out regarding our disagreements, about which he basically said, “We are too different.”
But I took these arguments we’d had as a means to progress and adapt to each other. I wanted to make it work... after all, four months is nothing in time, right?
I haven’t been in contact with him since the weekend. What should I do?
The Dumped One
Read my tip for today: “When a short-term relationship doesn’t work out, don’t obsess over it.”
You’re incorrect that four months is “nothing” in time, because it’s a window into how personalities mesh… or don’t.
Or, how at least one party won’t compromise.
The reality is, you two ARE different. You look ahead with optimism; he’s impatient, seeing the present negatives.
Trust me, if this divide actually represents truly opposite natures, you’re better off without him, despite some current pain.
No matter how unsurprised you were, nobody likes to be dumped. There’s often a sense of personal failure.
But in this short-term relationship, the only “failure” was your inability to convince him of your view, when you two had fights.
That’s a bad signal for both of you. Move on. Consider that instead of being dumped by him, you were relieved from disagreements and frustration.
It’s nobody’s fault. Rather, it’s an opportunity to look for someone next time who’s at least willing to meet you halfway on issues.
I’ve been dating this guy for a month, and he fought so hard for this relationship. He does the cutest little things, and I appreciate them.
But recently he shut down, blocked everyone out, and became rude and mean.
He had a rough childhood. He’s come out of it but apparently this shutting down is something he does occasionally.
I've told him he can talk to me about it but he just gets angry and continues to push me away. Then he snaps out of it and assumes everything’s ok. How do I deal with a situation like this?
Shut Out Girlfriend
Frankly, the healthiest and smartest thing for your own well being is to walk away. One month of dating is barely past an introduction in terms of truly knowing someone, even if you’re having sex.
In fact, you’re lucky to have been shown his dark, mean mood this early.
Yes, there’s a sad reason in his background, but that’s for him to handle, not you.
Until he learns new ways to confront his demons, the people closest to him will be those on whom he takes out his moods, whether by distancing, meanness, or both.
Tell him you think he’s a great guy and hope he’ll consider getting professional help to rise above whatever in his past drags him down. Say that if he does this, he’ll find new inner strength and confidence.
If this happens, you’d happily be his girlfriend. But not now, when that role puts you at risk of being the emotional target of his misery.
I’m 21, dating my boyfriend (24) for five years. We’ve talked about marriage since early on.
Recently, he’d increasingly brought up ring-shopping.
I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else but I don't know how to tell my parents.
They got married at my age, and my mother’s constantly told me to wait until my life’s settled.
Is my hesitation to tell them really me not wanting this? Should I wait, or decide?
You owe it to your boyfriend to discuss your mother’s influence on you.
It’s easy to assume she’s spooked you, but instead, use her advice to prepare for your future, engaged, or otherwise.
Mom’s concern is about your having opportunities through education and experience, to fulfill some personal dreams besides marriage, and also be independent as needed.
You can start to pursue some opportunities right now, and continue that path when you marry, at any age.
Tip of the day:
When a short-term relationship doesn’t work out, don’t obsess over it.