Part two of leftover questions from my online chat “Stalled Relationships,” (Sept. 24):
I ignored the signs that my new boyfriend would be trouble for me. He drank too much, smoked too much pot, and had been unemployed for a few months.
But he was wonderfully kind and caring and said he loved me, at a time when I was very lonely. When I said I couldn’t support him, he said he’d get a job; but he didn’t.
I got angry; he left, and soon informed me he was with someone new. When he came back a few months later, I welcomed him because I’d missed him so much.
We get along great, so long as I’m working and he’s hanging out; but he cleans the apartment, cooks, and makes love to me.
Is there any chance this will progress, or this is the way it’ll always be?
This is all he’s offering, for the foreseeable future. Breaking up didn’t motivate him to change.
Maybe he lacks confidence to get another job, maybe he lacks skills… but it’s clear he also prefers drinking and smoking pot at his leisure, to a steady workday.
Knowing that the relationship’s unlikely to “progress” beyond this places the decision back in your lap.
The fact you’d consider it “progress” if he changed (i.e. got a job, contributed financially to your life together), shows this current arrangement won’t keep you satisfied.
You can afford cleaning help (since you can afford to keep him). You can afford some meals out, some deli, and even cooking classes. You’re not dependent on him.
Love is deeper and sex more passionate when two people, who are equals, also respect each other.
My wife of seven years stopped caring about me - no sex, no warmth, and no conversation except about our two sons.
I met another woman purely by accident, and we both felt instant love. I couldn’t stay away from her. I moved out and felt I’d be together with this new woman forever.
Then guilt overcame me, and my kids were acting out, even when I was with them. I realized I’d done this all wrong and had to go back, settle them, and separate legally from my wife before I could have a life with my love.
But my girlfriend now feels abandoned, hurt, and angry. She doesn’t trust that my wife won’t use sex to hold onto me, and she says she can’t tolerate that.
We’re stuck in limbo – she won’t even talk to me sometimes, though she’s admitted she still loves me.
How do I get my life and our relationship on a smooth track forward?
You’ve muddled two relationships simultaneously, and it won’t work for either woman or yourself.
Now that you’re back with your wife, deal with that relationship. Tell her you left because of what you were missing from her.
You both need to air out what happened, in order to understand it.
If she admits to being through with the marriage, then you need to get a legal separation and agree on a custody agreement that’s best for your sons.
Meanwhile, explain to your girlfriend that you need to deal fairly with your wife for your peace of mind, and ultimately for your girlfriend’s comfort too, because you’re a responsible man who doesn’t just cut and run.
It’s tough on her, but not abandonment. Making a clean break from your marriage and settling your kids is the natural priority.
Her fiancé died in a tragic accident a year before we met. She was the woman for me, but it was too early to pursue her.
We became good friends, getting together every few weeks, emailing, and talking often. I’ve recently confessed my feelings.
She’s admitted that she’s attracted to me, but can’t yet let go emotionally. She says she wants to move on but feels guilty about it. What more can I do?
Stay close and caring, but don’t pressure her. Suggest that she get grief counselling, if she hasn’t already, to confront her sadness, and even anger at her loss.
She’d also benefit from a grief support group.
Healing takes time, and she can’t be rushed. A new romance can bring back some of the hurt, and guilt feelings are natural here.
But even as you stay close, keep enough distance that she doesn’t take it for granted that you’ll wait forever.
Tip of the day:
When there’s no “progress” in your relationship, change depends on you.