My boyfriend and I have been living together for two years; we have had our ups and downs. Stress from his work, our issues (mostly about money), and not meeting expectations have led us to the point of taking some space for a month.
He wants to be by himself and figure things out on his own, with not too much talking, and he’ll see how he feels about us.
He had expectations of himself and hasn't reached them all, and he isn’t happy in our relationship.
I’m being supportive and respectful of what he wants. He’s an amazing person and partner, and I love him very much. I know he loves me too.
But I don’t know how to not feel scared, vulnerable, alone, and in emotional limbo. I want things to work out. I also want to know if this is just space he needed or the beginning to an end between us.
He’s indicated the “alone time” is all about him and his unrealized expectations, yet he also wants time away from the relationship.
Realistically, one month on his own isn’t going to change his “expectations” of himself and his life.
The overriding issue on that score is how he handles stress and financial worries. He needs to talk to a professional about that area of his life – possibly a career counselor to get re-invigorated about his potential and any boosts he can give it.
Once he deals with his disappointments in himself, or at least faces them and considers some steps to a more positive approach to problems, then the relationship could be looked at separately.
But by lumping it all together, he’s sounding more like he’s depressed and running away, even avoiding talking.
Give him his month’s “space,” but tell him that if he tries to change his outlook on work, money, and you, all in one month, it’s a set-up for further disappointment.
Ask him to consider the relationship after he deals with personal work/attitude stuff.
Then keep yourself busy and positive during the break. Hopefully, he’ll come back clear-headed and try to work out a better future with you.
FEEDBACK #1 Regarding the couple upset by a relative’s request for money for hosting them in Florida (June 23):
Reader – “My husband and I rent for three months annually and various friends and family join us.
“My brother and his wife fly from England, rent their own car, and insist on paying their portion of the rental while they’re with us. When we eat out, one day it’s their turn and the next it’s ours.
“Another friend always hands over a couple of hundred dollars towards room and board. With three of us, when we eat out, each of us takes a turn paying.
“My sister, a fairly recent widow who also came to visit from England, loves to cook and I pay the grocery bills but not all of them, she contributes, too. We have other friends that will purposefully take us out for a meal to say thanks, but when we’re out and about, we take turns to pick up the tab.
“People are generally invited because they’re good company, we don’t invite them for what we’ll get out of it.
“However, when visiting people who are renting, it’s good manners to reciprocate in some way. After all, we still have the overhead of our family home, too. Those expenses don’t go away just because we’re not there.”
Reader#2 – “This man came for a vacation and to visit his brother. He’s under no obligation to pay for any dinners or to give his brother money.
“I believe the brother that rented the unit was totally out of line. If the visiting brother wanted to pay, and could afford dinners, that's fine.
“To ask if he brought a hostess gift was not right. You also said "Apparently your brother and wife spent more of their time and money hosting you." That was the point. They invited them to come and stay for a week. They were the host and hostess. That is what their role is when they have guests.
“What difference does it make what the brother is spending on the weekly rental? That’s on the brother and wife who are renting, certainly not on the vacationing brother.
“This brother was extremely rude and to send a gift with more thanks is not warranted.”
Tip of the day:
When work, income, and self-image are disappointing, get pro-active rather than blame your relationship.