My boyfriend of five-plus years and I moved in together this year, after three years of long distance.
I moved to his city, as he’s finishing his last year towards his degree at university.
I’ve had a lot of anxiety regarding our future, and missing my family.
I also had difficulty finding meaningful work, resulting in financial stress.
Luckily, my boyfriend found a full-time job back in our hometown.
Recently, he raised worries about our relationship, saying he isn't sure whether he wants to continue.
I’m trying to remain hopeful, understanding, and patient.
He’s said that he loves me, but isn’t sure he’s "in love” with me anymore.
Could this be a “relationship rut” regarding the stress we've been under and the closure of a big chapter of his life?
Is there any way to help him through this without giving up on our relationship?
You two have been through big changes, with another coming in the move and his new job.
He has to help himself through his doubts, by figuring out whether he wants to experience this new chapter in his life on his own, or sharing it with you.
It may take a break for him to know what’s really causing his “worries.”
Back off, rather than try to solve it with him. He needs a reality check as to what he’s suggesting, not extra attention.
And you need a partner who IS in love with you. Some time apart will tell a lot.
Last summer, we bought our first house. Initially, the elderly neighbours in the other half of our duplex were quite friendly.
This spring, we took out the lone tree, which was clearly on our half of the front lawn, to make room for three more trees.
During the tree removal, the elderly lady came out and yelled at us for doing such a "travesty."
She said we weren’t to dare touch the trees on her property, and that she’ll have to build a fence.
Note: Last fall, we’d removed some tree-style hedges right next to our house - they were ugly, blocking our big window and we didn't want the roots to affect our foundation.
We left one on our property as a courtesy to them to allow for privacy for their front window. Nothing was said during or since our doing that.
This time, we tried to explain what we were planning to do, but to no avail.
What’s the best way to continue to not have a nasty relationship with the elderly couple next door?
We’re 28 and 37, and don’t know what we’ve done to offend them.
In future, we’ll have to build a new garage.
I’m now concerned that will trigger drama from them, even though it’s our property.
You missed the first courtesy required for harmonious duplex and townhouse living: Discuss with your “attached” neighbour any plans to change the appearance of the front or back property, even if it’s on your side.
Remember: They’re equal owners, even if they’re elderly (you mention this three times).
Had you explained about the tree before starting removal, shown them a drawing, asked their advice, there’d likely have been far less reaction.
Also, many people view long-time trees as cherished nature. It likely affected the appearance of their house, too.
Approach them now with a token of apology – flowers, say – and ask for a chance to show them your plans for the three new trees and how they’ll look.
FEEDBACK Regarding the wife who no longer found her husband sexually attractive due to his weight loss (April 16):
Reader – “Since I married my husband in 1991, he’s had cancer treatments, heart surgery, a ruptured appendix, and several surgeries during which he almost died.
“Fortunately, I'm a retired licenced Nursing Assistant with a lot of hospital experiences, so was able to call on that experience to get us through those tough times.
“I had to draw on medical knowledge I’d gathered over the years.
“Love isn't just about the wedding and good times, it's about weathering storms together.
“Partners either get closer or drift apart, and what we've been through has brought us very close together.
“I'm now 80, this is my second marriage, and I'm truly blessed with a kind, considerate, caring husband.
“I'm physically handicapped, have osteoporosis and more, but all those things don't cause him to love me any less.”
Tip of the day:
When a partner doubts loving you, a break lets you both re-think the relationship.