My boyfriend is from my city, but we met through a friend while studying at different Universities, a couple of hours apart.
My school’s in my hometown. He lives with roommates, and he comes home many weekends.
We fell in love. He’s very serious about his studies, and ambitious for the future. He said early on that we’d get married as soon as it’s possible.
However, nearing our graduations, he’s become totally focused on his future, while almost belittling mine.
He urged me to get a job instead of going to graduate school, so I could pay for an apartment while he stays in school.
I was shocked because he’d always known that I intend to study further towards a professional career.
When I said that I wasn’t ready to leave school, he became cold and mean, telling me that I wasn’t very smart and not really up to his standards as a future partner.
I ended things briefly, but he came back, saying I just didn’t understand how much he wanted to start living together.
But I still see a lot of selfish attitude from him. He’ll cancel weekend plans in town with me because he needs to relax with his friends.
But he angrily accused me of cheating when I said that I was going out with my girlfriends. I was furious, and said I was re-thinking the relationship.
He says he’s under pressure and I’m overreacting.
Is he right that I’m just not appreciating how hard he’s trying for us to have a future together?
Confused and Upset
No, you’re not overreacting. He’s turned your relationship into his personal launching pad towards his bright future, ignoring yours.
He’s also showing signs of controlling behaviour – nice, then mean, accusing you of cheating, then blaming you for not appreciating his stress.
Since you both have strong ambitions and futures ahead, I recommend that you take a break.
He won’t like it and may again accuse you of cheating, but time apart is needed for at least six months.
You can then assess whether you can have an equal, mutually respectful relationship together, or not.
Every year, my daughter and her husband host a Christmas morning breakfast for my adult granddaughter and her family. I’m never included and only learned about them accidentally.
My son-in-law’s parents host a late-afternoon Christmas dinner to which I’m always invited, which my daughter obviously feels covers my feelings.
We all live in the same town. I’m a widow, spending most of Christmas Day alone.
I’ve not told my daughter how hurtful this Christmas experience feels.
I always host Christmas dinner the following day, which I’m ending and will start accepting a friend’s invitation.
I’m a healthy, independent, active senior. There are never arguments or negativity when we do get together.
I hold birthday dinners for each family member and give thoughtful gifts. I’m generous with my time and money. I feel used.
If you don’t express your feelings, your daughter won’t know there’s a problem. She likely feels that the holiday’s covered by the existing plan.
You don’t want to cause a major rift, however. Just tell her that you spend most of Christmas Day alone and would dearly like to join the breakfast.
If that’s not possible for some reason, explain that you’ll have to start spending the following day with a friend to get through the holiday, which already has you worried six months away.
FEEDBACK Regarding the very difficult, demanding tasks of devoted and unpaid caregivers for elderly family members (June 12):
Reader – “Now is the time for we who are still-mobile, alert seniors to plan for that stage in our lives when we need help but may become “difficult,” such as unwilling to pay for hired helpers from caregiving agencies, etc.
“My suggestion is that we sit down now, with our children and outline what we believe to be the right course of action for those years.
“We’re living so much longer, beyond our strengths. No matter what I say, do or demand at that stage, it’s the plan that I make today for the future that needs to be put in place.
“I’ve seen caregivers financially, emotionally and physically overburdened and essentially destroyed by the parent who demands full-time care from them, refusing to accept any other options. This is not the person most of us want to be.”
Tip of the day:
When a dating/relationship partner uses controlling and mean behaviour, take a long enough break to assess the whole relationship.