I’m in a two-year relationship wondering if we should continue or call it quits. I’m 29; he's 27.
I thought he was a happy, content, productive person. After three months’ dating, he went on a trip with his dad, came back and quit his job “to pursue a more creative path.”
I do think he’s extremely talented. However, he lacks confidence.
I helped him rewrite his resume and put his portfolio together.
After six months he finally landed an internship.
It was at a mom-and-pop design shop with no clients and he hated it. He felt overqualified and too old for it.
Every day he'd come home grumpier and grumpier, while I'm irrationally happy most of the time.
Lately, everything he does annoys me.
I’ve always been an extremely hard worker; I’ve worked 24-plus hours a week since I was 16.
In university I worked full time, then I've sought two special certificates.
When I want to leave a job, I have a new job lined up before I give my two-week notice.
Later that winter I bought my first house!
He moved in, unemployed, and unable to contribute.
This is when the fighting started. His internship ended at Christmas. I'd come home to a mess.
Doesn't take off his muddy boots at the entrance. Lets the dishes pile up in the sink even though I've been away all day, but he expects me to do them, etc.
I'm trying to figure out if this is a rut or if we should just call it quits.
He put little to no effort into finding a job, and despite my rental income, I’m just getting by on my expenses while living frugally.
Now I’m responsible for a grown man who’s putting no work into achieving his dreams.
After six more months of wallowing, he applied for a skilled labour job and has been working since.
His mood improved for a while. But now he's back to grumpiness.
I can’t handle it.
This week, when I received another promotion and we were supposed to be out celebrating, he groaned about how his life is going nowhere and how he hates his job.
Also, I want kids and a family someday and he thinks marriage is archaic. He can’t make plans ahead.
He's always been a very affectionate partner, except in the bedroom.
Sex can be great but there are months and months of dry spells.
I’m worrying that I’ll make the wrong decision about breaking up.
When things are good I always have fun with him and feel safe around him, but those times are fewer and farther between.
You’re in the soul-gnawing throes of a delayed decision. You both need a break.
Despite his talent and desire to get ahead, he’s not going to find the determination and grit needed, while hanging out at your expense.
Do him the favour of saying he needs to prove to himself that he can find his own path.
Your differences in temperament aren’t necessarily the problem; many couples find a balance between different styles that works well.
But currently, his disappointment in himself is coming between you two.
A six-month break will give him the chance to focus on getting ahead.
It’ll help you both learn if what you miss in each other is worth making compromises to find middle ground together.
A break is far better than an ugly blow-up with no second chance.
It’s the right decision.
Reader’s Commentary “I never believed in snooping, though many friends regularly checked up on their boyfriends’ phone, and searched their email histories.
“Sometimes they convinced themselves that the guys were cheating, despite no proof!
“Then I married my attractive, charming husband and started our family. He worked with sophisticated and attractive women.
“I was home with diapers and crying babies.
“When my neighbour discovered her husband was having an affair with his secretary (cliché!) I felt sick to my stomach.
“And I started snooping.
“I found nothing at first, then I saw hints… lunches with female colleagues and him coming home later from work.
“He also didn’t tell me about those lunches.
“We split after two years of my getting more paranoid. He was remarried within a year of our divorce!
“Was he cheating all that time? Maybe. Maybe not.
“But I’m now with my second husband whom I trust completely and never snoop!”
Tip of the day:
When a relationship’s going sour but there’s still a glimmer of hope, try a break instead of a blow-up.