My girlfriend and I are both mid-50s. I moved from out-of-town into her apartment two years ago, to go to school for a new career. I've graduated and have a nice practice started.
She's worked at a company for the past two and a half years and hates it. She constantly complains... at night, in the morning, and with several phone calls daily.
I've pleaded with her to seek alternative employment but she procrastinates. I believe her job's not that bad and that her salary is near the top end possible, given her experience and academic credentials.
I try to be empathetic but her complaints are driving me crazy. I've had my own stress level increased from starting my practice.
While together, she's borne a disproportionate share of the expenses although I've contributed what I could. Our intimate life is non-existent. While I'm generally cheerful, I'm getting impatient.
I have an opportunity to have an apartment on my own soon but I feel guilty about leaving her after all she's done for me. I feel I should give her money, monthly, to re-pay her for her generosity and leave, as I don't see her resolving her issues.
There are two stories here. YOURS: She's become a tiresome, annoying whiner and the bed's gone cold.
HERS: These past two and a half years have been all about him getting into a new career, being successful, being partly-supported by me. Though I had a job I hated, I couldn't afford to leave it, while paying for us both.
I understand that the negative dynamic may now be set in stone, and you have a right to leave it, especially if you are responsible to her financially, as you describe.
But do recognize that you didn't just end up with a bad roomie. If you ever loved her, there'd be something worth trying to salvage. If not, you were lucky to have her, even with her complaints. So be kind and gentle as you close the door.
FEEDBACK Regarding "Sad Daughter" (Nov. 13 column) who missed and wanted to rebuild her relationship with her father, though she also wrote, "(he did) physically abuse me."
Reader - "Having been in a situation where a father abused three of his four daughters, I find it incredible that you'd advise giving him another chance."
If the daughter had actually meant that she experienced sexual abuse, I urge her to NOT re-connect, instead to consider laying charges as her "connection."
But she'd described a good early relationship with him. Since he'd demonstrated some anger issues, I believed that she referred to past spanking, which, though unacceptable in this society today, was unfortunately not uncommon parent behaviour 15 years ago.
Some people are successful at re-building relationships even when there was past non-sexual abuse, and that's what she wanted. I did recommend she start any contact on her own turf, slowly and limited.
Two of my new husband's relatives didn't bring a gift to our wedding, not even a card. I'm at a loss as to what to do now.
One cousin, whom my husband hadn't seen in years, brought nothing and also begged my mother-in-law for her centerpiece. Moreover, she'd RSVP'd for two people attending but showed up alone, which cost us dearly.
Do I have to send her a thank you card?
Shocked and Offended
No gift, no thank-you card.... with one exception. When you know an invited relative can't afford a gift but came anyway, thank them for making the effort to attend. That usually cost them something, too.
I'm 28, and my ex-boyfriend has possibly ruined relationships for me forever. He always looked at other girls, and compared me negatively to them (they were slimmer, prettier, bustier, etc.). I'd get jealous, there'd be a big dramatic break-up, and wild make-up sex.
Now I'm dating a great, mature guy who thinks I'm beautiful and wants to marry me, but I sometimes find him too accepting, as if he doesn't care enough to encourage me. Our sex life is regular and loving, but rarely hot. Am I crazy to want "more?"
Beware: You're an easy candidate for the Bad Boy Syndrome. Your ex left you with a relationship model that's dangerously misleading: Love that's dangled, threatened, and dramatized is NOT healthy. It can destroy the target's self-esteem.
Add some spice to your current boyfriend's libido with sex manuals, playfulness, whatever works - and appreciate love with a Good Guy.
Tip of the day:
A generous partner deserves deeper understanding.