I've been in a long-term relationship for six years.
My boyfriend and I communicated across continents for three years, and now we're living four hours drive apart.
We get to spend time together every other weekend.
Lately, I've been feeling deeply dissatisfied with our relationship.
I feel taken for granted. On our time together, he doesn't want to do much and I feel he’d rather be anywhere else.
I don't know if I should let a six-year relationship go. OR, if I should just hang in patiently and hope that my concern gets heard soon?
Not many couples can maintain a committed long-distance relationship for even the three years that massive distance and circumstances kept you apart.
You two managed that.
The very challenge likely contributed to determination by both of you, to make it work.
Now, with three years of living closer, there’s far less challenge.
The relationship’s gone stale. Even when together, he seems distant, you feel unheard.
A break is needed by both of you.
Instead of being committed to a long-ago connection, you need to clear the cobwebs of your long-distance style.
Raise the break idea as a fresh re-boot for both of you. Set a deadline – a minimum of three months. Allow dating as a possibility for each of you, without accusations of “cheating” if either of you meets someone.
You both need this.
Then agree to meet and discuss what you learned about yourselves and your relationship while apart.
You’re not throwing away six years. You’re building from life experience – one way or another.
My son and his wife of two years are in the midst of a separation due to his wife’s affair.
They have three children.
However, the wife’s now pregnant from the man with whom she had the affair (she thinks!) and is trying to get back into my son's life because the man dumped her.
I have no respect for this woman. She doesn’t work, plays the welfare system, managed to get pregnant as the last child is heading off to school.
I feel she’s a shameful example to her three daughters.
She’s now manipulating my son into taking her back, though four months ago she said she “couldn’t stand the sight of him.”
I cannot stand to see the perception my granddaughters have of what a relationship is all about.
I’ve told her that I’ll always be civil, but that I have no respect for her behaviour.
I don't even want her in my home as she’ll just sit, order my son around, and not offer to help.
I’m struggling to find a good approach to this mess, without alienating my son.
Frustrated and Disgusted
Be the example you want your granddaughters to see – loving (which you are), and open-minded (which you aren’t, yet the couple may re-unite).
Yes, this woman’s seeming behaviour is upsetting. But being judgmental doesn’t help.
She’s entitled to welfare benefits if the family qualifies. It’s not yours to decide.
Her pregnancy has to be considered as your granddaughters’ imminent sibling, not as the mother’s escape from work.
You vented here about your lack of respect. Now drop it. You need to be bigger than that.
You must invite her to your home if you invite the others. Tell her ahead what she can help you do when she’s there.
A little warmth and acceptance may be what’s been missing in her life before. Be the example.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who’s fallen in love with a co-worker but stays with his wife (Nov. 13):
Reader – “Fascinating! This man doesn't recall such intense feelings since he dated a girl in his youth, long before he got married.
“Now he has a thousand reasons why he shouldn’t leave his wife.
“It doesn't sound like he has any real relationship with the co-worker.
“The fantasy in his mind probably has more to do with a yearning for the days when he was young and romantic.
“Such a strange fantasy - saying that, if his "beloved" was in a car accident in which her husband was killed and she paralyzed, he’d leave his wife to look after her.
“You rightly call this a hero fantasy. The woman likely doesn’t know that he’s fixated on her. Or, she does and is skillfully avoiding him.
“I feel for the guy. Perhaps therapy will help him.”
Tip of the day:
A relationship can go stale due to circumstances. A break can either re-boot the connection or help you move on.