My boyfriend (50) and I (54) have been dating for little over a year. When we first met, we saw each other three-to-four times weekly and communicated via text or phone call. We live apart.
In the last six months, we’re spending less and less time together and barely communicate. Or, we end up in an argument without substance, which he blames me for starting.
I then apologize just to make peace. The relationship’s become extremely draining and sometimes feels toxic.
I care for him very much, he’s a good guy, but just wants to spend time with his friends, stay home watching TV, or sleeping. He claims he has no energy to do anything because he’s “old.”
He says he loves me and wants to be with me, but he doesn’t like holding hands, isn’t affectionate and sex is routine.
His response to these issues is always, “here we go again,” which is dismissive and lacks respect for my feelings.
Should I go or should I stay? Is there more to this than what I’m seeing?
There’s nothing confusing here, you’re just avoiding accepting the inevitable. The relationship had its best run for a year, and has settled into the reality of a mismatch.
He’s not going to change. Instead of being “old,” he’s just living like he’s single, not responding to you as a partner, not even in bed.
When you apologize (for nothing) to keep peace, you just demean yourself and give him license to ignore your feelings and needs.
However, since you still care for him, you could try to explore why he’s so lacking in energy and interests beyond his pals, TV, and bed.
Could you both be missing that he’s actually depressed, or does he possibly have some private problems he’s keeping from you?
I suggest you raise the questions, even as I suspect it’ll only cause him to be dismissive and annoyed with you.
If so, then face what appears to be the major issue here: When a relationship is feeling toxic, it’s time to end it.
He’s spent six months showing you that he’s not worth you’re living with self-doubts, hurt feelings and frustration.
FEEDBACK Regarding the “Unappreciated” woman who’d been abused by her previous partner (August 17):
Reader – “When seeking advice regarding her current partner, you say she shouldn’t let her "long ago experience with abuse determine your reaction.”
“But there appear clear/classic red flags for potential abuse in her current relationship.
“Someone who’s experienced an abusive relationship cannot simply forget those experiences afterwards.
“They may help her better identify abuse in future relationships. Her instincts might keep her safe or help her leave her current partner sooner if his actions escalate.”
Ellie – Her new husband, older and without kids, got angry when her child misbehaved. But he apologizes and “takes good care of us.”
On the death anniversary of his wife of 32 years, he paid respects at her grave, then was ashamed that he forgot their first anniversary and bought her flowers.
I stand by my reading of her letter that he was not abusive.
I do understand that her past physical and mental abuse from her high-school classmate has left her with a memory of trauma.
But I felt it was encouraging advice, not “dismissive” as you suggested to me in your longer letter, to tell her to not let long-ago abuse determine her reaction to what appears to be very different behaviour.
Fall reminds me of going back to school, being with friends, finding a girlfriend, etc. But I’m a guy in my 40s with a boring job, few friends in my new city, and no prospects for dating except online, where I haven’t had much success.
What should I do?
On my Own
I understand that moving to a new city puts you on a whole new track on your own. But you’re a grown-up, not a kid in school, and have some resources to look around you and get involved where you’ll meet new people, and yes, even new women.
Use that energy that comes with Fall, and join a gym, or a team sport group, or a weekend walking tour of your new location.
Try a meetup.com interest group where there’ll be regular opportunities to meet new people, including some who may want to fix you up, if you’re friendly and open.
Tip of the day:
A relationship winding down to the end of its run reveals a clear message: Time to move on.