I have been living with a man two years and I think we are in the process of breaking up. Year one was wonderful. He was communicative, attentive and interactive 100% of the time.
He moved in with me and a year later purchased a house, at which time I moved in with him. But there were problems. He doesn’t call to tell me when he’s not coming home; he’ll apologize, tell me he’s an idiot, then do it again. Our conversation is not a dialogue; he prefers yes and no answers to discussion.
In addition, when we work together, he’s grumpy and makes it no fun. If I ask questions, he jumps down my throat. He doesn’t listen to my side without judgment and criticism. When we are out, it is extremely obvious that he’s looking at other women, and I feel disrespected.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to live and be happy in his world. He told me he is who he is and he can’t change. I guess that means he is not willing to try.
I need advice. I’ve always been someone who makes a decision and sticks to it. I do love him but I am afraid. I think I know deep down this isn’t going to work in the long run. I just can’t bring myself to get the breakup over with.
Carly, all the nicety and communication in the first year, that was not him being himself. That was newness and possibility, and the thought, perchance, she is the one. It was like the courtship display of boy birds. He danced, flapped his wings and spread his tail feathers.
He attracted you so you guys could set up house. But not everyone who goes through the opening rituals of mating falls in love. In fact, people often date and date and date without falling in love.
Psychologists might refer to his behavior as reversion to the mean. It came from an observation about pilots in training. After a pilot made an exceptionally good or bad landing, it would be followed by a more typical landing. The word “mean” refers to a person’s average behavior. But in time, your boyfriend became mean, in the other sense of the word. Now he is putting it on you to break up and move out.
We always find it interesting when a woman tells us her man says, “I am who I am.” Then she makes excuses for his behavior and accepts less than what she wants. That line—I am who I am—was made famous by the cartoon figure Popeye the Sailor. But in the cartoon, Popeye always did whatever he could to make his girlfriend happy.
Not everyone who dates or lives together gets past newness and infatuation and falls in love. That you are living together makes the split harder. If it were just dating, you two could go back to your corners. Living together makes the breakup hard.
If you weren’t sharing a house, you may have broken up six months ago, and he might not have felt the need to get mean. He could have just stopped calling. Now, you not only have to breakup, you must find a new place to live.
When Popeye the Sailor had something hard to do, he always downed a can of spinach. It gave him the energy and oomph he needed for the task. Come on girl, do the hard thing, eat your spinach and go.
~Wayne & Tamara
Direct Answers for the week of August 12, 2019
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Wayne & Tamara answer as many letters as they possibly can.