Q: The man I am in love with has a grueling job--he works an average of 11 hours a day. He has very little time to spend on his side projects, with his friends, or doing any of the things he loves to do. I made the original mistake of moving in with him while I looked for an apartment, never dreaming it would take a YEAR. At first, he didn't want to tell his friends and family about our relationship, because (he intimated) it's not considered "proper" to have a live-in lover. They aren't thrilled with co-ed roomies, either, to be honest.
I have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of attention I get from him. I know I sound like a whiner, but I'm talking about going for more than two days without so much as TOUCHING, and sex twice a month or less. I would have sex every day if I could, maybe twice. I have tried various approaches with this man, and he responds to nothing until I DO whine...and then he gets angry. For god's sake, I send him e-mails trying to communicate. HE says he's just too busy, and too tired, and that I am being impatient. I want to believe him, because I don't want to lose him...besides being thoughtless he has many incredible qualities that are hard to find in men: he's hardworking, resourceful, good with money, honest, intelligent, and he can cook (though he rarely does--no time.) In the meantime, I feel jilted; I AM jilted. I'm really not interested in "casual dating." Do I need to shut up and wait, or move on? I think I know the answer, but I can't listen to myself.
Dr. Susan: If you can't listen to yourself, I have little hope you'll listen to me. Your inner voice is telling you the truth. In fact, it's screaming at you nonstop that this lifestyle is a dead-end and you're rationalizing away your prime years with a man who has little interest in you. He's keeping you in reserve in case he ever gets bored with his job. How lovely for him. Meanwhile, I'd like to suggest that the man you love has plenty of time for what he loves — which is his job and only his job. I don't understand why it took or is taking you a year to find an apartment of your own. Sounds like a bad case of inertia and settling for second best in your life.
All those good qualities you mention are worth zilch if he frustrates you emotionally, intellectually, and sexually. You say you don't believe in casual dating. What does that mean? You're not "dating" at all right now. You're not living! You're in a holding pattern, counting up qualities that would come in handy if you were of retirement age, but not of much use when the REAL thing is lacking. You're obviously afraid you can't do better. Have patience?! More like trading a chance to fulfill your own deepest needs for your (non-) lover's selfish desire to have you in his pocket IN CASE he decides to give you the time of day.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.