Is His Relationship Too Hard?
Q: I have been dating my girlfriend for more than a year. The problem is that she does not like to do things that I like. I love to work out, to eat healthy, to always be the best. My girlfriend does go to the gym, but on her own, and she eats fast food and very unhealthy stuff, things that I would never touch. She also likes to control what I wear and what I post on Facebook, saying that my posts make me look uneducated.
Besides all that, she has a son and also a goddaughter. She says that if the goddaughter wants to come live with her, she will make that happen. She doesn't even give me a say in the matter. There are a lot of things in our relationship that are strained. We are seeing a therapist for help, but I keep thinking it should not have to be this hard.—Aaron, 43
Dr. Susan: You and your girlfriend don't seem well suited in a number of ways. Your main interest is in keeping your body in great shape, while hers seems to be living in the moment and enjoying her family. If she's such a controlling person that she wants to decide what you wear, what you post, and everything else, you are going to keep being frustrated that things aren't going more smoothly.
Perhaps the therapist you're seeing can help you communicate more clearly with her about your needs, but you mustn't expect her to have your interests. She clearly doesn't care much about eating well. The reason she's not giving you a say in the matter of her goddaughter is that this obligation is something she's committed to, even more than she's committed to you.
Working at it may make this a better relationship. But if it's already too hard, there's no magic answer. You have to decide how much you want to be with her.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
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.