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Some recent questions:
Relationship advice: Dating older men (Also check out our video on the topic. See our video page)
I’ve been with my boyfriend for six years now. We kind of separated a year ago—I mean he moved all his stuff out but continues to stay here. He moved his things to his aunt’s house. He says he loves me and wants to be with me but he doesn’t want to move back. He has changed dramatically. He used to be attentive and affectionate and into me, but now he’s distant and doesn’t want to go out and doesn’t want anyone to know we are still together.
I have given ultimatums but it doesnt affect him. I ignore him by not letting him come over and that still does nothing. He claims there is no one else, which I believe because he’s here all the time and sleeps here every night. (When I allow it.) I love him and wish things could be as they were before. He says he’s confused and needs to get his life together, but is doing nothing to make that happen. He used to do so much for me before and now it’s as if he doesn’t care. I still cook and do things for him and show him affection but I don’t get it in return. Should I let him go or wait until he gets over this phase?
BTW I’m 41 and he’s 29. I was in a long marriage and single for years after that. I have a career and know what I want. He’s never been married but has a son and was in a relationship but he has no career. He basically lives paycheck to paycheck and has a lot of debt. That depresses him.
Thanks for your question.
We think he’s feeling a bit inadequate next to you. Let’s face it, you’re a competent 41 year old woman who’s comfortable in her own skin, has a job, owns a house, and has clear goals. He’s a 29 yr. old guy, overwhelmed by his responsibilities, and not sure how to proceed with his life. This is a daunting disparity, and one he’s trying to come to grips with. We also think he might be questioning your age difference in general, even if he doesn’t admit it.
Guys like to feel needed. We are born to be providers. We want to know we have value, and a solid role in our households. Your guy is unclear on what his role is with you. He is pretty much saying he needs to figure things out in order to be with you, or anyone for that matter. Maybe you could give him some encouragement, and try to help him get his life together. We think the relationship, or what’s left of it, is getting in the way of him moving forward. Why not put things on hold for a bit while he does some soul searching and looks for a steady job? You could provide a support via phone, email, since you still love him and want to see him happy, but maybe no more back and forth at your house.
Space is a good thing for most people. It allows people to take stock, set goals, recharge, and crystallize what’s important to them. Right now, you’re kind of separated and you’re kind of not. You need to do one or the other in order to see the situation for what it is, and if you do that, clarity will likely strike for one, or both of you. At which time you’ll be able to better assess what to do.
One of the comments you mentioned bothered us: When you said he doesn’t want anyone knowing you’re still together. What does that mean? We would think you’d want to be with someone who thinks you’re amazing and wants to tell everyone about you.
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