Wedding Woes

I think it's over?

Dear Prudence,
Last weekend I told my boyfriend of two years that his habit of going silent and cancelling plans when he’s feeling stressed out makes me feel unimportant and insecure. I said I was trying to understand him better and wondering if there were other ways we could handle things. The conversation was poorly timed, as he’d just received scary information about his health, so we agreed to talk again when we were both calmer. A few days later he sent an email saying he needed time to focus on himself and work on his goals without worrying about disappointing me when he wants time alone. He hoped I wouldn’t be upset about putting our relationship on hiatus. I responded that I understood what he was dealing with and had hoped to be a support and part of his life, and was sorry he felt our relationship had become a burden but of course he didn’t need my permission to break up.

He struggles with anxiety and depression in general, and has been caring for an ill parent who is likely to die soon. We’re both in our 50s with more than average baggage (I’m four years out of an abusive marriage and recently dealt with my own mom’s death and my teen son’s substance abuse and suicide attempts). I have deep feelings for this guy, he’s gentle and patient and funny and we have a lot of fun (not least in bed). We’ve both suggested ending things before, either when he’s overwhelmed with everything, or I’ve overreacted to small slights (like canceled plans). Usually after one of these events I extend an olive branch, we both apologize, and we move on. I really don’t want to end things, and I get that asking him for pretty much anything right now feels like too much and adds to his stress pile, but it’s hard to keep getting pushed to the sidelines. Is it possible to salvage this?

—On the Side

Re: I think it's over?

  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    member
    This sounds like they'd be better friends with benefits than a couple.
    short+sassy
  • more than 4 men. 
    ShesSoColdOliveOilsMom
  • They sound terribly mismatched.  This is way too much drama for grownups.
    mrsconn23short+sassy
  • Someone can be a wonderful, kind, funny person and still not be the right person to have a relationship with. There are things you can work on but, generally, how a person deals with stress is a deep character trait. It takes time and a want from the person to change. It sounds like LW's boyfriend may just have too much to handle to deal with his shit and hers. It's okay.
    VarunaTTOurWildKingdom
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I'm sorry, but habitually canceling plans is just disrespectful. I'd inderstand if it was once or twice, but it happens all the time and she is clearly not a priority. Leave the relationship for sure. 


    image
    VarunaTT
  • short+sassyshort+sassy
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    member
    edited September 2016

    He's essentially already laid out the parameters of the relationship.  If she wants to accept that there will be times he will cancel plans and perhaps go days without talking to her, that is her choice.  But she needs to understand those will be the terms.  If she isn't willing to accept that (I wouldn't be) than she needs to move on.

    I briefly had a relationship like this in my younger years.  The guy and I had gone out a couple times.  He admitted to me he sometimes suffered from severe depression.  We were supposed to go out one evening and he called to cancel because "he was just having an especially bad depressive day and wasn't feeling up to it".  I assured him I understood and encouraged him to give me a call when he wanted to reschedule.

    About a week later, I sent him an e-mail asking how he was feeling.  I normally wouldn't have done that, but he was a pretty insecure guy and so I wanted to give him an opening to ask me out again.  He never replied back.  Until months later.

    I had updated my dating profile on the website we met on and he sent me a note.  Overall, it was a friendly e-mail.  But he made a mention about "oh, you must not have been interested in me because of "X" (from the profile)."  Ummm...what are you even talking about?  I reminded him that he broke a date, never called me back, and didn't even reply to the e-mail I had sent.  I then joked, "I mean, hey, I was interested in you.  But I'm not the kind of girl who is going to bug a guy who stopped communicating!"  His response was, "Oh, okay, I see that.  I guess I didn't respond because I didn't think you were interested."

    LMAO.  Really?  Well, sorry for you then.  I was no longer interested in a romantic relationship at that point, I saw the writing on the wall.  He seemed like he would be way too big a "project".  Though he and I actually did become friends (no benefits) after that.   

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    VarunaTTOliveOilsMomGreenjinjo
  • Heffalump said:
    They sound terribly mismatched.  This is way too much drama for grownups.
    YES!  And I cannot tell you how many times I have this thought when I hear or read about people's ridiculous drama. 
    Heffalump
  • thefanciestbecklerthefanciestbeckler Chattanooga, TN
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    member
    I thought the same thing @charlotte989875! I was shocked to read that they're in their 50's. Heffa said it best- way too much drama for grownups.

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