January 23, 2013

Reality Check

Matters of the Heart and Loins

I am in my 40s. I have been seeing this woman for several months now, and things are going very well. We have a great sex life, we have plenty to talk about, and we are each happy with our own space. (She owns a house, and I rent a small apartment.) I dread any conversation that feels like “settling down.” It’s not her, mind you. I have been married before, to a fabulous woman with whom I had a couple of kids and with whom I maintain a great friendship. But marriage didn’t work for me, and I often find myself running away from women who develop expectations (outside of my daughters, of course) and any sort of rules for me. 

So, my girlfriend (hate that word, but I don’t know what else to use, so there it is) and I went away for a weekend to see some old friends of mine and attend a celebration. She met and liked my friends, and they liked her. Things were easy and comfortable until Sunday morning. 

On Saturday night, she had gone back to our hotel at around two in the morning. I told her I was going to stay until everything wound down. The bar would close at 5 a.m., so I knew I wouldn’t be much later than that. Except that I was. I ended up back at my friends’ room doing drugs and dancing, and I didn’t get back to our room until 6:30. I thought the GF was asleep, but apparently I was wrong. At eight in the morning, she was up and banging around the room, making no attempt to let me sleep, even though we weren’t required to check out until noon. I asked her if she was mad, and she said she was. She said she had been worried because I had been out so late. She expected me back just after five, and when she woke up and I wasn’t there at 5:30 she got worried and thought I had been mugged or something. 

I reacted with a near immediate shut down, at least internally. I did apologize, but I told her she was being silly and that she couldn’t expect me to be on a schedule because that isn’t how I operate. She responded that she wouldn’t have cared if I had just let her know. She also mentioned that she wished I had told her that I was into the drug thing (which I am not always, mind you). She said that I was a different person on them, blah blah blah, and that again, she didn’t necessarily have an objection to them, but that she wishes I had been more forthcoming. Again, my reaction is to shrink away. I told her that I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t ready for that conversation yet, that I didn’t know how to say it. I had mentioned that some of my friends did drugs, just so she wouldn’t be completely surprised, but I wasn’t ready to have that conversation with her. She actually said that she didn’t care, but that she would have like to have known ahead of time. 

We ended up making up, and she apologized for overreacting and said that a big part of the problem was that she hadn’t gotten any sleep and was cranky. I guess I feel better now, but at the same time, I am wary of what is next. This is a feeling that I often get at this stage of a relationship. The moment I feel like somebody is trying to control me, I look for an exit. I really like this woman, but now I don’t know what to think. Should I just break it off before it gets any deeper? 


RealityCheckBig.jpgWow, Claustrophobic. You’re a regular Peter Pan, huh? I don’t know what to tell you about this relationship. On the one hand, you seem to have found a woman with whom you are sexually and intellectually compatible, who shares your love of personal space and tolerates your personal habits (regardless of how infrequent, illegal drug use can be a deal-breaker for many people). It would seem ideal. In fact, if I were a religious person I might call it a Christmas Miracle. On the other hand, you can’t seem to make even the slightest effort to keep her informed and comfortable. (She neither forbade nor judged your drug use, and she didn’t exactly give you a curfew, she just wanted to know what to expect). This makes me think that you don’t deserve her, so I kind of want to encourage you to break it off. Instead, I will simply suggest that you re-examine your needs and expectations. Are you mostly happy with this relationship? Do you feel that you would rather have female companionship than not? Can you possibly consider her feelings and treat them with some measure of importance? If not, then you should just tell her that right now and let her decide if she wants to continue to put up with you. 

I just moved out of my parents' house and moved in with my girlfriend. She has an apartment with two roommates. They have been living together for almost two years, and before I moved in, we all got along good. Now I realize that they are real immature, and they gossip and drink too much and stay up all night playing video games and smoking pot. I told my girlfriend that I want us to move out when the lease is up and get our own place, but these are her best friends, and she doesn’t want to. She goes to school, and I have a full-time job and I have to get up early and work hard. I told her I can’t live in a place where people are partying all night, every night. She wants to stay. I’m afraid if I move out we will break up. What should I do? 

Working Man

RealityCheckBig.jpgYou obviously can’t stay there. You need to start saving your money and making a plan. Have a deadline in mind, and tell your girlfriend exactly what you are going to do. Then start looking for a place of your own. Maybe if you include her on the search she will get excited about the possibility. If not, at least you will have your sanity. I wouldn’t worry about breaking up. If you stay where you are and continue to live like that, you’re going to end up breaking up anyway.