I Am Breaking Up a Good Relationship Because My Girlfriend Won’t Change Her Priorities

I Am Breaking Up a Good Relationship Because My Girlfriend Won't Change Priorities

I’m not looking for advice, but I just wanted to say that (as a man) you give solid advice to women. A good female friend of mine found her fiancé as a result of reading your advice. Your advice regarding women with unusual or difficult schedules is spot-on. Sadly, I’m going to have to end a fairly good relationship tomorrow with a smart, cute, funny woman. Why? Her priorities.

She’s been either in school or a high-powered job her entire life. As an achiever, those have been her focuses. She’s never made a man her focus. I’m OK with not being her #1, but between her many (and growing) friends, hobbies, and endeavors, I find it increasingly difficult to spend an acceptable amount of time with her.

If you have a boyfriend who only has one night a week for you, I would encourage you to dump him.

The last straw was when she decided to work at a year-long weekend festival both Saturday and Sunday mornings. She had been working Saturday when we met and I was okay with that. It’s not a money thing but more of a do-gooder thing to her. In any case, she took my understanding a little for-granted and added the second day before mentioning it to me. She would be far too “independent” to go back to one day a weekend, because she doesn’t “do things just for guys.”

It’s not unusual for her to tell me that “I have dinner with a friend Monday, an event on Tuesday, a soccer game on Thursday, a meeting on Friday, and the festival Saturday (and now) again on Sunday. Do you have Wednesday or sometime during the day on the weekends open?” Since, I’m also somewhat busy, the answer is often no. She’s exhausted most of the time when we do hang out.

The thing is she genuinely loves me and I know she will be hurt when she gets the news that this is just too hard for me. I’m a flexible, secure, giving man but I have my limits. Like I said, Evan, I never asked to be her #1, but being her #10 isn’t going to work. I don’t take it personally — this is how her past relationships have gone.

The sad part is that she really doesn’t perceive that her life is inaccessible for a man. I’m a tough guy but being made to feel like I’m the leftover backup plan, however unintentionally, is just not what I want in a partner.

It will be tough telling her that I’m out. I grew up with a mother who was so “involved” in the community and career that my Dad and me were just filler time. I feel the same dynamic with this lady and I don’t want that for me or my eventual kids. This woman has a severe fear of ending up old and alone, and yet it’s not enough to make her change her behavior. I have communicated my position and her enthusiastic promises to “chill out a bit” and “open up my calendar” haven’t been kept. Add in kids and I just don’t know whether I’d have an absentee mother on my hands.

Relationship needs are relationship needs and people who refuse to compromise – regardless of gender – can’t be too surprised when they find themselves alone.

Life is about choices and I feel like an increasing number of women are lying to themselves about that reality. When two things truly conflict you have to pick one, you just can’t have it all at the same time. Healthy things like “compromise” are now frowned upon by women’s advice-givers. The college lifestyle of being busy all the time is taken further and further into adulthood. It’s all just enough to push a good, progressive guy like me towards a more traditional woman, even if she’s not as degreed or professionally successful.

What I feel really bad about is that I won’t be single for more than a week or two, but she could be entering another year-long bout of men who never call after the first date.

Feel free to print this if you think your readers would find it helpful.

Cheers!

Austin

Thank you, Austin. It’s rare when I print anything that I didn’t write myself, but this is a valuable anecdote that is more powerful than anything I could have made up myself.

And for any woman who gets her hackles up that another woman is being told to compromise because she can’t “have it all”, let’s just say that nothing would change if the genders were reversed. If you have a boyfriend who only has one night a week for you, I would encourage you to dump him as well, no matter how much you loved him. Relationship needs are relationship needs and people who refuse to compromise – regardless of gender – can’t be too surprised when they find themselves alone.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Dina Strange

    I am going to make a huge generalization here but please bear with me. I am the most laid back…stress free, curious but not super ambitious girl. All the American guys i met so far told me that they like independent, strong, blah blah…women who are into their careers, nonsense like that. And they don’t really like them coz they actually like them…they like them because of their EGO…it makes them feel good to go out with a girl who is a huge achiever, blah blah so on. It compliments their ego that they got a girl like that.

    It’s similar to how women seek alpha men without understanding all the problems with not being that alpha man first priority. Earlier i used to worry about it, but now i realized if a guy won’t accept you just the way you are, it’s a wrong type of a guy. So to the dude who write this letter. When you met that girl I am sure what attracted you to her first was that she was ambitious but then after she refused to make you her priority real life started so you should have known better.

    1. 31.1
      Malcolm

      No bearing with required.  Totally reasonable. 

  2. 32
    Dina Strange

    But overall what i did notice about relationships is that they became commodities. In earlier days people actually worked hard on relationships…they tried. Today, people view it as something easy. If it doesn’t work, i dump the person and look for something better. It’s nonsense. I think we need to return to times when people actually took time to work on relationships and bond with each other. Everyone just became selfish, and immature and wants their cake and eat it too. That’s why there are so many unhappy and unsatisfied people. Because jumping from one person to another doesn’t solve the problem if the problem is YOUR inability to work thru hard times.

    1. 32.1
      starthrower68

      It goes along with living in the instant gratification, drive thru culture.  You are correct Dina.  The grass might be greener elsewhere, but we’re gonna have to mow that grass too.

  3. 33
    Selena

    @ Sparkling Emerald
    Some people need more time and attention from their SO’s than others. Hell, some people need more time and attention from everybody more than others. This man needs more than he was getting from his gf clearly and so he ended it.
     
    The vibe I got from the letter though was vent-y, petulant, and nyah, nyah. The bit where he says he might be driven to “traditional” women? I waited for where he was going to mention Asians and the former Soviet Union. We’ve certainly seen enough of those dudes on this blog. Also, I thought it was kind of weird a guy would write such a long letter to a blog on the eve of his breakup when he wasn’t even asking for advice. All and all, the whole thing seemed contrived to me and I felt less empathetic to writer.  If someone WON’T give you the time and attention you need, they are not a good match for you.  Be done with it.
     
    If my comments embarrass you SE…Stop Reading Them. Easy.

    1. 33.1
      Goldie

      Yes, the vibe was what turned me off too. And another thing I thought of. my own parents. My dad took amazing care of me, my mom, and our household, on his spare time. Which he never had much of. He had 70 people under him, so had to work late evenings and most weekends. When I was 12, his mother had a stroke that completely paralyzed her. My two aunts, who lived with and near her, took care of her until she died ten years later. During those ten years, my dad spent all of his vacations, and many of his long weekend/holiday weeks, in his home town helping his sisters taking care of my grandma. I guess I am trying to imagine my mom saying to dad, I need more time with you. Do you have to work so much? Can’t your sisters hire someone to take care of your mom? I’m leaving you, cuz my needs are not being met! -Nope, I can’t. That would be completely out of my mom’s character. She had her own career and interests. I was a pretty independent kid as well. My parents had the best marriage of everyone I know, that lasted 49 years. So my learning from them was, you don’t have to stay glued to your partner in order to have a great relationship. You can be understanding of each other’s responsibilities, that are temporary and will end one day anyway (my dad did  step down from his management job, and his mom did die of her second stroke), and meet each other halfway and still be happy together.
      And one more thing – in my last relationship, I made sure to set certain days of the week aside for my partner and keep them open no matter what. I told my family I saw that as my responsibility, in order to keep the relationship going. When I mentioned this to my partner, he got upset. he didn’t like the word responsibility. Apparently, my weekends being available for him should’ve happened organically, with no effort on my part. Somehow my time with him lost its value in his eyes, because he found out that it took work on my part. I still don’t get this. When you have a family, a job, a household etc, you have to work hard to make time. It doesn’t just fall into your lap because you met a guy you like.
       
       

      1. 33.1.1
        SparklingEmerald

        33.1 – Apples to orange comparison.  Austin’s “girlfriend” is not taking care of a sick relative.  She’s taken on a second job that she doesn’t need.  She’s going off to soccer games and having dinner with friends and has taken on a job on her one day off (Sunday) after promising to clear her calendar.  Why is she not including Austin in her plans ?  Why does she have to go watch or play soccer without him ?  Why can’t she integrate him into her circle of friends ?
        She PROMISED to CLEAR her calendar, then she turned around and FILLED her calendar. 
        I think SHE really broke up with him in a very PA way.  (since you seem to think I am only taking “his” side because I’m a sexist, google “distancing behavior”, both genders do this, when they are too cowardly to break up)
        His “petulant” tone, could be a way of trying to comfort himself.  His girlfriend considers him an option.  She is engaging in distancing behavior.  She has emotionally exited the relationship already.  I think on some level he knows, she’s already out of there, and he’s just trying to comfort himself with the thought that it will be HE that breaks up with HER, but if his letter is mostly true, she has already passively agressively broke up with him.   She’s just to cowardly and lacks the integrity to end it, so she is doing the slow fade.
        Since your mom & dad were a long time married couple, your Mom could have gone with your Dad to help the sick relative.  So if she did not do that, obviosly the time apart didn’t bother her.

        1. Goldie

          “since you seem to think I am only taking “his” side because I’m a sexist”
           
          Really? I do? I just asked why the outrage in all caps over me mentioning brunch – why suggesting that he sleep in is okay, but that he make brunch, is not. If that came across as me calling you sexist, I apologize.
           
          I think my participation in this topic has run its course, I have already said all I wanted to say.
           
          I’ve heard many “evil ex” stories. (Some of them from my own bf. – somehow they changed to “good ex” stories a year later, after he got over her.) I recommend taking any evil ex stories with a grain of salt. That includes mine ;) This is to say, I’m not buying Austin’s version of events that his now ex deliberately signed up for Sunday morning festivals just to make Austin’s life hell. We’re talking 52 Sunday mornings of work (however fun). It’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Okay I’m out :)

      2. 33.1.2
        SparklingEmerald

        Goldie @33.1.1…
        You said this back in 27.something or other
        “To SE above – my comment about brunch was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I’ve got to love the outrage. Is it because cooking isn’t a man’s job?”
        Hence my remark that you only think I’m taking “his side” because I’m sexist.  I just thought your suggestion (didn’t know it was tongue in cheek) that he cooks a meal for a woman who clearly isn’t that into him was ridiculous. You know darn well if a man had a casual girlfriend that he would only fit into his spare time and another man suggested that she COOK for him whenever her absentee boyfriend could squeeze her in between his second job and trip to the gym would be met with OUTRAGE.
        This woman clearly is JNTIH.  I think Austin’s declarations that this is a “good relationship” and that he “knows” she “loves” him, is just some blind spot, and an attempt to comfort himself. 
        People MAKE time to be with a loved one.  People in love, don’t make empty promises to clear their calendar, and then proceed to fill up that calendar with an unnecessary second job.
        I don’t buy the excuses being made on her behalf, that her busyness is temporary or necessary.  She is not visiting a dying family member in Hospice.  She is not studying for the bar exam.  She is not working a second job because she desperately needs money to pay off medical debt.  She is galavanting around with friends, going to events, working an unnecessary second job & playing or attending soccer games.  All of these sound like parts of her life that she  could integrate her “boyfriend” into.
        I don’t know if Austin has ever said, “Oh, that event sounds like fun, let’s go together”.  If  a response to a statement like that is ” I need my space”  well then, there’s the answer.
        I don’t think she is doing this to be “evil” or make him miserable.  I do think it is a passive aggressive way of creating distance so he’ll break up with her.  (even if it’s on a sub-conscience level) 
        I have a busy fun filled life, but I could and would make time for a guy who was into me if I was into him.  Most of my activities that I do alone or with friends now, are things I would LOVE to do with a boyfriend.  I don’t expect a boyfriend to go with me  to every live music event, charity bike ride, yoga class,  nature hike, theatrical performance etc., but I hopefully he would WANT to join me for some of those things, so our relationship could ORGANICALLY move forward.  Hopefully, he’ll have some interests that could expand my horizons that he’ll invite me to discover as he shows me what he enjoys doing.  And perhaps we’ll cultivate NEW interests together, even if it’s just coffee on the patio together in the morning.  We could give each other space to pursue separate interests, but balance it out with togetherness to do things together or just BE together.  I am not willing to GIVE UP MY LIFE for a guy, nor would I demand that he GIVE UP HIS LIFE for me  (don’t mean that in the sense of dying)  but I am willing to SHARE my life with someone, but ONLY if they want to.   I won’t re-arrange 5 minutes of my life to be someone’s optional spare time project,  (and I certainly won’t cook for them)  but for someone who wants to share their life with me, I would certainly clear my calendar, without being asked.

      3. 33.1.3
        m

        I’m with you, Goldie.  These “should happen organically” types often have expectations that are unrealistic – especially if they’re not doing anything to create the environment that would allow “organically” to happen.  
        (It’s been my experience that they just don’t often think it through quite that far. :-/ )
        (These are also often the same types who complain that a working woman doesn’t have time for him  - but a woman who doesn’t work is a “golddigger”.  “Men Are Logical”: one of the biggest combination propaganda campaigns and long cons of our time.)
        The site ate my comment about the double standards on display in the main post.  “The other person works so hard they don’t have time for me”  is a construct women have been expected to accommodate from men literally for centuries.  And now that women have their own lives – something they’ve practically been beaten about the head and shoulders from dating & relationship “experts” to create & manifest – now that that’s finally happened (and let’s not forget we have to work twice as hard to keep those lives; even the POTUS acknowledged in his SOTU women still don’t get equal pay for equal work (at least he said something, unlike other men who won’t even acknowledge it), so we have to put in more hours to make the same amount *and* we still have to change clothes for the date, which men do not have to do, so of course we have less time (and that’s just an infinitesimal example of the multiplicity of ways that we don’t) – is anybody even doing the math here?)  we’re getting criticized for “not having enough time” for men?
        Are the men who are complaining even looking at any of that?
        Or are they just proceeding on their unexamined expectations of unquestioned entitlement to however much of her time they might want as they see fit — without even looking at whether those expectations, in the modern world, are reasonable?
        Or whether he’s looking at anything he might be able to do for her to enable her to spend more time with him (as women, having been practically historically forced to manage if they want partners, can usually do pretty much without batting an eye)?
        I’m also really kind of … disappointed that it’s those same dating & relationship “experts” that were screaming at women to “Get a life!” who are now the ones criticizing the women who have in fact taken their advice.
        It seems to me that old Austin, especially since he took time to detail that he saw a very similar dynamic in his family of origin, might do well to take a look at his own repetition compulsion in terms of choice of partners, instead of laying all the blame at his girlfriend’s feet for the relationship’s failure.
        (After all, when our relationships falter or fail, what is the first thing we women are told by the experts?  “What did YOU do wrong?  What can YOU do to change it?”  But Austin gets all the sympathy, and there’s no examination of his part in the dynamic.
        /things that make you go hmmm
        I guess we should be grateful that it’s clear that no matter what happens in the relationship, it’s always going to be solely the woman’s responsibility to make the adjustment, and the man is never at contributing fault.  Kind of like back in the day when the man was the workaholic in the relationship, it was still the woman’s job to “adjust” and “accommodate”.  
        /more things that make you go hmmm
        I guess that’s the lesson from our “experts” – because I understand there has been more than one in the date-o-sphere that has passed this little screed along – that is the lesson for us here.)
        Getting back to your description of your (ex)guy, though … I’m especially going “o.O”  that the effort that you made, for him, instead of being appreciated and celebrated, was something he thought should be devalued and denigrated.  Takes all kinds, I guess.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          m – Do you LIKE reading this blog? Because to talk about “experts” who blame women for everything sure sounds like you’re referring to your host. And after your many years of complaining about men here, I would think that you would have realized that HALF of my advice is to tell women to LEAVE men and the other half is to tell them to ACCEPT men. You’re highly focused on why women SHOULDN’T accept men. I’m not saying that you should accept the unacceptable. I’m saying you should leave the unacceptable. And if you’re GOING to stay with a man, you cannot expect him to change. The only thing you can do is accept him as he is. Is there any part of that which is unclear? Is there any part with which you’d argue? Good. So what the hell is your point? I give advice to women about how THEY can be EFFECTIVE in relationships, which means how THEY can adjust, as opposed to how they can change men. If I gave advice to men, it would be to tell them how THEY could adjust instead of trying to change women. I don’t give advice to men because there aren’t enough men who are interested in learning how to adjust. This is an unfortunate state of affairs. But for the last time – if you don’t like advice that ever places any responsibility on women, you should find another site to go to. Your screeds are exhausting and monotonous – just like any men’s rights activist who blames women for every last thing. The only thing you post here, over and over, is about how MEN should change and that any advice that tells women to accept men is sexist. Give it a rest already.

  4. 34
    Karmic Equation

    @Kiki 6.1.2
     
    First we need to parse your statement a little. Women here look for *relationships* with men, with whom they hope to build love. They’re not looking for love first and then hoping a relationship happens afterwards. Love takes more than 6 weeks to build, and that’s about the timeframe that EMK suggests a woman waits for her man to “boyfriend up” so to speak. And when a man doesn’t “boyfriend up”, she’s supposed to bid him farewell.
     
    So what does this tell you? That no matter how much a woman may WANT to have a relationship, she can’t have one unless the the MAN agrees to it. Thus men are the gatekeepers to relationships. 
     
    Similarly, no matter how much a man (normal men, not sociopaths) want sex, he can’t have sex unless a woman agrees to give it to him. Thus women are gatekeepers to sex.
     
    And yes, as Chance says, most men can have relationships anytime they want, depending on how low they set the bar (how willing they are to settle)…just like most woman can have sex any time she wants, depending on how low she sets her bar.
     
    In the context of relationships, obviously, Julia is right, men can’t walk into a bar and have instant relationship with any woman he meets there. (But maybe he can, if he were good looking enough and she were lonely or homely enough). But women can walk into a bar and get instant sex. However, women can “invest” years of her life with a man and never get the relationship she wants (i.e., marriage) unless he agrees to it. So as much as it stings, that’s the way God has parsed out the dating powers: Men are the gatekeepers to relationships; women, to sex.
     
    As I’ve mentioned in another post, He has a great sense of humor…and ultimately, is very fair in the way he divvies up the powers between the genders.
     
    @Selena and Goldie,
     
    I think I agree with you ladies more often than I don’t. However, I have to agree with Evan that this time you’re both going out of your way to defend Austin’s lady and making Austin sound douchey in the process.
     
    By finding reasons WHY SHE’s doing what she’s doing and why HE’s not getting with her program, you ARE trying to make her “right” and him “wrong”.
     
    Goldie, you have two grown sons, right?
     
    If they complained to you about their girlfriends doing this to them, would you be telling them to try to understand and work with her schedule, go and cook her brunch while you’re waiting for her to come back…or would you be saying, “Oh, don’t twist yourself into a pretzel to fit into her schedule, go find another woman who appreciates spending time you.”
     
    ——-
     
    Evan’s point in this cautionary tale is not to overbook your schedule if you’re truly looking for love…which is the point most women here get…but some are resistant…because again SHE has to change…and we all know how much most woman just LOVE to change themselves instead of changing the man.
     
    But I see a different tale, which is what most men get…if your needs aren’t being met, you do NOT need to twist yourself into a pretzel to stay in a relationship, whether or not there is love. Because ultimately, love *isn’t* enough for a relationship to thrive. Women need to learn let go of relationships faster when the relationship isn’t working…and have the confidence that she can find another man with whom to build a relationship. It’ll probably take longer than 2 weeks, though. But it’s better to be alone than in an unsatisfying relationship.

    1. 34.2
      Goldie

      Karmic, I believe in communication and meeting each other halfway, and working together on developing a solution that works for both. I did not see any of that in the letter. And, I’m sorry, but we’re going to need to leave my sons and their girlfriends out of this, thank you.

      1. 34.2.1
        marymary

        Goldie
        If he can’t communicate or meet her half way, then she’s better off without him. Everyone’s a winner. Not every break up is a tragedy.
         
         

      2. 34.2.2
        Chance

        Goldie, she doesn’t appear that she is willing to compromise because she clearly isn’t interested.  Would you suggest that a woman should bend over backwards accommodate a man who is “stringing her along” or “emotionally unavailable” (i.e., not interested)?
         
        Also, you completely dodged Karmic’s question.  I can only assume you did so because she effectively painted you into a corner where you either have to admit that you’re being hypocritical or throw your sons under the bus.  I don’t think she crossed the line with her question, and if you don’t want people to bring up your family, then you probably shouldn’t bring up your family in your posts.

        1. Goldie

          Chance, I said it a million times on this thread that these two are not a good match. I just don’t see it as a great guy being screwed over by an evil do-gooder. They are different people who want different things from a relationship and as such, should not be together. End of story. So I do agree with Marymary’s comment above on that.
           
          I don’t remember ever discussing my sons’ personal life in my posts, bad enough that I discuss mine, lol But to your and Karmic’s question, I’ve seen a good number of young couples who go through worse situations, where both are busy. Grad school, residency, post doc programs in different states… marriages where husband and wife only see each other on weekends. All of these couples know full well that this is temporary and they will have more free time and live together eventually, but that the next few years would be living hell. Some decide to stay together, some choose to part ways. In all the times I’ve talked to these young people, I never heard anyone use the words “stringing along”, though. Neither have I heard a busy postdoc husband complain that his busy postdoc wife “does not appreciate spending time with him”. So I can’t really relate to Karmic’s question. Sure, if someone’s girlfriend deliberately took on 7-day or 100-hour work weeks just to avoid spending time with them, out of spite, etc. I’d say move on. But that’s a pretty bizarre concept to me. Nobody runs themselves into the ground with their work schedule just to spite their SO, or to show the world that “they don’t do things just for a guy”. They usually have more valid reasons.

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Goldie, you’re the one who inserted the word “evil” to describe Austin’s girlfriend. No one here said she’s evil. Pretty much everyone agreed that she’s too busy/unavailable/unwilling to carve out time for her relationship to be a good partner. Still surprised at how much you want to defend her, but hey, that’s what makes the world go ’round.

      3. 34.2.3
        Joe

        So, Goldie…what sort of man would be right for Austin’s girlfriend?  A man who’s overscheduled?

        1. Marymary

          She will meet someone at the festival.

  5. 35
    Marymary

    Karmic
    yep, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s less about a woman’s qualities, provided she’s not grossly terrible (and even then) and more about the ability to move along.  The belief that if we were better or different then he would change can keeps as mired. Austin made some effort to get a compromise. Didn’t work so he’s outta there. It’s way more efficient than attending a festival for a year, endlessly trying to see her point of view and offering up alternatives.  It’s not about morality, it probably is “good”to do those things but is it going to make him happy? Tales from the front line from women who’ve done that suggests not.

  6. 36
    SparklingEmerald

    For all of you ladies that still think Austin is some kind of douche nozzle for wanting to spend more time with a girlfriend (and not just an hour or two here and there when she can fit him in between her friends and activities that she REFUSES to include him in)  I encourage you to google Marni Batista and “Quality Casual” manimals.  Austin’s so called girlfriend is the female equivalent of “Mr. Quality Casual”.  She fits Austin around her schedule.  He comes AFTER everything else in he life.  Marni  (Dating w/dignity) warns women who are ready for marriage to avoid “Mr. Quality Casual”.  Are women being unreasonable when they don’t want to be a man’s in between activities stop gap girlfriend?  Sounds like Austin is looking for a wife and mother of his children.  It also sounds like he has a pattern of ending up with “Quality Casual” girlfriends,  like his Mom.  Maybe he needs to examine that and break the pattern and find a more “traditional” girl.  (not meant as an insult)  I see no diff between him saying he’s tempted to find a more “traditional” woman  (as opposed to a highly driven, ambitious, EU alpha woman) than a woman saying she might give a more beta guy a chance. (I see no evidence that he is planning ordering a China Bride)  And I see very little difference between him speculating that he’ll be in a relationship within a week, then a woman saying that she going to “next” a man. 

  7. 37
    Lori

    (Fast forward 40 years. Miss Busy-Busy is writing in her journal.) “If only I had listened that one time to Austin, the only man who ever loved me, the only man whoever tolerated my busy ways for even a second. I wouldn’t be old and alone now. When I stalk him online, fantasizing about the life I might have had, I see that he and Miss Low-Hanging-Fruit are still young and never alone. They have wonderful children who remain loyally by their side and the raising of whom required no time management skills. If only I had been more traditional, had spent more time not working, sitting in Starbucks. Then I wouldn’t have ever had to do any of that non-traditional work that seemed so important back then.  My days could have been filled with hours of easy manual labor. But most importantly, Austin never would have left me. Because he would never leave a traditional woman who has given up what little life she had to be with him. He just wouldn’t ever do something like that.  He only left me because of those street fairs/ festivals that paid me little or no money. Now, not even the street fairs/ festivals will have me. If only I had listened to the cautionary tale that was Austin! But he had to break up with me. He seemed so, so sad about it. I will never forget the tears in his eyes. The tears in which I saw, for a brief moment, the future I discarded so cruelly, so thoughtlessly. I deserve every lonely, miserable moment of my life.”

    1. 37.1
      Marymary

      oh lordy, the sad thing is that women do hold onto no hope relationships for fear of this  melodrama!
       

    2. 37.2
      Julia

      LOL Lori, love it. Austin and his busy busy now ex aren’t the right pair. One day they will both find suitable partners. Love this post this, really made me LOL.

    3. 37.3
      Selena

      Thanks Lori that was fun to read.  I’ve been thinking “Austin” might be fictitious anyway. :)

      (You’ve gotta be kidding me, Selena. If you are even suggesting that I made up this letter, you should find another blog to frequent ASAP. – EMK)

      1. 37.3.1
        Selena

        No my friend, not you. I have considered sumbody else might have done a bit of creative writing however.
         
        I meant the comment light-heartedly in response to Lori.  Can we leave it there?

    4. 37.4
      Joe

      Oh, the hyperbole *cough* I mean, humanity!

    5. 37.5
      Karmic Equation

      Actually, if Austin’s gf is mid-20′s, you only have to fast forward 10 years to mid-30′s for this letter to apply.
      If I understand correctly, many women on this blog are in their mid- to late-30s on this blog having trouble finding a man to marry.
      The other big blog demographic are the divorced moms 35+ having trouble finding a man to commit to boyfriend-hood, never mind marriage.

      1. 37.5.1
        julia

        Why do we need to assume that his girlfriend wants to be married or even marry him? I would say that her actions SCREAM of the opposite. If men can be detached or emotionally unavailable than surely some women can be as well. Not all of us are pathetic women who just can’t land a man and not all of us who didn’t marry by 29 regret the things we did instead of husband shopping. K?

        1. Karmic Equation

          Julia, Of course women can be as emotionally unavailable as they want to be. But if she does want to have children, in a marriage–as opposed to choosing to be a single mother (I have a friend who did make this choice)–a woman doesn’t have the same luxury of time as men.
           
          As soon as a woman knows she wants to be a mother someday, she should start looking for the right intern for the job of her husband. She can have her fun, but she’s got to keep her eye on the prize and dump the unworthy quickly. It takes time to find Mr. Right. Oftentimes through a lot of trial and error. So while a woman in her 20′s shouldn’t marry in her 20s, she’s best off finding a boyfriend that wants to marry her and she him when she’s in her (late) 20s and then marry him around 30. 
           
          At 33, if you found Mr. Right tomorrow, he’s not going to marry you tomorrow. So if you follow Evan’s guidelines to wait 2 years before you marry…and it takes him a year to decide if he wants to marry you in the first place, you’ll be 36 when you marry. You may not conceive right away. So it may take you another year or so to become pregnant, placing you at 37. This assumes you find Mr. Right tomorrow. How likely is that?
           
          I’m sorry if that distresses you. However, if what a woman wants is a family, I think she needs to be as emotionally available as possible to improve her chances of becoming a mother at the prime of her child bearing years.

        2. julia

          @Karmic Equation
          “At 33, if you found Mr. Right tomorrow, he’s not going to marry you tomorrow. So if you follow Evan’s guidelines to wait 2 years before you marry…and it takes him a year to decide if he wants to marry you in the first place, you’ll be 36 when you marry. You may not conceive right away. So it may take you another year or so to become pregnant, placing you at 37. This assumes you find Mr. Right tomorrow. How likely is that?”
           
          So first off, I think I have met Mr. Right and 5 months before 33 so that’s a big positive! I don’t expect to marry for 2-3 years, I think a 2 year engagement is crazy long btw. But if I don’t have the one child I want (no more for me thank you) until 37 I think that is fine. Its not like I will be the first woman to conceive at 37….
           

  8. 38
    MsB.

    I don’t get why people are blaming Austin here.  He’s being perfectly reasonable.  I think he makes great points, and we women would most likely not want to date his male equivalent either.  Or maybe we would.  If a comparable male were, say a law partner or a high-end banker, most of us women would be delighted to have him take us out. Eventually we’d figure it out, but still, it would have been fun if the man were high status.   Although I am not sure I’d be into men who are waking up early on weekends for all kinds of activities instead of spending time building intimacy with someone.
    The problem is – and I have read this on another blog that explains men to women  - that men don’t value “achievements” as much as women do.  It’s not that it isn’t great that she is doing all her activities, it’s just that from a male point of view, they don’t make her attractive, if anything, they make her *less* attractive because she is simply not available.  It is what it is, ladies.  I feel like part of what the letter was saying was that.  Not that she had to be sitting around waiting for him at all times, but if you want a serious relationship, you have to make time for it, especially if you are looking to settle down with someone. I think that’s reasonable.  I feel like if a *serious relationship* is what is at stake here, then someone needs to make it a priority.  You can’t move forward you if make no time for it.
    It’s just that many of us fail to realize that what we value in men is not what they value in women and therein lies a gap.  I don’t feel the letter writer is lying about his relationship prospects, he is just being honest about how easy it *would* be for him to start dating again. There are more women looking for relationships than  there are men who want them, just as there are more men wanting NSA sex than there are women willing to put out easily.
     

  9. 39
    Taylor

    This inability of women to accept men as they are and their attempts to change them is a very real thing. EVERY woman has female friends who complain to them about the things their husbands do or don’t do: they have no time, they are lazy, they aren’t fun, they make them feel badly about themselves. And in almost all cases, these men were this way BEFORE these women married them. I like to point that out, “But he was like that before you married him, right? He didn’t become this way when you put the ring on his finger, correct?” That probably makes me a bad friend for not just listening to them complain, but it’s interesting how these women aren’t willing to accept responsibility for their choices and instead blame their husbands for being so bad. People don’t change unless they feel like it. If there is something about your boyfriend or girlfriend that annoys you beyond belief, even though you care for them, either accept it, keep quiet about it or move on. They wont’ change it because it drives you nuts. 

  10. 40
    camie

    This is amusing to me.  I go to a counselor to discuss my boyfriend problems and she regularly tells me that I need to fill my life up with hobbies, so that I will not make my boyfriend crazy with neediness. 

    1. 40.1
      SparklingEmerald

      Camie @40- Perhaps you are at the other extreme of the spectrum.   No one has suggested that this woman drop every single hobby, friend, event, and activity that falls outside of the relationship and become some needy, crazy, velcro girlfriend.  She is nowhere near that extreme of the spectrum.  She is a million miles away at the other end of the spectrum.  Her boyfriend is not “needy” to want to spend more than some random hours here and there whenever she can fit him in between her friends, whom apparently she won’t integrate into her life and  her unnecessary part time second job.  (which I’m not even sure if it is a paying job or volunteer) 
      If your boyfriend is like the girl in the OP, and is calling you “needy” because you want more than whatever crumbs of his time he throws your way, than you need a new boyfriend and a new counselor.  If you really are some               crazy-making velcro girlfriend who wants a “Siamese boyfriend” (joined at the hip) then by all means take up a hobby or two, but don’t “fill your life up” to the point where the is NO ROOM at all for a relationship. 
       
       
       
       

  11. 41
    Sabine

    Karmic 37.5.1.1 – I think men do know at some point pretty early if they want to marry you or  they are really considering it. They may not ask, but they know. However, if you are together too long (YEARS ) is usually points to “no marriage”. As for kids, if a man is considering having children (and thinks you’re the one he wants to have them with) he’ll bring it up in conversation because he doesn’t want to waste his time either. I agree women need to be emotionally available but it should be to find the RIGHT HIGH QUALITY MAN. If you meet the right guy, why not marry in your 20′s? Even though I love children, I was not ready by any means ready to get married in my early 20′s….not even close.

    1. 41.1
      Karmic Equation

      “If you meet the right guy, why not marry in your 20′s? Even though I love children, I was not ready by any means ready to get married in my early 20′s….not even close.”
       
      My post doesn’t contradict this. You’re confirming what I wrote.
       
      In my response to 37.5.1, I didn’t advocate for anyone to marry in their 20s. Rather I advocated women look seriously for a potential husband (read High Quality Man) in her (late) 20s and marry him in her early 30s. I also wrote “…dump the unworthy quickly” and “…while in her 20s SHOULDN’T marry in her 20s…” but finding one she “…WANTS to marry in her late 20s and marrying him in her 30s.”

  12. 42
    AlHeart

    What this comes down to is Austin can simply not accept his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend for who she is. Which means, they simply are not compatible. This neither makes him or her wrong. This neither means that she is deficient in some way either. She is who she is. 
     
    He made a mention about his own experience with his mother and how he felt him and his Dad where just “filler time”. It is clear that Austin has gravitated to a similar dynamic for a reason. He appears to be very attracted to the qualities this woman posses, probably somewhat due to similarities to his mother,  while still trying to reconcile with them at the same time. 
     
    I have no issue with Austin calling off the relationship if it isn’t working out for him. Austin and this woman both appear to be a bit uncompromising.
     
    I am lead to believe by the way Austin talks about this relationship that he is very mildly passive aggressive. Why you may ask? He clearly makes mention that she genuinely loves him but he makes no mention that he loves her. He appears to care for her, but he does not admit to love though he talks about her genuine love for him. He assumes that because he feels second rate in the relationship, that other men she sees will feel the same exact way, dictating that her life is all around inaccessible for men because it feels inaccessible for him. He mentions about how “an increasing number of women are lying to themselves” and how apparently women are not compromising like they should be. Even though I personally find that in our modern society, compromise is not something many men or women want to do. He talks about what a progressive guy he is but alludes to being willing to basically settle for a more traditional woman. It sounds like Austin wants it all even as he talks about compromise. He wants a successful woman but will settle for a more traditional woman. Which is just as insulting to successful women as it is to more traditional women and all the varying combinations inbetween. And of course, the last comment about how he won’t be single for long but she will be. After all, he is a great catch and apparently she isn’t. 
     
    I have no issue with Austin’s concern. I have issues with how Austin made this personal issue he has with his probably-now-ex-girlfriend into some cautionary tale for all women and all the ills he perceives modern women are falling into. 

    1. 42.1
      Mohoto

      I completely agree with you.
      As far as I can see, the people who are being accused of defending the girl, aren’t really defending the girl nor are they saying Austin is in the wrong for walking, just pointing out Austin’s passive aggressiveness.

  13. 43
    Mohoto

    I agree with people who said that Austin sounds kind of apathetic and condescending, suggesting that his (ex)gf even wants to be in a relationship right now(or ever), and just from the letter, I also agree that it doesn’t seem like he tried to take interests in her life too much(neither did she, it sounds like for that matter)
    Having said that, I AM NOT PUTTING THE BLAME ON AUSTIN!!!
    I agree that he’s right to break up because his needs aren’t met, and this goes for if the position’s being reversed. No matter what gender you are, you should walk if you find that neither of you can compromise. There COULD be things that one can do about the situation but he is NOT AT FAULT.

  14. 44
    Don

    This letter struck a cord with me, as I too have gone thru the same scenario, my only difference being that I was actually married to my spouse. The last few years of my marriage, I was left to feel like on a list of 1-10, me and marriage were ranked 9 and 10.
    As you stated, relationships do need that quality time to grow and flourish, but when that effort isn’t made by both parties, it will lead to a breakdown in communications and the core of what you both initially built to come into that relationship in the first place.
    I can understand Austin’s dilemma, as I too struggled with it for a long time and eventually had to walk away, the situation was becoming toxic and affecting me on all levels, so for the sake of losing love and caring more about my spouse’s happiness, I stepped aside. 
    Now,almost 3 years later, I’m at my peace without and have never had any ill will for my ex, only 1 regret in that she didn’t put an effort into dealing with our situation and resolving it.
    Best thought I can share: Being driven and having goals is a great thing, but if you have someone special in your life, remember that, cherish it and keep your mind open that they’ll want your time and attention just as much and will revel in your successes as much as you do.
     

  15. 45
    kelly james

    I’m having the same problem, but she tells me I don’t no or want a healthy relationship, she works, goes to school part time and hangs with her one friend and spends 3% with me. Been together only a month we fight about it, iv told her the problem I broke it off and she’s confused all of a sudden. I need to know how to get her to understand we cant work it out if we can’t spend time together its like what has been said I’m filler and she can say she has a boy friend I’m sick of it but don’t want to sound mean, but as an example she was at a birthday party she knew I had to work, she said I should come over to the party around 8 o’clock 2 hours before I worked as if she said it just to say she asked me. So what I think is what Jack Nicholson said when he was asked how do you write women so well and he replied I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability.

    1. 45.1
      Julia

      Uh, you’ve been with her for a month. Man up and break it off, you think you’re going to change someone you’ve known for 30 days? Evan’s advice hold true for men too. If she’s unavailable and not treating you well, LEAVE.

      1. 45.1.1
        Bazian

        “Man up?”  Who are YOU to say anything about what being a MAN is?

  16. 46
    Arnie

    This women is selfish selfcenterd selfserving all roads lead back to me leav this women likse a bad habit and never daet a nothere like her agen I know you have had a talk with her befor and she whent back on her ward that it would change and any one! who says ow your not giving her a chance are the same people as her trying to defend what thay are doing theam selves Bro she is just not in to you if she was it would not look like this run run run! SHE is only truly in love with herself! Don’t ever put up with this behaver  from any one.
     

    1. 46.1
      starthrower68

      It’s funny how we can cast character aspersions on people whom we don’t know from Adam.  It’s more likely that neither one of them are bad people.  They are simply not a good match, and it’s not the right relationship at the right time.  They both have the complete right to move on if it’s not working for either one of them.  Life is funny.  One minute, we don’t want to commit to someone, but then the next we’re ready to sacrifice everything for someone else.   

  17. 47
    Arnie Rogers

     sounds like some people are trying to justify there selves and what there doing to some one eles  ! You know who you are you are a lie and a cheat cheating that other person out of your time by doing this you are saying through your actions and actions speak louder then wards that thay are jut not that importint to you .What you are offering is not the real thing and for me I need the real thing especily if that some one is suppose to be the one the rest of my life .I want some one who wants my as much as I want theam  I want real love not the shadow of it ! If you cant give that to me then you can not have me and all the gifts I bring love real love will never do this cind of self serve garbeg real love makes you want to be near this person as much as posibel I know becues I have ben marid for 13 years and I stiel love my wife like this she is everything to me my hole world and are 3 kids she is a pharm D I stel want her like a glass of sweet ice tea on hot sumer day I need and want her and her me ! Do you real want some ones scraps ? are you not worth more?

  18. 48
    Stephanie

    I, for one, cannot stand men who expect me to give up my life and become a housewife with four kids who serves his needs in a one-sided fashion and abandons hope for travel, a career, friends, and a life of my own. There are a lot of men out there who resent well-educated women with money and freedom.
    The nice guys claim they are such a catch but are Mama’s boys who want women to dote on them with nothing in return and take orders from them, because they ‘represent’ family values. I have never wanted a family and have made this clear, only to be subjected to controlling and disrespectful behavior from men who already knew this, and thought they could change my mind and make me have kids I didn’t want, which I would be raising myself without any help. As my mother pointed out, the men who are least capable of taking care of a family want them the most and are always the ones who think it is a woman’s job to do so and that they can tell women what to do.

    I am not against marriage, but am glad I passed on these Mama’s boys, nice guys. and family-style men who restrict women’s freedom and resent their independence. They also think that women who like and want sex are sluts, that they are too feminist and liberated, that they have too many opinions, that they cause trouble by saying no and not doing what a guy wants ‘as they are supposed to’, that they are baby incubators, that they are domestic servants, and that they have to be perfect-looking and not expect anything from a guy, even willing to date someone twenty years older and butt-ugly. They think they all want money and are bitches for leaving bad or pointless relationships, and hate all the women who turned them down or ended relationships with them. Not a catch, I would rather be single. Don’t assume it is hard out there for women, it isn’t, and it isn’t some magic-land all the time for men. That is a fantasy.

  19. 49
    Tony

    I am going thru the same scenario myself. I have been married for five years and I am completely miserable. My wife has admitted on her own that she knows she takes me for granted and does not make me a priority in the marriage. She apologizes and says shes sorry but I’m getting to a point where sorry isn’t good enough. I have made my feelings very clear to her and she acknowledges that my complaints are justified. She will either tell me that she is going to try harder to make me a priority, which things may change for a month and go back to the way they were, or she just shuts down and doesn’t say anything. I feel like a dog chasing my own tail sometimes. She would walk to the ends of the earth for a complete stranger and give them her last dollar while she ignores me, except when it favors her.

    Things were not like this when we were dating but they changed after (Bait and Switch) we got married so its not like this is how it was and then I expected change afterwards. From the very beginning she said our relationship was too good to be true and it wasn’t going to last. Her exes weren’t exactly prince charming and i don’t think she knows how to be with someone whos good to her. She’s been burned too many times to show vulnerability or something. The ironic thing is shes ruining it I just don’t think its consciously. I guess my dilemma in the whole situation is that I know part of it is not her fault. When we were dating she was only required to work 40 hours a week and then when the economy tanked she was told she needed to work a minimum 48 hours a week. She has a job that requires her to work a lot during the holidays, they even tell her what days she has to work. Once this change was made she was living at work 3 months out of the year then she got promoted its now 6 months out of the year shes never around. Now shes telling me her boss is giving her special projects over the summer since its slow and shes going to have to go out of town a lot. So now shes already at work all the time during the winter and now shes going to be on the road half of the summer. I told her that I wasn’t happy with the whole summer thing and she just expects me to be understanding. I feel like the more I give in the more she expects from me.

    I understand that she is required to work 48 hours a week but she has an OCD perfectionist type of personality. She will not leave work until everything looks exactly the way she wants it to. She has a hard time delegating because her employees wont do things to her liking so she works 60 hours a week just so everything is perfect and I feel like its at my expense. She also is a worry wort, she just cant function in life without worrying and this is another thing she admits to, she wasn’t like this in the beginning. She told me when she doesn’t have anything to worry about shes worried that she doesn’t have something to be worried about. That makes a lot of sense. I find it hard to believe that she has developed these traits in the last 4 years so I feel like she hid it from me in order not to run me off. She says being her is exhausting sometimes but believe me being married to her is even more exhausting. She teaches Sunday school in her “spare” time and comes home complaining about how bad the kids were and how tired she is. Well than stop doing it!

    I was lucky enough to get a job working from home 80% of the time which I know Im lucky for that but I just end up doing more around the house. I wash the dishes, take out the trash, cook, run errands and I never complain. I even do things for my mother-in-law. My wife usually doesn’t get home until 8 or 9 most nights and shes usually tired and in a bad mood. I spend an hour listening her complain about whatever she is worried\upset about and IF she asks me how my day was Im too emotionally exhausted to talk about it. A lot of the things she is upset about are warranted and I try to listen and be supportive but I feel like shes turned me into her psychiatrist. I also don’t feel like I get much in return as selfish as that may sound. She is a very impatient person and a control freak, she complains constantly about everything, She has a heart attack every time she catches a red light or train, things she has no control over. She flew off the handle one morning because I woke up early to surprise her with breakfast in bed and she bit my head off because I was being too loud in the kitchen. If I did that to her she would be in tears. She tells me she appreciates me all of the time but she sure has a funny way of showing it. When I stand up to her she either gets defensive or she shuts down. I think shes pretty immature for 37.

    Not to mention the fact that our sex life has become almost non existent. My birthday and our anniversary are best two days out of the year for me. She told me after we got married that she could go 3 weeks at a time not having sex (shes 5 years older than me btw) and that’s about what its become. In fact the last argument we had about sex she told me she would be fine never having sex again. She knows its important to me, i feel closer to her when we have sex not to mention its a great stress reliever. She has the nerve to tell me she feels like shes just a vagina to me. I don’t know how she could say that when I kiss her and tell her I lover her everyday,buy her jewelry, send her flowers, take her on dates when shes available, rub her back shoulders and feet when shes tired AND play psychiatrist. I pull out the massage table, light candles, put on sexy music and offer to give her a massage. I think she turns me down because she knows I want something in return. At least I’m trying to work for it.

    My wife has low self esteem and is very insecure. I compliment her body she tells me Im crazy, If I touch her she grabs my hand and moves it off. If I walk in the bedroom when shes half naked she flies off the handle that I always walk in on her when shes naked. I dont do it on purpose but sorry I want to see my own wife naked. Shes emotionally needy and Im physically needy and Im not just talking sex. I like to kiss and touch but shes not interested. She pays more attention to her cats and when I get jealous and complain she tells me that those cats were there for her when no one else was. Well is that an excuse to push me out?

    I had a job last year that I was no longer happy at. I was given a supervisor who was a controlling pain the rump and I came home everyday pissed off. After a couple of months of me being mad all the time my wife told me if I didn’t find a new job she was moving out because she couldn’t take me anymore, now she tells me she was just kidding. I said uh I don’t feel sorry for you Ive been putting up with the same thing for 4 years. After I got my new job I’m a new man I am so happy I left. I suggested to her that maybe its time for her to find a new job and she told me shes happy with her job, could have fooled me. I have suggested we go to counseling and she told me that she knows what she needs to do she just needs to do it. That was like 2 years ago. When I get mad about all of this she says well you said for better or for worse. I said for better or worse not for worse and worse and worser.

    It takes a lot to push me but Ive made up my mind that if this summer is anything like the last 6 months were than Im out. I try to be the best husband I can be but it seems like no matter what I do its for nothing. My mother-in-law and all of my wife’s friends tell her how great I am too her and how lucky she is to have me but for some reason she just doesn’t feel the need to show me she appreciates me. My mother-in-law also told her if I left it would be her fault but she just gets mad at her for saying that. Everybody tells me they wouldn’t put up with it and they would have left by now but for some reason I just cant do it. I know if I left she would be devastated and I think it would be stupid to throw it all away but if shes not willing to compromise than it makes me feel like she doesn’t care The decision is getting easier. My friend said to me the grass is greener on the other side, sounds to me like your grass is dead and not coming back.

    1. 49.1
      Karmic Equation

      Hi Tony,

      I’m so sorry to hear this. You sound like a great guy.

      I just finished reading two books, which I think might help your situation.

      One is “The Five Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman (http://www.amazon.com/Five-Love-Languages-Secret-Lasts-ebook/dp/B0032CVAQQ/ref=sr_1_1_ha?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1398989119&sr=1-1&keywords=five+languages+of+love)

      The other is “Attached” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller (http://www.amazon.com/Five-Love-Languages-Secret-Lasts-ebook/dp/B0032CVAQQ/ref=sr_1_1_ha?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1398989119&sr=1-1&keywords=five+languages+of+love)

      It sounds to me you haven’t quite figured out her Love Language yet (sound like you’ve tried at least three of the five). And it sounds as if she has an avoidant attachment style, while you’re secure, which is why you’ve been so patient.

      I think reading those books will at least help you understand yourself better and in so doing help your relationship. And help you decide whether you should stay or leave. Sometimes secures stay in a relationship way past their expiration date.

      Good luck.

      1. 49.1.1
        Tony

        Thanks Karmic Equation I think this is a step in the right direction. I did more research on attachment styles and this sounds more like us:

        Anxious preoccupied/avoidant dismissive

        This combination of attachment styles is the most prevalent in couple therapy. Generally this is a relationship where two opposite positions are very entrenched with little movement between them. One partner truly wants intimacy and the other feels engulfed and overwhelmed. Both partners exacerbate each other’s insecurities: the anxious partner will try to get closer; the avoidant partner reacts by moving further away. The anxious partner is usually the one to express their discontent with the relationship while the other believes that the main problem with the relationship is the partner’s discontent.

        In order to both feel comfortable and secure in the relationship both partners need to find a way to deactivate their attachment system.

        You are likely to be in this type of relationship if your relationship is very up and down – up when the needs for dependency and intimacy are met, down when they are not. You are likely to find that an element of instability and dissatisfaction persists throughout your time together; you seem to be fighting constantly about things that aren’t really worth fighting about and you stay in the relationship because you are emotionally connected while feeling that the relationship is not right for you.

        Although I dont think she would see our relationship as up and down I do very much. I am perfectly content doing all that I do but when we stop being intimate Im the one who starts to feel used. Im not saying that sex should only be used as a reward but I need a release as well. She doesnt have a problem with our lack of intimacy so to her its my problem not hers. She tells me that I pressure her too much but then when I back off that doesnt seem to do me any good either thats when I really get frustrated. I start to feel like it doesnt matter what I do. Her parents are divorced and she doesnt have a great relationship with her father. She always complained that he was never affectionate when she was little and didnt tell her that he loved her. I can’t say I love you enough. Now I feel like Im the one paying the price for it.

        1. starthrower68

          Tony, you wife sounds a great deal like me.  Especially with the issues she has/had with her father.  Throw on top of that my mother abandoning me when she left my dad when I was 5 and well, I’m probably just better off to stay out of the game.  

          I have sympathy for you but to some extent your wife as well.  I certainly don’t want to make excuses for her but just some added insight, it’s really difficult to connect.  It’s almost abhorrent for an avoidant dismissive to get close to anyone.  Just to share my experience, the last couple of situations I was in (can’t really call them a relationship, per se)  I took the risk to open up and allow connection and intimacy.  After the last guy decided (after several months of dating) that he was just no longer going to talk to me, I have just pretty much shut down.  Unfortunately, my therapist, left private practice or I’d be continuing to work on it.  Yes I get that he’s  not the only therapist on earth, however I can’t really put funds toward it at the moment.  But I digress.  I can almost guarantee my ex husband felt very much like you do.  Of course that was one of many issues but I again I digress.  

          Back to giving you some insight, being an avoidant can be a very painful and lonely place to be.  You can be in a room full of people and feel lonely.  Others often see us as distant and aloof, but intimacy and connection are frightening; you can’t take love in.  When those things are not modeled for you as a young child, this is the end result.  I thought I was making progress, but that last relationship failure cause me to shut down and retreat back into myself.   The loneliness of isolation is painful but the risk of opening up is more so.  You would think that the awareness of what I struggle with would be enough to get beyond it, but that rejection has been so deeply rooted that the old impulses and behaviors are done without really even thinking about them.   I always feel like that outsider looking in, that I fit nowhere and I belong nowhere.  It does lead to depression and anxiety, at least for me.   When I can, I will probably have to get back into therapy for it.  

          I just want to say again, I’m not trying to minimize or dismiss your pain.  Only trying to maybe give some insight into why you struggle with that dynamic in your marriage.   I know if I could just snap out of it, I would. 

  20. 50
    Becca

    When I decided to go back to school, something my boyfriend at the time advised me to do, his needs became an obstacle to my success as a student. I missed classes because of arguments, and avoided studying with other students because he was suspicious of their intentions toward me (nevermind that they are all 10+ years younger than me). When I transferred to a proper university, the workload increased and I could really only spend one night a week with him because he didn’t like me studying at his house over the weekend. I tried to be understanding, but it seemed like his life never stopped for me (he has two wonderful daughters) when I came over, yet I was expected to focus solely on him. Between his needs and my mother’s needs I became a basket case. I was in a bad mood all the time and being able to earn the grades I needed became an exercise in rushing to play catch up. Even though I did not make plans with anyone except my mother and boyfriend while school was in session, managing their needs took a huge toll on my well-being. Both of them constantly complained about my lack of availability. He eventually took to clubbing all the time, and then after a snafu (spending the entire night into the dawn hours in a car alone with a woman he met and pouring his heart out to her) I just didn’t trust him anymore. I understand the need for compromise, but it genuinely seemed to me like my success in school just wasn’t something he supported if it took me away from him in any way. The last straw was calling me at 2am in the middle of finals week and telling me in an angry tone that I was neglecting him. Part of me can’t let go of the nagging worry that I drove him away, but the idea that this is normal male behavior makes me very sad, and very reluctant to start anything with anyone else.

  21. 51
    john smith

    the issue is two fold and more of an issue for both parties 1. why is the situation an either or first off do a personality test look up the book why him why her this would give you some understanding of why she does what she does secondly a relationship is give and take  and some compromise  not of  core value but of what is most important if you go her way what is more important enjoy her in what is giving her happiness of having her all to your self and not enjoying her company because she wants to be doing some thing else it is quality and not quantity

  22. 52
    Lauren

    I don’t like the sound if this guy, if you want more attention then ask for it !! Sounds like he is as selfish and big headed as her !! So he must be a stunner to find another girlfriend in a week after breaking up with the last, shoe may be on the other foot next time !! What goes around comes around :  )

  23. 53
    ryan

    Im more intersted if Austin initiated a breakup and did she begged him to stay or make comprimises , some girls do that if she truly loves a guy as a last straw.

  24. 54
    SparklingEmerald

    I am a little puzzled by this
    “It’s not unusual for her to tell me that “I have dinner with a friend Monday, an event on Tuesday, a soccer game on Thursday, a meeting on Friday, and the festival Saturday (and now) again on Sunday. Do you have Wednesday or sometime during the day on the weekends open?” Since, I’m also somewhat busy, the answer is often no. She’s exhausted most of the time when we do hang out.
    It looks like they both might be too busy for relationship.  How can two people slot each other in to such narrow time frames ?  Once a relationship has been established, is it unreasonable for BOTH to keep weekends open for each other ?  And carve out at least 2 week nights for each other ?

  25. 55
    c

    i just broke up with my boyfriend last night becauss of his prioritysi never gave up on him.. ive just had enough being the back burner. it hurts. he lost me. he wouldnt fight for me. 

  26. 56
    Patiently Waiting

    I understand Austin frustration, I had everything going for me my career was picking up and was taking courses at a local university for a second degree in biology, then I met my girlfriend things started out fine, lovely lady twenty days younger than me, still living with her parents. But there were a few red flags from the moment we met, it took her one to three weeks for her to return a phone call or a text message, always with an excuse. always something to keep  her busy when not working she is not available because she is babysitting for her sister, helping her dad paint her sisters house, fundraising for cancer or Alzheimer’s, graduation, christening, sick grandmother, working late, name any excuse out there, for two years and never got invited to any of those events either. I have introduced her to most of my family but I have never met any of her family, she claims they are always busy. she will be gone for days then when she comes around or call she is always exhausted and moody. every time she came to my place we drunk our self to pieces. The whole situation took a tall on me and I started drinking sometime going to work late or drunk because I slept late drinking waiting for her to show up. was basically falling apart. then I decided to clean up after myself, I decided staying together was not the right thing to do, the only way to go about it was to go on a travel assignment out of state and start over. I submitted my application for a contract assignment across the country. Then I waited for the right moment to tell her which was a month after the submission of the job application, since she was too busy to even reply  to a simple text message. I told her my plan, but she was not surprised, she actually told me to make sure I come back because she is pregnant. I really do love her but I don’t see myself going back into that depressing situation again, she says she is five months pregnant and still continues living with her parent I left her my apartment so that she can at least  have a place to stay, she only went there once and still takes her atleast  a week to return my phone calls and yet complains that I don’t seem to care about her and her family thinks I ditched her. I feel like a third wheel between her and her family and our relationship is doomed to fail. She is a wonderful lady but every time I bring up the issue she tells me she understands my frustration and that things will work out fine. She is a wonderful lady.  Just tired and confused

  27. 57
    Kay

    I disagree with Austin and I disagree with the message.  If women are too available, it’s a problem, when women are busy, that’s also a problem.  I’m sick of women being the only ones that can’t win for losing.  At least Austin’s (ex)girlfriend is now single and free to meet someone that understands what motivates her in life. 

  28. 58
    Indeep

    Tony I feel for you and have similar issues, just add anger, blaming, push-pull behaviour, I believe PTSD, BPD, NPD and bi-polar. Therapy helped only a little. I empathize. Starthrower you are beautiful for being so open, if oly my wife could be. Never lose hope, I wish you success. As for austin its hard for me to say what is best if your not in the same shoes. 

  29. 59
    E-surfer

    Not sure how long ago this thread began as I just came across this blog by searching the web for a similar situation, albeit a different outcome.

    I can identify with Austin. First of all, I’m not surprised by the hostility expressed by many of the female commentators but I do find most, if not all, of the criticism leveled at him to be unwarranted. 

    I’m currently in a 6 month long relationship with a “degreed, high powered professional woman”. A very busy one with a thriving social life and a penchant for volunteerism.  She’s smart, beautiful, fun to be around and really, just an incredible catch.  She’s also very capable and extremely independent.

    The problem? I felt like I was only able to get ‘filler’ time with her. I felt unimportant. Unnecessary. She didn’t need me. She loved me (she said and I felt) but she didn’t need me (she would never say, but I felt as well).  Her calendar was always full. 

     Im a successful guy.. but I wear blue jeans with a blue collar. She makes 2.. hell, 3 times as much money as I do.  She can handle all the outdated ‘traditional’ stuff done by both genders.  

    I expressed to her how I felt, and I even (in my mind) made unfair assumptions of how she would respond. Beforehand I began the process of emotional distancing as I had no confidence that she would change/compromise simply for me.  She has it all going on.  But I knew I would eventually be unsatisfied in a relationship where I felt this way so I was prepared to end things and go our separate ways. 

    After I honestly expressed how I felt. Expressed my needs… she surprised me.  She heard me and she followed up by expressing her needs. I then heard her. She made incredible changes to her lifestyle which made it easy for me to make changes to mine as well, in order to help us both meet eachothers needs. She didn’t drop everything for me and I didn’t maintain unreasonable expectations of her. We ended up both compromising and our relationship has blossomed into something I never thought was possible. 

    How? Why? Because of the willingness to express. The willingness to listen and to hear. The willingness to compromise and to make changes, for one another at first… and subsequently and without any additional effort, for the both of us.  Compatibility. 

    It appears clear as day. Austin and this gal simply are not compatibile. Not in the ways it takes to make a long term relationship work. 

    He makes it clear that he already expressed his feelings and she either didnt hear him or didnt care enough about him and the relationship to compromise of make the necessary changes. No harm, no foul. Not compatible. Finding blame or fault doesn’t change what is.  

    Sounds like Austin did the right thing by padting ways and moving on. Life is too short.

    Good luck! 

  30. 60
    neha

    Oh god…your story reminds me of mine, this guy was so much into me in the starting of relationship and now he is like all career and goals etc, I really loved him.. but he is not able to give me time, we already broke up, n its too hard but I now believe Its for the best. I want a life partner who can give me time, not someone with whom I have to struggle with to find time!!

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