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



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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  1. 21

    Something about this “cautionary tale” just seems “off” to me. I don’t know why, but maybe I’m just surprised that a man would even bother to write this. After all, he isn’t really looking for advice, although maybe he just needs to vent…
    I do have to wonder if his girlfriend really does love him, since she seems reluctant to spend much time with him, but we also don’t know how long they’ve been dating, and length of the relationship would definitely be a factor.   Have they been dating for 3 months? A year? That would make a difference. It’s hard for me to believe that a woman who truly has “a severe fear of ending up old and alone” would be that ambivalent about her relationship, especially a long-term one.
    I do have to agree with others who disliked his comment, “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.” It just sounds so mean-spirited. The only men I’ve known who’ve moved into an actual “relationship” only a week or two after a breakup already had a woman friend lined up (which many guys do). Perhaps Austin does too. Otherwise, that statement sounds arrogant to me also.

    1. 21.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Always fascinating to me when readers try to find fault with what seems like a very normal man who has every right to break up with his girlfriend. In other words, this email is a PSA, not an advice column. The advice speaks for itself. DON’T BE UNAVAILABLE. THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE A MAN IS YOUR TIME AND ACCEPTANCE. Yet all you take from it is that this guy is arrogant and mean-spirited? Really, I don’t get it. But then, I didn’t get all the people who got upset at the benign Coke ad that celebrated our multicultural country. I suppose people can twist anything to suit their own pre-existing narrative about how life works: in this case, that there must be something wrong with the man.

      1. 21.1.1

        I didn’t see anyone in this thread who disagreed that a partner (man or woman) should not make themselves completely unavailable, and make their partner feel like he or she is an afterthought. It’s just that Austin added a few details to his letter that he may have been better off keeping to himself, because they put his whole letter in a different light.
        I’d say that if anyone, in any relationship, sounds less interested in their partner’s life than they are in their needs being met, there’s probably something wrong with that person. And that is how Austin’s letter is making him come across. He doesn’t even say what kind of festival it is; maybe he doesn’t even know; all he does is complain that his girlfriend isn’t taking care of him as much as she should, for reasons that are, to Austin, less important than Austin. He doesn’t try to join her in her activities or show any interest in them, judging from his letter. He might be the greatest guy in reality, but his letter isn’t doing him any favors, sorry.

        1. Nathan

          While I agree that the tone of Austin’s letter doesn’t paint him in a highly positive light, what he writes about is a serious and common issue for both women and men. I’ve dated a few women like Austin’s girlfriend. Always busy. Unable to find much time to be together, and then they were exhausted when we were together. It gets old, no matter how you slice it.
          The two things that stand out in the letter for me are the point he makes about not needing to be #1, and also the suggestion that he relationship history is littered with these kinds of relationships. It strikes me that perhaps he recognized the pattern early on, distanced himself emotionally (thus the rather clinical tone of parts of the letter), and then hoped that she would change. I did exactly this in both of the relationships I had with hyper busy women. It made it easier to cope, provided the dream of change, and made it easier to break up at the end. Yes, it was dysfunctional. Something I wouldn’t repeat now. However, given the situation: understandable.
          One problem with the suggestion about Austin joining his girlfriend on her various activities is that the relationship can easily become one-sided. In other words, it becomes all or mostly about what she’s doing in the world. The partner, in this case Austin, becomes little more than a sidekick. That might work for some people, but a lot of folks will rightly become resentful in a relationship that’s dominated by the ideas and desired activities of one person.
          I do wonder how long they have been together, and how much actual evidence he has about her past relationships. If this overbooked life is something she’s built more recently, then it’s reasonable to give her a chance to shift some things around. On the other hand, if this is how she’s operated for years, I wouldn’t wait around hoping for change.

        2. Chance

          I’d say that if anyone, in any relationship, sounds less interested in their partner’s life than they are in their needs being met, there’s probably something wrong with that person. And that is how Austin’s letter is making him come across. “
          Actually,  Goldie, that sounds a lot like his girlfriend and her attitude towards him.   Also, I agree with  Karl R, you are inconsistent with your advice.   

        3. Goldie

          Thank you Nathan.
          “One problem with the suggestion about Austin joining his girlfriend on her various activities is that the relationship can easily become one-sided. In other words, it becomes all or mostly about what she’s doing in the world. The partner, in this case Austin, becomes little more than a sidekick. That might work for some people, but a lot of folks will rightly become resentful in a relationship that’s dominated by the ideas and desired activities of one person.”
          I was thinking more along the lines of doing something together that they both enjoy. If they both enjoy it, then who cares whose idea it was originally? And, if there is nothing that they both enjoy doing together, then why are those two still a couple?
          Doing things together as a couple, that we both liked, was the one functional part of my, fairly dysfunctional, last relationship. And we were damn good at it, if I say so myself. Most of the time it was something he would suggest; but, if we both had fun, who cares? It’s not a contest. I went to his work events and enjoyed that. I went to see the bands that he liked and enjoyed that too. And vice versa, I hope. If two people know each other well enough and are a good enough match, then most of the time, one will suggest something that the other one likes, anyway.
          This is the one thing I did not see in Austin’s letter. It’s either her doing her stuff alone, or him doing his stuff alone, or the two of them getting together for a date that’s unrelated to either his stuff or her stuff. Where’s the interest in each other, where’s the wanting to be part of each other’s life? where did any of them offer to include the other one in his or her life? Don’t get me wrong, I am not taking her side against Austin’s. I think they both are to blame in this situation. She, for overscheduling and not offering him to join in; and he, for not being remotely interested in joining in (the term “do-gooder festival” doesn’t indicate a whole lot of interest on his end), and not offering any activity that might interest her enough to clear her schedule to make room for it.

      2. 21.1.2

        No One can judge or have right to judge anything from the outside. And all of US are on the outside of this relationship.
        Is not about who is wrong or who is right. they Both are and right and wrong. Or may be they are simply not compatible in the way how they see life and future as a whole.
        Things /relationships/ from Outside are NOT the   same as what the both people experience from the inside.Never.
        Like example – I been 5 y with a older than me man who was perceived from Everyone else like very nice,calm and quite guy, like sweet and giving. Me from the other side – i was told I am real bitch with him,because after some time I could not talk calmly with him at all – I was screaming with frustration. What kept me with him was loyalty and business – not feelings of love and chemistry etc…
        My point was – NO ONE knew what he is inside our house and relationship, no one but me. No one ever seen how passive abusive, stubborn destructive he is, how stupid ideas he has if has any. No one knew he is not able to make Any conversation about anything and was covering his stupidity with shy laughs and “o,yea” frazes who suspended in the air…
        This man was total nightmare from my inside experience,but was total sweet hearth for everyone outside and I was the bitch… And of course when I was sharing all that     was in the inside with friends or anyone – I was Not understood.
        So,there, No generalizations could be made on the behivior of those two people,because None of us can know what IS truly in the inside between them.
        Any sort of a sighting with one or another,judging the “behavior ” of the absent person – is Fully Unacceptable, from Everyone.

      3. 21.1.3

        Evan: Some have missed it, and totally taken it off in another direction – aside line to this letter. You are correct in your comment, but couldn’t be tweeted a little to have read:   DON’T BE UNAVAILABLE, THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT IS YOUR TIME AND ACCEPTANCE.   That is a non-gender any type of releationship or friendship statement. Repect and invest in a releationship with another person or choose not to have one. That’s the point here with Austin and I think it should be celebrated, shouted from the roof tops, printed on billboards, plastered in Times Square.   Just saying….  

    2. 21.2
      Remains Unknown

      Ruby I 100% agree with you on that one. What he said is evil and says out of revenge or      Hate trying sound all innocent.

  2. 22

    How long have they been dating?   Is she under the impression that he’s serious about the relationship?   Maybe she thinks he’s not serious about the relationship, and so she’s not either.   Maybe he should issue an ultimatum about leaving a couple of days a week open for him and the relationship so that they could decide if they want to be married, and if she doesn’t do it within a month, then walk away.

  3. 23

    I think this is the most important paragraph of Austin’s letter:
    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.”
    I say this because life is about choices and sometimes we have to make choices that will open doors for some things, but close doors for others.   Choosing one path in life may in fact mean sacrificing other paths.   This is what I see missing from many peoples lives, men and women alike.   They are missing this sense of compromise, this sense of acceptance that ‘to have it all’ is a false illusion.   It’s like they are afraid to make a choice because the don’t want to give up the dream of having a high powered career AND travel the world AND volunteer to save the world AND find a spouse AND have children AND raise a family.   Can it be done?   Sure, but it’s rare indeed that a person can do it AND be happy.

  4. 24
    Karl R

    Goldie said: (#21.1.1)
    “He doesn’t even say what kind of festival it is; maybe he doesn’t even know;”
    Austin said his girlfriend works at the festival. He said, “It’s not a money thing” to her (implying that she gets paid for working there), but she sees her work as a “do-gooder” kind of thing.
    Jenn said: (#9)
    “Did he ever think about joining her at her weekend festival gig?”
    Goldie said: (#13)
    “I also wonder if Austin has ever offered to volunteer at the festival with her, as a fun activity for the two of them to do together.”
    Have either of you ever taken a second job, just so you could spend some time working with a boyfriend? Does it sound like a “fun activity” for the two of them to do together?
    My wife and I have dropped by each other’s workplaces for short periods of time (when necessary), but neither of us considers it to be fun. Neither of us even considers it to be time spent together. One of us is focused on their work. The other person hopefully has something to keep them occupied while they wait.
    LC said: (#22)
    “Maybe he should issue an ultimatum about leaving a couple of days a week open for him and the relationship so that they could decide if they want to be married,”
    You can’t threaten somebody into changing who they are. You can’t persuade them to change. You can’t bully them into changing. They have to want to change.
    Does the girlfriend sound like someone who wants to change her lifestyle?
    Goldie said:  (#21.1.1)
    “I’d say that if anyone, in any relationship, sounds less interested in their partner’s life than they are in their needs being met, there’s probably something wrong with that person.”
    Worst. Advice. Ever.
    You ought to be interested in making sure that your own needs are met. You are the only person on this planet (with the possible exception of your parents) who has a vested interest in making sure your needs are met. You are the person most aware of your own needs.
    If your needs are not being met (in a relationship, in a job, anyplace else), then it is your responsibility to walk away.
    How many times have women written to Evan complaining about men who string them along. These women are very interested in their partner’s lives. These women are more interested in the men than they are in making sure that their own needs are being met.
    What is Evans advice to those women? What is my advice to those women? What is your advice to those women?
    At least Evan and I are consistent. We offer the same advice to women and men.

    1. 24.1

      We can’t assume that she gets paid for “working” at this festival. Volunteering is considered unpaid work. If it’s a festival like a street fair, those can be fun to hang out at with someone (I’ve done so myself) while manning a booth for an organization. There’s music, performers, people-watching, food, arts and crafts, etc. It’s nothing like hanging out with someone at their office cubicle.
      I don’t fault Austin for leaving if he wants to. I wouldn’t advise anyone to date a workaholic, male or female. OTOH, I’m just not sure his girlfriend is as into him as he thinks she is.

      1. 24.1.1

        Yes, what Ruby said. I have worked at festivals. It was fun, exactly in the way that she describes. It was also work. It was also unpaid work. So, no, it’s not a job in the usual sense of that word.

      2. 24.1.2

        Whether or not you get paid, being someone’s sidekick at a gig EVERY WEEKEND just because you want to spend time with them and that’s the only time they have available isn’t particularly healthy, IMO.

    2. 24.2

      @ Karl R:
      Goldie said:  (#21.1.1)
      “I’d say that if anyone, in any relationship, sounds less interested in their partner’s life than they are in their needs being met, there’s probably something wrong with that person.”
      Worst. Advice. Ever.
      You ought to be interested in making sure that your own needs are met. You are the only person on this planet (with the possible exception of your parents) who has a vested interest in making sure your needs are met. You are the person most aware of your own needs.
      Karl, you of all people… I am surprised. Where in my comment did I say that you should not be interested in your needs being met? Of course you should.  I said you should not be interested in that to the exclusion of everything else, including your partner’s wellbeing.
      If my partner has the needs that I physically cannot meet, would not adjust them for our situation, and gets mad at me for not being able to meet them exactly as they are… If my partner insists that his needs be met come hell or high water, consistently, no matter what is happening in my life at the moment…. If he insists on his needs being met, but doesn’t care about mine… Then it’s the time for me to walk away. Did you read my comment #13 above? I could’ve literally gotten myself killed trying to meet my partner’s needs. And he was still upset with me, because no matter how I tried, it still was not enough. It was a temporary situation in my life, things are getting easier for me now that my both kids have cars and are driving, and will get easier still when both of my kids leave home relatively soon. But he didn’t want to wait for that – he wanted his needs fully taken care of right at that moment – and when I couldn’t, he walked away.
      I offer the same advice to women, men, and children and teenagers for that matter. A little give and take with those closest to you will go a long way. You can search the comments on this blog for my name and “give and take”. You’ll find quite a few.
      Granted, Austin’s girlfriend probably wasn’t terribly giving in this relationship. But, judging from his letter, neither was he. Sounds a lot like each of them thought, only about himself or herself, and not about the other person. In that sense, he was right to leave. Why bother staying in a relationship like that?

      1. 24.2.1

        You are correct Goldie, there has to be a balance.   The reason good, healthy relationships are difficult to find is because it’s our way or the high way.   I’m sure some would call me selfish for not wanting to make a guy a priority at this point in my life, never once stopping to think that I am pouring into my kids lives to mold them into people of character; focusing on my career so I can provide well for them.   I am up front and honest about it it.   But I digress.   You nailed it.

  5. 25

    There are different types of so-called high powered women.   For example, 1) women who are not emotionally available and use work/activities as an excuse to not commit but don’t want to be alone either (men do this too); 2) women who are emotionally available but are at a life stage/career stage where they have very little control over their lives and have to work, work, work; or 3) women who are very ambitious and active but are at a good stage in their life that they can re-prioritize for the right person.   On the surface, these women might look all the same but they are not.   The emotionally unavailable woman has not worked through all her issues (fear of commitment, abandoment, rejection, whatever) and very little outside convincing will get her to change no matter how much of a catch you are.   The woman in the wrong life stage — very much like the man in the “prince” stage   per Alison Armstrong — will be compelled to work, no matter what.   If Brad Pitt had shown up at my doorstep wanting to date me while I was in residency I would have turned him down because I was in my tunnel and was not surfacing anytime soon.   Strangely, this woman may actually think she has the time to date (kind of like being in a mirage in the desert) but she really doesn’t.   Your choice is to either wait her out if there is a defined ending (e.g. end of residency) or move on.   The third woman, she will re-prioritize you as #1 but ONLY if she thinks you are worth it (read: the future husband and father of her children).   She will not do it if you are the placeholder.   She may not even know it consciously but in her heart of hearts she knows you are not the one.   If she doesn’t prioritize you, she’s not that into you because her career is stable enough that she COULD do it if she really wanted to.   I was this woman and it wasn’t until I met my husband that I wanted to sacrifice anything in my career (and he sacrificed too).   And this is not unique to women but universal to men and women.   It is just less recognized for women because it’s much easier to give leeway to busy high-powered men because we as a society are used to that.   In Austin’s case, since some of what he is describing sounds voluntary, she either must be emotionally unavailable or just not that into him as a life partner.   So if I were still single, the lesson I would take away is, assess yourself where you are in terms of your life stage and emotional availability.     Don’t date beyond your means but don’t also let anyone push you in promising or giving more than you are currently capable (some women stay out of guilt for the guy when they really are at stage 1 or 2).   But if you are in a good stage and you want to find a life partner, then you have to throw away excuses and commit 100% to the dating experience or you will never find your husband/partner.   You know you can find the time — it’s just about sacrifices and overcoming fears.   If the trade-off is still too high for you then you have either not met the right person or you don’t want it enough.

    1. 25.1

      Another person on the Alison Armstrong wave length.   Good for you . . .

  6. 26

    For every person who is upset that their SO is too busy, there is another who is upset that their SO smothers them and depends on them to have a life.   

    1. 26.1

      For every person who is upset that their SO is too busy, there is another who is upset that their SO smothers them and depends on them to have a life.  
      This is a good point.  
      Here we have a letter from a man who is breaking up with his girlfriend because she’s overscheduled.   Several weeks back EMK printed a letter from a woman who broke up with her boyfriend because he worked 60 hrs a week.   Both Austin and the woman letter writer need partners who will give more of their time. The overscheduled ex and the 60 hr work ex might make a good match because neither need as much togetherness.
      I see this as lifestyle compatibility. If one knows they need a lot of time with an SO shouldn’t they be evaluating a potential partner’s lifestyle as criteria and select accordingly? Likewise with the super-busy souls; wouldn’t they be better off selecting potential partner’s with equal busy lives who would be less likely to feel neglected?
      If someone feels they are not a priority in their SO’s life, perhaps they need to look at why they chose a person with a particular lifestyle in the first place.

  7. 27

    She is just not into him.
    People spend their time doing whatever activity brings them most pleasure/benefits.   If you have to repeatedly persuade your partner to choose you over something else, you are at a bad place in the relationship.   So, Austin is doing the right thing by giving them both the space to find someone who will naturally prioritize them.
    As to his comment that he will not be single long while she will – we have no way of knowing whether this is true or not, but then again he would not have the courage to break up with her if he did not think so.  We are sometimes wrong about ours and others capacity to attract dates.   I dated a guy once about whom I was so sure that I was way above his league that   he would never afford to let me go. Turns up, he had no difficulty at all.

    1. 27.1

      I think you hit the nail on the head, Kiki — the first thing I thought was “she’s breaking up with him without breaking up with him” — doing the thing where you don’t end it, you wait until the other person can’t take it anymore and ends it. Whether the guiding thought in this case is well-meaning but misguided (“s/he’s so nice, I feel bad breaking up!”) or selfish (“if I don’t do the breaking then I’m the victim and I get the pity for being dumped!”) is unknowable from this letter.  

      1. 27.1.1

        Or maybe she’s a people pleaser who cannot say no? What if she couldn’t say no to the festival folks when they asked her to take on another night (because seriously, I cannot imagine that it was originally her idea to schedule herself to work, albeit at a fun festival, for the next 52 Saturday AND Sunday nights – who does this to a full year of their weekends, especially if they already have a high-powered job?? my guess is someone must’ve pushed her into it and she couldn’t say no), for the same reason that she couldn’t say good-bye to Austin – because she can’t. In that case, it’s a serious issue and she does need some kind of therapy. I say this as someone who has a hard time saying no to people as well.

        1. Selena

          From the letter it’s Saturday and Sunday mornings. Also Austin wrote she suggested getting together on weekends after the festival, so presumably she hadn’t blocked off the entire weekend.
          I’m not sure why he was so irritated she added a Sunday morning activity. Generally not a time people set aside to date.

        2. Goldie

          Oops, my bad, it is mornings. Then I don’t understand what the big deal is. Was he worried that she wouldn’t be able to come over and stay the night? Why not? She can run out to the festival and let him sleep in, then come back just in time for him to be ready with the brunch. Sounds like a perfect romantic Sunday afternoon to me.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          Really scrambling to defend this woman, Goldie and Ruby. Will you similarly scramble to defend the man who only offers limited access to his frustrated and lonely girlfriend?

        4. Goldie

          Um, Evan, calling someone a people pleaser is not defending that person AT ALL. It is damn near impossible to be in a relationship with one, since he or she will be at anyone’s beck and call, which will in turn mean that the people pleaser will abandoning his or her family on the regular, since there are only 24 hours in a day and they have to say no to someone – and that someone usually ends up being the ones closest to them. My ex-husband was big on people pleasing. I hated that. It made me feel like the kids and I always came last.
          Besides, I already said several times in this thread that, in my opinion, there are no right or wrong sides in this story. She is barely available; his email is full of PA digs at her, do-gooders, traditional women and who knows what else. Do we have to put all the blame on her in this relationship or can we agree that none of them is perfect?

        5. SparklingEmerald

          Goldie & Selena – You gals are making me embarassed for my gender.   Look, I know none of us know the “other side” because EMK doesn’t call his readers SO and ask for their side, but some of the stuff you 2 are saying based on what we DO know is ridiculous.
          For example:   Selena said: “I’m not sure why he was so irritated she added a Sunday morning activity. Generally not a time people set aside to date. ”    
          Really, people do not set aside time to “date” on Sundays ?????? Well people in RELATIONSHIPS often times go away for weekend trips.   Not possible when someone has scheduled themselves for every Sat and Sun for a year.   And dating couples usually schedule dates for SATURDAY NIGHT,   and usually enjoy staying out late.   How late is she willing to stay out on Saturday night, when she worked Saturday morning and has scheduled herself to work again the following morning ?   He’s irritated because they spend very little time together, she’s not working because she needs the money, and she added this extra work day AFTER she was in a relationship with him.
          And the Goldie came up with this grand-daddy of a whopper
          Was he worried that she wouldn’t be able to come over and stay the night? Why not? She can run out to the festival and let him sleep in, then come back just in time for him to be ready with the brunch. Sounds like a perfect romantic Sunday afternoon to me.”
          If ANY man on this blog suggested that woman just grin and bear it while her man scheduled himself out of her life, and just be ready, waiting and smiling for him WITH A MEAL whenever he could fit her in, THEY WOULD BE CALLING FOR HIS HEAD ON A PLATTER !!!!!!!!
          And several people have claimed that Austin has “insulted” tradition women.   I don’t see the insult here.   If a woman wrote in with the EXACT same complaint and said, maybe she would start looking for a Beta male, would you claim that she was INSULTING Beta males ?
          And as for everyone saying that everyone would be OK with this if a MAN did this, pure hogwash.   Anyone who has been reading EMK’s blog for awhile KNOWS that he’s always telling us women to dump men who don’t meet our needs.   You gals are excusing HER behavior because she’s a woman.  
          One thing I think Austin is wrong about is that he says she loves him.   She sure has a funny way of showing it.   I think this is her passive agressive way of getting him to break up with her.
          Between being fed up with men, and now embarassed for my gender, I’m ready to go adopt cats.   There is so much selfishness in the world of male/female relationships.   Maybe the reason I can’t even find just ONE man to give all my love to, is because the ones I meet already gave all of their love to a woman who didn’t return it.   A woman like the one Austin writes about.

      2. 27.1.2

        Goldie, why do we have to put blame on anyone here? Aren’t we completely missing the point of the story as long as we concentrate on who could have done this or that differently, what their reasons might be or might not be and  who has a better understanding of compromise etc.?

        1. Goldie

          How is talking about compromise, missing the point? If any of them could compromise, they’d still be together. I thought compromise was the most important thing in a relationship, but hey, I could be wrong.
          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? If that’s the case, she can bring takeout from the festival. I still think there’s a lot of unhealthy dynamics between those two. Yes, she overscheduled. But why on earth does he find it easier to write to a blog than to talk to her about it? why does it feel better to him to plan a surprise breakup and brag about it I a blog than to talk to her about it? If I sound like I am taking her side, it’s because I’ve been on the receiving end of this stuff and did not like it at all.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          Goldie @ 27.1.2.whatever
               OK, I had no idea that your brunch comment was tongue in cheek (hard to tell with internet)   So you love the outrage and assume it’s a gender thing.   NOTHING in my post suggests that.   My “outrage” is because I believe the women are taking HER side for the only reason that she is female.     I would be “outraged” if a man suggested that women take whatever crumbs a man offered her, and used those crumbs to bake him a fresh cinnamon coffee cake and serve it to him in her heels and a lace teddy.  
          According to this letter, he asked her to clear her calendar a bit, she said she would, then she scheduled herself for EVERY single Saturday AND Sunday for a year.   You can’t compromise with someone who promises one thing, and then turns around and DOES the EXACT opposite of what they promised.   (she promised to “clear” her calendar, and instead, she filled her calendar with more activities, making it IMPOSSIBLE to ever go away for a week end trip for a YEAR)
          And why you assume that I have a sexist reason for this ?   Can you link to any posts where I have stated that cooking is a “woman’s job” ?       My reasons are because when PEOPLE like each other, they generally try to spend time with each other.   When a PERSON breaks their promise to someone, expecting to get BRUNCH out of it is RIDICULOUS no matter what genders are involved.   But then again your Brunch comment was tongue in cheek.   Was your suggestion that my only reason for being “outraged” was sexism on my part tongue in cheek as well ?
          It’s easier to “brag” about it, than to compromise with someone who won’t budge, and who passively agressively promises one thing and does the exact opposite.   She doesn’t “love” him, and he isn’t breaking up a “good” relationship.  
          She “won’t do things for a guy”.   He’s a guy.   He’s right to dump her sorry patooty, and I would be saying the EXACT same thing if the genders were reversed.   In fact, I did pretty much say the same thing in another blog post from a guy whining because his girlfriend wanted him to call her more, and he said he felt like he was checking in with his mother.  

  8. 28
    Karl R

    Ruby said:  (#24.1)
    “We can’t assume that she gets paid for ‘working’ at this festival.”
    Can we assume that Austin uses language in the way normal people do?
    Austin said:  (original letter)
    “It’s not a money thing but more of a do-gooder thing to her.”
    Note the use of the words  “to her.”  If this was unpaid volunteer work, the work not not be a money thing. It would be more of a do-gooder thing to everybody.
    Also, this is a year-round festival. I tried to find a year-round festival which uses volunteers. I couldn’t find one. I found a lot of  markets  that are open every Saturday and Sunday morning (including one in Aruba that is described as a food and wine festival), but I couldn’t find any that used volunteers. The workers show up week after week because there’s money in it.
    It’s a big world. Maybe you can find a weekly festival that uses volunteers.
    Ruby said:  (#24.1)
    “Volunteering is considered unpaid work.”
    If she is volunteering, why didn’t Austin use that term? It’s easily understood. It’s not ambiguous. Austin has a very good grasp of the English language.
    There is one obvious reason why he would choose not to use that obvious description: it’s not accurate.
    Ruby said:  (#24.1)
    “If it’s a festival like a street fair, those can be fun to hang out at with someone (I’ve done so myself) while manning a booth for an organization.”
    We  can’t  assume that the girlfriend is getting paid, but we  can  assume that Austin would find this kind of work fun. We  can  assume that this is the type of environment she’s working in.
    If  this was a street festival with music, performers, people-watching, food, arts and crafts, etc.  -and-  if  the girlfriend is manning a booth in this kind of environment  -and-  if  Austin finds this kind of work in this kind of environment fun …
    … then I guess we also have to assume that this solution never occurred to Austin and/or his girlfriend?
    Ruby said:  (#24.1)
    “OTOH, I’m just not sure his girlfriend is as into him as he thinks she is.”
    I think you’re probably correct about that.  And it may be Austin’s ego that leads him to believe she is seriously into him.
    People do what they want. If the girlfriend really wanted to spend time with Austin, that’s what she would do.
    That’s why I don’t see any point in him trying to talk to her again, make ultimatums, work at the same festival, or jump through any other hoops.
    Kiki said: (#27)
    “We are sometimes wrong about ours and others capacity to attract dates.   I dated a guy once about whom I was so sure that I was way above his league that   he would never afford to let me go. Turns up, he had no difficulty at all.”
    His statement might not be about her ability to attract men.
    Six years ago I was dating a woman. She broke up with me because we had incompatible goals (which was a sensible reason). She also felt that dating me was preventing her from making the effort to find someone else (which was also a sensible reason).
    After the breakup, she put no effort into trying to find another relationship. She also has some habits which make her challenging to date (never checking her email/voice-mail). It’s not surprising that she still isn’t in a serious relationship, even though she wants to get married and start a family.
    Austin’s girlfriend sounds like she’s able to attract men. But that won’t help much if the men all leave for the same reason Austin’s leaving.
    Jenn said: (#9)
    “Many wives with husbands who work in high-powered careers have had to just sit by and endure it while their husbands work 80 hours a week and then go golfing, boating, etc. No one ever questions that,”
    I question that decision all the time.
    These women are making an obvious trade-off. They’re getting a lot of financial security. They’re getting the lifestyle which accompanies a high-powered career. They may feel they’re getting some form of status or prestige. They’re getting something they can’t provide for themselves.
    On the other hand, they’re not getting much time with their husband. Their husbands aren’t spending much time their children.
    If a woman with a high-powered, 80-hour-per week career wants a husband, she needs to find the men who will find this trade-off to be similarly acceptable. She needs to find the men who can’t obtain the benefits her career provides: lots of security, the lifestyle, any status/prestige from that lifestyle…
    I’m not that kind of man. Evan isn’t. Austin isn’t. Nathan isn’t. Why not? We can provide the security/lifestyle/status we want already.
    Which men do the high-powered career women pursue? The men who are even more successful than them. Do you think those men are able provide the security/lifestyle/status they want without their wives’ assistance?
    Why would they make the trade-off, when they don’t need the benefit?

    1. 28.1

      It’s not a money thing but more of a do-gooder thing to her.”

      Unlike you, Karl R, I found some of Austin’s points ambiguous. The above comment could certainly – to me – imply volunteering, as in it’s not about making money, but “doing good” as a volunteer (which makes her feel good). But I was trying to show that the festival could be a fun thing, rather than office drudgery.

      However, I think Austin is upset by the fact that, on weekend mornings, rather than being available to snuggle in bed with him or do couple-things, she’s out the door.
      Most festivals that I’m familiar with are outdoors and don’t run 52 weeks a year, so I agree, I’m baffled by this “festival”. Maybe they live in Aruba though?
      I’m sure there are some women who have a “to-do” list for their lives, without really analyzing what it is that they actually want. Maybe she’s not that into Austin, maybe “boyfriend” in general is just another item on her to-do list?

  9. 29

    Just like an ostensibly good guy who is “emotionally unavailable” isn’t a bad guy, neither is the lady in question here a bad person.    The OP is not a bad person for wanting more time and attention.   They have incompatible goals/priorities.    I tend to believe that once we find the person we WANT to rearrange those priorities for, we do.   For the man who is labeled an EUM by the women he would not commit to, he will do a 180 when he’s met the woman he WANTS to commit to.    In my relatively limited dating experience, if a guy wanted to date me, who’s kids were already grown up on and on their own, and he wanted to come and go as he pleased, I didn’t even start up with him.   I told him that simply was not where I was at in life.      I also accept that I may very well never have a partner again because I am just not sure that I will ever want to make a man a priority.   Doesn’t make me a bad person.   Just means I want different things out of life.

  10. 30

    I agree with   EMK on this.   I’m sure the woman is a good person.   She’ll just have to find someone that is ok with her busy schedule.   Or change her busy schedule.
    This article and the comments also reminded me of something I noticed last year when I was dating.   For those single women that keep busy all the time or are workaholics.   A lot of guys like myself still like approaching women and striking up a conversation.(Meeting women this way beats online any day.)   But it seems people now are so busy or addicted to their smartphones that they are constantly glued to them.   It didn’t matter if I was waiting in line to purchase something, sitting at a coffee shop, at the dog park or grocery shopping.   It seemed liked all the women had their eyes/ears glued to their smartphones.
    Now it could have just been an anomaly I happened to have noticed for those few weeks.   But it did strike and stick with me.   So if you are a single woman that wouldn’t mind being approached more.   If you’re guilty of always being on your smartphone.   Try putting it down.   Enjoy and take in what’s going on around you.

    1. 30.1

      Um, Morris, my guess would be that women who look like they don’t want to be approached by strangers in public places, look like that, not because they’re addicted to smartphones, but because they really do not want to be approached by strangers in public places. I’ve had a few nice conversation with other women at dog parks. I’ve never seen anybody try to pick someone else up at a dog park though. I’ve heard of this, but never seen it. Don’t know what I’d do if it happened to me. People normally go to a coffee shop to read or work, and to a grocery store to, well, buy groceries. All they want is to wait their turn in line, pay, and go home to their families who need those groceries. I’d say if you see a woman on her phone in a public place, maybe just assume she isn’t interested in actively dating at the moment. Maybe she’s married. Either way, she didn’t accidentally forget that she can talk to you, she doesn’t want to talk.

      1. 30.1.1

        I think he actually makes a really good point and I disagree with what you’re saying. I’m single and go on my phone often when I’m  out and  about  (in line at the grocery store, at a café, etc.) but I’m not doing it because I don’t want to talk to people, it’s just because I’m bored of waiting or distracted by a text or whatever. I think he’s right about putting it down every once in a while and enjoying the moment.  You also said,  “if you see a woman on her phone in a public place, maybe just assume she isn’t interested in actively dating at the moment” but I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what he’s doing and why he wrote the post in the first place to tell people (like me) to stop staring at my phone all the time and maybe someone cool will strike up a convo!
        I just got the feeling that you were making this guy out to be a total  creep for talking to women in public places when really.. in my opinion it can be a WAY better way to meet people than in front of the computer screen!!

      2. 30.1.2

        As a woman who gets approached by men I don’t know a couple times a day (when I am out and about) I agree with Goldie. The reality is that I am out and about living my life, that doesn’t mean I am constantly open to meeting new men. Frankly, I’ve never met a man who approached me on the street and started a conversation. Its off putting and frankly, if I am out and doing something, that takes precedent. Maybe it means I am walking home from a long day at the office and all I want to do is change and eat some dinner or maybe I am busy meeting someone and trying to be on time. Currently, I am partnered so I especially don’t want to meet anyone.
        Take women’s body language as a cue, not everyone is open to meeting you.

        1. Morris

          Please read my reply to Godlie.   And if you read my original post you would have read
          “So if you are a single woman that wouldn’t mind being approached more.   If you’re guilty of always being on your smartphone…”
          I’m being pretty specific.   Clearly you don’t fit the bill.   On top of that you don’t think public places are for meeting people.   I find that strange but that’s ok.   My advice doesn’t apply to you.

        2. AllHeart

          So everytime you go out in public you get approached a couple times a day? How often are we talking here?
            You appear to take for granted something I long for. I hardly ever get approached by men while I’m out and about. I would love it if men made more of an effort to engage me in conversation or to reach out and be kind to me while I was out and about my daily life. While I realize that the internet is a good tool for meeting person, I prefer good old fashioned meeting people face to face. But I don’t appear to have the “it” factor to capture a regular train of men approaching me while I go out in public like you apparently do.
            I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. I would accept the sometimes inconvenience to my regular day  in favor of knowing that there were at least some men out there who wanted to talk to me.   I’ve heard other women comment similiarly to you. And I think if you didn’t have men approach you, you would feel quite different and you wouldn’t take it for granted. I also think you would learn tobe more gracious about it entirely instead of thinking about, ‘me, me, me.”  

      3. 30.1.3

        It’s not like I started talking to women yesterday.   It’s something I noticed and I thought it was increasing in frequency.   At least in my circle.   And not just limited to what I described.   Last week I was having dinner with some friends.   I noticed many tables with people busy on their phones and not talking to each other.   At a concert last year.   Again, people busy trying to video/updated twitter/facebook etc.   Made me wonder if they actually enjoyed the show.
        And I don’t go ‘pickup’ women randomly.   And I don’t talk to people that seem closed off or are talking/using their phones.   You make being friendly sound creepy.   I talk to people.   I start conversations.   I met my previous gf at a dog park.   And a few past gfs at coffee shops.   If I’m having a conversation with someone I might be interested in getting to know better, and if they are sending the right signals, I might see if they want to continue the conversation over lunch or drinks.
        If you are the type of person that doesn’t think men should approach women in public places that’s fine.   Chances are you are giving off that vibe and I wouldn’t talk to you.   And if I did accidentally start a friendly conversation feel free to tell me you don’t want to talk.   I’m not going to stop talking to women because some think like you.   Just like I’m not going to stop opening doors for women because a few tell me they can open the door themselves.

        1. Henriette

          Morris.   I understand what Goldie is saying but I wanted to give the other side of the coin.   I used to live in cities where men would often approach and strike up conversations.   Even if I were busy or not interest in a particular fellow, I found it easy to politely and kindly extricate myself and almost always appreciated the effort.
          Now I live in a city where No One EVER talks to strangers.   I   occasionally turn to whoever is next to me in line ~ man, woman or child ~ and try to make pleasantries; the response is almost always suspicion, sneering and/or impolite  dismissal.   I miss the days of easy chit chat and wish that were still part of my daily life.   Not even because it might lead to love but just because it makes a cold world feel  a bit more humane.
          I support Goldie’s wish to be left in peace  just as  I’m sure she supports yours and my wish for friendly small-talk.   The planet’s big enough for all of us.

      4. 30.1.4

        I look this way because I don’t want to be approached.   I’ve had some pretty scary experiences with men being creepy or taking me just being nice the wrong way.   It’s not right or fair an dim sure I have turned off a lot of great guys but it’s a protective mechanism an d the more a the more attractive the female is the worse it is.   I always tell my guy friends if you could walk around as me for a week you would fully understand why I act the way I do.   I think many men have no idea how creepy a lot of dudes are and it ruins it for the good guys too.   At least online I can block them!

  11. 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

      No bearing with required.   Totally reasonable.  

  12. 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

      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.

  13. 33

    @ 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

      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

        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

        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

        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.

  14. 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

      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

        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

        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

        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.

  15. 35

    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.

  16. 36

    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.  

  17. 37

    (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

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

    2. 37.2

      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

      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

        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

      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

        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….

  18. 38

    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.

  19. 39

    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.  

  20. 40

    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

      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.  

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