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A relationship worth keeping?

Our elder outlines the traits to look for when you’re deciding whether to make it work or let it go.

Dear EWC:

Hello! I am in an 8-month relationship and I think we are pretty serious and committed; however every time he comes home from his long distance job, something feels off.
Now I know it’s immature to go off of ‘vibes’ but it feels like he is slipping away.

Recently he has been drinking more and smoking more weed. He also tends to spend a lot of money on whatever he wants since he makes quite a lot for his age. We have had the money talk and I encourage him to save for his future without being too pushy. We do not live together but he desperately wants to get a house together, but none of our styles or priorities match when we look for houses and furniture. Finally, he can’t talk about deeper issues with me and every time I try and discuss simple things, he says he can only tell his high school friends. (These friends tend to take him to frat parties and encourage bad behaviour).

He seems distant and not willing to take time to talk about our future. However, if I lose him or he leaves me, I will miss his family who has become like my own blood. They take amazing care of me and have often encouraged me to leave him because they love me. Selfishly, I will miss the security of knowing what he makes financially, and lastly I don’t want to see him with someone else that I know. Many of his friends are girls waiting for him to be single. Do I stay? How do I approach this with love and not give into his immaturity?

I know this was more of a rant but any advice you can give me is amazingly appreciated. Thank you and God bless!

Danray replies:

You ask some very good questions regarding your relationship and what it holds for the future. I can understand your concern if you feel that your partner seems to be “slipping away” and has been drinking and smoking more weed recently. As you have attempted, it’s important to have open and honest discussions with your partner and it was disappointing to hear that his comment that “he can only tell his high school friends” about certain subjects seems very immature. So what do you do?
In order for a relationship to work, people need to understand what it takes to support a healthy/positive relationship. You can actually look on the web for subjects on this topic and the traits required. I think you’ll find that a healthy/positive relationship needs to have a number of important traits including; open and honest communication, trust, support for one another, mutual respect, compromise, shared values, etc.

As you can see, it takes a commitment from both parties and in your case, I get the sense that he’s not supporting many of these traits. I’m not sure why but he’s not able to communicate and he’s clearly lost some of your trust. I know that you appreciate his family and what they’ve done for you but their comments are also very telling and you need to listen to them. It’s obvious that they care about you and want what’s best for you.

If you want to make this work, it’s important that you bring these issues to his attention and that you work with him to put a plan in place to move forward. If he doesn’t want to do that or even understand why you need to do that, I would think that he’s just not ready for a relationship at this time. As you have suggested, he’s just not mature enough to support a positive/committed relationship. I think you know that even if he makes good money and his family cares about you, that still doesn’t make up for the fact that he isn’t supporting you or the relationship.
I hope this helps and I wish you the best going forward.

Dating/Relationship
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