My selfish, nagging partner

He won’t even wear the smart watch I bought him for his birthday!

He’s not making you happy, says our elder. It may be time to leave. 


Dear EWC

My partner and I live in Milan and we are both immigrants. We live together. I am a student and he is working here. We have been together for one year. Recently he just nags about everything. He says he cannot talk with me; we do not have good sex, we are not having fun. Well, we can talk together. But he is a very bad listener; every time that I talk to him, I feel that he is not listening at all. He talks about his work, but for example for our anniversary he just talked about a college girl that has come recently all the time. 

I feel bad about it. I had no sex before him. Also I had an unwanted pregnancy and I had so much pain for miscarriage. Therefore, I am afraid of sex somehow. Also I do not feel emotionally good to have sex with him. And when I tell him about it, he just gets mad at me and shouts. My miscarriage was in January. I had bleeding for a month also I had exams. He was not next to me. He had to travel for his business, so I was all alone some nights and feeling very bad. Those days I wanted to break up with him but I did not. As we are immigrants here, we do not have many friends here. Also to have fun takes money and we do not have that much money. I do not feel good in this relationship but I want to save it. But I feel that he is acting like a child. 

For his birthday I surprised him. It was lockdown and we could not go out. I arranged a virtual party with his friends and I bought him a smart watch via Amazon. After the party, he told me, “Why you have bought it? I cannot wear it because it is not a brand.” (None of his clothes are branded). I felt that he does not deserve it at all. I do not feel good anymore. What should I do?


Joseph replies

You are unhappy in your relationship and aren’t sure what to do about it. What’s the best way forward for you?

The reason we enter a relationship is to add a new dimension of happiness to our lives. If instead it is bringing continual unhappiness, then what’s the point of being in it?

Relationships often begin with fireworks, Ann, but once the initial rush of emotions settles down, we get to know our partners on a deeper level, their likes, dislikes, habits, tolerances, goals, emotional profile, the way they handle anger, the way they communicate, their willingness to be close, etc. Over time the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle form a recognizable whole. This picture may or may not match up with our initial impression of that person. What seemed like a sure thing at first may seem like a bad idea at a later date. One can never predict how things may shake out, despite our most sincere intentions. 

Imagine that you are on a dating site and come across the following guy’s profile:

  • Will nag you constantly
  • Will not be a good listener
  • Will talk frequently about other women
  • Will not be a compatible sexually
  • Will get angry and shout when you tell him how you are feeling
  • Will not appreciate the gifts you buy him
  • Generally acts like a child

Would you be interested in meeting this man? Of course, not! But, Ann, this is the man you are now in a relationship with. No wonder you sometimes feel like breaking up with him! 

There’s no good reason to remain in a relationship that causes this much unhappiness. These are not minor issues you describe. They are major issues that leave you feeling unloved. Just because you got into a relationship with this guy does not mean you should stay in it. 

You want to save this relationship, but what is there to save? You are with someone who doesn’t seem to have a clue about what love requires. You paint the picture of a man who elevates his own happiness above yours – which is the exact opposite about what lovers do in happy relationships. His selfish behavior speaks to his immaturity. And if this is the way he is behaving after one year, imagine the things you’d have to put up with as time passes on.

You got into this relationship with good reasons, Ann, and it may be time for you to leave the relationship for equally good reasons. There is nothing wrong with two people being wrong for each other. It happens all the time.

I think you need to be as honest as you can with yourself about the state of your relationship. You deserve to be happy on your own terms in a relationship, and you should never have to lower your expectations to accommodate the poor behavior of your partner. 

When it comes to making a decision about whether or not to stay, let happiness be your guide. It is a strategy with no downside.



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