I need some advice. I am 26 years old and I’ve been with my boyfriend for six years. He’s really the only serious relationship I’ve ever had and we’ve been living together for the last two years. Our relationship has always been good until last year, when everything started going bad. We were best friends from the start, and we used to talk about getting married at some point down the road, but now I don’t even know if I should stay with him. As far as I know, nothing big happened in our lives that changed everything, but for the last year it’s like I’m living with a roommate I don’t get along with. We used to go out all the time and do things together, but now he won’t even go out to dinner with me. When I come home, there he is in front of the TV. Sometimes I’ll come home after work and he doesn’t even say hi. And sex? Forget about it. I can’t even remember the last time we did it. When we do talk, even if I just try to ask about his day, we always end up fighting. I thought maybe he was depressed, but when I ask about it he says he’s fine, he’s just tired and doesn’t feel like talking. Besides, I don’t think that’s it because he’s not like this around anyone but me. I’ve tried telling him that I’m not happy, but he just says I’m over-reacting and that all relationships end up like this. I’ve asked him if we could go to couple’s therapy but he won’t go. I’ve even tried threatening him with leaving. I keep hoping things will go back to the way they were, and all the plans we’ve made. He just doesn’t seem to care! When do you know that it’s time to break up? Is this just a part of a relationship or should I leave?
Confused & Sad
Unless you show up at work with a shiner, no one can really tell you it’s time to get out of a relationship, but I doubt too many people would tell you to stay in this one. I know you have a lot of time (and your heart) invested in being with this man, but something is wrong. Normally, I’d run down the list of questions to ask him or strategies to spice things back up. But frankly, and I don’t mean this to be cruel, he just plain doesn’t sound interested. In my opinion, it’s last ditch effort time. He needs to know how you feel, and what your intentions are. Make a list of the things that have changed and are making you unhappy, as well as a list of things that used to be great. Set a time with your boyfriend to have a long talk with no TV and no interruptions. Don’t ambush him; let him know in advance exactly what this little chat is going to be about, and why you need to have it. Make it clear that you can’t continue in this fashion. Hopefully, he’ll be able to explain why his behavior has changed, and maybe enlighten you as to how you are different. There may be some things going on you don’t know about, so make it clear that this is his opportunity to make them known. If he grabs the chance to open up and shows an interest in making this work, great. If he doesn’t, I’d say pack it in. I know that will hurt terribly, but not as much as a lifetime spent unfulfilled.