Hi all,

First up, yes I am a woman that's part of The Art of Manliness chat forum because women's forums are very water-down and sugar coating. Thus, I am here. I love the podcast, I find the advice on it and this website to be incredibly helpful and straightforward.

And so I am turning for advice on a man I have been courting for about a year. 

We have been long distance throughout our relationship and we've made it work. We see each other on weekends and once during the weekdays. He has recently moved closer to me and now lives about twenty minutes away. And we're having trouble adjusting. Now that he lives closer, he'd like to spend as much time together as possible. His ideal is seeing each other every day. But I don't think is healthy, or possible.

I recently lost 70lbs and my exercise and self care routine are crucial for my physical and mental health. I have a full time job and I take a lot of evenings to exercise. I do volunteer work, and have my own friend group. Sleeping at his apartment is difficult because his roommates keep the house at a very cold temperature, he has a small bed and his roommate has four dogs. I have roommates, and it wouldn't be fair for him to sleepover every night without paying rent. He has sleep Apnea which means whenever he does sleepover he has to lug his sleep equipment with him. 

He feels like we don't get to spend enough time together. I am pretty okay with the amount of time we get to spend together, ideally I'd like it to be more but I'm generally very happy with the time we do get together. It doesn't bother me that much because I see a life with him, and I know we'll have time together in the future. I don't have the same urgency.

I've built a life for myself; hobbies, friends, career etc. And I don't want to give all that up. I value it as much as I value our relationship. I feel like he's becoming emotionally dependent on me. I'm worried that his happiness has become dependent on our time together. That's too much pressure for me to take. I love him so much but I am getting incredibly frustrated and resentful. I feel like I have to mother him and constantly reassure him.

So, if you can give me advice or perspective, please do. I do love this man. 

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You have to take care of yourself first before you can be a good partner, wife, or otherwise.  Don't sacrifice the progress you've made or other things that are important to you.  It won't do either of you any good.

You have to take care of yourself first before you can be a good partner

I disagree. I think the key to being a good spouse/partner is to take care of the other first

I might have phrased that poorly. What I meant is that if you don't feel good about yourself because you give up all your hobbies and stop exercising, you won't be of much good to anyone else.

It is possible to put the beloved first without giving up all your hobbies and stopping exercising!  I'm living proof.  So's my wife.  I expect Muir and his other half can also attest.

So is it just semantics?  It makes a difference.  "Put myself first" means bf gets a gf that's into herself.  "Exercise" means he gets one who's fit and healthy.  But IDK if you can make the former characteristic go away.  Fortunately, I fell in love, so it was easy.

Totally disagree you lunatic. johnny m.

I kind of agree and kind of disagree.

You need to take care of yourself as far not bringing problems into the relationship.  Never completely possible, of course.  But things like learning to handle money instead of just depending of the other to provide and deal with the bills.  I think you should try be able to take care of yourself in all aspects of life to avoid being a burden on your partner.

But like Muir says, once you are committed your partners well being should be your top priority.  And your well being should be theirs.  Like the saying goes, "Marriage isn't 50/50, it's 100/100".  The concept is true for any committed relationship.

Putting yourself first is natural before you're in love.  Love values the other as much as the self.

As a man who has been married for almost 35 years, I agree with Muir. I enjoy having friends, and doing my "man" stuff, but my wife always comes first with me. And I feel like I always come first with her. She is my best friend and I love to spend as much time as we can together. She makes me happy and that is why we have been together so long. Oh and if it matters we have 5 kids together. 

It sounds like you're his top priority ... and your top priority. He's into you. And you're into you, but will let him come along when it's convenient for you. If you value your single life as much as you value your relationship with him ... you're not enough into this relationship. You're not equally committed. That's a problem. And, it's one you should be straight with him about.

Might be time to let him find someone that values his time and attention as much as he values yours.

JB
Just a thought: you value your time exercising, right? He wants more time with you, right? Why not invite him along? Shared exercise time can be a great way for him to spend some quality time with you, while allowing you to continue your hobbies.

I like Star Trek, and collecting Star Trek memorabilia. My wife really wasn't that interested in it much, but she takes the time to sit and watch it with me, and if she finds some Star Trek stuff she thinks I might like, she either tells me about it or just buys it for me.

My point is that what was my hobby has, to some degree, become something she cares about. She's learned to care about it simply because I care about it. Why not invite him to share and care about one of yours? At the same time, maybe you could find something he cares about that you could also support him in and find an interest in yourself. Then maybe you'll find yourself wanting to have him around more and it won't be such a problem that he wants to be around you all the time.

I admire your wisdom and insight.  There's probably more men in your relationship dynamics than women, but then again Im twice your age and wish women were more independent in relationships. 

Could you invite your boyfriend to work out or volunteer with you?  That way you 1) spend time together 2) share/develop similar values and interests and 3) manage expectations easier. It's common for couples to evolve either in different ways or more often one is evolving and the other is staying put and wants things as in the past.  It's a lot of work to evolve on parallel paths.  If he were as dedicated to his stuff as you are to your activities he'd likely be more understanding about how you manage your time.  Good luck!

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