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.
Well, I think it would be helpful to know what his own life situation is before jumping to a conclusion; because it would help make it more clear whether he's motivated more by genuine love, or an excess of dependency, possibly due to not being strong enough in other areas of his life.
I can just say myself that in past times where I wasn't as strong or stable in my own life, I felt more of a nagging "dependency" or urge to "be with a woman". but this was motivated more by selfish loneliness rather than true appreciation for a specific woman, as opposed to simply wanting "a woman" like any interchangeable and utilitarian possession.
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!
Hi, just out of curiosity, what hobbies or passions does he have outside of his work right now? Or does he have any good male friends that he hangs out with in his spare time?
My personal view is that if a man doesn't have enough passions or purposes outside of his relationship, then it can devolve into him becoming overly dependent on the relationship, and I feel that a man should always have a higher purpose or passion in life which drives him, and that ultimately a woman should as well.
Also my advice my slightly diverge from some others here, and I may come across as a slightly cold and distant person myself, but I do not believe that a couple should ever be emotionally "dependent" on each other, and that ultimately one's only true security should come from a higher sense of purpose in life, which should be the ultimately underlying reason behind everything one does.
I believe that putting dependency on any specific thing in the material world, even a person that you love, can lead one into bad situations, because I believe that the essence of love ultimately comes from a higher existential truth, which outwardly manifests itself in love towards another person, rather than from the "specific person" itself; this a philosophical and spiritual theme which I see recurring.
Again this may sound cold, but I try to cultivate the mindset that even if I lost everything and everyone a la Job in the Bible, if I disciplined myself I would still be able to experience the higher essence of love through meditation alone, and be dependent on nothing which comes from matter.
And I see this as the only way to be truly secure, as everything in this material world is constantly changing and unpredictable, like a shifting sand; and if one's 'house' of security is built on sand rather than rock, then it can collapse.
Thumbs up to you. Better to be two wholes trying to navigate a relationship together, often diverging, than seeking a better half (person or things) to make us balanced and complete. We are the gift and the answer as we are. Already. Enough. Period.
We take care of ourselves because we are uniquely qualified to do so. We encourage the other to take care of themselves too, because no one benefits long-term from not wiping their own ass.
Perhaps this is a case of the Nice Guy Syndrome (see Dr Robert Glover podcast on this site or alternatively see Glover's book, No More Mr. Nice Guy). I recently read the book and it discusses men who are emotionally needy on their partner.
I wish you both the best.