Dr. Reality Steve
Since you begged for more emails, I had a fight with my husband last night, so I’ll amuse you and your readers.
What is your take on “emotional support” to your spouse or significant other? I have been married for 3 years and for the past year or so, I’ve gradually become worn down from the lack of emotional support I get from my husband.
To me, it’s Relationship 101 to be a good person to someone in order to get the best from them in return. I’m reactionary, where I stop giving others my best if it becomes a one way street. The incident yesterday just had me come to a head on how I feel.
Yesterday I trimmed my dog’s nails… and he jerked on one of the final ones. I cut into the quick of his nail, and any pet owner who has done this knows that it looks like a crime scene with gushing blood. I was home alone, so didn’t have anyone to help me, but I managed to keep the blood on myself, the bathroom sink and garden tub. Pretty good! I went full blown MacGyver to look up what to do to stop the bleeding, since I didn’t have that styptic powder handy and I couldn’t up and leave for the vet without getting it under control somehow.
Long story short of the details in between, I called my husband when he was getting out of work. He didn’t answer (and he could run late, or be on the phone in his car) so I left a message to call asap, then text to call, saying it’s urgent. After 5 minutes, I tried again, since he may not think something is up, and I text that time “EMERGENCY”. When he finally calls, I tell him what happened but he focused more on yelling at me as to WHY on earth I even tried cutting his nails (I’ve done so many times in the past), and then made it sound like I should have gone straight to the vet, not appreciating the situation I was dealing with. Mind you, I have stopped going to my husband for help or advice on anything, because it’s the same reaction all the time. I don’t deserve being yelled at, or given the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” routine.
I tried to stay calm when he got home and asked him what was he accomplishing by yelling at me, and he proceeded to tell me he was tired of my “holier than thou” routine. I was floored! What is so wrong about talking to people kindly?
The conversation we had revealed a lot, but it comes back to the same things where I will do things for him that I may not want to do, but you do it because that is what marriage is about. He got married later in life (this is my second marriage) and he doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of others before himself. He is family oriented, but it seems to be with his parents and not really with family on my side at times. For instance, my niece performed at a football game for the first time in band, and he didn’t come because he didn’t want to fight traffic (later on, it also rained out halftime but they did pre-game) but yet he was able to go out for a cigar with our friend and have him back at our home afterward. It just seemed like a slap in the face. And he wonders why I gave up my wish for another child…. because I couldn’t risk bringing a life into the world with someone who still seemed to into himself.
I’ve confided in only a few close people, and they think from the outside looking in, it’s SUCH an easy fix. I agree! Changing behavior is not asking you to change your core values… and I’m tired of being a punching bag.
I know I kept it pretty vague, but curious to know your two cents.
Comment: Well I think you pretty much nailed the problem here: he puts himself before anyone else. I don’t know why people on the outside looking in would think that’s an easy fix, because it isn’t. Seems like a guy who’s stuck in his ways and isn’t changing anytime soon. All you can do is ask (without making it seem like you’re nagging) for him to think about putting others first every once in a while. Start there. If he can’t do it every once in a while, then there’s a major problem and you’re going to be miserable. It’s been 3 years and you sound like you’re already pretty fed up. That’s never a good thing. You seem to be in the right head space and he seems to be out to lunch most of the time. I don’t expect the guy ever to do a 180. I hope you don’t either. But it’s not like you’re asking him to move mountains. You’re asking him to basically act like a decent human being every once in a while and not be so selfish. If you don’t see any improvement whatsoever, or the guy is barely putting any effort in, I’d reconsider the relationship.
Hi Steve, I saw your request for questions and this is something I have been mulling on lately – would be interested in your perspective.
I am 35 and single and live in So Cal. My longest relationship was 6 months and I have had 3 boyfriends – one at the age of 28, one at the age of 30, and one at the age of 34. These relationships ended for pretty normal reasons – one I ended due to immaturity on the part of the guy, one he ended because he wasn’t falling in love with me, and one was mutual due to long distance. Lots of dating in between. Now you’ll just have to take me at my word and at the risk of sounding braggy… I don’t have destructive relationship tendencies, I am cute, optimistic, educated, solid career, well rounded in terms of interests and hobbies. The long term relationship just hasn’t happened for me, although I’ve been marriage minded since my 20s. I also have and maintain a huge network of friends, many of whom go back decades.
Some backstory is that I was always on the shyer side with guys and am what I would call a late bloomer. I didn’t date in high school or college, although I had plenty of crushes. Even more context is that I had cancer as a young adult and spent my early 20s navigating some pretty significant health issues, most of which have since resolved. I didn’t really even start dating until my mid-20s.
Thing is that with guys I date the question inevitably comes up (sometimes even on the 1st or 2nd date) “What was your longest relationship” and I always feel trapped. If I answer honestly, the guy (who hasn’t had time to get to to know me) may take this one fact and make an incorrect generalization about my ability or desire to have a relationship. I have even started exaggerating a little and saying my longest relationship was a year, but even that seems to make guys pause. I don’t want to be misleading but I also don’t want them to make a snap judgment on something that I believe doesn’t have bearing on my potential for future relationships. To further complicate things, I frankly don’t feel comfortable talking about my cancer history on a 1st or 2nd date because I feel it just takes conversation in a direction that isn’t conducive for those initial “getting to know you” stages.
I am insecure about my lack of past relationship history. How do I navigate this while giving these guys a chance to really get to know me and not scaring them off with a red herring?
Comment: Here’s one thing to keep in mind. If a guy is going to judge you for your lack of dating history, then he’s probably not for you anyway. And yes, there absolutely will be guys who do. Just cross them off your list. Wasn’t your fault you had health issues years ago that stunted your dating life. If someone can’t understand that then don’t waste your time.
Obviously I don’t know you well enough to make a determination as to why you haven’t had a long term relationship. But all I can say is don’t force it. Some of the best ones come along when you’re not even looking. And on a first or second date, no, you don’t really need to get into your dating history. You’re not lying, but save that for someone who you’ve dated longer than that when conversation gets more serious. Anyone scared off by the fact you once had cancer isn’t for you. Keep putting yourself out there, date around, and hopefully someone great will come along that doesn’t care about any of that stuff.
Hi, Dr Reality Steve,
First, I apologize for the length of this!
I’m a 34-year-old woman with a very long history of pursuing men (and boys) who aren’t interested in me. I have a lot of dating history, but very little relationship experience. But in October 2015, I met this guy at a wedding. At first I wasn’t attracted to him, but I was very impressed with the fact that he pursued me—asked me out, kept making plans to see me (3 or 4 times a week), and he was even the one who initiated the “what are we?” conversation 2 months after meeting. I really and truly fell for him and felt that he understood me.
In February 2016 he got really busy with work and I lost my job. But we were still having a lot of date nights together. He even told me that I was “the one” for him in March. Two weeks later, after spending the weekend together, he went home, and the next day he texted me, asking me to give him a call. I did, and in the 6-minute call we had, he broke up with me, saying that he had stopped feeling excited about me within the past week. I was completely devastated, because I really loved the guy, and because we totally weren’t on the same page the way I thought we were. I also felt like I’d been tricked. But I eventually picked myself up, got a new job, and starting going out on dates again. After all, sometimes it just happens that a guy loses interest (and honestly, my intuition tells me that another woman was involved).
But here comes the weird part.
A few months later, one night around 10 pm, I started getting all these text and voicemail messages from my ex (along the lines of “hey babe I really need to see you,” “want to meet up 2nite,” etc). I figured he intended them for someone else and sent them to me accidentally, so I didn’t respond. But a couple of weeks later, the same thing happened, around 2-3 am. The third time this happened, in November, I sent him a text the next day to see if everything was alright; he said that he’d just gotten really drunk again and said he was really, really sorry and was “working on” himself. But after that he drunk texted/called/attempted to Facetime at least 7 or 8 more times. I’ve ignored him every time and blocked him, but then he did it from another number!
A few months ago, my friend (the one whose wedding I met my ex at) told me my ex was was in a new relationship, and I felt relieved that I wouldn’t have to hear from him again. But this past week, he drunk texted and called me YET AGAIN. I no longer love the guy, but it hurts me every time he does this, because he has so little concern for my feelings. Steve, what on earth is going through this guy’s mind?!?! Any thoughts you have on this situation would be greatly appreciated!
Comment: The guy is a dog basically. He’s in another relationship now and drunk texting you? Yeah, probably not the smartest thing to be doing. I think you’re doing the right thing by not responding. Just ignore it. You don’t want a guy like that anyway.
And yes, he probably did end things with you back then because another woman was involved. Not necessarily meaning he cheated on you, but to do it that quickly after a weekend together makes me think he had something else lined up at least.
By the way, is this guy’s name Dean Unglert? I’m kidding. I think.
I’m sure it does sting that he’s doing that to you, and yeah it sucks. All you can do it either block him or not respond. If it really bothers you that much to see his name in your phone, then it’s best to probably block him. Then you’ll never receive anything from him ever again.
Dr. Reality Steve,
This isn’t urgent (so no worries if it doesn’t make this week’s column). Something happened last night that i wanted to get your take on. My story is a little different than the ones you normally get; I’m not in love with the guy I’m writing about, nor do I want a relationship with him. We’re friends. Really good friends actually. Once in a blue moon, we mess around but it’s never a big deal. Most of the time, we just hang out and it’s easy company. No drama. Just awesome. We’ve been friends like this for about 6 years (but the physical stuff stops if one of us starts seeing someone) . Ok – so why am I writing? I’ll get to the point — last night, we were hanging out on my couch and he said something odd. He had his hand on my ass and was getting a little worked up and he said “you’re so handsome, I just want to do dirty things to you”. That’s not verbatim, but he used the word handsome. A few seconds later, I said “handsome?” and laughed, but he ignored it. Now I will admit that there have been a few times over the last 6 years when I thought he might be gay, or bi, so this comment really stood out. I’ve never seen him with a man (and he would never admit that to me), but just a weird gut feeling that he could be on the down-low (with nothing substantial to base it on). My take is – maybe, he’s used to saying handsome when he’s with a dude and it just accidentally came out when we were together. I’m wondering if there’s any other way to look at it. What’s your opinion? It won’t change my friendship with him, but I’m curious to know what you and your readers think.
Comment: That is totally bizarre. That’s just not a word that would slip out of a guy’s mouth when he’s getting turned on by a girl. No chance. As for why he said it? I have no idea. You know him better than me. And if you say that in the 6 years you’ve known him you’ve thought he might be gay or bi, and then he drops a “handsome” on you, I mean, could there be a correlation? I wouldn’t rule it out. Because I can’t possibly think of a scenario where a guy calling a girl handsome is remotely acceptable. Where did it go from there? Did he continue with his heavy petting? Or did you lose your lady boner go away after that handsome nonsense?
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