Dr. Reality Steve
No question, just a comment.
Our Dr. Reality Steve emails make my life seem so normal, tame and…good!
What the heck is with all of these people cheating on their partners? Or considering cheating for that matter?
Comment: I have no idea. Seems to be the theme of pretty much 75% of the Dr. Reality Steve emails we’ve gotten in recent weeks. Must be some bug going around or something. Or maybe it’s in the water. I’ve actually been kinda perplexed by it. Had no idea so many people liked cheating. I just figured it was only celebrities and athletes who did it all the time. Guess I was wrong.
I’m never written before but felt I had to re: the last Dr. Steve question this week. I have worked in the field of domestic violence for awhile and just felt compelled to offer some advice. I would really appreciate it if you could pass this along to the neighbor or put in your column so they will see it. First of all, I wouldn’t recommend talking to them together. It may just make the guy angry (which it sounds like he is a lot of the time) and then he could take that anger our the girl and blame her for other people getting involved. It truly sounds like this writer is hearing what is an abusive relationship. If they can hear things being broken, yelling and screaming, etc. and most of it is one sided, then there is definitely verbal abuse and likely physical abuse going on. If this guys knows that people can hear and doesn’t care, then those are the actions of someone who is a batterer, he is focused on the power and control and not about what others think. I’ve been in this situation personally (same thing with a neighbor & i could hear loud arguments & things breaking) and professionally as well. What would be really great is if this writer could get together some resources on places that help domestic violence victims in her area (shelters, crisis lines, etc.) and give that to the girl. The girl may not be able to keep it (for safety reasons, you wouldn’t want the guys finding it) but she could program some numbers into her phone under fake names so that has them available if needed. Many times (particularly in situations where the guys is older) women feel trapped and don’t know how to get out of the situation safely (the most dangerous (lethal) time for a women is when she tries to leave a domestic violence situation). I would encouage the neighbor to just approach the girl when the guy is not around, let her know she has been in the situation before (even if it’s not true you can stretch it a bit and be more relateable) and understands it can be hard to leave/ask for help but that she wanted to make sure the girl had some resources if she needed them. Sometimes it only takes one person to stand up and let someone know that what is happening is not normal and is not okand that they are for them. If she’s not comfortable talking to the girl herself she should at the very least call the building management or police when she hears an incident so that someone can check on the situation and make sure the girl is ok. Domestic violence is not a personal matter – it’s a societal problem and we all need to do our part to help stop it.
Comment: Well, I hope that person is reading what you said because it sounds like you know what you’re talking about. I don’t think I still have their info, but if they want to contact me again, I’ll be sure to pass along your thoughts to them. That was just a pretty ridiculous situation. They should probably just stay out of it since they weren’t really that close of friends with either party.
Dr. Reality Steve,
I thought you might be able to help me out on what I should do (or not do) – my girl brain is having trouble understanding!
I am 26 years old and have been with my boyfriend (27) for more than 9 months. I knew from the beginning that things weren’t going to move super fast with us – he let me know early on that he hadn’t dated very much (only one semi-serious girlfriend in college and then spent a few years after college getting his life & career in order) and he just isn’t the player/fast-moving type. He’s incredibly caring and respectful, I’m very attracted to him, and in short he has all of the qualities I am looking for in a future husband. We’ve traveled together (no drama) and are very open with each other about most everything. We have even talked about what we’re looking for in the future and what our version of a “good timeline” is in a relationship.
He said he thinks a good relationship timeline is to date and talk about “where is this going from here… towards marriage?” around the 1.5 years mark and engagement 2-3 years into dating. I just told him I didn’t think I needed 3 years to know if I wanted to be with someone long-term or not and left it at that – I don’t really disagree with his other views about it. It wasn’t a big drawn-out conversation but I think we’re both more comfortable knowing each other’s expectations.
He’s pretty affectionate when we are alone together and is great at making me feel loved and wanted. He is not big into PDA but is fine with me wanting a quick smooch every once in awhile in public. I have gotten to know him very well since we started dating and know that his family isn’t the most lovey-dovey – I completely understand because my family is the same way. I’ve known for several months now that I am in love with him and have had that nagging “I really wish I could just say it to him” feeling. I’ve been trying to push it down and tell myself that he’ll eventually get there and say it to me, because he’s really good at SHOWING that he cares for me. He’s just not great at putting it into words. But I still wanted him to say it first!
Well, my impatience got the best of me about a month ago (along with iffy advice from a girlfriend and a little bit -but not too much!- of liquid courage). I told him that I love him. And then of course I had one of those “oh man, I can’t believe I actually said it out loud, before he did, etc.” moments as I waited for him to say it back. And he didn’t. I can’t remember exactly what he said but it was along the lines of “I really care about you, (kiss kiss, hug), but you know I don’t really say that to my family much and am not used to saying those things so I don’t know……” and then my mind is just blank because my heart was in my stomach at that point. It was a little bit awkward and I definitely wasn’t very smooth in how I said it so I left it at “I meant what I said and I don’t take it back but I’d really like a do-over of this someday.”
Since then not much has really changed with us. Everything is still really good but the “I love you” topic hasn’t come up. I know that he definitely views me as much more than a friend, we see each other just about every day, and he is not shy about making plans very far ahead with me. I’m just lost about what I should do (or not do)… I love him and hope that he feels the same way.
My question is: how long should I wait for him to acknowledge that he feels that way – or doesn’t – and how long should I wait to broach the subject again if he doesn’t bring it up? I want to be patient and give him time; I understand that he’s serious about me and has not grown up talking about his feelings in that way. However, I also want to be able to verbally express my love for my partner and want the same in return. I don’t know if he’s ever been in love before or not and I wasn’t planning on asking him if he wasn’t offering details. I don’t want to break up with him or give him any sort of ultimatum.
Thanks for any insight or advice you can give!
Comment: Well at least you’re fully aware the guy seems to be kind of emotionally detached for whatever reason. It’s definitely not a good sign, but at least he does other things for you. Last weeks email from someone else seemed to suggest their partner never said they love her AND didn’t do much to show it either. Not a good combo. At least your guy is batting .500.
However, does he really need to date someone for over a year, and then wait 2-3 years to be engaged? That seems a bit extreme, but everyone is different, and it sounds like you two are when it comes to that particular topic. Ultimately it’s your decision of how much that’ll bug you, but since it’s been 9 months and you’re already skeptical, it’s your call. You know what you’re dealing with – a guy that still hasn’t said he loves you after 9 months and a guy who won’t commit to an engagement for at least 2-3 years. If you can’t take it, get out now. If you think you can, then stick with it. But don’t stay thinking you’re gonna change his mind and speed it up. Then your expectations will be completely shattered if he doesn’t.
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