I'm in a relationship of about 9 months now with a guy. We hit it off really well initially, but things progressed rather quickly and I find myself in a position where I'm not sure if this is what I want for the long term.
The first of this year we started dating and all seemed well, save the fact that he was living in an abusive household. I was supportive and wary of appearing to be a "white knight" (not my intent) and it's my natural inclination to provide support for anyone - good or bad situation, lover or not. A few months later, he broke down practically begging to move in with me on moment's notice (and for good reason given the circumstances) and so naturally I accepted. I had said many, many times that I think he should move in with roommates and "grow up" a bit more before moving in with me, but my words were ignored (out of fear I presume) and ultimately the situation was brought to my doorstep. So, with a very cautious, but caring demeanor, I allowed it. Now I feel like I'm "locked in" (and am semi-frequently reminded of how long we've been together as justification) to something I didn't want it to be. It doesn't help at all that my current residence is where I had a terrible relationship of 5 years with someone who was extremely immature resulting in a parent-child dynamic that I never, ever want to live again. There are a lot of bad vibes in that place that I wanted to get away from before ever living with someone again. Alas, despite me being upfront about my concerns in that regard, he moved in with me anyway.
We're really different in terms of maturity. He's 20 and I'm 28, and while maturity isn't necessarily correlated with age, in this case it really is. He's quite impulsive (getting better) and quick to judge things as black and white where I try to think things through a bit more and be more methodical. Owing to the fact that he's never lived outside of his folks home (never dealt with "the real world" apart from paying his own phone bill and running himself up into debt somewhat) this creates a very different view on things. Our world views are very different, and even though I know I'm not 100% right I believe my worldview to be more realistic while his is overly optimistic, vying to ignore problems instead of confront them (manifesting in late payments on obligations, backwards priorities and complete lack of foresight resulting in losing his job). Another rift is that I'm in a well off job and he's not. While, again, I don't think this is a requirement at all for a loving relationship, it creates an unpleasant dynamic where I feel I should cover expenses more often for things we do (which unfortunately in turn reinforces an idea that I should be 'the provider' which is the complete opposite of what I'm OK with). We've also got a pretty big gap between us in intelligence. That probably sounds like I'm coming across as an ass, but I grow bored of hearing of the latest tripe on youtube and he has no interest in a lot of scientific or deeper thoughts on things life, the future — and planning in general is non-existent. I'm typically relied upon to plan and "make everything work" because nobody else takes initiative.
As time went on the magic started to fade and bad habits became the focus. I'm not a clean freak but a disheveled living space is depressing, and despite my cajoling to keep things clean, I feel like I have to deal with a high school kid's mess on a daily basis. I no longer feel very appreciated and our sex life has more or less tanked. I identify as a demisexual so if we don't have an emotional connection (or have one that is strained thin by petty issues like this) then I have no sexual attraction. On that note, I'm not sexually fulfilled in this relationship which has really taken a toll. I find myself fantasizing about meeting a guy that's somewhat more dominant (I'm flexible. And in fact I feel lied to because upfront he said he was flexible but later revealed he's completely submissive and in fact wants to transition gender to a female and I have no attraction to females at all.) As you can see, it's pretty much a shitstorm. lol. When I try to bring up these things, the tone is defensive and hand wavey, but we agree we need to communicate more. I'm just not sure how much communication is going to help at this point. I have a thing against trying to change people or influencing change and want this to be a good thing naturally or just accept that it isn't going to work out.
So yeah at this point I don't really know what to do. Sometimes it feels like inertia's the main driving force here, and while we do definitely have love for each other I find myself daydreaming very often now about meeting someone else that's more on my level. In fact, in a position of being sexually unfulfilled, I've even gotten ideas (though I'd never act upon them) of cheating, which instantly leads to deep depression as I would never actually do such a thing but the thought of repressing myself permanently is pretty fucked. I dunno - I have a habit of seeing the negative more than the positive and there is a lot to be said about our relationship being good when we're both living in the moment. but I'm not sure if I'm comfortable thinking that this is a "permanent" thing, but part of me is saying that I'm already 28 and if I don't make a choice soon I'll never be in a fulfilling relationship. I'm not sure if I need a mentality shift or what… What should I do?
Received via email (name withheld)
This is a highly relatable question, based on some of my own dating experiences, and I very much empathize with you as far as the difficulties you’re experiencing in this relationship are concerned. Like you, I tend to be a very supportive and generous person, which makes it easy for people to take advantage of me if I am not wary.
Unfortunately, it would appear that you are in fact being taken advantage of in this relationship. Despite your best intentions, you ended up being cast as the savior in the drama that is your mate’s life story. Your mate was in a bad living situation and saw you as an escape, and was probably willing to do or say anything in order to get you to take him in. Indeed, your mate even lied to you about what he was looking for sexually to ensure that you would be willing to allow him to move in with you. Upon arrival in your household, your mate has demonstrated a desire to continue taking advantage of you, in terms of finances, household chores, and sexual needs.
Based on what you have told me, it doesn’t sound like any amount of communication or accommodation will save this relationship and make your dynamic a healthy one. Frankly, you don’t even sound like you are compatible with each other, even were you not being used by this person; you don’t align in terms of intellectual interests, emotional maturity, stage of life, desired cleanliness level, sexual roles, or much of anything, really. The only thing the two of you seem to have in common is some shared history together, and while shared history can be an excellent glue that holds people together when they have petty disagreements, your relationship is far, far beyond that.
Instead, it looks like I have to be the bearer of bad news: You are in a toxic relationship and you need to end it as soon as you reasonably can. You might not want to kick your mate to the curb with no notice, since you do have some affection for him still and he poses no immediate threat to you. However, you should make it clear to him that your romantic relationship is over, and that you will be seeing other people (no more worrying about cheating; let the dominant man of your dreams bring you back to his place some night). Tell him he has 90 days to find an alternative living situation, and, if you’re feeling generous, offer to help him look for living arrangements he can afford and/or to help him locate roommates he would be more compatible with.
There is no immediate solution to all of your problems, but at least by ending the romantic component of your relationship, you will finally be freed to get your emotional, intellectual, and sexual needs met elsewhere.
Hope that helps! With any follow up questions, feel free to comment below or get in touch via our contact page.