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Relationship Health Message Board

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Hi Mike, as always your situation is multi-layered and not easy to reduce to one simplistic bit of advice. Itís not as easy to pin down as you being nice and she being controlling, because youíre both together out of free willÖmy concern is that you are not getting the same effort and commitment you put into the relationship in return from her because she is not really capable or interested in a mature relationship. I donít mean to suggest sheís using you exactly, but it could be that she likes having a boyfriend aroundÖIíve been guilty of keeping around guys Iím not crazy about, and the two big signs are that they put in most of the effort, not me, and that I have little or no interest in having sex with them. But with a man I find deeply attractive inside and out, thereís not much he could do to resist my sexual come-ons, and heíll definitely see that Iím giving just as much time and energy to the relationship as he is!

Something about her feelings about premarital sex just donít seem to ring trueósheís making a bigger deal about it, with counseling and the anti-sex books and wanting to get married ASAP that I canít help but wonder if she doth protest a bit too much to cover up something less idealistic? I can see why you are torn in many ways here--I wonder if you could tell me your gut reaction to the question are you inclined to stay more because this is the girl you want to be with and you don't want to let her get away, or because you like having a girlfriend? It strikes me that you might be running up against some of the same issues you've struggled with in the past as far as being with girls you weren't crazy about, but wanting to stay because you saw having any girlfriend as preferable to being alone. I don't mean to make that sound bad, as you're definitely in the majority there in terms of people who will overlook red flags for the sake of preserving a relationship, and to some degree, it's wonderful to be understanding and forgiving. But overall, it seems that this new girlfriend has caused you more anxiety, stress, and overall hassles than happiness, serenity, and relaxation. She also sounds like a bit of a nag, which I struggle with at times too, but try to contain because itís mean to pick on someone you care for just because they did something tiny that slightly annoyed me. Itís usually also a bad sign when the more you get to know someone, the less sure you are that you want to be with them. Okay, well here are the main things I think you should think about carefully as you weigh your options:

1) Could you realistically see yourself, as a responsible, hard-working man, spending a lifetime with a woman not motivated to get a job or earn money of her own, rather than sponging off her family and friends? If she is chronically ill or there is some legitimate reason why she can't work, I apologize for being off base and judgmental, as I struggle with that to some degree myself despite all my academic and professional success before I got chronic pain. But if it's nothing but sheer laziness and a lack of motivation, it sounds like she']s going to be one of those people who gets her meal ticket from someone else throughout her life. Remember that you can only control and change yourself, so if there are major things like her work ethic that concern you, you would be making a big, foolish mistake to expect her to change, especially when it comes to things like this which tend to be ingrained in our immutable natures. It has sounded in the past that sheís also slow and lazy to get going even with simple things like getting dressed and out the door?

2) As I've said before, her attitude toward sex puzzles and deeply concerns me. In general, I think a good rule is to run far, far away from anyone who sees sex in a negative way...either as a bad thing to be avoided by "good people" or just not as a pleasant, desirable experience. I don't know about a sex addiction--do you have any reason to believe that other than the 15 partners? That's really not a lot, if you consider that most attractive, sociable people start having sex by 15 or so on average...then by 25 she's only slept with one, maybe two new guys in an entire year. That's a long way from a sex addiction as far as I know...I was under the impression full blown sex addictions involved spending a huge amount of time sexually involved with a huge variety of partners, though I don't know much about the subject. Anyway, 15 partners is not a lot for a desirable, sexual person in their twenties...there are a ton of people out there who have WAY more partners and don't consider it a problem, a negative thing, or view sex as a "mistake" to be avoided in the future :confused:. That's just not the kind of healthy, enthusiastic desire and attitude about sex that I would want in a lover, not to mention in a prospective spouse! And then to say she doesn't want to be alone with you to avoid messing around until marriage...that sounds shady, like she's either trying to lure you into marriage ASAP or maybe she's not that interested in sex with you for some reason? Or something happened to turn her off from sex in general? Why in the world does she think it's so awful for two committed, consenting, well-protected adults to have a physical relationship? Sex is a big part of a relationship, especially in that no sex causes inevitable problems, and I personally think if you want to be having a good sex life, you should find a woman who really enjoys and wants sex!

3) This quote makes it seem like you feel like you are putting in more than your fair share of the time, effort, and money, while she doesnít lift a fingeróhow is her emotional effort? Do you feel like you do most of the work of keeping the relationship stable and content as well?:

ďI also feel like I'm putting everything into the relationship, and getting nothing in return. We go out to eat all the time, go to the movies, and she also lives far away.. A round trip is well over 100 miles and usually takes about half a tank of gas ($15 or so). She's never once came over to visit me. I've brought her here before, but she's never came on her own. She does have a bad car and doesn't trust it, which I can understand...Ē

On top of that, she doesnít have a job, so itís not like sheís too busy to work on her car, take the bus, or ask for a ride to your houseÖyou on the other hand have real responsibilities, you have to pay your own bills, your own car, etc. It really bothers me that youíve always been so careful and smart about managing money, then she comes along and seems to encourage you to spend more than you can afford. The only thing worse than someone who expects a free ride is someone who expects a very expensive, pampered free ride! Please think about the financial issues carefully, regardless of your decision about your GF. Even if you keep seeing her, you should really rethink spending all this money you donít have. Itís so smart to avoid excessive spending and splurging so you can stay out of debt and not spend your life paying off credit card interest. If you canít afford to driver her around everywhere, take her out to eat all the time, and whatever else, please stop doing those things! Itís not worth getting into financial difficulty over! Has she ever paid for anything by the way? Just for a frame of reference, Iím very close to her age and have always had a very successful dating lifeÖitís not like I have to pay for dates to get guys to take me out, but nonetheless, I often offer to pay for some things or chip in. Most of the time guys pay, but I think itís only fair and respectful that I do my part rather than expecting him to buy anything and everything I want while weíre out together.

4) You might want to reconsider letting your friends and family have such a strong influence on your dating decisions. I know they love you and only want the best for you, but if I recall correctly, asking friends at work about potential love interests there only confused things, exaggerated their interest at times, and ultimately resulted in frustration for you. What if you tried not asking for anymore romantic advice from people who know you well for the time being? I think then you might have an easier time getting in touch with, and following through with, what you really want and feel deep down rather than what you think you should do or feel based on outsidersí input. Your mom, as I recall, started off telling you that your new GF might not work out, not to get too excited, which was sound advice, but soon after she was discussing the possibility of you moving to her city? All after a few weeks? And now that she seems to be trying to convince you to stay with someone, even if she doesnít make you happy and could get in the way of you finding true and lasting love, just to avoid being alone. I donít agree with that advice nor do I think itís good for your self-esteem to have your parent suggest you need to settle for any girl you can land, whether you like her a lot or not. You are far too young, idealistic, and optimistic when it comes to love to settle for anything less than overwhelming, absolutely consuming and positively certain, passionate and deep love for a woman youíd even consider marrying.

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