It’s not you, it’s the economy, stupid?

Not sure if this is timely, or timeless: “I have been dating my boyfriend for a few years — we don’t live together — and during that time his self-made business has pretty much collapsed. He is borrowing money from friends and family. He’s never asked me for a loan, which I appreciate. He’s a good guy with a big heart.

“He recently began working for six weeks or so for a friend in another town. Since he’s been gone, I realize I’m more relaxed than I’ve been in a long time.

“He just told me he might be fired at any time, and about the problems on the work site.

“I want to listen, and I have listened these past few years. But I am hitting my emotional limit with his living in a constant state of crisis. After he called today I felt like throwing up. How do I tell him that I have reached my limit, without having him feel that he has been abandoned? Or how do I not feel that I’ve abandoned him in a time of need?”

Do you see this as an issue of poor choices, poor circumstances or both? Do you think the distinction makes a difference in the advice you give?

— Carolyn Hax

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