Amy Dickinson
Columnist

Girlfriend overcompensates for boyfriend

DEAR AMY: I am 21 and in a committed relationship with the man of my dreams. Lately he is quite dependent on me. He has run into some financial trouble due to unstable employment.

At first I started helping him out with small things, like picking up the check when we’d go out or giving him rides, even if it is extremely inconvenient — literally across the city.

Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson offers straightforward advice on relationships, family and life in her syndicated column, Ask Amy. Syndicated advice columns are run in their entirety on washingtonpost.com; versions published in the newspaper might differ due to space constraints.

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On top of the money I give him, I find myself having to remind him to do simple everyday tasks, like planning his bus route to work ahead of time and waking up early enough to get to work. Instead, I usually end up having to drive him.

I want to be the supportive girlfriend, but it’s starting to take a toll on me. I have a busy life and a future to be saving for as well, but whenever I tell him no or don’t offer to help him, I worry that he’ll think I’m selfish.

I worry about him a lot. When we go out, I can’t help but buy him food even though we’ve talked about it and agreed that for the time being neither of us should spend money on the other. I just don’t know where to draw the line or what’s expected of me. Should I stop stepping in? -- Playing the Wife

DEAR PLAYING: The way you describe it, this dynamic contains a fairly predictable geometry: The more you do, the less he does.

In an ideal situation between mature (or maturing) adults, the more one partner does, the more the other is inspired to do. In this relationship, you are not “playing the wife.” You are playing the mommy.

If your guy doesn’t have a medical condition interfering with his ability to figure out a bus schedule, then you should not be mothering him. When you do, you remove his incentive to do anything differently.

Don’t call him to wake him up in the morning. Don’t take him to work if he has another way to get there. Don’t hover, offer suggestions, prompt him, bug him or otherwise overcompensate for his choice. He may respond to less effort on your part by making more effort on his own behalf.

DEAR AMY: I am a woman in my late 20s. Each relationship I have, I lose interest in sex after about six to eight months.

My last relationship lasted three years, and by the end I still cared for him but literally hated him even touching me in a remotely sexual way. I just wanted to cuddle and hug but nothing more.

In my current relationship, the sex was great for the first six months or so. I am in love with him, and everything else in the relationship is wonderful, but I’m just absolutely not in the mood for sex anymore.

I’m not looking to get out of the relationship — I just feel somewhat asexual. This is difficult for my relationship because he can’t understand why I would suddenly lose interest, and I don’t understand it either. Is this normal? And can it be overcome? -- Stifled

DEAR STIFLED: When it comes to sex, there is a wide range of what could be considered “normal.” The only important thing here is that this is causing a problem for you and your partners.

You should start by speaking with your doctor about this now-predictable drop in libido. Your hormone levels should be checked.

You should also pursue professional counseling. Moving so quickly from amorous to “I hated him touching me in any sexual way” raises red flags. You need to talk it through.

DEAR AMY: “Left Behind” wrote about being “unfriended” on Facebook. I think unfriending someone is a pretty hostile gesture.

You always have the option to hide people, so that you don’t see what they post unless they comment on something from a mutual friend. I have several friends I have hidden because I’m not interested in their posts. They don’t know I’ve hidden them, so their feelings aren’t hurt. -- Facebook Fan

DEAR FAN: It’s also possible that the younger woman who “unfriended” “Left Behind” didn’t want Left Behind to see her posts.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

 
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