Belittling Mate is a No-No

Q: My girlfriend is smart, works hard and brings in more money than I do. The problem is that she's never happy with what I do. I work part time at a drug store. I do all the yard work and get the groceries. I even do my own laundry. But she criticizes how I do everything. It's never right or good enough. I love her and want to stay with her, but I'm tired of being called lazy and sloppy. How can I get her to stop nagging me? - Ken, 34

Dr. Susan: You have a major problem here, and it's got little to do with who works harder or earns more. Your girlfriend is critical and demeaning. Better to be with someone who tolerates your personality "as is," not someone always trying to make you into her ideal. Sure, you may actually be sloppy and, if not lazy, then less ambitious than she is. I don't see her backing off, and I don't see you changing all that much. Name-calling of any kind means your relationship is on its way out. Consider both of you seeing a therapist or at least reading about good relationships and what makes them work. Sometimes love isn't enough, and what's needed is acceptance, tolerance, understanding, and even surrender to annoying reality. On both your parts.

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