His Boyfriend Is Letting Him Down
Q: I am gay man and have been in a relationship with my current boyfriend for six weeks. I can't remember the last time that I have had such a positively affirming start to a relationship. I believe that we are very much in love, and on my part I would say that "I am madly in love with him."
There is one problem though, and yes, I know that there is no such thing as the perfect man or relationship. My man is a very busy manager and can tend to work back late at times. He usually has control over when and for how long he works back, which is great because we can arrange to meet. But the problem is that on two occasions in the last week, I had arranged for him to come to my place for dinner. This was to be a special occasion. I had prepared nicely, awaiting his arrival. Time went by until it became a concern, prompting an urgent phone call. When I got through, I asked, "Where the xkdf are you and do you know what we had planned tonight?" I got a loooong pause and a, "Oh, I'm sorry." He went on to explain that something unexpected came up that required immediate attention and that in the midst of it, he totally forgot. I forgave him for that and accepted his apology, but the same thing repeated itself three days later. This time it is harder for me to take and he knows I'm upset with him.
He seems a bit detached now and it concerns me because I love him a lot and don't want our relationship to suffer. I think it already has and I'm not sure what to do? Can you give me some advice? — Jack, 39
Dr. Susan: His detachment may be due to your upset, or it may be because he's considering making changes in your relationship. I wonder if he was surprised by your anger the first time, having merely forgotten a date. Not much excuse for another "forgetting" so soon after, though. Yet, for sure, six weeks into any relationship isn't enough for you to know what the future holds. I'd suggest you sit him down and talk about expectations. If he gets that focused on his work, you could call to remind him of plans, or he could call on his way over, and if he doesn't, you'll realize he's not coming. Some people like a looser structure in a relationship while others sit and wait and fume and expect on-time arrivals. You need to devise a compromise that works for both of you, so he doesn't feel too constricted and you can feel cherished and paid attention to. Keep it light for now. Avoid the fancy dinners that build expectations too high.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.