Q: I need some relationship advice. How do you handle household expenses with a partner?
My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for 10 years. In all this time, he has never once split any of the expenses with me. I pay for everything. He does buy groceries, although not all of them. He also helps around the house and with my daughter.
If I bring up the issue of sharing expenses, it turns into a fight. He says he’s “sorry” he doesn’t make enough money. Then he says all that matters to me is money and threatens to move out.
I feel completely taken advantage of because he DOES have the money to make $300-plus monthly payments for his new boat that’s sitting in my garage. To me it’s all about priorities. I would like a new car, but I have other monthly bills to pay.
Is it just me, or is this unfair? — Up to Here With It in South Dakota
A: It’s not just you. You have been carrying the lion’s share of the load. But unless you are finally ready to insist upon a new arrangement with this man, who has had it pretty good for the last 10 YEARS, nothing will change.
It’s time to ask yourself whether what he does contribute — on every level — is enough to satisfy you. If it isn’t, be prepared to tell him you need to find an equal partner, and if he’s unwilling to be that person, he should move.
Q: Four years ago I had major affection for a man. We talked every chance we could. We arranged times we could sit together and just talk. There was lots of flirting, eye contact, and this overwhelming feeling of bliss — butterflies in the stomach, all of that.
The problem was he was married. Once I realized it, I was devastated because I understood what I wanted could never be. I feel so lost. I’m now considering going to counseling.
I still hear from others that he mentions me or says he misses me, but this is old news. Now there’s someone else, and it’s the same problem, just a different setting.
I feel so guilty for crushing on unattainable men. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I like someone who is available? I’ve liked guys my own age before, and ones who were single, but there’s something exciting about older unavailable men.
I don’t want to feel this way, but I know that when I try to fight these feelings they just become stronger. I won’t act on them, but I wish I could change them. How can I? — Feeling Guilty in Ohio
A: The quickest way to do that would be to talk about these feelings with a licensed mental health professional. When you do, be prepared to touch on all of your relationships with men, including your father, who is usually the first “unattainable” man with whom a little girl falls in love. I am pretty sure you will find that conversation illuminating.
Once you understand your feelings, it may be easier for you to find a man who is truly available, if a relationship beyond a mad flirtation is what you really want, that is.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.