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Health & Spirit

Deciding whether to give on-again, off-again boyfriend unconditional love

Carolyn Hax on

So to recap: (1) See Z for who he is instead of who you keep wanting him to be, then (2) Ask yourself whether you love this real version of Z enough to stay with him as-is.

Then we get to the third gnawing question in your gnawing question, which is, should you keep trying to articulate your unmet needs in hopes of getting them met, or get off the hamster wheel?

The answer to that is, you tell me -- or better, let the evidence tell you. In response to your spelling out your needs, has Z made any lasting adjustments to meet them?

Forget what you think you deserve, what couples "should" do for each other, what Z has done for a few weeks to humor you then gradually stopped doing, what is or isn't a lot to ask of someone. Just look at what this 39-year-old (i.e., fully realized) person has demonstrated in these 2 1/2 (i.e., plenty informative) years, with special consideration for what he has done consistently and recently.

Is this how you want to live, or not?

By the way -- I won't say "unconditionally" and "person" are mutually exclusive, but they aren't the likeliest mix.

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Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

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