Q: Dear Ava, I’m twenty-four and have been in a relationship with a thirty-two-year-old woman for eight months. In the beginning we had amazing chemistry, sexually speaking, and we still do. But I feel like the rest of our relationship is one-sided.
Everything in the relationship happens at her convenience. I see her when she’s in the mood, we go where she wants to go, and I always pay even though she makes twice as much money as me. I feel drained emotionally but have been hoping that things will get better. I’m not usually one to give up, and I know relationships take work to last. I’ve even brought up counselling, but she says she doesn’t believe in therapy. What now?
– Steve in Green Bay
A: Hi Steve. You’re probably not going to like my advice on this one, but I know what I’m talking about. You’re in a one-side relationship and you’re on the losing end of things I’m afraid. You sound like a great guy, obviously very accommodating to a partner’s needs and preferences, but for a relationship to be healthy and lasting there needs to be flexibility and compromise on both sides.
Sexual chemistry has a way of blinding us to problems that might exist in committed relationships. An awesome sex life only works so long before the person holding the short end of the stick gets fed up.
Steve, people grow and adapt, but your girlfriend sounds set in her ways, and in truth, controlling. I’m assuming you’ve talked about your feelings to no avail which is where the emotional drain comes in. Your girlfriend is probably happy the way things are because you’re the one doing all the bending. Hoping someone will change without awareness or a willingness is not realistic.
I worry when a relationship so young (eight months) is in need of therapy, although I am a strong believer in counselling to help a failing relationship if both parties are willing.
I’m going to suggest one more serious talk with your girlfriend about your feelings. If she’s still unwilling to let go of the relationship reins and share the decision making, I can’t see you finding happiness in this partnership.
There are plenty of older women who would love to find a young man interested in a serious relationship, and one who understands that compromise and work are part of the process.
Best wishes, Steve.
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