Boyfriend is jobless. I moved in with him anyway. Job hunt isn’t going as planned. He’s depressed. I want to move to a better apartment. What to do?
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 7 months. He’s a really caring guy who loves me a whole bunch, and up ‘til the last month we’ve been happy. I'm 31 and female, he's 35 and male.
When we first met, he was in a good, yet relatively unstable job. He was laid off a month after we became exclusive. Although he owns his own home (or so I thought – it’s actually his mom’s, come to find out), he couldn’t afford the payments and had to go stay with his mother about an hour away.
He didn’t start the job hunt right away – he wanted to work on a business plan. He spent 6 months doing that, but seems to have lost interest. Meanwhile, this didn’t bother me, because – hey! The economy is shitty and you might as well start a business in the meantime. Why not?
So I stuck by him, going for visits every other weekend and him coming on the alternates. I actually liked the arrangement – I kept my independence, but loved having someone. But I did realize that this arrangement wasn’t truly real, and got kind of frustrated that it didn’t feel like we were getting a real shot.
So, a while back, I was chatting and complaining that I was really sick of my apartment, due the crappy management company and the COLONY of mice living in my home. He mentioned that it might be a good idea if we moved in together – in the studio apartment of his – for a while, see how it goes, and get a bigger place together in a few months.
I demurred, but told him I’d think about it. It did seem fast – moving in at only 5 months. But the more I thought about it, the better idea it seemed. It would let him be in the city for the job hunt while saving money, and I would get out of the infested apartment, and save money. And besides – together! We could finally be together, after doing the back and forth thing! Hooray!
So we both moved into his studio two months ago. And this is where things get muddy. His job search isn’t going as quickly as planned. I know it can take for-ev-er to find a job, and that people get depressed very easily during this time. He’s there right now. He feels crappy that “all” he can contribute is meal-cooking. He’s really let himself go, appearance-wise, which happens when you’re depressed. His libido is low. Dude’s depressed.
Through all of this I’ve been supportive, interested, and have tried not to apply pressure. I don’t want him to feel worse because he feels pressure from me.
The apartment. It’s dirty.
The delicious meals he’s cooking turn the kitchen into a tornado of grease and liquid splatter. He doesn’t wash the dishes well, or wipe anything down off after use. (I understand “clean” is subjective.)
He smokes inside – not even out the window, but inside. On the couch. In bed. In the kitchen. The bathroom. (I’m a smoker too, but not in the house.) I’m a big design/interiors/architecture nerd, the Apartment Therapy kind and more, and the place is just cluttered, cramped, dark, the furniture dusty, and the pretty much opposite of my happy place aesthetic. I know how crappy that sounds – and I’m trying to curb it. Trying to let go of the control and just go with it. It’s turning out a lot harder than I planned.
So, considering that I’m the one the uncleanliness bothers, I started doing all the cleaning. Except – he somehow sees it as an affront, or that I think he’s dirty and he can’t clean. (But… that’s true! Ugh.) He also fights me on random upkeep things: like replacing a bedsheet with a four-foot hole in it, buying a broom and mop to clean the floors, at the very minimum smoking out the window. He just counters with “but we’re trying to save money/don’t need a broom/the smoke just comes back in anyway.”
I don’t consider myself a neat freak, but damn! Maybe I am. I really don’t want to live there. Just the apartment alone is making me unhappy, stifled, and oppressed feeling. And not having a move-out date, and the idea that we could be in there indefinitely makes me freak out a little.
Another issue: the sex. We weren’t having a whole ton before move-in, because we only saw each other once a week – and we were at his mom’s. No go. So I stayed patient. And it gave me another reason to be happy to move in. Sex! Freedom to sex!
He told me after move-in that he’s not especially aggressive in bed, and is used to aggressive women. He’s also really turned on by lingerie – not my forte. Lingerie isn’t my thing. It doesn’t make me feel extra sexy, or anything different from what I already am. And I’m not particularly aggressive.
But in the spirit of things, wanting to please my dude, and thinking it would be fun, I spent a big chunk of change buying sexy little things. And started initiating like a fox.
And… He’s ignored most of my stupid little undies. Even my overt advances are treated with a “Oh, I’m so tired/drunk/not feeling into it tonight.” I then end up staring at the ceiling, feeling rejected and a little mad because I’m trying and he’s not reciprocating. (Not mad about not having sex right then, but he told me this would work! And that he’d be encouraging! And I’m really putting myself out there!)
Again, I know he’s depressed and that probably has something to do with it too.
Suffice to say, I’m very frustrated. We’ve talked about all of these issues, but it comes out in little fits. Not fights, per se, but fits. I don’t like talking in circles and escalations without a strategy for making things better, so I try to end each one of these fits/conversations with, “So what I’m understanding is that you need _____. And I think if we both compromised on ___ and ___, that maybe it would work. Can you think of anything that could work better?” (Not verbatim, just the gist.)
But the thing is – he doesn’t seem to like the compromises at all. One of my compromises was the lingerie, and I was nervous but happy to do it. One of his compromises was to at least smoke out the window. He complains about it all the time.
I feel stifled in this apartment. By his depression. By the mentality that “broken, dirty things are good enough.”
I have a bad feeling that I should tell him that I’m going to move out in two months—alone. Because I can't live in the studio indefinitely, and I can't sign a new lease with a guy who doesn't have a stable job.
But, I don’t really want to break up, necessarily.
Ok, so questions:
1. How can I maintain my support for him during his job search, even though he’s depressed?
2. How can I not let myself get sucked in? I feel it creeping.
3. Would you think that “Hey, I think I should move out in order to get some mental/physical space, but don’t want to break up” would atomic bomb the thing?
4. Would I be a huge jerk if I moved out on him? He doesn’t have a job and can’t afford the apartment himself. He’d have to go back to mom’s.
5. Am I crazy and a nag for having such standards for clean? Again, I understand that “clean” is subjective, but wow. I’ve never been in this situation before.
6. I know there have to be a few steps before the “move out” talk. What should I do here?
7. If I do have to give the “move out” talk, what would be the gentlest way to do it?
I really hope I (and this sockpuppet) don’t sound like a jerk. I just feel depressy too, and it’s hard to see the forest through the trees.