Should I be brave or pragmatic? My partner is not a lover anymore, and after acting like an antagonist, acts more like an assistant than a friend. It's very scary to make a decision to separate, when he's broke and I'd have trouble making the rent without him.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total)
We've been together for six years and lived together for four. We're in our forties. We're both students, and neither has worked in over a year. I think his mother pays his rent (he maintains it’s none of my business where his rent comes from) while he studies engineering at a junior college. I'm living off savings while I earn a B.A. We have no children and aren't married. We share, with a roommate, a one-bedroom rent-controlled apartment that I moved into nine years ago.
When he's not in school, which has been often in the past eighteen months, he sits in front of Netflix and watches tv shows. I've had to repeatedly ask him to do things around the house, like dishes, or clean the bathroom, or take out the trash. He won’t drive, so I do all the driving. Generally I’m the one who cooks, does laundry, changes the sheets, cleans our bedroom and study room, tends the car, finds roommates, and deals with the landlords about repairs, of which there have been a lot lately. He’s not on the lease - which has been month-to-month since 2003 - but the landlords consider him of sufficient standing to call and say, yeah, the toilet’s not flushing, please come by. Still, he thinks I should deal.
Last week, when he was giggling at Netflix and saying for the third time that he'd clean the kitchen eventually, which he’d left dirty since the night before when he made food he knows I don’t particularly care for (I always check with him before starting a big cooking project), I cleaned the dang kitchen. I can’t stand trying to work in a dirty kitchen and I needed to make a lunch and was sick of him saying, yeah, yeah, I’ll do it. I lost my temper while cleaning around him, and threw the last inch of water in his glass at him, while accusing him of being a parasite on whomever is paying his rent. I lost my temper, I lost my words, and I lost some of my self-respect. I apologized to him almost immediately but was aghast at myself. He was aghast and didn’t talk to me for days. At couples therapy, I said I was done with the relationship. He said he couldn’t wait to see the last of me, but was too broke to move. I offered to give him money to make it easy for him to move. He refused, saying that he was sure I didn’t mean it. I reframed it as reimbursement for rent. He was hysterical, saying that I’d sue him for any money I offered. I offered to sign a paper saying he wouldn’t owe me a thing. One of my volunteer jobs is working for a non-profit advocacy law firm; he started volunteering with me a year or so ago, so he knows the attorneys. I offered to have one of the lawyers there verify that I was offering money with no strings. Our therapist urged him to consider this. He wouldn’t consider it. He was staying put. I reframed it again, asking why he’d want to stay when we were doing so much damage to each other. I offered to move (which sounds like a bluff, but I like moving and am ready to do so). He wouldn‘t hear of any of it.
So we went back home, together, where he wouldn’t talk to me and wouldn’t touch me.
But since then, he’s been the perfect housekeeper. The kitchen, bathroom, dishes, trash, recycling, etc, have been taken care of daily. He’s tended to the dogs. I cajoled him into laughing at something the other night, and we’ve been cordial ever since.
But I want him to go. Why is he trying to stay? I don’t know what his feelings are – I ask, but he evades – but I know that he stopped being my sexual partner years ago, in spite of my interest (I’m fit, clean, true, available and happy for sex, while able to leave it to his initiative) and now won’t touch me at all, even for cuddling.
Denial of cuddling is sort of the last straw.
It will be hard to make the rent without him. We’ll both suffer economically by splitting. And obviously he’s trying hard to be a great. . . something. Assistant?
Should I be pragmatic and continue to live with him because we're both broke and times are really hard? Or leave a relationship that seems broken, and struggle with rent?
This post was deleted for the following reason: please talk to us about the seven day question-asking limit. -- jessamyn