One-sided relationship seems A-OK to boyfriend

Published 8:28 am Thursday, June 6, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been together for eight years. We live separately, and I live with my son. The problem is my boyfriend says he loves me but doesn’t seem to like spending time with me. He would rather mow my lawn than spend that same amount of time just hanging out with me. 

We used to see each other several times a week, always a few times on the weekend and sometimes a weeknight as well. But the time he wants to share has been dwindling more and more. Right now, his work schedule gives him four days off in a row. 

What hurts my feelings is that he tells me about all the projects he wants to do without me. He even tells me about trying to find things to do with his time. I have told him I miss him, and I’d like to do things with him, but most of the time he declines. If I try to explain how I feel about this, he exaggerates and says that if I had my way, I’d have all of his free time. 

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Before COVID, we would get together one night a week for beers and a sleepover. Now he will come over for an hour or two for drinks, maybe twice a week in the evening, but not for a long visit. Not much else. I have asked him repeatedly to go for a walk with me. 

I feel lonely and undesired. I think I should end the relationship, but I am afraid I will never find someone else and that what little I have is better than being completely alone. I don’t know how to have a real conversation with him without him getting angry with me. Please help me figure this out. – LONELY IN WASHINGTON

DEAR LONELY: Has it occurred to you that being so dependent on him may be what has caused him to distance from you? My first suggestion is to find a friend to walk with you. You say your “dates” consisted of him coming over, drinking and going to bed with you. Forgive me for seeming unromantic, but that sounds less like a date than a booty call. 

Stop begging him to see you. You feel unappreciated because you are. Let things ride for now but quit telling him how needy you are. Get online and start meeting people. Other, more rewarding, relationships are possible – but not if you stay stuck in the rut you’re in. The two of you want different things from this relationship.


DEAR ABBY: I’m divorced. My ex-husband has a girlfriend and has just gotten engaged. We have two sons, 23 and 20, and they are going to their father’s wedding in four months. I’m kind of annoyed that they are going, and I’m not sure what an impact this will have on my life as the “ex” or how my boys will feel. Advice? – NEW ERA IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR NEW ERA: If it isn’t too late, refrain from conveying to your sons your annoyance that they will attend their father’s wedding. They belong there. Give them the chance to get to know the woman without trying to influence them either way. 

Remember, above all, that you are a person in your own right, rather than just an “ex.” You are also still your sons’ mom. You have the opportunity for a happy, successful future if you don’t allow bitterness to get in the way. I hope you will give yourself that gift.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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