Love with a Slob
Q: My boyfriend and I have lived together for three years and have a one-year-old son. I love him dearly but I can no longer say that I'm in love with him, which is why I said no to marriage. Since we've been together he's gained about 60 pounds, he doesn't pick up after himself, doesn't care about his appearance and is pretty irresponsible when it comes to bills. The great thing about him is that I have been able to stay at home with my son, and he's a wonderful father. I've tried over the years to address these issues with him but he doesn't communicate well at all. Recently I started talking to my ex, just friendly conversation, although I often fantasize about the great sex we had. Which is another area my boyfriend lacks in. I often think about just having one night with him. What my boyfriend doesn't know won't hurt him, right? -- Mya
Dr. Susan: Wrong. Besides, do you really think only "one night" with another man is going to fix anything? Don't do anything stupid. Your boyfriend needs a serious heads-up. Maybe you haven't approached him in a way he really hears. Let him know you've been wondering how long you'll be able to continue this way, that you've actually begun imagining escape routes, and he'd better take you seriously right now. While you can't mandate a huge weight loss, you can ask him to eat more healthfully, and you can offer to exercise with him. There are solutions to your other complaints, if he's not too bull-headed to cooperate. While you're home and he's working full-time (as reactionary as it sounds), I can't see why you don't handle the bills. I learned to do some of the picking up after my own husband when I realized that tidiness meant so much more to me than to him, and nagging got us nowhere. Finally, inform him of your minimum standard for his appearance, and keep reminding him that stinkiness and nose hairs are a big turnoff. Oh -- and remember: there is no difference between loving someone and being in love. The latter is just the way we describe the butterflies in our loins when we're lusting after someone. Relationships involve a decision, not merely a caving in to hormones.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.