I have asked my girlfriend to plan a move with me; she has not made any serious efforts. I have even told her to find us a house and we can start there, but again nothing. I have also noticed that she doesn’t support our relationship financially or set any mutual goals, like planning a vacation, for example. She has expressed to me that a man is the one who should sacrifice for the woman, but I feel as though there should a mutual effort.
Over the past year I have started to pick up her girls from evening activities and have canceled some of my activities to make that time available to her. I help her with chores around her house, buy things for her and fix up items that need fixing in her house. The issue that is bothering me is I feel like I’m not getting anything in return. Occasionally I don’t even get a thank you.
Wednesday has always been date night and I’ve been consistent with that for years. Her being a single mom is something I know is hard, so I always drive up to her. I also always pay for the night out even though I know she is not broke and she rarely offers. She doesn’t even give me the opportunity to say no. She has made dinner for me a handful of times in 4-1/2 years — a lot less than I have — and, again, “single mom needs help” is my perspective. She is also a person who is never on time and always running late, and she will sometimes cancel a prior commitment, which is something that bothers me as well.
In December I told her mother that I was going to give her a ring, but that backfired on me. I had a plan, which I always try to have, of getting my tax return back to pay off some debt, then buy the ring and plan something special to propose. Well, it appears that her mother leaked it, and she has been waiting for me to propose. She is now angry that she has not gotten the ring, and her mother is telling her to watch out because it looks like I’m just stringing her along. Well, I was planning to propose on our trip to New Orleans this month. The trip is not something I saved for, so it is all debt on my part and, as I suspected, she didn’t offer to help. And now that we are arguing because I can’t get a commitment from her on the move, I canceled her ticket to NO and will not propose.
We are meeting tonight after a long break. She has apologized for saying that I’m the most selfish person on earth and that I’m less of a man than her ex-husband. She wants to try and make it work, but I’m reluctant. I have discussed this issue with some of my closet “life coaches,” if you will, and, when I tell them that she is Jewish, they all say the same thing: it’s their culture for the man to provide for the woman. I just want to ignore it because I hate to stereotype anyone, but it just seems like a logical explanation.
Anyway, I think I’m trying to talk myself into believing that this relationship has run its course. I mean, I’m willing to compromise more, but she won’t budge, and I can’t afford to live in her area and commute to work. Help. — Have Ring, Need More Compromise
Yeah, this relationship has run its course, and it has nothing to do with your girlfriend being Jewish. Women from all cultures are equally capable of being loving and equally capable of being shitty. You just happened to have found a shitty one and she just happens to be Jewish. If you want some sort of cultural explanation for your imbalanced relationship, how about this one: the way a man was treated by his mother will directly influence the kind of women he chooses to date. Unfair? Untrue? Doesn’t apply to you? Well, then maybe applying stereotypes or cultural phenomenons to individual relationships is a waste of time after all.
How about we toss the stereotypes aside and focus on what we know about your relationship. Simply put, your girlfriend isn’t invested in your relationship or in you as a person. She is only interested in what you can do for her (chauffeur her daughters around, take her out once a week, do chores around her house, buy her things, fix stuff). Beyond that, it sounds like she doesn’t have much interest or use for you.
The thing is, you can’t even really be that mad at your girlfriend. She hasn’t been stringing you along. It sounds like she’s been clear from the beginning about who she is and what she wants. She wants a man who will make all the sacrifices and expect nothing from her in return. Frankly, she sounds awful. And you can’t build a future with awful. I mean, you can… but it will be awful.
Four and a half years is enough time to invest in awful. Move on already and find a woman who isn’t awful — who will respect you and treat you like an equal. It sounds like you have a lot to offer the right person. But this woman isn’t the right person. Not for you, anyway. Unless you’re a masochist who enjoys being used and emasculated and treated like garbage. In which case, hell yeah, put a ring on it.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.