“He Blew Me Off On My Birthday”

I’ve been with my boyfriend for the last 5 1/2 years. We live together, share a dog together and in the last few years bought a piece of land to build our future home on. He owns his own business which can be pretty stressful and a large part of my time is spent being an ear for him to talk things through and helping him pick up the slack wherever I am useful.

I was engaged before and when we met I was in no rush to be engaged again. After two years, I felt ready and started patiently waiting for him to pop the question. That was 3 1/2 years ago. Although I have made it pretty clear I want to get married (no tantrums, but in the last year I have brought it up on more than one occasion, talked about started a family) nothing has happened.

Yesterday was my 31st birthday. I try not to set expectations but every holiday, birthday, and Valentine’s Day that passes I dream that this will be the day he asks me to marry him. This year for my birthday I asked few days beforehand that we go to a particular restaurant to celebrate, but when I got home from work, he told me we were not going out for dinner – his brother was coming over to work on their race car. Although I appreciated the flowers he sent me at work, I was extremely hurt that on my birthday he chose to spend the evening in the garage. He didn’t even call me to let me know so that I could have arranged to spend my birthday evening with friends (whom I had turned down all week because I told them he was taking me out for dinner).

I know I probably sound like a spoiled brat, but I 100% support his hobby of racing. I’m there at the track every weekend he goes, cooking meals for the crew, video taping and supporting. I am understanding when he can’t make it to weddings (even ones that I am a bridesmaid in) or family events (like my father’s 60th birthday) when he has an event planned at the race track – I even spent an entire winter cooking meals and hanging out with his brother (who slept on our couch) without complaining while they rebuilt the race car. I know it’s important to him so I make it important to me. I just hoped for my birthday, that his interests could be put on hold for a night. I feel like I am constantly putting 100% of myself into our relationship and am left feeling a little under-appreciated and unfulfilled.

I don’t want to make him out to sound like a terrible guy because he is far from that. He’s funny and loving and my best friend, but sometimes I feel like I’m putting all of my heart and soul into something that isn’t.. I don’t know… what I’m looking for? I was 25 when we started dating and now I’m 31. I feel like I have so little time left to fulfill my dreams of having a family and I’m afraid — petrified, actually — of wasting it. Am I fighting a losing battle or should I just be happy with the way things are and the part of him I that I have? — Unfulfilled at 31

Yes. Yes, you should move on from this relationship because any man who would blow you off repeatedly on special occasions — your birthday, your father’s 60th birthday, a wedding you’re in — to work on his race car that he works on all the time is not only not marriage material, he’s not even boyfriend material. He sure as shit isn’t father material. Could you imagine having a family with this man?! “Sorry, honey, I know you’re in labor but I can’t take you to the hospital because I have to work on my race car!” Or “Sorry, I’m going to have to miss Junior’s big game because it’s the same day as my big race.” Please. If a man doesn’t treat you well before you get married, he’s not going to treat you well after you get married — not that he’s ever given any real indication that he wants to marry you anyhow. And if he doesn’t treat YOU well, and he’s not going to treat your kids well either.

Being a parent is hard work. It’s much, much harder than being someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend. If your boyfriend can’t even get his shit together and pull himself away from his hobbies long enough to to take you out for a birthday dinner, then girl, he’s going to make a lousy dad. Period.

You deserve better. But as long as you stay in an unfulfilling relationship with a thoughtless man who can’t focus on you for one freakin’ evening, you won’t have any better. So get out. Give yourself one of the best belated birthday gifts you could — the opportunity for a better future. Give yourself the chance at the life you want, whether that’s happily single or with a man who loves you and appreciates you the way you want to be loved and appreciated. At 31, you still have plenty of time to have that family you so desperately want. But it won’t happen with the man you’re currently with. MOA. Move on, get therapy if you believe you don’t deserve better than this, and make yourself available for the life you dream of.

And if you won’t do that, then at the very least, ask him to start paying you for all the help you give him with his business and the cooking you do for him and his brother while they play with their cars, because it sounds like what you are is his employee, not a girlfriend, and if you’re not going to get a birthday dinner out of the deal, you may as well start collecting a paycheck.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. agree with Wendy’s advice 100%….LW while your boyfriend is not overtly abusive he is definitely neglectful (a form of abuse as far as I am concernced)….his selfishness is unreal….not only is someone like this not marriage material but he is absolutely not father material….you deserve someone better….it takes two people to have a relationship, not one person doing all the work and one person doing all the benefitting….if it was me i would leave….hope you consider doing the same

    1. Oh I disagree with the abuse part wholeheartedly. Neglect is abuse if it is a child who is dependent on the adult. The LW is an adult, and if her feelings are hurt by his thoughtlessness, she has options. Based on the letter she wrote, she is not even being subtly abused.

      1. ok, i agree she is not being abused per say….but her needs are definitely being neglected….my advice is still the same, i would leave this man, he is just way to in to his own needs and wants and i think if she stays with him she is just in for disappointment in the long term

      2. Completely agree that she should just leave. After 5 years, he has shown her his true colors. If it’s not good now, why does she think it will change?

  2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    “I know I probably sound like a spoiled brat” You, with out a doubt, are NOT a spoiled brat for wanting your boyfriend of over 5 years to have dinner with you on your birthday. No way, no how.

    I guess my one question is, have you TOLD him you’re feeling unfulfilled and need more? Because if you’re always putting on a happy face, but being unhappy behind the scenes, he might very well think you are truly happy. So yeah, I would say talk to him.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      Hold the phone- I missed the sentence about being punished for an abortion. NO no no no. Absolutely NOT. You are not being punished for a decision you made 12 years ago.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        But yes absolutely she’s being punished for the abortion last month!

        (Kidding, tough crowd)

  3. Avatar photo theattack says:

    Holy crap, Wendy, you’re amazing today! I couldn’t even get through half of your advice on this one without telling you that. Damn! Going back to finish now…

  4. Oh God, I got kind of angry reading this! LW, if you want something, like getting married or starting a family, you can ask your partner for that. And if he’s not on board with it and will still not be on board with it within a reasonable timeframe, then yes, you can give him an ultimatum (ultimatums are A-OK in my book if you really mean them and they aren’t empty threats) and end the relationship if needed. It’s called standing up for what you want in your heart of hearts. I promise once you start doing that, you will feel so much better, even if you do not get what you want in the short term. Because you will then stand in a good relationship with yourself, which is so much more important than whether you’re single or partnered up.

    1. But if you need to give someone an ultimatum to marry you, isn’t that basically forcing them to take the next step? What kind of marriage is that?

      I have a feeling staying in this relationship is easy for the loser boyfriend. Why would he leave? The LW does everything for him and he doesn’t even have to take her out on her birthday. So, if she gives him an ultimatum, he may marry her, but it’s not because he loves her. It’s because he has it too good and is too lazy to find someone else.

      I can, however, get on board with her talking to him about things and her feelings and letting him know her wants and desires.

      1. Yeah if the person then agrees to marry only because of the ultimatum, it’s not good. (I hope there aren’t too many people who would do that). I think the important thing is not trying to manipulate the other person. You have to be genuinely ready to accept either outcome, i.e. be ready to walk away if they don’t want to marry you. It shouldn’t be an attempt to force the other into a particular outcome, but just a way of clearly stating one’s conditions for continuing with a relationship. Which is fine IMO and sometimes necessary. It’s maybe not comfortable if the pressure increases in a relationship but sometimes that’s just how things are: You need to either go with it or end it.

      2. 6napkinburger says:

        Totally agree. Sometimes things that sound like ultimatums (propose or I’m gone) aren’t manipulations — they’re honest declarations of an unwilling to compromise further (which in this case is good!) There is no obligation to always compromise — sometimes you really are prepared to take it or leave it and telling the other person about that is not only not unfair, it is necessary.

        I have to say, I wish that this LW was comfortable being much more straightforward about her wants. I am NOT going to put this on her, with the “This is YOUR fault because YOU allowed this situation to get this way. Take responsibility for your life!” — because I don’t think that is fair. Most men worth marrying would have picked up on her desire to marry from her conversations (even if they were a little too infrequent and wishy-washy, IMO), he would have understood what getting a dog and buying land to build a future house means, he would understand that you don’t blow off your GF on her31 birthday (and I’m sorry, she did NOT have to tell him this in advance, the whole “if things are important to you, you need to speak up, this is YOUR fault for not telling him” thing again — I hate that); he would have brought up kids on his own (as she has) if he wanted them. She wouldn’t have had to (and again, IMO shouldn’t have to) lay them out on the table in most instances.

        So I won’t fault her for not doing so in the past. But now is action time, and I think she should lay her cards on the table — I want to be married, and While I’d like to marry you, if you hadn’t planned on proposing in the next 6 months, i’m outie. And follow through.

        Though I’ll say, I sort of understand the racing thing and missing important dates. If this is his job/trying to break into the racing world, what he does, then I sort of get how true events (like scheduled by organizations) are outside of his control and might mean missing important dates. When I had the 24/7 job, I couldn’t guarantee I’d be anywhere, even if it was important… I’d try but no guarantee and my partner had to take that or leave it (again, not an ultimatum, just a fact). It was part of being with me. If he had told me — quiit that job or I’m gone, that would have been fair but I’m not sure which I would have chosen (especially as I knew it was only for a couple of years and not forever). So Dad’s thing, the wedding, I sort of get, especially if she was all “it’s ok, I support you!” But the birthday is inexcusable — anything that involves a true choice that is not totally out of his control (except not to participate and lose standing, etc.) on his part is inexcusable.

        If you love him and you want to marry him, sit him down and explain everything to him, how you were waiting, you’re done waiting, you are putting your cards on the table and ball is in his court, but now there’s a deadline. And stick to it.

        Anyone else secretly wonder/hope he was pulling asort-of Chandler Bingand blowing off her birthday so she’d get mad at him, and then he swoops in with a proposal?? Just me?

      3. Nope, don’t think that’s it and if it is, it’s a bit perverse, anyway. The big question to me is why does she even want to marry this guy? He’s not going to become more attentive with marriage. Usually, the trend works the opposite direction.

      4. She said racing is a hobby, so I feel like it’s not the same. I understand some jobs are more spontaneous, but even with racing, it seems like everything is pretty scheduled. He shouldn’t be canceling, and the fact that it was just his brother coming over to essentially hang out, isn’t the same as planning for a big race or something.

  5. While I agree that blowing you off for your birthday dinner was freaking rude, I don’t think this guy is as bad as Wendy is making him out to be. The LW has bent over backwards for his racing in the past. She encouraged it and “made it important to her”. So, whiles yes, the dinner thing is shitty, his overall behavior isn’t, because she encouraged it.

    But that’s not really this issue here. LW, you want to get married and start a family, and it sounds like your boyfriend isn’t there yet. You need to have a serious discussion about your future. Flat out ask him “Do you want to marry me?” If the answer is Yes, ask him what his time frame is. If you’re not ok with that, then MOA. Don’t waste any more time.

    Also, if you stay with him, stop encouraging behavior that ultimately you don’t like. If you want him to come to family events or weddings with you, then let that be known. If you want him to put your events ahead of his racing sometimes, you need to tell him that instead of being supportive to the point of being a doormat.

    1. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WBS.

    2. yes, WBS. “being supportive to the point of being a doormat”

      LW, you are a passenger in your own life. you are accepting your boyfriend 100% without giving any weight to your own wants/needs/desires. you need to figure out, first by yourself and then with your boyfriend, what you want your life to look like and how to achieve that. if he isnt on board, thats ok. then you have your answer, and you can move on with your life and go get your dreams. but you cant just ride along and “go with it” as you have been this entire time. you cant, and that goes for anything- your job, your relationships, your finances- everything. fucking take charge of your life! it made my brain hurt to read all your non-in-charge-ness.

    3. This. If you you aren’t clearly communicating what you want long-term from your relationship, you can’t be surprised or disappointed that he’s not giving it to you. Open your mouth and speak up for yourself.

      That said, I think the odds are Wendy is right. Based on what’s in the letter, it sounds like he’s barely boyfriend and definitely not husband/father material.

      Also, ultimatums have a bad rap, but they aren’t always bad. For example: “I will leave you if you don’t stop getting high and go to rehab” is an ultimatum that has saved a lot of lives. The trick to ultimatums is, the situation has to warrant one, and you have to be 1000% committed to going through with it either way.

    4. sobriquet says:

      Yep, I don’t think the LW’s boyfriend is some terrible guy who is just using her. This has been going on for YEARS now and the LW has allowed it to happen… possibly even encouraged it. Unfortunately for her, once a precedent has been set it can be hard to go back and change behaviors (especially when you’re over the age of 30). “Hey honey, you know that thing you’ve been doing for 5 years now that I’ve been okay with? Yeah, I’m not okay with it anymore.” That can be a difficult conversation.

  6. So, I actually disagree with Wendy a little. LW, It is time for you to be assertive. You want things in life and rather than ask for them, you just cook more or be more of a doormat and hope that he notices? I think you are so worried about the word Nag or Bitch that you won’t stand up and say what you want. You say you quietly understand when he misses big events but really you resent him for not realizing that you are angry. Guess what, tell him that you are angry, let him know that he has disappointed you. Let him face you and explain why he won’t be there. I think it is unfair to avoid conflict for years then break up with him when he has no idea there is a problem. This whole thing sounds passive aggressive. If you love him, give him a chance to step up and be the man you think he is.

    1. I would agree if it weren’t for the birthday thing. He blew her off on her birthday after they had already made plans for dinner because he preferred working on his race car. I’m not sure what possible justification there could be for that. Agree she needs to speak up about her wishes, but this is a glaring example of him just completely disrespecting her.

      1. Especially because he didn’t call to let her know. I mean, really, who does that?

      2. Lily in NYC says:

        My take is that she’s allowed him to take her for granted for so long that he didn’t think it would even be a big deal because she is too worried to let him know her feelings.

      3. You are right. It is just like the movie “The Wedding Date”. Every woman has the exact love life she wants.

      4. But he sent her flowers and it wasn’t her actual birthday, they were going out a few days before hand. So I assume that he thought the night could be switched. I am also sure that he didn’t know she had other options for the night. She didn’t tell him her friends asked for that night also. That is why I don’t think she is being fair.

      5. Sassy but Classy says:

        No, i think she asked a few days beforehand to go out on her birthday. That’s how I took it. And then the day of her birthday he blew her off.. not cool.

    2. Totally. This is one of those occasions I feel like we need the other half of the story because it’s very one sided, ‘look at all I do for him and he does nothing’. She dropped hints about wanting to be taken out for dinner, it’s bad form he didn’t pick up on them, but she should’ve said ‘Hey, I’d like to go out for dinner for my birthday – shall we go here?’

      Same with the wanting to get married. Dropping hints isn’t productive to a real relationship. If those things are important, you need to get them out there and see what he makes of them too. Then you can decide if you need to MOA or not, maybe he has another plan but she hasn’t asked him.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yes! Men aren’t mind readers! (Women aren’t either.)

      2. Yeah, about the birthday thing, even though there’s a word missing in the letter, it doesn’t look like they actually made plans or had dinner reservations.
        My husband doesn’t get hints. If I want to go out for my birthday, I actually have to say to him, “Hey Husband, my birthday is next week- Lets go out to Restaurant I Like for my birthday dinner.” Then he says “Ok”. I can’t just be like “I wish we could go to Restaurant I Like sometime soon”.

      3. Same with the Cockney, I have to spell out what I want. Which isn’t always easy for me but it helps to make sure there’s no confusion.

        It just feels to me like this LW’s playing victim a little. Not about the abortion, jeez that’s some rough stuff and she should really talk to a professional about that if she thinks she might be being punished.

        But about how she helps him all the time out of the goodness of her heart and she doesn’t get anything for it. If you make yourself a doormat, people will you use you as one. Be more assertive LW and maybe you’ll get what you need. If not from this guy, then the next.

      4. 6napkinburger says:

        Except they’ve been together 5 years and it sounded like for each of her other birthdays, they went out to that particular restaurant FOR her birthday. So it sounded like a tradition/a reasonable expectation on her part. My dad is horrible at dates to the point that he never knows that TODAY is my mother’s birthday or his anniversary. But he knows that she HAS a birthday in X month and that he has an anniversary and that he should do something for them, as their traditions make clear,a nd they usually go to the same restaurant. And when he’s reminded, “um dad, you do know that mom’s birthday is next thursday?” His response is “oh shit, you’re right!! I’ll go make the reservation and now and put it in my calendar so I don’t forget”, not “eh, this year, I’m blowing it off, she didn’t say anything about it.”

        I know we always get into this issue about Valentine’s day and presents and such, and about people making their desires explicitly known, but I think that this is different — those LW’s are usually upset because their BF/husband NEVER gives presents/sends flowers, etc. and they just hint about it,and we say “how is he supposed to know you want that?” Totally different from a BF who KNOWS its her birthday (he didn’t forget!) blowing her off with no warning to do something that doesn’t need to get done then, when he knows (or should know) that it will disappoint his GF of 5 years (!) because they’ve celebrated her birthday together every other year (or at least, recently.) Reminding your BF (of 5 years!) that your birthday is in 2 weeks, 1 week may be warranted if he sucks at dates or is a procrastinator; telling him to make the reservation at X restaurant for YOUR birthday is not. And if he missed getting a reservation or something, then you scramble and triage, not say “well, race car time!”

      5. Isn’t it funny how we read things differently? I read it as she hinted at she wanted to be taken out for dinner, not that they had a long-standing tradition of doing so. Perhaps it’s the very ambiguity of the letter that’s led to our differing opinions of the situation?

        I’m not saying it’s not shitty of him to take her out for her birthday, that’s a given. I just think she needs to TELL him what she wants, instead of hinting about it – this goes for birthdays, time spent together and what they’re going to do with rest of their lives.

      6. I read it the way you did, Nookie.

      7. I just noted the missing word. Maybe she did say ‘Hey take me out Speedracer’ and if that’s the way it is, then it’s pretty bad he didn’t. But in the light of the rest of the letter, maybe they’re not the world’s best communicators with each other?

      8. 6napkinburger says:

        “This year for my birthday I asked few days beforehand that we go to a particular restaurant to celebrate, but when I got home from work, he told me we were not going out for dinner – his brother was coming over to work on their race car”

        To me, this reads the following ways: a few days before her birthday (a) she asked HIM TO TAKE HER to that restaurant; (b) she asked THAT HE TAKE HER to that restaurant; (c) she asked IF he WOULD take her to that restaurant; (d) she asked IF he WAS taking her to that restaurant; (e) she SUGGESTED that the two of them go to that restaurant: for her birthday.

        No matter which one it is, it kind of sounds pretty straightforward to me. The only ones that don’t blatantly tell him what she wants him to do are (d) and (e) — and (d) is the only one that really leaves room for any confusion (and not that much confusion). I mean, it also kind of depends what he said in response, but it seems like he gave her some inclination that he heard her/processed what she said. If the guy took her to a different restaurant or to do something else, and she was annoyed that he didn’t “listen” to what she wanted, I’d agree that it could have been confusing. But it wasn’t bad enough to confuse “take me to this restaurant for my birthday” with “blow me off and hang out with your brothe.r”

        But fair enough about them communicating.

      9. Yeah, that part of the story was missing when I opened my fool mouth in the first place. It does sound straightforward in light of the unabridged letter and the fact that he’s a selfish ….

      10. I disagree. It seems like they did have plans to go to a restaurant. After all, the LW specifically mentioned that she told her friends she couldn’t get together for her b-day because her boyfriend was taking her out for a nice dinner. That sounds to me like she and the BF made plans in advance.

      11. But did she tell him she blew off her friends? Did he know she had other options? I am guessing no. If my husband did this on the Saturday before my birthday, I would say to him. “I had other options to go out tonight and you are blowing me off last minute.” I would give him the option to apologize and make it right rather than quietly resenting him.

      12. I had to edit for brevity, but this is what the letter said, word for word:

        “for my birthday I asked for a few days before hand that we go to a particular restaurant to celebrate (because the last thing a girl wants to do on her birthday is cook supper and wash dishes, am i right?!) I didn’t hint or beat around the bush (because that doesn’t work with him) – I outright asked and reminded him before hand. I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to me at work and when i got home was told we were not going out for dinner – his brother was coming over to work on their race car. Although i appreciated the flowers I was extremely hurt that on my birthday he chose to spend the evening in the garage. He didn’t even call me before hand to let me know so that i could have arranged to spend my birthday evening with friends (who i had turned down all week because I told them he was taking me out for dinner) “

      13. Okay that really sucks. That’s a selfish man, and he isn’t going to change once you get him down the aisle.

      14. Well, that changes things a lot.

      15. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        That is selfish. Period.

      16. yea, that does add a little bit of nuance. But my question to the LW still stands, Did she call him out on it or did she just sit back and grumble. Did she tell him how she feel or did she go behind his back and tell other people how betrayed she was?

      17. Also, if this had happened to me. I would have picked up my purse, called my girlfriends, and headed out. But I am also a girl who when my husband and I dated, he was 20 minutes late for our date so I walked out the door and left. When he finally arrived (30 minutes late), I wasn’t there and he called and I gave him the address of the party we were going to. I didn’t bitch and moan, I just told him I don’t wait around when someone doesn’t call and if he wants to hang out, he can come meet up. I am not passive aggressive, I am aggressive.

      18. I do think that she should tell him how she felt for her sake, but I don’t think I’d really enjoy my birthday dinner that much if I had to force my boyfriend to cancel his new plans to follow through on our old ones.

      19. But if she put it out there, just like in this letter (without the comparison of how much she does vs him) and said, this was important to me and I feel like a loser to have to beg my boyfriend to hang out for my birthday. And it sucks that you wouldn’t even give me the option to make other plans with people who did want to go out.” He might be a dick or he might say, “I really wasn’t thinking, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you. Can we go out tomorrow and I will make it up to you?” She is giving him a chance to make it right. I think she is fighting a fight that he doesn’t even know he is in.

      20. True. Though I still think that’s a no-brainer. If you cancel dinner on someone’s birthday, then make it up to them without having to be asked. She SHOULD talk to him, but I see that as more of a favor to him, not as though he shouldn’t be expected to know it was wrong without being told.

      21. Look, I think this is an LW that will constantly say “it’s no big deal” or “It’s no trouble” and then quietly resents everything. It this whole letter, I don’t see action, I see passive. I think they have been together for so long that there is no “courting” and that one day could be exchanged for another. I think this is happening to her because she is letting it. However, I am a very assertive person and do not suffer fools easily. So, I have a very hard time looking at a situation like this a giving sympathy. I think she has actively put herself on the backburner then resents being there.

      22. Yeah, this is how I was reading it. He KNEW she wanted to go out to eat on her birthday, and he still blew her off. That is, no doubt, a very selfish thing to do to your partner.

      23. This additional info only reinforces my original impression of this letter. What a tool… your paycheck comments were bang on Wendy!

      24. She didn’t “drop hints”, if you actually read it. She even said the name of the restaurant she wanted to go to.

    3. Jessibel5 says:

      I agree that it sounds like she hasn’t made it known to him that she’s unhappy. I’d really like to know how she dealt with the birthday blow off. LW, did you bring it up to him? Did you make it known that you were disappointed? Did you cry in front of him, or in secret, or not at all? What was your response to him when he said “oh, bro’s coming over, we’re not going to dinner”? Did you have a fight? Did you give him ANY indication that what he did was not cool with you?

      If you just said “oh, ok” and walked away, and he went about his merry business, then he may not have any idea you are hurt. Granted though, a guy who made plans with you for your birthday to take you to dinner and then bailed and didn’t even offer a “sorry, I’ll make it up to you” is kind of a dumbass. Do you really want to be with a dumbass?

      The advice I always give to my unhappy friends is “if this is how it was for the rest of your life, can you deal with it always being this way?” If not, take steps to change it.

  7. Wendy said:

    “And if you won’t do that, then at the very least, ask him to start paying you for all the help you give him with his business and the cooking you do for him and his brother while they play with their cars, because it sounds like what you are is his employee, not a girlfriend, and if you’re not going to get a birthday dinner out of the deal, you may as well start collecting a paycheck.”


    I don’t think this is MOA territory yet unless you’ve already had several big fights about this and nothing has happened. As Gator Girl said, it may be that you’ve been such a good sport about everything that he thinks that you’re totally happy with this. You are putting 80% into this relationship. It’s time for you to stand up for yourself and ask him to put you first.

    Furthermore, even if you’re going to give him more time, I think it may be time to move out and stop being his cook, employee and nursemaid. Don’t be asking him to marry you right this minute (you don’t even know if you should marry him at this point), but explicitly give him six months to turn this around and to start treating you like a real person who is deserving of consideration. I think you need to see evidence that he can do that for a sustained period of time. (I think he does deserve six months because you guys have been together so long and you may have misled him as to what you need from the relationship. He may well break up with you, though, if a more equitable relationship is the last thing he wants.)

    As Wendy said, if you extrapolate this situation forward into young parenthood, there’s no reason to see it ending happily–he can’t be a good father or husband if he can’t even pull off being an adequate boyfriend. At the moment, it sounds like he’s living his dream–he’s got the big job, an exciting hobby, a girlfriend who picks up the slack with his job and his hobby. He doesn’t have any problems. It’s time to get him some.

    You may want to do some therapy about your abortion. It may be that your guilt over the abortion is what’s behind your give-give-give relationship with your boyfriend and your belief that you don’t deserve to be treated with respect.

    1. 6napkinburger says:

      “I think he does deserve six months because you guys have been together so long and you may have misled him as to what you need from the relationship.”

      I think “misled” is a little harsh. (though I don’t think you meant it that way). It isn’t totally wrong, but I think it seems a little more conscious/malicious than what she did. Even if she was actively trying to downplay her needs, it doesn’t sound like she was doing that to KEEP him, but rather to avoid being a “bitch” or “clingy” or “bratty.” So while he may have been misled, I don’t think she “misled” him; I think she wasn’t fully honest with him (or herself) about what she needed. Or maybe there’s no real difference between what you said and that. I just don’t want the LW to read this and hear “you deserve this because you lied to him!” which is not the case at all.

  8. I think Wendy makes a really important point, which a ton of people who read this site daily really need to hear. And that is, if he’s not a good boyfriend now, he’s not likely to make a great husband or father.

    It’s unclear to me how much communication the LW and her boyfriend have. If she has repeatedly communicated her needs and he has rejected them, then yes, absolutely, move on. However, this guy might just be completely oblivious and she may very well just need to sit down with him and make explicitly clear what she wants and needs. And she also needs to make clear that if he is unable or unwilling to give it to her these things, she is leaving.

    I am continually baffled by people who write to Wendy or write on the forums when they say, “Well, I’ve told my boyfriend I want to get married, and he either says no or doesn’t respond. Is that a reason to break up?” YES. Breaking up with someone because they don’t want to marry you is an INCREDIBLY good reason to break up. Probably the best reason ever.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I’m torn about the first paragraph TECH. LW doesn’t say anywhere she has voiced her dissatisfaction with how things are…the guy hasn’t been given the opportunity to “right” it. Now if she had had multiple conversations and he was still acting the same way- yes getting married and having children aren’t going to make him change. But if every person walked away from a relationship when there was a bump in the road without giving the other person an opportunity to address the issue- I mean none of us would be in relationships! People do need to be given the opportunity to grow, but when they don’t it’s time to walk away.

      1. But you know what? If you want to walk away after a bump in the road, that’s ok too. If you don’t want to give the other person a chance to grow (with you still as their SO) that’s fine too.

        It’s a little different for marriages than for relationships, but you definitely don’t need to for relationships.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Of course. If that’s the right choice for you (general you). I think my point is no one is perfect, and you have to voice issues you have with a partner and hope that you both work to overcome them. Because searching for a perfect person isn’t going to be fruitful.

      3. I agree for the most part, especially because she was pretending not to mind. But I think there are certain fundamental things that a person shouldn’t have to tell their significant other. Like to make them a priority. Certainly if you feel they aren’t, you should talk to them, but I was definitely see that in my mind as a “I shouldn’t have to tell him this” and would be wary of what it says about them and our relationship.

  9. Oh sweetie, you aren’t being punished outside of any punishing you do to yourself. Make sure you know that having an abortion at 19 doesn’t mean you don’t get to have a family. Your life and your choices are your own. You’ll get a lot of good advice here on your relationship. To that, I add that you should totally read http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-long-can-you-wait-to-have-a-baby/309374/?single_page=true .
    It corrects a lot of misinformation about fertility in ones thirties. I stressed the hell out when I broke up with my SO at 31 – I wish I’d had this information then. You can also look at when your mother, grandmothers etc had their children, and speak with close older female relatives about when they went through menopause. It may relieve some of your baby-having anxiety, which could let you think about your relationship without that pressure. Good luck, and be nice to yourself!

  10. Turtledove says:

    Therapy, therapy, therapy, therapy. Girl, go work on your self-confidence. Because you deserve better, and screw your partner for one hot second, you deserve better from yourself. Your boyfriend sounds rude and inconsiderate, but you sound so self-effacing that I’m really not surprised. If you need or want something, you ask for it. You don’t mention it and hope he gets the point, you say, “I need this thing.” or “I need you to do this thing.” and none of that wishy-washy mama-may-I crap. You start by figuring out what you want and you need and then you have a conversation with your boyfriend where you tell him point-blank, “Here is what I want and need to be happy in this relationship. Can you give me that?” Then if he can’t or doesn’t follow through, then you move on and find someone who will.

    Stop sitting at home waiting for him to notice that you’re lonely and he spends too much time with his car. Stop waiting for him to present you with a ring when it doesn’t sound like you’ve had a single serious conversation about marriage (“mentioning” it absolutely does not count). Have some serious sit-down discussions about time frames and values and expectations. You can’t act as a martyr to the relationship and expect better treatment in the same breath. Therapy would absolutely help you conquer the fear of speaking up and the feeling you don’t deserve better, so get thee to it. And yes, you do have time because you’ll make time and yes, you can afford it if you look around for resources and get a little creative (maybe ask your boyfriend for some of the gonzo dollars he has to be spending on his hobby)

  11. “…bought a piece of land to build our future home on.”


    “I see friends who have been in a relationship a lot less time than us getting married and starting families and I wonder if maybe I’m just not the girl people want to marry?”

    Or maybe you’re doing all the good wifely stuff for him that he wants from you, so he feels like his life can’t possibly get any better if you get married?

    Stop thinking of this as some sort of game show or reality show where you need to go all out to demonstrate how worthy you are of him and how completely you are willing to obliterate yourself in order to win him. This is a two way street. Is he husband and father material? Does he want to make the sacrifices involved in being your husband and the father of your children?

    By the way, how much does he spend on this racing hobby? Is it eating up a lot of money that if you were married and/or had kids, you would resent? Also, is it a dangerous hobby?

  12. LW, you say that you’ve waited patiently for years and have quietly let him put racing before you as though it’s something to be proud of and a way to prove that you’re not too demanding. But it’s not something to be proud of. It’s important to be able to express your needs in a relationship and make sure they are being fulfilled. Marriage is not about waiting around until a guy surprises you with a ring. It’s a decision that two people need to come to when they’re both ready, not before and not years after. You said you brought it up, but the fact that you didn’t elaborate makes me think that you didn’t have an actual, two-way conversation. Did you ask him if he wants to marry you or what his timeline is?

    It’s also not fair to you to sit around and let him ditch you on your birthday or put racing first. Overall, you need to stand up for yourself more. So, talk to him and ask him about marriage, and if it’s not OK with you, then MOA. I’d also tell him that you’re unhappy with how little priority he places on your relationship, and I’d be wary of marrying him unless that changes, because I wouldn’t want my life to be me stepping aside so my partner can work on his car all the time.

  13. Im sorry LW but you need to MOY and in the future when you know what you want after 2 years…. dont waste another 3 1/2 years deluding yourself. Its ok to have internal deadlines. Its also ok to not by property and stop taking care of someone who isnt giving you what you need.

    You’ve been clear. You just hhaven’t wanted to receive the clear message he was sending. Actions mean something and his are clearly telling you he doesnt want you as his wife

  14. Older and (hopefully) wiser says:

    Is it just me or is 5and a half years more than enough time to decide whether or not you want to marry someone? It’s one thing if you’re teenagers but late 20’s/ early 30″s? I would have given him 3 years tops. Go find someone who wants to marry you (he doesn’t) while you’re still young. But first you need to address your lack of self-esteem. You are so not a “spoiled brat”.

  15. What I don’t get, LW, is have you actually *talked* to your boyfriend about marriage? Because telling him, “I’m ready to get engaged now” is not talking to him. Does he actually want to marry you? You can’t just magically expect him to propose every holiday if he hasn’t TOLD you he wants to get married.

  16. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    It’s the worst when you’re pouring yourself into a relationship, doing everything right, and they still aren’t the person you need them to be. We’ve all been there girl. You can’t will him to marry you, or care about your, or treat you right. He has to want to do those things on his own. Get out now and meet someone that will be honored to be everything you need.

    1. This is pretty perfect. LW, absorb this and remember it in all future relationships.

  17. Doing all those things that you do for him is great, but there is a fine line between being a good girlfriend and being a doormat. The difference is balance. What does he do for you? From your description, it doesn’t sound like much. Do you have any hobbies or interests that he supports? (If not, get some. Everybody needs hobbies. They take you out of yourself and give you the opportunity to focus on life outside of your relationship.) It sounds like he’s got it pretty good. He’s got someone who cooks for him, cheers him on at the race track, lets his brother sleep on the couch for an entire winter…why should he change anything? He’s got maximum benefits for minimum investment. Wendy is right. You have to look at how a man treats you now, because that is how he will treat you throughout your relationship. Sure, you could mention to him how you’re feeling unfulfilled and under-appreciated. He isn’t a mind reader, after all. But then, pay attention to the reaction. Does he make an effort to change things? If your relationship matters to him, he will. But if he doesn’t, there’s your answer. Frankly, I think that if he were on the same page as you about getting married and having kids, he would be bringing it up too. At 31 years old, time’s a-wastin’. If you want to have kids, and this isn’t the guy to have them with, you need to get out there and find the one who is.

  18. Unfortunately unless you start setting some hard timelines for yourself you are going to be engaged for another 5 years once it happens. You are going to put it off, because he has a big race coming up, or something his brother is doing is more important. So you have to have a serious talk with this dude, let him know you want to get married, and not in 11 hundred years, and then set a timeline for yourself, and if something doesn’t happen by then, you need to leave, because he has you very low on his priority list right now.

  19. findingtheearth says:

    Oh no. As I was reading this, I actually thought it was one of my friends, but she has not had an abortion and is not 31.

    I think you need to talk to him and see how willing he is to work around what you want. He should not be missing 60th birthdays and YOUR birthday for a hobby. It’s one thing if Jeff Gordon is giving away free hugs and the only day is on your birthday, but if this hobby is always consuming your time with him, you may need to step it up and talk to him. Give him a chance to make any requisite changes before you move on.

    And darling, you are not being punished for having an abortion, and I really just want to give you hugs so you don’t think that. You made a choice at 19. Don’t keep punishing yourself for a choice you made over ten years ago. Don’t stay in an unhappy relationship because you think it is what you deserve.

    Tone it down on the devotion to his hobby, find some of your own hobbies and interests. Make more time for your friends, your life, and what you want. Tell him you will be doing these things, and you would like for him to join you. If he can’t or won’t, then maybe it is time re-evaluate what you want out of life and if you are willing to settle for less.

    Don’t stay in a crappy relationship where your needs aren’t met just because you think you deserve it and/or you are afraid of being alone. Being alone is tough, but it provides its own beautiful opportunities.

  20. I am always surprised when women say that they want to be married, so they are thinking of leaving. Hm. So let me get this straight? You want to spend the rest of your life with this person and since they aren’t there yet, you want to straight up bounce? What doesn’t add up about this? I respect that you don’t want to give him an ultimatum…but what about, I don’t know, TALKING TO HIM ABOUT THIS?!

    Now, if this is an issue of you two not being compatible, that is different….is that what you are questioning here? It sounds like you are being an adult and he’s still a child. But men are like that sometimes. This warrants a serious conversation between the two of you if you ask me. A serious sit down, make-or-break time conversation.

    Blowing off major occasions is a red flag, but that doesn’t mean you should just up and leave without giving him a chance to rise to the occasion. But here is my bottom line (and it’s always my bottom line) if you don’t love him enough to give him a chance to hear you out and meet your needs, then you just don’t love him enough. And in that case, it’s time to MOA.

  21. Avatar photo veritek33 says:

    I saw so much of myself in this letter. No, I wasn’t with my ex for five years, but for 2, and I always felt like I was putting in 95% and he was only putting in 5%. You’ve got to decide what you want honey, and this guy just doesn’t seem like he wants to get married. Believe me, I’ve been where you are, and it’s soooo hard to see it while you’re in the relationship, but it becomes so much clearer from the outside. You live with him, you take care of him, and you put up with his crap, so he has no incentive to marry you. It wasn’t until I started not putting up with my ex’s crap and forcing the marriage conversation and saying that I wanted to be treated better…..and then he broke up with me. And I was devastated. But now I see it as a good thing. Now I’m not in a relationship with the wrong person. So you have got to ask yourself, do you just want to get married? Or do you love this person and are you willing to put up with this treatment? I think Wendy is right. You deserve so much better. And please don’t beat yourself up for the abortion. One has nothing to do with the other. Good luck sweetie.

  22. kerrycontrary says:

    I can’t add anything advice wise, but I just want to say this is why I won’t date anyone who is really into cars. Or super involved in any hobby like crossfit, videogames, etc….It’s great to have passions, but not when they cause you to lose priority over what is important and who is important in life.

  23. temperance says:

    I really, really hope that he hasn’t made you feel like these REASONABLE requests make you high-maintenance. The tone of your letter worries me, LW.

    Quite frankly, he should have seen you on your birthday. He should be accompanying you to weddings. JFC, working on a car is not something important. Period. You are more important than a silly hobby.

  24. I’m not sure what to say about this letter. On the one hand, it seems clear that BF is perfectly content to have an indefinite live-in GF who does the cooking and cheers him on and makes him the center of her universe while he just …. exists comfortably within it. But, on the other hand, I’d venture a guess that he doesn’t really know that the LW is upset about any of this: resentful that he has not proposed, angry that she’s putting so much into the relationship for what she feels is nothing and pissed that he blew off her birthday. I think it is possible he may even not be totally aware that they had plans to go out to XYZ Restaurant for her birthday. I’d also bet that if he knew how upset she really was, he would propose, or discuss a timetable for it, pay more attention to her and probably do a make up birthday dinner. This just seems like a tale of one person expects the other person to just know things, and the other person doesn’t and most likely isn’t putting much effort into trying because, well, it’s all working out well for him, as is. Or he could just be an asshole who is taking advantage of the LW and stringing her along for the last 5 years, including moving in, buying a dog and property together.

    Listen, LW. It seems like you have some issues with being assertive. That is okay, a lot of people do. But, you’ve been with this guy for 5 years. It’s time to speak up, if for no other reason than to see what happens when you do. If he changes, you have your answer. If he doesn’t, you also have your answer. But, either way, you know. Tell him that you want to talk about a timeline for marriage and kids. Tell him you want to set aside X days a week/month whatever, just for you two to do things. And tell him you are angry, hurt and disappointed that he blew off your birthday and that you honestly want to hear from him where he sees this going. And then, if he hems and haws and maybes and makes it clear that what he sees in your future doesn’t line up with what you see, MOA.

    But don’t fester in anger and resentment or, for gods sake, think you deserve less in life because you had an abortion at 19. Life doesn’t work like that, and those feelings are simply unresolved issues that you need to go see a therapist or counselor about. If you take no other advice, please do that.

    1. “I think it is possible he may even not be totally aware that they had plans to go out to XYZ Restaurant for her birthday. ”

      Okay, per Wendy’s update above about editing for clarity, clearly the LW did make her desire to go to out for her birthday pretty clear and the guy did just blow it off or have other priorities. The LW should still spell out what she wants and needs for the future, but I don’t necessarily have as much hope that we’re dealing with “clueless,” as opposed to “jackass waste of time,” here. But, at least if she spells it out and gets a clear response, the LW will know for sure and can act accordingly.

  25. “Although I have made it pretty clear I want to get married (no tantrums, but in the last year I have brought it up on more than one occasion, talked about started a family) nothing has happened.”

    LW, if this is true and your boyfriend is aware of your feelings, then the only conclusion to draw is that he doesn’t want to marry you or have children with you. I’m sorry, that must be devastating to realize. You need to be strong and end this relationship. If at all possible, get into therapy to address your issues so that you can have a healthy relationship in the future.

    1. Also, your timeline doesn’t make any sense. If you were ready to get engaged 3.5 years ago, why did you only talk about getting married in the past year? You were just waiting and waiting and WAITING all that time? That is really strange LW. Getting engaged is NOT something that just happens to you! Engagement is a well thought out decision made between two people who had many prior discussions and reached the conclusion to get engaged to one another. Please stop being a doormat and assert your needs to your boyfriend. Aim higher FFS

  26. Lily in NYC says:

    Being the super-supportive girlfriend is overrated! All you get for you efforts is to be taken for granted. And that’s exactly what’s happening here. I bet he DOES love you, but you are making it way too easy for him to be selfish. I find that I am nurturing by nature, so I have lived this several times before. Learn from my mistakes!

    I’m not sure it’s too late and that you need to MOA. But it is time to start distancing yourself. Don’t be as accommodating, express your anger when you are blown off, and do not settle for crumbs. Go out with friends, don’t ask if he’s ok with it, just do it. Don’t call him or text when you are out. Call him out on it every time he takes you for granted or blows you off. Don’t be so “understanding”. Don’t cook for him. Don’t do his laundry. Do your own thing for a while. Make sure you have some interests that don’t include him. Make him a male version of a “football widow” for a bit.

    Give him a chance to miss you. Let him know you aren’t happy and that if things don’t change, you are out. After a while, men lose interest in women that are doormats but they will stick it out because life is so easy with them. So don’t be one! You can do it! It’s a hard thing to change, but you can. It really took me until I was exactly your age to start seeing how I was hurting myself in relationships by doing the same exact thing you are. It was MY way-too-easygoing behavior that needed to change, not whatever guy I was with at the time.

    1. What Lily in NYC said. You teach people how to treat you.


      1. Lily in NYC says:

        I might if they were from oreos.

  27. Bittergaymark says:

    It amazes me how many women who ARE desperate to get married seemingly go out of their way to date guys who have ZERO interest in getting married… Most everybody is playing another thrilling round of lets bag on the guy here, but… Have you even ever openly discussed marriage? Honestly, you can’t rent a studio apartment and then spend years dreaming about how one special day it’ll magically morph into a four bedroom house with a white picket fence…

  28. Bittergaymark says:

    PS. And honestly? Another letter featuring fucking lackluster birthdays… (Flowers are never enough. why isn’t the day all about you. You! YOU!??? Ugh. Grow the fuck up, already. Birthdays are so overblown in so many minds. They are like assholes. Everybody has one and they only get less pretty with age. Expecting the world to stop and endlessly celebrate you on your birthday is pretty pathetic post twenty two…

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      So, in your opinion wanting to have dinner with your partner of 5+ years on your birthday is asking for “the world to stop and endlessly celebrate you”? For real?

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        To whine about it days later? Yes! Admittedly, I loathe my birthday. And avoid celebrating it at all costs. But does the boyfriend even know she cares. Probably not as she expects him to read his mind about everything…

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        In Wendy’s post above the unedited letter says she specifically asked to be taken out to dinner. Hardly him needing to read her mind. (Andin the LWs unedited letter she posts below.)

        I think birthdays are pretty dumb too, but the LEAST I expect is my husband have dinner with me that night. I mean…it’s dinner something you’re already going to have to do that day anyways so why not spend it with your partner and like eat an extra cupcake?

      3. Exactly. I’m not big on birthdays either and don’t celebrate them. But there is a bit of an unspoken agreement that we’ll buy each other something stupid and make dinner together. That’s part of being a couple.

      4. 6napkinburger says:

        See Wendy’s clarification above: This is what the LW wrote to her, word for word (but emphasis mine)

        “for my birthday I asked for a few days before hand that we go to a particular restaurant to celebrate (because the last thing a girl wants to do on her birthday is cook supper and wash dishes, am i right?!) I didn’t hint or beat around the bush (because that doesn’t work with him) – I outright asked and reminded him before hand. I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to me at work and when i got home was TOLD we were not going out for dinner – his brother was coming over to work on their race car. Although i appreciated the flowers I was extremely hurt that on my birthday he chose to spend the evening in the garage. He didn’t even call me before hand to let me know so that i could have arranged to spend my birthday evening with friends (who i had turned down all week because I told them he was taking me out for dinner)”

        I very seriously doubt you would be indifferent if a good friend did this to you on a random Thursday; better yet a SO of 5 years doing it on your birthday when you like celebrating your birthday — and screwed you over so you didn’t make other plans! (Substitute St. Patty’s day or Fourth of July or Memorial day, if that make it more applicable)

      5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Your last paragraph is a great point…you could swap anything in for “her birthday”. They could have made plans for Labor Day, or Cinco de Mayo, or heck even to go to a movie and the fact the BF backed out at the last minute with out even a courtesy call, so that he could spend time with a friend is rude, selfish, immature, and LW deserves better.

      6. So, you also think it’s OK to cancel plans with someone like an hour beforehand because you want to work on a hobby instead?

      7. landygirl says:

        Too bad not everyone is as bitter and cynical as you are. Is there anything that you like besides bitching about the inferiority of those who don’t think the way that you do? Sure, sometimes the LW’s are challenging but you find fault with EVERY SINGLE LW and it’s old and tired.

      8. *applause*

    2. Avatar photo theattack says:

      I usually also think that birthday celebrations are unnecessary, but dinner is kind of a bare minimum at least.

    3. BGM, I don’t think this is about the birthday. I think this is about the LW feeling worthless and deserving of being undervalued by her partner. The birthday is just something to hang that feeling on. And to each his own. For some of us, birthdays are just another day. For others, a birthday is one’s own national holiday. Live and let live. Everybody deserves to feel what they feel about being above ground one more year…especially if there’s cake involved.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        I agree. It isn’t about the birthday. The birthday was an aside and and after thought. My original response was that she is dating a guy who clearly doesn’t want to get married. Period. And that is the problem. If you want to get married, date people that actually also want that.

        This isn’t rocket science, people.

    4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Um it’s going out to dinner. Not going to fucking disney land. I mean I went on a dinner date on Tuesday. A fucking Tuesday. A celebration of it not being Monday. A birthday dinner is the worlds smallest deal.

    5. Yeah, there’s a pretty big difference between “expecting the world to stop and endlessly celebrate you on your birthday,” and asking your partner of over five years to take you out to dinner or at the very least give you enough notice that he can’t so that you can take up your friends’ offer for dinner.

      1. 6napkinburger says:

        I know that some letters like this are really long and not broken up very well, but I feel like we jump on every nuance of what they say and leave out and how exactly they phrase it. Is there someway to post the unedited letters too (in general, not just this time)?

      2. I’m definitely not going to post unedited letters on the main page, within the columns — most of them are very long and rambling and can be pretty difficult to read and follow — and I think posting an unedited version somewhere else — like in the forums — would get really confusing really quickly. Best to have one version everyone can follow and respond to. For the most part, I know I do a good job editing letters to the most important details in a way that makes them easy — and hopefully, entertaining — to read. When it becomes apparent that I may have edited out an important detail of a letter, I make sure to say so in the comments and share that missing piece then, like I did today. It’s not a perfect solution, but for the purpose of this site, I think it’s the best option.

      3. 6napkinburger says:

        That makes sense!

      4. I think you do quite well with this. Keep up the good work!

      5. kerrycontrary says:

        I am so glad you edit the letters. I can’t even get through the 8 paragraph sagas on the forums.

      6. true that.

    6. You need a hug. If we lived close to each other, I would buy you a grumpy bear care bear, and hope he gives you the care bear stare for your birthday.

      1. Hahahaha I love Care Bears!

    7. I was thinking of you when I read this letter – wondering what you would have to say about this – and then I was so surprised your first comment didn’t address women and birthdays! Glad you didn’t disappoint!

  29. Bittergaymark says:

    PS. And honestly? Another letter featuring fucking lackluster birthdays… (Flowers are never enough. Why isn’t the day all about you. You! YOU!???) …Ugh. Grow the fuck up already. Birthdays are so overblown in so many minds. Birthdays are like assholes. Everybody has one and they only get less pretty with age. Expecting the world to stop and endlessly celebrate you on your birthday is pretty pathetic post twenty two…

    1. What’s wrong with planning to go out to dinner with your boyfriend on your birthday, and being disappointed when he completely disregards those plans in favor of working in his garage?

    2. Yes, one dinner is an endless celebration.

  30. Bittergaymark says:

    What? I edit a post and now both versions are here?! Strange…

    1. Lily in NYC says:

      We can edit posts??? How??

      1. Bittergaymark says:

        The option shows up on my page. BUT only before somebody replies to or comments on your post…

      2. Ah, that explains it. I knew that I’ve seen the ability to edit before, but then I wondered why sometimes it went away.

      3. Lily in NYC says:

        Thank you.


    Dear Wendy,

    I have been with my boyfriend for the last 5 1/2 years. In our time together we have a built a pretty solid relationship. We live together, share a dog together and in the last few years bought a piece of land to build our future home on. He owns his own business which can be pretty stressful and a large part of my time is spent being an ear for him to talk things through with and helping him pick up the slack where ever I am useful. Our relationship is like a marriage – a good one – but without the paper. It hasn’t always been perfect. The first few years were difficult but it has grown better and stronger over time. I was engaged before and when we met was in no rush to be engaged again. After two years, I felt like I knew he was the one and started patiently waiting for him to pop the question. That was 3 1/2 years ago. Although I have made it pretty clear I want to get married (no tantrums, but in the last year I have brought it up on more than one occasion, talked about started a family) nothing has happened. I never mentioned marriage before because I really wanted this time to be different. I wanted someone to ask me because they wanted to marry me – not because they felt it was the obligated next step in our relationship. I don’t want to be a nag or a pain because when someone finally does slip a ring on my finger I want to know completely and without question that they are doing it because it’s what they want, not what they need to do to keep me. I feel that I have been pretty clear about what I want and when we talk about it, I get the feeling it is what he wants too. Never have I felt like he was uncomfortable or just saying what I want to hear.

    Yesterday was my 31st birthday. Birthdays have become increasingly depressing for me. Getting older is not the issue but I had always figured by the time I was 30 I would be married and have a family. Most of my friends are moms. It’s something I have wanted to be since I was old enough to understand what being a mom meant. When I was 19 I found myself in a bad relationship and pregnant and even though I am ashamed to admit it now, I had an abortion. I spent years telling myself I was a bad person and that I didn’t deserve to have kids. Now that I have grown up and stopped punishing myself for the mistakes I made in my past, I know I could and would give a child a loving and happy home with a mom who appreciates (and deserves) sticky fingers, little giggles and all the challenges that comes with having a child. The problem now is that I feel like time is running out to make my dream a reality and I have begun to question if I have actually found the one.

    I try not to set expectations but every holiday, birthday, valentines day that passes I have the deep seeded dream that this will be the day he asks me to marry him. Friends and family are constantly sending me emails/text/facebook messages staying “maybe he’ll give you a ring!” and even though i laugh it off and tell them it won’t happen, they plant the seed in my mind and I hold out hope that they are right. Each year, they are proven wrong. Last night for my birthday I asked for a few days before hand that we go to a particular restaurant to celebrate (because the last thing a girl wants to do on her birthday is cook supper and wash dishes, am i right?!) I didn’t hint or beat around the bush (because that doesn’t work with him) – I outright asked and reminded him before hand. I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers delivered to me at work and when i got home was told we were not going out for dinner – his brother was coming over to work on their race car. Although i appreciated the flowers I was extremely hurt that on my birthday he chose to spend the evening in the garage. He didn’t even call me before hand to let me know so that i could have arranged to spend my birthday evening with friends (who i had turned down all week because I told them he was taking me out for dinner) I know I probably sound like a spoiled brat – that’s how i feel like I sound but I can’t help it. I 100% support his hobby of racing. I’m there at the track every weekend he goes, cooking meals for the crew, video taping and supporting. I am understanding when he can’t make it to weddings (that i am a bridesmaid in) or family events (my fathers 60th birthday) when he has an event planned at the race track – i even spent an entire winter cooking meals and hanging out with his brother (who slept on our couch) while they rebuilt the race car without complaining. I know it’s important to him so I make it important to me. I just hoped for my birthday, that his interests could be put on hold for a night to make me feel like I had all of him for an evening that was about me…not work, not racing, not employees but just about me. I feel like I am constantly putting 100% of myself into our relationship and am left feeling a little under appreciated and unfulfilled. I don’t want to make him out to sound like a terrible guy because he is far from that. He’s funny and loving and my best friend…but sometimes i feel like i’m putting all of my heart and soul into something that isn’t…..i don’t know… what i’m looking for? I was 25 when we started dating and now i’m 31. I feel like I have so little time left to fulfill my dreams and i’m afraid (petrified actually) of wasting it. Am i fighting a losing battle or should i just be happy with the way things are and the part of him I have? I see friends who have been in a relationship a lot less time than us getting married and starting families and i wonder if maybe it’s me? Maybe i’m just not the girl people want to marry? Maybe some where out there in the universe i’m still being punished for what i did at 19 and I won’t ever live happily ever after? I don’t want to give him an ultimatum – that’s unacceptable and out of the question for me………should i move on from this relationship? I have often thought about fostering kids that need homes…. It’s not ideal or what i imagined but should i think about doing that on my own?

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      My advice is the same after your unedited letter- TALK TO HIM. Tell him you’re feeling under appreciated. Tell him you’re ready for marriage and it needs to happen in X time frame or you’ll have to move on. Tell him your pissed he f-ed up your birthday. Tell him you need MORE or you’ll have to find someone who can give it to you. Because you deserve more.

      1. Exactly what GG said.

    2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Yeah my advice doesn’t change. It’s only an ultimatum if you’re not serious. So are you really willing to walk away if he doesn’t propose by X date? If so you should communicate that to him. Let him make the decision. And then stick to your guns. The only thing worse than giving someone a deadline is giving them a deadline, letting it pass, and then still sticking around. I mean you might as well hand over the keys to your life at that point.

    3. Assuming you don’t want to dump him, which it sounds like you don’t – stop giving 110% all the time if it’s making you feel taken advantage of. It’s not withholding; it’s having healthy boundaries. If he doesn’t take you out for your birthday, next time make plans with your friends in advance, and let him know you’ll be out with them. Don’t go to the racetrack and slave over the stove for him and his friends; make your own plans and live your own life. Don’t be an appendage; be a person. If you make yourself a little less slavishly available to him, he might actually treat you with a little more respect and consideration.

      Also… let go of this romantic notion that if he REALLY wanted to marry you, he’d just ask you out of the blue on the most special day ever without you ever having to discuss it with him. That’s a romantic fantasy; this is real life. And most men are idiots when it comes to this stuff. They don’t know about the movie that’s playing on so many little girls’ heads from such a young age.

    4. There is no question, you are not over reacting, your are under reacting. I am not saying fly off the handle but really take him to task. As far a ultimatums, here is my advice. Ask him about his timeline, does he want kids, when does he see that happening? Talk about not being that young and if you want to have kids by 35, engagement and marriage need to come soon. Lay out all your feelings. Tell him your insecure because what if he never proposes and you are single at 35 with the chance of children slipping away. Then listen to how he answers. Ask him what his hesitations are. If you ask questions, you are less likely to have him freak out or shut down.

      1. I don’t think the LW should necessarily marry and raise children with this man, but if she is certain that that’s what she wants, maybe she should take him to an OB/GYN pre-conception appointment and have the OB/GYN explain to him the various risks for both mother and child that increase with maternal age.

        I’m afraid he’s not ready for a family and won’t be ready for a long time. He may be so busy being the kid that he doesn’t want to have any kids of his own right now.

      2. Good idea but im not sure if it suits this situation. Dude can’t go to a restaurant on her birthday… Somehow I don’t see him going to a doctors appt with a woman he knows wants to marry him and have his kids, that he blows off.

  32. Look in a mirror and repeat after me…you deserve better, you deserve better, you deserve better.

    And by that I mean, you deserve to believe that you can state what you want (i.e., “I expect this relationship to grow into something that leads to marriage,” or “I expect for you to celebrate special occasions with me or let me know in advance that you can’t so I can make other plans”) without fear of being let down or disappointed when what you don’t ask for doesn’t happen, you deserve to be with someone who will treat you the way you wish to be treated, and you deserve to believe that you don’t have to settle for a relationship that doesn’t meet your needs because you think the universe is punishing you for a very important decision you made 12 years ago.

    Please go see a therapist or counselor to help you learn how to love and feel better about yourself. You deserve that most of all. And when (not if, when) you go, please talk openly and candidly about your experience with your abortion and why you believe you’re being punished for it. There’s so much going on there that needs to be resolved in order for you to move forward happily.

    Be well, and keep repeating this: You deserve better. It’s up to you to go and make this so.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Tracey, where have you been? I don’t like it when you go away.

      1. Hi Addie! I read DW at work, but whenever there’s a system update or issue that requires an IT fix, the site gets blocked for “adult content,” and it takes forever to get my account back to normal. I’ve missed you guys, so it’s good to be back. Here’s hoping I can stick around for a while this time….

  33. Let me get this straight, you asked him to take you out for your birthday and he didn’t. Why exactly do you want to marry this guy? If I asked my ‘best friend’ out to dinner on my birthday, I’m pretty sure she/he would say yes!

  34. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    Women. Seperate your want to get married from your want to marry the man you are with. Make sure you have both before proceeding.

    1. Yes!

      Just being Married isn’t some magical thing that’s going to make you happy. I promise you, it won’t. Spending the rest of your life with a partner who you love, who’s compatible with you, who shares similar values and goals and loves and appreciates you– That’ll make you happy.

  35. LW, I read your unedited letter. I completely understand why you would not want to nag him or feel like you are talking him into marrying you via an ultimatum. He should want to marry you because he wants to marry you. Completely legitimate.

    That being said, there’s a very straightforward way to get to the bottom of this. You use these exact words. “Do you want to marry me?” It’s a yes or no question. If he doesn’t give you an answer or says no, then you know what you need to do.

    1. Yes! I was trying to get at this in my post above too. In her letter she says “I get the feeling it is what he wants too” Really? How do you “get the feeling”? It’s pretty easy to feel like your partner wants what you want if you try hard enough. You know how I know my boyfriend wants to marry me? Because he said “I want to marry you.” It’s not nagging to ask for the honest truth.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Haha right? I get the feeling that I’m destined to win the lottery all the time – but that doesn’t mean shit. If after 5 years someone doesn’t know if they want to marry you – it pretty much means they don’t – and they just don’t have the balls to break up with you yet. Because why would they? When you’re supporting them and loving them unconditionally and they have no requirements besides bringing a dick to the bedroom and occasionally sending flowers to work.

      2. Agreed. It’s not nagging and it’s not an ultimatum just to ask someone a basic yes or no question.

      3. She gets the feeling because that is what she is clinging to since there are no actions to back it up.

    2. 6napkinburger says:

      And I would sit him down, and say you need to talk, I would give a little explanation of your feelings (the 5 years, loving him, waiting) but now you need to know and his answer will be very important to you. I would also cut him off and tell him not to answer yet, that you are going to give him time to think about it before he has to answer and that he should come and find you when he’s ready to talk. I would get up and move to a different room, but preferably one without doors. (like from a living room to the dining room, so maybe he can still see you, respecting his need to process the question). I would take out a book and read or something. So he really can process it and isn’t on the spot, but also so he can’t say “you’re putting me on the spot here!” You aren’t, you are just having a real discussion. But give him time (mins/an hour, not days) to think through his response.

      I don’t think it is really a yes or no question and I think everyone needs time to process things like that. You don’t want his knee jerk “yes but…”

      1. I like your advice, but as an aside, if my boyfriend of 5 1/2 years told me that I was putting him on the spot by asking if he wanted to marry me, then I think I’d start tossing his shit out the window. Just kidding, mostly. 😉

    3. This is great, but I think you should add a timeline, especially because you want kids: “Do you want to marry me in the next three years?” “Do you want to have (/to start having) kids in the next five years?”

      Because there’s “Yeah, sure, I’ll marry her.” and there’s “Yes, I want to marry you next year.” Those are two different levels of commitment. Only one of them leads to marriage within the next year.

      1. Definitely! And if the answer is yes, they need to actually discuss what the plan is. Like, “OK, so you’re cool with getting married soon? Let’s talk about what would be a good timeline for us.”

        Waiting for someone to propose relies on the fact that they are actually preparing to propose, and if they aren’t, then you’re waiting for nothing.

  36. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    I loved Wendy’s response. But here’s my follow up question: what if you KNOW you deserve better – without a doubt you know the dude is not good for you, that he’s not good in general, and that you deserve better – but you don’t FEEL that you will ever get better?


    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Oh god. Please tell me this is not in reference to Ex lurve. AFP – you’re a baller. You’re what I want to be when I grow up. You don’t need a project. You need a full blown sexy silver fox that can wine and dine you and then go to yoga with you.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        It’s complicated. But really, how do you get your HEAD and HEART in line? When you want better and know you deserve better, but you truly feel you will not get anything better, what do you do? Even when you know intellectually that the statement “there is no one out there for me” makes zero sense, you FEEL it. … So how do you get over that? Especially when the feeling is based on years and years and years of not having anything better? Is this making any sense? I mean, what do you do?

      2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Ummm that I don’t really know. Telling you to have faith seems really lame. I guess it’s just a matter of separating your head and heart – with your head usually being right. So if you know that you deserve someone awesome – don’t accept anyone less than awesome. How are things going with the cutie attorney?

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        It had been a quiet week until yesterday, when we passed by in the hallway: he said hi, i said hi, he asked how my broken finger is doing, I said it’s still broken, he said that sucks, I said yes but meh i’m getting used to it, he said see you, i said see you.

        It was riveting.

  37. A common trend I see in letters to Wendy are women who are afraid to stand up for what they want and need. And they say things like, “I don’t want to give him an ultimatum.” Or, “Am I being unreasonable asking for this?” Or, “Am I crazy? Am I being a spoiled brat?”

    In this LW’s case, the overwhelming chorus is that she needs to stand up for what she wants and needs. Are some women are just afraid to stand up for themselves in general? OR they know that sometimes commenters on here and can be very harsh and judgmental towards letter writers. Maybe they’re just trying to protect themselves against a barage of snarky or harsh comments?

    Because how many times on this site have people said, “This letter writer is crazy!” Maybe it makes letter writers with legitmate concerns hesitant or shy to write in.

    1. I definitely felt like some of her disclaimers sounded like they were trying to head off any comments here that she was being petty or demanding.

      1. I was doing that. I watch some of the horrible comments on here and I was trying to let people know that i’m not just some demanding bitch at home crying and whining over wanting to get married or having people call me crazy.

  38. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:


    So you and I have pretty similar situations. I’ve been dating my SO for over 5 years (we’re a little younger than you- we’re both 23) and he has a love affair with cars. I know what it’s like to go to the track or to reserve my Friday nights in the summer for the car show.

    HOWEVER- what’s going on with you is not normal. My bf’s life long dream is to attend the Bonneville Speed week, and for the first time, he has the means to accomplish that. However, I graduate from my program during that very week. Do you know what he said? “There will be another Speed Week next year”. When I ask him to go to weddings, holidays, and family events- he complies. We don’t spend every weekend doing “car stuff”. We BOTH make sure to schedule time for things that I would like to do.

    Talk to him about your needs not being met. And if he won’t listen or make a significant change, it’s time to MOA.

  39. Bittergaymark says:

    Again. If you want to get married…. Date somebody who CLEARLY wants to get married…

  40. SoCal-Gal says:

    Dropping hints isn’t going to help. Men aren’t mind readers, you need to let him know what you want and need from the relationship. My husband told me this a few years ago when I felt things were going sour on us. It all boils down to communication.
    Good luck!

  41. Have you actually had a sit-down talk with him and laid it all out on the line? Bringing up marriage and kids is all well and good, but a person can’t change things if they don’t actually know that you consider the issues to be a problem. Many guys don’t take hints. Especially when they are as self-absorbed as your guy appears to be.

    Sit him down, tell him exactly what you are feeling, and how you’d like it to change and what HE can do to change things. See what his reaction is.
    Stop being a doormat to this guy. Cut back on helping him with his race stuff. He hasn’t supported you with your obligations/hobbies, why are you so damned gung-ho for his?
    You are unofficially a consultant and employee for his business. If he isn’t paying you for your time, he should be. If you were to get injured while working for him, if you aren’t a documented employee, you may not be able to get any help with the medical bills from his worker’s comp insurance.

    Start spending more time with your friends and pull away from his extracurriculars a bit. If he doesn’t notice, or makes demands of your time without spending any time with you doing things you like – just walk. If he refuses to change, or starts for a week or two and then slides back into old habits and refuses to change after you’ve brought it up – leave. You’re right that you aren’t getting any younger, however, you do have time to meet someone new and have the family that you WANT and deserve.

    Nobody deserves to be in second place to their partner’s hobby. Racing is his hobby. If he can’t change, he isn’t good husband material, and speaking as someone who knows bad fathers – he isn’t going to be a good father to any children if he acts like this.

  42. I have known lots of women in this position. I have known lots of men (who are friends of mine) who were your boyfriend. These guys were selfish through and through, did what they wanted when they wanted, didn’t really do anything their girlfriends wanted unless it happened to align with what they were doing anyway. What ends up happening invariably is that they became less selfish and more accommodating when they met the women they were going to marry. Not because she made him become that person through an ultimatum, but because he wanted to please her and spend the rest of his life making her happy. You don’t have that from your boyfriend, and I just think you will spend the rest of your life wondering why you’re not the person he drops everything for.

  43. LW you don’t sound like a spoiled brat, you sound like a doormat. 5 and a half years, when you are 31 and want a marriage and family, is FAR too long to sit around twiddling your thumbs patiently waiting for your boyfriend to propose. Marriage should have been a serious discussion years ago. What the hell is wrong with women that they’re so freaking scared of what they want? What’s the worst that could happen, you scare away some dude who only wants to be in the relationship so long as he doesn’t have to give anything back? Seriously, Wendy must get sick of reading letters from people who think they deserve so little in life. I know I do.

    1. And to add this:

      “I try not to set expectations…” -LW

      WHY THE HELL NOT?! Good grief Charlie Brown. Having expectations is a good thing. If I ever have kids, instilling a good sense of self-esteem (along with a reasonable level of humility) is going to be priority 1.

      1. 6napkinburger says:

        I think she tries not to set up expectations for herself, not for him. Like don’t psych yourself up too much or you’ll be way more disappointed. IT’s like if you have convinced yourself that someone is throwing you a surprise party, and you open the door with your best “I’m so surprised!” look, turn on the light and — nothing, empty. That is way more disappointing than just going home normally. I think that’s what she means.

  44. Sometimes when your upset about something I think the last thing you should do is sit down with a keyboard to vent your frustrations, which is exactly what i did after my birthday. I was hurt by my boyfriend choosing to spend the evening in the garage on my birthday and then I sat back looking at all of the other things (that didn’t bother me at the time) and started putting them all together and making a big deal out of them after the fact. Which is crazy woman behavior and I pride myself on not being one of those women.

    Though i agree with some of the people who took time to comment – I can sometimes be a door mat, i do sometimes let people treat me a certain way and then feel resentful about it later – these are things i have become aware of in the last few years and have been trying to work on. They are traits I learned from growing up with a mother who was constantly putting herself last to try and please her husband and everyone else around her. The reason I have waited so long for my boyfriend to pop the question is because he was clueless. for the first two years of our relationship I wasn’t interested and then for the next two I just sat around passive agressively waiting. It’s only in the last year we have openly talked about it – so really, it’s all new to him. Just like I have learned some bad traits from my mother, he has learned some from his family. He didn’t have a great childhood – a father who didn’t step up to the plate, who cheated and treated his mother poorly. For those reasons, i don’t think marriage was a top priority for him until recently. Our relationship is a good one and he tells me constantly that now he knows what a good relationship should and could be.

    I questioned if i should move on because I was hurt by his selfishness. I emailed in haste before I actually sat down and talk with him about how badly his actions hurt my feelings. He does tend to make racing a priority because it’s something he loves. I encourage him to race because it relieves some of the stress from his daily life. I grew up around cars, I enjoy the track, generally (other than the birthday incident) I do not feel neglected. When he missed the wedding and the other family event, I was ok with it. It wasn’t until after the birthday incident that i let myself make a big deal out of something that didn’t bother me before. What i didn’t say in the original email because I was being a self pitying cry baby – is that other than my birthday (yes, it should have been a priority – he knows he did wrong and has apologized for disappointing me and making me feel second best; birthdays were never something celebrated in his house) is that I am extremely lucky to have found such a wonderful guy. He loves me. We spend more time than the average couple together and never fight. Not because i am afraid of conflict or sit biting my bleeding tongue but because we generally don’t have anything to FIGHT over. We talk things out. In the past i didn’t say when things bothered me, i let them fester and eventually blew up over something small and insignificant because that is the behavior I have been taught. In this relationship I have grown more mature. My boyfriend has taught me to speak my mind and he listens to me. I am the super supportive girlfriend because I want to be – He makes me want to be that girlfriend because I feel good when I can do something special for him. I regret writing the letter and I regret reading the comments because I feel like you all had a good time bashing a great guy that I poorly represented when i wrote the stupid letter in the first place. I also don’t understand how from the few paragraphs people decided I was a woman without hobbies or friends? Or that i’m slaving away in his company risking getting injured on the job when i said I listen to him talk and help him out (with paperwork) when i can. I thought that’s what a good relationship was? I work a full 40 hours a week at my own job, Dedicate at least 20 hours to my own company that i am trying to get off the ground and have plenty of friends. I find it sad that so many of you would recommend someone throw away a long term relationship so quickly and only one reader questioned there be a second side to the story. I also find it sad that Bitter Gay mark is such an unhappy and hateful man.

    The fact of the matter is that I can’t picture myself with someone else. I thank you all for responding to my letter – it took reading your comments telling me to move on and leave the abusive (seriously?!) boyfriend to remind me how thankful I have him in my life. He’s not perfect – sometimes he can be a little selfish or oblivious to little things (who can’t?!) but he is the only guy i know who stands in the card isle for hours at Christmas time reading each one picking out the perfect card that suits me just right because he thinks the words they write are the most important gift at Christmas. I won’t write again – hell, I won’t even read again.

    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Good riddance to you then. I’m sure his meaningful apology will fix everything. I am excited for you to waste another 5 years with him being all talk and no action. By then your eggs should be nice and dried up. Keep on keeping on…

      1. Well, now, come on, in five years she’ll be 36 and I’d hardly say that ALL her eggs will be nice and dried up. Ain’t nothing wrong with 36, y’all.

      2. Jessibel5 says:

        Haha, I’m so glad you say that. Now can you tell my mother in law that? I’m going to be 30 in a month and she told me that mine are going to all dry up on THAT DAY.

        Well, she didn’t exactly say it like that, but she keeps telling me my eggs start to dry up at 30. She tells me this a lot.

      3. Send her the Atlantic article about fertility! Seriously, I’m obsessed with people reading that article.

    2. Glad to hear it was just a big misunderstanding.

    3. I love the humor in the first line. So awesome. Good luck, LW.

    4. So, you’re blaming everybody for believing your original letter? That doesn’t make any sense.

      1. A La Mode says:

        Neither does this: “we generally don’t have anything to FIGHT over… In the past i didn’t say when things bothered me, i let them fester”

        Lol okay.

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        Yeh, fighting isn’t unhealthy as long as it isn’t frequent and both parties fight fair. A lot of couples who don’t fight are really the ones in trouble because they’ve lost the ability to communicate at ALL.

      3. Or never had it in the first place…

    5. Well, I’m super glad that there was never a reason for you to write in after all…except there totally was. I’m sorry, but all those things you obsess over when you’re pissed off? Those are ACTUAL problems that you are ignoring the rest of the time. And yes, everyone is a little selfish sometimes. My own boyfriend is…like when he eats all the snacks in the cupboard, or insists that we watch his movie pick on a Friday night or something. Those are normal selfish behaviors – ignoring a request to spend time with your girlfriend on her birthday when it clearly means something to her is a bit more than that, it is approaching red flag territory, especially if it is a pattern.

      1. WRS

    6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      Don’t be the LW who gets defensive and ignores everyone. WTF is the point of asking for advice if your going throw it back in the givers face and just do what ever you please?

      I hope you managed to see through some of the cray comments and see there are A LOT of one’s that are productive and helpful. Bottom line is you need to assert yourself with in your relationship.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Why would you do that when you can just say “lalallalala everything is fine! I’m just a CARAZY girl with CARAZY needs”. Everyone knows when you ignore problems they go away.

      2. I don’t even think the comments got crazy. I stand by what I said before.
        LW needs to hear it… Even though she’s clearly not listening.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Well, BGM’s birthday rant and that random abuse comment- those where a little crazy!

      4. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Actually, in hindsight, according to the LW, even though I am a hateful and unhappy man… I was right as — REALLY! She truly WAS just being whiney and petulant about her birthday… Really! Everything else is just great…


    7. kerrycontrary says:

      What’s with the fear of being labeled a “crazy woman”. You’ve mentioned crazy woman behavior multiple times today and I don’t think a lot of people appreciate that. You’re not mentally ill, we get it. But expecting your boyfriend take you out on your birthday instead of hanging out with his brother is not crazy. Nor is having him show up for your fathers birthday or to weddings as your date. No one thinks your crazy. And women who do demand things from their partners aren’t crazy either, as their partners most likely ask things from them as well.

      But congratulations. I can clearly see that you are perfectly happy with your relationship and we must be the crazy ones to think that a live-in boyfriend who can’t prioritize you in his life over a car isn’t the best marriage or father material.

      1. kerrycontrary says:

        Oh and also, your nasty comment about how you won’t write or read again was unnecessary. This is Wendy’s business, and I’m sure she spent time carefully crafting a response to you. So that’s really kind of you to say something like that.

      2. Thanks, Kerry.
        I did invest some time and energy into composing a thoughtful response to this letter. I wanted the LW to feel heard and I wanted to also affirm that she’s not being punished for having an abortion years ago and that if she thinks of her current relationship and the way her boyfriend treats her as “punishment,” then perhaps it’s not a healthy relationship worth staying in and he’s not the kind of man she should really think about marrying. But she can go ahead and bury her head in the sand and stay in her shitty relationship. I was probably wrong when I said she deserved better.

      3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:


      4. Not everyone does deserve better. You deserve what you think you deserve, basically.

      5. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Haha it reminds me of the dw-ism of “having needs is not being needy”. I hate when girls refer to themselves as crazy when they have completely basic needs in a relationship. I catch myself doing it and have to remind myself to stop because I don’t want the guy I’m with to think I will be fine with accepting the crumbs of a relationship. (that’s 2 dw-isms in one paragraph guys – I win)

      6. A La Mode says:

        There’s really nothing wrong with knowing what your needs are and making sure that any prospects know about them! I used to be a lot like this LW – molding myself to be whatever type of girlfriend would be best for whatever man would have me. I was miserable, frustrated, and unlucky in love. I wonder why!

        It has made my life so, so much better now that I am comfortable in telling men I date that I can’t imagine NOT getting married eventually, that I need to be given verbal affection on a regular basis, etc. I have been so much happier, and have had healthier relationships, ever since.

    8. I’m not sure what you expected us to say about him. You portrayed him as someone who ignores you and cancels on you with no warning, and who may not even want to marry you, while you wait and wait. Did you expect us to say he sounds like a great guy?

      A lot of your explanations for what you said don’t make sense. If you now speak up to your boyfriend, then why is any of this an issue? If he apologized about the birthday and it’s fine, why’d you write in? If it’s only been a year that you’ve been discussing marriage and that’s OK with you, then why did you say it’s been 3 1/2 years and write an entire letter about how you have been waiting too long?

      1. One word: DENIAL. She needs therapy. The whole abortion-punishment thing is really sad.

      2. Yeah, that’s not something that you can explain away. Anyway who feels that way definitely has some things to work out.

    9. Jessibel5 says:

      LW, I think you’re unfairly judging us. You wrote in, and ok, you say that you were just venting and didn’t accurately portray your relationship, but that’s all we had to go on! The letter you wrote makes it seem more black and white than you say it actually is, but all we saw was what you chose to portray at the moment of your writing. Please don’t write us off because you didn’t like the comments when you came to read them. We’re not on this site to ruin peoples’ lives, and Wendy sure as hell doesn’t have that goal in mind either. She wants to help people, or she wouldn’t have started an advice site. We don’t as a group indiscriminately tell people to dump everyone all the time. More than one reader asked whether or not you had effectively communicated with your boyfriend about the situation. That’s not telling you to throw away your relationship, they were telling you to communicate (so, no, not only one of us thought there might be a different side to the story). I get it, I do. I wrote into an advice site once (not this one) and was lambasted in the comments; it puts you on edge and gets you defensive…ESPECIALLY if the advice isn’t what you want to hear, or what you cerebrally know is what you should do but don’t want to do it (not saying that’s the case here with you, but I’ve seen that be the case before). So…please don’t dismiss us as awful people because of this. We just wanted to help.

      Now, if things really are as good as you say they are, great! Yes, little things do snowball when you’re feeling hurt. But that’s just it, your feelings WERE hurt, and you are interested in getting married. You were compelled enough to go to an advice site and ask for advice. Going forward, how are you guys going to address the issue? Because…if you continue on as things were, your feelings will get hurt again for the same reasons in different situations. Has he promised to scale back on the race car? Has he agreed to discuss more about a future with you? Is he going to meet your (very reasonable) birthday needs in the future knowing now that even though his family didn’t do birthdays, it was/is important to you?

      1. “Especially if the advice isn’t what you want to hear”

        Hit the nail on the head there! Especially if the LW took the time to submit her unedited letter a few hours into the morning clearly hoping we were just misreading the situation… And them she went bonkers defensive when that didn’t happen.

    10. This reads like your bf found your letter, read the responses, and now has forced you to apologize. Either that or your initial letter was a pack of lies you wrote as a lark. So, got it — you’ve got the best bf on earth, you aren’t at all upset that he hasn’t proposed yet, none of the stuff you wrote about bothered you at all… you are just an average strong, entrepreneurial woman who is totally dominated by her bf. Sorry your bf was so upset by our comments that he hit you.

      1. Jessibel5 says:

        My keyboard thanks you for the coffee I just spit out on it. It had been begging me all day for a taste and I refused. 😛

      2. Seriously… Every time she reminds us shes not one of those crazy girls i feel such pity.
        Gaslighting, party of 1!

    11. Lily in NYC says:

      Sigh, another one who has to come back and revise history because she doesn’t like the comments. Maybe one person here called your OP abusive and no one else agreed. We can only comment on what we are given from the letter. And your letter screamed doormat in huge, neon letters. You got some very good advice here and people were much more gentle with you than they usually are. Enjoy the crumbs for which you have settled.

      1. Seriously, this whole LW situation was just ugly. I felt it was totally disrespectful to Wendy for the LW to post her entire letter in the comments, THEN come back and rudely blow off everyone for responding to what she said. It felt so dismissive of Wendy and her carefully written post. Rude rude rude.

    12. AliceInDairyland says:

      LW, I read all of your letter (the condensed one) and browsed through the comments and wanted to post but haven’t had time with work. I hope that you do read this, because I understand where you are coming from and have a very similar story (with a happy ending). My BF and I had a real shit-show of a falling apart explosion right around my birthday. He is a farmer, and farming is is job, his passion, and his lifestyle and so naturally it takes up a lot of his time. I also contribute a lot to helping grow this dream because 1) I love it, and 2) it’s important to him, so it’s important to me. So, this is very similar to the car thing.

      Eventually at some point the farming became more of a priority than our relationship, and he ended up putting off my birthday. I would bring up the fact that we hadn’t really done anything, but he wasn’t getting how important it was to me because he was so overwhelmed with the farm (he was severely understaffed that season). I thought if I could just work hard enough, and help him enough, that he would magically re-prioritize the relationship so I was GoodGirlfriend(TM) and plugged away mercilessly trying to make everything perfect. It exploded, he broke up with me, BLAH.

      He realized “Shit, I was an asshole and Alice didn’t speak up (which isn’t great) but I wasn’t prioritizing this person who is the most important thing in my life.” And he told me that. And it took a while, but eventually we fell back in love with each other. I’m much better at saying “Hey, we need to get connected again. This is important to me” whenever we start getting too wrapped up in life. And he has done a good job of always, 110% saying AND SHOWING that our relationship is more important than anything else that may be going on. We are a team going into this together now, rather than 2 people scrambling around next to each other.

      So, maybe just have a talk about how you need to be connected, and communicate. And face things together. I have gotten so much better at calling him out when he is being unreasonable, and vice versa and our relationship is infinitely stronger. When you need him, or even when you just want him, let him know it is important to you. And if he is the amazing man that you say he is, he WILL make time for your relationship. Good luck!

      1. A La Mode says:

        There is a huge huge difference between being a farmer, which is a lot of sweat, blood, and tears in order to provide resources for the community.

        LW’s boyfriend has an intensely expensive and frivolous hobby that he uses to blow off steam. Your boyfriend’s prioritizations make sense since a crop can be destroyed by just a few little bits of neglect. LW’s boyfriend just won’t get to burn a ton of expensive fuel or perform repairs on his HOBBY. I don’t think your examples could be more disparate, despite ending up facing the same issues.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I think Alice’s point is she vocalized she was unhappy and her BF is making a point to try. LW needs to do the same and hopefully her BF tries to fix things.

      3. A La Mode says:

        That’s not going to happen, given what the LW wrote in, and I think it’s antithetical to be telling the LW that her boyfriend’s prioritizations are just as excusable as Alice’s.

      4. AliceInDairyland says:

        Yes it’s his job, and it is all of those admirable things and it is a helluva lot of work. But it is also his PASSION, which I get the feeling racing is a passion for the LW’s boyfriend. My passion is veterinary school, and both of us can get tunnel vision about reaching said goals to the detriment of our relationship. I think that is what is happening here, and it’s not our job to judge what people’s passions are and whether they merit spending time on them.

        I am sure there are plenty of people who would say my boyfriend’s organic vegetable farm is a glorified garden and he should stop dicking around and get a real job… But both he and I care about it enough, and believe in it enough, to dedicate a significant amount of time towards it and grow it into something wonderful. We have also BOTH decided that our relationship is more important than our respective passions, which it looks like LW and her boyfriend need to have a discussion about and decide on.

        PS thanks, GG for the back up.

      5. This was well (and kindly) said. I hope the LW reads it too.

    13. My eyes MY EYES.
      For fuck sake, now I’ve gotta join BGM’s team for the rest of the day. Way to become your mother LW. You do deserve better, shame you won’t pull your head out of your ass to see it.

      Though I do have to say this was much better than waiting a few months for the LW to give an update of this sort… Instant pre-Friday facepalm 😉

      1. Haha, I wanted to be like, “Hey, you can’t call BGM hateful. Only we can do that because we know him!” Except then he’d probably tell me to STFU, and I’d lose my cred. 😉

    14. How does the sand your head is buried in actually taste?

      You wrote in anger and frustration. I’m sure you were being a helluva lot more truthful in your first letter than this posting. Now you’re backtracking, glossing over the situation, and generally telling everyone here that we’re really wrong and you meant none of what you originally said.

      You remind me of a client’s mother. Client was put on a waiting list and the mother threw a tizzy fit because she was native and knew a board member who worked for the native corporation she was a member of, and dammit, she was going to get her baby bumped up from the waiting list, so help her!
      Then she threatened to never use our services. Funny, the Dept. of Corrections was paying for the treatment, and the judge ordered the guy (yes, he was over 21) to our program, so she really had no say or no financial stake in the actual treatment.

      Fine, you won’t write in and probably won’t read again. I’m sure if you wrote in to any other person, they’d tell you pretty much what Wendy told you. Get off your delusional high horse.

    15. landygirl says:

      Its kind of off putting that you suggest that women are irrational and that by suppressing your emotions you’re making yourself more palatable to men i.e. you don’t want to be one of “those women”. I hate to break it to you, but you are one of “those women”. Guess what, it’s okay to be one of “those women”. The people who think emotions make people weak probably have a difficult time with their own emotions.

      1. ITA

    16. Good luck LW. We mostly aren’t haters here on DW; we were just trying to help you.

      1. Oh and I stand by my original comment. Please consider talking to a good counselor about your issues.

    17. HeartsMum says:

      “He’s not perfect – sometimes he can be a little selfish or oblivious to little things (who can’t?!) but he is the only guy i know who stands in the card isle for hours at Christmas time reading each one picking out the perfect card that suits me just right because he thinks the words they write are the most important gift at Christmas”. I know the LW is unlikely to read this, as she’s thrown her toys out of the pram, but this statement right here is a tell of some kind. Really sweet from a caring attentive partner who wants to demonstrate their love; really something else if they’re not that person. Sad and frustrating in equal measure.

  45. A La Mode says:

    You know what this reminds me of?

    “I’m a cool girl, guys. I understand you men soooo much better than the average woman. No, silly, I never freak out! I never get PMS, either. I don’t like to argue because I’m the most awesomest, coolest, chillest chick out there SO WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO MARRY ME ALREADY”

    LW, you seem to be entirely focused on being the type of girl your man will marry rather than focusing on finding someone who wants to marry YOU. I recommend shifting your paradigm so as to focus on the latter… Once you figure out who the heck YOU actually are.

    1. Lily in NYC says:

      And I love sports and cats are stupid and who the hell would ever wear pink! Luckily most of us outgrow that stage after HS.

      1. A La Mode says:

        And I love football and NASCAR and beer and I hate wearing heels or dresses! Girls who dress up every day are needy bitches!

    2. Who here has read Gone Girl? Because…yeah.

      1. OMG, I knew that “cool girl” thing was reminding me of something, and it was Gone Girl!

      2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Fucking best book ever. LOVE IT. I even made my grandma read it, which now that I think about it is kind of fucked up, because it’s a fucked up book, but still soooo good. It’s happy hour for everyone right? I took a mental health day today from work and life and so happy hour started earlier than usual.

  46. I’m kind of glad I wasn’t here earlier to comment, because now after reading the LW’s backtracking response—holy fuck. But LW, if you’re still here…

    Look, I’m not gonna bash your boyfriend. But it comes off like you read all of our MOA responses & got scared. You WANT this “great guy” to marry you, so you feel like you ~can’t~ leave him, & you feel like you ~can’t~ make your needs known? You seem very scared of being a “crazy girl”, and that makes me sad. Like everybody else said, it’s NOT crazy to have needs. Or to feel upset. Or to even, omg, SHOW that you’re upset. Stop pretending to be The Cool Girl; nobody is that girl. That girl is an invention. (Am I just straight-up quoting Gone Girl at this point? Oops, if that’s the case…)

    Anyway—you’re ALLOWED to want your boyfriend to forget about racing for an evening. You’re allowed to *not* feel like cooking for everybody, even if you normally like to, on some nights. You’re allowed to ask your boyfriend to devote more attention to you. Marriage is what happens when both people who love each other agree to make that commitment—it’s never a matter of being whatever your idea of the perfect girlfriend is, & getting rewarded with a ring.

    Just think about it?

  47. Oh girl, I’ve seen relationships like yours before. One party (usually the lady, but not always) is bending over backwards making the other person’s life as pleasant as possible while receiving very little in return. A girl I know was with a guy for years. He had three kids by three different women and had a vasectomy. So this girl had to resign herself to never having children of her own (his kids didn’t live with them). When the kids did visit, she’d take care of them, feed them, buy them clothes/shoes, take them to their t-ball games. He did nothing. She finally broke up with him (after everyone, including his mom and sister, kept telling her she was getting taken advantage of), married her childhood sweetheart and is so, so happy/relieved to have a different life. I think sometimes people don’t realize how miserable they are until they move past that situation. And then you’re going to be kicking yourself for waiting so long to be happy.

    1. Whoa, just read the LW response. Well, I stand by my comment. You definitely remind me of my aforementioned friend whose identity was very much wrapped up in the concept of the “super supportive girlfriend.” But your perfect behavior isn’t enough to make your partner be the man you want or need him to be. And yeah, you are going to be that “crazy girl” if you expect him to change based on your performance as the ideal woman.

  48. After my mom died this year, my bff suggested a girls’ spa weekend for my bday. I was really looking forward! The week of, she sent an email announcing that her husband had invited her to a music festival, so she needed to “reshechedule” my birthday for some other, yet unspecified, date. No apology, just: isn’t this great! There were at least 6 exlamation points about how excited she was to be going to this festival – which is annual. I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut. I cried for 4 days. Im questioning my place in the world. Now, she has send a birthday card containing a printout of some whacko “rules” about summer birthdays and how one shouldn’t expect friends to plan their lives around friends’ summer birthdays. It only upset me more…again, no apology, or plan to reschedule, merely a justificiation.
    Due to my more delicate state, I am feeling…hopeless. Unimportant, uncared for, and desperately seeking meaning in this ongoing trudge. Thoughts, words, understandings? I’ve spent the past 10 years contorting my semi-retired schedule around this friends’ busy schedule. The words were glib, unkind, a bit brutal. I wracked my brian, trying to think, have i offended? This was so savage.

    1. I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. as for your “friend,” I think it’s time to demote her to casual acquaintance whom you no longer make plans with, let alone contort your schedule around. She may not be a terrible person, but it’s clear she isn’t a good friend to you and doesn’t prioritize your feelings. In short, she does not show up, which is THE most important thing a friend can do:


    2. This is not about you, it’s about her not being a great person and really lacking empathy. Try not to let yourself go to questioning your worth over this woman’s shitty behavior. But focus on cultivating other friendships and maybe joining a group. Could be a grief group or a hobby/interest group, or a class… something to get you socializing with other people and feeling better.

    3. Avatar photo SavannahAnna says:

      Oh, Pw — that is sad! I am sorry for the loss of your mother, and my heart goes out to you. Of course you’re grieving, but please don’t feel you need to question your “place in the world”; just question the place in your precious life for this person who isn’t acting like much of a friend. You’re not imagining it, and she sounds clueless to the point of being cruel. That’s the last thing you need, now more than ever. It hurts to learn such unflattering truths about someone you have considered a friend, but it’s not something you can fix. As Kate says, this is the time to pour your energies into a group or class or new, better friends… or maybe all of the above. Take care.

    4. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      ” I’ve spent the past 10 years contorting my semi-retired schedule around this friends’ busy schedule.”

      Time to pull way back from this friendship. You are the one who has made the effort to make things work for the past ten years. She has an expectation that you will always work around her and so she comes first. It’s time to put an end to that. Don’t contort yourself around her schedule. Do things when you want and if she can’t make it so what. Take the time that you’ve been investing in her and invest yourself in other things and other people. You’ll find you can make other, better friends.

      You could look into classes or activities that happen at your local library. Our library has programming that happens repeatedly where the people who come have become friends. We have so many things happening from genealogy to book discussion to quilting club to cooking group. In our local community there is a group that goes bike riding together every weekend. We have ladies that go to yoga and then go next door to the coffee shop. Think of things you like to do and then do a google search to see if there is a group around you that already exists doing what you like.

    5. anonymousse says:

      You sound pretty depressed and could probably benefit from a few sessions with a therapist. It sticks she backed out of plans, but that shouldn’t have ruined the day for you and sent you into a four day crying fit. Maybe grief is overwhelming you and that’s part of the reaction you’re having. Downgrade this “friend” and book your own spa weekend. Be good to yourself. You’re hurting, you need to see a doctor. Good luck.

  49. Pop Anime Girlie says:

    If he was going to propose to this girl, it would’ve been two years ago. She needs to cut her losses. I told my bf 2 years into dating that I picked a secret day in my head where if he hadn’t proposed to me by then I would go Elle Woods and propose to him first. He’s quite a sweetheart who told me he’d say yes if I proposed but he’d much prefer to do the proposing. He proposed a year before I thought he would and definitely surprised me. You and your man should be having in depth conversations about what you want out of life & if he doesn’t follow through, time to go. You aren’t spoiled; the bar is so low it’s on the floor & he’s digging underneath it not to meet it. I know he has plenty of good qualities but he has terrible qualities as a boyfriend & you should ditch him.

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