The majority of my family lives in Japan, including my parents. After the earthquake on Friday many people, including an ex-boyfriend whom I have not heard from in well over a year and a half, contacted me to express sympathy, condolences, well-wishes, etc. However, my boyfriend of a year, who was out of town for the weekend, did not show any interest in the quake and subsequent tsunami’s effects. When he called on Friday to tell me he had reached his destination, I asked if he had heard about the quake. He said he had. After an awkward pause, he asked if my parents were okay. I told him some details including that they were safe but could not reach other family members. We hung up shortly after.
When he called back on Sunday, he didn’t ask whether my parents were still okay — if they were able to get in touch with other family members, if they had property damage, if the aftershocks had stopped, if they had electricity, food, or water, etc. Not once did he express an “I’m sorry to hear what happened.” I asked how things were going on his trip, and when I didn’t express enough enthusiasm, he got annoyed that I wasn’t more excited for him. I’m hurt and angry that he hasn’t been more supportive and when I expressed that to him, he apologized but I’m still so angry. Since then, he’s asked about the situation in Japan but now I can’t tell whether he’s genuinely concerned or if he just doesn’t want me to be upset with him. This earthquake has shaken me emotionally and I don’t know how to get over my disappointment in him. — Emotionally Shaken
The true test of a relationship and measure of a partner’s character is how he reacts when you really need him. In this case, your boyfriend failed miserably. It doesn’t take a freakin’ emotional genius to know the appropriate response when there’s a catastrophic disaster is to reach out to anyone who may have been directly or indirectly affected. That your own boyfriend didn’t ask how your parents were — your parents who live in Japan — as soon as he heard the news does not speak well of him. But, even that could have been forgiven. Maybe he didn’t immediately realize the the magnitude of devastation. Perhaps he felt stupid that you had to prompt him to show some support. But that he didn’t bother to call you later in the day after your intiial phone conversation or first thing the next morning to get an update is not good. It’s not good at all, and your feelings of hurt and anger are absolutely warranted.
So, how do you get over your disappointment in him? Well, are you sure you really want to? This is what we call a red flag, and any time you see a red flag in a relationship, it’s an opportunity to re-evaluate the state of things. Is your boyfriend’s total lack of support and compassion indicative of his character, or is it completely out of left field? Do you find that you’re often giving more to the relationship than you’re getting? Is your boyfriend emotionally stingy in general or is this an isolated incident? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to MOA.
If, however, you’re not ready to throw in the towel just yet, I’d suggest you talk to your boyfriend one more time about how emotionally distraught this situation in Japan has (understandably) made you and how hurt you’ve been that he hasn’t shown more support. Get it off your chest and then give him a chance to make it up to you without questioning his motives. Remember, he didn’t cause the disaster, so be careful about projecting anger in misplaced spots. His biggest sin was a complete and utter lack of sympathy and compassion. If that’s not a big enough sin for you to dump his ass, then find it in your heart to forgive him and be watchful of similar behavior in the future. If this incident has illuminated a character flaw in him you’ve previously turned a blind eye to, I’m sure there are at least a few of us here in the peanut gallery that would cheer you on if you decided to MOA.
You, your family, and everyone touched by the horrific events in Japan over the last few days are in my thoughts and prayers.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected].