It’s been a year and a half and he’s still living with me as my roommate. And I do mean roommate. I live in a house with four other people so this man and I are forced to share a bed. We fight all the time. Every time we’re together we fight. He wants me to cook his meals, wash his clothes, drive him to work, lend him money. I feel so trapped. I don’t know what to do. People don’t believe that we aren’t actually dating or that we aren’t having sex. The only thing going on in our bed is fighting and sleeping. He gets mad if I accidently brush against him in his sleep, so we end up fighting about that.
Please help me; my ex-boyfriend is driving me mad. I can’t kick him out; I promised that I would let him stay until he got himself on his feet, but every time he seems like he’s going somewhere he gets fired. Then I have to drive him around while he searches for a new job. He has a hard time finding jobs because of a past conviction. I bailed him out of jail twice back when we were dating, but it seems like he’s always getting into trouble. I want us to get along, but nothing seems to work. What should I do? — Tired of Fighting
Oh, honey. I don’t know at what point in your life you got the message that you were forever responsible for the happiness of someone you once loved, or who once loved you, but that simply isn’t the case. Even if this man had been kind to you (which he hasn’t been) and even if you two had a loving relationship (which you do not), you wouldn’t owe him what you have given him. There’s a word for the role you are playing in this man’s life and it’s “an enabler,” and there’s a word for him — well, there are several words for him, but let’s go with “manipulator.” He sees in you someone he can manipulate and control and bend to his whim. He does not love you or care about you. And yet, he has you convinced that you owe him something. He has you convinced you are obligated to provide him all the basic necessities of a comfortable life, but you aren’t.
The reason people believe you must be dating is that no one would put up with the shit you’ve been putting up with if they weren’t at the very least blinded by the promise of reciprocated love (even if that promise were a falsehood). You don’t even have that. This guy has already told you that you mean nothing to him. He cut you out of his life with nary an explanation, and, yet, you took him back. It makes no sense. What are you doing? What are you thinking? I can only imagine you’ve been brainwashed or you’ve had such a deficit of love in your life that the warmth of this man’s body next to yours in your bed brings you a comfort you don’t find elsewhere, and for that I’m sorry. There is richer and better and more loving comfort than this and you are deserving of it.
Please, kick this guy out of your bed and your home and tell him, finally, that his problems are his problems and no longer yours. You owe him nothing. You owe yourself so much more.
Am I stupid for loving a man who acts like his friends are more important than his own family? He smokes cigarettes and drinks beer and, when I ask him to slow down on his habits so we can save for our daughter and new baby, he says he doesn’t have to give anything up. I left him once before with our child and he went to treatment. And today when we argue, he throws it in my face that he will just go back to treatment because he didn’t have any responsibilities there. When I want to go out with my friends, he throws a fit so I don’t go.
What should I do? I love this man so much. We have been together six years. — Sick of It
You should leave him. This is not what love looks like. He doesn’t love you. It doesn’t sound like he even loves your children. I don’t know what lines he’s feeding you to make you believe there’s a glimmer of hope for your relationship, but I can tell you there’s not. There is literally zero hope for your relationship. I’m sorry to tell you this. I wish I had a better prediction for you, but I don’t. The words and actions of your husband are not the words and actions of someone who loves and cares about you or your children. Please, get yourself to a family attorney, file for divorce, sue for all the support you are entitled to, and get on with your life.
Love is powerful. And I believe you love this man. But he doesn’t love you back. But I believe there is love out there for you that IS reciprocal. You won’t find it as long as you are tied to this man who takes and takes and gives nothing back. Free yourself of him. Open yourself to the possibility of more. Open yourself to the love of your children, to the love of your friends whom you’ve been forbidden to see, and, eventually, to the love of a man who genuinely deserves you and who will be happy to give you his love.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.