We’ve been having so many disagreements lately, and I feel that not having our own space is making it worse. We would have been able to spend all weekends together, but now that’s out of the picture unless he gets us a hotel room. I don’t want to feel like his mistress, and I shouldn’t have to. I don’t know what to do or where to even begin with him. He takes everything as a personal attack, so my attempting to talk about it with him would implode. Help!! — Not His Mistress
I know you don’t want to feel like his mistress, but I think you… might actually be his mistress. There are so many red flags in this picture – like the huge age gap (41-year-old men who date 23-year-old college students are usually creeps, let’s be honest) — but the one that is most telling is that your boyfriend lives with people whom you haven’t met. If you’re his girlfriend whom he cares about, why hasn’t he introduced you to his parents? There are two main reasons: 1) he’s ashamed of your relationship or what his parents would think of your relationship; 2) it’s not his parents he lives with, but a wife and possibly kids. My money is on the second.
Look, just get out of this relationship. No good will come of it. The guy is shady. At the very best, he’s a 41-year-old who doesn’t have his emotional shit together enough to live independently. At worst, he’s cheating on his wife with you and lying to you about it. You aren’t even getting along anymore. You’re frustrated, he takes everything as a personal attack, and you have nowhere to even be alone together. This relationship sounds miserable. Move on already. I promise that there’s a better match for you than some loser 40-something creep who’s lying to you.
No, it sounds like you’re under-reacting, actually, because your reaction is… to do and say nothing. Ask your boyfriend what’s up with the pic of his ex-wife. Are they still very close friends? Do they share children together? Is it an old family photo? Is he trying to make his kids feel comfortable and like their father’s home still includes a place of respect for their mother? I mean, I don’t know. There are so many reasons a man could have a picture of an ex on his wall, but unless you ask him why he’s chosen to display such a photo, you won’t have any idea and will feel suspicious and weird about it. You don’t need to over-react, but react, you know? It’s ok to question behavior that you don’t understand in someone you care about.