I have a small 5-year-old dog whom I’ve raised from a puppy; she’s basically like my child. The thing is that my boyfriend gets jealous of her and often will comment on how he doesn’t like her or resents her, and I’m getting weary of it. When we are together, I spend most of my time focused on him because our time together is limited. It’s not like he is competing with her for attention, and the very idea of that sounds so juvenile just to type it!
The bigger issue is that my boyfriend is questioning what he wants to do in life (he has a job that he hates and that takes a lot of his time and energy; he wants to get into another field, but doesn’t know what) and it seems like he has a lot of growing up to do. I try to be as supportive as possible in getting him to talk about his passions, his dreams, his future goals, and what he might want to do, as well as learning about his family and background and what drives his thoughts and actions. He can be very closed off, but we are slowly getting to know each other.
I know the idea that he is jealous of my dog and the affection I give her is symptomatic of a larger problem. He is a sweet, funny, giving guy who really cares about me, and I don’t want to give up on our relationship too quickly, but I am frustrated that we are having issues and arguments this early on. He is often moody and will regularly apologize to me for being a “grumpy old man” when he says things that hurt my feelings, often about my dog and how much he doesn’t like her, etc.
I’ve been agonizing over how much longer to give this relationship or what the right course of action should be. Do you have any advice? — Love Me, Love My Dog
So… he’s a moody, closed-off, immature 20-something who lives over an hour away in a terrible town, doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, and resents your dog? Oh, girl, no. You’re 31 — not “old,” but definitely on the other side of putting up with this kind of crap. If you were 21, I might tell you to hang in there a little longer, especially if you legitimately enjoyed his company and weren’t “looking for a spouse.” But it could take years for your boyfriend to grow into the kind of man you’re looking for, and investing in someone’s potential is better left for employers or people who have years to wait and see, not girlfriends in 30s who hope to start a family soon. I say MOA.