Sasha Answers: My boyfriend is unhappy
Hi Sasha, I'm 29 and have a 2 year old daughter with my BF. We have been together 10 years. Pregnancy wasn't planned, I was super happy but he wasn't. We fought about keeping the baby and I told him he could leave. He decided to stay and everything seemed wonderful.
When our child was 20 months, all of a sudden he starts acting distant. He was on his phone/computer all the time, was barely speaking to me or interacting with our child. He did nothing around the house, I took care of all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, care of our child and dogs. Eventually he told me that he wasn't happy with the situation I put him in and blamed me for making him a father earlier than he had planned. His life wasn't turning out the way he wanted or expected and he was resentful of me (and his parents). After putting 100% of my energy into trying to fix things by taking care of him and our kid, letting him go out with his friends and do whatever he wanted it seemed like he was getting better and almost back to normal.
6 weeks later he starts acting distant again. Then the day before my birthday we had a huge fight where he said he didn't want to be in the relationship anymore but didn't want me to be able to get child support and money from him and basically the only thing keeping him there was how big of a hassle it would be for us to split up. I asked him if he loved me and he wouldn't answer.
The next morning he apologized and said that he did love me, but we had been together for so long it wasn't new and fun anymore. He says he wants to work things out, that it's him that has the problems and for the last month it's been okay. He is doing more around the house and paying more attention to our child. But now MY feelings have changed. How can I trust him?
Please help. If it was just me I would have been gone on my birthday but I have to consider my child. T
Yes, please, let’s consider your child. Let me guess T -- the fear is that you don’t want your child to grow up without two parents living together, right? Not only would that feel like a personal failure, but every stat you read tells you that children from broken homes are emotionally hooped for life. In my opinion, you don’t have to be divorced or separated to come from a family that’s “broken” and I feel strongly that children should never be the deciding factor when couples are determining whether to stay together.
Sure, your child can wake up in the morning and see the two of you in the kitchen together, but it's what she's actually seeing that you should be most concerned about. From what I gather she’s looking at a father who’s not engaged at all and a mother who’s flailing, trying to pick up the pieces. Does that sound like a happy place to you?
Look, I’m not saying you should throw in the towel, but I do think it’s time to seriously get to the bottom of what’s going on in the relationship. I applaud you for trying to figure it out on your own, but it’s time to face the fact that the issues between the two of you are way more complex than you actually realize. And it’s not fair for either of you to live this way so T, it’s time to bring out the big guns: couples counseling.
I’m not promising it will save your marriage, but the hope is that it may help you re-build a relationship, whether that's together or separate. In the meantime T, it wouldn’t hurt for you to give this book a read.
Thanks for writing in and as usual, keep me posted! xx Keep writing in to firstname.lastname@example.org.