Communication key to fulfilling needs
By Annie Lane
Dear Annie: I’ve been in a relationship for two years now, and I have decided that he really is selfish. I’m 24, and he’s 25. Everyone in my life is fed up with him, including my parents. They tell me how I should be treated, and he’s not doing it.
He’s a state trooper, and I’m a waitress, still in school, so he has his career and money, while I don’t make much at all. At times, he still makes me pay for little things. I’m not saying he has to buy me everything, but he literally pays for nothing.
When we go out to eat, he will pay for it here and there. But recently, we were in this shooting competition, and he said if I paid for the shells, he’d pay for the entry fee. My mom says that because it was his idea to enter me in the competition and he knows my financial state, he should have paid for it. It’s not like he needed the money for the shells. On Valentine’s Day, he didn’t get me anything. And in our two years, he’s never bought me flowers.
I honestly didn’t cry over all this until my family started bringing it up. He does put a lot of things above me — almost all the time. I also have trouble with his social media; he has nothing but girls on all of it, and he fishes for attention at times. I’ve talked to him about it, but all he does is pick a fight with me.
Let me know if I’m just thinking too hard about this. There are a lot of situations I could complain about, but I just need some sort of clarity. He let me drive home by myself — a three-hour drive really early in the morning — so he could stay behind for another hunt, even though that was all he’d been doing. My dad didn’t like that at all. He said a man should have driven me home to make sure I was safe. I think the people close to me are just tired of him never stepping up. — My Family Thinks I Deserve More
Dear Deserve More: You are a 24-year-old adult. While you are welcome to take advice from your parents and friends, you have to decide for yourself if you deserve to be treated the way your boyfriend is treating you. If you put up with your boyfriend’s actions, he will continue behaving the same way. Tell him what your needs are. Tell him that you didn’t want to drive home for three hours alone and that you would like a gift or flowers on Valentine’s Day. If he blows you off or tries to make it your fault … well, then, I think you already know the answer. Find someone who fulfills your needs.
Dear Annie: I always read your articles and usually agree with your responses. I would like to offer an alternative to the letter writer who sends a “generous check” to his 40-something son and daughter-in-law who are “successfully employed.” When our children were in their 20s and just starting out, we used to send them checks, too, because they really needed the extra help.
Once they became established, the checks were an uncomfortable reminder to them that they were still our “children,” so we decided to buy them gift cards instead. They all have enough “stuff,” but a gift card to their favorite restaurant for a nice date night is an “adult” gift that they appreciate. Our relationship is now much more “grown-up.” Now when they go to dinner, they think of us, and we almost always get a thank-you! The gift cards are usually a lot less money than the checks were, but they’re perfect for a lovely night out. We all win! — All Grown Up
Dear All Grown Up: Buying a thoughtful gift is always something to be treasured.