Q: I've been dating a guy for about 11 months and it had been going great until about six weeks ago when I lost my job. My boyfriend has been supportive for the most part, but for two things. First, he never tells me he loves me; he says words don't matter and he'd rather express it physically (ranging from doing nice things to cuddling and so on). If I say it first, he'll return the sentiment, but he never says it on his own.
The other thing that is bothering me is that he wants to leave his current living situation and find his own place (with or without me), so he's decided to work seven days a week indefinitely. We have a somewhat long-distance relationship -- I live on the South Shore and he lives a half-hour or 45 minutes away -- but we've made it work. Now, however, I don't know when I'll see him. I'm not sure how to approach the situation. I love him, but I don't want to be attached to someone with whom I never get to spend time. I've also told him I need to hear those three words, but it hasn't had an effect. I really don't know what I should do and any advice would be helpful.
– Feeling Abandoned, South Shore
A: Things are really shaky right now because you lost your job. You say that the relationship was going great until six weeks ago, which means that the employment situation has skewed your perspective. I'm sure that everything feels out of control right now.
My advice is to focus on getting yourself where you want to be so that you can make decisions about your relationship with a bit more confidence. I'd also talk to your boyfriend about how you'll see each other with this new schedule. Has he thought about the logistics? And ... if you get a job and can help out with rent, is the expectation that you'll live together? You need to find out whether you're a part of the plan. You need to feel like you have a say.
As for the "I love you" stuff, it's is a personal thing. Some people have to hear those three words, some people don't. It's something to think about, for sure, but for now, with all that's going on, I'd just just focus on what comes next for both of you -- your job hunt and his schedule. Right now, the plan is the most important thing.
Readers? Is he showing her that he loves her? Is this just about her losing her job? Is his work plan disrespectful? Should she be in this relationship?
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.