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I want him to get motivated

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  January 21, 2014 08:26 AM

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Hey there,

Our Love Letters party is ON tonight. The evening with J. Courtney Sullivan, who will weigh in on "ring watch," will start at 6ish and will lead into cupcakes and mingling. If you didn't reserve an official spot in time, just show up and hang in the bar. We will have a snow party.

Other celebratory things: our most-memorable gallery, voting, and a love story.

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Q: Dear Meredith,

I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years. When we first met (online) he was going to school trying to get his bachelors. He is currently not going to school, even though that is the reason he is in Massachusetts. His parents pay his rent and give him a weekly allowance. I didn't know this at first. He had a job (work study) when I met him and said that he would finish his degree within the year. It didn't bother me because he had a plan. He was going to finish and get a regular job. Three years later, he still isn't done. He's a computer gamer, which I knew, but didn't think it would harm our relationship or his schooling in a big way. He seems to get lost in the game every time he has to face some stress.

Last fall he told me he decided he wanted to take a break from school, I told him that's fine, so long as he gets a job. I found him a job four months later in the field he wants be in. Now I find that he didn't go to work all week. I am getting to the point where I am not sure what to do. I have tried being supportive when he was in school and helped him find this job. He keeps talking about us having kids, but is allergic to marriage. I already have a full and part-time job. I help out my parents and we have a dog together that I pay for. I don't care if he finishes school; plenty of people don't or have a low paying job. I just want him to do something other than be on the computer all day.

When I try to get something off my chest that is bothering me, he gets defensive about it, so I'm scared that if I tell him how I feel about this, he will react the same way. I get so flustered that I cry and I can't get my point across. In the end, nothing is resolved. I don't want him to just flounder in his life. I feel like if I break up with him, he would have the motivation to get his life in order and get out from under his parent's support. Even if in the end he doesn't want to be with me, at least he will be successful in life. I don't want to leave him, but I don't know what else to do. I can't stay and watch him give up on his life. I just turned 30 and he's 31. I was hoping you can give some advice.

– At a Loss, Boston


A: If you get too flustered to say how you feel, write it down. I'm not opposed to penning (or typing) a letter if it helps you say what you mean.

Honestly, it seems like you've already made a decision about the state of your relationship. You've told us that you can't stick around to watch this unfold, and you believe that a breakup would actually be best for him.

I would have suggested a breakup -- not because it's what's best for him, but because your priorities and lifestyles simply don't match. His habits didn't seem so bad at 27 and 28, but three years later, his choices are more intentional. If you've spent most of the relationship waiting for him to change, it's time to look for someone else. You're clearly open-minded, but you want someone who will help you pay for the dog.

Write the note and ask him to respond in writing so you have time to digest his answer. Then feel confident about what your gut tells you to do next.

Readers? Any hope here? Should we be worried about him and why he's zoned out with the games? Any reason for her to stay? Help.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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.

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