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Ask Amy: Young relationship feels like a messy first draft

Amy Dickinson
Tribune Content Agency

Dear Amy: I’m in my mid-20s. My boyfriend is in his late 20s.

We’ve been seeing each other for 10 months, and some things he does bother me.

He’s not very sensitive or romantic. I’ve told him multiple times that I want him to be more romantic, but he says it’s just not how he is.

He rarely initiates sex, because he says he likes when I do it, even though I say that it’s hard for me to feel sexy when he doesn’t show me first that he finds me sexy.

He is really big on spending weekends with his friends (they share hobbies that I don’t share). He’ll usually be gone all day with them. Sometimes he’ll also spend a weekend evening with friends and not invite me.

He’s big on “giving each other space.” We’ve gotten into fights because I’ve been upset that he is prioritizing his friends over me.

I know that he cares about me. He always checks in on me and calls me at least twice a day.

He got me a wonderful gift for my birthday. I see him multiple times during the week and twice during the weekend.

Is this just a “take it, or leave it” situation? — Sensitive, or Reasonable?

Dear Sensitive: How would you feel if your boyfriend told you multiple times that he wanted you to behave differently, and when you said, “That’s just not the way I am,” he responded that you-being-you is just not good enough?

Loving, intimate, long-term relationships aren’t usually this much work. You should not be fighting about basic personal characteristics or personality traits.

At the 10-month mark, you would ideally be entering a great groove with each other, where you are recognizing and accepting one another’s differences, without insisting that your partner change elementally in order to please you. At the same time, you would both endeavor to be “better” versions of yourself in order to be worthy of the relationship you’re in.

When a relationship is really clicking, it feels like a happy-ever-after, not like a messy first draft.

Obviously, I’ve presented a series of “ideals.” This is not an indictment of either of you, but a reflection that you two might not be the best match.

Dear Amy: During a recent vacation with friends, a new couple was invited. I know this couple and was fine with them joining us.

The wife knows my husband’s ex-wife. (My husband and I have been married for 30 years).

During a group conversation she drunkenly blurted out some very personal information between my husband and his ex-wife (what she said was definitely news to me, and incorrect).

The other women looked at me in shock, and I denied it, of course. But she kept going on and on. I finally just left the group.

My other friends chose to ignore this out of respect for me, and it was never brought up again.

My relationship with this woman is now strained. I avoid her and when I do speak to her, I keep my conversation with her short. I do not need for her to know anything about what is currently going on in our lives.

I understand that friendships ebb and flow. I think this friendship has ended. The trust I have in her is gone. I don’t know how many of my conversations with her have been blurted out to someone else.

Your thoughts? — Former Friend

Dear Friend: I agree with you that actions have consequences, and this woman’s drunken gossip has, quite logically, resulted in you keeping your distance.

My only suggestion is that, instead of ghosting her, you should tell her exactly how you feel about her behavior. Don’t do this in anger, but to clarify that her behavior hurt you. Being drunk is NOT an acceptable excuse, and if her drinking brings out the worst in her, she needs to know that her relationships will suffer.

Dear Amy: Regarding being thanked for putting dinner on the table, at the beginning of our marriage, I told my husband (in a humorous tone) that if I made dinner, I expected him to say, “thank you.” I did not expect him to gush about it, just to thank me. And if he did not do so, he would be having cereal for dinner the next night.

We have occasionally had cereal for dinner, but not often.

There was no anger or resentment, but it was just something he needed to learn. — Anne

Dear Anne: Well done!