Eight Years Younger

Dear Ms. Disiac,

Hi, I am 23 years old and have been with a 31 year old man for the last two and a half years. He is my first real boyfriend. However there are some problems he has a bad temper and he works a lot. He always want me around but we are never alone. Because he works so much he has to squeeze his family, friend and myself into a short amount of time. I have tried to tell him that I want more quality time and I am beginning to feel like part of the furniture. But he gets angry and his temper comes out I then break up with him, but he soon comes back saying all the right things. I know he loves me, but I am afraid that if we stay together and get married, that I will be lonely and when I try to express this to him he will ignore me or get mad because he will know I will be less likely to walk out on a marriage.

[Also, since he is eight years older than me, he] has been involved in two prior serious relationships. When we first started dating he had a cookout, and later on told me that one of the girls there, he dated in high school. He says she has since been married, had kids, and has divorced. He also told me that they see each other once in awhile(about every four months) I did not have a problem with them being friends. However over time I learned that they talk about twice a week and are a lot closer than I had thought. There is absolutely nothing going on between them, and I know he is madly in love with me. However their relationship still bothers me. When she calls I get all moody and pick a fight with him, he will then reinforce that he loves me and that they are just friends. This appeases me temporarily, until the next time she calls. He is beginning to get annoyed with having the same old argument and cannot understand my point of view. I am worried that this will always bother me and I fear getting married, buying a house, having kids, and having her constantly call the house. I don't want to tell him not to talk with her anymore because I don't want him to resent me, but I am not sure I can handle their close relationship.

Eight Years Younger

Dear Eight Years Younger,

You've brought up a number of different issues. Let's start with the fact that you and he are at different stages in life: you're a student and he's in the working world where there are different kinds of priorities and stresses. You mention his temper: temperament does not tend to change much for someone his age, but are you doing something to set off his temper. If you are getting moody and picking fights, that is not going to resolve your issues. If you are worried about his woman friend, then you should insist on meeting and socializing with her and her family. Once you meet her socially and see them in context, you'll be able to better assess the situation. If he does not have much free time, that is not likely to change soon, especially if she is focusing on her career. Don't expect him to fill your free time.. You should have some fun in your free time without him. Go out with girlfriends to clubs, dancing, parties, whatever. If none of this sounds workable to you, then maybe you should be with a younger man who is in the same stage of life as you are.

- Afra

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