How do I know if he's 'the one'?

Last updated 05:00 25/11/2011

How do you know when the person you're with is 'the one' when you're living together and dealing with domestic drudgery?

This week Aunt and Uncle Agony consider just that and invite you to dissect the problem with them. They also want to hear from you. Keep your woes, dilemmas and conundrums coming to theagonys@stuff.co.nz.  Our discretion is assured.  

Dear Aunt and Uncle Agony,
 
I am really confused with my relationship now. I am a 28 year-old-girl and bf [boyfriend] is one year older than me. We are both serious about our relationship and want to settle down soon. However, I get confused sometimes and am not sure if he is the right one for me.

We have been together for three years and bought a house together recently. I know I always want a mature man like lots of other girls, who can take care of me and take the responsibility. Bf is not romantic at all, but he is nice to me. He has strong opinions. There are lots of times he would say it's up to me but, once I have made a decision, he would make some negative comments.

For instance, when I wanted to change the bedroom door position because it's not easy to open, he said it's not doable. When he couldn't convince me (he's not a builder or not even a handy man), I suggested we get some professional opinions. However, he said he wouldn't trust the builders because they could make everything happen as long as we can pay more. Even if I found a builder to get some quotes, he would doubt if this person was trustworthy. I feel like he's living in his own world, doesn't want to hear others' opinion, but insists on his.

There was a time when I made the decision on the purchase of a new sofa, because he said it's up to me. He again pointed out all the negatives - the design, the material, the colour. Trust me, it's not a bad sofa! His reason is, he was not disagreeing but just wanted me to see the negatives so I wouldn't regret the purchase in the future.

There are also lots of things that need to be arranged for the house, which he never thought of. He said he's too busy with work and keeps leaving things for a few days, a few weeks, until I get annoyed and keep reminding him and get onto it myself. I have a full time job as well but wouldn't mind doing/arranging lots of things, but he never seems to appreciate it. When I talked to him about this, he would go 'are there many things to do?' He needs a reminder for everything, paying his own bills, booking a WOF for his car, signing documents, taking our cat to the vet and so on.

I know men are not detail-oriented, but I do expect him to take some responsibility, or at least not make a negative comment when I do something, or make a decision after saying it's up to me. I know every couple has problems and once you live together it's not going be a fairytale. Are these just normal couple issues? Am I too fussy or still dreaming for a perfect man? Can aunty and uncle tell me what's going on, please?

Thanks a lot!

Uncle Agony:

You're not sure if he's the right one for you? He's not.

To be honest, I like a woman who's going to pick the sofa, take the cat to the vet and pay the bills. Take control of the household; it's hot. Chuck in your job and tell him it's his place to bring home the money; you stay at home and mind the house. Take off the apron long enough to get pregnant and then raise a nice wholesome family. 

See, that's your problem: Neither of you are playing your parts.

And I don't reckon, deep down, that you're really this wracked with doubt just over a sofa and doorframe. It's got to be more than that. You're looking for excuses when you don't need one.

Just go find yourself a new bloke who's going to be grateful for your Stepford skills.

Aunt Agony:

There are two scenarios here. 1.) You two have settled down and got boring way too quickly and have become caught in a cycle where he equates your reasonable requests as nagging. This is a very common problem. In my experience - and I may get in trouble for generalising here - woman are more prone to nesting and getting jobs around the house. Men, however, can quite happily live with annoying features like the door being in the wrong position or the couch being dated.

If this is the case it could be helped by you, and him, lightening up. Even if he isn't a "romantic" add some spice to your lives. Date night, surprises for one another - anything to take the drudgery out of the day-to-day routine.

However, equally there is another scenario: 2.) That is that he's not really that into you - and nor you him, I'd suggest. You both like the idea of settling down but the reality is that you don't love and respect one another enough to last the distance. His put-downs are a classic example of this. He's frustrated by something in the relationship but rather than recognising this and identifying what it is, he just criticises your actions.

In this scenario you need to have an upfront conversation with him. Tell him he's not showing you the love and respect you deserve and his behaviour is putting your relationship at risk. See how he responds. If he doesn't make an effort - along with you - at listening to one another's needs and requests then I say end it.

Even if you're thinking children age 28 is still plenty young enough to get out there and find a relationship that works for you without all the angst.

Uncle Agony:

PS - Aunty's being a bit sexist today, don't you reckon? Jeez....

71 comments
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peachey   #1   06:08 am Nov 25 2011

I always think 3 years is when you either go to the next level, or break up. You've got the house, so there's a level of commitment. Why don't you spend some time imagining how it would be to spend the rest of your life with this man, how does it make you feel? If deep down it actually fills you with dread, move on, you're still young enough to meet someone else that you actually love and he loves you. If he isn't romantic or particularly loving to you now, that is not going to get better as time goes on. Or maybe the reality of making that huge financial commitment of a house together is just freaking you out a bit and you need to relax and breathe. You do still have choices. A word of warning though, those choices get harder once you have children so don't rush into that.

RBR   #2   06:35 am Nov 25 2011

If you're not sure if somebody's the one then they're not. My husband and I have had many challenges to our relationship, but from the moment we knew we loved each other we never questioned that we were made for each other. Our response to tough times was communication and changing behaviour (and counselling for some serious issues). Even in the tough times I never could imagine life without him or him being with someone else.

Trust your inner voice to tell you whether your relationship is right for you or not. If you want to continue it you don't need to be unhappy. Often you can make subtle changes to your own behaviour to solve any issues around communication.

(For the record my husband is also hopeless at remembering domestic jobs. He's a lovely guy and very commited but it's not his strength. I maintain a to-do list in the kitchen and he will actually do things if it's written clearly. He doesn't seem to notice jobs on his own.)

Cat   #3   06:49 am Nov 25 2011

Geez. Sounds like my father in law. Escape while you can!

Lucas04   #4   07:48 am Nov 25 2011

They way I've always seen it: If you have to ask, the answer is no. Uncle's right, the sofa and door aren't the issues.

Instead of taking responsibility for anything, you man's lumping all of the responsibility on you, which then allows him to have a go at you for all the things he thinks you've done wrong. This is classic relationship sabotage, and a form of emotional abuse (sounds serious huh).

I'd say he's actually a bit over the relationship but simply doesn't have the guts to admit it to himself or you. He's also displaying classic signs of being in a life rut - perhaps work is getting him down? He'll never get out of this rut until his life changes.

Simple answer though is you guys are done. You remind me of all those women you see on Oprah and Dr Phil - always knowing the right answer, but for some reason needing some other person/people to tell you the same thing before you go and do it. Get some confidence woman, suck it up, break it off, and move on with your life!

Colin Cansseur   #5   07:50 am Nov 25 2011

@Aunt agony:"Add some spice to your life...'Date Night'"...hahaha

"On Thursday after we get back from Burger King, can I book my Penis into your Vagina...Say, around 8pm?"

How spicy

Stu   #6   08:14 am Nov 25 2011

Seems to me you have already settled down and what you need is a good stir up.

Derek   #7   08:17 am Nov 25 2011

Aunty's discernment of ..."He's frustrated by something in the relationship but rather than recognising this and identifying what it is, he just criticises your actions"...is on the money. Relationships cater to a risk factor. You both are not operating in a spirit of submissiveness to attain a larger worthy goal. You are young, so the sap is flowing. The maintenance of 'the sap-flow nurturing' industry, is not a goal.

JennG   #8   08:19 am Nov 25 2011

Tell him how you feel. If he doesn't agree/thinks you're making too much of it, insist on going to couples counseling. That will sort out whats going on. If he won't go, then chuck him, he obviously doesn't care enough.

SomeoneAwesome   #9   08:20 am Nov 25 2011

Leave him

Wanderlust   #10   08:20 am Nov 25 2011

He is not The One. You are his lover, not his mother. Let him pick his own sofa and do his own laundry, unless the idea of being someone's unpaid servant/slave for the rest of your days (and being criticised by him for your efforts) appeals to you. He is not going to change. Do not settle for less than the best! (And yes, they do exist.) I suggest for next time that you wait longer before moving in together, or perhaps not living together at all.


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