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

09:30, Nov 25 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.

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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....