She cooks, she cleans, she doesn't nag - and he never tells her he loves her. Should she move on?
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I have been with my boyfriend for over a year now. Until recently I thought things were going great. But lately a few things have started to bother me - and other things I thought didn't bother me have now joined a growing list of things that are making me feel like maybe he isn't "the one" and that this relationship is going nowhere.
Although we do have stuff in common, he has some hobbies and sports that take him away from home a lot.
For the longest time, I didnt mind because I liked that he still had his own interests and that we didn't have to spend every waking moment together, but now these hobbies have taken over his life. If he isn't working (shift work, which limits the time we spend together anyway) he is off somewhere doing his own thing. We almost never spend any real quality time together any more. Whats worse is, he thinks the couple of hours we spend together watching telly counts as "quality time".
He doesn't let me know what he's doing unless I ask, or tell me what time I can expect him home as I cook his dinner EVERY night, unless I ask. It never used to bother me that he has never told me that he loves me, or that I haven't met any of his friends or family, but now it does.
All of this has suddenly left me feeling unwanted and taken for granted. I have never really complained about any of this until recently. I got really upset and told him how I felt. At the time I thought he listened and was going to make more of an effort, but nothing's really changed.
I should mention that part of the reason he is with me is because he knows I don't want kids and neither does he. I really love him, even though I suspect I am wasting my time staying in this relationship. I don't have the heart or the strength to call it off. Does he really want to be with me or am I just a convenience?
It is really tough when you realise a relationship isn't working and it sounds like you are growing more and more unhappy.
Even though you love your boyfriend you are questioning how he feels about you and if the relationship has a positive future. The answers to your questions can only come from the two of you figuring out what you want for yourselves and each other.
One of the dangers of staying in relationships where you feel taken for granted is that you risk loosing respect for yourself, asking even less of your partner, and feeling like you have no choices. I am curious about how you have come to be cooking every night even if you don't know when or if he will be home - almost like you are willing to just be there for whenever he needs you but not setting any expectations or limits on what works for you.
It is great that you are reaching out for help and I would certainly encourage you to sit and talk with your boyfriend about what you both want going forward. The outcome of those discussions will help you with your answers.
Here are some questions to get you started:
If you were to think ahead five years, what would you want to be the same in the relationship? What would you like to be different? How much time do you both want together? How much time do you both want separately? Is it important to you to have some shared friends?
As well as talking and sharing time together, the real key to a strong relationship is the ability to share our feelings and feel as if the other person really understands us. These are skills we can learn, by reading, by attending self-help courses and in relationship counselling - have a look on our website for more ideas about how to build this part of your relationship.
We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.