Work ob­sessed part­ners need not ap­ply

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­ DEAR EL­LIE

Q. I’ve been dat­ing a woman for eight months; we’re both early 40s, both di­vorced with no chil­dren.

We con­nected im­me­di­ately, sex is of­ten great, but my girl­friend’s a workaholic and our dat­ing life soon be­came a once-a-week night to­gether with sleep­over.

I un­der­stand that she’s new in a job of great re­spon­si­bil­ity, and it’s some­thing she’s worked to­ward through her whole ca­reer. But so, too, we’ve both wanted a great re­la­tion­ship, and I can’t un­der­stand why she doesn’t at least ex­press more emo­tion about ours.

I couldn’t get her to com­mit to any cel­e­bra­tion of our first New Year’s Eve to­gether other than to or­der in some good food and go to sleep im­me­di­ately af­ter mid­night. She went to her of­fice the next morn­ing even though it was a com­pany hol­i­day.

Since then, there’s been lit­tle time to­gether, with some good mo­ments but a lot of fo­cus on her needs re­gard­ing ei­ther work time or rest. When she snapped at me that she was giv­ing me all the time she had to give, the light bulb went on.

I said I’d hoped for a fu­ture to­gether but she won’t even talk about it. She said she’s too busy and not ready to de­cide that I’m the one. I said good­bye. I feel empty and sad. Am I wrong to be­lieve that she was only in­ter­ested in me as “down time” from her work, which is her only true love?

A. Walk­ing away was your only choice.

Eight months is long enough to know whether some­one’s con­nected to you be­yond the com­fort­able and con­ve­nient. Even when sex is great, if there are no re­cip­ro­cated emo­tional feel­ings be­sides your own, a re­la­tion­ship be­comes lonely.

Work is her main self-im­age. If it’s go­ing well, she’s do­ing well. If not, she’s driven to get back to it, no mat­ter her other com­mit­ments. More sig­nif­i­cant, she has no view of a fu­ture to­gether.

You gave enough of your­self. Take time to heal, and then move on.

Q. My hus­band and I have three adult chil­dren. He scolded our daugh­ter when she was 10; she di­aled 911 and hung up.

She started ver­bally abus­ing me when she was 14. I told her to stop, but my hus­band said noth­ing. She was rude to each of her brother’s girl­friends and told me not to speak to them.

Later, when she re­turned home at night, if things hadn’t gone her way, she’d stomp through the house wak­ing me and some­times her brother. My hus­band said noth­ing.

When she wanted some­thing she’d whis­per to her dad. She said I’d never be in­vited to her wed­ding. She threat­ened to hit me. I fi­nally kicked her out. She said through her dad, that I’d never see her again.

Now he meets her for cof­fee, won’t re­lay any mes­sage from me, won’t tell me what they talk about or how she is. She doesn’t re­spond to my emails.

A. Both you and your daugh­ter missed out. She was an an­gry child who needed help. But her fa­ther’s in­dul­gence of her be­hav­iour sab­o­taged any sim­ple cor­rec­tions you tried.

You three needed fam­ily ther­apy re­gard­ing her per­son­al­ity needs and how to re­spond to­gether, not di­vided. You’d still ben­e­fit per­son­ally from coun­selling about how to change what you can.

Q. I’m a very busy teenager who ev­ery­day has lack of time, and wor­ries about it. I want to man­age my time, and be able to just re­lax with my par­ents and lit­tle sis­ter. But my ev­ery at­tempt to change fails. My home­work is time-con­sum­ing and my ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, too.

Maybe it’s lack of con­cen­tra­tion. What should I do to be more fo­cused, or when I’m feel­ing inse­cure and wor­ried?

A. You’re do­ing too much, and it’s mak­ing you anx­ious. Sit down with one or both par­ents and dis­cuss your ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, in or­der of im­por­tance to you and your well be­ing.

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