Q: My family doesn’t like the guy I’m dating. We’ve been together for 5 years and the first 2 years they tolerated him. Initially they didn’t love him, but they didn’t give off the impression they wanted me to leave him. Now, I can tell anytime I bring up his name, they don’t like him and pretty much made it obvious they didn’t want him around, without even saying a word about it. I’ve had to stop my dad from cussing him out multiple times and he’s got into little arguments with my sisters. But, he’s a good guy, he has good intentions and just doesn’t make the best decisions. I mean, I guess I can’t blame my family, what set them off and changed everything around the 2 yr mark was that he accidentally pushed me down the stairs when we were arguing while we were drunk. I had to be rushed to the hospital and was out a few hours from a concussion. I sprained my ankle, but thankfully, nothing more than that happened. Since then, nothing has ever happened like that again, he’s not a violent person. We curbed our drinking and most times, only one of us drinks. We’ve been through so much together, he was there when my job fired me and accused me of embezzlement. He helped me financially til I found a new job. We had a miscarriage and that was tough for a long time. I seriously was depressed for 5 months, but he put up with me and stood by me. He doesn’t do anything for my self-esteem though, he never compliments me. When we’re out, it’s painfully obvious he’s looking at other girls. And he asks me why I can’t be one of those dolled up, high maintenance girls. I always tell him that’s not me, I am a sporty, low maintenance girl. I am girly, not a tomboy by any means, but I definitely wasn’t in the salons every week or shopping constantly. But then when I do dress up, he asks me why I’m dressed up. I’m so confused. My family tells me he doesn’t love me, that he would treat me better if he did. He never gets me presents, never says he loves me, and doesn’t call me his girlfriend. What should I do? Should I listen to my family? I know he doesn’t treat me that well, but we’ve been together so long, part of me is scared I’ll never meet someone else. I’m so comfortable with him.
A: Baby, you are your own person. I know your family loves you, but like everything in your life (or anybody’s life), you’ve got to be the one to decide what is best for you. Only you know that and only you know yourself. Obviously the fact that you’re questioning it means you know something’s not right. I don’t know if you’re insecure or afraid or what. But you’re the one who’s got to stand up for you!! You’ve got to reach deep inside and ask yourself if this is what you want, whether or not you are getting your needs met through this relationship, and where are you going from here. But wow, being comfortable is NEVER a reason to be with someone. Being comfortable with anything in our lives–relationships, friendships, family, work, the way we live–is not a good place to be. It makes us become complacent which is a testament to the old adage ‘the only constant is change’. If you’re not growing together and progressing toward a closer relationship, then I don’t exactly see why you’re still this guy. He obviously doesn’t know how to lead the relationship if he’s making you feel insecure about yourself. And he also never shows his affection or says I love you. And the best of them all, ‘he doesn’t call me his girlfriend’. What does he say when he introduces you to people, ‘woman, come here.’ Or what, does he just introduce you by your name? You’ve been with homeboy for a long time, if he’s not claiming you, something’s wrong with him. Is he ashamed of you or is he trying to make sure he’s leaving himself open for other options? Either way, whatever reason why, there’s no good reason. That boggles my mind, when he talks about you does he say ‘this girl’ instead of girlfriend. I say FAIL for that one. There is no good reason why he shouldn’t make it known you’re his and vice versa. My guess is he’s probably comfortable too. If it were me, his ass would have a footprint on it as I kicked him out the door, but lucky for him, he’s not my man. I know a lot of women/men who stay in relationships like these and end up having a cold heart in the end, buried by a wall of self-protection. And future relationships suffer because of it. I hope you find out what you really want, and go for it. And, if you stay, then you can always have discussions as to what’s bothering you. If he truly loves you and cares for you, then he’ll listen to you and take heed…cause you’re a lyrical poet. Sorry, I had a Vanilla Ice flashback there. Go for it, it’s yours for the taking, own it, and know it! Good luck!