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You Asked: Is His Distance Normal?

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost six months now. From the start, I was aware that he suffered from mild depression but he happily and routinely takes medication for it. In the beginning, he was perfectly affectionate. The sex was incredible and I truly felt an emotional connection with him. He told me he did, too.

We met at work; I am a nurse and he worked on site in the maintenance department. About a month in, he was laid off and has since been collecting unemployment. He has been jobless for just about three months. He actively looked for a job for about a month, but he quickly gave up. He is being choosy — in my mind far too picky — and I feel like at this point, he doesn't have the right to do so. This is weighing heavily on our relationship. He is no longer affectionate. He is cold and distant to me. He makes no effort to hold a conversation with me, or think of things to do together. I can't explain it, but his tone has changed. He never initiates sex, and sometimes he even turns it down.

I can't take this pain much longer. I cook for him, clean his apartment, am at his doorstep within a half hour of him telling me he's lonely or misses me; I've even applied for jobs for him! I feel unappreciated, lonely, hurt, and simply unloved. What should I do? — Unloved Lauren

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Dear Unloved Lauren,

I'm sorry to hear your relationship has taken this turn, but I'm glad to hear that your boyfriend is managing his depression. It seems that losing his job really exacerbated this change in his behavior and while it's by no means an excuse to make you feel unappreciated or unloved, it is completely understandable. Being unemployed in times like these must be incredibly unsettling, so it's no wonder his personal life is suffering, too. You're right, he shouldn't be picky about the jobs that are out there, but that's a decision he's going to have to make on his own. You can't force him into a role he's not interested in just because it offers a paycheck.

Since he's clearly taking his frustration and angst out on you, try to open the lines of communication more. Without adding more pressure to his plate, let him know how you're feeling, but take an understanding tone. Ask how you can help, but make sure he knows that he can't overstep his boundaries. The building resentment that I hear in your tone will only make things worse so if things don't change, perhaps a break is in order so he can figure out what he wants in his future. Good luck to you.


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