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You Asked: Do I Have the Seven Year Itch?

Dear Sugar,
I have been in a relationship for seven years. Before we started dating, we were high-school buds and decided after college to get together. After the first six months we moved in together — I knew it was early but I just went with it. At the time, I had all the confidence in us — I was finishing school and working two jobs and he was building a business as a glassblower. Seven years have gone by and I'm in a developed career and he is working out of a shed in the backyard of our (my) house that is in my name because he's still not doing anything with his life. I am still in love with him, but am quickly getting increasingly fat and depressed. I really think that I might wake up someday and find that at 40 years old, I've sacrificed having a family so that he can blow glass for just enough money to pay his bills and go fishing. It's going to be really hard to just break up because my self-esteem is at an all time low and I love him, so do I work on myself first? Do I get counseling? I'm so torn.
— Sick of It Sally

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Sick of It Sally,

This is a really tough call because Sally, you can't change people so if your boyfriend's work ethic isn't up to your standards, there's nothing you can do to change it. You say that you still love him, but if you're feeling more and more depressed, you need to do whatever is going to make you happy even if that means breaking up with him.

Choosing between love and money is an age-old question and while some would say love is the obvious choice, we all know it's more complicated than that. If you're bringing home most of the money and feel as though he's still doing "nothing with his life," then you're going to feel nothing but resentment towards him, which will destroy your relationship. It sounds like glassblowing is his true passion, despite the lack of money it brings in, so if you can't accept what he's doing with his life, I think you know what you have to do.

Seven years is a long time to be with someone so before you call it quits, I think seeing a couples counselor is a good idea. It sounds as though you're harboring a lot of ill will so getting all your emotions out on the table is bound to help, and who knows, your boyfriend could have a mouth full to say, too. If at the end of the day you two want different things out of your future, severing your ties now might be the best decision for both of you. I hope this helps, and good luck to you.


Join The Conversation
kaenai kaenai 9 years
You know, I get that you want more financial stability out of your relationship, but did you ever - before now, at any point - get the idea from him that it's not what he wanted? Because if you did, then you walked right into this one. I wouldn't call him a "bum" or a "hobo" so much as someone who is pretty much satisfied with the way things are. He might be perfectly happy having just enough to get by. If this is not for you, then you're perfectly right to feel that way. No one can tell you what to feel. I'd like to tell you to try to work it out, but if you've discussed it before, and he's not willing to bend, even for a part-time job, it just might be - for you - time to move on.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
and if you think the title "artist" correlates to a hobo, then that means you know where i'm coming from; you just want to sugarcoat it and act brand new about it. if he's an artist, he's an artist. that's what it is. it's not a bad thing. what else are you gonna call him. represent your boyfriend!
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
Karlotta: After seven years, he can't help you buy a house. . .that's a sorry-a*s man. it has nothing to do with him blowin' glass. that's like saying a man who doesn't have the high enough standards to get a job, because Jerry Springer is more interesting is just different. let's keep it real! we live in a country in an economic crisis. bills need to be paid, and if you're doing it alone, then you're better off alone. yeah, the writer has grown out of the artist guy. he needs to be with someone who is just going through the beautiful thing called life and all the flowing colors . . .whatever. she wants something different, but she stuck with him too long and now she's attatched. it's understandable. she asked for feedback, and for me; i'll be damned if i take care a business while some dude is blowing glass, crack or anything else in the backyard. you know how this is first hand beacause you have decided to live that life. i don't knock you. that's your business. but if you ask, you will get my opinion. so get over it, and yourself. and for the record, i don't want a sheep who does 9-5 because then i'll be on here talking about how my hubby is going through some mid-life crisis and wants to be a glass-blower, but we have 3 kids and a 2nd mortgage. i rather deal with that bull-c*m now, than later.
karlotta karlotta 9 years
Argh, Asia, how can you say that? You can't call him a sorry-ass guy because he has STANDARDS that are different than yours. Maybe he looks down on the corporate guys with "real jobs" who, to him, lead the most boring and cliché lifestyles possible - and a lot of people would agree with him! Do you want somebody in your life who is passionate and happy and creative, or do you want a sheep who keeps the same hours and wears the same suit as the rest of the population? It all depends on YOUR choice, and neither is more valid or respectable than the other. It's only a matter of preference. My boyfriend is an artist (I hate that word, it sounds so hobo) and he's always poor, and I pay for a lot more than he does because I make more; and sometimes I resent him, which is normal when you give more than you receive, but also I ask myself - would I be happy with a guy who wasn't so inspired and so passionate and who always had something magical to show me at the end of the day? And isn't it great somehow that I'm allowing him partly to be HIMSELF (as long as I don't have to make huge sacrifices, which sounds like you may be doing more than him...)? Maybe I will be you in 5 years, and I will leave him for a lawyer or financial analyst; but I really hope not, because he is so rare and so special, and I have a feeling your guy is too. I sense that you are very depressed, and maybe it's not all about your relationship. I think you should try counseling (together) and therapy (by yourself) and get back to a good (or at least clear!) place in yourself before you make the decision to leave him. I wish you the best of luck.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
i'm sorry. . .no, wait, i'm NOT sorry. he's sorry. a sorry-a*s guy. dump the glass blower and find somebody with a REAL job. sure artists can be successful, but they tend to be more willy-nilly with life and it's responsibilities, and that doesn't go well with what you want in your life. as for career status . .she has a right to feel that his career isn't stable enough, because the truth is that it ISN'T! so don't sit here and try to make her out to be some classist-snob. she wants a man, not someone who is passionately letting the lights get cut off because he's having some inspiration. I don't knock the guy, or anyone who wants to blow glass for a living, but it is what it is.
omilawd omilawd 9 years
Have you talked with your boyfriend about your feelings, or have you been keeping them bottled up? If you talk about things, maybe you can work out a compromise, and if not, at the least, you'll feel better and you and your boyfriend's thoughts will be up in the air to consider.
LikeThoseShoes LikeThoseShoes 9 years
FYI my father is a glassblower. professional at that. he has been doing it for over 25 years. I can honestly say that my dad isnt rolling in dough but over time and with more and more experience his pay increased and he was making quite a bit. i think you are being a bit selfish. it seems more like you are complaining because he isnt up to your standards as far as wealth goes. glassblowing is a very passionate business. people dont do this because they HAVE to. they do it for the enjoyment which is why it is a creative field of work. and if you "love" this man as you say you should be happy for him that he is lucky enough to do something that he does for a living. i think maybe you should review YOUR feelings rather than his career status.
melizzle melizzle 9 years
It seems like you might be settling. Your goals and his appear to be quite different. Seek some help, take a break... but ultimately, I think you need to move on.
Meike Meike 9 years
My last relationship was similar to this. I was with someone who had no desire to improve his livelihood which could have meant our livelihood had I not broke up with him. It's difficult supporting someone who doesn't share similar life goals. As you developed your career, you changed. The question is does he want to change to meet halfway with you? Only he can want and choose to change for himself. If not, expect to clash more and more because you have become a mismatch.
LOL DCRoamer.
almost-famous almost-famous 9 years
I believe this is what happens when you settle for someone. I believe that if you felt this "love" for him, it would of been there in High School. You're also confusing love with COMFORT(i.e. he was there when you made the trasnsition in becoming a woman and he was there in high school, during peer pressure), so you're just comfortable. Maybe a sit down talk with him doing something with his time that's more useful, will do the trick.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
From another perspective, would you rather be with a guy who hated his job and just phoned it in and joined the corporate world like the rest of the planet? I mean, I guess it's different if he just slugs around the house, but if he's working and creating art that's a whole different ball game in my opinion. And it doesn't mean he's not doing anything with his life - it just means he isn't following a typical career path. I also wish I knew how he treated you and the quality of your relationship together. Does he not want kids? Or can you not afford kids? I guess if you are desperate to have kids and he doesn't, that's a separate issue in and of itself, and not really resolvable. Like Dear said though, you've been with him for 7 years and that is worth taking some time to go to counseling to weigh the options. Good luck!
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
I was in a similar situation and i harbored all these unsaid words and starting having a TON of resentment towards him. It eventually ended with me leaving and he really didnt know why. I think you know in your gut what you need to do, so do whatever it takes to get there and make yourself happy.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
It amazes me how much women settle. A man rarely puts up with half this much. I think that you have several valid reasons to move on. Especially the one about starting a family. Lets face it women don't have the luxury of being able to give birth late in age and if you want kids and this isn't who you want as a father for your children its time to move on. It sounds like you two have grown apart and are not on the same path in life. You can't blame him for your gettig fat. If your so depressed about your relationship do something about it are you gonna wait for another seven years to go by? Why live such a miserable life?
gooniette gooniette 9 years
I think Eternity gave great advice. People change throughout their lives and if the person you are with is going in a different direction than you, maybe it's best to just remain good friends, but look for a partner who has the same goals as you at the moment.
violinladyfreak violinladyfreak 9 years
I think at this point your personal goals in life have changed, and once those don't agree, then it will be hard to build a future together. I understand his free spirit, but if it is interfering with what you want, talk to him and choose if splitting is a better option. It doesn't have to be extreme, but realize that the differences are making you depressed.
DCRoamer DCRoamer 9 years
I agree with Eternity. Just execute him :)
Eternity Eternity 9 years
(I ment executing THEM. not him. hah!)
Eternity Eternity 9 years
I wish I knew more about the quality of your actual relationship so the best I can do is tell you about a guy I was with for 6 years once...he was very irresponsible with money, smoked weed constantly, and had frequent spans of unemployment. I was in love with him though, so we stuck it out. Eventually my self esteem started to suffer because our actual relationship was poor. We rarely had sex, I became irritable and resentful for how much he was taking from me, he felt defeated and useless because I couldn't solve his problems for him. He too was living in my house which was in my name. Eventually, I had to ask him to leave so I could take care of myself better. I don't know that its an easy option for you to kick him out, you mentioned he pays the bills, and his life is in your backyard. If you love each other...reciprocally, and you think you can work on yourself without him distracting you, I absolutely think you should do it. Beyond that, who cares how much money he makes? Do you make enough to do the things you want to do or are you, like me, growing resentful because you think he is taking too much from you? Get help defining some boundaries and then executing him. I think there is hope for you.
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