He doesn’t follow through

I've had a boyfriend for a year. He's nine years younger and very handsome and kindhearted. He's honest, sincere, devoted, and very patient. He's also better at saying what I need to hear than actually following through. He's been under a lot of stress and is trying to figure out how to make a living. I'm under a lot of stress too; I'm a single mom.

I've been really unsuccessful in love for my entire adult life. I have deep insecurities. This man has shown me more compassion and patience than I've ever known, yet his lack of action is corroding my self-esteem. He didn't come to my birthday. He said he'd like to throw me a party, but then he lost his wallet for a few days. I paid for the whole party and he said he'd pay me for half, which he never did.

I live a few hours away and he doesn't have a car, so I often come to where he is. The one time he made plans to come to me, I had to front for the ticket and he then missed the bus and asked if I would please wait seven hours in a bus station in a city more than two hours from my house so he could still come.

He does call me every day, but he doesn't text much because he doesn't like his phone. I'm so confused. I can't tell if I have a catch or not. Maybe he'd be better off with some one who inspires him to be better at being in a relationship.

– Insecure


"He's been under a lot of stress and is trying to figure out how to make a living."

This sounds like 50 percent of the problem. He doesn't have income that allows him to visit, spend, plan, etc. For him, the relationship is unaffordable.

The other half of the problem is that he's not being honest about his limitations. Instead of telling you that he can't pay for a party or buy a bus ticket, he's making case-by-case excuses and pretending that these financial issues will go away soon. But they won't, right? It doesn't sound like he’s anywhere close to taking care of himself and having time, energy, and money left over to be a great significant other to you.

Do not assume that his behavior has anything to do with not liking you enough. There is no reason to jump to the conclusion that he's not "inspired." Instead, try to have a candid conversation with him about the stress in his life and how it dictates his priorities. Talk to him about how the relationship can work without it being yet another item on his to-do list. Then think about whether you can be happy with the status quo – because it doesn't sound like you're going to get more from him anytime soon.

– Meredith

Readers? Is this about being uninspired?