Q. The man I have been with for a little over a year isn’t as affectionate as I’d like him to be. There are some things I miss from past relationships that he doesn’t give me. I usually just think of them as minor things that shouldn’t affect my feelings and our relationship.
He tells me he loves me all the time so I’m OK with it. But I love holding someone and being held in bed, but he gets too hot and can’t sleep next to me if we are too close. I also have to rub his head every night, but I don’t always get rubbed back. A big thing is that he doesn’t like to give or receive [grilled cheese]* and we have talked about it because I really enjoy it and he just thinks it’s gross. We never kiss when we have sex, and this bothers me too. Our sex life is good, but there are so many limitations.
He also hates being alone at night, like when I go and stay the night with my parents at their house. I never get to see my parents. I live four hours from them and have a close relationship with my parents and we live 10 minutes from his.
I don’t know what to do. I have kind of just pushed it away and said, “This is how it is.”
AM I WRONG
A. This is how it is, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can break up with this man.
In recent weeks we’ve seen a lot of letters from people who are trying to decide whether they’re settling. It’s hard to know — because most of these relationships aren’t all bad. Some of the letter writers’ needs are being met, and no relationship is perfect all of the time.
You’re the only person who can identify deal-breakers, but here’s what I think after reading your letter:
1. The sleeping issue isn’t that big of a deal, but is amplified because you’re not getting the physical affection you need when he’s awake.
2. The sex stuff is incredibly important. Why would you spend so much time with someone who denies you the kisses you crave?
3. You want to be with someone who appreciates your independence and supports your desire to see your family. This need to be with him all the time at night sounds exhausting — and limiting.
The word “limiting” keeps popping up in my brain. A good relationship opens up possibilities, whereas this one seems to take them away. If you’re looking for permission to end it, you have it. You don’t have to make do with what you have.
It’s all about him and what he needs/doesn’t like. Personally, I get hot if I sleep too close to my husband, so I get that. But he won’t kiss you during sex? You have to rub his head but he doesn’t rub your back? Goes both ways, buddy! There are too many things here that are leaving you unsatisfied, and he doesn’t seem to care. Also, he’s a big boy and needs to learn to be OK alone at night (eye roll). Let him go. Good luck.
Your complaints are all about him, but the problem is actually you. You know what you want yet you settle for what you don’t want. The problem is you.
No kissing?? Does he have allergy or sinus problems? That is the ONLY other time I’ve heard of such a ... restriction. If you’re looking for a LIFE partner, don’t sell yourself short! Time to move on, and find what you’re looking for/need.
You and your parents aren’t getting any of these days back. And they won’t be around forever. Don’t have regrets later on that you could’ve visited them more but didn’t because of this insecure manipulator.
Go visit your parents. He’s an adult and needs to fend for himself once in a while.
* Grilled cheese is a longtime Love Letters euphemism for oral sex. It’s a euphemism Meredith created, on a whim, before she learned that she was allowed to use the word “oral sex” on the Globe’s website.
Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send your own letter to email@example.com.