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Love Letters

I support my unemployed boyfriend, and I’ve had enough

I dumped him when I found out he was hanging out with his ex. Then he started making some big promises. Do I believe him?

Submit your questions for Meredith here.

Q. I am 55 and have been dating a 60-year-old for a year. He has no income except for odd jobs. I am financially stable. I have purchased him a vehicle, tools, a phone, gas, and dental work, and have given him use of two bank cards. I pay all of the bills and he spends most nights at the home I own. Since I rarely cook, he is regularly wined and dined. We also have an active sex life.

I recently discovered he had been texting and visiting an ex-girlfriend. I contacted her and she said they just visit and no sex is involved. She has known him for years and he has never been self-sufficient. He lived with her for five years until she made him leave because of his refusal to pull his weight. He texts her to say that he thinks about her and gets jealous when she is out and doesn’t respond. He has also left birthday and Valentine’s Day gifts at her door while we have been dating.

The night I called her, she said he had been over earlier and broke down and asked if she would rent him her spare bedroom. She said no. I confronted him and told him that I would take back everything I had given him, and that I wasn’t going to put up with his dishonesty. I drove him to his friend’s house and said I was done. The next day he could not apologize enough. He said he was ready to be an honest man and would marry me, and would never see her again if I never brought it up again. He said he finally felt free and wanted to build a life with me. Should I believe him — and can someone his age change?

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— Doubts

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A. People can change at any age, but they won’t become entirely different. You should consider who this man is right now and how much he’d have to alter his personality to make you feel secure and happy.

You were having problems with this partnership before you knew about the texts to his ex. You were feeling used and unsure about his intentions; his continued connection with this other woman only added to your doubts.

His offer to get married is evidence that he doesn’t want to have difficult conversations. If he’s being thoughtful about his mistakes, why would he suggest jumping to that kind of commitment before it really works? His request to never talk about it again means he wants to make this go away instead of working to make it better.

Marriage won’t solve anything. You’re better off trusting your gut, which seems to be telling you to let go.

— Meredith

READERS RESPOND

No, don’t believe him. Have him PROVE he can change first. Then, if you decide after a year or so that he has truly changed, be sure to get a prenup. TWEETY24

Each thing you list individually is enough to end the relationship. When you add them all up, you have more than enough reason. SUNALSORISES

The older you are, the more effort it takes to change. He is saying whatever he can to get back into your life and leach off of your finances and your good nature. HARRISBLACKWOODSTONE

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Readers, send your questions to me at meredith.goldstein@globe.com.