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I love him but I don't know if we have a future. Help?


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This is a bit of a long story. My boyfriend and I have been together nearly three years. We met online and have been living together for over a year now. We have a joint account, we split everything, and up until maybe four months ago we were talking about getting engaged in the near future.


Now, everything feels like it's falling apart. To start with, he hates the festive season. He had a terrible childhood, which he won't talk to me about in any real detail, so I don't fully know why, just that he had an abusive step-father and that Christmas was a bad time of year. I love the season and spending the time with my family, so the last three Christmases have been miserable for me - he doesn't like attending family events with me because he'd rather sit at home and forget Christmas even exists, so when he does come along he isn't very sociable, and when he doesn't come along I get questions about why he's not with me.


He smokes pot. He smokes it every single day, and he's tried to give up before but always gone back to it. I don't smoke, never have, and I didn't really realise when we first got together how much of a habit it is for him.


He's not stable. He was unemployed when we met but got a job not long afterwards. Since we've been together he's had numerous temp jobs or ones that just didn't work out. He's been fired at least once, and not kept on after a temp job because he was off sick too much.


At the end of November last year, he again ended up out of work. We were already a little bit in debt because I was made redundant at the start of the year (the only time I've ever been out of work), but had found a job three months later, so we were getting better. Since he was out of work, I was miserable. I took on an additional hours work every day at my new job, and started delivering catalogues in my spare time, and finding any other ways I could to make money and pay our bills. While he would sit at home and play video games and browse the internet for jobs.


I started to get resentful that he was unemployed, but still expected me to cook most of the time. We even had a conversation about it and he flat out said 'I'm not cooking every day' and we ended up agreeing that he'd do maybe three days! So I was still doing the majority, despite being out of the house for eleven hours every day and then additional work on the side.


After a month of this, around Christmas when things were their most difficult, I started talking to a guy online about my problems. We were both on the same forum, but he lives on the other side of the world to me. Over time, we started talking more and more. To cut a long story short, it got to the point where he would text me first thing in the morning when I got up, then we'd IM all day while I was working, and then I'd call him on my walk home. He told me if I ever wanted to come visit him, he'd buy me a ticket, and he was talking about coming to see me in August this year when he's on holiday. I was completely swept away by him. He made me feel so happy, and amazing. I know that's pretty much how all affairs make people feel, I know it's not real life. But even though it started out as flirting, the more we talked the more we found we had in common. He told me things about his past that he'd never told anyone. It was completely mutual, we spent all day thinking about each other and were almost constantly in contact.


Then Monday night, he ended it. He said he knew I loved my boyfriend and that it was arrogant of him to think he could just seduce me away from my entire life to be with him. We had a long conversation about it and were both in floods of tears the whole time. I've not been as miserable as this for a long time.


However, he brought home to me the reality of what we'd been doing, which for me I had been avoiding thinking about because I was so happy just talking to him. My boyfriend got a job and started it last week, so financially, things will start to look up soon. He has no idea that I've gotten emotionally close to someone else, because once we've had dinner together he spends all evening playing online with his friends, and I could just sit on my laptop talking to this other guy.


I told a close friend a short version of what I was feeling and she said I needed to work out whether I'd want to be with my boyfriend if this other guy weren't around. Which makes sense to me. So what I'm trying to do now is figure that out. But I have no idea how. I love him, I know that, but I also know that loving someone doesn't mean you're right for each other. I felt so resentful of him when he was out of work. I don't feel like I can rely on him to look after me in the same way that I look after him. He's irresponsible - I've organised and set up all our bills and accounts, because if we get a bill in he either doesn't open it, or leaves it because he doesn't like dealing with them. He's very kind and loving in a short-term way - when I'm sick he'll bring me pills and food and be sweet to me, but he refuses to accept that things like his credit score are important because they affect our future, like whether we can buy a house.


I know that he'd marry me and we both want kids. But how would we manage when he can hardly hold down a job? Even this new job he's started is only ad hoc, so he's never guaranteed work, it's just as and when it comes up.


I feel like... I love him as a person. But I hate how our life is and how this is probably all I have to look forward to, years of trying to organise him and support us both. Our actual relationship is fairly smooth. We don't argue much at all, if ever, hardly ever bicker about things. It's just all this other stuff makes me so tense and frightened for our future. How am I meant to weigh up whether being with him is worth all the insecurity and worry?


I am not including the other man in these thoughts. If me and my boyfriend did split up then yeah, I would probably get back in touch with him and see if he wanted to see where things go. But I don't want him to be a factor in what I choose.


Please, does anyone have any advice on how I can make this decision?

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This man does not sound at all stable and is very immature and irresponsible.


If he is having problem with X-mas then he needs to get counseling, as it is not fair to you. What are you going to do, never celebrate X-mas again?


The pot smoking is a no go. How does he pay for his weed if he is not working? I don't understand not contributing around the house, since he is not working and playing games all day.


One of the main problems I see is that you allow him to get away with a great deal. I mean why get a job, cook, and be responsible when you allow him to boundary bust on a daily basis. The problem is not one-sided. You are letting this guy walk all over you!


The biggest issue is the lack of work. He has shown you repeatedly that he is not stable and incapable of holding down a job. If you are planning on having children, do you want daddy to sit home all day and play videos with them, while you support them all?


This guy has shown you repeatedly who he is and what he is capable of, I think it is time to listen. This guy is not going to change, this is who he is.


Don't you want more for you and you children??

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If you are serious about wanting children, it is time to move on. Stop! Pot and kids do not mix. Wanting kids and having and taking care of kids are two very different things. He cannot take care of himself and even balks at cooking 3 days a week. There are much harder things in store when kiddos arrive.


He seems to have good intentions but that is about all. If you are uncertain, sit down with him and make a 5 year plan. See what kind of concrete steps he is willing to take to achieve the goals of the plan, see how he follows up on his intentions and then re-evaluate. Looking at job sites, smoking pot and playing video games would not count as progress in my book.


If still taking care of a nice guy will satisfy and make you happy in 5 years, you will be good to go. Your emotional affair tells me that you are not and will not be happy. Considering marriage and kids with this man is not a good idea for you any longer.

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It's difficult. When we were first together and falling in love, it wasn't like this. Or maybe I didn't realise exactly what he was like, or I was more willing to look past it. You know what new relationships are like.


He's funny, and kind and generous, and we have a lot in common. This is the thing I find it hardest to convey - life with him on a day-to-day basis isn't rubbish and awful, and like April mentioned, I do think he has good intentions. He's always saying he wants to give up pot, and he's tried several times, he always wants to be in work, it just doesn't seem to work out. He cares about me a lot. He's a good person with some bad habits.


But like you guys say, if I want to have kids one day, I want it to be in a stable home, with a stable income. I don't want their father to be an additional worry rather than a supportive partner.


I really don't know what to do. Right now I'm not miserable with him, so it seems stupid to be contemplating breaking up when I'm basically worrying about stuff that hasn't happened.


Also - when he was unemployed he got a small amount of housing benefit, which is how he bought pot. And yeah, I let things slide. I don't intend to, but like I said, we rarely argue, things just seem to work out that way.

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God, this is so hard.


I actually fantasise about a way of getting out of this without having to tell him I don't feel the same any more. Like him telling me he's fallen for someone else. Even us having a huge argument and him getting violent.


But then I think about how I'd feel if he were crying and asking me why I'm leaving, and it breaks my heart.


I don't know whether I want him to change and be more of an adult, or if I want to just end things.

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This sounds like a really tough situation.


On one hand, yes, it seems cruel to leave him and end things, but on the other, it might be the best thing that ever happens to him. As long as he's in a relationship with you, he will not feel the need to grow up because he knows you'll take care of all of his messes for him. Once this pattern is established, it's hard to break. He will need time on his own, without you there to save him, to learn to stand on his own two feet, really face up to his pot and employment issues, and get his life together. Leaving him could be the kick in the pants he needs to get jolted into action.


That definitely doesn't make it any easier on you, though... *hugs*

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When you are ready to move to the next step in your life, he will have to grow up and step with you or stay in his never-never land. Maybe you guys could watch one of the many versions of Peter Pan together. Peter Pan was not bad, he just didn't want to grow up. Wow, never thought I would cite Peter Pan on this site.

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