DEAR KELLY: I'm 17 and my boyfriend is obsessed with golf.
He's on the golf team at his school and loves to golf or talk golf or hit balls or look at golf stuff on the computer, or even watch the stupid Golf Channel.
When we first started dating, it wasn't nearly as bad but it keeps getting worse. He always says he's going golfing during the day, even on days when we are supposed to hang out.
He will play nine holes in the morning before we can make any plans. He even missed our six-month anniversary because he got a chance to play at an amazing golf course and was gone all weekend.
During the weekend I was really hurt because he posted four different pictures on Instagram of the golf course and said nothing about our anniversary. When I told him I was hurt, he couldn't believe I would be that way and thought I was too dramatic. He was more annoyed with me than felt bad for how I felt all weekend.
Should I break up? Will he change? Don't say to talk to him because I don't think he would care and I think he'd choose golf if it came down to it. Any time we fight, he just stops talking and the conversation goes nowhere. I like him but I honestly thinks he likes golf more than me.
– Golfer's Girlfriend
DEAR GIRLFRIEND: A golf widow at 17? Even though you are not married, you can still relate to the term and the feelings associated with it. You feel like you're in competition with the game of golf for your boyfriend's time and attention.
Perhaps you are just on different paths right now and you have different priorities. That doesn't make either of you wrong, but it can make for a very hard relationship.
Asking your boyfriend to choose between you and golf is not fair. But neither is ignoring you and not caring about how you feel. The goal should be to find a healthy medium so you both (and your goals) feel respected and important in the relationship.
People obsess. It's true. For some it's video games, hunting, football or fixing cars.
The problem isn't really the golf, it's how you feel unimportant to him and how he doesn't care how you feel. Golf is an easy thing to blame, but the real problem is what you both want from the relationship and how you communicate it with each other.
Does your boyfriend aspire to be a professional golfer? Is this his life's path? Will this one day be the way he tries to support himself?
Or is it just a passion and something that he likes to do with his day? If it is truly his goal to be a pro golfer one day, odds are his obsession will grow and his free time will be reduced.
Perhaps he doesn't have time in his life to be in a committed relationship and should be honest with you about the time involved with following his passion. It's no different than any person who wants to be a professional athlete at any sport and is focused and determined to be successful.
You might not like his choice, but if this is his life dream you have to respect his goals and allow him to pursue his dream.
If he's more of a recreational golfer and does it for fun, then perhaps you can ask him to teach you the game.
Try to embrace his passion rather than resent it. If golf is "his thing" and he's not willing to include you in his life as a golfer or at least allow you to be a small part of it, then the writing is on the wall and it's time to walk away.
Share your feelings about feeling second to golf. Don't ask him to pick but just to be aware of how you feel. If he responds by not talking about it and clamming up, then you have communication issues and your relationship won't make it far.
Final note: Be cautious of how serious you expect to be in a relationship at 17 years old. Why rush into being in such a committed and deep relationship? Hang out with friends, work on your grades and have fun. Dating at your age shouldn't involve heavy expectations or pressure to be together all the time.
Being in a relationship should be a easy thing – not something that creates stress and anger.
Like the game of golf, sometimes you have to take a swing at things and just play the ball where it lands.
Write to Kelly Richardson at Teen Talk, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15880, Sacramento, CA 95852, or email email@example.com.