Living Columns & Blogs

Carolyn Hax: She’s feeling sidelined by her boyfriend’s perceived ‘bromance’

HI, CAROLYN: I’m a 40-something woman living with a 30-something man. I wanted to be engaged first, but he wasn’t ready and insisted this was the only way to move forward with our relationship, so I caved and reluctantly moved in. The alternative was breaking up, and I wasn’t ready to do that.

Throughout my relationship with this man, I have been dealing with the bromance from Hell. My boyfriend and his best friend work together, lived together before I moved in, do things on the weekend together, and seem to be chatting online together 24/7. They joke that family and people at work thought they were gay. They think it’s funny, but I seriously wonder sometimes if they are.

I can’t tell if I’m overreacting or if their so-called friendship is more than just friends.

Wants Romance Before Bromance

DEAR WANTS: You want a commitment, you moved in without one against your better judgment to “move forward,” and now you’re just as stuck as you were before. Stuck-er, given the hassle of moving back out.

The nature of the bromance is beside the point. Or, points: The first is that he prioritizes the best friend over you, regardless of its proper label. The second is that you prioritize what you want over what you actually have.

I’m very sympathetic to your feelings – it hurts to be strung along – but not to your impulse to blame. You say yourself the best-friendship has dominated “throughout,” so how can it be “living a lie”?

Your boyfriend is at fault for suggesting your relationship would progress, but when someone tells you winter follows spring, believing him is on you.

DEAR CAROLYN: Husband bought an extravagant gift for me. It is lovely. He made sure I saw the receipt. He knows how I feel about spending that kind of money (a lot, a mortgage payment).

He’s really proud of himself that he found something I would like. And I do. But all I see is that money we could use for so many other things. How on earth do we work through this? How do I get mad at him for a birthday gift?

Too Expensive

DEAR TOO: You can get mad easily, if the gift was an act of defiance. The receipt-showing says that’s possible.

You can get mad peevishly, if the gift was a seizing of the day. “We’re OK,” he might be saying. “Let go.” His excitement says that’s possible.

You can also be mad that he means well but you can’t afford it and you’re tired of always having to be the adult.

So working through this can mean anything from letting go enough to love the gift (and the man) to finding a good marriage-and-money seminar – or marriage counselor – stat. The state of your marriage is the state of this gift.

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