Dear Dr. Romance,

I've been in a relationship for 6 1/2 years with a man I can see myself marrying and growing old.  The first 4 years we were on our long distance relationship because I was in college in another state. We then lived together for a year to realize we could work out in the future and not kill each other: chores, cooking, finances worked out great. Afterwards, my boyfriend decided he wanted to move out because it wasn't appropriate living together if we weren't married and he say " he wanted to do it the right way." He said, " I know now we can live together but we should wait until we are married." He moved back to his parents. It has been 5 months since he moved out and I've been noticing a problem that my boyfriend refuses to see. My boyfriend doesn't always make the best decisions in dividing time for his family, friends, and me.. his girlfriend.

For example, most of the weeknights (Monday- Friday) he is out with his friends on movie night or beer night at a bar or running errands with them..etc. The weekend comes and he decides those are the days he should spend with his family...leaving the night of Friday or Sunday for me. I do not know if I am in any position to demand more time but I strongly feel that it isn't fair for him to spend more time with his friends on weeknights when he could be at home with his family.. I'm also not telling him to spend every day with his family but just to manage his time better. I only see him for maybe one or two hours during the week and for him to spend 3 long nights out with his friends and just 1 for me isn't' fair....Am I wrong for asking more time for us?

In addition, I also keep myself busy in the week ( doing aerobics or dance classes). I thought if I took up an activity to keep busy; he would find the time for us like move his schedule to fit me into his life (I always feel like I am looking for him). Lately, our last discussion on this issue again left at him saying  "well it's not my fault you have belly dancing classes on Wednesday, and I just don't want to go swimming tomorrow so I don't want to spend my day with you doing something I don't want to do." I feel lost and don't know what to do. Am I asking too much? Am I wrong? I don't know what the next step is for us. I don't know when we will have time for " just us two" ( that was the last thing I told him)


Dear Reader:

It sounds like your boyfriend is acting like a boy, not a responsible man. It's not wrong for you to ask for what you want. Relationships aren't about who's right and who's wrong, they're about finding solutions that work for both of you. Talk to your guy. Tell him you can't marry him if he doesn't value you. You've made it too easy for him. Try being unavailable when he wants to see you, not just when he's already busy. It's good that you're keeping busy, so get busy on the weekends, too, so you get to turn him down. He's taking you for granted. You have to end this pattern now, or it will just get worse as your relationship goes on. Don't be too easily available. Be unavailable until he asks you why, then tell him you don't feel that he values you, and you can't marry him until you get that worked out. Then negotiate, and take a hard stance. He doesn't need to be out with his friends that much. His statement "I don't want to spend my day with you doing something I don't want to do," is self-centered and uncaring. I think you can help him to grow up, but only by giving him the experience of not getting what he wants.  Your New Year's resolution could be learning to set limits and say no.  "Setting Boundaries and Saying No" will help you.

How is your relationship with his family? Can you join in on some of these family evenings? You should belong there, if you're going to marry him. If your relationship with his family isn't good, it's important to fix that, or he'll always choose them over you. "Gentle Persistence" will help you stand your ground and "Asking for What You Want"  will show you how to ask effectively. "Stupid Cupid" will tell you what you and your boyfriend need to talk about before you are ready to make a commitment.

Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences Is full of information and exercises for you to do by yourself and with your partner that will help you create a working relationship.

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.