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deni's avatar

How would you feel in this situation? Relationship question, sorry.

Asked by deni (22649points) September 16th, 2010

To keep things—semi——short, I’ll say that my relationship with my boyfriend is falling to shreds because of his job and schedule and the “need” for him to go to sleep at 8 or 9 o’clock every night. Regardless of if we are about to have sex, or I’m upset about something, or we had planned to do something. He falls asleep. He gets up at 4 a.m., drives an hour to work, drives an hour back and gets home around 5 p.m. if we’re lucky. Tonight it was 7:30.

Anyhow, this keeps happening. He says that his need for sleep is keeping him from doing things such as having sex with me, cleaning up after himself or….yes, anything else that requires being awake. I propose the idea that maybe, just maybe, emotional needs can be sort of important too. In turn I have been feeling pretty shitty about myself…unattractive because he never wants to have sex with me when I want to have sex with him. The worst part…he’s 25!!!!! I’m 21!!!!! I said to him, that if I was 50 and having this problem, it would be acceptable. But right now, really? What is he going to be like in 10 years?! God I can’t even imagine.

Anyhow, I don’t really know how to deal with it. He is pretty firm on his belief that there is nothing more important than sleep. I’m under the impression that my feelings are pretty important. I’m not trying to be selfish, I know getting not enough sleep sucks, but there are other things in life than living your every second having it revolve around your job, am I right or wrong?

Fyi, we’ve been together a year. We live together, and i’d consider it a really serious relationship, despite the fact we are young. And he teaches. So even when he’s not at work, he’s talking about work, doing work, falling asleep insanely early because of work…

Summary: I feel like shit. I can’t take it. This is not the life I desire and not the life he desires, which is why he’s quitting at the end of the year. But in the mean time…things are really being wrecked. We can’t seem to come to a solution. All I do is cry at night (not every night, but nights like this, where I feel like “why??!”), because I’m 21 and free and want to have fun, and my boyfriend works 70 hours a week and has no freedom. (This wouldn’t be a big deal if I hadn’t moved across the country to be with him…I don’t regret it, but in turn I only have a few friends) This part of our relationship is not working. And I don’t know what to do.

Please shed some light. Is this totally unreasonable?!?!??!?!!?!?!?

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30 Answers

Nullo's avatar

Did he just start the crazy-early shift work recently? I find myself on your boyfriend’s side of the problem with regards to the schedule, and it was a while before I was confident that I’d have enough sleep to afford to do anything else.
Maybe you shouldn’t live together.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Can you move closer to where he teaches, so the commute is less? That is a crazy commute for a teaching job, and a teacher’s salary. Does he take a vitamin, work out, wear shoes that are good for being on your feet most of the day (that sounds like an old person thing, but it makes a huge difference in how tired you are at the end of the day.)

the100thmonkey's avatar

“my boyfriend works 70 hours a week and has no freedom.”

This is your problem.

It’s not that he doesn’t care about you; he’s just tired.

I say suck it up until Christmas.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

If you love him and are commited enough to the relationship you would wait for him to quit his job at the end of the year.

perspicacious's avatar

I couldn’t read all of your novel, but you seem to be immature. If that’s his schedule it just is. The two of you will have to make time for each other before 9PM if that is when he needs to get to sleep. You can always wake him up before the alarm goes off too—doesn’t have to always be at bedtime. Be supportive instead of complaining.

augustlan's avatar

I completely understand how frustrated you are. And how tired he is. Please remember though, that a year is not so long out of a lifetime. If the two of you are committed to sticking it out, this is what you need to do: Accept that the situation sucks, try not to make it suck more, and hang on for dear life until you can change the situation.

What he can do: Acknowledge that this is hard on you. Spend a little time with you when he gets home from work, chatting and getting reconnected – nothing wrong with occasional sex at 7 o’clock either, you know? Be careful not to make extra messes that he’s just going to leave sitting around. Make one day a week a ‘no work zone’... no doing it, no talking about it. (Obviously, this is likely to be a weekend day.)

What you can do: Acknowledge that this is hard on him, too. If you have more time than he does during the week, pick up the slack in whatever ways you can… cleaning, bill paying, etc. If you are equally busy, try not to stress about stuff not getting done. Find ways to entertain yourself after he goes to sleep, so you’re not resenting him. Try to put off any big talks until he has the time and energy for them.

What both of you can do: Make the limited amount of time you have together a stress-free time, as much as possible. On the ‘no work’ day spend a little time taking care of household stuff together and then go do something young and fun. Love one another.

partyparty's avatar

You are clearly both suffering with this situation, but if you really care for him, accept that this work schedule won’t last forever.
Be kind to each other for the few hours you spend together.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Are you working? Is he expected to bring home all the money? What do you bring to the party?
If you were the main breadwinner, he could stay home and be the boy toy.

Take care of all the home tasks yourself. Cut the grass, get the faucet fixed, buy the groceries, etc. during he week. Keep weekends free for the two of you.

Cruiser's avatar

You have my permission to leave him. I also would like to point out emotional neglect is no easier when you are 50 and IMO it is actually worse as your best days of your life are numbered and you will want to get the most out of life especially with your SO.

There might be other issues that is fueling this routine that is getting to you. Discuss your concerns with him and see if he can find a teaching gig closer to home.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If he’s a teacher what was his schedule like this past Summer? It seems like it’s kind of early in the school year for these type of issues. Set him down and talk it out with him, sleep or no sleep. You two need to get to the bottom of this. It’s more than needing some rest.

marinelife's avatar

Wow! You come across as really self-centered and immature. You need to find ways to fill your time that do not involve your boyfriend.

He is working. What are you doing while he is working? Are you volunteering in your new community?

You need to be thinking of ways of making his life easier and better not complaining about your lack of a sex life.

Have you considered driving to work with him one day a week so you two could talk and interact on the journey. Then you can take the car during the day and go to the library or shopping. The two of you could have lunch together.

Are you actively trying to make friends where you live?

Are you sympathetic with what your boyfriend is enduring for the two of you’s future?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It doesn’t sound good to me.I would be thinkjing of leaving too.Life is too short.

cockswain's avatar

In any relationship, regardless of how hot you are, there are periods of time where you don’t have sex even several times a week. Maybe less. It is a normal cycle more due to life events (like his work hours in this case) than attraction, and I’d ride it out if you really care about him and enjoy his company and personality when there is more free time. Otherwise you’ll leave and will learn later that the same cycle is likely to occur with someone else. This stuff is temporary. You can argue you’re young and worry he’s like a 70 year old man holding you back, or you can argue you’re young and you have shitloads of time for everything to change over and over.

I think if you focus on this too much, you’re more likely to have bad experiences when you are together. Try to get a bigger view on it. I know it’s easier said than done, but I remember my worldview at 21 still very clearly.

And [removed by Fluther]@perspicacious and @marinelife that are calling you immature and kicking you when you’re down. You guys obviously have your own problems to go attacking her like that. Help yourselves before giving advice to a 21 year old wanting relationship advice. Haven’t you guys been there?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Yes, it seems unreasonable for you to feel this way when you consider this a serious relationship. If he doesn’t like the lifestyle that his job has turned it into and plans to leave at the end of the year, then just stick it out and support him in getting through this. In any relationship, there is a sway between the giving and receiving. It is now your turn to focus on the former.

deni's avatar

It was nice of you guys to assume I don’t work and I have no life so I should be diddling around the house all day and cleaning up after him. The truth is, I work at a restaurant, 5 days a week, during the day. When I come home, usually around 4, I clean the entire house, I do the dishes, I run whatever errands need run, which can be limited since I ride a bike and don’t drive a car. I clean up after him, I put his clothes away, I take care of the cat. Further, he does not support me. We split the rent and groceries, despite the fact that I make a tiny fraction of what he makes per year. But that’s what is fair and I don’t want it to change. Thank you guys, again, for assuming that since I’m a female in my twenties I contribute nothing to anyone.

everyone else, @cockswain especially, this isnt directed at you.

cockswain's avatar

No doubt. It’s you saying “hey I’m kind of depressed, can someone give me some perspective” and you get advice like “wow, you sound like a weak person. You should stop being lazy, toughen up, and just figure it out.”

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

You sound like a few people that I know. They make a list, whether on paper or mentally, and cannot go to bed until the list of tasks has been completed. One confessed that she mowed the lawn in the dark because she couldn’t let it go another day, but that is an extreme example.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to get tasks accomplished. It sounds like true communication might be the roadblock in the relationship. How about making a list of tasks and asking your boyfriend what he is willing to commit to accomplishing when he gets home from work? And hold him to it. Otherwise, you might end up doing it yourself and becoming a resentful enabler. It could also be the vehicle for sharing how you feel about the situation without putting him on the defense.

P.S. I did not assume that you didn’t work, nor that you are female. And I am not a guy.

deni's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Honestly, I don’t mind doing all that stuff. I don’t resent him for it. I don’t mind cleaning. I like a clean house, and I know a lot of people don’t care quite as much about having no dishes in the sink, but I do, so I gladly do them. I don’t complain…because I would rather him be able to have some free time and spend some of it with me than spend the 2 hours of a “normal life” that he has at night, doing dishes and cleaning the litter box, you know?

Anyhow I don’t think that’s the main issue. It’s not an issue for me, anyhow. The only issue is that he can stay awake through an X-Files, but the moment sex is suggested, he’s out, and therefore my self esteem is plummeting into the abyss.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

That almost sounds like he has an inability to perform issue. How many meds is he on?

Marva's avatar

@deni I must say, in this last post, you have really pointed out a totally diffent angle of things than before.

So you say you have a boyfriend which you love, and has put himself in a situation in which basically he has no life to deal with. He works, he sleeps, he sees you for 1.5–4 hours an evening, out of which he eats, watches TV, showers, probably no friends…
And you, a lively 21 year old, are basically alone. You left your enviroment to be with him , but he is not with you most of the time, you got your own life, but it doesn’t seem like it is one you want to live. To top all that, he doesn’t have sex with you, and it sounds like it is just another part of life he is not dealing with.

Basically, you would have no reason to stay. You are just at the point in which you are able determine what kind of life you would like to live, why would you settle now? these are your best years, amazing boyfriends come and go in this age. Even if you are serious with him, you can choose a better boyfriend to be serious with, one who would actually be there for your shared life is best. And yes, feel free to believe that you deserve to have sex with your boyfriend and to have a boyfriend who would be there for you when you feel the need.

The only reason there is a question about things, is since he is leaving work quite soon.
So I ask you a question: Do you believe that when that happens, things will change? do you believe he will return to normal, have sex, listen to your needs and desires? Or does it look like he will just find another situation for himself that will enable him not to deal with life?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If it’s not medical, I think Marva just nailed it.

deni's avatar

@Marva well since he won’t be a teacher and will be able to have a life again, i think everything will be fine then. he is an extremely social person, he has more friends than anyone i’ve ever met, he’s so much fun, he’s hilarious and a goof and he’s perfect for me. we are in sync on essentially everything. the only thing taking all of that away right now is his job.

in addition, when we have sex, it’s amazing but….its few and far between sessions nowaday. or more i guess i should say….when i want it…its few and far between.

cockswain's avatar

@Marva “these are your best years”

I don’t agree with that. I think advising her to leave before he readjusts his work life is bad advice.

The poor guy doesn’t like his job and is going to change, is already tired and having trouble with his woman. Last thing he needs is more stress before he has a chance to correct the situation.

Marva's avatar

Well if things are so pink as you describe them, he’s obviously worth the wait…
In that case, you have a boyfriend who is in an impossible situation, but is considerate enough in you and in himself to change it. that’s great!
Try to accept thigns as they are untill the end of the year, understanding that if he could do more, he probably would. Be mature and reassure yourself when you are in need and take care of yourself about sex. It will soon pass.
Would keep my finger on the pulse though, to make sure things change come the end of the year. If they don’t, just leave. Don’t waste your time.

cockswain's avatar

@Marva I agree with your latest advice though.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My bf and I both work similar hours and have had similar issues but most of it had to do with organization and money stress- not the want of sexual intimacy. I can’t say what your situation is but if you or he got behind on bills and feel overwhelmed then sleep is an escape until the next day and the next day and the next day where you say you’ll make everything up to each other.

What helped us:
Eating in the morning before work or taking the food along in the car or to the job. I swear when my guy eats well then his whole day is better.

Better organization and checking in emotinally. I’m really organized with bills, he’s not. Neither of us likes to talk money matters, we both like to just be able to “take care of it” so I try to handle the household budget and keep him abreast of stuff before it gets away from me and I become irritated that he hasn’t asked about something or seen to it. I tell myself and him reminding and keeping on top of stuff isn’t nagging, it’s looking out for us.

At first it seemed embarassing or unnatural for me to make “dates” or plan intimate time outs for us but it’s keeping us sane!

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Personal attack removed via internal edit.

Cupcake's avatar

@deni Woah… I think people are being a little harsh with you.

I can relate to your perspective, and I can relate to his perspective as well (I HIGHLY value sleep and have not gotten nearly enough since I got married). You two totally need to talk this through. You need to have a plan to help each other get your needs met through the rest of the school year. And you both have to decide how committed you are to the other. You also both need to put this in perspective… if you’re in it for the long haul, then this is just an opportunity to work some stuff out. If he’s not committed enough or willing to help meet your needs, then maybe it’s not the right fit or the right time.

Identify what you want, what you need, and how you feel. Tell him.

You guys can figure this out. You’re adorable.

Now go eat some candy corn.

Kraigmo's avatar

When I worked that early, I wasn’t able to have sex with my girlfriend at the time either. Getting up at 4am and working till 4pm, then coming home… well I was exhausted. I just needed to read a book or watch a TV show, and then fall asleep. My girlfriend hated that so much. She thought it was her, or me having a lack of interest in her. I didn’t have a lack of interest in her at all, I loved her and was totally into her in every way. But my horrible job was making me too damn tired to be able to have sex. I’m a guy. I couldn’t fake a boner. Well, soon as I got a different job with shorter and later hours, our problem was gone and everything was fine on that particular area of life, and I was able (and wanting and willing) to go down on her for a long time twice a day, every day.

The only reason I say all this stuff, is just in case this is what’s going on with your boyfriend. It really could be that. But there are obviously other possibilities, the very things that you worry about and stress over subconsciously or otherwise. I only wanted you to know what I went through. I am not a morning person, and getting up at 4am and working twelve hours was depressing and tiring to me, so much so that I was literally worn out. In retrospect, there were things I could have done despite being tired, but her stressing over me was causing me to get stressed, and that sort of thing snowballs. If you can figure out that his problem truly is tiredness, then you can come to a compromise on what he can do. He literally might not be able to get it up cuz he’s so damn tired. But there’s other things he could do. And also, maybe start having sex in the mornings instead of in the evenings, but only on the mornings he gets to sleep in. Being rushed and tired is part of the problem, not the solution. I’m sorry you have to deal with this though, I know its difficult.

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