>Q: I have been dating my boyfriend for a year, and things are going well. However, he's 32 years old, uneducated, does not have a full time job or a car, lives at home with his mother, and is not actively trying to improve his life situation. I am of similar age and have an MBA.
I make a very good living for myself, and it is getting frustrating having to pay for all of our dates and drive him around. He doesn't have savings, credit or any kind of cushion so he relies on his mom to help financially. I knew all of this when we first started dating, but the connection we have romantically is amazing, and something I've never felt before, and I want to marry him but I clearly have reservations. What should I do?
-- M.N., Clarence
A: It's time for you to have a clear and direct conversation with him about what you expect from a long-term relationship or marriage. It sounds like you have been more than accommodating to him from the get-go, and if you keep accommodating him in this way, there will come a time, if it hasn't come already, when he'll simply expect you to keep footing the dinner bill, so you need to set some clear boundaries.
In these difficult economic times it's understandable for people to be struggling financially, but everyone needs to hold themselves accountable, and his financial burdens are not your problem; however, they will become your problem if the relationship progresses further and you decide to marry him.
In this life, I believe that we deserve the things that we offer. You have your education, your good job, and have made a comfortable life for yourself, which is wonderful. If this man is not willing to step it up and start looking for work or getting an education to aid him in the process, you need to reconsider the relationship.
Ready to date again?
Q: I am thinking of entering the dating scene again; I have been out of it for a couple of years after a bad divorce. How I can be sure that I'm ready for a relationship?
-- R.A., North Buffalo
A: When you're ready for a relationship, you aren't seeking constant distraction, and you aren't afraid to be alone, or in silence with yourself. You don't need to have the TV on or the phone glued to your head, or even be in the company of others at all times. Self-reflection and alone time are great healing tools.
With that said, the first and foremost important relationship you will ever have in life is the one you have with yourself: how you feel about your mind, body and soul will set the stage for all other relationships in your life, including family, friends and romantic partners. If you embrace yourself inside and out, you will be ready to embrace another. You need to be comfortable in your own skin and know what turns you on.
If you don't have love for yourself, it will be very difficult to give and receive love from others. If you are in a place where you have self-love, self-worth and self-confidence, the energy you send out will attract like-minded people. You need to know in your heart that you deserve it.
You know you are ready for a relationship when you feel as though you complete yourself. In other words, you don't feel like you need a relationship in order to be happy or to feel worthy. Rather, you want a relationship to add love to your life and share yourself with someone else. The relationship you are looking for should be a want and not a need. You should be comfortable being single.
Become aware of the people around you and who you gravitate toward in your social or familial circles. This will reveal a lot about yourself and what you need from a relationship.
Patti Novak owns Buffalo Niagara Introductions (www.buffaloniagaraintro.com). Email questions to email@example.com and include your initials and hometown.