Ask Alison: Unemployed Love, Dancing Alone, and Moving Away

Good advice from someone who is terrible at dating

I haven't seen this question asked yet, and I'm not entirely sure how to say it. Anyway, I was lucky enough to get a great job right out of college, but my boyfriend was not. I've stuck it out for two years now, but he's going to be 27 this fall and still is unemployed and lives with his parents. We're both ready to be full-time adults but it's pretty impossible in his situation. When is it time for me to move on? I know it's not his fault, but I'm tired of it being my problem. Too harsh?

Usually when young people start dating young people, for the most part, you are equals at least in some way, you know? You both go to the same college, or you're equally attractive, or you live in the same apartment building or whatever. As time goes on, that slides around until you might be three years in, staring at a stranger. A good relationship feels like both people are growing and improving because of each other. In your case it sounds like you're thriving in spite of, not because of, your boyfriend.

It sucks when our lives move us away from the people we used to be closest to. But your life is clearly pulling you away from this guy. We all fall on hard times and sometimes need to lean on our significant others emotionally, financially, or both. 

So maybe it is harsh to end a relationship because things aren't going according to plan, or because the other person doesn't make as much money as you, etc. But it is also unrealistic for him to ask a grown woman to have a conversation with his parents every time she comes over. Imagine if you two had your first date today. Would there be a second one? That doesn't make you petty or shallow, it means you want an equal, which you deserve.

I don't know what your boyfriend's career aspirations are and I understand that the economy is still bad, but most people out of college suck it up and take a low paying job and a live in a gross apartment and struggle while they work out lives for themselves. Two years in, it kind of sounds like this guy is waiting for the perfect opportunity before he leaves home. Maybe some tough love would do him good. He's got free rent and a girlfriend who is willing to put up with it. Ending the relationship might be what wakes him up; good for you both.

I'm a 31 year old guy, recently divorced, pretty chill, and I just started dating a 23-year-old woman. She's an angel. I know what love is, and this is love. We've gone out a few times. She's just kind of like "oh well, we'll see what happens," but I know this is marriage material. Last weekend her roommates had a keg party, and I wanted to sweep her off into a carriage and propose to her on the spot. She only wanted to dance, though, and not even just with me. When I watched her dancing with other guys it made my blood boil. I wanted to yell out, you know, "THIS IS NOT COOL." But all I did was tap my foot and nod to the music. I guess I'm just a romantic. She'd be such a good mom to my son, they even look alike. How do I play it cool?

I was back home visiting my parents a few weeks ago and stopped by a local coffee shop. I fell in love with the barista that took my order. Right there. He was in his early twenties, had the stubble of a community college poly sci major and was just such a babe in a way that really spoke to me. We joked around while he made my coffee and all the while I was thinking, "I could take you away from all of this." Because I could. I could take him back to my little house on the east side of Los Angeles and show him my record collection and my framed posters and sleep with him and we would be happy forever, or maybe a few weeks. So when you tell me you're in love with this girl, please know that holds little or no weight with me. I fall in love like three times a month at least.

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Alison Agosti is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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