Dear Thelma: Our relationship seems off but I'm not sure how to deal with it

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Dear Thelma,

My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for almost six months. Since the beginning, we frequently had issues due to the traditions of my family.

I'm from a typical Indian family with a lot of restrictions although I'm 24 years old now. I'm not happy with that either as I'm unable to live my life the way I want. I have been very patient with everything only because I started working recently and I am planning to move out of my house very soon.

It has always been hard for myself to spend time with my boyfriend (who lives only 10 minutes away from my house) as I'm not allowed to hang out often.

On the other hand, my boyfriend is frustrated that I don't get to spend enough time with him.

Lately, his work has been very stressful for him and his mental health is poor too. I have noticed that something is off between us. I'm not sure if there is a lack of communication or it's due to his work pressure.

As much as I want to confront him, I feel it's not the right time to do so as he is in a bad shape. I don't want to make things worse for him.

I have confronted him several times when I felt a change in the way he talks to me; however, nothing changed. That's what makes me think that it's occurring probably due to his work pressure.

This has caused me to overthink that we aren't good for each other. I don't doubt him if he is talking to someone else; I trust him a lot.

He is a very nice man and very loving towards me but I am able to feel his love only when I am with him physically, not when we are apart.

He is an old-school guy, and that's the part of him which I love the most.

I am very divided at the moment. I don't know if I should confront him anytime soon or wait till he is mentally ready to have a talk.

I am not prepared to lose this relationship with him but I feel both of us are destroying this relationship.

How should I save my relationship?

Worried Girlfriend

You've been dating for six months but it's not happy because you've had a lot of issues. You can't change the family, and there is his mental health. However, there are some red flags here.

You can't just open up to him. You think he has other priorities, like his work. Also, when you have opened up to him and asked for changes in the past, he's said yes and done nothing.

My dear, why are you intent on pushing this relationship further?

You don't talk openly. You are not a priority in his life. He is not interested in making small changes to make your relationship happier for you.

Clearly, you're not a match.

When marriages break down or kids are involved, we try to fix things. With a new relationship that's off on so many levels, there's no point. This is where you say goodbye (nicely!) and move on.

Please sit down and consider what you need to do to find a terrific life partner.

The purpose of dating is to figure out if you get along now and whether you'll be happy together for the next 50 years.

It can be tricky, because casual attraction (I like how he smiles; we both love badminton) often fizzles out. Also, dating can bring up life goal differences that are dealbreakers (I want kids, she doesn't; I want to travel a lot; he won't leave home unless pitchforked out).

To further complicate this, you're only 24 and still living at home. This suggests you're going to change a lot over the next two years or so.

Therefore, date. Meet lots of people. Figure out what you like and what you don't like. Learn and improve as you go along.

For example: Your family are conservative and their rules chafe you. Clearly, you will want someone different from that. But you note this man you've been seeing is old school and you like that in him. Pin down exactly what that is, and look for it in the next date.

Also, add in that you want someone who is an excellent communicator and also open to changing, not just talk but true change. Finally, you must be high on his list of priorities, not trailing after his job.

Finally, listen to your gut! When you feel something is off, don't just ignore it and push past it. You're a young woman with an education and a job that allows you to provide for yourself. Don't marry a man because he happens to pitch up.

Respect yourself and pick a partner who respects and loves you, and who is excited about sharing a life with you. Pick a man you can love, and who will be a joy to live with. Someone you can open your heart to without hesitation.

Good luck and here's to lots of lovely dates with very nice men.

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