Dear Dr. Archer,
I have been dating a guy 15 years younger than me for almost a year. I'm 45, and diagnosed with OCD. He's almost 30, and has bipolar disorder. We met online, falling for each other almost instantly, and told each other about our illnesses before we met in person.
He liked my smiles and looks, while I liked his sense of humor and intelligence. I sent him a ticket to come visit me in Asia where I live. When we met, he was not working and broke.
While dating online, things clicked better. We sometimes had an argument, but things were still sweet. However, when he arrived things soured. We argued more and more. His bipolar is very difficult to live with.
I took him to my psychiatrist, but he refused to get help, with things getting more difficult each day. He'd lay on the couch forever watching television. Sometimes he wouldn't even talk to me; he isn't interested in anything!
He sometimes gets aggressive when he's depressed, which isn't good for me because I'm OCD. I don't think I'm in love anymore but I still feel connected, which is what has kept me with him.
He's usually depressed and I don't know if he loves me anymore. I told him to get a job, to do something with his life so he won't be forever on the couch, but he's reluctant.
He went on an interview today, but things didn't go well because he's dyslexic. He refuses to go for the same type of job interview now. He put on his earphones and started his daily routine, laying on the couch watching television.
I feel lonely, even if he's in the house. We rarely talk about anything serious, and when we do he gets depressed and ignores me. I resolve the problems; he escapes or avoids them.
I don't know whether it's him who is mean or if it's his sickness. He's sweet when he's in a good mood and I love him when he's not depressed. When he's depressed, he says he wants to smoke marijuana; he says it helps him.
I told him I will never allow that in my house or anywhere in my presence. If he does, I'll call the cops on him. So now he wants to leave me for Mary Jane.
I asked him if he wants to continue our relationship when he returns to his country. Sometimes it's "yes" and other times he doesn't know. He says his past life was a horror show; now he's going back with no money or job, living the same way he used to.
I'd like to help him begin a new life, but he insists on returning home and smoking marijuana. He also says looking for a job is easier there than here, and that in his country he would get treatment for his bipolar disorder.
I'm sick and tired of him, don't know if I still love him, and don't like parting. Plus I have OCD and am afraid of contracting HIV from him, although we've always used a condom every time.
Dr. Archer, is it better to let him go when I'm uncertain if I still love him? Do you think I still love him? What should I do? I'm an independent woman, have a good job, a house, car, money and live a good life. I do not need to depend on anyone, but feel I can't let go easily -- I care for him.
I think of him leaving and I'm sad. I feel the same if he stays and continues to do what he does. I want him to take care of my heart, to talk to me, comfort me when I'm down, but he has never done that. He says he is not that type of person.
I'm so confused. Please help me. I'll truly appreciate your kindness. Thank you.
From your letter, you sound like an intelligent, warm, compassionate and desirable woman. Which makes me wonder why on earth you would put yourself through this for a man who would leave you for a plant.
My dear, you have gone way above and beyond what many would have done for this man, yet he seems quite ungrateful. Make this a learning experience and focus your energies on something more worthwhile.
There are too many mature, kind and compassionate men out there for you to dwell on someone who isn't sure if he loves you and doesn’t appreciate your help. If he did, he would not treat you the way he does.
This man will not take care of your heart and provide the comfort you desire. If he can't do it now, he won't do it later. He even admits to that. You deserve much, much more. Your letter conveys insight and caring; you deserve no less.
Please, you asked for my advice and here it is. Let him go and cut off all communication except as friends if you can handle that. Concentrate on yourself and the right man WILL come along, probably when you least expect it. You have too much going for you to let this man drain you. I wish you nothing but the best, NZTH.