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[Standard] What to expect?

Joe and I have been dating for 7 years. crazy because we’re young! after our graduation we moved in together. that’s when we started having relationship issues regarding communication and intimacy. I have a condition that makes sex painful (making this hard.) We worked on it for a long time. decided to not live together anymore, soon after he told he couldn’t continue because of the stress. he told me our door wasn’t ever closed &that we would talk it through when i was ready. it was heartbreaking. After a bit of healing&learning I sent him a message to talk. it was a wonderful talk. we continued our relationship moving forward. it’s been 6 months since! we took a huge step back since we’re so young and the relationship is just fun, casual & we know there’s a end goal to be together.
we’ve also made huge progress with sex!
bout a month ago i had a rough day. joe was hanging out w his friends, it really upset me that he wasn’t going to do anything about it to help in the moment. overall i was being stubborn. i really upset him by doing this.
the problem is that this was an issue in the past &even though i fixed it then, joe built resentment causing the breakup
he is ALSO stressed with work (he just got a new job, doesn’t start yet) he is stressed w his roommates, all the housework, his dog &behavioral issues, etc. he never really has handled stress well..
the other day he told me he is worried about us (same issue in the past) he told me he’s stuck at what to do because he’s wishy washy, but he wants to be with me, he’s happy with us but he’s under stress &isn’t sure what he wants in life?i told him to take a week and do his own thing to reground himself. the past breakup seemed to help give him space to be alone and with his own thoughts.
hopefully he realizes that he’s just stressed &overwhelemd. but what if the friend thing is hurting him still? i don’t know what to expect when we talk? i want it to work. what do you think?

Re: [Standard] What to expect?

It sounds like the best thing you can do for the relationship is to try and lighten up to take the pressure off of the relationship and off of him. With the new job, roommates, this relationship -- there's a lot going on. Try to focus on maybe seeing him a little less often, to give him time to miss you, and when you do see him, keep it happy and upbeat. Do nice things for him, so he understands you're empathetic to what he's going through. Give him little gifts, bake him cookies, send him love notes and funny jokes. And try to focus on the fun, and not the pressure of being in a relationship. If he feels too stressed in his life, he's going to try and alleviate that stress by reducing things that worry him -- like the relationship. So, for now, keep it light and upbeat. Be empathetic and fun. And balance the relationship with your own individual lives. You're both going into your 20s and there is a lot happening for both of you. Don't pressure yourselves and each other. I hope that helps. Let me know if you need more.
April Masini is a relationship and etiquette expert, author of 4 books and the #1 relationship advice forum, blue-chip corporate spokesperson and preferred go-to source for the world’s most prominent media and news outlets.