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My friends Ashley* and Aiden* have been dating for over three years.  Ashley recently had surgery that has laid her up for two months.  In the first month, both her mother and father have stayed with her to help her recuperate.  A few friends have visited, and a couple of old boyfriends have even brought her small gifts to cheer her up.  Sadly, Aiden, who drives by her house twice a day on his way to and from work, has only visited her twice.

On the surface, it would seem as if Aiden is being horribly inconsiderate and just doesn’t care; but I took a step back for a moment to think about what the other possible reasons for his absence could be.

First, it would really bother me if old girlfriends were dropping gifts off to my boyfriend, so maybe he’s feeling a little insecure about the exes.

Second, Ashley has a much higher income than Aiden.  I know, when I’ve dated affluent men, especially around the holidays, I’ve thought, “What can I give them that they can’t buy?”  Any gift that I scraped up money for would seem insignificant to them in my eyes.  Maybe Aiden feels the same way towards helping Ashley.  She can buy whatever help she needs, so what can he offer that she can’t get herself?  Personally, I feel a hand to hold and someone to talk to would be a good start, but that’s just me.  Furthermore, since men are traditionally the breadwinners, maybe he’s feeling a little insecure about that too, especially with exes stopping by.

Third, part of Ashley’s surgery involves physical improvement.  Maybe Aiden feels she had this done so she could catch another man.  Maybe he loved her just the way she was.  Maybe the idea of her rocking a bikini on the beach and turning heads makes him feel insecure.

In her book Unlimited, Jillian Michaels’ dad told her, “Boys will treat you as badly as you let them.”  Maybe Aiden treats Ashley poorly because she has let him for so long.  Maybe he really doesn’t care.  Maybe this kind of behavior has been acceptable throughout their entire relationship, and that’s all Ashley will ever get if she doesn’t make a change.

Should Ashley overlook Aiden’s hurtful behavior and let him continue to treat her with disregard in her time of need because that’s just the way he is?  Should she step up the communication?  Or should she simply let go and move on, searching for someone that will be there for her when she needs it the most?

Jillian Michaels also says, “If you don’t like your life, change it.”  I know as well as anyone how hard it can be to let go of someone that you have cared about for a long time.  Somehow, it seems a little easier when they don’t show that they care back.  After three years, I can’t believe Aiden doesn’t have feelings for Ashley.  Maybe he just doesn’t know how to show his feelings.  Maybe he’s single for a reason.  Maybe it’s time for Ashley to start making some tough choices.

Happy dating!

*Names are changed to protect privacy.

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