Dear Luv Doc,
I have been reading little things here and there about people being grateful for things they have learned during this quarantine. People talk about how happy they are to spend more time with their roommates or spouses or children, but I am here to tell you not everyone is feeling the love. My boyfriend and I moved in together in August 2019 and we hadn't really hit any rough patches until about April when I discovered that he is a huge dick. Notice I didn't say has a huge dick. That might make him slightly more tolerable, but I can't say for certain. What I do know is that he is critical of almost everything I do – even the tiniest things. It wouldn't be so bad if he could just keep his criticisms to himself, but he feels very comfortable letting me know. He can't help but tell me when he doesn't like my cooking, or when I am listening to music too loudly (with the door shut in another room), or when I leave my hair brush on his side of the sink, or when I don't turn off the light in the kitchen, or when I talk too long with my sister on the phone. And those are just a few things. Back in April we were fighting all the time, but I don't have the energy anymore. I just ignore him and go on with my day and get out of the house as much as I can. I think maybe the only reason we ever got along is that we never spent much time together. We are both busy professionals and were always working or out to dinner or at the gym. Maybe that was our salvation, but now that I have really gotten to know him I don't think we were meant to be together. I don't think I will ever make him happy. I am not sure anyone can, but I am not one to give up easily. Should I give it another try and if so, how would I do that? Or, should I start shopping for an apartment?
– Bea Littled
Well Bea, I don't think it would be a risky prediction to say that in the coming months Austin will be a (see what I did there?) renter's market – not just because unemployed service industry folks will quickly realize that Austin's juice isn't worth the squeeze, but because real estate developers are still furiously trying to finish up the projects they started back when they were feeling the heady adrenaline rush of devil-may-care, MAGA hat capitalism. Seriously. There is even a restaurant on West Sixth named "Devil May Care." Not only are they hard-wired into the pre-pandemic Austin zeitgeist, they are willing to sell you a six-pack of beer for only $24, which is a steal at 2019 West Sixth prices. I wouldn't invite your boyfriend there if he is hypercritical though. Any place that offers bottle service requires the magnanimity and patience of a true baller. Everybody knows: Ballers don't nitpick. Ballers ball. You think Dr. Dre is staying up late writing pissy Yelp reviews about rubbery carrot sticks on his crudité platter?
I think it's pretty certain that we are going to emerge from this crisis in a buyer's market – not just in the real estate game, but in pretty much all markets. Gas will be dirt cheap, clubs will be giving away cocktails, and the dating pool will be deep, wide, and frothy. This probably won't come as a surprise to you, but there are plenty of couples who will not survive the trials and tribulations of togetherness. I bet that even if you were locked up in a cabin with Chris Hemsworth for three months you might find his piercing blue eyes, chiseled physique, and sexy Australian accent repulsive. I know, I know. That is absolutely unfathomable, but then again, you have probably never shared a bottle of wine with his wife Elsa.
Your boyfriend may not have a huge dick or the good looks and chiseled physique of Chris Hemsworth, but my bet is that there was something about him that made you want to shack up with him. So, if you really don't want to give up on your relationship, you're going to have to find a way to get in touch with that emotion. Why? Because you're going to need to be highly motivated and perseverant to get him to see that his nitpicking is a serious problem in your relationship rather than a serious problem with your behavior. That's going to take a lot of love and patience. To be honest, it will probably be easier to find an affordable apartment that doesn't come with a side of criticism.
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