The Luv Doc: Just Exhausted

You might be the gardener

Dear Luv Doc,

I work 60 hours a week in construction and my girlfriend is unemployed. We spend the weekends together when I'm not working on Saturdays, but she is upset that I don't spend more time with her M-F. I explained that I'm just exhausted and need to get some rest. We talk nightly on the phone but when the clock hits 10pm, I'm lights out. She stays up all night painting and then sleeps all day. How can I get her to be happy with what time we do spend together, instead of obsessing about the hours we spend apart?

– Girlfriend OT

First of all, your girlfriend is not unemployed. She might be unremunerated, but if she stays up all night painting she is definitely employed … and also very likely under the influence of one or more controlled substances, which, last I checked, don't grow on trees. Actually, truth be told, they do come from certain plants, but I was speaking metaphorically. Drug dealers … and speed dealers in particular … are not an overly generous lot. Whether it's a scabby, rotten-toothed biker selling brown crystal meth in Ziploc baggies or a lab-coated CVS pharmacist doling out medically prescribed Adderall, rest assured somebody is profiting off your girlfriend's all-night artistic flurries. That means that thankfully she is getting money somewhere. Ideally not from you. If for some reason you're pulling 60-hour work weeks so she can snort meth and stay up all night painting, I think her neediness is not your biggest problem.

And look, I got no beef with painters. In fact, some of my best friends are painters, but financially speaking, if she's trying to make a living at it, she probably has a better shot at being a professional DJ, a life coach, or a social media influencer – maybe even all three (#chronicleluvdoc). I know it sounds like I'm shitting on the beaux arts, but I'm not. Super big fan, in fact. I can't even imagine what life would be like without the contributions of certain quixotic dreamers passionately engaged in impractical pursuits of no real monetary value. Maybe the Gigafactory? Perhaps someone on the Tesla production line can weigh in on this. I am imagining something like 50 shades of gray – and I'm not talking about the 2015 BDSM soft porn of the same name.

I think the question you need to ask yourself – and then perhaps subsequently your girlfriend – is what do you want out of this relationship? It sounds like your needs are being met – even if your girlfriend is potentially a drug addict painter or perhaps an actual vampire – and hers are not. The middle ground you seek may not be middle ground at all. You might be the gardener in this relationship (Google it), and that's OK. Plenty of people love gardening – even here in Austin, Texas, where gardening is nearly impossible (OK, extremely difficult) for like nine months out of the year. Some gardens are harder to tend than others, and in your case the person who best knows how to tend your girlfriend's garden is potentially a meth head. The good news is meth heads are notoriously chatty, so you can be sure that when you ask her what she needs she will come up with something – and then you'll have to decide if you're willing to provide it.

Look, I could pop off with some easy answers like "multiple orgasms," "the 10-course omakase at Uchi," or "a laundry basket full of Labrador puppies," but in the end, no matter how hard it might be to believe, those items might not actually butter your girlfriend's muffin, so you're going to have to ask her – and not like a sulky, petulant teenager, but like a reasonable, interested adult who is willing to make some hard compromises for his favorite artist/meth head/vampire. Who knows? She might just want a bag of CBD gummies and a sleep mask. Let's hope it's that easy, because the price of the 10-course omakase at Uchi will make you wish you had popped for meth.

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