"Dear Troubleshooter" is a relationship advice column that appears in The Japan News, a publication that is part of the Asia News Network.
I'm a female part-timer in my 20s. My boyfriend, whom I'd dated for six years, has broken off our engagement.
He explained he did not like the way I did housework during the two years we lived together. He also said he was under pressure as he had just gotten another job. He apologised to my parents by kneeling on the ground in front of them in the traditional dogeza style to express his sincerity.
I did the chores even while I myself was working, in an effort to create a problem-free life. I would tell him it's only natural for our ways of doing housework to differ since we come from different family backgrounds. I also said we needed to compromise and support each other. He insisted he could not stand living with me any more.
If we had had children, he probably would have severely reprimanded me over how I raised them, in addition to how I did the housework. So I'm now convinced it was right I did not marry him.
At the same time, whenever I recall our six years, I'm so disturbed that it's hard for me to fall asleep. I'm always thinking about him.
S, Saitama Prefecture
Dear Ms. S,
I'm a bitter person who likes to let my imagination run wild, so please allow me to do so in regard to your issue. Honestly, your boyfriend wanted to break up with you for a long time and was worried about when he should tell you. Once he got another job and felt at ease, he at last moved on to tackling the next difficult matter: breaking off his engagement with you. He's already apologised to your parents properly, so he now probably enjoys a sense of freedom.
Why do you think you failed to notice he wasn't happy with you for such a long time? Our love for someone doesn't fade because we aren't satisfied with the person's way of doing housework.
You told him you both need to compromise and support each other in married life. But did you ever give way to his opinions or requests and make concessions? Did you ever support him, instead of just seeking mutual support? He may have given way to you and supported you more often than you thought. At least, he may have felt that way.
In any case, you should not cry out, "Give me back my six years!" Instead, recognise that it was good for you to live with him. You probably had some fun times with him and learned something you couldn't have otherwise. You should think of yourself as indebted to him for the life you have now.
I hope you will live a new life from now on while keeping this meaningful experience in mind. Instead of having him in your future, you have the possibility of meeting someone better than him. In this respect, you have been freed as well.
Hazuki Saisho, writer