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Before long, his new relationship fell into that familiar pattern.
“I’ve never been able to make a girl feel like she was the most important thing in my life,” he says.
Having lived in New York and the Boston area, he was accustomed to ready-made social scenes.
In Portland, by contrast, most of his friends were in long-term relationships with people they’d met in college, and were contemplating marriage.
Jacob was single for two years and then, at 26, began dating a slightly older woman who soon moved in with him.
“It’s always ‘I wish I was as important as the basketball game or the concert.’ ” An only child, Jacob tended to make plans by negotiation: if his girlfriend would watch the game with him, he’d go hiking with her.
He was passive in their arguments, hoping to avoid confrontation.