-- Question for John --
I have a well paying job at a local hospital. My boyfriend does not work. He has little motivation. He has double standards. I have desperately tried to discuss every possible issue with him and he listens but he doesn’t talk back and share his feelings. He can also get angry and throw a temper tantrum.
I tell him how I feel in a positive way and try to give him suggestions of different things to do so he can feel better or how to help himself. He doesn’t change and he doesn’t see how much all of his anger and negativity and double standards and lack of communication and lack of care for our relationship are affecting me. I don’t want to walk away but I feel like I am getting to a point in which I am going to have to walk away if things don’t change.
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-- Answer from John --
First, I know women who are 28 and even 38 who are still trying to deal with and placate so-called “men” who act like little boys because they are unable to be mature with their anger. Get this. This kind of male personality does not change with age.
And even if you do make some ultimatum, like you will leave unless he changes, he may listen to you for a short while and then very easily blow it again — because to change he has to engage in a systematic and committed learning process to achieve new internal skills for managing his anger, getting comfortable with his internal emotional states, and communicating with other people.
This takes serious work on his part. Will he do it? Only if he is really motivated. What would that work look like? Probably working with a therapist AND going to a voluntary men’s anger-management group, weekly, for at least a year.
What is the probability that he will do this? Zero if you keep putting up with his behavior.
What is the probability that he will respond to an ultimatum from you — like “Do this work (outlined above) or I leave!” — ??? I don’t know. It’s hard work.
But if he really cares about you and if he is ready to grow up — he will. What is the probability that you will be miserable in this relationship if he does not change? 100%.
Read your last sentence above again. It makes complete sense and I encourage you to not settle for a relationship in which you will mainly suffer. There are plenty of guys out there who will communicate well and treat you with the respect you want. You have to be ready to take care of yourself and commit yourself to having the kind of relationship you really want. This means seeing that “love” and feeling needy about the guy you happen to be with are not sufficient reasons to stay in a negative relationship. It’s up to you to change your life.