I’ve been dating a guy on and off for 5 years. I have 3 degrees and have started my career, while he hasn’t finished college and holds part-time jobs.
The highest point in our relationship was when he was attending school, working, and had his own place. When he dropped out and moved back with his parents, he started to distance himself from me even though I’ve been supportive in helping him research programs of study and prospective careers.
He’s very much a manly man and wants to be able to be a provider, but I feel as though he lets his pride come between us. He always talks about how his mother makes more than his father, so she wears the pants so to speak, and he doesn’t want to end up like his father. I understand that he doesn’t have as much financial freedom as I do, so I don’t ask for anything more than his company.
Right now, we’re in limbo because he’s trying to figure out how to go back to school and what he wants to do. But, I’m tired of the inconsistency – one minute he’s hot and the next he’s cold – sometimes we speak every day, other times we go days without speaking without any explanation from him as to why. When someone’s not acting right, it’s a sign that they aren’t serious. But, when I try to move on, he doesn’t want to let me go.
Is it wrong to walk away from someone who’s inconsistent because they are trying to figure out how to better themselves? Or, am I justified to walk away because his pride is negatively affecting our relationship? – His Pride Is Getting In The Way
Dear Ms. His Pride Is Getting In The Way,
Ma’am, he has become his father. The very thing he desires not to become, he has become. Look at the scenario and situation. His mother makes more than his father. You make more than your man. His mother wears the pants, “so to speak.” You wear the pants, “so to speak,” because you earn more. He’s unable to contribute financially or do things for you, thus, it will explain why he distances himself.
He probably feels less than a man in that he is not able to do the things he wants to do for you. He can’t take you out. He can’t do for himself and be his own man. He’s feeling defeated. Think about it, he dropped out of school and moved back in with his parents. He is a grown man living at home. The very thing many men hate, especially if you say your man is such a manly man. He is wondering how can a grown a** man, who had it all together at one point, end up back in his parent’s home. What went wrong? Why is this happening to him? He feels as if he is going backward and not moving forward. Everyone seems to have their lives together, and he probably feels or wonders why aren’t things working out for him. Therefore, he is withdrawing from everyone emotionally, mentally, and physically.
I suspect based on the signs and actions of his behavior that he may be suffering from a psychological disorder, and I suspect it may be a mild case of depression. Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt, or restless.
You know your man, and though you may be well-intentioned of wanting to help him, encourage him, and support him. However, you are missing the obvious clues that are happening in his life, and how he’s behaving. And, we often tend to overlook the signs and clues because we automatically go into “help” mode. We want to fix the situation. Help them. And, we want to make it better. But, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do because it is psychological. They need professional help, and treatment to get to the root of their downward spiral, and why they feel out of control, and unable to change their situation.
Therefore, I recommend that your boyfriend seek professional help. He may be in denial, but hopefully he will be able to be honest with himself and realize that he has become unraveled and he needs to speak with a professional to help him come out of his “funk.” You can’t do anything but continue to support him, and let him know you are there. But, he has to be the one to make the change. He has to want to seek help and therapy. You can’t make him do it.
And, I also gather that there may be some resentment toward his father. When you mentioned that he doesn’t want to end up like his father, and your man wants to be a provider, that is a clear indication that there is some unresolved issues with his father. He doesn’t see his father as a “real man,” because his mother makes more money, and she probably runs the household. The father may appear as meek and powerless to him, thus, he doesn’t look up to him. He doesn’t see him as someone who is strong or a provider. He has this unresolved love/hate for his father. He despises him as a man, yet, he respects him because they are still married. But, he’s told himself that he doesn’t want to end up like him. However, here he is as a mirror reflection of his father. Again, he needs therapy to help him deal with these issues around his father, and how to resolve this issue.
You’re wondering if you should walk away. Ma’am, you have to do what is best for you and your sanity. Your man has a lot of unresolved issues, and he is facing a new set of challenges and issues. Do you have the wherewithal to wait until he gets it together? Are you willing to nurture, support, and be a positive motivating force for him while he works on himself and hopefully come out of this downward spiral? Are you emotionally and mentally prepared to continue to go back and forth with him while he figures out his life? Now, would I wait? Would I continue going back and forth with someone who can’t seem to get it together? No, I wouldn’t. But, that is me. I’m asking you to look at yourself introspectively, and acknowledge what you feel you need at this time. You mentioned that your relationship has been on and off for five years. You’ve earned three degrees and have started your career. During those same five years has dropped out of school, moved back home with his parents, and only works part-time. You tell me if you should walk away, or wait for him to get his life together, yet, he is moving backward instead of moving forward? – Terrance Dean
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