Urban Therapy – Time to Grow up or Move Out?
Question: I’m trying to better understand my partner’s behavior. I feel that he is immature, has watched The Hangover too many times, doesn’t always act his age and needs to grow up. It’s not all the time but often enough that I am concerned. I know we are different and that men and women think and act differently but sometimes I am beside myself and past being annoyed.
For example, we talk about things we need to do and agree on how to proceed. But, it seems that once he talks to his friends, he changes his mind, doesn’t do anything or does something that is completely irresponsible. In a lot of cases, I’m relying on him to do things that are important so it’s really frustrating. When I bring it up, I feel like I’m nagging or sounding like his mother. I don’t know if I just need to relax or really lay down the law. I care about him but I also don’t know if the time we’ve spent together is enough of an investment to try to have a future together.
Answer: Thanks for your question. So as you know, we practice honesty here and are not biased. I think the takeaway here is that you’re making it about him when the focus should be you. Here’s why:
If his decisions are counter-effective to the outcomes you agree upon as a couple and if his choices are irresponsible, those are facts not interpretations or judgments so there is no need to speculate. Given how affected you are by his behavior, the question is not whether he is being himself or being immature. The real question is: are you willing to tolerate the type of behavior he is exhibiting? If this is a part of his typical behavior, you have some large considerations. If there is something prompting him to act out and this isn’t his normal M.O., then you have to get to the root of the problem. If he is perhaps regressing or hasn’t grown into his adulthood, what we know is chasing, scolding, babysitting or bashing him won’t bring about any type of positive, sustainable change.
What I suggest is break the connection for a moment. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a literal break. Just set aside some time to think objectively about the situation – putting your current feelings aside – and reconnecting with the qualities you want in a partner. Be honest about the path of your relationship to this point and determine if there have really been signs that he was changing (or not changing). Everything isn’t black and white, however, either he was always this way or there is something specific prompting his behavior.
Will taking his copy of The Hangover solve this problem? It’s not likely. Do you need to relax? Absolutely; it’s good for your health and will help to avoid increasing the intensity of your frustration. At the end of the day, do you need to settle for a mis-match and be a mother to a grown man – not in my opinion.
But it’s ultimately for you to decide. Whether time to Grow up or move out.
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