Hi I am an 18 year old girl who is in the progress of ending a relationship with a 27 year old. The reason behind this is because I feel he has to much for me to take on and I am so young. By these things I mean, he does not have a car, he works at Wendy’s fast food, and he roomates with his brother and family friend by sleeping in the dining room area ( a bed is laid out. I truly care about this guy as we have been dating for a year and some months and he has really opened his heart. We have been arguing over childish things from early on in the relationship. As time went by and it got more serious I questioned where he was going in life. He has a felony so thats why he has had such a hard time finding good work and good money. We have had many fall outs where he realizes that things need to change and he has been trying to get his life finally started. His birthday was yesterday and he was very depressed about where he is and that I had decided to leave even though we love each other. I love him, but I want a boyfriend who can give me things, who has a car, who knows what he is going to do with his life. My question here is, should he get a car and get a place and progress with his life, should I continue my relationship with him? He is my everything and he is the smartest (booksmart) guy I know. I am not ready to let go of the relationship, I feel I am being forced to end it because of where he stands in life. If this was to change over time, could I come back? Should I come back?

A; I’m sure there must be something very sweet about this man for you to care so deeply about him.

It’s unfair to ask him to get a car and a place when he doesn’t have a job that can support them. But it’s not unfair for you to expect him to be setting some goals and to be working towards them. There is no shame in working in a fast food restaurant. Some people find satisfaction in the fast paced, social atmosphere of such work. Some people use it as a stepping stone to management or store ownership. Others work a fast food job while they go to school to train to do something else. Instead of assuming that he has no ambition, it would be more useful to ask him how he sees his job.

On the other hand, it may be that your boyfriend is scared to take the steps he needs to take to become a full-fledged adult. He has made mistakes in his life that create some additional challenges for him. Part of assuming responsibility for adult life is to embrace those challenges and to figure out how to move on. He may be book-smart but he may not be self-aware. If that is the case, some therapy may be in order to help him manage his fears and reach his potential.

As you pointed out, you are young and at a different life stage than your boyfriend. Eleven years is a big difference at your time in life. At your age, it is normal and appropriate to try out a number of relationships to figure out what you want in a partnership. The fact that you are asking whether you should stay tells me that, at least for now, you want the freedom to see who else is out there. I hope you and your boyfriend can wish each other luck and go about exploring your own lives for awhile. If your boyfriend gets it together and you get some life experience, it may be that you both will want to try again in the future – or not.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Oct 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Should she continue relationship with a man who does nothing?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/10/03/should-she-continue-relationship-with-a-man-who-does-nothing/

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