Troublesome Boyfriend

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My boyfriend and I just got engaged and I’m not sure we should go through with our wedding. I think he may have asked me just to make me happy. We were supposed to book months ago but he has dragged his feet. I think he may not even intend to do it.

My fiancé is (I feel) utterly incapable of telling me the truth. He has made up fictional jobs on at least 2 occasions (I think more), and I am completely unable to trust him, I am still not sure where he goes. I know what he TELLS me, but…. This leads into my second complaint, he is terrible with money. We broke up (He left and stopped answering my calls) about two years ago, during which time I couldn’t pay for our apartment on my own and had to move back in with my mom. I was miserable without him, I had a couple of horrible rebound boyfriends, and after about 6 months we got back together. We both live with my mom now, which was of course supposed to be a completely temporary position, but it’s been over a year. I made the decision not to work, I am a student with a heavy course load (15-18 hours a semester), but early on he expressed he understood this was temporary. He moved in and lived here without a job for almost the whole year. Now he CLAIMS to have one, but money is always disappearing (a $600 Chevron card bill, paid by my mom, then a $500 one) and he never has any money. He spends every single penny he earns, making it impossible for us to save and move out. I feel uncomfortable complaining about his financial irresponsibility when I’m not working, in fact I’ve always made the most money in the relationship and I’m kind of insecure about not having a job (but I’m learning to not be ashamed of it the more I go to school and feel proud of what I accomplish). Reading back over this, I realize it screams “drug problem” because we have plenty of experience with that in both of our families and personally. But I’m positive that isn’t it. I would recognize the physical/behavioral changes, and they just aren’t there. He just spends obscene amounts on small, stupid things that add up, like fast food and beer (which I try to discourage because it’s terrible for you in addition to expensive, but really how much can/should I control what he eats, he is a grown man). When I talk to him about moving out he says he “didn’t know there was a problem with living here, he didn’t know it was a priority to move out ‘now’”. He seems to have absolutely NO motivation/ambition. I don’t have much, but I am NOT ok with living with my mom indefinitely, and I don’t think it’s any kind of fair to her to have her taking financial care of us. He did not go to high school, and I am not saying he is stupid because he isn’t but he can barely read and write. He may be dyslexic, according to him he was told that in school, but I am not convinced, he exhibits few symptoms and doesn’t exhibit key symptoms like letter-jumbling. Both his mom and I have tried to get him to take a GED, which is required if he wants any kind of technical education, and he never does. I took a GED exam years ago, did very well, and have offered uncountable times to help him. Something just “comes up” every time and he backs out.

I’m extremely frustrated with him. I hate sex (I used to enjoy it). I am not sure why but I do, I’m not attracted to him, and it seems directly proportional to my distrust/frustration. I would LOVE to never have sex again (with anyone) if it was an option. He complains about that, which puts me even less in the mood. I am angry way, way too much. I yell, and I feel like it’s productive and appropriate but obviously it isn’t. I do stay on subject, I try to listen, I try to let the small stuff slide, and I want to resolve our conflicts, but I think he feels attacked anyways. I am critical. Again, I feel like it’s appropriate but apparently it isn’t, because it hasn’t worked.

I am at the end of my rope. I have tried being supportive. When we got back together I tried to move on from the past and believe him. He told me he had a great job (which he didn’t have) and that he’d gone to school (which he hadn’t). I was so proud of him, I totally bought into it, and we were very happy for a few months. Since I found out about those lies, I still love him, but I can’t trust him, and things have been in decline. It’s affecting every aspect of both of our lives. I drink too much sometimes, sleep poorly, and am generally depressed. He sees this and he can’t be happy about it.

I do NOT agree to be used on the show, except anonymously, we are all just private people and I don’t want my problems on display, but honestly I don’t know of another way to “ask a therapist” without paying obscene amounts of money that (as you can see) we just do not have.

A: I’m glad you were able to ask us this question. The first thing I’d like you to do is reread your own question but read it as if a friend of yours is asking advice. What would you tell any of your friends who said they can’t trust their boyfriend, see him as lazy and uneducated, lack motivation, and can’t manage money? Would you tell them hang in there and keep working on it? I doubt it. You’d likely tell them not to put their future in the hands of someone who can’t even manage himself.

From your description there is nothing there. It’s been a relationship where the vast majority of your needs are not being met. What you’re getting now is the way the relationship has been is — and will likely be. The reason I can say this with such confidence is that the only person in the relationship that’s investing in the future is you. He is not.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Dec 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Troublesome Boyfriend. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/12/27/troublesome-boyfriend/