Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year. We moved in together after only a few months of dating (He relocated to be with me). Soon after he moved here we found out that I was pregnant. It has been downhill from there. The intamacy and romance ended half way through my pregnancy and has yet to resume. We both love each other and our son very much, but the changes to our relationship make me feel like my love for him is fading. My life has changed dramatically since being pregnant. I had to quit a job I loved to stay home and take care of our son (We could not afford child care nor recieive assistance) so that he could finish his degree. We both agreed that it made the most sense becuase he would make more money in the long run. I have however become everything I did not want to be. I do all of the house work, all of the cooking. I do 90% of the caring for our son and he offers me no help. He recently told me I could do the finances (I asked to since I thought it would make me feel more accomplished) but he does not stick to our budget. He spends the money when he wants even if it means that he uses my spending money. He won’t do dishes unless I yell about it and I even have to do all of his laundry every week. He wants me to cook dinner when he is hungry and not at the same time everyday and calls me from school during the day and tells me more things to do. I have treid to talk with him about this, but it always becomes an argument. He says that I don’t really do anything around the house and that he does not help because I stress him out to much. He says that I should be doing the majority of the work becuase his money pays the bills. I know that it is not easy for him to be in school (He is 30 years old just starting college), but it drives me crazy when I am cleaning up after myself, the baby and him from 7am to 11pm everyday. He comes home on average between 1pm and 3pm and has off weekends and Tuesdays. He goes online, talks on the phone and occasionally drinks beer. I don’t know how much longer I can take this. He mentioned couples counseling and I agreed and have been trying to set something up, but now he won’t even discuss how I am feeling. He just says “Get us counseling, then i’ll talk to you about it” I think he is just using it as an excuse not to talk things through. Please help I don’t want to take my son away from his father.
As I’ve said many times before in this column, babies change everything. It sounds to me like you have adapted as best you can to unplanned parenthood but your boyfriend hasn’t. He is still trying to live like the bachelor he’s not. Once a baby is in the picture, a couple can’t live together as two single people. It takes a new level of cooperation and collaboration. Finances, chores, use of time in short, everything now has to be negotiated. Love, by itself, is not enough. For most people, making a family and the relationship with the new little person makes it worth it. But some people have enormous difficulty shifting from being single and self-oriented to being a parent and child-oriented.
By all means, get counseling. If you make an appointment and your boyfriend won’t go, go yourself. You need help sorting out whether you are somehow contributing to the situation or whether your boyfriend has issues that are too big for the two of you to solve on your own. Hopefully, he will go with you once he sees you are serious about it. The two of you need to figure out how to operate as a team and how to share both the responsibilities and the benefits of being a family.
Meanwhile, give that baby an extra hug and remember that he isn’t causing the problems. His arrival just brought issues to the surface that would have inevitably come up anyway.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Unappreciated and Over controlled.
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Unappreciated and Over controlled.. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/09/28/unappreciated-and-over-controlled/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.