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I love my boyfriend but he doesn't have the maturity for a relationship - what am I to do?

heart to heart
My boyfriend has problems. These problems, which I am not fully aware of, cause him to find comfort in alcohol and drugs. He does not handle stress well at all. If I want to talk things through he sees it as a confrontation and argument. When under a lot of stress I find that I am the one it is taken out on (verbally). His friends are for the most part pretty negative (they don't encourage him but try to bring him down) and on the few occasions I've called one or two of them, to make sure that HE is okay he feels that I am trying to "come on" to his friends. He has not worked in months, he lives here and there.

However he is a very articulate, personable, good guy. Yes, he is handsome. Yes he has potential. He doesn't know any of this. When I encourage him and compliment him on his positive attributes, he thinks I'm pulling his leg and that I am insincere. He doesn't understand why I like him or why I am with him. I've seen him better than this, but somehow he's always been hurting since I met him almost a year ago. I know that he cares about me. But he is still quite selfish. It's as if he expects me to hurt him, so he has a wall up. He thinks that I am seeing someone else when I have been faithful to him. He says he has to break up with me, to keep from hurting me emotionally, because he is broken right now - that he needs to get his life together, but doesn't know when or how.

I feel so deeply for him. When I hug him, I feel so close to him. His warmth is actual heat - it feels great. When I can get him to relax, it's wonderful. We usually find that we miss each other a lot when we don't see each other, but when he stays with me, he seems to feel that I will put him out or make him leave and then HE ends up leaving because he feels like he is taking advantage of me. I do believe that I love him. We have shared secrets. We have confided in each other about many things.

What am I to do, when he is negative? He is full of pain.

Wallace's reply
I would like to ask you a simple question - why are you in this relationship? What is your motivation for being romantically involved with this man? What are your intentions? What future do you see in this relationship? Where is it going?

I appreciate that you love this man but to love someone is not enough to have a successful relationship. To be able to relate within a romantic relationship, a certain maturity and understanding is necessary from both partners. Your boyfriend lacks the necessary maturity for a romantic relationship.

Be careful that you are not being led astray by misplaced motives. Do you feel an obligation to fix him, or make him see the light? Do you feel that you are indispensable to him and gain a misplaced sense of purpose from this? Does this lead you to feel responsible for his welfare? You are not.

I can appreciate that you see potential in this man but are you the right person to bring it out? Is it even possible for you to bring out his potential when he does not wish to do this himself?

These are serious questions for you and I am asking you to address them. When you do you may come to the conclusion that your boyfriend can only be helped if he wishes this to happen and that the help he needs may be of a professional nature given by trained therapists. There is plenty of such help around and would readily be made available to your boyfriend - were he to ask for it.

Finally I would like to ask if you are listening to your boyfriend. You wrote the following sentence. "He says he has to break up with me, to keep from hurting me emotionally, because he is broken right now - that he needs to get his life together, but doesn't know when or how." You need to listen to what this sentence means.

Your own welfare could be at stake if you decide to stay with this man. My own personal feeling is that your staying with this man is holding both you and him back. Sometimes the best thing that can happen to a relationship is that it ends. If it does trust that there is a Higher Power that will guide and look after both of you as you go your separate ways.

Think deeply on what I have written.

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