Should She Keep Supporting Him?
Q: I met my boyfriend in my office 4 years ago. Two years ago, when he was laid off due to cutbacks, he moved into my apartment and has been having a hard time finding a job. The people I work with tell me to break up with him because they feel he's taking advantage of me. I would love to be engaged and I do believe in him but they feel because he lived at home with his mother and now with me, he's used to having a woman take care of him. He lived with his mother to help her, and now she's in a nursing home.
Should I give him a deadline? I do love him and don't want to be alone. He tells me he loves me and will give me a ring once he gets on his feet. — Helene, 49
Dr. Susan: You're working and he's not. So is he doing everything he can possibly do to take care of you and the apartment? Does he shop, cook, do the laundry, treat you well, and continue to try to find work? If he isn't, let him know you would like him to do more. If you love each other, and he's doing at least his share, if not more than his share, of the work, then he's not taking all that much advantage of you.
You shouldn't be listening to other people's opinions (including mine) if you feel sure that he's not lying to you, that he really loves you as much as you love him. Not wanting to be alone is a strong motivator to stick with something that isn't working very well. But it's not enough reason to play doormat. So be sure you're not lying to yourself.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.