Am I being too hard on him?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2010
Am I being too hard on him?
Mon, 09-20-2010 - 11:13pm
I have a boyfriend of almost 3 years. He admits and our relationship has struggled because he doesn't know how to have a "caring relationship" because his
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Mon, 09-20-2010 - 11:58pm

You could go to couples therapy, that'll likely help you as a couple. I don't think you are being too hard on him, I don't think it's about being hard on him at all. If you don't think you can tolerate being in a relationship with him, you don't have to be. It's totally natural to be sad the day following the breakup, you can't cut a whole person out of your life and not be sad about that.

If you did stay with him then changing your communication would be a good idea. He can't be responsible for your feelings and his own at the same time. You are responsible for your own feelings, he for his own. If you are telling yourself he's not being considerate enough of your feelings, ask yourself if you are being considerate of his?

The situation with the dish seems obvious on the surface. But here's a guy who's used to being under his mother and sisters thumb, not yours. And you are ordering him around. He's in counseling to be his own person and not succumb to women ordering him around. So that could explain part of why he wasn't complying with what you wanted. What you need in that situation is to find a way to communicate that he can really hear: the message being that you need help, and for him to respond in a way that feels like help to you. He can't read your mind, so you have to be clear, and telling him what to do is going to feel different than asking him to help. Generally, people like to feel wanted and helpful, rather than feeling ordered around. People usually need a little flexibility in HOW they choose help out, otherwise it ends up feeling like an order. Him offering to put the dog in the bathroom was help, he offered that, and you rejected it, so he might not be motivated at that point to help in other ways because he is focused on how that rejection feels. But it's really something you have to work on together to find out what DOES work vs. what doesn't work, really talk and make sure you are understanding what is going on in his mind too. My dh and I do this after a disagreement, it's like an autopsy of the issue. We each articular what we were thinking, which isn't always obvious from how we were acting, and get a better sense of what was going on for the other person. However, in your case in the end maybe nothing will work with this particular partner because maybe he's just not going to be the right guy for you. It sounds like he does have a long way to go with his own issues. Only you can really decide if it's worth working on.

The big question then is do YOU think you are being too hard on him? If you are sad is it because you miss him, and you are sad for yourself, or do you really think you are being too hard and you are feeling bad about your treatment of him? Is there any reason for you to feel you are being too hard on him, after the plate and the unloading the car incidents?

"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."

John W. Gardner


Ten Rules for Being Human


"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
Malcolm Gladwell Blink

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-21-2010 - 12:48am
hey there, Wheeler5051, welcome to the board ~ : )

I need a lot more information before I can offer my thoughts on this. There's clearly a lot more history and there have clearly been a lot more problems. The past has a role in why you decided to break up and it has a huge bearing in any of us being able to give you competent thoughts and suggestions. Hope that makes sense. Along with the past, the following questions are important:

You mention he has anger management problems and that it has helped him as an individual but hasn't helped your relationship. Can you explain? In what ways did you hope or expect it would help and what isn't changing that should?

Also, you say his relationship with his mother and sister have had a negative affect on his ability to function appropriately in relationships and have had a negative affect on how he views himself. Is he seeking therapy to resolve those issues?

I need you to know that just because you miss him and are second guessing yourself doesn't necessarily mean breaking up was a bad decision. It's very common to have those kinds of thoughts after breaking up, especially in situations where you've been "giving him a break", hoping for change, etc. It's easy to feel guilt at ending things when your partner has been making attempts to change. I know I asked myself a million times, "what kind of person walks out on someone when they're trying?" before finally leaving my ex. Truth is, in hindsight, I should have left long before and leaving often IS the right thing to do - attempts to change or no.

I'll be checking back for your answers ~

"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

~ Author unknown



"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2009
Tue, 09-21-2010 - 7:18am

Why wouldn't you let him put the puppy in the bathroom?


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2009
Tue, 09-21-2010 - 8:47am

Putting the puppy in the bathroom would have been a good idea. He helped by keeping it out of your way. You were the one who broke the dish so why shouldn't you clean it up?

"I hate that he doesn't think about my needs all the time"
So you can honestly say that you think about his needs all the time?

I don't think this is an issue of "being too hard on him" but you sound from this post as though you are pretty selfish, and I think the epitome of selfishness is expecting someone to read your mind (you could have asked him to help you with the groceries). My boyfriend and I live together and he literally doesn't notice when I'm doing work (men can only focus on one thing at a time), but if I ask him he will help me. This is just how men are. They do not jump up to bring in groceries if they don't notice it.

He sounds like he has some work to do, but you might want to take a look at your own communication skills and also consider that you may have really high expectations of him.

I don't think a couple that needs therapy, communication workshops, etc. in order to stay together was ever going to make it at all. You might want to think about a relationship with someone who is more "complete" and functional if you're not happy with him. Healing from a dysfunctional childhood takes a very long time, and if he has to take anger management classes I would be a bit worried...

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2010
Fri, 09-24-2010 - 2:24am

I don't see anything in your post that suggests he needs to go to a workshop. Do you stop what you're doing whenever he drops something or when he does chores at his house? What you're saying is obvious isn't, to me.

Edited 10/2/2010 11:50 pm ET by darling.carly