should i butt out?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2003
should i butt out?
3
Fri, 05-09-2003 - 4:33am
I have been going out with my boyfriend for 1yr and a half.

We went to the same highschool but never knew each other because I am 4 yrs older. My boyfriend's parents had financial problems when he was still in highschool and so his friend took him in so he could finish. We went to a private school.

We met in san francisco years later and eventually decided to move back to our home town together because I had an amazing job opportunity there. He followed me but never got to finish college. He took a job working for the same friend's dad. Here is the problem.

The family is nice to him and I appreciate all their help but they act like they own him. And he has changed completely since we have come back. We have talked about it several times and we figure he is dealing with a lot of old baggage. The reason why i'm writing is because it is starting to affect our relationship. He breaks plans with me if the friend needs him to do something for him. We planned a romantic trip away (my birthday present) and the friend asked if he could come along and my boyfriend couldn't stand up to him and say "no". He can never say no and he acts so submissive that I am starting to lose respect for him.

I realize he is forever in debt to this family but why does his personality have to change. When I met him he was funny and bright and independent - now he has become conservative and has no back bone and can no longer talk about the future with me.

How long do I wait for him?We have only been here 8 months. I'm hoping this is just an adjustment period and eventually he will go back to being himself but what if he doesn't? Do I just stay out of it?

also he is only 22.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 2:40pm
If you feel like it is affecting your relationship I think it is a good idea to bring this up. Obviously, you don't want to start pointing out flaws that you see in his personality or anything, as in "why can't you be more like this.." etc. But you do have several examples of how he failed to come through with promises that he made to you, which I think is important to address. Like the birthday thing! DId you ever express to him how you felt about that?

As his girlfriend, I think you have the opportunity to give him your perspective on what might be an overly dependent and unhealthy feelings of obligation and guilt that he has to these people in a loving and productive way. You can help him figure out why he feels this way, and whether he does it because he's too afraid to stand up to them, or whether he honestly like to help them out and to be there for them. Then you can make a decision about what part you want in all of this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-27-2000
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 3:30pm
You said the magic words. You both think he's dealing with old baggage. Normally until you get to the bottom of the problem, the problem will go merrily on. It's like trying to put on frosting before you bake the cake. If he really believes he's forever in their debt, there's no chance this will improve. Do you stay out of it? How do you stay out of it if it seems to be totalling your relationship? It needs to be discussed and he needs to get help to get rid of "the old baggage". I wouldn't even consider moving forward until he does, because he won't change after marriage from who he is before. The question is does he WANT to make changes or not?

 


~~joannaran~~

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-14-2003 - 4:38pm
Kill two birds with one stone. Encourage him to move back to where you met and finish his college education. You two can either agree to a long-distance relationship, or to live separate lives and re-contact each other when he is finished.

He will be his old self again, AND complete the degree which will probably be very important for his future.