I have been with my boyfriend for over four years and things seem to be at a breaking point. We are separated in age by almost a decade, yet I still feel like I need to tell him to grow up.
I have been with my boyfriend for over four years and things seem to be at a breaking point. We are separated in age by almost a decade, yet I still feel like I need to tell him to grow up. Since we have been together, he’s worked on some new creative project that becomes the most important thing ever, surpassing me, his family, his friends, etc. I have been trying to support him to the best of my ability, along with everyone else. He is someone that everyone knows is very intelligent and can achieve anything he puts his mind to … but unfortunately at age 33 he is still working a shit job he hates. A series of crap circumstances put us back in our hometown together.
When I was younger and started dating him, his lifestyle wasn’t a big deal. It was cool to stay up until dawn, getting wasted and watching him draw, listening to music, etc. Now that I am four years older and have seriously been thinking and working on my future, I’m beginning to wonder if there is any hope for us. EVERYTHING has to defer to whatever project he is working on and even while being as supportive as I can be, he is constantly accusing me of demanding his attention. I do want a lot of attention and I’m definitely one of those co-dependent-y types, but in recognizing that, I’m really trying hard to let him be and let him do his thang.
Of course, it is not all bad. I love him and his family. He’s hilarious, the best in bed ever, and has helped me through some really, really, really hard times. But I’m wondering how I’m going to have kids (the ultimate goal) with someone whose creative process seems to consist of smoking a lot of pot and pacing around the house for several hours. Am I a square? Any advice on how to be the significant other of a brilliant mind? I really want this to work.
Thanks so much,
Dear Fake Name,
Thanks for writing. I feel like the “easy” answer here would normally go like, “Break up! Live your life!”, and all that other stuff I sometimes seem to preach (but have a hard time practicing). That is in fact not the right advice to give in this situation and personally, I don’t care if you stay with him or not.
What people don’t often want to admit is that love is not perfect and relationships teach us more about ourselves than anything else. It seems like you really do love him and here is your chance, in the relationship, to maybe learn a little bit more about yourself by getting through this hard time.
My question is, why does EVERYTHING have to defer to his creative process? He’s not pointing a gun to your head and making you care. What you can change is your reaction to his temper tantrums. I think when he’s having these King Baby moments, you sort of have to treat him like a child. You have to put your grown-up pants on and try to speak in a patient and loving way. Tell him you do support him and you’d like to know how you can help.
Sometimes wearing grown-up pants also means ignoring the temper tantrums. I’m sure you see mothers with crying children on line at the bank or whatever. What do those mommies do? They ignore. They let their baby cry it out, and eventually the baby gets tired and stops crying. When he’s in his “I’m a genius — let me smoke pot and pace” mode, simply let him do that and step away. It is through his own path and process that he will come to terms with quitting the job he hates or making the next masterpiece or whatever he thinks is soooo important for him to do.
What about your creative process? What do you do? How do you act when you’re trying to get stuff done? I think the power of example goes such a long way, although at first it can be painful for both partners. By pulling away you are not loving him less, as it would seem, but you are respecting his process more. And your own.
Don’t worry about the having babies thing either. At least not for now. First things first, and you can’t take care of a child (with him or anyone else) until you learn how to take care of yourself.
I hope this helps. I know it is really hard stuff to get through. You focus, like you said, on your future and your life, and watch how things have a very surprising way of working out — regardless of what the end result (termination of the relationship or not) may be.
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