When we care about someone, we do not like to see them hurting. Relationships mean that often we take on the problems and concerns of the other individual. It is important to know yourself and how much you are willing to take on when entering into a relationship with someone, as it is a rare thing that someone lays out all their baggage on the table during that first coffee date.
We each have our threshold of what we can and cannot endure. Some have fairly low tolerance, and some have zero tolerance, while still others seem to have a flashing neon sign that reads, "Bring me your tired, your poor, your hungry, and your chemically addicted." You and only you can decide what you can and cannot put up with. As soon as you are aware of problems that could not only impact the relationship, but also you, personally, financially, and even professionally, it is a good idea to address the issue head on.
If your boyfriend is constantly broke and borrowing money, you might want to ask yourself if he is in the relationship with you or your handouts. No one should have to pay for the benefits of a relationship, and if the cost versus benefits is not paying out for you, it may be time to consider getting out of the relationship.
Drug or Alcohol Problems
The best way to avoid having to deal with the drug or alcohol problems of your boyfriend is to simply avoid dating anyone who shows signs of having the problem. There is generally nothing wrong with having a couple of beers after work, but if a couple drinks a six-pack a day, uses illegal substances, or abusing even legal substances, your relationship will be negatively affected. Addicts are simply not good relationship material.
It is unfortunate when someone we love comes from bad home life. Unfortunately for many, simply growing up, graduating, and moving out does not solve family problems; they tend to follow us. If someone else's family issues seem to be moving in on you, then it might be time to ask for a little space until these can be dealt with. They are not your problem.
We all face problems at work. One of the perks of being in a relationship is having someone to come home to at the end of the day and tell about our day. However, if every day turns into a long discussion over dinner about how much your boyfriend hates his job and co-workers, it might be time for him to get a new job, or for you to get a new boyfriend.
It Is Nice and All, But…
Having a boyfriend can be very nice. The operative word is "friend." If your boyfriend is not a good friend, if he is allowing his problems to take control of him, striking a balance of how much you should or can take on is not always easy. It is important to consider the toll-taking on someone else's problems is taking on you.
If you find yourself in a relationship where you are the shoulder to cry on, you might need a shoulder of your own if you want to save your sanity and the relationship. Even if you do feel you are alone in your relationship most of the time, ReGain.us has relationship counselors that can help you process what is going on, how you feel about it, and what you need to do, versus what you want to do.
The first thing to accept is that you cannot change another person; only they can do that. Wishful thinking, offering suggestions, threatening, bribing, or making promises: none of these efforts work. So if you have a boyfriend and you are now aware of some of his faults and problems, now is the time to make some decisions that will protect yourself from future heartache. Immediately stop making excuses for him and look at the situation you are in honestly. Some problems you may decide you can live with, but some of the problems will and should be deal-breakers. No matter how attractive he is, no matter what he promises, if he is an adult, then he is who he is. And you are not going to change him. Remember, he had become who he is before he met you. He has had his habits and ideas, probably for years. He has not considered any of his problems severe enough to want to change up until this point. It is doubtful that he has not been made aware of his faults and problems by past girlfriends. He knows what he is about already. If past girlfriends haven't changed him, you won't either.
Here's a list of habits and behaviors that should raise a red flag. Decide for yourself which behaviors you are willing to ignore.
One problem your boyfriend may be dealing with is domestic violence. If that’s the case, his safety may be in danger. Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects millions of people every day of all genders. If your boyfriend is dealing with domestic abuse in his family naturally, you want to help him. It could be one family member who is hurting him or multiple parties involved. Domestic violence affects friends and family, and it is a scary phenomenon. You may feel powerless to stop your boyfriend from getting hurt. The main problem in a domestic violence situation is keeping all parties safe. From your point of view, things seem dire. There are major safety issues involving your significant other. It can be difficult because when you’re in a romantic relationship, you want to support your boyfriend, but if he’s in a situation that’s unsafe, that could be challenging. The best way to help him get what he needs is to get him into therapy. You can support your boyfriend by giving him resources to escape the domestic violence he’s experiencing. From his point of view, he’s unsafe, but he may not feel like he can ask you, or anyone else for help. Domestic violence can make people feel like they’re helpless. Your boyfriend may be afraid to ask you to help him, or he may reach out suddenly. One day you get a phone call from him telling you that things are scary at home. You don’t know what to do or how to help. You could consult your friends and family to see if there’s anything you can do to save him. That phone call could shake you up, understandably, and you want to rush over there and rescue him. Remember that your safety matters, and don’t put yourself in a position to be harmed.
You may be unsure of which family members are involved in domestic violence. You could call your boyfriend’s mother to tell her what’s going on. However, if she’s involved in domestic violence, she won’t be of help to you. You can’t solve problems regarding domestic violence without outside agencies. These include the police, domestic violence hotlines, crisis centers, or therapists who specialize in domestic abuse. Maybe your boyfriend’s best friend knows what’s going on, and you can turn to him and collaborate on ways to help your man. The most important thing is to get help with your significant other.
Seeking Help For Domestic Violence
You may feel helpless when someone you love is experiencing domestic violence, but there are resources. It’s a matter of figuring out the best way to help under these circumstances. Domestic violence needs to be addressed, or there could be people’s lives at stake. If your boyfriend is physically abused, that’s a safety issue. It’s important to report domestic violence to an agency that can help. There are also hotlines that can advise you what to do if someone you love is being harmed. Domestic violence can be a tricky situation to navigate. You may be afraid to take action because you’re worried that whatever you do will cause further harm to your boyfriend. It’s crucial to seek out support, even if you are afraid. You need to figure out the main problem and support him in getting the resources to recover from domestic violence. Remember that abuse of any kind can take a toll on a person’s mental health. If you find that your boyfriend is moody, depressed, or angry, that could be due to the domestic violence he endured. That’s where therapy can help. You can find a licensed mental health professional who understands domestic violence and how to treat trauma survivors. Your boyfriend can benefit from talking to a mental health professional. It’s good to talk to you about his problems, but you are not his therapist. A counselor can support him in healing from the domestic violence he experienced. He may not understand why he feels a particular way and need to get some emotional insight into his behavior. Getting help is crucial when you’re a survivor of domestic violence. Your boyfriend will feel better after confronting his trauma with a therapist.
Beware of Codependency
Whether you’re seeing your boyfriend in a domestic violence situation or struggling with other issues, you may want to rescue him. News flash: you can’t save anyone. He needs to make that phone call to get a therapist. Of course, you want to make sure your boyfriend is safe from domestic violence and potential harm. That’s understandable, and you can be there to support his safety. But you can’t be his mental health provider. A therapist can help solve problems that he’s going through and support his mental health journey. Before that happens, he needs to take the initiative to make an appointment with a mental health professional. Codependency is a situation where you feel like you have to take care of your boyfriend. That’s not healthy, and if you notice this dynamic, it needs to change. A relationship where there is interdependence is best for your mental health. In this dynamic, you and your boyfriend are on an equal emotional footing. You also don’t want a situation here; you can’t confront your boyfriend about problems. You find yourself turning to friends or family to get advice rather than communicating with him directly. You don’t want to keep talking to your boyfriend’s mother to get guidance about the issues. That could turn around and bite you. Sometimes friends and family have wellbeing advice, but you need to deal with your problems head-on with the person involved. Codependency can result in resentment when one person feels like they can’t be independent, or both people feel like they can’t live without each other. That’s why it’s crucial to have a strong sense of identity. You can confront your problems, ask if you help if you need it.
Therapy Can Help You and Your Boyfriend
Therapy is an excellent resource where you can talk about what’s going on with you. Your boyfriend can speak to his therapist, and you can have your own. It’s wonderful to care about your boyfriend's problems, but it’s crucial to manage your issues before taking care of him. Your mental health is a priority. You can’t take care of another person if you’re not caring for yourself. That’s where a good therapist can help you. You can get support for your problems, your relationship concerns, and any life challenges. When you have a good mental health professional to speak with, you feel supported. You don’t have to feel alone. Whether you see a therapist online or in your local area, therapy is a great place to get guidance for your particular life challenges.
“With Cassandra’s help, we’ve been able to bring our relationship to a new, healthier, and much happier level, working through painful situations, growing as individuals and as a couple, and with tools to stay on this path. She’s very responsive, and it has been great to have her facilitate our messaging through the app all week. I highly recommend Cassandra. She’s skilled, supportive, and down-to-earth. We feel totally comfortable with her.”
“Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think in a different way. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I settle my boyfriend's problems?
You can't settle your boyfriend's problems. If your boyfriend struggles with any of the concerns listed in the article above, you can support him, but he has to want to work through his problems and get his life back on track. If he doesn't want help, refuses to go to counseling for a specific concern like anger management issues or substance use disorder, or says that he's going to change but doesn't put in the work, it's time to reevaluate the relationship and if you want to stay in it. Is there something, such as substance use, going on that's putting your relationship on the rocks? It's very hard to watch a partner or spouse experience the effects of substance use disorder, which include but aren't limited to irritability, aggression, weight loss, difficulty sleeping, bloodshot eyes, and even illegal activity. This is an example of a time where you won't be able to settle things single-handedly. You can help him find treatment, learn about substance use disorder, and find resources for how to speak to someone with substance use disorder, but in many cases, you can't force someone else to get their life back on track.
How do you resolve problems with your partner?
Couples counseling is an excellent way to learn and practice problem solving skills with your partner. Problem solving techniques and improved communication skills are two common things that couples gain in counseling or therapy. When it comes to sex relationships, marriage, or anything else in your interpersonal life, being able to speak your mind and work through your concerns healthily is absolutely imperative. You and your partner both have to be willing to work on problem solving techniques. When working on problem solving, make sure to be honest, non-accusatory, and specific. It's essential to acknowledge the problem at hand and call it what it is so that everything is out on the table. That way, you and your partner can truly work through the concern without trying to skirt around or avoid an issue that is affecting your relationship or making your relationship experience serious strain. Note, too, that you do not need to solve a problem in the midst of an argument. In fact, it's generally best to wait. It is healthy to take some time to cool off when you're heated and come together to find a solution, compromise, or skill to use later.
What do you do if you have a misunderstanding with your boyfriend?
If you have a misunderstanding with your boyfriend, it is essential to talk it out. Ask questions, listen actively to his answer, and make a committed effort to understand. If the misunderstandings that occur in your relationship are frequent or are making your relationship volatile in any way, it's crucial to focus on communication. Communication problems in a relationship are an extremely common form of relationship problems, and there are a lot of tools and resources out there that can help couples work through them. It may take some trial and error, but if you practice active listening and ask your partner what they mean when there's a disparity in verbiage or body language, it can go along way. Couples counseling can be extremely helpful when it comes to misunderstandings or similar relationship problems, but if you're on a waiting list or aren't able to see a counselor quite yet, there are many other resources such as healthy relationship worksheets, books, and even activities or content created by relationship experts that can teach you and your partner about communication.
What is a toxic relationship?
Put simply, a toxic relationship is a relationship that isn't good for you. There might be extreme highs and lows, or there might be a lot of lows with just enough good to make you stay. There are a variety of ways that a relationship can be toxic. If you or your partner lies frequently, for example, it's something that could make the relationship toxic. White lies are one thing, but there's a big difference between a white lie and one that is of high impact. You want to be able to trust your partner, so if you feel like you can’t, it’s absolutely something to either work through or treat as a deal-breaker. Other things that can make a relationship toxic are cheating, abuse tactics like gaslighting, manipulation, or stonewalling, poor communication, controlling a partner's money money or financial abuse, and a partnership that's one-sided. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner, as though your boundaries aren't respected, or like what you have to say doesn't matter to your partner, you're likely in a toxic relationship. A toxic relationship can also manifest as a situation where a partner might even make you feel worse about yourself rather than lifting you up and supporting you as a partner should. A toxic relationship is not the same as an abusive relationship, but an abusive relationship is always toxic.
How can negativity kill a relationship?
We all have ups and downs, and no one is positive all of the time, but if negativity is constant, it can absolutely kill a relationship. We all know that no one likes to be around someone who is all doom and gloom. We also know that it doesn't feel good to be around someone who is negative toward us or who puts us down. These are both things that could impact a relationship substantially. A key part of relationships is spending quality couple time, such as date nights or weekends you set aside for one another, together. Another key part of relationships is outwardly showing appreciation for one another. It can put a damper on things if your partner or spouse always sees the glass half empty. If his negativity is a recent issue, a potential problem solving technique to use here is to ask him if he's okay rather than accusing him or simply saying "why are you so negative?" Think about what's gone on in his life recently. Did he just go through a difficult life event such as trauma or a loss? Be gentle, and let him know that you're here to listen and that you want him to feel good. If negativity is impacting your relationship consistently or if he is negative toward you or your traits specifically, it is vital to have a conversation about that and to seek help from a mental health professional if possible.
How do you truly accept your relationship is over?
It can take time to truly accept that a relationship's over. The first stage of the five stages of grief is denial, and it's something that a lot of people endure after breaking off a long term relationship or marriage. First, to accept that a relationship is over, it's important to cut off contact. Many relationship experts have a "no contact" rule for those who strive to heal from breakups. This is because if you're talking to your ex regularly, save for communication regarding co-parenting or other necessary subjects, you will think about them more than you need to. The same is true if you keep up with their social media, so it's a good idea to block or mute their accounts. After that, focus on yourself. Think about what you want your life to look like and what your wants and needs are moving forward. If you feel stuck, seeing a counselor can help.
Why do couples fight over nothing?
When couples fight over nothing, it's often not over nothing at all. There's almost always a bigger issue under the surface. If you fight over little things and it feels out of proportion to the topic you're fighting about, consider what's going on under the surface. Are one or both of you upset about something bigger? You might find yourselves fighting over small things while one or both of you ignore the real issue at hand. For example, is there cheating or suspicion of cheating? This will cause emotions to run high, and so, if you avoid the topic and hold your anger or worry inside, you might fight over small things. Another reason couples might fight over nothing is miscommunication or misunderstanding. There are a number of consistent traits that make for successful couples. Some of those essential characteristics are problem solving skills, the ability to be a good listener, communication, affection, and intimacy. Note that intimacy isn't limited to sex. Some of the forms of intimacy that differ from sexual intimacy include emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and intellectual intimacy. If you have intimacy issues that are related to sexual desire or lack of sexual intimacy specifically, seeing a sex therapist can be helpful. It's crucial to have problem solving skills for a healthy relationship so that you can navigate arguments effectively, so make sure that you look into this quality of successful couples and work to establish problems solving skills together.
Should I text him first after a fight?
The answer to this question is nuanced, depending on what you want to do and the context of the argument. If you feel that you did something you'd like to apologize for during the argument, it is likely appropriate to text your boyfriend first. If you find that you are always the one texting first after a fight and that he never reaches out first, you might give him a chance to text first. Additionally, if he is someone who has stated that he needs time to cool off after an argument, particularly if he's not usually the one to reach out first, it's likely appropriate to him some space to cool off and let him text you when he's ready. The same is true for if you have a runner chaser dynamic of sorts where he is avoidant, and you are anxious. If arguments or fights are toxic, frequent, or even something you experience day to day in your relationship, couples counseling is something to consider.
What causes misunderstanding in a relationship?
Many things can cause misunderstandings in a relationship. Misreading body language, making assumptions, not using active listening skills, not asking questions to verify what your partner's trying to say when you aren't sure, or holding things inside are all potential reasons why misunderstandings occur in a relationship. Misunderstandings aren't the end of the world, but it's important to learn how to navigate them so that they don’t harm your partnership. As with many relationship problems, communication is the best remedy for this issue. Seeing a mental health provider such as a licensed marriage and family therapist for couples counseling is an excellent way to work through misunderstandings and other relationship problems. A licensed counselor or therapist that works with couples will have a wealth of knowledge regarding sex relationships and interpersonal connections and will be able to help you in your romantic partnership. To find a mental health provider that can help you work through your relationship problems today, look for a couple's counselor near you or try an online therapy platform like ReGain.