How Do I Deal With My Boyfriend’s Problems?

By ReGain Editorial Team|Updated June 22, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Audrey Kelly, LMFT

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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.

Tolerance Level

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.

Money Problems

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.

Family Problems

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.

Work Problems

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.

  1. He lacks a sense of humor and takes everything seriously. He cannot take a joke and holds a grudge and thinks of ways to pay the person back for being made to look foolish. Even his friends have chided him for not being able to take a joke. Maybe by the time you have met him, he has few friends left.
  2. He has horrible manners. At the beginning of your relationship, you may not have had many opportunities to witness his table manners and his politeness toward others. But after a month or two, it should become obvious. Watch how he eats, how he summons a waiter, how he speaks to others, and how he meets strangers. Is he courteous? Does he show contempt? Does he act superior? These are learned behaviors and an indication of how he feels about himself and others.
  3. He refuses to let you see his phone, and he won't post pictures of both of you on social media. He has something to hide. Does he remove himself from your presence every time he gets a phone call? Does he always say it was just a friend?
  4. His living quarters are a mess. He had his mother to clean up for him in the past, and the outlook is that that is what he'll expect you to do should you ever start living together. Slovenliness is a learned behavior and it is a sign of deep-seated laziness.
  5. He won't introduce you to his family. Is he embarrassed by you or them? Does he give inadequate and different reasons for not meeting his family?
  6. He calls you degrading names in private and when in company. This is a sure indication that he does not respect you nor value you. How this makes you feel is of no interest to him.
  7. He is selfish. This is a trait that may not become apparent in the first month or so of your relationship, but will later. Does he make comments about others that he feels are taking advantage of him? Does he make sure everyone pays their share when you go out with others? Is he willing to share what he has with others, and does he do it willingly or grudgingly?
  8. He won't have serious discussions with you. Does he turn every discussion with you into a joke? Does he always give flippant answers to serious questions? Does he change the subject when you want to discuss something of a serious nature with him?
  9. He has an addiction. It could be an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or porn. Is he often inebriated when you go out together? Does he drink excessively at home alone? Is he secretive about his addiction?
  10. He has no interest in your friends or family. Does he make excuses not to visit your friends and family? Is he rude in their company? Does he pick an argument just to be obnoxious? Does he embarrass you when your friends or relatives meet him?
  11. He shows no affection when you are in public. Does he walk three steps ahead of you? Does he refuse to take your hand or put his arm around your shoulders in public? Does he want everyone else to think you are just casual friends?
  12. He is controlling. Does he tell you what to wear and what not to wear? Does he stop you from contacting your friends or family? Does he listen in to your telephone conversations? Does he tell you when you should go on a diet? Does he make fun of how you look? Does he make all the decisions about what you do together and who you see? Does he make an issue of some of your mistakes or personal flaws?
  13. He has the most important job. He constantly compares his job to yours and his salary to yours. Does he belittle your career?
  14. He takes and makes calls to his ex. Unless he has children with his ex, there has to be more to the relationship that should be over and isn't.
  15. He is abusive. Whether he is physically or mentally abusive, this is a deal-breaker. The first time he calls you names, hits, kicks, or threatens, you should be the last time he does it. Controlling behavior of any kind is abusive. The theory behind control is to make you feel inferior, afraid of making a mistake, and to make you believe it is your fault. Make no mistake; this behavior NEVER gets better; it only escalates and the weeks, months, and years go by.

Domestic Violence

In Need of Some Relationship Support?

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.”

 

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