I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about a year and a half. Things are great aside from the fact that we fight a lot. He loves me, is dedicated to me (and I to him), but sometimes it doesn’t feel like we vibe on the same page.
First, I like to talk about whatever is bothering me and he doesn’t. When I tell him I need more emotional support and he says I’m being needy and unreasonable. He tells me it isn’t his job to maintain my emotions or my happiness.
Second, there are money issue (he works full time and I’m a full time student/working part time). He’s stingy with spending any money on me. He makes comments like “I don’t really feel like spending money for both of us” or “It’s my money and I earned it.” I’m not a gold digger or high-maintenance, but a gesture of love like a card saying sweet things would mean a lot.
I can deal with not getting gifts and such, but being treated like a financial burden sucks and feeling like I’m stuck alone without his support hurts. I don’t know how to get through to him, we’re both stubborn. We love each other and want to make this work though.
How can we solve these relationships problems and stop fighting so much?
I have a few thoughts on this but just as quick as I can say them… you’ll have to reflect on them yourself.
1) What he’s saying sounds harsh, but he has a point. Don’t get me wrong, finding a way to connect this area of communication is good for you in the relationship, but you’re going to be way, way better off not using your relationship as your emotional dumping ground because:
a) Yes, men understand that women are more emotional than we are… and we’re fine with that… but we don’t know how to deal with it at all. At all!!!
b) Guys look at the world through the lens of wins/losses, success/failure, problem/solution. If you vent to your guy about something you’re unhappy with, his male mind will overwhelmingly push him into problem solving mode. Guys have a very narrow band of emotions that they find acceptable in their own emotional state. These emotions for men are called “good” and “bad”.
If they are feeling “good,” no need to do or change anything. If they are feeling “bad,” then immediate action to solve the problem is needed.
There’s no discussion. There’s no exploration of feelings. It’s simply – oh, bad feeling? OK, time to solve the problem.
So when a guy hears anyone complaining about feeling “bad,” they don’t want to discuss it, they want to solve it. Again, men see the world through the lens of problems and solutions. Presenting him with a “problem” and talking about it without the intent to solve it as quickly as possible is the equivalent of taking a juicy steak and waving it in front of a dog, but not allowing him to eat it.
So you might hate it, but… venting is best left for your girlfriends. They’ll understand you and they’ll be able to give you what you’re looking for in the first place. Girls are much better able to deal with empathy and emotional support.
c) Relationships aren’t about turning the man into the source of everything in your life. There are some things men are great at because… we’re biologically and psychologically designed to be great at them. And there are some things men are completely not designed to do.
You should manage your expectations so that you want him to be great in the areas that he is capable of being great in and go to women for the things women are great at. In the same way you don’t want him treating you like a guy, he doesn’t want you treating him like a girl…
Now onto the money issue…..
Hmmm… well, I remember having no money… and I also remember a time in my life where I found gift-giving and gift-receiving to be very uncomfortable.
I suppose having money helped… but I also like giving now because I realize that it can mean a tremendous amount more to some people than any other gesture.
I wrote an article about how men show their love… it’s entirely possible that he shows his love in other ways… maybe through how he talks to you, touches you, spends time with you, or things he does for you.
Sometimes women are so fixated on one specific way that a man could be showing love (and isn’t), that they miss all the ways that he is.
It doesn’t sound like what you’re experiencing is all that bad. Couples fight and relationships take work. Don’t make it into a “thing” though. Recognize the stuff that you’re hitting a wall against and find an alternate solution outside the relationship.
One of two things will happen – 1) once it’s no longer a “battle” or “thing” in your relationship he might come around and start doing what you wanted in the first place – or- 2) you’ll get your emotional fulfillment from other areas in your life and you won’t feel like you’re lacking anything… which in turn will allow you to focus on everything that is great in your relationship.
As a final note, I want you to realize that I’m not bailing the guy off the hook in the relationship. It takes two to make a relationship work…
In your case, it sounds like overall things are good, there are just a few kinks right now. These are easy things to work out, but as I always say, if you want change in your relationship, one person needs to change first… and since you’re the only person you can truly control, you need to be the one that initiates the change.
With all that said, you’re going to be fine… don’t worry.
Hope it helps,