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I've set boundaries on how much "help" I give my boyfriend and he doesn't like it!

Tagged as: Dating, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (8 August 2017) 10 Answers - (Newest, 10 August 2017)
A female United States age 30-35, anonymous writes:

Am I a hypocrite? Am I mean? I know for a fact I'm confused.

My bf and I were recently laid off and have 60 days to find a new job. I've already updated my res and applied to 6 places. I have even looked for jobs my bf could apply to and have sent him at least 20 spots. I sent him another open position recently, but my bf has asked for help with updating his resume. Mind you, I have helped him update his res and do the application for the past 3 jobs he has worked for. To me, help has boundaries, and I don't want to be the one helping all the time.

When i sent him a job app, he remarked that it's frustrating that I dont want to help him all the time and that there are tasks that I do that i dont always do myself. My response was "so you need help with the app AND the resume? I thought we discussed you giving me your res after you added stuff and i would edit it. That is still the definition of helping. Are you saying that if i dont do it for you each and eveytime that that's not help?

I have a problem with helping repeatedly if your reasoning for help in the first place was because you were unsure or didn't have experience with the task; How would you ever get any experience if someone is always helping you? I guess I get frustrated because I never had the type of help you are expecting. I looked stuff up online and figured it out. But if you want a hand and help i can do that, but i wont be doing everything for you all the time. You can't make me feel guilty for having boundaries and asking for your independence. There are things that I still struggle with, but I try to do it myself before asking for help.

So that i'm better informed, what tasks/stuff do i not do for myself?"

Needless to say he is butthurt and says it's the most offensive things he's read...Who is right in this situation?

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A male reader, Xearo Trinidad and Tobago + , writes (10 August 2017):

Hi,

He sounds like a young guy and prolly has gotten used to the idea of getting help when he needs it. If he is not young physically then I'm saying he is young mentally. I do not think there is anything wrong in that, but clearly this isn't what you want in a partner it seems, at least not at the moment.

So far, most things you have mentioned sound pretty one sided and I gather your response to him was something you kept inside for a long time. He does make some effort it looks like and I'm sure he loves you. But if he doesn't pull his weight in the relationship then the reality you need is that more than "Love" is needed to make something last.

Just tell to him that he should make more effort for himself, not only for you. He will feel better in the long run if he stops running away from his responsibilities. Things are hard now so a lot of small problems become much larger problems. I don't think depression is the issue here.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 August 2017):

Hi

In my opinion he is manipulating you into getting used to doing everything.

You and I both know that he is perfectly capable of updating his resume and looking for a new job.

He is making excuses as to why he isn't and then trying to make you feel bad for not wiping his backside and doing it all for him. I would not be surprised if he was using the possibility of him trying to make money from streaming videos to worry you enough that you start doing what you feel you have to, to help get him a job i.e. DOING HIS RESUME!

I can smell manipulation a mile away!

We also both know that all this talk about you doing more for him and the fact that he feels that you should WANT to do more for him is not right!!

Do you make these kinds of demands? Of course not!

Manipulative people are usually very clever and are capable of running mental and emotional rings around their partner. I can hear your frustration and confusion because you know deep down that how he's behaving is not right ...or fair, but I think that you are finding it difficult to believe that he would behave such a way on purpose.

I don't! In my opinion he knows totally that how he is behaving is wrong but he doesn't care because he cares much more about making you the obedient and submissive one in this relationship.

His aim is to get you used to doing whatever needs to be done, using his pathetic excuses as the reason.

Everyone who has read your post agrees that his behaviour is not acceptable. What I would like to add is that OF COURSE he knows that what he's doing is wrong and he's watching you getting into a lather wondering how you're going to deal with it. So far you've stood your ground pretty well and he has a bit of a fight on his hands. So he's upped the ante and told you that if he doesn't get a job by the time the present job has finished then he will do a job that you both know will more than likely leave you being the sole breadwinner. How much pressure do you feel now to sort his resume out? And try to find him a job?

I bet that even if you play into his hands and sort it all out that he will find a reason not to play along.

How do I know?

Because I have been there. In relationships where I was trusting and manipulated and controlled. The fact that he is telling you now how you should feel is the BIG red flag. That you should WANT to do things for him.

People who love their partner do NOT behave in this way. You know that but you are confused because you think that he only wants the best for you so his behaviour doesn't make sense to you.

It makes sense to me because I can see exactly what his game is.

I'm sorry to say that if you stay with him, you will only feel like this more and more.

I believe that he is abusive and that all this is just the beginning. Abusive men want to call the shots. He is training you at present to get used to that. You know that something isn't right that's why you've come here for help. Well let me try to help you.

He is not good news. Abuse has manipulation and control at it's core. I don't know how bad he will be, but this is just the start.

Please read books about abuse and I promise you that you will either already recognize the behaviours written in the books or that it won't be long before you do.

One of my abusive partners always wanted me next to him and so he would do exactly what you're boyfriend is doing and make everything a joint project. Appointments, insurance, decisions (although that was pretend because it became his way or nothing. He would pretend to take my wishes into consideration and then do the very opposite and say he was mistaken about what I wanted or just plain old get very angry to deflect attention away from what I was saying). If you stay with him you will recognize what I'm talking about.

You may well recognize it already. The best book I have read about abuse is called 'Why Does He Do That?' by Professor Lundy Bancroft. If you read it I believe it will tell you all you need to know about your boyfriend.

Good luck and I hope you get the help you need x

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A male reader, Riot2017 Mexico +, writes (9 August 2017):

You just got your answer here:

"He has said that if he doesn't find a job before were let go that he wants to stream video games and possibly earn income that way."

Your BF is not doing enough effort to get hired, because he is sabotaging himself for failure. What he really wants to do is the streaming thing, which is a really bad idea if you aren't a PRO gamer and if you don't have fans.

I've known guys that went that route, and ended up loosing money.

I think he needs to move his feet and pull his own weight because you can't carry all the financial burden of maintaining a household.

Yes, woman can be the bread winners nowadays, but that's not an excuse for him not to work.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (9 August 2017):

Honeypie agony auntSorry OP,

EDIT

I wrote:

It would be fair for YOU to take on the WHOLE burden of an income while HE gets to "play" games online hoping to make money.

It should have read:

It wouldn't be fair for YOU to take on the WHOLE burden of an income while HE gets to "play" games online hoping to make money.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (9 August 2017):

Honeypie agony auntRelationships are ideally 50/50 (or 100/100) but in reality, it's hard to compare and make everything "even".

I do think though, that BOTH people in the relationship should contribute in whatever form they can.

It's about finding a groove or balance that works for both. I would suggest you talk to your BF about the streaming. That he should consider AT LEAST a part time job. I think you should bring up that YOU do not want to be SOLELY responsible for paying all the bills and that he LIKELY won't bring in enough (to be honest) until his channel is established and THAT can take time. It would be fair for YOU to take on the WHOLE burden of an income while HE gets to "play" games online hoping to make money. Seriously. There are WAY more gamers out there NOT making much at all than there are games making good money from it. And there are a lot of gamers TRYING to make a go at this. So there will be a LOT of competition in a narrow market.

If at some point it FEELS more like he is taking you for granted (and it does sound that that is how you feel) then you have to figure out how to have that discussion and what you ultimately want to see happen and if it doesn't... then what?

FYI, my husband refuses to do dishes as well (in 20 years together he has done them MAYBE a handful of times) but he will clean the toilet (which I hate). It's all about balance.

I get that it can't be comfortable doing dishes if it aggravates his eczema - so I would BUY those gloves for the times when he will have to SUCK it up. Or agree that if YOU do the dishes he does XYZ. Find that balance.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (9 August 2017):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hello everyone,

Judgekick, our company laid both of us off due to "workforce reduction". Although my position was higher than his, tenure was used to determine who would stay and we both were new. His work ethic was fine.

However, he says he will start looking at the jobs I've sent him, but keeps stating his resume needs work, and then nothing happens after that. He has said that if he doesn't find a job before were let go that he wants to stream video games and possibly earn income that way. While I don't think the income would be enough to sustain a household, I'm nervous I'll have a job sooner than him because I looked immediately for jobs.

Regarding the depression, we both have it. I've been seeing a therapist for my anxiety and depression and am looking for a psychiatrist I gel with for a new stab at meds. He on the other hand knows he needs the help, but has excused not going because he couldn't afford the copay on a regular basis, which I then offered to pay for the first visit. Another thing that he is gingerly agreeing too but with no push to look into.

I know these days a woman can be the primary earner, but its hard separating the old school thoughts of my mother telling me he needs to do more because he's a man, and the reality of today that women are earning more. I partly feel selfish for wishing that he made enough that I could take a break and chill or write or do whatever.

I feel like if he reciprocated what I do for him, then it wouldn't feel tit for tat and I wouldn't feel so smothered by the effort I give versus what he gives. Even lil things like if I go somewhere and get myself food, hell complain that I didn't get him food too. Ummmm but he can't do that for me, and even if he were to traverse for the food I would prolly be the one paying for my portion or both.

When I imagine love, its not me feeling like this. I imagine feeling g liberated, floating on the euphoria of having a partner that completed me, but often I feel he can make some of his problems my problems, and I can't do that to him. If I were not able to work or support the house, what would happen. Would he be more engaged with challenging his comfort aNd doing work outside of his bubble of wants? If we had a kid and he was the stay at home dad, would he actually do the dishes and cook or would that be another task on my daily list (He's already asked to not to do dishes because he hates it And it flares his eczama, despite my offer to get him gloves ..) I'm trying not to get ahead of myself and think the worse, but my depression thrives on these doubts.

I think in an ideal world love sound have no bounds, but when the scales aren't equal and the weight is uneven, then boundaries can help even the situation. I don't want to be touted as evil or offensive in preserving my peace.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (9 August 2017):

Honeypie agony auntSplitting chores are reasonable. So if you are both not working, it should easily be a 50/50.

Him thinking that because you have ovaries you should cook for him, it's an outdated look at relationships.

If you already take care of the larger share of the costs and help out at home... on top of that is expected to "do" things for him? How does that make it an equal relationship?

I don't agree with Judgedick that you shouldn't have boundaries in a relationship, I think you NEED them in all aspects of life. In some instances, they are more "fluid" that others all depending on the people IN that particular friendship/relationship. Though a relationship should NOT be tit for tat it shouldn't rest solely on one person.

Ultimately you two have to find a balance. And you have to learn how to discuss things you want to change and do better at, that includes listening to each other but also have boundaries.

He has to accept that you ARE allowed to say no to things, just like he is. As well at "doing" things for each other, that should be YOUR choice as to what and when - not him telling you. (same for him).

As for the depression part of the story. Is he getting help with that? If not, why not? I do think people with depression have a harder time getting the ball rolling.

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A male reader, judgedick France +, writes (9 August 2017):

judgedick agony auntyour love should have no boundaries, you should give your love with out counting the cost as long as the other person is doing the same, in one part of your relationship he can be good like if he is good at DIY and if you are good at doing this it balances out over time,

it only becomes a problem if he is not looking to get a job and is happy for you to do all of being the bread winner and then come home to a couch potato, some BF can be very good at doing what was once seen as the woman's role with the woman going out to work and he keeping the house and kids,

as I am not taking sides here, I don't know the other sides of your life together and it is only something you can judge, the big question here is why is he not able keep a job, Is he unlucky are not putting the work in to show his employers that he is worth keeping and show that extra does he only do the minimum at home and at work?

Sorry for answering your question with a question.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (9 August 2017):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Now he has argued why I'm quick to help friends and not give push back; to my defense my friends don't need my help often with tasks, also if help is needed, it is always reciprocated. There's a balance, and I feel like I am doing everything. I know there are things he helps me with, but I'm supporting the house, cars, phones and us financially. I know his depression is partly rooted in that he can't help or provide for me fiscally, but at the same time I feel he can do more to not make me feel like I'm alone in things. Additionally he also has a desire for us to go to doctor and dental visits together or back to back; this I also think is weird. Its not the first time I've been told he wants a mom in a gf. Even with cooking hes starting to cook more but often moans that he'd like if I cooked him more for him, or should want to do things for him. Were on different diets and I barely want to Cook, let alone for myself, but for him too? Sorry for ranting.

I come here just to confirm if I'm crazy for feeling how I'm feeling. he makes me feel crazy at times but in love at others.

Ultimately, I will need to speak with him further on what we both define love as.

I don't want to feel cold and heartless, I just want him to understand. I don't think my explanation was so harsh for him to have drawn offense, thank you for your feedback.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (9 August 2017):

Honeypie agony auntWho is right?

Well, I think YOU are right in saying, it's TIME you get off your ass and DO the work yourself. It isn't your responsibility to do this for him. If you have already helped him twice he should have paid attention and figured out how to do it for himself. And seriously? How hard is it to do a resume?

I'm all for helping and supporting your partner, but you are not his mom.

My guess is, he wants you to DO all the work and him to not have to bother.

I say stick to your guns.

I will also venture a guess that he will love to BLAME you for not having gotten a job yet....

My 15 year old have gotten her first summer job. She filled everything out herself, SHE set up her interview and tests. So if SHE can do all that with NO experience, HE can update a resume and apply for jobs. Come on!

The only way HE can gain some independence and experience is by DOING things not have YOU or his mom do it for him.

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