He's Not There for Me

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
My boyfriend and I have been together almost three years. Lately we have had some bad fights. The fights usually start when he doesn't come home when he says he will. When we fight he will try to put the focus on me and all the things I do wrong in the relationship. I get the feeling that he lied to me about what initially started the fight and he is trying to change the focus to me. But I can never tell if he is lying to me. When we fight I always end up apologizing, and he treats me like I am wrong to even get mad when he did "nothing wrong".

Here's an example of what he has done: the other night I had a bad day at work, I talked to him on the phone and he said he would see me when I got home. I left work and called and got no answer, then he called me back and told me he was going to stay at the bar and finish watching the football game. I got mad and said "I'll see you whenever", then he said "bye" very abruptly, and so I told him "I love you" and he said "I love you too", because I was mad I replied "yah fucking right" and hung up. I realized I shouldn't have said that after the fact. Well he came home and I apologized for my remark.

He then told me he was going our neighborhood bar, to meet a friend to give him something and he will be home soon. I told him to hurry back because I really needed some T.L.C. Two hours later he gets home, I am an emotional wreck by then. I ask him why he didn't call he said his phone died, and I know there were phones there. He said to call his friend if I didn't believe him so I did. His friend told me he was sorry to keep my man for so long, but this guy is a total drug addict and I don't know if I could believe him anyway. So anyway we fought for the rest of that night.

I don't know if he is cheating or doing drugs or if I am just paranoid. Please help!!!!

RomanceClass.com Advice
First off, fighting is BAD BAD BAD. I know they do it on MTV and dramas all the time but in a real, strong relationship there should not be fights. There can be discussions, and even discussions that get broken up into several days or weeks. But the moment you start yelling and raising your voice you have lost your respect for the other person. You are saying "the only way I can get you to agree with me is to intimidate you."

So first, the next time you get into a discussion, if EITHER of you raises your voice, take a break. Don't do it in a "You jerk! I'm leaving!" way. Do it in a "I cannot deal with this until we are more calm." way. Yes, it may seem really bizarre at first. But believe me, after a few times, it seems VERY normal and it is so, so much better to talk about things without having to deal with the yelling.

OK. So now the problem. In the end it does not matter WHAT he is doing when he is letting you down. I have to think that 'hiding from you / drinking' is the most likely reason. The issue is that he IS letting you down. And any time he is faced with dealing with the yelling, he stays away more. And then you yell more and it sort of perpetuates itself. And then he gets defensive because he doesn't like the yelling any more than you do.

So sit down and have a talk - I have some advice here on that -


Tell him that you know the yelling hurts you both and that going forward you promise not to yell or to let yelling happen. He should agree with this I imagine. Then tell him it's important to you that your relationship be one you can depend on. That it makes you upset when you rely on him for something, and he then lets you down. Don't say it in a "you jerk you let me down" say - say it in a "I need support at times and I turn to you because I love you". He will probably say that he'll work harder at being there for you.

OK you have the groundwork laid. Now also have at least one or two other friends who you care about in your life. This guy should NEVER be the sole person in your life!! You should always have friends too. So the next time something happens, call your guy first. Ask him for support. Give him time. If he does NOT show up and vanishes, then call a friend and go out with the friend for the evening. You deserve your support, and if your boyfriend cannot supply it, you deserve to have a friend do so. Leave a note for your boyfriend.

Either your boyfriend will make more of an effort to be a real part of your life, or if he does not, you will wean yourself off him when you realize that he is not dependable. Either way, it should NOT involve yelling and it SHOULD involve you having other friends as part of your support group.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com

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