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The Pros, The Cons & Now Your Point of View, Please?

By February 25, 2010 - 12:09pm
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I have a boyfriend who is incredibly talented, original, funny guy who is always different and challenging. He's also loyal and honest, which I value greatly.

However, he's kinda got a bad character. being a funny guy is great but it seems he can't be serious when I need him to be (i.e. even when he compliments me he'll say "yoooou're preeeeetty, ladyyy" in a joking tone when every once in a while I'd like to have someone look me in the eye and genuinely ay "god your gorgeous"). He's often moody and critical (of everything in general!), he can have a temper (hello, unending arguments and nasty words!), and his life philosophy is pretty much that he won't commit to anything in the future - whether it's a week, a day or a month - because who knows how he may feel THAT particular day? If he commits to comething now, he may not want to do it when that day rolls around - so making plans are difficult!

Sometimes it's really hard to weigh the pros and cons and I wonder whether I should stick it out. I love him, and I want it to work. But I'm also no idiot, I know people don't change, and I will have to deal with his bad moods and his "peculiar" lifestyle for the rest of my life if I stay - and that can be a depressing thought.

I know people are not perfect. And I also know that I won't meet someone who pushes my GOOD buttons as much as he does, ever. But I've rarely met anyone who's got this much bad as well as this much good in them, and it's really difficult to get my head wrapped around a decision.

He has a ton of pros in that:
- He is talented, smart, independant (owns his own business)
- Never interferes with my "girl time" (is not possessive or selfish at all)
- He is trustworthy
- Has a sense of humour
- Supports my goals
- Gets along with my family
- He's not cheap
- He's social

But at the same time, there are a ton of cons, such as:
- Sexually selfish (I have communicated this a hundred times - he'll change ways for a week and go back to how things have always been...)
- Takes steps backwards in our relationship (we lived together for a year and a half, then moved back into our own apartments because we just couldn't make it work - faught too much, etc.)
- Never talks about the future
- Hard to talk to
- Doesn't communicate his wants/needs
- Not passionate/no romance
- Doesn't plan date nights
- Doesn't like to makeout (which I love!)
- Doesn't like my friends (will tolerate them, but makes comments...)
- Doesn't value family the same
- Poor conflict resolution

And the biggest con of all: we can't go out together. We can't go celebrate things together like marriages and birthdays, etc because every alcohol is involved we fight. And he will pick fights in public - most recently picked a fight with me infront of friends of mine that he was meeting for the first time -- not so cool! This is an ongoing problem for us. We get along fine when sitting on the couch at home but fight whenever we go out.

Would you stay with the impossible, annoying love of your life, or would you spare yourself the trouble and hope to find someone who sure will never compare, but will at least never make you want to pull your hair out?

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Hi ElleJay

Just to add to the great advice already given - your boyfriend sounds like a very free spirit (this can also mean very self-centered, however) and you sound like more of a pragmatist. This can be a tough combination!

I dated a couple of guys who were also into that jokey "yoooou're preeeeetty, ladyyy" stuff and I'm glad to see someone else finds it as irritating as me! Heaven forbid that they'd act like men, right? The boyish charm thing can only go so far.

From a practical point of view - if there are more cons that pros, you want want to reevaluate the relationship. He has so many cons, it's amazing you are still together! Everyone has cons - we all have our weaknesses and failures, but many of his cons are pretty serious.

I don't see many "deal-breakers" however. There doesn't seem to be what I call "the A's" - abuse, addictions, adultery..." but even so, selfish sex, lack of communication, no talk of the future and stepping back in your relationship rather than stepping forward are warning signs of wanting Ms Right Now, instead of Ms Right.

His "pros" are pretty wonderful, especially if they outshine all the bad stuff. But I don't think you'd be writing to us if they were.

The problem is that we have no idea of what's going on in his mind. I'd like you to try an exercise for me, if you can.

You know him and you care for him. So be him, for a few minutes. Write out his pro and con list for you. For your relationship. Do things match? Are they vastly different? Are there are many, in each group? What would he say about things?

I think you sound like a very intelligent, rational, intuitive and kind young woman! No fool are you!

So as best you can, step into his shoes. Be honest. Try to see through his eyes. It's too hard to give you relationship advice when we only have one side. Our advice is therefore completely one-sided. To help you more, we need both sides. Even better, see if he could write down his thoughts about the relationship so we can hear directly from him!

Give it a shot, it can't hurt!

I look forward to hearing more from you. It's always good to hear from smart young women - but we need to hear a bit from her man, too! This way, both sides can become whole.

February 26, 2010 - 12:27pm


I agree with Alison -- you have done some wonderful soul-searching here. I'm curious -- did writing it all out make you feel any differently about it? Sometimes just the act of writing/typing and seeing it all in print can affect how we feel about a situation. We seem to see it differently in black and white.

Nobody is perfect. We all have baggage, and we each have our individual strengths and weaknesses.

That said, longterm love is partly about compromise. And what I see in your lists of pros and cons is this: You compromiseg for him, but he does not compromise for you.

The list of pros for him are attributes he was born or raised to have: intelligence, honesty, loyalty, independence, originality, humor, a lack of possessiveness, etc. They are just the way he IS. They are not things he had to WORK AT.

But the list of cons for him basically shows me that he doesn't care to change, for you (or probably anyone else). He doesn't like to WORK AT things. Things that you list can be learned if someone wants to. A person can learn to be easier to talk to. A person can learn how to give a genuine compliment. A person can learn to do things for another person to make them happy -- whether it's to occasionally plan a date night or to try to be less sexually selfish. And that person's efforts should last more than a week.

This is a man who is so rigid in who he is that he feels no reason to change. It has done him well in the past -- he has a successful business, and he has had you. But why can he be original in his business and yet stay in a personality rut with you? How can he be smart if he doesn't look around himself and see that there are other people who do things differently and who are happy? Part of "being smart" is the ability to learn and grow when you learn your weaknesses. He may be smart, but he's not wise.

The fact that the two of you couldn't live together is pretty huge for me in terms of seeing the future. Living together strips away a lot of the illusions -- we see each other's faults, we pay bills, we run out of toilet paper, we fight over the remote -- or over how children should be raised, or politics, or money. It's a really good test of how it would be if you were married.

I am very interested in what you said about how you fight when alcohol is involved. Does he drink too much in general? Is this a factor for you? (If he does, it should be, because you are right, people just don't change unless THEY want to.)

So, in summary, I see you compromising your life, and him basically getting away with his bad behaviors. He may be a guy who has a lot of natural, inborn gifts, but I don't see him using them with you. I feel that you are yearning for more in many ways. I'm afraid that if you stay with him in the long haul that you'll be unhappy and, even worse, resentful or angry over how you "settled." And then he won't seem like a love of your life at all.

It seems to me that all you want is a smart, honest, giving man who talks to you, is in touch with his feelings and loves you. I don't think that's too much to ask, ElleJay. I think YOU are smart, and thoughtful, and very in touch with what matters in life. Trust the instincts that tell you that you may not want to "deal with his bad moods and his "peculiar" lifestyle" for the rest of your life." Your intuition is there for a reason, you know?

February 26, 2010 - 10:19am

Hi ElleJay,
You have definitely gone through a great deal of thinking through your problem...that is great!

As an outsider, I see one big assumption that you are making, that may/may not be true:
- What if you DO find someone who compares to this current boyfriend, who actually has all of the Pros...plus some...and non of the Cons you listed?

Does that change your perception? If this assumption is correct...does it change your behavior or actions?

Of course, no one is perfect; every person will have their list of cons. What is important in any relationship is: are the cons that come along with this particular person something you can live with? Are your pros/cons and his pros/cons compatible with each other? What is important to you in a relationship in general that you are not willing to budge or compromise on?

February 25, 2010 - 1:15pm
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