My boyfriend and I have been together for 18 months. Things are good, however, we have trouble communicating. I feel he doesnt' understand where I'm coming from, and when I explain myself, I feel as he is not listening or not trying to understand or telling me that I'm wrong. I'm worried about the decisions he is making in his life. I feel like they will hurt him in the long run, really badly. Recently he was deported back to Canada, and I felt like I could have prevented this, but he just wouldn't take my advice. He has a hard time expressing his feelings. I feel he has anger management issues. He has not told me that he loves me. For some reason, he has a hard time expressing his feelings. As a girl, I want to hear he loves me. I know he does, but for some reason, he is just not ready to express himself to me. He says he's not ready. He has not had the best childhood and I know he feels that his parents have neglected him. I'm getting close to his mom and she also is worried about him. She tells me that I have to fix this and have him not treat or speak to me the way he does. I love him and I can't let him go. I know deep down he needs me. I feel like he's lost and doesn't know what road to travel on. He feels like he has lost his independence since he moved back to Canada and is now living with his parents. I visit him every 2 weeks. There are just so many details that I need to discuss and I'm hoping this is the place to do so. I need advice, because I want this relationship to work. If we can't solve our communication issues now, we will have a lot of trouble if we get married some day. Please help...
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Hi,Hi, I'm Dr. Jackie, and I'm here to help. I'm sorry I missed you online, but I can get back into chat if you would like that. Also, I ask that you not rate this until we are finished. I definitely want you to be satisfied with my answer before you hit "ACCEPT" to pay or write the feedback. I will try to address as many concerns as possible in the following paragraphs.1) First, I commend you on seeking advice. It is often hard to do so (as evidenced by your relational partner). But all of us could use direction and advice at different points in our life. :-)2) I am concerned when you say that he "just wouldn't take advice" from you. A relationship is built on communication; communication is a 2-way street. If he is not considering your communication now, what makes you think this will change once you get married? If things don't change now, a piece of paper (marriage certificate) won't make it happen.3) The fact that you suspect he has anger issues and he won't express things--especially telling you he loves you, is a serious concern I have. Again, without intervention, a marriage certificate is not going to suddenly change him. I know I don't know him, but based on what you have shared, I believe he needs therapy. It is extremely difficult to change by oneself. Professional help--counseling/therapy is suggested to help. Plus, he has to WANT to change; from what you have said, he does not indicate wanting to change.4) Deep-routed issues like childhood neglect or abandonment are not easily forgotten overnight. He will need therapy; you can not "love him enough" to help him. I know you want to. I know his mom wants you to. But the botXXXXX XXXXXne is that only a trained professional can help him, and he can only improve if he WANTS help. That is the first step. Do you know how many abused women I have talked to who have thought the same thing--that if they just LOVED the abuser enough, he would stop? It's always the same outcome: abusers continue to repeat the cycle until outside intervention of some type (the girlfriend or spouse leaving, he gets professional help, etc.) comes into the picture. And unfortunately, this rarely happens. The cycle of abuse continues on and on until it is broken--almost always through therapy. I am guessing you do not consider your boyfriend's behavior as abusive although at this point with limited information, I am inclined to think of it as abusive, not physically, but emotionally. Not listening to you or taking your advice--that isn't a sign of a healthy relationship.5) Fifth, this sentence concerns me: "I love him and I can't let him go. I know deep down he needs me. I feel like he's lost and doesn't know what road to travel on. " Love is a beautiful thing not bound by "control" or "need." If you are unwilling to let him go, even if that is the best outcome temporarily or permanently, then you are basically saying that you are only willing to help him so long as it doesn't mean you need to leave the picture temporarily or permanently. Again, this concerns me greatly. This is not a healthy attitude. If he is "lost" and of course has childhood issues, more than anything he needs therapy/counseling by a professional. This may mean time away from you----if he is WILLING to get help. From what you have shared, I have my doubts.The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that right now, from what you have shared, I view this relationship as unhealthy. It's full of emotional abuse and has an unequal distribution of control.I would love to talk more with you if you are willing to and think this has helped. Please let me know.Best,==Dr. Jackie
I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.