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Ask Dr. Paige Your Own Question

Dr. Paige
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1427
Experience:  Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist
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I've been with my boyfriend few months now. He works 7 days

Customer Question

I've been with my boyfriend for a few months now. He works 7 days a week so its always me having to work with his schedule and there's no compromise in that department. I just deal with it. But my main issue is feeling like he's not appreciative of the things I do for him. He's told me twice that he would do better but I'm not seeing a change. This REALLY bugs me!!!! Makes me feel down. And it's so hard to discuss these things with him because the conversation always blows over into a full on argument. I just feel he doesn't care at all. What should I do?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 4 months ago.

Hello. Do you both live together or do you have your own place ? I ask because it might make it easier for you to back off a bit and do your own thing, make him call you or come to you when he wants to and his work schedule allows. It is a common complaint where one partner feels unappreciated in a relationship. Sometimes, the other person doesn't know how to show appreciation properly. Sometimes, they don't think about the other person as much as they should. I'm not sure how old you both are either, sometimes that has a lot to do with it as well. Is it possible for you to take a few steps back from the relationship and make him "work" for it ? What types of specific things can he do to make you feel appreciated ? Are you just looking for verbal acknowledgement ? Are you looking for some kind of actions from him ? Does he feel that what you want is too much for him to be able to do, or does he feel what you are asking is not important ? I know you said he said he would make a better effort and hasn't, so he must either have some sort of agreement that things need to be better, or do you think he is just telling you that to stop the argument ? It is still a young relationship, things should still be fresh and happy with both of you ! If you are able to back up a bit, not call him, not pursue him, see how he reacts to that. If he gets concerned about things, and starts making an effort to not lose you, you can go from there. Sometimes the verbal "threats" don't do much, but actions will. If he sees/feels you are serious about it, he may get scared about losing you and do something about it. He is the only one who is in control of his actions, but you can give him some room to make those decisions, you can evaluate your relationship based on his actions to your actions, if that makes sense.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
No we don't live together but he's at my place 4 times per week. We're both 29. To be honest, this situation makes me VERY uneasy and it bothers me a lot. Should I talk to him and let him know about my unhappiness and what I'm needing from the relationship? I just don't want things to blow up. I agree, maybe he doesn't know how to show appreciation.To make me feel appreciated he can say Thank you, ***** ***** you doing that, do something nice for me, bring me flowers... (which I've expressed to him on numerous occasions I love!) He seems to think he actually does a lot for me, which is far from the reality of the situation. I'm not sure if he thinks I want too much. He hasn't expressed that to me at all.I've been thinking of backing up a bit. But I think it may lead to us going our separate ways. I honestly feel he just doesn't care. We've had arguments and he's walked away and it was always me following after him to talk and get things back on track.
Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 4 months ago.

It sounds like he doesn't know what is required to be in a successful relationship and make it work. And it IS work. If he is walking away, not participating, etc.. it sounds like he just isn't ready for the actual commitment. He probably likes the idea of a relationship, but doesn't want to put in the effort. If you are afraid that by backing off, you will go your separate ways and that you are always the pursuer, what does that say to you about the foundation of the relationship ? If it can't survive something as basic as mutual respect, there is definitely a problem there. You can't make him act or behave a certain way, he has to be a grown up and take that responsibility. It's not just about him anymore, he needs to respect you. It doesn't sound like he is doing that and may not be willing to. If you back off of him and he ends up not doing anything about it, I'm sorry to say that it probably just isn't meant to be. You can't spend the rest of your relationship trying to change someone or having to force him to do things which someone who loves, cares and respects you should be doing without you saying a word. You deserve more than that.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
All I can do is have one last talk with him, give it a little more time while backing off a bit, and see what comes of it. If nothing does, I'll definitely have to move on.
Expert:  Dr. Paige replied 4 months ago.

I agree. Feel free to keep me posted and let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you further.

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