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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I have a Mexican boyfriend living in the United States. I

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I have a Mexican boyfriend living in the United States. I am Canadian. I was living there with him until recently, I decided to leave because I realized it will be too difficult for us both to get green cards, probably at least 15 years. I tried to bring this issue up to him several times but he is avoiding doing anything about it. We are having some communication issues and lately some power struggles mostly because he 'doesn't want to do things all my way' and I feel that my needs are being abandoned, especially in terms of figuring out the immigration issue. Actually come to think of it whenever we have had arguments in the past, it has always been sort of a 'who gets their way' strugg.e Lately I told him that we have to go back to the beginning and start over with him pursuing me, instead of the other way around as I feel that I have put in more of an effort than he has to resolving our cross-border issues, by following him to the United States. He has told me that he would like to take some time to think about everything (including whether we are meant to be together as we had been fighting quite a lot before I left.) I have been doing a lot of reading and I feel that we fight because we are in a power struggle over me wanting to get things done and move forward, and him sort of rebelling against me and saying that he wants to do things his way (which he has no plans). He has also told me that he isn't the type of guy who will do just whatever his girlfriend says. Is there a way we can bring balance to this relationship where we make decisions together, especially with him now saying that he wants to take his time when that really hurts my feelings and if so how do we accomplish that? Am I the one controlling and driving the relationship or have I just been grasping at straws the whole time and how much does that have to do with this?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your questions.

It sounds like there might be a power struggle going on between you due to past issues on his part. You mentioned that your boyfriend told you that he is not the type of guy to just do whatever his girlfriend says. That indicates that he is resisting what you ask him to do based on his belief that a woman should not tell him what to do. People develop beliefs because of what they are taught as children. If your boyfriend was raised in a home where he was made to feel insecure and unsure of his role or he was taught that women should not be part of the decision making in a relationship, he may take on the belief that a woman or even another person cannot tell him what to do because he would appear weak if he listened to them.

In order to cope with what is going on with your boyfriend, you can try to reframe what you are asking him to do. Instead of telling him what you think should happen (though there is nothing wrong with doing that in general), you may want to try asking him what he thinks you both should do about the immigration. Getting his input allows him to decide the action which may in turn get you what you need.

However, if this power struggle continues, it may be a deeper issue than can be resolved just by changing how you ask him to do things. He would benefit from therapy to find out why he is resistant to working on issues with you. He may not be willing to try therapy (it may imply to him that he has issues and is "weak" triggering insecurity), but it is worth asking if he would try, just to help your relationship.

I hope this has helped you,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So it does not seem like I may be trying to 'control' him? If I am not and if it really is something he needs to give in on, then what can I do to get him to see that it does not feel like we are making this decision together, and how do we work towards making that decision together?

It does not appear from your description that you are trying to control him. This seems more to be about his own issues.

The only way to try to get him to make a decision with you is to ask him first what he thinks you both need to do about the immigration issue (or any other issue). If these issues he has are coming from his past, he will need therapy and insight to work through. Because it is a belief system he has, it is more complex than just getting him to change how you make decisions together. Until he recognizes that, asking him his opinion first is the only option you have to getting him to work with you.

TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you very much for the positive rating and bonus. I appreciate it!

My best to you and your boyfriend,

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