Carolyn from Mount Ephraim, New Jersey asks:
My boyfriend and I are at an impasse in our relationship of two years. He has a big problem with making plans with me and not following through with them. He has done this occasionally in the past, but the instances are now becoming more and more frequent. If he makes plans to get together over the weekend, he will build me up all week long, telling me he can’t wait to see me and then will switch everything around or cancel the plans at the last minute. There was nothing that came up – no emergencies to cause him to do this. He says he has always had a problem in past relationships with keeping plans. Needless to say, this has caused many fights, and I’ve let him know many times that this flaw is a major deal breaker for me. I don’t feel that I can trust him not to let me down, and I don’t feel like I have a comfort zone with him. I’m always waiting for the ball to drop, and it usually always does. We love each other very much, but how do I get him to stop doing this? I no longer believe any of the promises he makes. I can’t stand being treated like this. What is his problem?
Psychic Red ext. 9226 Responds:
I’m afraid that I have some very bad news. I don’t see an open avenue for you to be able to help, much less change, the pattern of broken plans and promises that shadows your relationship.
Your boyfriend, even though he does love you, really doesn’t understand what the big deal is. While he’s sincere when he’s making plans with you, and promising that they will come to pass, he is being sincere. However, the closer it gets to time to follow through–he’s primarily fixated on what works for him at that given point in time.
As he will admit, sometimes he’s just lazy. Other times, his plans with other friends take priority. There really isn’t any rhyme or reason to it, but it does boil down to his selfishness. Even though you guys are in a committed relationship, he doesn’t appreciate that commitment alone isn’t enough to keep things going–that it takes effort, too. He understands that you get upset with his breaking plans, but he’s also taking for granted that you’ll “get over it,” per incident, because that’s what you’ve always managed to do.
Your boyfriend believes he really isn’t any good at relationships, but rather than try steadfast to make changes, he sort of hides behind that excuse. In his way, even though he’s loyal, he is a commitment phobe. He does want and enjoys the security and benefits of being in a relationship, but is rather lax when it comes to the responsibilities.
You can fight with him over this until you’re blue in the face, but that isn’t going to change anything. There’s also no point in giving him ultimatums, unless you’re prepared to carry through with the threat. While he may not like the drama he’s been creating, that drama reconfirms to him your love. So, when you stop reacting and focus more on you and your life with family and friends, he’ll notice. If you decide that you want this relationship to continue, do so understanding that progress can be a slowly traveled road. While it may be a bit immature and manipulative, stop showing any excitement toward his potential plans of seeing you, and have other plans made to fill the void, and sometimes decline his invitations. Basically, start protecting and putting yourself first. In time, he will come to understand the mess that he’s made, and take steps to correct it. If he’s lucky, he’ll figure this out before you demote him from boyfriend to friend.
Do you have a question for Red? Ask Red your question now.