My bf has this duty-fulfilling aspect of his personality which means he often does things because he thinks he should rather than because he really wants to.
Lately, however, I’ve noticed a change in him and it strikes me that this goal is becoming increasingly irrelevant. He is making sure he gets enough quality time with himself to do his hobbies and projects and I suppose it helps that I am doing the same. It used to be that at the weekends we would spend every minute interacting with each other but now it feels very natural for us each to be doing our own thing.
And thankfully his family haven’t been making annoying demands on his time recently either (weddings, bar mitzvas…). I’m not sure if it’s because they’ve finally realized that he rather dislikes these events, or if it’s because nobody has got married or bar mitzva-ed lately… 6 years ago
I treasure the time I have to myself, sometimes wish I had more of it and often forget that my boyfriend has very little of this luxury in his life. He works long days and he spends his evenings and weekends in the company of other people, usually me. Sometimes I choose to spend time with him at the weekends when part of me would like to have some time alone. It only recently struck me that he probabaly feels this even more than I do. So it’s good reminder that if I want to take an hour or two here and there to do stuff for myself, I shouldn’t feel bad about it because it will also give him the chance to do his own thing. I know that he wants it and needs it but I expect that he’s torn between that and wanting us to spend time together. It’s my job to let him know it’s okay to do his own thing whenever he feels like it.
On a similar subject, he recently opened up to his mum a bit about how he sometimes feels emotionally blackmailed into doing stuff he doesn’t want to do. The subject wasn’t really resolved and his feeling seems to be that she’ll never change, but it makes me think that it’s always good for him to have opportunites to talk to his parents alone. Usually I’m around and it’s not always appropriate for them to discuss these things with a third party present. I might take to occasionally absenting myself from family get-togethers so that my boyfriend will be able to have more time alone with them. I have also mentioned to him a few times lately that it would be a good idea for him to just go out for a coffee with his mum or dad sometimes, partly because it’s just a nice thing to do and partly as an opportunity for them all to get stuff off their chests. 7 years ago
my boyfriend has been job-hunting. Every time the phone rang and he didn’t recognise the number, no matter if we were in the middle of eating dinner or if it was 10 o’clock at night, he would answer it; maybe it would be a job offer? Or someone phoning to organise an interview?
Now, I understand that when one is job-hunting one has to be receptive and available, but there are limits. Be available during working hours, yes, or if you’re expecting an important call, but not when you’re in the middle of dinner or if you’ve already gone to bed. The world won’t collapse if you don’t answer. They can call back or leave a message. I took to saying, “Don’t answer it,” every time the phone rang!
My attempts to help my boyfriend to guard his free time may not have been so successful during the job-hunting period but now that he’s actually started to work I’m really impressed at how well he’s restraining himself. I was expecting him to be working 12 hour days, talking on the phone with people from work in the evenings, etc etc, but he’s not. He’s been working a maximum of ten hours a day and even coming home for lunch. Yay! It just seems so much more healthy than working your arse off and getting tired and sick and stressed just because you think it’s expected of you. I don’t know if I’ve had anything to do with his balanced attitude. Probably not, but I’m glad of it all the same. 7 years ago
is related to another couple of goals to do with my relationship. I’ve been thinking about how our relationship can grow and develop and one way is to use the ways in which we are different to help each other and give strength where it is needed. This is another way in which I can be more assertive in the relationship too.
My relevant strength here is that I, in some ways, have better boundaries than my boyfriend. He has a strong sense of duty which sometimes leads to him doing things he doesn’t really want to do. I hate the idea of people ‘owing’ each other things: favours, love, whatever. I think that actions should be done out of love, not because you think you’ll get something in return.
I think I can help my boyfriend to feel more balanced and happy (which will, in turn, be good for our relationship) by reminding him to say ‘no’ sometimes. He’s quite good at saying no to friends if he doesn’t feel like seeing them, but it would be good if he protected his own time more, allowed himself to have time off for himself, didn’t allow himself to be emotionally blackmailed by his mum, didn’t feel the need to answer the phone every time it was work-related (even at ungodly hours).
If I feel like his sense of obligation is getting in the way of his true desires (and sanity) I will try and help him maintain strong boundaries and say ‘no’ when necessary. 7 years ago