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Ask A Dude: I’ve Got a Bad Boyfriend

[Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of getting the pity-eyes as you sift through the Self-Help section at your campus bookstore? Over wondering what those boys are thinking?  We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question (Why did he do a total 180??) over to askthedude@collegecandy.com. The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time.  So bring it on, ladies.]

Dear Dude,
I have been with my boyfriend for over 6 months now.  At the beginning, we were both very happy.  But lately, I am miserable.  He goes through random bouts of being depressed about everything, and then short spouts of being extremely pumped and into life.  I love the latter.

The thing that bothers me most, is he never acts pumped about me or into me anymore.  He acts like seeing me is a chore, and our nightly-before-bed phone calls are an obligation.  He always makes excuses to leave early, mentioning being tired, yet he has no problem staying out super late with his friends (or even going to see them right after me when he’s just told me he’s “exhausted”). I don’t even know if he’s really into the relationship or me anymore, but anytime I try to discuss a break or breaking up, he cries and says that’s not what he wants.

He also never defends me.  We had a mutual friend that would “jokingly” get physical with me, and he would stand by and watch it happen.  Yet, if I tried to defend myself against this boy, my boyfriend would stop me and tell me I was being childish.  That’s just one example of many.

I’m so confused about this whole relationship.  Aren’t boyfriends supposed to protect their girlfriends and make them a priority?

Please help me, Dude.
-Wanna Give Up

Dear Wanna Give up,

You’ve been shot through the heart and it’s too late. Your man gives love a bad name (had that song stuck in my head for a WEEK! Damn you Bon Jovi and your elaborate made-to-look-messy hipster hair!)

It’s really easy for me to say dump his derriere. I’m only going on what you’ve given me. From all the neglectful and unappreciative treatment you’ve described he sounds like a head case. He doesn’t want to actually make the effort of being in a relationship but is also terrified of being alone.

First possibility: He’s an undiagnosed manic depressive.

There are lots of guys out there (ladies, too!) who aren’t capable of being an equal partner with someone but are too scared to be by themselves. These are the codependents. They don’t do anything to show you they care but they really don’t want you to leave them. Being afraid of being alone isn’t a good reason to be in a relationship! In fact, being able to be alone, be independent, and have that self-understanding, will make you a BETTER partner. A person who is comfortable being alone appreciates what they get in a girlfriend, is less likely to shove all of their baggage on his girlfriend to carry/fix, and isn’t going to demand his girlfriend make her life revolve around him. This guy doesn’t sound like he can be his own person. He sounds like he’s keeping you around for his personal needs and is ignoring yours.

Second possibility: He doesn’t know how to be a boyfriend.

There are fellas out there who are clueless when it comes to being a boyfriend.  They can’t communicate. They can’t show affection. They can’t share their lives with you or accept that you have your own life. It’s not necessarily that they’re bad people (although all actions might speak to contrary), but they’re simply ill-equipped emotionally to have an emotional connection. These guys have to learn and practice what it takes. If they’re unwilling though, like your man, then move on. The longer you wait for him to change, the more crap will be piled on you, the more miserable you’ll become, and the harder it’ll be to leave.

Third possibility: He’s a loser.

Maybe he’s an a-hole. Maybe he sucked you in with a schtick and has revealed the jackass behind the curtain.

Solutions: If number 1, then he’s got to get help. If he won’t get help, there’s not much you can do except continue to be an emotional punching bag. If number 2, then tell him what you need that he’s not giving you. If he proves (over weeks, not an hour) that he can change then yippee-ki-yay, mother*cker. If he doesn’t think he has to or is all empty promises, then move on. If number 3, kick him out the door and take a shower to wash off all of the douchebagginess.

Listen, everyone finds themselves in a relationship where the bad outweighs the good. You rationalize that because there’s been some good times-even great times- that maybe he’ll change. The chemistry’s there, isn’t it? The sex was amazing, right? So, if that was all there once, then it could happen again, couldn’t it? Maybe but probably not.

You’ve got to look at the situation for what it is and not what you want it to be. Before you make your final decision, ask yourself these questions: How does he treat you? How does he make you feel more often than not? Miserable or happy? Neglected or appreciated? Is he there for you or are you only there for him? If you’re honest with yourself and the answers aren’t to your liking, aren’t what you deserve from a man you let yourself be vulnerable with, then end it.

Yes, a boyfriend who cares about his girlfriend makes her a top priority in his life. He treats her with respect, he shows her he cares and knows how to receive being cared for. He appreciates her and lets her know it. He makes an effort to be there for her and trusts her to be there for him. Does this sound like your guy?

It’s your life, and it’s now or never,
Bon Dude

The DudeCOLLEGECANDY Writer
I'm a dude. I know dudes. And I'll share what I know with you. Just ask!