Stop Raising Your Boyfriend—He Should Be Your Equal, Not Your Child

He’s charming and funny and just a good time kind of guy. He can be a little tough to nail down, but it’s just part of his spontaneity. It’s easy to get pulled in and then all of a sudden you’re taking care of him and you don’t even notice. Are you raising your boyfriend instead of dating him? Let’s find out.

He talks a good game but has no follow-through. It might seem like a smooth-talker has it all together but that isn’t always the case. When a guy doesn’t care, it’s easy to be relaxed—and bear in mind, a guy like this has probably been in and out of relationships constantly since high school, so he’s had plenty of practice. The failure-to-launch guy is often very charming because he knows exactly what to say to get what he wants without the concern about any responsibility. After all, he knows if it gets to be too much, he’ll just drop it like he’s always done.

You support him financially. If your guy is unemployed or underemployed, it might be time to figure out why. We all know the economy right now is tough, but unless you got insanely lucky out of high school or college, you worked to get where you are. A relationship should be 50/50 on all fronts—don’t let him front just because he’s lazy.

He thinks jobs he doesn’t have aren’t good enough for him. If he is looking for a job, check out what he says about jobs he doesn’t get or won’t apply for. Does he trash talk them because they’re below his skills or experience? Maybe they are, but when you’re unemployed for long periods of time, you don’t have the room to talk crap about a job you can’t get.

You make all the plans. It might seem like independence and for the very opinionated, this can be a good thing. Still, you shouldn’t be the one to reach out all the time. Like I said, it needs to be 50/50. Maybe you’re the picky type and you want to decide where you go every time. That’s fine, but you still shouldn’t be the only one extending the invite.

He snaps at tiny things. This can often come as a surprise for the woman dating a man-child. He always seems so carefree and relaxed. Turns out, this is often because he has no actual responsibilities. But he can make a speedy 180 when he finally does have something to take care of – whether it be house chores, work, or even a pet. If he seemed really laid back and then all of a sudden he snaps at the smallest things, it might deserve a deeper look.

He says mean things to you every time you fight. Couples fight; it’s a fact of life. Even if you and your guy argue, I don’t care how angry he is or how wrong you might be, your partner should never be mean to you.  A man who can’t control his emotions in a fight enough to not be a total jerk doesn’t deserve to be with you, period.

His roommates hate him—and they might be his parents. This has changed a bit in recent years with the economy, so make a judgment call with this one. I mean, if your boyfriend is in his 30s and still living with Mom and Pop, there should be questions. If your guy does have roommates who aren’t his parents, take a look at how they interact with him. If they’re reasonably put-together guys and they nag him or seem irritated with him a lot, it might be because he isn’t pulling his own weight. Alternately, if his roommates are deadbeats and they all get along great, I recommend running far from him and also his equally grody friends.

His room is a mess and so is the rest of his stuff. A man who can’t take care of himself isn’t going to take care of his stuff either. That can include his car, his clothes, the place he lives, you name it. This is where women often get the job of helping the significant other clean up. That can be a nice thing to do every now and then for your S.O. but it should be a rarity, not a part of your daily to-dos. He’s an adult and should be able to do his own laundry—and yes, that includes folding it.

He’s stumbled into his path in life so far. Not all of these guys are living in their parents’ basement playing video games all day. Some of them have decent jobs or a nice place but they probably don’t know how they got there and they may not have plans for where to go next. If your guy has no career or personal goals, he’s probably not going anywhere.

He puts everything off—talking, cleaning, getting a job, you name it. We all procrastinate, especially once you hit “adulthood” and you have to start doing 10 times more crap you never even knew you wouldn’t want to be doing. But if he puts off even small things like figuring out where to have dinner or moving his sweatshirt off the floor, it’s probably because he doesn’t care. Be honest, you know he isn’t busy, he’s just procrastinating until you forget what you asked him to do.

You frequently make excuses to your friends for his behavior. This is where your friends will start to call you out on things hopefully. If you find yourself making excuses for why he’s not with you, how he forgot your birthday or persuading your friends that he’s so close to getting that new job, stop. You are his partner, not his mom. If this is you, please kick him out of your nest because you’re much better off single.

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