Isn’t it wonderful when you meet that guy you have great chemistry with, can banter back and forth for hours with, and who you’re ridiculously attracted to? He makes you laugh, he gets along with your friends, and you can always be yourself with him. He’s pretty much perfect and exactly what you’re looking for and you feel lucky to be dating a guy you’re so well-matched with. There’s just one small problem: he’s still trying to get his act together, metaporically speaking, in life.
Maybe he just moved back in with his parents to pay off some debt, is between jobs and thinking of going back to school, or he’s coming out of a rough patch in life and trying to find himself. Whatever his situation, it’s going to take a toll on your relationship with him. While not a dealbreaker, you’ll definitely deal with these challenges and more:
It’s exhausting. Being a 24/7 cheerleader and life coach takes a lot out of you. While you want to be there for your man, it’s difficult to always be the one to pull him out of a dark hole. You’ll always be thinking of new ways to cheer him up, you’ll spend hours talking through his next steps and you’ll have to think of new ways to motivate him to reach his goals. Of course you don’t mind being there for him because you know he’d do the same for you, but it’s not going to be easy.
It holds you back. Constantly encouraging someone else to reach their full potential will often distract you from reaching yours. If you’re fulfilled in your career, financially stable, and your head is at a good place, you’re in the perfect position to move forward. But when your partner isn’t quite there, it may be hard to take the next steps. How can you travel the world with him if he’s still paying off debt? Maybe you want to move to a new city, but his head isn’t in the right place for another big change. It’s challenging, for sure.
It becomes your problem. When you’re in a committed partnership, you share setbacks in the same way that you share accomplishments. His problem ultimately becomes your problem. You’ll be so invested in his issues that it starts to feel like they’re yours.
You feel more like a mom than a girlfriend. No one wants to be that girl — the one who’s constantly on her boyfriend’s case about getting his life together. You’ll start lecturing him when he makes foolish purchases, sending him job postings you think he’d be interested in, nagging him about applying for jobs, reminding him of deadlines, and giving him advice about next steps. You’ll become more of a parent figure and life coach than a girlfriend. Before you know it, you’re taking on a role you never signed up for and your needs as a girlfriend start to be neglected.
You feel like your own life isn’t together. You could have the ideal career, be more than comfortable financially, and full of ambitious goals that you’re well on your way to accomplishing. But when your partner isn’t quite there, you can start to feel like your own life isn’t on track. Sure, you’re an independent person from your significant other, but you’re also a team. And when one team member isn’t pulling their weight, it can bring down the entire team.
He can’t afford to do things with you. You may have to give things up like that new fancy restaurant you’ve been meaning to try or that three month backpacking trip on your bucket list. Sure, you can do things on your own, but these are the kinds of things you’d love to experience with your significant other. In the midst of a transitional phase, however, this may not be possible.
You’re embarrassed. You’re always going to dread the family dinners when your aunt asks you what your boyfriend does and you have to come up with some dodgy response like, “He’s between a few different projects,” because you don’t want to tell her that he’s out of a job, in major debt, and has no idea what his next move is. You’ll find yourself constantly defending him and making excuses for him in order to avoid the judgement you know is coming when you explain his situation.
You have to support him 24/7.Be it financially or emotionally, it’s not going to be ideal for you. Though you love the hell out of him and you’d do it for him 100 times over, that doesn’t mean there won’t be times where it just downright sucks.
It gives you anxiety. You’re always going to worry about when he’ll get his act together. You’ll be anxious about when he’s going to find another job, how long he’s going to be so negative, and if he’ll ever pull through. You’ll often stress about how you guys are going to pay rent, when things will get better, and how much more you can take. No matter how together your own life is, you can’t escape the anxiety that comes from having a partner who isn’t quite there yet.
It turns you into someone you don’t want to be. Let’s face it — being with someone who’s trying to get his life together is hard work. It’ll leave you frustrated, it’ll take a toll on your relationship, and it will take a lot out of you. Suddenly you’re fighting about stupid things, you’re becoming a nag, you’re impatient, and you’re dragging your own heels out of bed wondering when things will start to look up for your man. At the end of the day, you realize that you’re spending so much energy trying to get your man back on track that you’re no longer being the best version of yourself.