I have been with my boyfriend for about six years, and we recently bought a house together. Like any couple, we have our high and low points — but it seems like the extremes are getting out of whack. The high points are fantastic; he is sweet and caring. But then, usually immediately after we have a nice day together, he gets distant, immature and arrogant. This behavior makes me want to jump ship, and I have considered leaving him. It seems like we are getting too comfortable with this uncomfortable routine. How do I deal with this guy who is a knight in shining armor half the time and a dismissive man-child the rest of the time?
Over the Roller Coaster
Everyone likes a good ride now and then, but if this roller coaster has you careening to such high highs and low lows, you’re apt to get motion sick.
You mention that he often has “man-child” fits after a nice day together. Have you considered that he might be a person who needs doses of alone time to decompress after a stimulation-filled day? Some folks (sometimes known as “highly sensitive people”) simply need more quiet time to function. If you’ve been out and about for an entire day of fun, the solution to your problem might be to simply leave him alone for a couple hours. His need for alone time shouldn’t be taken personally — some people just need downtime to refuel.
Regardless of the cause, it’s clearly time for some serious communication with your boyfriend. I’m not sure whether you lived together before buying a house, but adding the stress of a mortgage payment to a relationship can be a catalyst for growing pains. During one of your happier moments, when he’s playing the role of Prince Charming, let him know that you’ve become acutely aware of a pattern of behavior in your relationship that you’d like to change. Don’t accuse him of being an arrogant man-child; rather, be clear that you want to work together to strengthen your relationship. Ask him what’s going on for him when he turns from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Ask him what he needs in those moments to feel loved and supported, and assess whether you can accommodate him. If you are generous and ask what you can do, he will likely feel more open and accommodating to your needs, too.
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