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Relationship Health Message Board

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Hi Emma, how are you doing? Have you made any decisions or talked with your BF since the last time you posted? Anyway, I'm sorry you're having a tough time and feeling so angry and frustrated with your guy...hopefully some of the advice you've received will help. I think you got excellent advice from a variety of perspectives that hopefully allows you to think about this from a more objective's so tough to try and deal with this kind of thing when you're so emotionally involved and invested. If you do want to try and make it work, I think you should think about Goody's advice carefully and follow it as closely as possible. As someone with chronic pain, I would absolutely love for my lover to treat me with such thoughtful, loving respect and concern. It's essential to me at this point that anyone I love accept my pain and be sensitive to the fact that I can't control it and many days, it's all I can do to make it through each minute of agony. Sometimes people who are dealing with pain and illness can become quite selfish just trying to get through the day feeling as good as possible, and those who love them need to try to be as patient as possible in remembering that being in a bad mood, being late, being short, not being able to do everything you want when you want it, etc. have nothing to do with you. You're not a consideration, let alone a motivation, for him when he does such things, as he is controlled and affected entirely by what his health and body allows him to handle. I hope this is making sense and coming out right...I'm not at all trying to say you haven't been sensitive and a huge help and source of support for your BF as he struggles with his illness. I'm sure you have been wonderful and caring and that he appreciates you being there for him...the thing is, no one with chronic illness wants to be dependent on anyone and the cruelest thing anyone can do to us is say, "I was there when you needed me, so you need to do exactly what I say now!" That is very hurtful and makes us feel like a terrible, unwelcome burden on those we love when we're only trying to do our best to survive one day at a time. I have to say, nothing your boyfriend is doing has seemed that malicious or that big of a deal--I can understand why you are frustrated and disappointed with him, but I can also understand why he's acting the way he is. My ex-boyfriend from high school used to treat me the same exact way when I was nagging him, ordering him around, telling him what he needed to do when, and yelling at him and getting angry whenever he didn't live up to my expectations. Looking back, quite frankly, I can see why he avoided me when possible and didn't seem very excited about hanging out together. If you want things to work out, I think you need to have a serious talk--not the one you were probably going to have last night in which you lectured and scolded him from the ways in which he let you down, disrespected you, and otherwise angered you, but one in which you express sensitivity and understanding for the incredibly unfair strain, both physically and emotionally, his condition constantly causes, one from which he can never escape.

I would suggest saying almost exactly what Goody advised, and making a concerted effort to change the way you view him and your relationship from now you really want to be mad at him all the time for relatively minor things and have him pull away, or do you want to be kind, understanding, and loving to each other and get as much possible happiness from your time together? How would you want him to treat you if you were the one suffering from his disease--to a certain extent, you can never really understand chronic pain until you go through it, but thinking about where the other person is coming from and trying to react accordingly is always beneficial in any relationship. Remember that he's not trying to make you mad when he lets you down or disappoints you--he's just trying to do the best he can, and it doesn't help his motivation to see you and please you when he knows you're likely to be angry and disappointed in him. You can't force a man to be with you, do what you want when you want it, and give you respect and affection; instead you must give HIM love, trust, kindness and respect so that he genuinely WANTS to treat you wonderfully. I learned the hard way in the past that nagging, yelling, and scolding is the absolute worst possible way to get a man to listen to you and go along with what you ask. I never cease to be amazed at how enthusiastically, gratefully, and happily men respond when I provide them with positive reinforcement such as compliments, physical affection, and gratitude--they'll be chomping at the bit to do me favors, take on chores, make romantic plans, etc. Positive gets positive, and negative gets really is that simple, and you would be amazed at how much more you can improve a relationship by being more loving and understanding than by being critical, disappointed, and stubborn. I wish you all the best, no matter what you decide, and truly hope things turn out the way you want. Good luck and take care...also please keep us posted!

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