This Plus-One Is a Negative


I recently got invited to a friend’s wedding. My boyfriend, who agreed to go with me, suddenly dropped out at the last second. This infuriated me, as this has become a major problem in our relationship. I want to be with him, but how do I get him to grow up and be a more responsible person? He’s 23. -Stood Up

So what was his excuse: Sickness? Fatigue? A sudden, virulent allergy to Etta James’ “At Last”?

Clearly, if it’s become a major problem in your relationship, you must have a lot more examples. Behind every flake is a person struggling with something, such as disorganization or social anxiety or passive-aggressive anger. Maybe it’s an issue between the two of you, like a communication breakdown or an inability to jointly prioritize. Or, more ominously, this could represent a total disregard for your feelings. You have to talk to him about this, explaining your frequent disappointment and how tough it is when he lets you down. If he values your feelings and is motivated to improve your relationship, then together you can work on discovering what’s behind his behavior and come up with a plan to address it.

Sure, He’s Old, But Not Mature

I’m a 30-something woman very much interested in a 60-something man, but I expect him to treat me better. He’s always been welcome at my home, but when I ask to visit him, he has a dozen excuses (there’s too much security in his building and I’d have to sign in, etc.). He never takes me out or spends any money on me. The only time we see each other is a few times a month at my home. A part of me believes that he may be juggling many young women at once. I believe he’s truly unaware of how much unhappiness he’s bringing me. What should I do to get him to treat me like I want to be treated? -Frustrated With My Old Man

Admittedly, it doesn’t sound good. In fact, it sounds like a Lifetime movie.

You have to acknowledge what you’re looking for here. Romance? Attention? Commitment? Just some shrimp scampi? After you figure that out, you must determine the likelihood of getting it from him. (Don’t go on promises, but on his track record.) But expecting him to change is pretty unrealistic. He’s never once let you see his home? Sounds like a relationship that was over before it began.

Dr. Andrea Bonior writes Express' advice column, Baggage Check.
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Dr. Andrea Bonior | December 6, 2011