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Can't seem to accept my boyfriend for who he is


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So where to even start, I am a 25 year old female and my boyfriend is 26. We live together and have been together for over a year. I do admit we rushed the relationship but we lived in different cities so him moving to where I am was kind of exhilarating for him I guess you could say.

 

Our relationship was pretty great in the beginning, but what relationships aren't. First things first, I knew before we lived together that he drank/smoked, etc. All his friends do the same thing. I didn't seem to really care because we didn't live together and he wasn't doing those things around me. Fast forward to living together for a year and I get annoyed and frustrated by everything. He goes to visit his friends, or goes to grab a drink at the bar. I can't truly say I even know what makes me get angry. I ABSOLUTELY hate smoking, cigarettes and weed. He does both, but he's not lazy, doesn't treat me bad, has a great job and is a very stable person. He doesn't do it around me or in our home, so he compromised.

 

Where my dilemma is, is that this has started affecting our relationship. He feels like he can't do anything without me getting mad, so he can't enjoy himself. Which I completely understand and this flaw about myself is really bothering me as well because I don't do this on purpose. I don't make an effort to get to know his friends because I don't like the drinking (my mom was an alcoholic) and I don't like the smoking around me, even though I knew about it from the get go. I love him more than anything & I don't know why I care so much about what he does, I guess I just worry about his wellbeing because I do want better for him. I am also 8 weeks pregnant so I've been hoping he would at least quit smoking one of those things.

 

I was hoping maybe anyone with similar experience can give me tips on how to accept these things are a part of him EVEN though I don't like them. I know you'll never have a partner who has all the qualities you would want, but I feel more like I'm fighting myself on this as this is the person he is. Which isn't a problem, he's allowed to have friends and of course a social life. I know I come off as controlling but I am currently dealing with it in therapy as I had an incredibly abusive childhood, which I believe that stems from.

 

I don't know if us moving in together is what changed everything, because I can honestly say before we lived together I didn't seem to care that he even did these things.

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So where to even start, I am a 25 year old female and my boyfriend is 26. We live together and have been together for over a year. I do admit we rushed the relationship but we lived in different cities so him moving to where I am was kind of exhilarating for him I guess you could say.

 

Our relationship was pretty great in the beginning, but what relationships aren't. First things first, I knew before we lived together that he drank/smoked, etc. All his friends do the same thing. I didn't seem to really care because we didn't live together and he wasn't doing those things around me. Fast forward to living together for a year and I get annoyed and frustrated by everything. He goes to visit his friends, or goes to grab a drink at the bar. I can't truly say I even know what makes me get angry. I ABSOLUTELY hate smoking, cigarettes and weed. He does both, but he's not lazy, doesn't treat me bad, has a great job and is a very stable person. He doesn't do it around me or in our home, so he compromised.

 

Where my dilemma is, is that this has started affecting our relationship. He feels like he can't do anything without me getting mad, so he can't enjoy himself. Which I completely understand and this flaw about myself is really bothering me as well because I don't do this on purpose. I don't make an effort to get to know his friends because I don't like the drinking (my mom was an alcoholic) and I don't like the smoking around me, even though I knew about it from the get go. I love him more than anything & I don't know why I care so much about what he does, I guess I just worry about his wellbeing because I do want better for him. I am also 8 weeks pregnant so I've been hoping he would at least quit smoking one of those things.

 

I was hoping maybe anyone with similar experience can give me tips on how to accept these things are a part of him EVEN though I don't like them. I know you'll never have a partner who has all the qualities you would want, but I feel more like I'm fighting myself on this as this is the person he is. Which isn't a problem, he's allowed to have friends and of course a social life. I know I come off as controlling but I am currently dealing with it in therapy as I had an incredibly abusive childhood, which I believe that stems from.

 

I don't know if us moving in together is what changed everything, because I can honestly say before we lived together I didn't seem to care that he even did these things.

Well, this is one of those examples of what "they" say. "They" say that we tend to pair up with people who are very much like our mothers or our fathers. You seemed to have paired up with someone that is like your mother.

 

The thing here is that you feel out of control (I think) when he does something that you don't like. What you have to learn to do is accept that he likes to smoke and his way of unwinding is to have a few drinks with friends. Stop the out of control feelings and accept that its not affecting your relationship in general... it is just affecting your relationship because you've yet to accept that this is him, him who you knew smoked and drank BEFORE you moved him in.

 

Its good that you are in therapy. I do hope your therapist is proficient in codependency issues because I think that is what is causing you to be unable to accept and relax. How do you accept and relax... well you can always go to an al-anon meeting which is a support group for the spouse/family of an alcoholic and you'll learn tools on how to let go. You have to learn that you have no control over anyone but yourself and that you can change you but you have no control over changing anyone else.

 

The serenity prayer comes into play here: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

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Another possible angle on this is if these things are really bothering you - accepting them may not be the answer- it depends on how much and how frequently this drinking/smoking is happening and whether that frequency is incompatible with what is acceptable to you.

For example, I have no problem with a bf drinking as Long as he's not completely off his face because he then becomes untrustworthy to me. I personally don't like having a bf that smokes (weed or otherwise).

My ex had always been a drinker (I didn't know quite how much til later into the relationship-bingeing, closet drinking etc) and he also began smoking weed in excess around 2 years into the relationship. Because I loved him to death I stayed and stayed but I was full of resentment due to things he did while drunk, was always suspicious and lost respect and trust. Our lifestyles were simply incompatible.

I know it's hard to think logically when you love someone so much but I wish I'd saved myself the heartache and not wasted 5 years on a relationship when I had a gut feeling it just wasn't quite right no matter how much I loved him.

Now I'm not saying your boyfriend is at this level at all as I don't know your situation, but i would say - listen to your gut, don't drag things out longer than necessary if You're feeling something is not quite what you need, and don't be afraid to tell him what boundaries you need around these things in order to maintain trust and respect. A saying that I keep coming back to is "believe someone when they tell you who they are- the first time." These issues do tend to grow with time.

Good luck!!

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I have thought about it from that angle and everyone has told me that I either accept the situation for what it is or walk away. When I first met him I didn't know how much he smoked but I came to find out eventually it was an all day thing at work so he was high all the time. I honestly never even noticed. Now (based on what I think I know) he smokes once or twice a week which is a huge difference. Him smoking has also made me feel like I don't make him happy enough but he indicates that's not an issue. He also just has a few beers during the week nothing serious, I only really worry when he's with his friends as I know they like to drink to get messed up and they also do harder drugs. I have expressed my boundaries and concerns which he seems to have agreed to but I can't seem to still feel okay about it

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When I was 25 my boyfriend then partied a lot but only smoked pot once or twice the whole time we were together (although he had smoked in college) I basically could not accept it. We had one situation where he was very drunk at an overnight beach party and went for a walk on the beach with someone's girlfriend and almost hooked up. Her boyfriend made a pass at me and it was almost dangerous. After that he eased up on the drinking and partying some but, no, I never liked it and yes he always knew that. We dated about 3 years and never lived together. I sense that he continued to have issues with alcohol for decades after (we are 50 now) and might still today although it doesn't sound like he gets drunk often these days or anything like that.

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You're avoiding making a hard decision. You will have to make it. You're not compatible.

 

That's were the Serenity Prayer comes into it: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference. Every couple isn't compatible in some way or another. Up to her to have the courage to change her situation if she can't accept this particular incompatibility and be content in that acceptance.

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You're smart to work this with your therapist, and I'd be cautious about creating 'forbidden fruit' out of the things your partner enjoys, or you'll turn them into a power struggle that will only erode your relationship and make you miserable.

 

Deal with the subject only in terms of any impacts his behavior has on you, and choose your battles wisely. Otherwise, your arguments won't be compelling enough for him to see beyond his resentment as you overreach for 'parental' control over another adult. That creates the forbidden fruit phenomenon where his desire becomes amplified for what he otherwise may have outgrown or minimized on his own.

 

There are big differences between dropping a 'no big deal' habit that grows old over time versus mentally building UP that habit into monumental importance to hold onto because someone else challenges it and creates a battle that must be 'won'. Perfectly reasonable adults can regress into rebellious teenagers who turn angry and sneaky because they feel policed and deprived of something they'd otherwise have minimal interest in continuing.

 

Don't create that situation. Work out your own issues in therapy and heap praise, appreciation and rewards on your partner for the thoughtfulness of the compromises he HAS made to appease you. Frame any issues that arise as a personal favor to you if he'd address--such as changing his clothes when he gets home or brushing his teeth before kissing you after he's been smoking. But be careful not to set up hoops for him to jump through just to be punitive, and opt for negotiation of fair trades rather than accusations or complaints.

 

Beyond that, move your focus onto building productive and healthy friendships and interests of YOUR OWN that will prevent you from wasteful rumination. You'll learn over time whether you're dwelling on this particular issue due to a void in your own social life that you could otherwise remedy. If so, this will become a self-limiting issue, and if not, you'll feel more empowered to address anything that shakes out because you'll be operating from a place of self empowerment rather than a 'need' to control someone you love.

 

Head high.

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