My boyfriend is currently attending community college (he was at university, but he dropped out before the end of the first semester because he was really unhappy there), he's never had a real job and last year he had an unpaid internship testing computer games, but he left after the first month because he found it insanely boring. He's not very driven because he just isn't sure of what he wants to do with his life, and he feels like he isn't good enough to become accomplished at anything. His father is a fantastic dentist. His brother was at uni for less than one semester too, but he is really involved with music and he has a band and an internship at a recording studio and he just got a paying job. His sister is going to uni next year, she already has a job set up for the summer, she loves photography and she's good at school. And my boyfriend is color-blind, somewhat "tone-deaf", and not good with school (he's smart and I think he has potential, but he isn't studious). He just feels really inadequate to them.
And more importantly, he feels really inadequate to me.
I've never used all of my potential because really, I just don't care enough to go above and beyond, but I still maintain close to a 3.5GPA, I'm attending university with a full scholarship, I'm a member of the honors program, and I know I want to major in psychology and art and maybe one day become an art therapist. And I just got hired at a decent job (after two summers of volunteering and one summer of working as a waitress).
Last night we were talking about stuff and he just got really upset. He said he felt like no matter what he does in life he's going to fail at it. He's not even sure he's going to be able to get a college degree, because his parents told him if at the end of this semester he doesn't pass all of his classes with C's, they're through with him. (I actually doubt the severity of this, but I don't know for sure.) And then he started talking about if we were to have a future together, he's scared that he won't be able to provide for me, or for a family. That I'll be the one with a good job, providing for things, and he's going to fail at everything he tries, and that I'll leave him for it.
He started to put me up on a pedestal, saying how I'm just too good for him.
I don't care about how great he does in school, or whether or not he has the best job in the world, so long as he's making an honest attempt, and so long as he's happy.
Oh the joys of insecurity. It really sounds like he is totally stressed out right now and I sort of know where you are coming from.
The best advice that I can give you is to just tell him exactly how you feel about everything, and to let him know how much you care about him and admire him for all of his accomplishments. Maybe, try and think of a whole bunch of his accomplishments to add into your conversation. And don't let him turn the conversation around into "But you get such better grades" or "But you have a way better job" Try as hard as you can to keep it about him and his accomplishments.
An important thing you can do is to tell him that you want to be with HIM and not his money, or whatever job he has. If you wanted a boyfriend who had a million dollar job and nice car... You'd have one, right?
Another thing that I think that is important is that you don't tell him that you aren't better than he is. Now, this doesn't mean you should go up to him and brag about your grades or your job, just that you should avoid brining it up as much as you can. But don't downplay it. If you get an "A" on a really difficult test, tell him, he should be there to support you in your accomplishments and your downfalls.
If he doesn't support you in your ups and downs because he is too busy with his own life, then you need to talk to him about that, because it isn't an equal relationship. And he should never make you feel bad about something that you accomplished because he couldn't accomplish it himself.
I just lost a really good boyfriend because he was too caught up in his own problems that I kind of just fell behind, or was left behind I'm not sure which. So just watch out, stress is a terrible terrible thing that can destroy any relationship very easily.
And I don't want that to sound like I think you should break up with your boyfriend because you have a long ways to get before that becomes your only option.
Relationships are rarely easy, and I think its totally unfair, but so is life, right?
So, I hope I was a bit helpful, sorry I don't have an easy one-step answer for you...
-------------------- There is an upside to everything, sometimes you just have to turn it upside down to find it.
:-) Vikki (-: Posts: 153 | From: British Columbia | Registered: Apr 2008
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I don't know how you can prove to him his worth, unless he believes it himself. Relationships are not about who earns what, especially not who earns more, for many people the idea of a man having to financially "support" a family is very old fashioned and doesn't necessarily means a life of luxury for their partners, because in such systems they're often lumbered with all the house keeping responsibilities and very little independence. He can contribute immensely to the relationship without earning money, or being socially successful, or popular.
I do think it's valuable for people to be working if they can and it's cool that he's working now. If you want to live together and can handle your finances and be happy and communicate and tackle the things that come your way, or at least attempt to as best you can, then THAT is success.
Some of the most "successful" businesspeople or pop-stars or artists or people who've made large amounts of money, still feel as if they're not successful. Feeling insecure can happen to anyone.
It sounds like the pressure from his parents and the way in which they are being judgmental has had an adverse effect on how he feels about himself. They're wrong, and there's nothing wrong with not going through further education at all.
He might benefit from from counseling, or group confidence building, have you suggested it?
Someone close to me once attended a class on recommendation by the school, and from what I hear it was amazing and hugely beneficial, but no-one else would have suggested it until that point. He now goes back to help as a volunteer.
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