He Uses Me For Money And Sex
Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for four years and we have a child together, but our relationship is falling apart. I feel like he uses me for money and sex. When I have money, I'm his everything, but when I don't have money he ignores me or brushes me off without even noticing me. I love him but he isn't helping me with our financial issues. All he wants to do is eat, sleep, drive around in my car all day, and then come home expecting me to cook after I have worked and gone to school all day. He shows me no type of attention when I get home. Instead he goes straight to sleep or asks me for sex. What should I do? -- Tracy, 22
Dr. Susan: Your life sounds so stressful! What I'm wondering, though, is how you've let him get away with this behavior for as long as you have? In four years of togetherness, a couple's interactions can deteriorate, but this is ridiculous. The problem now is that he's gotten used to having his own childish way without having to lift a finger to reciprocate. Still, rather than dreaming that he'll somehow shape up altogether, think in terms of small changes, one at a time.
Sit this guy down and work out a budget with him. You might even have to limit him to a small allowance. If someone acts like a dependent child, then treating him like one may help him realize what he's been doing. No need to be contemptuous about all this. Just explain that you're feeling stressed and as though your needs are not being paid attention to, and you need to be sure you and he are on the same side. Then make a list of some simple dishes that he knows how to prepare, or start teaching him a few menus you'd be happy to have waiting for you when you come home exhausted. Determine a cooking schedule. If he doesn't live up to his end of the deal, then cook only for yourself and your child. And stick to your word. And as for driving around in your car all day, with the price of gas what it is, you need to put a stop to that. Maybe a mileage limit for him? Finally, if he won't consider taking your reasonable complaints seriously, I'd say you no longer have a relationship worth keeping. Before you decide to dump him, though, point out to him what a terrible role model he's being for his kid. Good luck!
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.