Q. I’m a 25-year-old woman who accomplished what all 20-somethings want right now. I got my dream job straight out of college and then got a promotion that moved me to Chicago. After about a month in Chicago, I met my current boyfriend, “Mitchell.” He’s a 28-year-old who went to college but only got a tech degree after dropping out from his school. I don’t care about that, but what has been getting to me in the last six months of our 2½-year relationship is his inability to get motivated. He doesn’t like the job he has, isn’t happy, and we’re starting to move apart. We moved in together seven months ago. I travel a lot for my job, and am constantly feeling like I not only have to manage my clients, but also him. He’s a really sweet guy who adores me, but I am always feeling like I am the older and more responsible person in the relationship. I’ve noticed that a lot of this “It’s not my problem” or “I’m smart but I just didn’t have the right things given to me” stems a lot from his family too, so it’s been ingrained in him.
I come from an extremely hard-working Italian-Portuguese family from the South Coast, so I work really hard all the time. I don’t want to give up on this because I really do love him, but I’ll try to talk to him about our issues and it seems to just go on deaf ears. I keep getting advice from my friends my age that I need to give him an ultimatum, but I feel like that’s really immature. I feel like I keep giving him the second chance he asks for, but his actions do not reflect his words. I’m mature enough to know when something isn’t working, but when I love someone, I really love them and don’t want to give up. My good friend out here keeps telling me that I should just end it now and find that great forever-guy, but I just don’t know. What do you think?
TO DO OR NOT TO DO, CHICAGO
A. I’m not sure what ultimatum you could give him. “Become someone else or I’m breaking up with you”? “Get motivated or we’re through”?
You either love him as is or you walk. It’s very possible that he’ll mature and become more self-sufficient as he gets older, but you can’t count on that. After almost three years, you’re either happy or you have to move on.
So that’s my question for you: Do you want to keep him around if he’s going to stay like this forever? My guess is no. Accepting him as is would require you to stop nagging and asking for more. You’d just have to let him live and be his partner through all of it.
If that doesn’t sound like a good plan, you’re better off being single, enjoying your travel, and starting the hunt for a grown-up. I don’t know if “forever-guy” exists, but you can certainly try your best to find him.
MEREDITHColumn is edited and reprinted from
www.boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at email@example.com. She chats online on Wednesdays at 1 p.m.