How my boyfriend needed to learn not to give

As follows I will focus on some topics in my relationship, which have been areas of growth. I will start with the most important lesson that my boyfriend has had to learn and will continue with my own lessons in the following posts.

My boyfriend loves being a hero. Some might think, don’t all guys, but I can say from my experience that I know very few other guys that would go to such an extent with projecting the image of super-hero. He does not necessarily have the James Bond quality in him, but he is more the nurturing-loving hero type. His acts of giving are however related to his wish to be noticed, admired and appreciated. He wants to feel OK about himself and has chosen giving to others as a prime method for achieving this goal.

Now this relationship has been a disappointment to him and I am saying to partially in a humorous way. See whereas I am good at looking up to my boyfriends, I have little patience for truly vain guys. My boyfriend, without the doubt is vain. He is vain in a little bit more refrained manner, but he is no doubt vain. So naturally when he did not get the kind of admiration and uncritical appraisal he was expecting, he started to get angry and resentful. In his mind he was giving so much and got very little for it.

What I did, instead, was trying to turn his attention to why he needed to give that much. Frankly, there were times where I felt really inconvenient with his constant giving. Furthermore, I also did not feel comfortable with giving him constant praise and no criticism at all. His acts of giving had a secret hope in it, that if he gives so much, he will never ever be criticized again. See, underneath, he felt that he was worthless. Because he was worthless, he needed to earn someone’s love. This love could be communicated only by his partner not ever showing disapproval. Signs of disapproval would reinforce his feeling of worthlessness and make him feel that he can never be loved.

In my experience, guys like my boyfriend dream of a girl that would look up to them and never critically challenge them. This girl should be silent about their wrongdoings and function as readily available source of admiration. I am going to go overboard here and say, that this is not actually what these guys need. Speaking for my boyfriend, I think what he truly needed was someone to be aware of his shit and still be OK with him. How are you ever going to feel better about yourself if you are constantly performing for someone?

So, the biggest lesson for my boyfriend has been, how to give less. How to give because he wants to give and not because he believes that will make me blind about his wrongdoings. How to believe that he is OK for me also without extensive giving and that I can actually appreciate him as a person. He is still struggling with accepting that he, as a person and not what he does, can be valuable. He has numerous times told me that I am using him and that I am only interested in what he can do for me. This, I think, is mostly projection about what he feels inside himself. I am often times quite blind to the things he does and frankly care more about his capabilities as a conversation partner and as a loyal friend than any massage he gives to me. However, I think he is finally opening up to the idea that he can have a value in himself and I am happy for it, since it puts less strain on the relationship and makes him more independent.

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