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When Will My Boyfriend Grow Up?


I have grown out of the ‘bar scene’ in the past year but my boyfriend of 3 years hasn’t as much. I don’t think he has a problem with alcohol, but I’m starting to worry that someday he will. He tells me everything is fine but I can’t get him to understand how concerned I am about his health and how he spends all the money. What can I do to make him understand? I can’t see myself living like this forever, constantly worrying about his life while still trying to live a healthy live myself. I love him and we have discussed our future together, but I can’t see myself with someone forever who abuses alcohol like he does. As much as I think he has just not grown out of it yet, I worry that maybe he never will.

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There are two issues here. One of them is alcohol and drug use on the part of your boyfriend, and the other is whether he is mature and emotionally sound enough to be able to really make a commitment to a relationship with you. In reading your note, it seems to me that the worries over his partying are really a subset of your worries over whether he will committ to a relationship with you. Men do tend to grow up in this way slower than their female peers, so it is not unusual that you should be emerging into an adult way of thinking faster than he is. Keep in mind that you cannot control his decisions, but you can control your own decisions.


p> I recommend that you tell him the following and see how he responds: That you love him. That you want to make a life with him. That you want him to make a commitment to you so that you can justify a similar commitment back for him. That his drinking is troubling to you and incompatible with your comfort. That you would like him to drink less (specify how much less you’ll be okay with). That you are not wanting to make any sort of ultimatum, but that you won’t wait around forever for him to figure out if he wants the same things you do. That if he does want a life with you he will have to reduce his drinking (and similarly, reduce his investment in a single lifestyle composed of hanging out in bars). That if it becomes clear that he doesn’t want a commitment with you, you’ll figure it out eventually and will leave him when you can take no more. I’m not suggesting that you hit him over the head with this. All this should be said in a loving way, but your firmness should come through. You are making him an invitation and you won’t wait for him all your life to decide whether to accept.

More "Ask Anne" View Columnists

  • terry

    my boyfriend doesnt want to grow up. He says hes just not ready.All he wants to do is Drink with his friends. i almost this he would rather go drinking with his friends then be with me. I asked him to cut back and he actually did. But when his brother came to town he started drinking heavily again, and now that his brother is gone he has not stopped. I keep askin him to cut back and he tells me, That if i love him then i shouldnt want him to change. I do love him, so much, but i just want him to cut back and want to be with me. What should i do?

  • lisa

    I have been dating a guy for 5 months now. He is 8 years older than me (hes 32 Im 24), has a degree in Economics, an Army vet, professional and financial sucessful and immaculately clean. He is from a big city, speaks French, has a blackbelt in Jodu, knows how to play piano and ballroom dance, rides horses, does Fencing (with swords) and travels (hes been to Europe multiuple times and been to almost 20 different countries). He grew up poor, but got scholarships and worked and invested his money so now he is well off. My parents are very leary of him. They say he is odd, cold and distant. I think they are a little uncomfortable because we are a blue collar family, my dad is a welder and my mom is a hair dresser, and he is an educated white collar professional from a big city. I myself have an associate degree and work as a nurse. Hes always polite to them and my friends, but he is very distant. He does not have any frineds here in town as he was transferred here for his job. He talks to his friends back home on a daily basis, but doesnt bother making any here.

    how to get your ex boyfriend back

  • Jose

    I understand this is a 6 year old post but it is second or third on google on how to tell a boyfriend to grow up and I think leaving this advice without a second opinion would led thousands of girls in the wrong direction. Putting your foot down and making this a commitment issue is the wrong thing to do. It has nothing to do with commitment. Guys just want to do things they enjoy. Obviously this guy likes drinking at bars and doesn't see a problem with it. If there isn't a problem with it, that's usually because he doesn't see better opportunities to enjoy himself. It has nothing to do with him not wanting to commit. This is something he likes to do. Most girls spend a lot of time and money shopping, but being obsessed with shopping does not mean they have trouble committing to someone in a relationship. You can tell him it bothers you and that you would like him to change, but make it easy for him. Give him other opportunities to have a good time. Go do things that he would enjoy otherwise. By offering other options, it shows that you are serious about the change and are trying to help. He may or may not appreciate that but otherwise you leave him with trying to give up something that he enjoys and it's your fault(you become a problem). Make it easy for him or you are probably going to end up single. If he still has problems dropping it afterward you make it simple, and it irks you to no end, then put down the ultimatum this lady is talking about. You could just get over it too and not worry about something that really isn't posing too much of a problem to your relationship, other than you are making a big deal about it. But most women don't like to get over anything that they think is important, regardless of how unimportant it really is to the relationship, so I don't think you'll do that.


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