What to do about a man who won’t grow up?


I am 25 years old, and have been in a relationship with the same man since I was in Form One. He is 28.

When I completed high school, I went to live with him at his parents’ home because it was near the college I was attending. We lived as man and wife, but ours was not a happy union. We would fight constantly, and at one point, he burst my eardrum. His parents did not intervene even once. I am aggressive and got a job after a couple of months, and then moved out and rented a house.

My boyfriend still lives with, and depends on, his parents, who even pay his school fees, though I am sure he does not go to school because there is no record of his name in that school. He runs a small business he insists is doing well, but how could this be if his parents do everything for him?

I have pushed him to get a job, including drafting a CV for him, but he refuses to look for a job. Lately, he has been lying to me that he is on attachment at a high-profile organisation in the city, but I know he is lying. It has been four months since we were together, and even though we talk on phone, all we do is argue. I keep hoping that he will change, but he doesn’t. I know that he loves me and I am scared that I will never get a man who loves me like he does if I leave him.

I am also scared to end up like my single mum. She is alone and lonely, struggling and wishing she had someone to cry with. Should I stay because I know I am not also perfect? Will this man finally grow up?

Should I hold on to the thought that we will be okay? Please help me.

Distraught woman

You say your boyfriend loves you, but I don’t see this love in the way he treats you. One of the questions that dating couples must ask themselves is, “What is love?” My favourite definition of love involves the ability to show patience and kindness, rather than jealousy, pride or arrogance.

Where love is a choice, it does not demand its own way. Instead, what I see in both of you is an irritable spirit that is not working positively for your relationship. Your moving away from this man tells me that things are not right. If you were to evaluate your relationship, what are the positives you would come up with? Both of you have been either physically or verbally abusive towards each other. However, love is not abusive, manipulative or conniving, which I’m afraid, are in play in your relationship.

Your man seems to be living his life. You may need to take time out and ask yourself what you really want with your own life. What kind of father do you want to have for your children? I am sure you would not want an abusive, secretive and selfish man to be the father of your children. The decision that you make should be based on your personal values. You have to remember that any choice we make has consequences.

Any decision you make should be guided by a desire to be happier and healthier. Do not base your decision purely on feelings, emotions and past attachments. Also, do not allow a third party to blackmail you into a relationship that will only serve to leave you wounded, sad and disappointed. Looking at your relationship, both of you need help. Your boyfriend definitely has issues that he must deal with, but you must realise that it is not your responsibility to change him, you will not succeed however much you tried. The best you can do is point him to the right support system. And then keep off. You may even have to cut off communication with him completely. You too need to see a counsellor because of the trauma you have suffered. Don’t be fast to sweep the physical and emotional violence that you have endured over the years under the rag. This will clear your mind so that you can make sober decisions now, and in future.

All the best.