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Immature Boyfriend

Immature Boyfriend


Dear Rachel,

I really cannot wait to get married and spend my life with someone I love and I feel that I have found that person. We share a lot in common, have similar values and goals, and are both committed to learning and growing. The problem is that he is extremely immature. Sometimes I can see the man he can become and I think he just needs to break away that shell. But other times he sits on his free days in front of his TV watching cartoons doing nothing while he promised his family or me to take care of some things. How much should I help him? Is this a reason not to marry? Or will he eventually grow out of it and become a man who takes responsibility by himself and not only after being told several times?


Philadelphia, PA

Dear Frustrated,

You write that you and your boyfriend have similar values and goals and that you are both interested in learning and growing, and yet, from how you describe him, it doesn't sound that way. Someone who is truly committed to learning and growing doesn't spend their free time watching cartoons. I am wondering if perhaps your desire to marry which you begin with is not what is leading your desire to marry him.

You sound like a woman who appreciates and respects motivation and commitment. Yet your boyfriend does not sound the same. Perhaps right now you have a lot in common, but will he really continue to grow and develop at the same rate as you?

When you date and look to marry, you need to marry the person he is now, not the person he will become. For there are no guarantees that he will become who you think or hope he will become…especially if his getting there requires constant pushing from you. It is not your job to be the one constantly making him do what he needs to do. You should be his motivation and his inspiration, but it is up to him, not you.

If while you are dating--the time that he should be doing his utmost to impress you--he is not taking responsibility and not keeping his commitments to you, I would take this as a clear sign for how he will most likely be when you are married.

There is always the possibility that he will change. There is always the possibility that he will tap into his potential and bring it to fruition, but at this point he is not exhibiting those signs or giving indications that he will do that. It is not fair to him or to you for you to marry who he will become when you are not happy with who he is. I imagine you want him to love you and want to be with you for who you are now, not who he thinks you can be if and only if you change.

If he stays the same, remains as he is now, is this someone you want to marry? Is this someone you want to spend your life with? If the answer is "yes" then continue the relationship. If it is "no" then you cannot get married with conditions.

It is one thing to marry someone who is in medical school and feeling that you are marrying someone who will one day be a doctor and not perpetually a student. And something completely different to marry someone who is lazy, irresponsible and unmotivated, hoping that it will magically change in the future.

For now, be honest with yourself and be honest with him. But do not marry the person in potential unless you are willing and desiring to spend your life with the person he is now in case that potential does not manifest any time soon.

Much luck in your situation.


"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Discussion (28)
October 1, 2013
Re: " Boy -Men "
When your boyfriend is depressed, withdrawn, irritable, moody, puts you down when he's feeling negative, won't work, plays videos for more than an hour a day, smokes pot every day, out of shape because he doesn't work out , then I think it's safe to say he's not a " catch." Pretty laughable too to read women hating posts such as " Bottom line / a man doesn't take orders from a woman ," and " Marriage is obviously a way for women to gain economic and political power " , and " Marriage is the end of spontaneity . " Most of the women I know work full-time, work out, and do spontaneous things, whether they're married, in a relationship , or single. Seems the men who posted such negative, outdated, narcissistic views obviously saw aspects of themselves in the female descriptions of their " Boy-Men. "
July 25, 2013
Same situation...
Been about 6 and half years for me and my boyfriend now... Never knew how to seek advice even though it should be obvious. This just answered my doubts. Thank you.
October 31, 2012
Chronically unemployed/immature bf
My bf of 2.5 years has been unemployed more then he's been employed. He says he's come to the fact that he will probably go from bad job to more bad jobs and never have anything. He has no ambitions and wastes money collecting cds. I used to love hearing him tall about marriage but now I shiver thinking about that. He never asks me for money but does say stupid things in front of his family regarding me having a good paying job. "Oh you'll be my sugar mama".

He becomes deppressed when he's unemployed and starts to be mean towards me.. I don't know if I can handle his 3rd round of unemployment. (I should mention he quits every job)......what do I do?
Toronto , Canada
September 5, 2012
Who is this "Immature"? He's hilarious ! I haven't read anything so funny in years! Genius.
truro, uk
January 7, 2012
Sick of his crap
Been with my bf for 2 years, i saw the signs from the beggining that he maybe wasnt right for me, i broke it off in the early stages because he was too immature, but we ended back together when he begged for me to take him back. Over the past 2 years, ive had to deal with so much from him, hes lazy, doesnt help around the house, finishes work at 3.30pm and ill finsh at 6 and hes sitting there playing xbox, and made no attempt to cook dinner. He makes bad life choices and the consequences end up with him in debt. Hes irresponsible and I feel more like his mother then his gf. He says he wants to have a baby, but all i can see is me raising 2 kids. He causes arguements over stupid things. He puts me down at times, and i think he does it because hes insecure with himself, and is jealous of my self assurance and independence.
I love him, but like most of you, i dont wanna spend my entire life dealing with this in hopes he might grow up. Im done, time to get my life back.
Brisbane, Australia
June 20, 2011
New ideal of the day
You are one of the lucky few to have had a dad around rhl. A man doesn't need to take orders from a woman and that's the real bottom line. Call it macho or whatever the feminist political idea of the day care to call it but this is not how things work in the scheme of things.
Perhaps you are aware how many single moms there are these days ? Well this is not a complete family. If a man is not needed or expected to kowtow to his wife according to the new ideal of the day then G-d help us !
A man is a man not because of how he responds to the convenience of the feminist idea of the day. A man is a man as he was made so by you know who.
November 27, 2010
my mom told me that when she was highly pregnant with me, and working while my dad was trying to finish his studies, he came home drunk one night after partying with the boys. My mom took a whip to him and told him if he ever goes out drinking again and comes home late she will leave him. He never drank or went out with the boys again. My dad was no sissy but he respected my pregnant mom. They are soul mates and eternally happily married. I think the problem is women are these days too soft and understanding of men. Tell them straight how it works from day one and if they cant tow the line then kick their bums too the curb.
September 20, 2010
Whose story is it anyway?
Marriages & serious relationships r fast becoming prisons 2 many owing 2 so called responsibility gap from a woman's point of view.
Why can't relationships b an adventure 2 b more 3 instead of falling into the responsibility trap ? From a man's point of view there is no point in being in a relationship if it kills freedom or where one has to look upon one's partner for approval. It was never so in the first place and life was fine and enjoyable. Why should it be otherwise when in a relationship with a woman?
This obsession that women have with responsibility towards...themselves first is childish to say the least. It's a woman's obsessive need 4 attention that needs 2 be scanned & remedied.
Given freedom on one side and obsessiveness on the other, the choice is clear but to some gender it's an immaturity issue ?
Love is not all encompassing and doesn't give any special right to be nagging and obsessive.
If Love is the fire & freedom is the air then obsessiveness is the wind !
September 19, 2010
same story here
I love him to death; we've been together for years. We planned to get married tomorrow, but only a few days ago he had an epiphany: he wants to postpone school, quit all three of his parttime jobs, and leave me to go to california for a few months because it would be "different". For him the pull of friends and "spontaneous oppurtunities" outweighs responsibilities. Don't understand him, intelligent but no common sense.

the fact that we were getting married makes it absolutely clear that you dont just leave someone you just got married to. Hes not going into the army, hes not going for school, hes not going to bury his grandmother, nothing. it seems as if he wants to escape..but he absolutely denys it

we broke up before over the same immaturity issues...contemplating doing it again!
fort lee, NJ
July 27, 2010
Power & money
Let's face it, for many women, marriage is just an economic arrangement and a power trip.

"Me, me, me me..."

And they want to lecture the other gender on "maturity".

Personally, I believe we are all somehow irresponsable, in our own ways, gender-wise, but also individually.

One example, why are you with deadbeats? Want to become single moms so badly? Here I read because they are not boring, wow, It sounds like a very mature reason.