zomg, so much of your guy’s passive laidback behavior sounds just like my guy! And I, like you, am TypeA assertive.
Life does not just HAPPEN to you, you MAKE it happen.
La verdad, chica, L.A. V.E.R.D.A.D!
Good news! I will not be saying “Leave – you deserve better!“
Instead, I’m going to point you in the a direction to MAKE an answer come to you!
“I realize that we have different personalities in this regard… he keeps my overactive mind and my desire to try to take on too much in check, which is great…”
GOOD! You recognize you’re not perfect either, and appreciate the balance he creates in your life.
“he KNOWS he’s not on top of his life and it bothers him too, and he knows it lets me down” This could be ok as long as he also recognizes this not what he wants for himself and welcomes the balance you could bring to his life – which is different than ‘I only feel bad about my lifestyle when I think about how it upsets love108.’ Do you think this is the case? Do you have any reason to think he would lie say whatever he thinks you’d want to hear about this if you asked him directly?
If he is genuinely aware that this is more of a personality flaw than a quirk and welcomes your efforts, then it’s ok that he’s not perfect, as long as you accept that you cannot change him, and will have to settle compromise for a lifetime of kicking his butt encouraging him in a direction you are certain is best for him and he will later thank you for.
Although, I don’t think I try to teach him organizational and focus strategies, but it just doesn’t stick. is quite the right approach. You are not his mother, yknow? Your current approach of “There, in that direction? Ok?” is best. Then, check in and say “Hey, remember that day I pointed that way and suggested it might be a good idea … what happened? Stuck and need help? Or just decided you didn’t want that goal afterall?” and then adjust your expectations accordingly. I think setting goals and expecting him to ask for help is the best you and I can hope for.
With that said, lemme fulfill your request, “specific examples from other bees“
BACKSTORY: Nearly 5 years ago when I met my guy (whom I’d met before, when we were teens), he was in his late 20s, unemployed for nearly 5 years (mostly by choice), living with his parents and ignoring health problems. I was going through a divorce, had moved back to my hometown to stay with my parents to get on my feet. I had 3 kids (babies) under the age of 5, a relentless and creepy ex and an entry-level job which frustrated me.
My guy and I had run with the same crowd in high school and were kinda the only ones still there. Everyone else had gone on to big careers or married their high school sweetheart and had enviable family lives. He and I were on the shoulder of life’s highway and quickly found ourselves hanging out more and more as he had always fancied me and I liked being around someone who didn’t know/mourn the wife/mother/successful-at-everything (again, TypeA) version of me.
He is stylish, intelligent and witty. We discovered had the same kind of pasttimes and enjoyed the same cuisines. Although we’d never hung out as teens, we knew all the same people, went to the same hang outs and knew the same stories so there was a lot of history there without there being any. It wasn’t long before we were infatuated.
In time, my divorce finalized and my ex announced he was getting re-married and I finally allowed myself to admit my attraction to my guy and we came out of the proverbial closet. My career was not working out for me or my kids and I, too, found myself unemployed. Completely fed up with cookie-cutter options, my guy encouraged me to follow my heart and so, I made some business cards, created a website and deemed myself open a business. Then, as a back up plan, I went back to school. (I am, if nothing else, resourceful and determined.) He and I began dreaming of a future together, and after a similar miscommunication to you and your SO, we found ourselves moving to our dream city.
He, however, was still unemployed and having health problems. For the first year, I just let him do his thing, trying to figure out what he really wanted since applying for anything that paid something reasonable (or that was actually on-par with his skill set) didn’t seem to be of interest to him. The second year, I decided that his health was too far off and that his hopes to land a well-paying job with benefits was a pipe dream. Since talking to him tended to result in fights surrounding his defense mechanisms instead of the actual issues, I finally got fed up, Googled free clinics, found out the income reqs to qualify and made an appt for him.
A couple days before the appt, I sat down next to him as he worked on a project and said, “I’m worried about you. Since I’ve known you, you’ve shown 10 of 12 of the symptoms of the disease your mom has. I know you said you’d go to the doctor when you get a job and have health insurance but it’s been 2 years. I made an appt at the free clinic for you on Thursday. I can go with you, if you’d like.” and handed him the info on the symptoms and the appt. I walked away to put the kids to bed. After a few minutes, he approached me, wrapped his arms around me and said “I’d like you to go to the appt with me. I never knew those were symptoms and am not sure I can answer all the questions the doctor will ask. Do you know how much it will cost?” I hugged him back and said, “It’s the free clinic, babe! It’ll probably be like $20 – or FREE!” He was 30 years old and had never heard of a free clinic before! In the end, he went, I was right and he’s on super-cheap meds and feeling so much better and grateful to me for caring enough to notice and push him to get it resolved.
Time and time again, I find that naivete, has been the reason for his inaction.
Also, he is aware of naivete, and defensive about it so he’s very afraid of rejection due to possibly skipping a step or just not being aware of something. Thus, he’ll shut down and not try, depending on how badly he wants it. This was true in applying for the job he currently has and really likes (plus, it pays wells and he’s got benefits), applying for a dream (volunteer) job that he landed. In these cases, I’ve had to kick his butt in gear with the right dosage of ‘THIS IS PERFECT FOR YOU, HOP TO!’ and ‘You can do this, you CAN. *I* think you’re wonderful and they’ll love you.” While he’s listed (and shown) many reasons he hasn’t proposed over the years, I believe this fear of rejection is largely why he has yet to propose to me.
But he finally said it’d be this month – so, like you, I’m holding my breath, freaking out going “oh no, oh no, am I SURE?!” For me, it’s that he’s been saying it was coming ‘soon’ for three years and hasn’t. But he’s finally got that job, got that health insurance … I think he often felt ‘not good enough’ for me but now feels like he’s a suitable suitor -haha (Oh, my kids are all school-aged now, regard my guy as their step-dad and I finished school and now have a perfect job that suits my personality and my family’s needs.)
I just think you and I now have cold feet!
So, long story FINALLY over, if you think you can get right with never being able to ‘teach’ him but know he’ll likely trust you if you offer your help, then I think it’ll be fine. g’LUCK!