I am 26, have a great job, and live on my own. I have been dating a guy for seven months now who is 23, lives with his parents, goes to college, and works full time. It's not his emotional maturity that I'm concerned about, rather his place in life. He's never been on his own and he's cheap, which is one of the reasons I think he's never moved out.
We go out to eat sometimes but I always feel awkward because I don't know who should pay — though he does offer frequently. I cook a lot for us, but he never pitches in on groceries — I don't ask him to. He never says "thank you" or helps clean up. He also says he's going to get me things, but doesn't follow through. He just got a new car, but he has very few bills to pay outside of that. He doesn't pay rent, buy groceries, or pay for school. He's never been on his own so I don't know if he'll always be like this or if he just needs to experience things to appreciate them.
On the flip side, he mentions our future together all the time. He got me a nice gift for Christmas and my birthday. He's a very sweet guy — he's always affectionate, polite, and makes me laugh. I think he has good intentions, but he's in desperate need of guidance. I don't want to be a nag but I feel like I put more into the relationship than he does. I guess I have standards and he's not meeting them. I know good guys are hard to find and I would really like to make it work, but I think I need more. Am I being selfish? Are we just in two different stages in life? Will he grow out of this? Please help!
— More Mature Marian
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Dear More Mature Marian,
You're certainly not being selfish — if your needs aren't being met, that's a problem. I wish I could say whether or not your boyfriend was going to grow out of this, but unfortunately, only time will tell. It sounds like he does care about you, but just has no idea that his actions are upsetting you — how could he if you've never told him? It also sounds like he's fairly responsible if he's holding down a job and going to school full time even if he does still live at home. However, if he's just a cheapskate, their might not be much you can do. Regardless, it's time to make him aware of your issues so you can at least give him the opportunity to change.
Sit down and talk to him, or if that's too intimidating, try bringing it up casually next time you go to pay for something. Either way, avoid attacking him or mentioning his age, as it's likely that he'll react defensively instead of trying to understand where you're coming from. If he decides to start rethinking his actions, make sure you show appreciation and support. It will be important for him to hear that he's doing something right for you. If he's not willing to change, or if he says that he will but then continues the same behavior, I think you'll have your answer about whether or not you two are on the same wavelength.