All Woman

I don't see a future with my hustler boyfriend

With Wayne Powell MA Counselling Psychology Relationship Counsellor

Monday, December 09, 2013    

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Dear Counsellor,

I am 23 and I have been with my boyfriend for almost two years now. He's 27, and what I call a hustler. He is in the entertainment business and some weeks he can make up to $200,000 a week, and other times weeks will go by and he isn't booked for any shows, leaving him poor as a church mouse. I have a fairly good job and I support myself and occasionally my mom as she is out of a job at the moment.

I hate what my boyfriend does and I honestly don't see a future with him. He is not someone I can rely on in terms of stability. Yes, sure, I make my own money, but I don't want to spend it all the time. I don't want to sound ungrateful because when he has it, I don't necessarily have to ask. It's just not consistent. I also think I'm not attracted to him anymore. Weeks will go by and I don't engage in intercourse. He complains and nags about it a lot, but when he does I just do it out of pity so he can shut up. Might I add that he is an excellent lover, but because of my mindset, I don't seem to enjoy it anymore. When he is around a lot he feels like a nuisance. When he stays away for long I do kind of miss him. I think my problem is my standards. I've always seen myself with men of a higher standard and in a better position. I wouldn't necessarily leave because of this; he is what I have now so I am willing to work with it. But how do I do so feeling the way I feel? And please don't say counselling. I work seven days a week sometimes, it's nearly impossible to find time for that.

When two people decide to be involved in a committed relationship they need to know what they are getting into from the get-go. They both enter the relationship with their baggage and each must decide what they will work with and what the deal-breakers are. So in your case you accepted your boyfriend with his irregular work arrangement which meant he would have late hours and inconsistency with the flow of income. That's just the nature of the business that he is in.

What has happened in your case is no different from many relationships where people get involved, and ignore all the red flags that are up in their faces hoping that with the passage of time things will change and they will live happily ever after. What in fact happens is that they grow apart as the deal-breakers become the source of interpersonal conflicts. One or both become withdrawn and gradually the love and affection fade, and as you have indicated when he is around you he is a nuisance. The very appearance of the person gets you most irritated. The relationship at this point deteriorates rapidly and it's just a matter of time before one or both call it quits.

So what are the options open to you at this time? You have to decide if you are willing to accept him with his ad hoc lifestyle. It is not prudent, neither would it be reasonable, for you to ask him to renounce his talent in the music industry. This is obviously his passion that you just can't expect him to unreservedly abandon.

It raises the question though, as to what your real concern is. Are you unhappy with his inability to provide for you financially on a consistent basis? Or are you uncomfortable with the fact that he is outside of the socio economic status of the men you would rather date? If it's the former, let's look at the facts as you present them. You indicated that you have a steady job that pays fairly well and that when your man is reaping his occasional windfall, you benefit. If it is that the entertainer is hard working and ambitious but due to the nature of his job his income is unpredictable, could you appreciate and accept his way of life and work with him despite the apparent financial shortcomings? If you decide to continue in the relationship, it can't be because you can't do any better or out of pity, it must be that you care for this person and want to share your life with him. It is senseless, however, to remain in the relationship and be unhappy.

If you are more concerned about dating someone who is in keeping with "higher standards" as you have stated, which is your personal choice, then you may want to pursue such aspirations. Be wary though that life may not be necessarily better in the higher socio-economic bracket, as financial stability does not always equate to emotional and psychological stability.

So why do you feel the way you do? The fact is that you have disconnected emotionally from your boyfriend, hence your state of unhappiness. You need to settle in your mind what is more important to you in a relationship and what you are not prepared to work with. When you have arrived at a position after much consideration, then and only then will you be in better place emotionally.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to





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