My boyfriend's a procrastinator

Let's Talk

WAYNE A POWELL MA Counselling Psychology Relationship Counsellor

Monday, January 07, 2013

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Dear Counsellor:

I hope you can help me. I am in a relationship for 10 years with my child's father who I love very much. My family loves him also because he is a very likeable person. My problem is that we have great differences.

He doesn't have a plan for the future pertaining to the two of us. He just procrastinates a lot and it annoys me. We are both in our 30s, though I am two years older, [and] he can't seem to get it when I talk to him about where our lives go from here.

We used to live together, but I moved out because I felt like I was being too much of a housewife and less of a companion and I felt less appreciated. He has good intentions, but I feel he doesn't know how to get there.

Financially I have to provide for myself; he can only do so for his child, and he can't seem to understand that I can't give freely of myself sexually if I am not comfortable. I really love him and I know he loves me too, but I need more than what he can offer. Please advise.

After 10 years, there must be a clear direction as to where the relationship is going. The partners by this time should reach a common agreement regarding their marital status. If you are good enough to be his child's mother then you must have some admirable qualities that would make you qualify to be his wife. What's happening regarding those discussions?

So you have moved out as you felt your presence was taken for granted. You were playing the role of wife albeit not legitimately, however your responsibility was more of a housekeeper than that of a partner.

This kind of skewed relationship is a recipe for conflict as one partner will experience a sense of frustration as he/she feels he/she has wasted time and effort in a relationship that is stagnant and heading nowhere fast.

Your partner's procrastination is off-putting and one can well understand your disgust. The way to deal with procrastinators is to confront them and urge them to act. However, this must be handled with due care and proper timing.

Threats and coercion will only be greeted by an unwillingness to comply. People who procrastinate will tell you that they cannot plan things, they would rather allow things to evolve and whatever comes, they will deal with them accordingly. Whereas in some instances this approach works, life in general has to be properly planned in order to achieve certain goals.

You are correct, for women sex is more than physical connection; there must also be emotional connection. If that component is missing then the act will only be a mechanical exercise which is of more benefit to the man than to the woman.

You have repeatedly professed your love for your partner, which indicates that you want the relationship to work. However, walking away will not necessitate the change you require.

Avoidance is one way to deal with a conflict, but it does not solve the conflict. You need to sit with your child's father and engage him in a heart-to-heart conversation, not an argument, sharing with him your concerns using "I" statements. If this attempt does not bear much fruit, seek professional help as soon as possible.

Ten years of togetherness is not something to sneeze at as the average lifespan of a relationship these days, outside of marriage, is a few months. From all indications, compared to others, it appears that you both have a reasonably good thing going except for his indecisive nature. See how you can use charm and gentle persuasion to encourage and guide him to turn his good intentions into positive and deliberate actions. Don't give up. All the best.

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