How can I persuade my boyfriend to work it out?

l I’m afraid it sounds like I’ve been badly cheated on!

at the end of the last year. My partner and I have been together for more than a year. But while it seemed like we were about to have our first proper family, all of a sudden I started to feel terrible when he’d get home from work late, he would drink too much and would often, seemingly, have a long lapse in communication with me, or his behaviour seemed to go from being “okay” to “not OK”. It was as if something bad was about to happen. I just wasn’t used to this.

Every weekend I went out to see him and all he would say was: “God, I hope it’s not like this.” I’m still finding out this doesn’t seem to be the case but I have no idea how to solve this. I have tried everything. He has suggested counselling to me, the doctor has given me a referral but he says he only does it for other people who are well or very young, and that I’m already 30 so this isn’t good enough. I want nothing more than to repair this but I have done so many jobs around the house and now, without a steady job, I don’t have time to go to work or attend counselling. Do you have any advice for me?

Ellie replies

Getting to know someone as a person is a very important thing to do, so you don’t want to keep it from your partner, whether it’s because you think you’re still in love with them or because you think you’ll have to hide it for your own protection. If you’re not giving them the benefit of the doubt, then in my opinion this tells me you need to do something, not that you’re having relationship problems.

As much as he doesn’t have much time, I’m all for looking after your welfare. You’ll need to continue to do the job, keep your place in the house and do everything else you’ve planned as your career progresses, but you’ll be able to pay for all of that yourself with a stable income. The longer you wait, the more you’ll be neglecting yourself.

If he’s considering counselling, then I’d suggest two things: 1) that you tell him what you’ve found out and what you think is going on; and 2) that you come along to your first session together.

Put in the effort to listen to each other and stay engaged in the conversation. Seeing this man that you love try to work things out himself, with the help of other people who know what he’s going through, is a great first step – even if it’s not going to work for him.

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