I’m 25, female, living with my boyfriend of four years in his parents' home. We’ve previously rented two apartments together.
I love my boyfriend, but he’s unmotivated and very dependent upon substances (cannabis, cigarettes).
Most of his income goes towards these habits, which is partly why we no longer rent our own place.
He also has significant physical health issues and is struggling to manage his disease. He’s unemployed and puts minimum effort into finding a job.
This is affecting both my mental health and his. Our relationship is suffering.
He’s my best friend. On his good days we share laughs, and go for hikes together.
But on his bad days I can't talk to him. Many friends and family members ask why I’m still with him, saying I can "do better."
I want to support him. I want our relationship to be how it was early on.
His family tried to help him - giving him money, or forcing him to seek mental health help at the hospital emergency room.
He knows his substance usage bothers us. He’s tried to quit numerous times, but it greatly impacts his moods and he gives up with a day or two.
I’m also struggling to pick myself up. (I have an unfinished degree and am making a plan with a therapist to go back to school.).
I’ve been reducing my own substance use, socializing more, and starting a light exercise routine.
He never joins me in the socializing or exercise.
I have trouble speaking my mind. How should I handle this? How can I help him, our relationship, and myself?
I don't like when he mopes and spends all day in bed. I know he’s depressed, but wallowing doesn't help anybody.
Do I stay in this relationship?
Worried and Wallowing
Once you re-read all that you’ve written here, you’ll already know what you have to do.
It’s clear that you recognize your need and readiness to improve your life. It’s equally clear that your boyfriend hasn’t reached those same motivations.
It doesn’t mean that you’re giving up on him.
But it does mean you have to recue yourself from this depressing, go-nowhere situation.
Stick to your resolve to get back to school, to get out with friends, to feel fitter and regain positive energy.
And to feel healthier by lessening your substance use.
The reality is that your current environment is weighing you down. And it doesn’t help your boyfriend if you also wallow in these circumstances and surroundings.
Lead by example. Whether you move in with supportive family members/friends, or can handle being on your own, you need a lifestyle change to be able to focus on your goals.
He has to want to improve his life; you can’t do it for him.
He needs to tell his doctor about his depression and addictions. They’ve sapped his energy, dulled any ambition, and also your relationship.
A few hikes and occasional laughs won’t keep you together. And shouldn’t.
You don’t have to convince him of anything. Just speak truth to him: You love him but can’t live this way, especially with no viable future in sight.
Tell him your plans and that you’ll need to move out.
Say that you hope he’ll seek help – medical first, then counselling (not just ER rescuing when he goes off the rails).
Express your deep hope that he’ll work towards managing his illness and substance abuse, and be able to work again, see friends, and have a fulfilling life.
Meanwhile, save yourself.
Recently, I made a fake Tinder account with two of my friends as a joke.
I had a fake name, age, job, etc. But all the pictures were my own.
The next day, I really hit it off with a guy. I soon came clean that this was a joke account.
After we cleared up the confusion, he was still interested. I'm interested, too!
However, I'm 17 and he's 23. Is there any hope for a relationship?
You learned an important lesson – putting out “fake” information can come back to bite you, especially when online.
Fortunately, you realized this was wrong and foolish, risking your general credibility plus any chance with this guy.
The six-year age difference is a separate matter. Where you both live, whether both studying, working, or on separate paths… these will affect dating.
Take it slow, learn a lot more about him, and be honest about what he needs to know about you.
Tip of the day:
Don’t stay trapped by another’s depression and addictions.