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Carolyn Hax: Boyfriend feels imaginary pressure

Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: What if you’re in a mutually-agreed-upon, sexually monogamous relationship and you’re NOT pressuring for a commitment like moving in, engagement, marriage … but the other person thinks you are? In other words, I’m totally fine with just having a boyfriend for the foreseeable future, but he keeps insisting he knows better than I do what I want, and says, “I’m not ready for what you want,” even though I’ve never actually asked for anything more than what we have now. – Not Ready For Commitment

Doesn’t that drive you nuts? Enough to say, “Stop telling me what I want”? Followed by, “I never asked for anything more”? And then, “In fact, I am not ready for more of a commitment – especially if you actually think you can speak for me”?

If yes, then it’s time to see it as a problem that he insists on believing his version of you over yours. That will grow from a nuisance now into a relationship-killer when you make a deeper commitment, because it means he’s either not listening to you, not respecting you, or so certain he’s right about everything that no one’s truth can pierce his certainty. Even strong people are moved to self-doubt over time when they are continually negated by a prominent person in their lives. It’s a single-ingredient recipe for suffering.

If, on the other hand, his “insisting he knows better than I do what I want” hasn’t moved you to state clearly what you actually feel, then it’s time to see that as a problem. You speak for you unless you say otherwise. This is a touchstone for all of us. No one healthy will block your path to it.

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