My boyfriend grew up with an irresponsible mom and a bratty sister. His mom never took care of him, never cooked a meal for him, didn't know his favorite food or shirt size, and never paid for anything. His sister is just the average bratty teenager. I grew up in a loving family, both parents love me so much and I love them back. I know when and how to take care of a person, how to cater to his/her needs, how to help friends or family, but my boyfriend hasn't a clue. We now live together, and ever since we passed the honeymoon period, things changed. He used to pay attention to detail and now I'm starting to feel like he's taking me for granted. Whenever he forgets to do something, he screams at me for "forgetting to remind" him. He yells at me if I don't buy his favorite things at the market and if I can't go out and do what he wants for the night because of too much work, he calls me boring (mind you this is all the same attitude that he gives to his mother.)
The truth is that I do my best because I love him — I learned how to make his favorite food and I pick out the best clothes for him, I make sure I do his laundry the way he likes it, and help him in every way I can. Sometimes I mess up, I'm only human, but I know I don't deserve this kind of treatment. My boyfriend in return almost never does anything appreciative or loving for me. The only time he does is when I've broken down, crying, and he tries to make it up to me, but his good behavior fades after a day or two. I love him and he tells me that he loves me too and he's trying to change for the better, but I haven't seen any results. Is this really who he truly is? How can I change his attitude? Does he really love me?
— I'm Not His Mother Mandy
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Dear I'm Not His Mother Mandy,
Having your boyfriend treat you like you're his mother is not a good foundation for a relationship. It sounds as though you enjoy being the caregiver to him, which I can completely understand, but when you're catering to his every need and not getting anything in return, something needs to change. The saying "spoiling him rotten" seems to describe your situation perfectly. You must set boundaries with your boyfriend ASAP. Just because you feel badly that he didn't have the most supportive mother growing up, you shouldn't feel the need to step in and be that person for him now. Relationships are about give and take, mutual respect, and most importantly love, so you guys have some work to do.
Have you ever talked with him about how you feel before things escalate into a full-blown argument? I suggest sitting down with him to have a heart to heart. Explain that you feel taken for granted and used, and tell him that although you enjoy taking care of him, he needs to show you love and appreciation in return. It might not mean that he'll do the laundry, or the marketing, but it's important for him to pitch in in his own way so you know he's doing his part. He's a very lucky man to have such a caring and loyal girlfriend, but at the end of the day, if his selfish attitude doesn't change, you just might have to put yourself first and move on with your life without him. You deserve to be with someone who loves and respects you, not someone who expects you to pull all the weight. Good luck.