Dear Dr. Love,I’ve been involved with a very kind, compassionate man for almost a year(I’m 24, he’s 20), until just recently when over a remark he made(a very insignificant thing I realize now), we broke up for good. He is the most incredibly loving and considerate, patient and romantic man I’ve ever known.The problem for me is that he doesn’t seem to have any goals set for his life- s. a. college, career, etc. Right now, we both work in the same retail store where we first met. I’m going to go back to school this summer and have set in motion the plan I have made for my life (college, career, travel), but he just seems to stagnate. He is unsure of what he wants to do, but he doesn’t even make an attempt to find out.I’ve taken him to the college campus and library, and tried to encourage him to go to college as well, as he has an incredible mind for computers, and a brilliant painting talent, but it is to no avail. I love him very deeply, but I feel I can’t remain in a relationship where I can’t have some stability- I’ve been in one in the past where I loved an artist-type who chose not to conform (the present love in question is also an artist), and we ended up getting thrown out of our apartment because although I could pay my part, he couldn’t.I feel torn- someday down the road I may want a family or a home, and I want the man I’m involved with to be as much a part of it as am I, but I just can’t see it happening with him as he is now. Please help.
You have a big problem. You are drawn to artistic types, but want them to possess the qualities of the business or professional-oriented, nine to fiver. Now you’re trying to change this man. Bringing him to the library, coaxing him to go to college. Do you know that you are trying to force this guy to be what you want him to be, not what he wants for himself.I think you need to find out: Why you are so drawn to artists? Why you are regularly drawn to men who don’t have the ambition that is important to you? And, why are you engaged in this repeated and futile attempt to make the leopard change its spots? Anytime we are trapped in repetitive patterns, there is a good chance that an underlying emotional struggle is being played out.For example, in this case, you are taking someone loveable but ‘defective’ and trying to improve him. Does this relate to your history? Did you have a loveable but defective parent that you wished you could change? Did you watch a parent ( your mom) try to change your dad? When you figure out the answers to these questions, you should gain insight into why you are caught in this futile and heartbreaking process. And, you should be able to move to the next level: Simply choose a man that possesses the ambition and stability you need (and paints as a hobby). Best of luck figuring this out.