Dear Dr. Brian:
I have a problem with my partner. We’ve been together for 8 months now, but the last 5 have been constant fighting over my behavior and character. He wants me to change and be more strong like he is, to stop being romantic and so emotional to the point I cry, to separate my personal and work lives, to not be influenced by others, and to be more talkative and have standards in my life. I have tried, but nothing seems to be enough for him. He’s talked about breaking up with me.I don’t know what to do anymore to please him and I don’t want to lose him. What should I do?" - Backed In A Corner
Dear Backed In A Corner:
Thank you for writing and I am very concerned by your letter. After 8 months of being together, your relationship with your boyfriend is still very young and should be a time of discovery and fun as the two of you share experiences together to build a foundation as a couple. Instead, it sounds like your relationship has become dominated and defined by conflict and negativity and this is a serious red flag that should not be ignored.
While I’m only hearing one side of the story, I have some concerns for the way that you are being treated. While I do advocate for all of us to be striving for personal growth to better ourselves, it sounds like your boyfriend is doing a lot of dictating about how you “should” be. Having a strong character with good values and integrity is very important, as is good work/life balance, being assertive and communicative, and having a solid vision and life goals. His need to have you improve upon these areas might very well be appropriate, however how is he presenting this to you?