Bill and Ashley are bickering like schoolchildren. They’re both happy sexually, but they seem always to be disagreeing — and the fighting can sometimes be juvenile. For instance, sometimes Bill pulls Ashley’s ponytail while she’s driving, or calls her a “booger.” They’ve been together for a year and Ashley isn’t sure why he needs to behave this way to get her attention. With issues like these, does this couple have any hope of having a grown-up relationship?
Bill is definitely acting immature — the question is why? Often it’s because the person is insecure about something, or uncomfortable talking about some issue. It’s possible that the dynamic that exists now will be impossible to change, in which case you may both be better off in another relationship. But it’s equally possible that this could be one of those crisis points that can lead to new insight, changed behavior, and a better relationship. First off, Bill: acting like a child is not funny and it’s not working. You need to stop pulling Ashley’s hair, and you need to stop calling her stupid names. This is ridiculous. You’ve been having trouble talking openly with me, so I’m sure you’ve been having just as much trouble talking openly with Ashley. You need to ask yourself why you’re behaving this way. If you can’t handle normal communication about adult subjects, then there’s not much hope for your relationship.
Instead, try acting more romantic and grown up. Tell your girlfriend that you love her, and mean it. Then perhaps she’ll stop seeing you as an immature little brother, and more as her protector and source of security.
Bill’s juvenile way of communicating is actually a kind of contempt for his partner’s sincerity, maturity and feelings. This is a very bad sign for the future of the relationship. But if Bill can learn to take Ashley’s feelings seriously, listen to her honestly, and talk openly and maturely about his own feelings, there’s hope. The key is that you both have to be willing to communicate. So start communicating already! Stop calling each other hurtful names, and stop hurting each other physically. Take these first steps toward better communication, and you’ll be on your way to taking this relationship from grade school level, to something more grownup and real.
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