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Situation

My boyfriend and I are in the situation that we are actually starting to live our future. We have been together for 5 years now and have gone through much together. I'm in my mid-twenties and he is 5 years older than me.

When we started dating I was studying and he was working in a job where he was unhappy, stressed and didn't make a lot of money. I knew that he liked what I'm doing as a profession now, so I convinced him to start studying too so that he would actually like what he is doing to earn money and that we would have a brighter future together.

He will now start writing his bachelor thesis soon and finally, it looks like we are ready to move in together. The apartment situation here is very rough and also expensive here if you want to live in a central location. But we found a really nice apartment (which is like my dream apartment) and we also convinced the landlord that we will manage to pay the bills and stuff. I have saved a lot of money because I've now been working for 4 years and making much and don't spend a lot.

So currently there is a lot of pressure on my boyfriend. He needs to start writing his bachelor thesis soon, he needs to write an essay about his phase of practical involvement, he wants to find a new job because his current job will end in October and he has some financial issues which he is already tackling.

I showed him in all the time we are together that he can rely on me and I will help him when he is in a critical situation as well as financially. We agreed that when we move in together I will pay the larger amount of the rent and I'm totally okay with that.

For me, it's like the turning point of our way together and to finally succeed and establish something together but it all really depends on how he manages to finish his studies and get a job. As we are in the same profession I try to help him with study documents, how to tackle a certain task, what is left to do and stuff. I also help him with his résumé and cover letter for the job search.

Question

What can I do or say to make him feel less stressed and help him in this situation? What can I do to make him feel less under pressure?

I have never been in a situation like that where you worked very hard for a long time and you can now almost bring in your harvest.

  • Hi @sanyooh, and welcome to IPS! That's sure a lot of pressure for your boyfriend, but is he showing signs of being unable to cope/being bothered by it? Or is he the kind of person that can handle pressure well? – Tinkeringbell Sep 4 '17 at 9:41
  • I think he is very stressed but doesn't show it really. he has some skin disease and it is getting worse currently and I think it is because of stress. I also asked him often if he is happy with our decision but it seems like he's not 100% sure because he fears he will mess up some of these things. – sanyooh Sep 4 '17 at 9:44
5

The basics on how to help our partners during rough times are relatively similar regardless of particular circumstance.

If he is extra busy, you can perhaps help him with making sure he eats well. For both myself and my husband, we are quick to neglect this when we are overly busy. We have both gone to school while together and had different times when we had to work many long hours, etc. So when one or the other is short on time, the other has stepped in to make sure groceries are stocked and meals are made. If not, both of us can easily revert to living on bowls of cereal and buckets of coffee. We are both equally bad at this, so that one was easy for us to sort out that we should do that for one another, as we share this bad habit.

I don't generally take care of things for my husband such as making doctor appointments, reminding him of them, doing his laundry, etc. When he is overloaded though, I often do. Same with me. It is one way I can ease his stress and take one thing off his "to do" list. I will run his errands, make phone calls he was supposed to (things like seeing when the next payment for something is due if he forgot, that sort of calling).

Every person is different in what they need. I knew for him, he needed breaks, so I would encourage him to take 10 mins and go outside and get fresh air, take a quick walk with me, etc. He would loose track of time easily and maybe do 4 hours without a break. I don't think this helps. I think it seems he does better if he takes a break every 90 mins or so, and just clears his head. I am the sort to get distracted, so he helps me by getting me back on task. I take a minute to go grab coffee and I see that something was left out so I put that away and then noticed some things were out of order & start to straighten a cupboard. You get the idea. So his job when I am doing this is help me let it go, and get back to books.

As far as what you can say well just stay positive without adding pressure. So instead of me saying

"I am sure you will great"

which for my Dh would feel like pressure that now he has to do great or he will let me down, I stick with things more like

Don't worry about it. You have put in the work and whatever will be will be. You always figure things out, and you will figure this out as well. If it goes great, awesome, if not, you can handle that too.

It's not that I don't think it will go great. I generally usually do. If I say that though, he either interprets that as additional pressure to not let me down or he takes it like I am not taking it seriously enough as to how hard it is, and taking for granted that it's not a "big deal". You have to figure out what your partner's personality is and what they need to hear. I want to be told I am going to excel, no one has ever been better at this than me, etc. I want a pep talk. Every person is different. You can even ask him. I am sure I must have asked my husband at some time. I am sure I told him what I need when nervous/stressed.

And remind yourself he really can do this. He can. There are times in many people's lives where you re pushed hard, but it is in those times you often do the most personal growth. It helps to show us what we are capable of. I think in the end it is actually quite good for us, even if it feels really tiring while you are doing it.

  • thank you for your input! i already tried to do the things you suggested and will try to continue to work on myself to be more supportive without adding more pressure. – sanyooh Oct 20 '17 at 8:11
2

This is a little bit of a delicate situation, because you are combining a few different life events that are stressful. You are graduating, he is close to graduating, and you are moving in together.

The biggest thing that you can concentrate on is being supportive and keeping open lines of communication between you two. There are a couple of statements in your question and comments that I would like to look at

As we are in the same profession I try to help him with study documents, how to tackle a certain task, what is left to do and stuff. I also help him with his résumé and cover letter for the job search.

Have you asked him if he would like this help? While I am unfamiliar with you and your relationship, it may be a point of pride that he finish this himself, or that he may be getting the idea you think he can't complete it without help. If you make a habit of asking if he has finished this or that, or similar, he may take it as helpful or he may take it as "Geez, again? You just asked me yesterday! Is this how our life will be?"

I think he is very stressed but doesn't show it really. he has some skin disease and it is getting worse currently and I think it is because of stress. I also asked him often if he is happy with our decision but it seems like he's not 100% sure because he fears he will mess up some of these things.

Again, you think he is stressed. Have you asked him? And if you think he is afraid he will mess things up, have you told him it's ok to mess up?

What I really think you should do is just sit down and talk with him. Tell him that you are willing to support him as much as he wants, and if he wants help with his schoolwork that all he needs to do is ask. Also let him know that you know both of you will make mistakes, but that's what talking is for. Communication is the absolute biggest key to success in any relationship.

As far as money, again I don't know how he thinks, but for some men, having the woman be the bigger earner in the family can be a blow to the pride. Again, that is something that you need to talk about. If he does feel bad about that in some way, then show him ways that he can do other things around the apartment for upkeep as part of his share.

There are other feelings that may be present (Such as jealousy that you have finished and are in a good job, while he being the older is still in school), but the easiest way to know about it and resolve it is to talk about it. The simplest things can be the hardest, but they work.

  • thank you for your input! i find it really interesting. i think i am really not good in trusting him that he can manage it all by himself (when in fact i know he can as he is an adult) and i think i will do that now and also wait more till he asks me for my opinion or reaches for help or before helping myself, ask if he needs help. really good point! – sanyooh Oct 20 '17 at 8:15

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