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What do you do if you’re ready to leave behind the party scene and get serious while your partner doesn’t want to grow up? Clinical psychologist Jo Lamble has some expert advice.
Question 1: I met my boyfriend at uni and we’ve now been together 10 years. We have always been big on parties and going out. We are both 30, and suffice to say we’ve spent our 20s having a lot of fun. My problem is that while I’m ready to settle down, he still wants to party.
I have tried talking to him, but he tells me not to be boring and laughs it off. I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him, but I’m beginning to wonder if he’s ever going to grow up. How do I get him to be more serious about the future?
We change a lot between the ages of 20 and 30, so it’s wonderful that you have maintained a relationship for 10 years at the age of 30.
But I can understand why you are now looking to the future and seeing if you’re compatible going forward. There are some essential ingredients needed to make a strong relationship.
Love and attraction are obviously important, but so are similar values and mindsets. It’s important you’re well-matched on issues such as whether or not you want children; what your attitudes towards saving and spending money are; how important friends and family are; and whether your goals and dreams are aligned.
Your boyfriend may have a different timetable to you, but where does he stand on some of these issues? He might not respond well to the idea of being told he needs to settle down, but hopefully he will be able to have a conversation (or three) about how a future together looks.
If he resists any serious talk of the future, you might have to leave it for a while and revisit the issue in six months.
One final thought is that he might be thinking that you’re waiting for a marriage proposal and he is not ready for that, or may never want to marry. I’d check this with him and help him understand what you’re thinking.
Question 2: My mother is a very attractive and charming woman who was well-known in her younger years. When we go out in public, she gets a lot of attention. That’s always been the case and it didn’t bother me as a kid or teenager, but now I’m older she has started to compete with me.
She makes comments about fitting in smaller jeans than me and how we look more like sisters than mother and daughter. I love my mum, but it really annoys me she has to make everything about her. I now dread going out in public with her.
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Why do you think your mum is doing this? There must be a reason why she makes the comments she does. If you love your mum, she mustn’t be the type of person who is trying to put you down.
My guess would be that she greatly enjoyed the attention she received in her younger years and still loves it today. Telling you and others that she wears smaller-sized clothes and that you look more like sisters must be giving her some kind of a boost. In other words, she is trying to make herself feel good.
You could speak up and explain why you don’t like her trying to compete with you. But you might start to feel better about her behaviour if you remind yourself she is needing a boost.
Try telling yourself, “This is not about me – Mum just likes the attention.” Hopefully it will then not feel so personal and you won’t mind it as much.
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