When he’s bad, he’s awful

"Cruel Intentions" stars at 8. Be there or be Selma Blair. Get your tickets here.

(And yes, we will be playing the drinking game that I've created with your help on Twitter.)

Hi Meredith (and commenters),

I have been in a relationship for almost 1.5 years with a good-hearted guy that I'm in love with. We're both in our mid-20s. We have been through a lot together, and we live together. We have a lot in common and I can see a bright, loving future with him.

We have occasional to frequent issues. When things are good, they're great. When they're bad, they’re awful. He has a hard time trusting me. I think it has a lot to do with his past. His parents had him very young and they only stayed together for about a year after he was born. They did not show him a lot of genuine affection and care growing up, and he did not have a stable life. He also has had bad relationships, where the girlfriend betrayed him emotionally, physically, and even financially (which I understand, but most people deal with at least one bad relationship experience). When something goes a little sour with us, he overreacts. He also assumes the worst about me -- that I'm lying about being faithful, and he seems to expect to find out negative things about me. He will have outbursts where he is mean and irrational. He has also recently been feeling very depressed.

He is an emotional person, and I knew that from the get-go. But I don't feel that I deserve any of his skepticism. I have been nothing but honest and trustworthy in our relationship. I have worked very hard to make things work in our relationship. I tolerate a lot of his doubts and reassure him when he asks about things (although now I doubt whether I should have kept doing so after a certain point). I pick my battles, walk away when I see we need to cool off, and I also took my current job in order to afford an apartment together (it's not my ideal job).

I have suggested therapy, but he refuses. I suggested other methods to try to feel better, but he ignores me or says I'm pushing him. He hasn't tried anything to overcome his negative feelings, lack of trust, or depression. I know it's beyond my control, but I'm starting to feel helpless. I can't understand why he’s letting this continue when it's harming our relationship. I don't know what else to do. I have thought about breaking things off, but I can't stand the thought of being without him. What do I do?

– Helpless in the Hub, Boston

I understand that you already live with your boyfriend, HITH, but at 1.5 years you're still getting to know each other. And you've just learned something important -- that when your boyfriend has a problem that affects both of you, he won't seek out help.

My advice is to go to therapy yourself so that you have a safe place where you can make decisions. Your boyfriend will also see that you're taking your own advice. Ask him to come to your therapist -- as a guest -- and see if he calls that "pushing."

At 1.5 years you're hoping for promises of longer commitments, happiness, more love, etc., but that's not what you're getting. How long will you feel safe in this relationship?

If he won't work on himself, you're going to have to let go -- because the bad stuff is outweighing the good. Get to therapy and see if he follows your lead. If he doesn't and continues this, then you have to walk away. You’re doing too much and he's just not doing anything.

Readers? I imagine that there are many wonderful things about this relationship that we're not hearing, but do these negatives outweigh everything? Is she "pushing" him? What can you do about a partner who won't get help? Discuss.

– Meredith