Train Your Boyfriend in 3 Easy Steps

How can I get my boyfriend to do what I want? He never does anything nice for me. He knows I want him to take me out on dates and stuff but he doesn’t do it. He keeps sayin he will but he never does. All my friends be like you should break up with him but I don’t want to. I just wanna get him to do what I want. Got any advice?

-Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Here’s an easy 3-step plan to train your boyfriend!

Step 1: Speak in a loud, commanding voice and point your finger at him for emphasis.

Step 2: When he successfully performs the task you wanted him to do, show him affection for one solid minute and then reward him with one bite of his favorite food. (Ration it out so that he is motivated to continue doing what you say.)

Step 3: Okay, I hope you know I’m not being serious. The truth is: there’s no way to make another person do what you want if you want to have a balanced relationship rooted in equality. Now believe me, I, too, have times when I’m totally annoyed with my significant other and wish I could flip a switch to change his behavior. But everybody is a work in progress including you and me. When we’re annoyed with them we have to work through it and take an honest look at ourselves to see our part in all of it too.

Are you sure he knows what you want from him? Sometimes we assume the other person knows but we haven’t actually said it in as clear words as, “You know, I miss going on dates with you. I know we both need to make an effort to keep this going, so why don’t we do something this Friday? You can pick a restaurant or we can go see that new (fill in the blank) movie.” If you’ve already made yourself crystal clear but he still says he will and doesn’t follow through, then think about why he might be doing that. Maybe money is tight so although he wants to do nice things for you, he doesn’t have the cash. If that’s the case, suggest that you write good ol’ fashioned notes to each other or make mix CDs, make dinner together, go see a cheap matinee, have a lunch date instead of dinner to cut down on costs, check out a free museum or art gallery, etc. If you know it’s not money issues, but you’re not sure why he’s been acting this way then you need to ask him what’s going on. Sometimes there are other issues that cause people to withdraw and/or slack in certain aspects of life.

But the bottom line is you’re not happy about how things are, so you need to do something to make a change. If being a homebody is just who he is and he doesn’t want to have to take you out or do nice things for you, then you need to decide if that’s enough for you and if you can still feel loved, appreciated, and happy in the relationship.

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