How to tell your boyfriend he’s being a shit

Sometimes boyfriends can be pieces of shit. Sorry to put it that way, but it’s just true. Being a shit happens to the best of them. And, I know women can be shitty, too. Of course they can! But, that’s not what this article is about. This is about when boyfriends behave badly and how to handle it. First things first, you need to decide if this relationship is worth working for, because what I’m about to suggest is a lot of work. And not all relationships are. There’s no shame in not putting in the effort if the relationship isn’t working for you. But, if it is working in general and there’s been a period of crappy behavior, here’s how to handle telling him how you feel.

Start with the positives

When you sit down for your conversation, start with positive things. Tell him how much you enjoy this relationship and how in general, you think he’s the greatest. Give a few sentences on why you’re so eager to work on this relationship. These few moments of positivity are the difference between telling your boyfriend he’s being a shit and telling him that he is a shit. Subtle difference in wording, but huge difference in meaning. Framing it that you love your boyfriend and think he’s great, but has a specific area of improvement you need him to work on is such a better way to communicate your issues than making him feel that you think he’s awful and needs to change every single thing about himself.

Tell him you’re hurt

This is a hard part of this conversation. First, you need to wait until you’re hurt…and just hurt. For me, that normally means I need to get over being angry. Anger is often the first emotion I feel when someone I love does something I don’t love. But, coming to this conversation from a place of anger isn’t going to serve anyone. Instead, wait until you’re simply hurt and not angry or resentful. This makes it much easier for you to communicate and easier for him to want to change. Think about it this way, what’s more motivating: When someone you love tells you they’ve been hurt by you or when an angry person’s yelling at you for your mistakes? So, focus on your hurt, as painful as that is, and wait for the anger to pass. It always does, eventually.

Give examples of better behavior

And then you need to outline what he could have done better. It’s also helpful if you think of examples in the near future where he’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate this new better behavior. For example, you could say, “It makes me feel like you don’t care about my career when you look at your phone when I tell you stories about my day at work. I’m hurt and feel unimportant to you. I wish you’d listen to what I have to say and ask questions that show you’re engaged. When I come home from work tomorrow, it would be great if you asked me how my big presentation went.” That’s not that hard, right? Once you have the talk and your man does the better behavior (which he better do!), reinforce him with compliments and acknowledgements. You want him to know you appreciate the effort and hope he continues it.

Just because your boyfriend’s going through a crummy period of being boyfriend doesn’t mean that he’s a bad boyfriend in total. Give him a chance to redeem himself by venting your frustrations and helping him change his behavior. No one’s perfect, after all.

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