Q: What should I do about my boyfriend’s “party friends”? He’s a great guy, but he insists on hanging out with these guys despite their disgusting behaviour. Although he doesn’t participate in their “extra-curricular activities,” I still feel anxious whenever he’s with them.
A: This is a common scenario for many women, and there are a couple of ways to look at the situation. A great deal depends on an honest assessment of your boyfriend’s character. There are occasions when a man will engage in morally mismatched friendships in order to provide a positive example and influence. That’s a tough assignment, and you need to observe and confirm over a long period of time that your boyfriend is indeed a man of strong and noble character before moving toward a serious relationship.
But if you have any doubts on that score (and your anxious feelings suggest maybe you do), it’s important to ask yourself why you’re involved with this guy. Are you hoping to change him into someone better? If so, that’s a losing proposition. As we say in psychology, “the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.”
Some serious self-examination might help you sort out your feelings. Many women wind up with guys who are bad for them because of their own past family experiences. It’s a pattern we’ve seen played out repeatedly. Was your father a mature man of character, who took his responsibilities seriously and treated your mother with respect? Did you have a positive relationship with your dad? Did he encourage you and affirm you as a child?
If not, you may be unconsciously drawn to men whose attitudes and behaviour repeat the less-than-ideal conditions of your childhood. We’d be happy to help guide you through these questions and any other concerns you may have. Don’t hesitate to call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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