Empathy. Can it be taught to somebody that doesn't already have it?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Californiablonde, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Okay so my boyfriend is great in a lot of ways. He's great with my kids and they really like him. We have a bunch of things in common. But I can honestly say he is the most unsympathetic guy I have ever had a relationship with. When I'm sick he acts like he doesn't care. I can text him telling him I don't feel good and he doesn't tell me he hopes I feel better. He doesn't tell me he's sorry I'm sick. He doesn't ask me how I'm feeling the next day. I get nothing. Last week I got the same nasty virus that difficult child had. She was kept out of school for three days due to being sick. Her doctor said it was really contagious and he didn't want her infecting anybody. Well she infected me. The virus we have starts out with an incredibly bad sore throat. difficult child's throat hurt so bad that at first she thought is was strep throat. By the time I got it my throat was hurting so bad I couldn't swallow without being in a lot of pain. So I really empathize with difficult child because the sore throat part is nasty. And then there's the headache that comes along with it. After a couple of days it moves into the sinuses so we had runny noses plus chest congestion and cough. This virus totally leaves you exhausted. Several days in a row last week I came home and fell asleep at seven. I completely slept through the night which is rare. Then there's the nausea and lack of appetite. It wasn't fun.

    I still managed to go to work every single day last week. Not only was I physically sick but I had bad panic/anxiety attacks every day. One day I came home from work an hour and a half early due to sore throat, headache, and a bad panic attack that lasted several hours. I needed to come home and take my medications ASAP. My boyfriend gave me hell for it. In the whole year and a half we have been together he has never seen me come home from work early due to being sick. This was a rare occasion. He told me he had a sore throat several days before and he managed to make it to work and stay there every day. He told me it was ridiculous to come home early due to a "cold." My daughter even told me that although he may have been sick, he didn't have it as bad off as I did. He never developed runny nose, cough, and nausea. He wasn't overly tired. So him telling me I'm weak due to coming home one day early really didn't sit well with me. I chose to ignore it.

    I continued to be sick the rest of the week. I still made it to work. Never once did he ask me how I was feeling. Never once did he tell me to get some rest and he hopes I feel better. By the time Saturday came around the runny nose kicked in plus I was sneezing and coughing. I decided to skip my weight watcher's meeting. I didn't want to get anybody else sick plus I really needed to get some rest. He didn't like that at all. He told me to stop letting a cold get me down. He told me to fight it and keep busy. I was not happy with him at all. I defended myself and told him as hard as I worked all week I deserved a day of sleeping in. He will never get it. Am I wasting my time? Cause honestly it really bothers me that he shows no sympathy. Somebody in my bipolar support group told me to cut him some slack because he's a man. I'm not buying it. I have plenty of friends with supportive boyfriends/husband who cater to them and treat them like princesses when they are sick. So am I wasting my time with him or is this something I can teach him to do?
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    He is not your daddy. Tell him to stop treating u like a child.
  3. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I forgot to add that I do all the cooking and cleaning as well. He is too lazy to throw away his trash. He leaves it on the floor for several days till I finally get so tired of it that I throw it away for him. When I go grocery shopping I have to walk up and down a flight of stairs to unload all of the groceries. I have to make several trips because he is too lazy to come and help. Once the groceries are upstairs he doesn't offer to help me unpack. I do it all. And I have never gotten one single card, gift, or flower not once not ever. I get him gifts but I get nothing in return. Not only is he lazy and unsympathetic but he's selfish. He thinks I am a weak person but I think I'm pretty strong considering all I do. I just wish he would give me some credit.
  4. jal

    jal Member

    I'm gonna be pretty blunt about this, because reading this just burned me up. I read here all the time, but don't post a lot. But your putting this man up in your apartment and he's not lifting a finger at all. RED FLAG. He seems pretty darn selfish to me and very uncaring, especially in the throws of a new relationship. It's not like the part your longing for was there and has now gone away and your wondering why. He's never given it to you. When I pull in to the driveway after grocery shopping my husband is out the door to assist and so is difficult child. Otherwise, they aren't going to like me too much. MY husband is a huge help around the house and yard and hands on with difficult child, but I work full time too, cook, run difficult child all around, so someone had better be helping. No empathy for one being ill? That is just sad. Where is the caring part? This obviously weighs on you a lot. You may need to assess and see if this is really the type of person you want to give your time too.
  5. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    I would say he found a "mommy" when he found you. I would say to cut him loose. He's not looking for a partner, he wants a servant. He's got his cake and he's eating it too. You aren't going to be able to teach him compassion or teamwork or empathy. Now you're seeing the real guy and it sounds like "the honeymoon is over". Personally, I can only see it getting worse. You deserve better than someone that is so critical of you.
  6. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I think he thinks that since he is only crashing out on the couch that he doesn't have to help out. It's my apartment and not his. We do not share it. It's only temporary until he finds another room to rent, which couldn't happen fast enough, in my opinion. I am trying to teach both of my kids to be responsible and pick up after themselves. I shouldn't have to teach it to a fully grown 50 year old man. He is helping me out financially with bills right now so I will miss that part, but I will be grateful not to have to pick up after his lazy ass any longer. He found a room for rent that was only $250 a month, which is all he can afford. He called about it but it was already taken. Figures. Finding a room for rent that's less than $500 a month is rare. I am hoping another one comes along soon. I am sick of being a cook, a maid, and a servant.
  7. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    Are you planning to keep him as your boyfriend? If not, knowing how he REALLY is, kick his butt out now. You are not responsible for where he does or doesn't go. If you are planning to stay in a relationship with him, well, then I guess you'll have to grin and bear whatever he dishes out. It hoovers to be in that position but this isn't an issue of his living arrangements. It seems to be an issue of a relationship and accepting him for the way he really is. Can you do that?
  8. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I don't know at this point if I can accept it. They say never go into a relationship thinking you can change someone but maybe he's never been taught. I think it's common sense but maybe he doesn't have any. Maybe his mom wasn't very loving and nurturing. I am even wondering if his parents gave each other gifts for Christmas, Valentines day, etc. He doesn't do gifts and cards and I think it's odd. Maybe it has to do with the way he grew up. I forgot to add that he does have an old baseball injury to contend with. His hip got hurt and he walks with a limp. He used that as an excuse to not help me move. I still think he could have helped with the packing but I just blew it off. He takes me to the motorcylce races in the summer and it's a very long walk from the parking lot out to the stadium. He seems to do just fine. So I really think asking him to help me carry up a few bags of groceries up the stairs isn't too much to ask. I park in the fire lane right below the apartment so he doesn't have to walk far. Even if he doesn't want to walk up and down the stairs he can still help me unpack the stuff once it's in there. And the trash thing drives me nuts! We went to Mcdonald's for dinner Saturday night and his darn trash is still on the floor next to the couch. There's also a bunch of empty soda cans and cups on the side table next to the sofa. How **** hard is it to walk across the kitchen and throw your **** away?!
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Honey... You can teach all you want, but until what he gets changes, what he gives won't, either.

    My husband and my Dad both have learned to adapt... But that is because my Mom and I both made it easier for them to change than to stay the same.

    HE wants to go to the races, so taking you is no big deal. Trash on the floor IS. If husband did that in my living room I'd go ballistic and he knows it.

    If you are upset now by his lack of help, let me tell you something... You are going to RESENT it later. You will be miserable. He's not looking very hard for a place. Why should he?

    Is he paying rent or utilities or anything?
  10. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    He is paying gas and electric plus he gives me laundry and food money. I am going to miss the financial part of it but I don't know how much longer I can keep up with his laziness. When I get home tonight I am going to ask him to throw his trash away. I refuse to do it another day. Last week I was sick so I didn't clean at all after work. By the time Saturday came around, my house was full of trash. I had to go around with large trash bags and pick everything up. I had to haul three large bags full of trash down the stairs into the dumpster while being sick. There were dirty dishes in the sink that I had to wash as well. I was still sick but I couldn't take the way the place looked anymore so I cleaned. Now it's only Tuesday and once again the place is looking like trash. I have had it. I am not picking up any more trash. He is going to do it tonight whether he likes it or not.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Amanda, you deserve a man who can show he cares for you.

    You are seeing who this guy is for the first time. The fact that he is 50 and homeless says a lot about him too. He's 50 (FIFTY) fifty...and he's not going to change. I don't know how old you are, but isn't he a lot older than you are?

    Personally, I'd rather be alone than with another jerk I have to try and fix (if you're not fixed by his age, it is unlikely you ever will be). I would send his sorry butt right out the door. If you need rent, you can always get a female roommate who you are not emotionally attached to and set down the rules. After all, it is YOUR place. Your name is on the lease.

    You deserve so much better. So do your kids.
  12. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Yes, MidwestMom, he is much older than me. It really bothers me that I make so much more money than he does. I still struggle to get by with what I make but at least I can afford to have my own place. He has been renting rooms for years now and he's okay with it. I am way too independent to rent from anybody and making a career choice that doesn't pay enough for me to have my own place wouldn't fly with me. But he is content with what he does for a living and doesn't want to change. I seriously don't know how somebody could possibly be content with renting rooms but that's just me. My dream in life is to someday have a house. I am currently looking for promotions at the school so I can make better money. I make pretty good money now but with my income a house isn't happening anytime soon. I love working for the school district and I have made it my career choice. There are other posititions here that pay much better so I am always keeping my eyes and ears open because I strive to make more of myself. It bothers me that he doesn't. My mom has been telling me that my dream of having a house can come true if I marry and have a partner's income to help me out. With the crappy little amount of money that he makes he wouldn't be of any help. So I am counting on myself to do it. I wish he had more ambition but I know that part of him isn't going to change. I do think he can learn to help out and show some empathy but maybe I'm wrong about that. I honestly don't know what to do at this point.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    CB... ask yourself one question... what do you think your chances of success are in raising an adult child?

    JMO: I think he's pretty much a WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I haven't read all of this. I do want you to be aware of some things I see.

    Why do you have this guy in your life? You are starting to appreciate you and that is HUGE. This guy is a freeloading moocher and does NOT need to be in your home. If you continue to date, that is your deal. But he does not appreciate you, pull his weight, do nice things for you or in any way behave appropriately as a partner in your life.

    All he will do is cause problems with difficult child, make you feel bad, drain your resources, then say/do mean things and leave (probably with some of your stuff!)

    Get. Him. Out. NOw. He isn't working to get onto his feet. He is more than happy laying around clinging to your feet so that you cannot make any progress in life. Who needs that?
  15. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    As I have an ex with the "no gifts" or "few gifts" policy and my best friend's husband who she is leaving has the same disease.

    I know how that might sound to someone on the outside but it is very frustrating to get little to know attention on Valentina's birthdays or Christmas. My ex was a house husband for much of our relationship so if he got me anything I was paying for it which I didn't really mind it was "our" money and I really did not feel like rearranging my life and my kids schedule to accommodate a job that probably wasn't going to pay much over ten dollars an hour that he may or may not keep for awhile.

    When I got a gift it was almost always because I asked for it. Practically picked it out and then he would buy it.
    This won't change even when or if you explain how you feel, even if you shower him on those special occasions he won't step up or if he does it will be minimal so he isn't accused of being cheap or uncaring.

    I'm sorry he's one of those people he doesn't feel bad because even though his job isn't stellar and he obviously isn't doing that well in life, he thinks for whatever reason he is better then others.

    As for the cleaning after himself and you pointing out that he may not feel it is his responsibility, he can't have it both ways. If he is a guest in your home then he should be picking up after himself because that is polite as a guest . If he lives there and pays some utilities he is not a guest and should still be picking up after himself and helping out.

    No this can't be taught or trained into someone not really. You can raise hell about it and they MIGHT grudgingly help out or give a gift but it is never going to be, "here honey that looks heavy can I get it for you or I know you don't feel well so I made dinner" it's more like "dumb lazy woman this is YOUR job not mine why am I helping you"

    Is be pushing him to find a room, if he asks why I'd tell him, he's uncaring and doesn't help out or take care of himself or you"

    Even if he did start to do these things would he do them after a marriage? Probably not. We are all women here, a man who wants to marry will do anything to get you to the altar and then things start to change only the fundamental parts of his nature stay the same. If he is a complimented he still compliments if he does around the house he will keep doing around the house, but if he isn't and that was just an act to get you to marry him, it doesn't even take a year for it to go away.

    Just my opinion dump him.
  16. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your advice. The hard part is I actually grew to love him. I have known him for three years and he was an awesome friend. In the beginning of our relationship he was a great boyfriend. He took me out all the time even though I didn't get cards or gifts. He used to give me lots of compliments and shower me with attention. Since I gained all this weight the compliments have stopped. He hasn't told me he loves me in months. Hasn't hugged or kissed me or even held my hand in the same amount of time. Sex is non existent. He is pushing me to lose this weight. My daughter calls him a big time hypocrite because he has even more weight to lose than I do. I need to lose forty three pounds and he is at least sixty pounds overweight. But he was heavy when we met so I accepted him for who he was. He met me when I was super thin so he was attracted to skinny Amber, not fat Amber. So I get that. I am losing this weight but I am doing it for ME, not him. I am doing it for my health and my self esteem. My self esteem isn't too high right now but I plan on changing that for my own good. He has nothing to do with it. I am actually doing something about it and I can't say the same for him. It's hard and right now I really don't know what to do. He will be living in his car if I kick him out and I wouldn't allow that to happen to anybody. I am going to talk to him tonight and see if I can get somewhere with him.
  17. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    Babe if he was only around for smoking hot blonde amber and not happy with amber who has real problems and challenges who will not look young forever then that is another problem. I've yet to understand why men are allowed to gain weight,look old, dress horribly but a woman has to sit on a pedestal. I have some weight to lose but it's the one area I won't tolerate any words about. I've had 3 kids and I am not huge I am just not super thin. Hubs can say pretty much whatever else when he is having an episode but I won't tolerate that, it's hard enough to live in this skin.
  18. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    He doesn't really get on to me about my weight too much but he has said in the past that if I'm so worried about looking older then why don't I lose weight. He didn't like that I skipped my weight watchers meeting either. Like he thinks just because I didn't get weighed then I didn't lose any weight. I know for a fact that I lost weight last week because I had almost no appetite due to being sick. I was a little bummed that I couldn't weigh in because I was excited to see how many pounds I had lost. But I didn't want to get other people sick and I really did need the extra rest. I am going to make up for it by getting to a meeting later this week. He doesn't get on to me about my weight necessarily but then again he has shown me zero affection the heavier I have gotten. I am assuming my weight is what's bothering him. Normally he's a very sexual person but it's been months. Too many to count. So I may be off about the weight thing but I'm just taking a guess as to why he was once into me but no longer is.
  19. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    He's getting what he needs by having you take care of him...no responsibilities for him. He's 50 years old and couch surfing, basically, and as long as you let him, he'll stay right there and drag you down. Miss KT's father was like that...I refer to him as Useless Boy. His mother paid his child support for him, and still supports him after I kicked him out 20 years ago.

    Cut your losses and get him out. He told you what you wanted to hear, now he's showing his true colors.
  20. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cut your losses.