I am 27 years old, engaged for four years and in the relationship for a total of seven years. My fiancé is a great person and he loves me as much as I love him. The only – but very important – problem I have with him is that he is a procrastinator (in general, but mainly in anything he feels pressured to do or does not want to do). For this and in everything that has to do with our life together, he has undertaken only a few practical things, for example, he pays some bills and I have to remind him of that.
His procrastination has started to tire me out, because everything happens at the last minute and I am a person who needs to stay on a schedule to feel safe. I’m also tired of the fact that I cannot rely on him for things like going shopping or helping with household chores. Even if he agrees to do it, he constantly postpones it and many times I am forced to do it myself. At the beginning of our relationship, we were both very young and then maybe I liked this carefree attitude. I thought that in time, I would help him improve in this area, but I find that he does not want to change. How could I help him understand that procrastination is a problem, and how he can overcome it?
Psychological factors or personal weaknesses can often be hidden behind procrastination. There are people who are accustomed to procrastination because they are afraid of failure or being compared to others. Still others may postpone things that stress them out, that they feel they cannot manage, or things that they are not happy to do.
Procrastination can create problems in the relationship, especially when one of the two is forced to take on the responsibilities or obligations of the other, when he constantly postpones them.
Something similar seems to be happening in your relationship.
The first step is to set your own limits. Have a clear and calm conversation with him, without blaming him, where you will clearly express to him the problems that arise for you and how you feel about the fact that you are forced to do more than you should, because he does not help out. Ask him to offer solutions, to set the time when something related to your life together should be completed, and to suggest ways you can support him so that he becomes less procrastinating in what needs to be completed in a certain time.
However, it is not easy to change your fiancé’s behavior, if so far this is the way he usually works. If this person is not dysfunctional with his work or with his social environment, that is, if this characteristic does not hinder him in his daily life, creating problems to the extent that he realizes it and wants to change it, then maybe you will have to look at the problem from a different perspective.
You need to clarify within yourself what your feelings are for your fiancé and what you would do if he did not change his behavior. Could you live with him, accept the situation, endure his procrastination? Although at the beginning of a relationship an individual may be fascinated by a characteristic of the other person that they themselves do not have – such as you following a schedule in contrast to the carefree attitude of your fiancé – as the relationship develops that individual may not endure the difference. He may then seek what it is familiar, what creates security for him.
So think about what you could change yourself if you really have deep feelings for your fiancé so that you can both bear the difference. Do not hope to bring the other person to your way of doing things, unless you are also willing to change your own ways as well.
Stavroula Tsoutsa is a Certified Holistic Professional Life Coach, ICF ACC, Certified Heartmath Coach/Mentor and Trainer, and Certified Points of You Practitioner.