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Ask Stavroula: My Partner Is a Procrastinator

The National Herald Archive

Dear Stavroula,

I am 26 years old and live with my partner who is the same age as I am. He is an exceptional person, very sweet and kind. He treats me perfectly, he shows me that he loves me and that he wants our relationship to develop. The only problem I have with my partner is that he is a procrastinator. He undertakes things that he never finishes.

For example, while he promises me that he will do some specific housework, he constantly postpones doing it and in the end either I do it myself, because I can no longer bear to see the house like that, or we have a huge fight in order for him to do the housework. I cannot rely on him, and I am very irritated by his laxity. I'm in a state of anxiety and he is not worried about anything. It bothers me a lot that he does everything at the last minute.

When it comes to travel I prepare everything myself, because I am afraid that if I leave it to him we will miss the plane. When we have to pay bills I have to keep them in mind, because he forgets them. When we go out with friends he will start preparing 10 minutes before we’re supposed to meet.

I want to think about the future with him, but I am afraid that he is not able to meet the obligations and pressures of a family. Is there a chance he will change?

Andria

Dear Andria,

When we say that someone is procrastinating, we mean that he postpones for another time some activity that should be done immediately and chooses to do something more pleasant, i.e. something that does not cause stress.

Too many people are procrastinators and tend to postpone activities they need to do in the future without this preventing them from being functional in their daily lives. But there are people who are so affected by their procrastination that they have serious problems at work or in their social relationships.

From what you write to me, I cannot understand which of the two categories your partner belongs to and what is the extent of his behavior. For example, does this procrastination behavior only concern his personal life or does it include work? Because it is different to choose a more relaxed way of dealing with everyday life if his work is very tedious and very stressful, and it is different if he displays this behavior at his workplace with the consequences that this may have.

Therefore, if your partner is procrastinating to the point of extremes, unable to make important decisions about his life, inefficient at work, not taking on responsibilities, having low self-esteem, or having some kind of dependence (for example alcohol, electronic games) then it would be good to help him understand that he needs the help of a mental health professional.

But if your man is successful in his job, sociable, is able to make important decisions for his life, and is consistent in them, but he does not like to be pressured in his daily life, then maybe the problem is not so serious.

In this case you should clarify what exactly you expect from living with him, what are your limits, and what you cannot tolerate, and ask him to do the same with you. Then, after a calm discussion you can delineate the way in which you can work as a couple, how you will share common tasks and common responsibilities.

In any case, it would be good to keep in mind that people change, but always on the condition that they want it themselves and to the extent that they want it.

This means that you too may need to change and leave your man the space he needs. If you are a person who plans activities to the tiniest detail, who finds it difficult to diverge from a schedule and gets upset when forced to do so, you should consider whether you can tolerate behavior that may never match up with your own. In what ways will you be able to manage the upset and perhaps the anger caused by your partner's different behavior? How will you find ways to manage differences with your partner that will be constructive and not destructive to your relationship? By answering the above questions you may find the answer to what concerns you.

Stavroula Tsoutsa is a Certified Holistic Professional and Life Coach, Certified Heartmath Coach / Mentor, and Certified Points of You practitioner.