Dear Dr. Bill,
My boyfriend and I are in our early thirties and we’re considering a long-term relationship. He’s a great guy except for one thing—his “party friends.” I totally disagree with how they live, act, and believe; yet he insists on hanging out with them. My boyfriend and I try to pursue clean, positive, and healthy lifestyles—but these friends, both male and female, don’t. And while my boyfriend doesn’t partake in their “extra-curricular activities,” I feel anxiety every time he spends time with them. What should I do?
I’ve talked to other women who have dealt with the same type of situation. They’re dating a man that they really care about, but they have major concerns about his maturity, character, or behavior.
I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve told them—if you’re expecting that his behavior will change for the better after you’re engaged or married, you’re setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment. As we say in psychology, “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” In other words, don’t expect him to change—what you see is what you get.
The Bible talks a lot about the company we keep and how our friendships influence us for the good or the bad. Proverbs says that a man who spends time with wise friends becomes wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. The fact that your boyfriend insists on spending time with these friends should be a major red flag.
I’d encourage you to ask yourself a hard question—why are you involved with guy in the first place? Many women wind up with guys who are bad for them because of their own early family experiences.
Perhaps it’s time to do a little soul searching about your past and begin to seriously pray about the kind of man that God would want you to marry.
Thanks for writing, Kristin.
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