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How would you handle it if you realized that the guy you were dating had problems reading?

It’s a very serious issue, and one that’s also extremely sensitive. You might ask, “How could you get into a relationship with a man who can’t read and not know it?!” It happens more often than you think.

“I dated a guy for years, and I never realized he had a problem reading,” one woman shared on a social network dating thread from a few years ago. “Then one night at a party during a board game he had to read aloud. I was in total shock.”

She said that when the guy started reading in front of others, he became embarrassed. He stumbled over words and by the end of the night, he was angry that he had been put on the spot.

According to this young woman, she never knew that he had issues reading. And in reality, how do you know sometimes? How many times have you sat down with a guy and really read anything with him out loud? When you go on dates with people who speak in a pretty ordinary manner (aside from the usual slang), and you don’t have a reason to read things aloud alongside them, how can you really tell if a guy you’re interested in is struggling with something so important?

Well, this woman said that she tried to help him read more to improve his aptitude, but it wasn’t working. Eventually, things between them fell apart, and they went their separate ways.

Another woman also shared in the thread that she dated a guy who was illiterate and that she regretted the way she treated him about it when they were together. She said that she was much younger at the time and not very encouraging. When he decided not to seek help, things went sour. Instead of providing the man with support, she was impatient with him. “Instead of trying to help him, it annoyed me, and I dumped him.”

The more comments that I looked into from the thread, the more I noticed that women were saying not just ex-boyfriends, but former husbands had hidden their illiteracy, and once it was uncovered, it hurt their relationship. And those who were still married to men struggling with illiteracy said that pride was keeping their partner from really doing something about it. A couple women said that attempts were made to get help, but they hadn’t seen much progress.

So it made me want to ask how you would handle a situation like this? Could you stand by a man you really liked, or even loved, despite them struggling with something so serious? An issue like illiteracy, or even dyslexia?

What individuals with issues like these need is support because it is exceptionally hard. A lot of programs aren’t offered for adults who have trouble with reading. If they are ready and willing to receive help from you, and you are willing to provide it, then you should. But if you know you can’t, then what?

The first woman I told you about did try to stay with the guy she was dating. They attempted to seek out programs for him because he was wanted help. But he was eventually disheartened by the lack of opportunities available to support adults with illiteracy, so he stopped trying to get the assistance.

He became very insecure and mean-spirited about it at a certain point. Still, in the end, she said that it was his lack of commitment as a boyfriend, not his lack of trying when it came to improving his reading skills, which actually pushed them apart. She was willing to stay with him through his issues, which is commendable, but romantically things didn’t add up.

Sometimes you can’t help everyone. Maybe you try and it doesn’t work out, or maybe they refuse to be assisted for something they’re very prideful about. But you know what you need for yourself. I think that if you’ve made the best effort you can, then you should do what works best for you, even if that means leaving the relationship. And sometimes, that support they need might best be offered by someone who is providing it as a friend, as opposed to a romantic partner…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. Is this an issue you think you could help your partner with and move past? What if they weren’t trying to improve? 

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