A Lil' Less Conversation, A Lil' More Action Please

07/02/2009 15:38

I'm not sure whether to break up with my boyfriend or not. I have been dating him for almost two years. When we first met it was amazing and it continued like that for a little over a year to a year and a half. I had a bit of a self-esteem and independence problem but he has helped me to grow and how I have done so many things that I never thought were possible, and I truly believe it is because of him being a part of my life. Because of this, I have changed a lot since we first started dating. We went on a "break" that was not really a break because we could not handle not talking to each other, and then got back together only to later break it off again because I couldn't get over the fact that he felt such emotion to want to be on a break...so I doubted how he felt about me. We stopped talking for about a week and then continued to talk like normal. It is a distance relationship (in college) so for the summer he was moving to my town. A couple days before he came I couldn't handle the wait any longer, because he said he didn’t want to officially be together if we weren't in the same town. I started to think about what it would be like to date other people... and who I am. He got here and I thought it was going to be different (he lived with me the summer before). We don't really do a whole lot, just watch TV, which used to be okay with me, but now I want to go out and do things with him while I have him around. He said he wants to do things too, like go for walks, and go out for ice cream but it fell short and we really don't do that. Our conversations have gone downhill too; sometimes I get so frustrated with the responses he gives me via text. I am starting to think that maybe our personalities do not work well l together, although I love him and care about him so much. He does not get along with my friends. He doesn't have many of them, although he is a good person. The weird thing about him is that he is not that funny and sometimes doesn't know how to communicate. I have always wanted to end up with someone who is absolutely hilarious because everybody, including me!, loves laughing and I want to have fun with the person I am with (that includes getting off the couch and doing things). My friends tell me that our personalities do not match, and that I would be leading a way more fun life without him (I don't party so it isn't like I would go nutso or anything like that I'm just goofy and like to have random fun, which he doesn't ever do). I talked to him about all of this, which was scary, and I told him how our lack of good communication makes me think that he doesn’t love me and so I respond by acting kind of rude or mad at him. It's a cycle. He says that he loves me so much and that he spends all his extra time with me, that he has changed, and he wants to know what he can do to make me happy. He doesn't think I'm asking for too much at all but I know he loves me so much. I am just confused as to whether this relationship can still work and is it normal for me to be thinking about what it would be like with other people? -- Sarah


 What Mary Says...  What Crystal Says...

Dear Sarah:

If you’re asking the question, “whether to break up” with someone or not, what does your gut tell you? I bet it’s telling you to sever ties. From the tone of the rest of your letter it sounds as if you’ve outgrown your boyfriend. Sure, you still love him, and you may always have a soft spot for him, but if he doesn’t want to grow with you then there’s really no point in wasting your time. Relationships only flourish if two people are active participants.

You say, “I have always wanted to end up with someone who is absolutely hilarious because everybody, including me(!), loves laughing and I want to have fun with the person I am with (that includes getting off the couch and doing things).” This tells me he’s not fulfilling some need in you. I applaud you for talking to him about how you feel and I understand about clamming up when he doesn’t communicate with you; that can be frustrating and make you think you’re doing something wrong when you aren’t. On the other end of the spectrum, this may be how he communicates, by thinking of things internally, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. You both have to understand each other’s communication style.

To answer your question – is it wrong to think about what it would be like with other people? Hell no! There are days that I still wonder (hello Robert Pattinson and Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgård!) and I’ve been married 15 years. It’s human nature. It’s the pair bond that keeps people together when the going gets really tough.

It may behoove you to take a real break from your boyfriend, see what’s out there, spend some time with yourself getting to know what you really want and need in someone. You never know, a year from now you two may see each other again and realize you were truly meant to be.                         











Dear Sarah:

In the words of Lord Byron, “There is no instinct like that of the heart.” And that man…he knew something about love.

Your message screams of your instincts. They resonate through your words like a percussion gun (thank you White Rabbits). And your instincts, my dear, have got it right. Being alone would likely be a better choice than staying. The good news is, deciding to wait for the right mate rather than settle for what's in front of you is a decision far too many people don’t have the independence or self-esteem to choose. Your friend does deserve some thanks if it was partially his doing that allowed you to get here. Yet, just because he helped you grow doesn't mean you’re knitted to him eternally. Some people are meant only to reach into our lives briefly, like the passing snow of winter, and the best you can do is take the gift of them and further develop yourself. And it sounds as if you have done that. You’ve taken what he’s given you and grown, and now you’re ready to begin another part of your life - one that’s filled with the things you need now, not the things you needed then.  

I know sometimes it seems harsh. Wanting to break up a relationship with someone who has been a part of your life for a long time can feel like the epitome of betrayal. But you need to continue to grow, and it sounds like he might need to as well. You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. He may want to change for you, but unless he transforms his personality, the effect on your relationship will only be temporary. He’ll become resentful that he has to be someone he’s not, and you'll be angry that he hasn’t changed. And having a bad end to a relationship that has touched your life so much is a torture neither of you might ever get over.

So I say follow your instincts. If you choose to end the relationship now and hold out for someone who is a better match for you, you will always be able to look back fondly on your friend and remember the positive influence he's had on creating the divine and wonderful you. And he – well, he’ll get the chance to meet that perfect someone for him as well.








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