I’m 26 and he is 24. We met online and, as soon as we met, we fell in love and became serious very quickly. We didn’t live together but were with each other at least four nights a week. We have seen and done so much together and had so many great experiences as a couple, but my ex-boyfriend before him lied and stole from me for years and, as a result, every time my current boyfriend said he loved me, I wouldn’t believe it. Every time I didn’t hear from him for eight or so hours I would start an argument. I constantly looked for reassurance, started arguments about not being a priority, etc. Part of me feels he could have said and done things differently to reassure me, but overall I must have just exhausted him.
I want him back and to put this right. How can I do that? — Regretting My Mistakes
You know, things would have been different if you didn’t behave the way you did, and maybe they wouldn’t. Maybe you two just weren’t meant to be and even if you didn’t have any baggage at all from a previous relationship and didn’t constantly look for reassurance and validation and need to be contacted every eight hours, your boyfriend still would have broken up with you. Maybe your boyfriend falling out of love with you had nothing to do with any of that at all. Maybe there just wasn’t a spark anymore for him. Or, maybe the person he thought he fell in love with when you met and began dating seriously very quickly wasn’t actually you. Maybe he fell in love with the idea of you based only partly on reality and partly on the fantasy he used to fill the gaps of what he didn’t yet know about you. And maybe as those gaps filled with more reality, he realized that the real you and the fantasy you were different and the real you, although lovely, wasn’t who he fell in love with.
We can’t help who we fall in love with. And we really can’t help when our feelings change. And there are so many reasons feelings can change. Sometimes it doesn’t have much to do with the other person at all. Sometimes WE change and, therefore, who we’re attracted to and drawn to changes.
For whatever reason, you aren’t the one for your boyfriend anymore. You think you know the reason and that, if you could fix it, you could have him back. But even if you could magically fix whatever you think is “wrong” with you, that wouldn’t magically change your boyfriend’s feelings. If there’s any chance of him falling back in love with you, it’s going to take time and a change of circumstances. What are the circumstances that need to change? I have no idea. I’m sure he doesn’t either. It’s probably absolutely nothing in your control.
But what IS in your control is dealing with the emotional baggage you’re carrying from your last relationship so that you no longer have it weighing you down in your present and future relationships. Maybe that means getting closure with that ex or going to therapy or writing a long letter and burying it. Maybe it means getting physical and sweating out your anxiety through exercise or a sports team or punching a bag at the gym.
If I were you, I’d do a heart palette cleanse by staying single for at least six months, focusing on myself and finding validation and reassurance internally rather than from a man or a relationship. It sounds like you would really benefit from the clarity of being single. When you’re free of relationship drama, it’s amazing the energy you can put into yourself and in becoming the person you would like to be (and the person that might make a more confident girlfriend than you’ve been in the past).
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.