Since moving out, he’s expressed that my constant negativity was bringing him down. I took an honest look at my life and at my happiness and I realized he was right. So, I have been working on myself, going to therapy to learn coping techniques, and I have been practicing meditation to deal with my stress levels. I feel better about myself and I notice myself reacting to situations in a much more positive way than I would have even a month ago.
The problem is my boyfriend recently told me that my past negativity made him fall out of love with me. I was devastated. He stressed that he has noticed the changes I have been making and that he is very proud of my growth. He wants to stay together and see if his romantic love for me can grow again (he suggested this). It has been a month, and he says he feels improvements, but he just isn’t quite back to loving me the way he did before, yet. I continue to strive to be more positive every day and I feel much better about his level of commitment to me, but the waiting to see if he will ever love me again is very hard.
So my question is: Do I wait it out and keep working on me and hope that the man I love will find his love for me again or do I decide to keep working on myself alone? — Afraid to Lose Him
I’d MOA. You say you’ve been together for five years and are in your late twenties, which means you were in your early twenties when you started dating. A LOT changes in those formative years as you leave young adulthood and become a full-fledged adult. This “negativity” stuff you’re talking about is a reflection of growing pains, and it’s not just growing up you’ve been going through, but growing apart… from your boyfriend. He didn’t fall out of love with you because you were negative. He fell out of love with you because you two drifted apart. It happens all the time, especially with couples your age. You stay together because you love each other (you’re “best friends”), you feel comfortable together, being with each other is all you know, it’s scary to think about being on your own or being with someone else, and you’re afraid of losing the person you once thought was “the one.” The good news is, you don’t have to lose him as a friend. After a total break from him — say 3-6 months — to break the habits of thinking of him as a romantic partner and trying to make him love you again, you can start over as true friends and continue being in each other’s life. But, yeah, your relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend is over. To keep chasing that is futile and will undo the work you say you’ve done on yourself. MOA. Rip the bandaid off. Quit trying to make someone love you, and love yourself enough to move on from a situation that has run its course.
I am frustrated in feeling that she’s taken me down this rabbit hole with her but can’t figure out who she is much less what she wants. I am not sure I can be only friends with her at this point. She tells me she feels so guilty for her feelings because she can’t hurt anyone, yet keeps up the flirting and spending time with me. Not sure what to do or where to go from here. — In Love with My ‘Straight’ Co-Worker
She’s married. Period. End of story. MOA. Her ambiguous sexuality, the “rabbit hole” she’s taken you down, the intense feelings, blah, blah, BLAH don’t matter. What matters is that she’s committed to someone else and she’s stated numerous times to you that she can’t act on her feelings toward you because she doesn’t want to “hurt her family.” Of course, she’s already hurting them — and YOU! — by engaging in this emotional affair with you. Well, you can’t control what goes on in her family, but you sure as shit can control how she makes YOU feel. How? Stop fucking see her. Stop spending time with her. Stop flirting with her and confiding in her and playing this stupid cat-and-mouse game with her. Acknowledge that she’s confused and it’s not YOUR job to help her figure shit out. Go find someone who is: A) emotionally and physically available; and B) not confused about her sexuality. Anything else is just a “project,” not a relationship.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.