I’m so conflicted; I respect her decision, but I cannot shake the feeling that I’m losing the love of my life all over again. Long story short: I have a pretty terrible medical condition that leaves me without feeling from the knees down and I cannot speak very well all the time. When we were married, she played the nurse role a lot, but all I ever wanted was for her to be there and love me. I supported her in most of her decisions, but in the end what got us was the issues with the savior role complex and troubles with her family thinking I put her in that role. I miss her terribly and I don’t know what to do. I don’t think telling her that I want her back would help things because I am so proud of how much she has done since we separated. She is quite a remarkable woman. What do I do? — Still In Love with Ex
It sounds like you both have a bit of the savior complex, and that you both would do well to continue to forge your own lives and identities and independence. If this co-dependency was where your marriage faltered, a reconciliation isn’t going to be successful as long as neither of you has learned to be independent and happy without the other. I get that you find comfort in one another in multiple ways and that you love and respect and admire your ex, but that doesn’t mean that you’re right for each other right now. I’d encourage you to each get some therapy (especially your ex whom you say has “no one else to talk to” about her problems) and keep working on yourself and creating independent lives and, who knows, maybe one day you can try a relationship again. But it has to be because you truly, truly want each other and not because you need each other.
How is your “backing off” going to solve anything? You’re unhappy because your boyfriend is basically shutting you out of a big part of his life, and in order for you to feel like this relationship is on track, you need for your boyfriend to start including you in some of the time he spends with his brother’s family. Instead of framing your desire for such as “insecurities,” frame your desires as, you know, desires. Tell your boyfriend you want to spend more time with him, to feel like you’re an important part of his life, and to get to know the other people who are part of his life. If he tells you again you have “nothing to worry about,” tell him it isn’t about “worrying” but rather it’s about wanting to be included in the life of the person you love. If he still won’t include you — and, let’s be honest, if after eight years he’s still not including you in important parts of his life, then he probably never will — it’s time to MOA, honey. Eight years is about six years too long to give someone to prove you’re worthy of being a top priority in his life.
I have noticed that personally I am not happy with my body anymore — like, I don’t like to look at myself in the mirror anymore. So I’m going to start eating right and working out. — Weight Gained, Attraction Lost
I mean, yeah, your boyfriend was a jerk to “be honest” in that way — telling you that your body kills his sex drive. That’s a super shitty thing to say to anyone, let alone someone you love and care about. But I suspect he didn’t even mean what he said. It’s more likely that, instead of ten pounds “killing his sex drive,” it’s your plummeting self-confidence that has truly affected the way he sees you. Confidence is really sexy — it can more than make up for an extra ten pounds. And when you don’t have confidence — when you feel so shitty about yourself that you don’t even look in a mirror – you have the opposite effect: you turn people off. Taking care of yourself by eating well and exercising is a great confidence booster. I suspect that once your confidence begins to soar, so will your boyfriend’s attraction to you, regardless of whether you even lose weight. The question then will be: Do you want a boyfriend who’d get drunk and tell you you’ve killed his sex drive? (The answer is no.)
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.