Boyfriend question :(

by Vienna

We've been dating almost 3 years and we talked about getting married several times, we are very in love, met when we were 15. And this year we've been going down hill, he was tired of me being rude to him all the time and not showing him affection and he always got "shut down" when I wouldn't hold his hand or something. And when he thought we were done for good a few months ago and he met this girl that he fell for, but she didn't like him, and I said I can't just be his friend anymore because it hurt me too bad. And he got over her actually and texted me one day saying he finally wants me again but is scared I'll hurt him, I told him I wouldn't. And we were doing fine I thought for a month now, then he breaks up with me because he says he doesn't feel himself with me, and says we never talk like at all when we hang out. He wants to work on himself and get back with me soon and marry me someday for sure he said. But it hurts me so bad to just sit here and hang out with him as a good friend and text and stuff. Why don't we have things to talk about, and we're scared to have serious conversations other than texting because we never have. We don't have much in common, and we feel pressured to talk when we're together lately
And he told me with his friends they can talk for hours non stop when they're together. But when he gets with me he feels scared to talk like he'll make me mad because I do get mad with him easily.. :( And says he doesn't have anything to say..
We want to fix this though. When we're not okay we both feel like **** and don't eat or sleep. We love each other too much to walk away from this, we want it to work really bad and he doesn't want to rush until he gets over himself and the terrible past how I hurt him a lot emotionally..

Ben's Answer:

You're not going to like this answer. You're 18, but you sound like an old married couple. You're too young to be bound in an unhappy, dependent relationship like this. This is the age to learn all you can about relationships, so that you wont end up feeling this way when you're 40 and have 3 kids and a mortgage. Getting your heart broken is the most essential experiences you can have, for learning about yourself and about life. Heartbreak wont kill you but will make you a stronger, more independent person.

A relationship where you "need" the other person in order to feel ok; or you "need" the other person to be happy, or you can't feel happy... is always destined to crash and burn and end in despair for both partners. In a healthy relationship you choose to be together, you want to be together, but you don't need to be together and you don't need them to make you happy. You realize that happiness comes from within yourself and there is no "special" love. Love is love. Live with your heart open and you will love all people, including your boyfriend, and yourself. Confine this specialness to one person and you will become trapped and lost.

Your boyfriend sounds very uncertain about commitment, and you sound very scared to let go. If it's meant to be it will be. If you force things, you'll end up regretting it later. You both need to feel free to choose without guilt or fear of hurting each other. Take your time. What's the rush?

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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