Because I Have Already Solved the World’s Foundation Problems
I’m a 21 year old woman in college in Washington D.C. I’m currently dating a 23-year-old man who is working at a media company in the D.C. area. This is the first relationship for both of us. We’ve been together for 15 months and on paper we’re the perfect couple. He treats me extremely well, planning little surprises, is always there for me when I need him etc. I try to be the same for him. When I have a problem or good news to report, he’s the first one I call and vice versa. We love each other a lot and get along very well.
And yet, I constantly have doubts. Every two or three months, I have doubts about our relationship. Either my doubts are sexual (that our sexual life isn’t as great as it used to be or that I’m not interested in it anymore) or I’m concerned that he isn’t “the one” or I’m concerned that maybe I ought to have dated more before committing to one person. Sometimes I feel as if he is too emotionally needy and doesn’t give me enough space. (He’s gotten better at that and doesn’t get as upset as he used to when we can’t hang out.) It annoys me that he’s more emotionally needy than I am — it makes me feel like he’s not masculine enough. Moreover, I am currently in India, visiting my parents, and although he says he misses me like crazy, I’ve had uneven feelings. On the plane ride over, I was in tears over leaving him behind. Then for the first week I was in India, I didn’t think of him much at all. Then I started to miss him a little. Then we considered breaking up and I feel that doing so would be the biggest mistake ever.
We’ve almost broken up several times, nearly once every three or four months. Then we always pull back because we feel as if we don’t have any legitimate reason to end it. Then we have another great four months before I start feeling it won’t work. I’m a worry wart in general.
Prior to dating this man, I was briefly involved with another man, who was a friend. After a brief sexual involvement, he cut me off and then began to see another woman who happened to be an acquaintance of mine. I felt (and still feel) hurt and betrayed by that experience. Is this the reason why I’m pushing away my current partner, even though he’s fantastic in every way? Can my relationship be saved?
I hope you can help,
(Well. This is a nice break from all the foundation brush talk, no?)
Really, I think your entire letter boils down to this one sentence: We always pull back because we feel as if we don’t have any legitimate reason to end it.
Point one, I think it would be much, much better to stay together because you have legitimate reasons for WANTING TO BE TOGETHER. Not because you aren’t sure if your reasons for not being completely happy with him are the right reasons.
Point two, you named some very legitimate reasons for why you aren’t completely happy with him. They may not be everybody’s reasons for wanting out of a relationship, but they are yours, and I don’t think you should doubt yourself so much. Leave all the crap about past relationships and your “worry wart” characterization of yourself aside and re-read what you’ve typed here.
You aren’t interested in sex. You feel smothered. You aren’t sure you’re ready for a long-term commitment (and I am guessing he is?). You didn’t miss him all that much in India. You just aren’t sure if he’s the right guy for you, but you’re maybe a little too afraid of being hurt again to be single.
Those are legitimate reasons for re-examining this “paper perfect” relationship. Are they the be-all end-all nails in the relationship coffin? Maybe not. You’re the only one who can make that call. Maybe you guys need an honest-to-God break to see if it really IS the worst mistake ever. Maybe by giving yourself permission to admit that things aren’t perfect, and that you aren’t being unreasonable for not being as into him as you feel you “should” be, you’ll be able to be more honest with him and work through some things.