One of our dear readers (who has asked to remain anonymous, so I've chosen to call her "Flower") has a boyfriend who is very loving and caring one moment, then suddenly becomes emotionally distant.
She's wondering if she should move on, or if there's something she can do that will make him want to be with her.
Here's her story:
I have been dating this guy for two years, today is actually our anniversary, which he has not mentioned at all whatsoever.
As soon as I tell you all this you are going to say 'dump him & move on' but I just can't.
Sometimes I want to, but other times I look at him and think of all the good parts of our relationship & I just can't.
When things are good they are great, like amazing, he's caring and loving and all that. But he grows very distant for at least a week once a month.
During these times he claims we spend too much time together and he just wants to be free, when in reality we only spend weekends together and he doesn't even have many friends anymore to hang out with.
He claims we are too close and he doesn't want to settle down (and I'm not ready for that either, but I like the idea of having a future with him). So I give him a week away, although it kills me and sometimes I may still bother him, but in any case, he comes running back saying he missed me and acts like nothing is wrong.
I am always there for him, but he is not always there for me back, because we get too close and he gets scared.
I was reading before about how their relationship with their dad are a big factor, and his dad abandoned him when he was like 5 and they haven't spoken since he was 13.
He doesn't ever buy me little things to show he was thinking of me and it's not like I ask for much. He doesn't tell me that he loves me, I think he said it to me 4 times in our whole two years, because he keeps comparing me to old relationships.
We work together now too and all he wants to do is talk business, and I don't want to be all business.
How do I change that?
There is so much more to say, but I could go on for days. Basically, I love him and I want him to be the one because I think he can be if he just lets me in.
So what can I do to make him let me in and want to be with me?
Or should I just move on and if it's meant to be it will be?
It's never as simple as "dump him & move on" when it's your relationship you're talking about. Our feelings run so deep, our expectations are so wrapped up in the time we've invested in someone, that of course you need something more than just those words that are easy for someone else to say who hasn't walked in your shoes.
You want to know there's some other way.
And there is.
You take back your own power before you give him or your relationship one more thought.
How do you do this?
You accept the reality of what is, of who he is, of how he treats you, of his need for space. You accept that you can't change him by trying to show him your worth, by playing games with him, or by trying to convince him of anything that he doesn't come to on his own.
You accept that the only person you can change is yourself and because of that, you are the one who is completely in control of this relationship, no matter how much it seems that he holds the cards.
He doesn't. You do.
And from this place of acceptance that you can only change yourself and not him, you ask yourself what you it is you really want. What is he worth to you? What is being with him - having in your life on his own terms that he has clearly defined for you – worth to you versus having everything you want from someone who can give it to you but isn't him, worth to you?
- Can you live with his need for space and the high value he places on his own freedom?
- Can you live with him not buying you small tokens that you equate with him showing he's thinking of you?
- Can you live with him only telling you he loves you 4 times in the whole two years you've been together?
- Can you live with being compared to his other relationships?
- Can you live with rarely talking about what you want to talk about instead of what he wants to talk about?
- Can you live with all the things you say you could go on and on about for days?
Because this is the point. You say you love him. But what really do you love about him? What does that really mean when you look at what you're getting from him and what you're longing for from him? How do you reconcile the two?
This is the reality that we fight so hard in the name of what we call love.
It's not about you wanting him to be the one "because I think he can be if he just lets me in." That's such a huge "if" that has everything to do with him and nothing to do with you. We can waste away so much of our beautiful lives waiting for that if only moment that so rarely ever comes and at such a great expense to our own self-esteem and self-confidence.
So, you ask, "what can I do to make him let me in and want to be with me? Or should I just move on and if its meant to be it will be?"
Focus on you, Flower.
Create your own life despite what he does or doesn't do. Decide what you can live with and don't worry about how much time you've already invested in him or what anyone else will think.
You only answer to you. If it's space he wants, holding on tighter to him or becoming more demanding of him or resenting him for being himself isn't going to help. It isn't going to change him. You have to do what you need to do for you. If you choose to move on, if it's meant to be it absolutely will be.
But you can't be the only one who wants this. What's meant to be comes about because of two people who are on the same page who want the same thing with each other and are both willing to do what it takes to make that happen. That's how "what's meant to be" happens.
But what matters right now is what is. Can you live with everything that's in that reality of today? It's not just today, but tomorrow and the next day and the next? Can you live like this with him if nothing changes? This is your life, not his.
You're the only one who can answer this.
I hope this helps you see your way clear.
It's a familiar road for so many of us. What do you think? Should Flower just move on? Share your thoughts, your own stories, and any advice you may have for her in the comments.