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At what point does one realize that it is time to end a relationship?
The questioner's philosophy
I am a Christian learning to grow spiritually.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
To find contentment with myself and those around me.
I have been in a relationship for nearly 8 years. We started when we were 17. It has been one intense and passionate relationship. We have broken up a few times because of lack of understanding or selfishness on mainly his part. Our arguments are usually about him not making enough time for us or always making excuses for why he is so consistently unavailable.
The most recent arguments we have is when he travels abroad (up to 3 months sometimes), communication drops to zero and his excuses range from he's too busy to he's too tired. I have never doubted him being busy or tired, but more often than not, he would never reply my messages even though he has a free messaging service. Many times he does not pick up my calls and he almost never calls me on his trips.
The painful thing is I don't like to appear selfish and give him time to call or text, but I get really confused and hurt when he actually never does either or at least acknowledge my messages.
He always says he loves me and I love him too. I have painfully backed off from this relationship one too many times, but he comes back saying that he loves me and he'll do what it takes to make it work and I usually go back because my feelings for him are so strong and I believe his feelings for me are strong too, but then all fails in a few days/weeks. (Note: I am very giving and generous - he has acknowledged this a few times.) I have read many relationship help books, but no matter how I put what I learn into practice, he seems more determined to throw in more road blocks (e.g. consistently being more and more absent - physically and emotionally). My questions are:
- What is real love and how should I apply it practically in the circumstances I'm facing?
- How do I go about knowing whether the relationship is right for me without thinking selfishly?
- At what point does one realize that it is time to end a relationship?
- Does it really take two to make it work or is it just me?
It may be 8 years since this relationship started but it still sounds adolescent to me. These back and forth games of not talking for months on end, followed by "I love you's" over and over are simply immature head games. He's a child because an adult would not let months go by without communicating with their loved ones. That one is on him.
The hanging on and wondering what's wrong with you, that one is on you. Ask any 10 women, aged 25 to 35, what they would do in these circumstances and they will all tell you "Dump the creep!" He's a little boy, and little boys don't know how to have adult relationships. They also think that sex is love. When relationships begin in the teen years, they are usually about physical attraction and sex. Yes, there are powerful emotions at play, but they are all tied in with the externals.
Real love is from Heart to Heart and comes with maturity. That involves the ability to see beyond the physical. For most of us, that capacity doesn't arrive until age 25 or later. Teenage love affairs rarely survive beyond those years. Just look at what's happened to you two. You are growing apart and neither one of you wants to let go.
So unless you want to continue beating yourself up over this little boy's behavior, then it is time to say goodbye. Go to a counselor and work through your feelings. You are not in love. You are obsessed. Get help! Get your feet back on the ground! And get on with your life!
There are some great resources here at Trans4mind to help you deal with your feelings and get a handle on how you are stuck. To begin with, choose one of these books for good practical advice...
The Getting Over a Relationship hypnosis download is well worthwhile.
Read more questions on this topic
Bir Badshah comments, Feb 2010:
The case of this lady is a normal one. Every young girl developes a liking for one or another boy at age 18! This is a natural urge. The person is developing from a girl to a woman—physically and psychologically. It is the greatest change in life for a woman, apart from the menopause. Sexual urge is the highest at this age. The attraction to each other at this stage is not love but an infatuation or obsession which ebbs down after both have had enough of each other. They normally start looking around. In this case the boy’s attraction for the girl is almost not there. He professes a very strong love because he wants no problems when he is back home.
I like Maurice's suggestions. They are straight and simple—just say goodbye.
I also accept that it is easier said than done, but at times one has to take some very hard decisions and the earlier these are taken the better it is—at least for the person who is complaining hard. An atmosphere of distrust for long, leads only to a mental breakdown.
The lady could be yearning for a mirage. The love from the opposite side is just not there. It definitely takes two for a Tango.
I do not think a counselor can suggest anything better. The advice from Maurice is enough.