My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 months. I'm 28 and he is 33. We've had a really fantastic relationship and we fell for each other pretty quickly. We've met the families and friends, taken vacations together, gone to family weddings and work functions together, and have had a really incredible bond, an attraction and connection neither of us have felt before. He told me he loved me first and we say it to each other often. He is incredibly passionate and treats me like gold. He is affectionate, thoughtful and romantic. We mesh so well together, we have a great time together and we've never argued. We've talked about the future, together, and it is scary, but comforting and exciting at the same time. He emails me with reasons why he loves me, he writes poems to me about how he feels. I have been totally swept away.
Last week, I noticed he had become a little distant. He has been under a lot of stress and pressure at work for a couple of weeks. I know that everyone has times when they're just off, not right, and I figured this was his. Despite this, I felt like we were ok. We saw each other, had fun, all was normal. Friday during work he emails me that we need to talk. Friday night we get together and I nearly lose him. For 3.5 hours we talk about how he feels, how scared he is that we're not right, how he has this gut feeling it will never work out for us, that he sees little things that could become problems later and he is afraid things will only get worse. He convinced himself that we were doomed and he told me he didn't think we should stay together. I was shocked and sad and scared, but I felt like he was making a quick decision, he wasn't seeing the whole picture, he got spooked at the future talk and playing house on the weekends and rather than deal with it or step back, he was going to run. He told me he loved me, but the last few weeks he hadn't felt in love with me, he hadn't been himself. He'd been looking at other girls, thinking about being with other people. He said that he had been saying he loved me when we said goodnight or got off the phone, but hadn't truly felt it. It hurt. It really hurt to hear it. We talked and I asked him to give me and us a chance, not to leave the relationship and to think it all through more. He agreed and we took a night apart. He came back Saturday and we reconnected. We talked about the conversation Friday a bit and he said he freaked out, he was scared of committing and us going so fast, but it wasn't fair to walk away and not give things a try, not try to work on it. He was affectionate and intimate with me, he was thoughtful and sweet. He made plans to see me this week, talked about our weekend, talked about us attending his friend's wedding in November. I felt like he was trying.
As for the L word, I told him I understood and I didn't want him to say it unless he felt it. I told him that there would be times one of us loved the other more, and that all couples have phases. I said it might take some time for us to get back on track, back to normal. And that we could work on it -- making sure he spent time with friends and not just with me, as he had been doing; stopping the talks if the future, because it wasn't necessary to do it now; take the pressures off and just be with each other, without him feeling as if he had to make a choice now. He said that when he would say "I love you" that I often said back "for how long" or "forever?" and he felt weird because he didn't know how long. I realize now that I was being really needy and it was putting pressure on him. It wasnt fair of me to do that. He said he felt dumb, that it was just a word. I told him it was more than that and it was ok if he didn't feel it right now. I stopped saying it too this weekend, to let him not feel pressured by it.
I feel like we are working on things and I am glad that he did not just walk away, that he realized there is something good here and is willing to give it a shot to make it work. The love thing is hard. It hurts to know my boyf isn't feeling like he is in love with me. I think we are very fragile right now, I think it will take time to get back on course. All I can do is be open and patient and see how he handles it, see if he can truly do this. He may not be able to, he may not feel the love with me again. It scares me and saddens me, but it might be the end result a week from now, a month from now, a year from now. I think it is normal for relationships to have some ebb and flow, to have ups and downs when feelings may not match. But I am not sure how to handle this how to deal with it. I feel like I can't make him love me, but that is also up to me now to make him remember why he fell in love with me. Other than being open and loving to him, what can I do. I hope this is just a phase, just a bad few weeks, just a major freak out, just him being scared. But I am so fearful that this is the beginning of the end, that we will be back in this place again, and at that time, it will be final. I love this man more than anything and I want this to work. I'd do anything for it. I am just so very afraid that the love that has diminished for him the past few weeks may not be regained. That he may not feel the way he used to about me and that I'll then lose him for good.
Five months really isn't that long. Honestly, it seems a little soon to me for the "L" word to be used, and to ask if it's "forever" after 5 months is REALLY too much. Maybe your boyfriend thinks things just moved way too fast for him and he is putting on the brakes. I know if someone asked me for a future after 5 months I'd probably run for the hills, but that's me (commitment phobic here!).
You have just begun to build your relationship. You are building it quickly and while in the first flush it seemed like he was on the same pace as you, it apparently became overwhelming. Give the guy the time and space to think like he's asking, and allow him to figure out what he wants. Also, you might let him know that you are aware that things moved very fast and that putting on the brakes and slowing down doesn't have to mean the end of the relationship, but just moving at a slower pace. After all, didn't you just go through a bad, heartwrenching breakup earlier this year? Slow down, let him slow down, and maybe the two of you can move at a pace you are both comfortable with.
It sounds like you're just venting, Erin, and not really asking for advice, which is fine, I know we all just need to get all the stuff out. But even though you didn't really ask for advice...I feel compelled to offer my two cents anyway...well, knowing me, it will probably be more like 42 cents.
Anyway, I think you're putting way too much pressure in this relationship. You're building too much of your life around the success or failure of this relationship. what if it does end? Are you really willing to set yourself up for being lost and miserable for the rest of your life on the whim of some guy? Trust me, please trust me, that would be a huge huge mistake, and not one you can always come back from. I know what I'm talking about.
And no, it isn't your job to make him see why he fell for you in the first place. It's your job to be someone YOU can be proud of, it's your job to be the kind of woman that YOU can look at in the mirror and be glad about who and what you see. It's your job to build a life and fill it full of things that mean the most to YOU, work, volunteering, family, friends, it's your job to be the best you that you can be. If you happen to find someone who can really fall in love with that person, hey, great, but you cannot pin your happiness on that happening, because it doesn't always happen. Not everyone finds love, no matter how wonderful they are, that's just a simple fact of life. It's just not in the cards for everyone.
As much as it will hurt to lose this guy, what will haunt you most when you look back on the end of this relationship is how you conducted yourself as he walked away. Did you have pride and dignity, or did you beg and plead and throw away all your pride for some guy who doesn't want you? That's what will stay with you.
You're right, you cannot make him love you, and you can't make him remember why he fell for you, because you don't really know what those reasons in his head and heart were, no matter what he TOLD you they were. But it's good that you've recognized that you have been too clingy and needy, and that's a lesson to take with you from now on. Yes, him saying I love you and you saying "for how long? How much?" that kind of stuff, that's emotional blackmail, and yes, it's gotta stop. You're implying you need a promise he's not prepared to make and it's twisting his arm and no wonder he wants to bolt. Be happy with what he's content to give you until you can't be happy with it anymore. And when that day comes, and he can't give more and what he's giving isn't enough for you, that's when YOU walk away without looking back and without regret.
Thank you for your replies. I agree, that there has been a lot of pressure on him and on us, caused by both of us. Five months is really early and it is too soon to be making big plans. I think it is extra hard because we both had difficult breakups in our past and we both do know that we want a fantastic relationship, marriage and family. I think we're both very eager for it and eager to find that person to have that life with. Both of us are also bigtime planners, we want to know now what things will be like in the future. I have learned that you cannot make a deadline or a timeline. It's impossible and only sets you up for disappointment, pretty much in any respect, in matters of the heart or otherwise.
I hope, with all that I am, that this was simply a big freakout. A product of confusion, stress and fear, and of him being passionate and a bit impulsive, letting it blow up and him being blinded by fear and thinking things would only get worse and never be good for us in the long run. I am glad that he realized he had not thought it through from other angles. I am glad that he made suggestions to go forward with -- taking the pressure off, seeing friends more, trying to relax and enjoy each other. And I am glad that he has not been distant and cold in the days following the blowup. That he's been affectionate and attentive and has mentioned upcoming plans, this weekend, this month and months away.
I am fearful that this could be the beginning of the end. That he just may not be able to do this, because of fear or committing or me, or a combination. It is scary and sad. But I have to be prepared now that it may not work out. Before Friday, I was completely convinced it would. And it was mostly him -- bringing up where we'd move to, what kind of dog we'd had in the future. He is the one who calls me five times a day, writes me poetry, is so romantic and kind. Until Friday I felt like "well of course we're going to be together." I thought he was crazy about me. But I think the initial bliss may have worn off, and the stress got him to the point where he was about to walk away from me. And that is scary. This isn't just a fling to me, and I don't feel like it's an average kind of connection.
LarryLou is right, that I need to protect myself and my heart more. I never thought I'd find love again after my bad breakup, never thought I'd find someone I could mesh so well with, and I did. And he was so honest and pure and we connected so incredibly, I took the wall down that had been up for a year and let him in. I have a busy job, I have hobbies and friends, but I am prioritizing him right now, and it's not healthy. Especially now that things are delicate between us. I saw a therapist for a few months when I was very depressed about my breakup last year. I think I may need to start going again. To help me get a healthier hold on this situation and maybe, sadly, to help prepare if he cannot stay in this.