Vail relationships column: A relationship requires two
I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year. We had a minor disagreement, and he then ignored me for two weeks. He is saying that he has an emotional block and does not have the same love for me that I have for him. I’m confused and scared. I love him and don’t want to lose him, but I don’t want to stick around for someone closed off to me. He says he doesn’t have an answer about future plans for us as a couple.
What Should I Do?
Dear What Should I Do,
If it doesn’t feel that he is equally interested in you as you are with him, then you’re no doubt right. So it is time to fall out of love with him — and then to go out there and find someone who wants you. Tell him that you are looking for more than he is offering you and that you are seeking someone who wants a committed future with you. And you can tell him that you do not want someone who blows you off whenever he gets upset.
Perhaps he will change his mind when he realizes he is the one getting dumped, rather than you. But if he changes his mind, then make sure he acts genuinely and authentically. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for him to dump you again when something “better” comes along.
A year and a half ago, I got into a long distance relationship. I live in the Philippines, and due to visa restrictions, I had to leave last summer. When I came back this spring, I was expecting us to get married. But my boyfriend says he wants to know me better and was thinking it might take another two to three years before we would marry. We have mapped out goals together and a division of responsibilities. But he hasn’t flown, and my parents live overseas. Does he sound serious to you? What do you think about his two- to three-year timeline?
Confused Asian Gal
It is up to each of us to stand up for ourselves and for what we want in an intimate relationship, so we are not ill used, taken advantage of or disappointed. You are making huge sacrifices in order to be with him, and it doesn’t sound as if he is attempting to make similar sacrifices for you. You are going to have to let him know what you want and need from him in order to for you to be willing to wait.
Is the two- to three-year timeframe longer than you are okay with? If so, then it is up to you to say so. Do you want him to fly over to meet your parents? If so, then you’re going to have to make it clear how important that is to you. Perhaps he will be willing to compromise with you — say one year rather than two to three years — and that he will come to the Philippines to meet your parents in the meantime. That would be a good sign he is putting forth a greater effort and is willing to make some uncomfortable sacrifices, as well. A healthy relationship requires two present people. You can’t do it all by yourself.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. His column is in its 24th year of publication and is syndicated around the world. You can reach him at 303-758-8777, or email him through his website at http://www.heartrelationships.com. He is the author of the new book “Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Keeping the Flame Alive.”