Dear Luise: My girlfriend of over a year has recently become distant, and I’m wondering if it is too late to pick up the pieces. I asked her about it but she refused to admit anything was wrong at first. Then she finally told me that she was having doubts about where our relationship was headed. But before I get into this, I should clarify some things. It is a fairly long-distance relationship…120 miles. Throughout our relationship I have been pretty jealous, controlling, and insecure. I have had no reason to be insecure as she’s a beautiful, moral-driven girl who would never cheat on me. I have improved over the last year, but recently she’s wanted to experiment with alcohol and, being a bonehead, I got upset every time she mentioned it. I more or less acted like she killed my best friend. I realize that was wrong and I should give her some space to grow. I’ve been so shaken up by this and emotionally distraught that I have been acting incredibly happy to try and change her mood. I’ve been more loving than usual, sending her 2-page e-cards telling her how I feel about her. She told me today that I’m pushing her away by completely changing who I am, and acting artificially happy. I have been happy, but not as much as I’ve let on. I want to make an honest effort at getting our relationship back on track. Besides the obvious need to drop all of the “acting”, I want to return to the person she fell in love with. Throughout the week I have tried to get her on the phone but her voice is almost emotion-less. Help! Joshua
Answer: Dear Joshua: Oh, Boy…you’ve dug a pretty deep hole for yourself, haven’t you? No wonder you can’t see the light.
The truth is, we can’t be the person someone else wants us to be…we can only be ourselves. Isn’t it true that the guy she fell in love with was jealous, controlling and insecure? Do you want to go back to being that guy? She may have outgrown you. Can you outgrow yourself? Obviously putting on a happy face isn’t going to cut it.
What’s needed here to save your bacon is some very long, in-depth communication between the two of you. You can’t change but you can mature. She can’t stay static but she can grow thoughtfully. A counselor might be able to help the two of you through this minefield. It’s one that has doomed many relationships… two people growing but not necessarily growing in the same direction.
Get together and get to the bottom of your impending break-up, if you can. Be courageous! It’s your only hope. Blessings, Luise