Question: Dear Luise:I have been with my boyfriend for five years. I was 17 when we became a couple. He brought so much baggage into the relationship and I accepted it in the beginning because I was young and immature. Now that I have matured, I don’t feel like I want this relationship. I thought things would get better over the years but they haven’t. He is so dependent on me for everything and that is unattractive to me. He has a daughter from a previous relationship and that also takes a toll on our relationship. He is very insecure and he tries to control what I do. I am not allowed to communicate with other males. There are only certain things I am allowed to do when I am with my friends. I am just stranded in this relationship. When I tell him I am going to leave, he breaks down and tells me he can’t live without me and it breaks my heart. I do really care about him but I am not interested in him as a boyfriend anymore. I think if he were honest with himself, he would realize he is not happy with me, either because we argue all the time. I just don’t think he knows how to move on because of the routine we’re in. It will be hard for me to move on, too, but I have other things in my life that will keep me busy. He doesn’t. Please let me know what to do. I am lost. A
Answer: Dear A: There are a lot of people who stay in relationships that are no longer supportive because they feel responsible for what their mates will have to go through if they leave. Some stay-put for a lifetime. However, there is a concept called: holding able. In your mind and heart you hold the person you are leaving able to cope, survive and grow. Your life is about you and his is about him.
It’s hard to imagine, and you have no crystal ball to look into to see if it will happen…but sometimes a breakup becomes a springboard for growth for the person who feared it the most, and often following that, a more fulfilling relationship shows up.
It’s a very deep and personal decision that only you can make regarding whether you want to remain your boyfriend’s caretaker and scapegoat or not. Those are strong words and I use them to make a point. It sounds like whatever you had in common has come and gone and you are failing to thrive in what is left.
Dependency can evolve into pathology and so can his controlling tendencies. Both reflect short suits that your boyfriend isn’t addressing and you are paying the price for that.
It is my guess that you know you need to move on. You even suspect that he needs to have that happen as much as you do, since neither of you are happy.
You have the right to expand, to my way of thinking. I might even suggest that you owe it to yourself to give yourself the best life possible. Blessings, Luise