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41 Responses

  1. Aki says:

    Just a thought: It’s not easy to leave anything if one hasn’t got any resources in general…. Sometimes it’s about emotional insecurity, but often it’s more about survival something to do with finance. It’s important that to educate young people about the importance of having to set up a financially secured life first of all. But I’m not sure what I can do to women who have passed the stage to get a career as they didn’t have such education earlier. They might be likely stuck in a unhappy relationship with the cost of emotional well-being. I can’t tell that they should dump the unhappy relationship if it’s about their own survival as the life isn’t all about emotions! It’s important to have financial security too, along side with other things in life.

    • Thank you for your contribution Aki. I agree – resources/finance are a big factor in making that final decision to leave an unhappy relationship. I wanted to focus on the emotional moment in this article because I believe once we gather that emotional strength and we’re sure it’s the right thing – we’ll have more energy and determination to start looking for solutions and resources for more tangible obstacles. But your comment is very valid, this topic can definitely be addressed from that angle too. Thank you.

  2. Guadalupe Lopez says:

    I’m feeling this way at the moment. It’s been a long journey. My ex boyfriend and I have been on and off back and forth. There is no respect for each other. It’s been 8 years on and off, and we don’t seem to want to walk away from that.

    • Petra says:

      Hi, that is a long time. Did you ever try to examine why it’s so hard to walk away? Because this way you’re probably just wasting each other’s time – and you could surely be much happier with new partners if this isn’t working.

  3. Nicole says:

    This really spoke to me because I’m in this exact situation. My boyfriend and I have been together for four years and we live together. There is no respect, practically no friendly every day conversations- literally everything and anything turns into a fight. I love him, but we are not IN love, and we both know its been over for a long time as each and every one of our arguments end with us both saying that. We both just dont want to lose one another because we’ve been all each other’s had since the beginning and its hard to think about losing each other for good. But I know it’s over. How do I find the strength to leave?

    • Petra says:

      Hi Nicole. Maybe you should talk to your boyfriend first – and see if there is a way to fix things and get back in love. If you both still care there might be a way – but you’ll have to both be ready to work on it. Once you talk sincerely and openly, it will be easier to draw conclusions. You might feel differently after that – and it will be emotionally easier to make the next move, whether it’s getting closer or breaking up. It’s hard to make a big decision like this when you’re not ready to make it – but the worst thing you can do is just waste your and his time, you might both be happier with other people, or you could resolve things and be happier together. So it’s best to do something that will help you decide one way or the other. Good luck!

  4. I met someone 4 years ago long distance, and just a year later we fell for each other. It’s hard for me to connect with someone, and he’s the only one I’ve ever had a real connection with. We know each other better than anyone and we have a lot in common, and what we don’t, we deal with. We know that, but he has a girl friend and recently said he is over me. I don’t know if it’s denial or if I’m right.. But I doubt he’s moved on. No matter what, he always come back. And I have this feeling that once him and his girl friend break up, which I’m sure they will because they are both so immature, he will come back, hopefully a little more mature. I didn’t like him at first, but since the beginning.. Despite the fact that I didn’t like him, something kept making me hold onto him. And the worse part is, I’ve never met him. And no, I have nobody’s support. I guess even worse than not meeting him, is being told to give up before ever really trying.

    • Petra says:

      Hi and thanks for sharing your story. It seems to me there are a lot of questions you should ask yourself here. What do you want to happen here? Be with him for real, move on, continue the online relationship? Are you fine with him having a girlfriend and keeping you on the side? Would you be fine with it if you were the girlfriend and he had an online thing with someone else? What is it about him that makes him so special, what does he have that nobody else can give you? You say he is immature, do you want to date someone immature (or less mature than you)? Do you want to have a real, non-long-distance relationship? Figuring all that will help you understand what kind of relationship you want to have, what is love for you, and will give you a clue whether he is worth fighting for or you should move on. If you’d like me to help with that, we can have a consultation and discuss. Just send me an email or inquiry via CONTACT or COACHING page. Take care.

  5. James says:

    I am in a very confusing sitution. I really want to leave my partner but i am unable because i am responsible for the mess in our relationship. I know i will always regret for this. I really love her from my heart but i never gave her time. She waited for one year for things to get normal. I was afraid for commitment due to family reasons. I know she gave everything for me. She was so commited with me. Frankly speaking i took her for granted. She always beared my mistakes. But one day she gave up. She started looking beyond me and that day i really felt for her but i was still in contact with her amd one dayshe said i want to break ipAnd now from last 6 months i am not able to live up properly. I cry almost every night because i know i was wrong. I always regret for what i have done. I am doing everything that i can to bring relation in same way we used to. But is is not happening. I have apologised from heart . I spent time with her. But she does not consider me as her boyfriend more. All those sexual pleasure those moments are gone and i really miss them. I dont know what to do. I need her back please. I cant live my whole life under regret . Please help me.

    • Petra says:

      This girl has obviously moved on and I am afraid there is nothing much you can do about it, it’s her decision and her feelings, and no matter how much you try to be good and nice to her – if she’s not attracted to you any more, that’s it. She’s moved on – and you need to do the same if you want to find happiness in love. The only way to make up for your mistakes is to not repeat them in your next relationship. It’s great you realised you were not a good boyfriend, and that is a very valuable experience and lesson for the future. There is no way to go back and repair the past, but you make it up to yourself and the woman you date next.

  6. Alisah says:

    Hi Petra. There is this guy I’ve known him since he was about 10 years old. I am 7 years older then him by the way. Right now he’s 21 and im 28. He said he always found me attractive since he was young. At that time I was about 17. We were not really that close growing up. In high school he was known as a player. But then out of high school he changed and grew up to be more mature. He didn’t do half the things he did in high school. Getting drunk and partying every other night. Me on the other hand I had 2 long term relationship. Those realtionships were bound to be a dead end. 1 was because it was a long distance internet relatioship. I was yound and stupid. The second realtioship I only stayed becuase I was afraid to leave him. I was afraid of him coming after me with viloence. It took me 2 years to finally end it. Okay back on track to the current situation. I do not look my age. People thinks I am 18-22 yrs old. We dated for about 6 months. I never really was attracted to him. We spend a lot of time together and text everyday for about 3 months before we made it official. He works at a very busy restaurant for his aunt and it causes him to stress a lot. On the other hand when he and I would argue over stupid little things. And he said sometimes being in a relationship with me is overwhelming. Before we go together he would always talk about moving out of state to start a new beginning away from family and she stress from work. Bc he’s been working at the restaurant aright after high school. And now he wants to go to school and see where would life take him out of California. He feels that he needs a new scenery. That was before there was an us. He had talked about his plans on moving and what not. But then we happened. And he said that he felt lke he was they luckiest man Alive to have me. And moving was not an option. We had just broken up a few das ago. For the past month he have been working 12hrs 7 day with no days off. He said he’s tired of living the way he is now, he feels stuck and lifeless. And he just wants to move aways from everything in a few months to start over. From now until his move he wants to save and live like a broke man so that when he relocateds he would have some savings. He called it quits bc he said it’ll be easier for us to let go now then to hang on and let go later on. He don’t want a long distance relationship bc he says what if he happens to be out and drink one night and does something stupid. It would hurt me more then to leave me now. Bc cheating on me would be more painful for him to see more then calling it quits now. I told him he can go to school and start fresh. But he says family here don’t moviate him and or won’t push him to do good. Bc he is moving to a state where he have a couisn that had Always been his mentor growing up hat will push him and moviate him. And if he leaves it will be easier to quit his job at his aunts place. Bc he feels is he quits and gets a new job somewhere else he will hurt her feelings and he don’t want that. So leaving the states will be easier for him to quit at his aunts place. He says he loves me and shows no emotions of this breakup Bc he’s trying to hide it. I asked him why is it easy for him. He says it’s not and that he’s just hiding his emotions. And when we talk about our situation he said it’s hard for him to. He said after him he don’t want me to downgrade and date losers, Bc I’ve been known to do so in the past. I asked if he wanted me to wait for him he said no Bc he don’t want the opportunity of a good guy to pass me if I happen to meet one. Which I don’t think will happen. He said he still wants to remain close and to keep and cheerish all the things we have given each other and not throw them away. He wants us to end on good terms and that I will ways have a place in his heart. And that he hopes to have a place in my heart as well. I just don’t understand why he would still want to leave after tellig he he felt like the luckiest man alive to have me. Now he wants to just get alway from his family and the stress. Like is that more to hate them to suck it up and stay here and be with me. I just don’t get it. I’ve been over analyzing everything I can never come up a conclusion. I haven’t ate in days. I just been reading and googling stories online about breakups. I cant even think straight. Is there a possibility that he’s just under a lot of stress and just saying things that he don’t mean?

    • Petra says:

      He says what he means, listen to him. There is no great mystery there, he explained it all to you but you don’t want to hear it, so you look for hidden meaning. He loves you, yes – but that love is not enough for him. What he said before (luckiest man) was one moment when he felt your love can save him. But then he saw it cannot make up for all the other stuff he needs to sort out in his life. If he stays for you, he will just be more and more miserable because of his job and things he feels need to change. In the end, you’ll start resenting him too, because he will be an unhappy man, unable to give you what you need. I would say the age difference is big, at your age. Your life is probably much more sorted than his, you’ve had enough time to figure out how you want to live. He is still very young, and it’s only natural he wants to find himself. You are really not in the same life phase, and that can create problems. In a few years, you might want to have kids – he will not be ready yet. He might want to party again, and you’ll want him to stay home. It’s OK to love him, but do let him live his life on his own terms. In the meantime, why not look around to find someone whose interests and life situation are a bit closer to yours. The best relationships are with people who already complement the things we want and enjoy, and we don’t have to struggle and compromise too much with.

  7. Lindsey says:

    I am going through a situation … Me and my boyfriend have been together for five years, We have been through my moms death, cheating, fights everything.. we are high school sweet hearts. But lately it has been going down hill… I really see and have seen a future with him and i thought he seen one with me, atleast that is what he has always said. The other day i found out my grandmother is on her death bed. That afternoon he told me the only reason he tells me he see’s a future is so we don’t fight, Shortly after telling me this he tells me he isn’t sure he is inlove with me anymore. I just dont get how you can tell someone this when they are heartbroken already.. And i just dont get how to deal with anything aymore. When i told him we need to break up he tells me he doesnt want to lose me and i have his heart. All i do is spoil him, I’m a college student and work two jobs, I make pretty good money, and i buy him everything he want’s … He doesn’t even say thank you anymore. For velentines days (And our five year) I made him a little basket with candy and with every candy i listed why i loved him.. he didnt even read the cards. He didnt say anything sweet nor did he get me anything. I just dont know what to do.</3

    What is he doing to me…
    What should i do…
    HELP! Please…

    • Petra says:

      You need to have a serious conversation with him and see if your relationship has any future. His actions and words say he doesn’t believe in it any more. If that’s true, there is only one way for you – out. I know it’s the last thing you want, but unless you can work on fixing your problems there will only be more pain and heartbreak for you. There is no reason to waste your and his life in a relationship that’s making you both miserable. Fix it, or break up. Misery is not a good place to live in, even though denial can be comforting – but only for a while. If it’s not going anywhere – the best thing you can do is give each other a chance to be happy with someone else.

  8. Maryam says:

    Hi, I don’t know if you have any advise for my situation. I have a long history of picking men that are abusive and just not right for me. Last year in March a guy I was dating briefly broke up with me after he basically played me for a fool, stating he was someone who he was not and then getting into drugs, and cheating on me. Well, not long after I met my current boyfriend. I was not in the least attracted to him but he was my sisters friend and he was my ride to a 4 day long camping trip we were going on. During that trip he was so insanely sweet and nice to me, carrying my bags and helping me during tough spots on hikes. He was the sweetest man I had ever met. (He is transgender and was hardly back on his testosterone after having been off of them for about a year. ) Well, after a month of chasing me, coming out to my lunch breaks almost every day, taking me and my children out to a park after work and weekends I finally gave in and said I would date him even though I didn’t think I was ready. I laid out all my faults, like needing a lot of communication time in a relationship, and wanting to touch often, and spend lots of time together and he said those were the things he held as a high value too. Well, about 3 months in he started coming over less, and less..and texting became further apart and fewer through the day. He became focused on spending time with friends and would often make plans with someone at the same time he made plans with me. I mentioned how I felt disrespected and he pulled away even more, and a whole downward spiral began. He pulled away and I felt miserable like in all my other relationships where I always felt alone. We sat and have had so many talks and so many “let’s make this work” sessions together and each time I make all the changes he asks of me.. while he kind of makes a small effort. 10 months in and we now see each other once a week on Saturdays, he still hardly spends the night and throws out so many excuses. He knows I can’t up and go to his place because of my children but he says that’s the solution. He has gotten involved with an NA group because of past narcotic use that he has been feeling creep up on him … and he goes there every night which is great..but he’s used it as an excuse to get away from us as well. He will skip meetings to spend time at his moms or go to an amusement park, but not if I want to spend time together or need him for a ride (while my car was broken). He still makes plans on top of our plans and then tells me I need to get over it when I am upset about it. He tells me I am being too needy and pushing him away. If I say anything as simple as “I miss you because we haven’t seen each other all week” then I am needy. If I say I need more than to be a saturday afternoon girlfriend, I am pushing him away. There are so many little things too that make me feel like I am not a priority to him, like when his mom calls and we are on the phone he hangs up with me to answer to her..but when I am calling when he is on the phone with his mom he will not hang up with her. He also has admitted to me that he used to tell half truths to his ex girlfriend to avoid conflict, and I feel he is doing that to me too. Like I introduced him to a game we could play together on our phones and we played every night and I told him how happy it made me.. and soon I saw him on all the time… but he would never play with me, and when I brought it up I was starting drama. He has also always kept in contact with this ex that he was on and off with for 10 plus years,who has gotten him into drugs so many times and who was trying to cheat on her husband with him shortly before we met. He also keeps in contact with most his other exes on very friendly terms and is okay with very flirty messages back and forth claiming that hearts and hugs and such are not flirting. I love him very much and want to work things out, but he broke up with me 3 days ago when I asked him to put more effort into our relationship, telling me that I create too much drama.

    • Petra says:

      If you had a string of relationships where you were not treated with respect, or any pattern in relationships that always plays out badly for you – that is definitely something you need to look at more closely, and find out why it’s happening. We attract people of a certain ‘type’ who trigger our fears, insecurities, traumas – because we need to deal with them. These people are there to highlight the issue for us, until we are so fed up with being hurt over and over again that we change ourselves and grow stronger – and subsequently happier in our lives and relationships. From what you described, your partner is not showing you much love – he is taking you for granted, you’re always last on his list. If it’s been going on for a while, and it’s not getting better – it’s time to talk to him about it, tell him how you feel, and what you want – listen what he has to say about it. Based on his response, you’ll see if your relationship has a future. If he says he’ll change, that’s great – but he needs to start behaving differently too. If he doesn’t see the problem, and refuses to work on your relationship – then you can decide whether you want to stay in the relationship, as it is – or you want out of it. I can help you get a bit more clarity on why this is happening to you over and over again, and how to stop attracting abusive men. If you’d like that, do get in touch on email or via Coaching / Contact pages and we’ll arrange a consultation.

  9. Scott says:

    Well, not sure what to say as I have overthought this so much. Years of an awkward love, one with a sexual interest that was such hard work to match yet many very busy and excellent years. One that grew into so many arguments, when I never thought of myself as argumentative! Now I seem to have just forgotten how to be me. I really feel as if we no longer connect, just bicker. I seem lost in this whole relationship. I vacillate internally, stalled in a limbo I can’t fully define. I don’t fully stand up for myself in this relationship any more. We are like friends and love is a faint murmur and a past that produced the best years and three wonderful kids. It is family and grandkids, lack of work, failing finances all sorts, a mix of silly and serious reasons to stay. But inside I just yearn to walk on, to very literally walk and camp, travel away for as long as it takes. To leave her with everything as I am not wishing to be negative financially. A fews back I met someone, just a few fleeting encounters, it was as if a dam broke. I was not looking for anyone or even focused on anyone, but this person seemed to trigger a subconscious connection. It was almost impossible to describe, it felt like a different sense. As if I could feel them in a room. A warm, gentle yet growing feeling of connection developed without any effort within a few days. I didn’t even know who it was at first, but I could feel them moving about the room with groups of others. Sure at many levels I am sure we have our own reservoir of love, of care for others and empathy. But at a deeper and in a longer relationship – no way. Now I know love feels to me like something of a power, a gift, a grace, and a sense of connection. Something that I can’t seem to refocus on this person I married anymore. Now I am feeling just adrift. So advice would be great. I have tried to talk, but no change occurs between us that lasts. I felt that if I stayed I would get past the anger, and I did. I have stayed for four years and now this dull listless demeanour seems unshakeable.

    • Petra says:

      Hello, do get in touch for a consultation. I feel yours is a bit more complex situation to be summed up in one comment, and would like to ask you a bunch of additional questions to get more insight. Just send an email via Contact / Coaching pages and we’ll set a time to talk. It’s free and it’s a 30 min talk.

  10. Marilena15 says:

    Hey i was on in a relationship pretty serious for 3 years stayed together then i left
    the appartment and the we were on and off together but without anyone known especially my parents always afraid to tell them again … I do love him for sure but there are some problems issues that both have with eoch other and often fight and react with no respect to the other. Its been a year now that we are officially apart with no serious relationship … He has been speaking in the meantime with other girls but never got anywhere because he was still inlove with me. For the whole time he was telling me to get back together but i was afraid that things would never change… So we were texting meeting eating together all in secret. The issues i have is that i feel safety with him and know that he loves me but i thing we lack in communication we see things different but i cant imagine him dating other women and also can see my self or my life with out him. I always see other couples and think that they have found hapiness but i havent.. I dont know maybe i want more that i can have.. We also work together in my father company ….. I am sure that being like this for a year now maybe cause more problems because he felt unsecure …. I know i have to take a desition but i am afraid to leave him or go back in an official relationship and stay together again..

    • Petra says:

      If you both want to stay together, try couples counselling – and see if you can overcome the issues you have. Everything can change, and we can all become better people and better partners, so why not try. This in-between situation is not good for either of you, so better work on it and see if you can fix things – or break up for real, and give each other a chance to find someone else that will make you happy. Those are the only two solutions that make sense long-term. You can always be friends if you care about each other, if it’s not working in a romantic way.

  11. Emily says:

    Hi Petra! Just wanted to start off by saying thank you, I’ve been really searching for advice and haven’t found anything that quite fit how I felt until this site. I’m noticing a lot of people are experiencing situations where both partners feel this growing lack of distance, however in my relationship it’s only felt by me. I’ve been with my partner for 3 years, both are each other’s first love and first long term relationship. I feel everything you have described, his quirks and even affection I used to find sweet now feel irritating, my conversation is forced and awkward, I’m less attracted to him, I feel distant and act cold towards him and our arguments are circular and frequent. I fear im no longer in love with him yet I still care very much about him, he’s a wonderful person and we’ve had such a beautiful relationship together it feels wrong to give up on it when I can’t even explain my reasons for losing feeling. It terrifies me to think of being alone, and no longer having someone in my life to know me and be there for me in that sense, which then leads me to believe I shouldn’t end it. Then everytime I consider this I try to pretend to feel affectionate and loving towards him yet it feels so wrong and the worst part is he can sense my acting. He knows that Im losing feeling and pretending not to, we’ve had the same discussion many times as this is very painful for him, he hasn’t lost any feeling and has no desire to spilt. I feel trapped between pretending to be in love which hurts us both but not having to lose him or losing him and feeling even more sad alone while hurting him even more. I’m struggling between two options of which is more painful for us both, he needs an answer and I’m so lost.

    • Petra says:

      Please question whether you’re staying with him just because you don’t want to be alone, or because you really care and want to keep him in your life. If you’ve already discussed your issues, but haven’t found a way to repair your relationship that would bring back the romantic feelings for you, then I think it’s better to split. That way you’ll both be free to find love again. If only one person is in love, nobody is happy. If you feel a conversation would help you get more clarity, do contact me for a consultation.

  12. MissUpsetAndConfused says:

    Hi. I just wanted to say your post was extremely spot on to what I am feeling right now. Probably even the best post that actually understands how it feels to be “stuck” in a relationship. I’ve been with my partner for over 8 years, since we were both 19. We have a 6-almost 7 year old together. I truly feel that there is no chemistry between us, like we have a laugh sometimes but that’s only when he is intoxicated (he is a very heavy pot smoker and has been since he was 13 years old). He refuses to get help for his habit, and it becomes an issue when money runs out and he can’t afford anymore for a week or so. But even after all that, I’ve gotten to a point of boredom. I’m bored of the arguments, and bored of him being stoned or just angry most the time. I don’t think it’s even about me being resentful that he has chosen weed over our daughter and I, I think it is just being sick of it all now and like I have nothing left to input to try and save this relationship. Unfortunately I have suffered with very bad depression, anxiety and personality disorder issues for 7 years. I struggle leaving the house alone and can only just manage to walk to my child’s school in the afternoon to pick her up (my partner takes her in the morning). I feel things would become so bad and hard should we split up and it scares the hell out of me. I guess until the day comes (or if it even comes) I’m going to have to wait it out.

  13. Jack jones says:

    My wife of 12 years told me a nonth ago she doesnt love me anymore. We married young but I knew I loved her and wont ever replace her. We have 2 children & there the best. Funniest. Sweetest. Loving kids. My wife is working on moving out and although I should give up due to constant rejection I cant because I think with communication and time I can be better for her. Her friends say the warning signs were there but I felt alone and didnt notice she did too as she hid how much she hated me by going out after work.

    She wants me to apply for seperation and family say I should get a lawyer on the case for finance and kids reasons but I just cant. Im still in love with a women who cant stand me.

    we met in a beautiful way but I guess I didnt care for her properly, I focused too much on the future and not enough on the present but she wont let me make it up to her now.

  14. annionomus says:

    My boyfriend and I met online we got along right front the start and could talk about anything we talked for hours finally after a month he rented a car to come drive to meet me he lived an hour and a half from me he would drive to come see me every few weeks we talked every day and night night I fell in love with him before he did with me took him six months to make us official and tell me he loved me.a year later he asked me to move in with him we were happy about six months later i caught him talking to another girl online one night i was heart broken jealous almost left he had went into a panic attack and could breathe and was crying at the thought of losing me i stayed but couldn’t get myself to fully trust him i began going through his Facebook messages i didn’t find anything other than him flirting in some instances and every time I would read it i would start a fight with him but wouldn’t tell him what I knew.I used to do anything and everything for him he proposed to me or his version of proposal not long after I accepted but after that was never mentioned again he feared marriage because his last marriage had failed due to his exwife cheating on him and getting pregnant with another man’s child because he would not have kids with her out of fear and he still carried that same fear til he got with me it wasn’t until three years in that he finally made up his mind that he would give me what I wanted and we would try to concieve we had many false alarms and we both would have emotional breakdowns over it.we seem to have fallen into a pattern where we only have sex about once a week if not less i feel like he doesn’t want me I’ve gotten to the point where my sadness sextual frustration have become projected as anger towards him and resentment because I feel he isn’t trying to look into other options for us to have kids or be married i feel as though lately I don’t have the motivation to clean and cook for him or take care of him or anything like i used to and when he gets hypoglycemic attacks I almost get annoyed with him because I know it means there will be no intimacy between us for yet another night and that I feel as though I’m his nurse instead of his girlfriend.I love him i don’t know why I’ve developed this jekle and Hyde personality with him he’s a good man to me he takes care of me cleans takes care of our dogs helps me when I get my hypoglycemic attacks if it weren’t for me we probably would never fight he’s only started one fight in four years I’ve lost count on how many I have.lately I’ve had feelings of leaving him but I get flash backs of the few times I’ve tried i feel as though he might actually die if i leave he’s become so dependant on me he won’t even eat if i don’t make sure he’s fed.last night out of the blue he asked why I’ve been so distant from him and that he sensed I was falling out of love with him i told him no i still loved him he asked me again to Marry him i said yes then moments later he started into how he felt ashamed that he couldn’t buy the ring or do anything without me i told him it was fine then it just reminded me of the proposal i had gotten from him two years previous and I don’t believe him.he had passed out on the floor he wasn’t feeling well I just had so many emotions going on in my head that I woke him up and told him the truth about everything and he told me he still fears marriage and that he thinks it will change us because of what he believes it’s done to his family and It makes me wonder if he meant the proposal at all.I do want to be with him but I fear I’m getting worse and worse towards him almost to the point where I want to either cheat or leave him and I don’t understand why I just feel eventhough I only see my life with him that I’ve come to a dead end and that if I stay nothing will change and that I’ll never have children or be married to him i don’t know what to do this is a man that would do anything for me and has only ever been loving i feel like a horrible person

    • Petra says:

      I’d talk to him honestly and openly and decide whether you want to get serious or not. You need to be on the same page about your future together. You will not change him, and if you wait for him to change on his own, you’ll waste a lot of time. If he can’t give you what you want and need, it’s time to move on. And trust me, if you were not there to feed him, he wouldn’t forget to eat. It’s just easy for him to wait until you cook his food.

  15. 😢 says:

    Hi Petra,
    I’ve been married for nearly 8 years,unfortunately for the last 2 Years my marriage has become stale. We have the most amazing child together and I can honestly say the only reason i am still married is so our child still has a stable family. I know in my own heart my marriage is over but I’m terrified to leave incase I upset our child, my child is my whole world and the last person I would want to upset but I am beyond miserable now, I feel I don’t know who I am anymore.
    My husband isn’t a bad man, far from it but we have really had a string of bad luck over the years, major money problems and health issues, amongst other things ( too long to go into) it’s been chipping away at me and now I feel I can’t take anymore, I love him cause he’s a great dad to our child but I’m not in love with him anymore, we sleep in separate rooms, we have a non existent sex life (over a year now) we barely speak, I feel nothing when I look at him, when he trys to be close with me I can’t bare it. He knows there’s something wrong, and sometimes I think he feels the same.
    I only have a part time job at the moment so this is another problem as I wouldnt beable to keep up with paying all the bills by myself, I hope to return to work as soon as our child starts full time schooling but until then I don’t know what to do with my situation ? Is it wrong of me to break up our family? Should I continue to put my feelings on hold so our child is happy? My family are Christian (I am not) they have gave me a bit of a hard time over this, basically I should just try and make it work for the sake of a stable family life. Am I selfish to think that I would be happier away from my marriage raising our child but with the possibility that our son won’t be happy? Please help,I would be very grateful for some advice as I just don’t know wot to do anymore..

    • Petra says:

      It’s really hard to say what’s best for the child – staying together miserable or breaking up to be happier on your own or with a new partner. I believe children hurt either way, so you are hurting your son by living in a loveless marriage too. He sees and feels mum and dad don’t love each other and that is traumatising too. I think you should talk to your husband and try to find a way to solve your situation, see how he feels too, and try to find a way to change your relationship with the least damage to your child. If your marriage is really beyond repair, maybe it’s better you separate and find happier relationships, and try to manage the impact on your son by staying loving parents. I am not an expert on the parenting side but please look for someone who is, who can help you through that process. If you decide to stay together, then you should both be willing to make things work between you – that means being a proper couple again and working on your relationship. The worst you can do for your child is show him you’ve both given up on your happiness and just accept a life of quiet misery. He will grow up thinking that is how life and love works, and that will be very damaging for him as an adult. If you break up he will be hurt, but if you both come out as better, happier people – over time he’ll see that is a good thing and he’ll be fine.

  16. anonimous says:

    Hi Petra,

    I am in a situation I don’t think I’ve ever been before. I know I need to be honest about everything in order to get a valuable advice. It is very complicated now. Me and my boyfriend met in college, I was married during that time. We worked together for a couple of years. Then my life changed, I got divorced, no drama there. But this guy I worked with started asking me out telling me that he had felt something for me all this time. We started going out, we fell in love very passionately, we spent (and still do as of today) all the free time together, we practically live together in two houses. As for today, we have been together exactly a year and a half. I am a difficult person that likes to go under the other person’s skin, obsessing with the other person’s past, and doubting his feelings, even if there was no reason for that, he was out there for me all the time. I was also obsessing with and asking him when are we getting married. He was planning it on a specific day, but then, because I was always asking about it, he told me about the date. Later, on that date he did not propose to me and said that he wants me to be surprised with this, so he postponed it till later. That’s when it got much worse, I started doubting him, and making bad painful conversation saying that we are not meant to be almost every day for 5 months. He said that everything I tell him makes him feel this way because my words affect him. For example, if I would say (and I don’t know why I ever said that) that what if this is never going to work, he would start thinking this way too. Almost always he turns my words and thoughts into his own over time. However, he was still willing to work, we never gave up. However, I’ve felt less and less excitement from his side. Recently I found that he was lying to me about something from his past, which was not a big thing, but I was hurt that he lied to me. After that, he told me that he does not know if he wants to work on this anymore. He said that everything negative what I kept telling him over these 5 months made his feelings fade, especially in the last couple months. He said that my negative thoughts made him feel so depressed so he has been killing his own feelings. He said that he loves me, but he is not in love with me. He said that is how he feels right now, not only because of what I say, but because his feelings are going away. Before this last incident, we had a sort of a happy week, but he said that he did not feel happy, but he was trying to. He also says that he tried to look happy and told me that we have that love because he does not want to hurt me. As of today, he says that he still cares about me and is willing to work on it again, he has a hope, but this hope is going away more and more. He wishes his feelings would come back, but he doesn’t feel so right now. He still says he loves me and asks if I got to school/home safe. Do you think the “being in love” part might come back? What is your advice? It was hard to put all my thoughts into words, but do you see why did this happened and is it is still possible to make it work? We both (still) hope and willing to continue to work, but do you see a hope considering everything I wrote above? Is there any advice that you can give?

    Thank you so much!

    • Petra says:

      If you doubt the person who loves you (and shows you that), you will gradually make their love fade away. Nobody wants to be questioned and probed for no reason, that is emotional torture. When someone constantly makes us feel bad, we stop wanting to be around them. Your insecurity is making you doubt him – and if you don’t change that pattern, it will plague your love life no matter how much the man you’re with loves you. I don’t know if you two can go back in time and fix things. Might be too late. We can’t control our feelings and say I’ll fall back in love with someone or fall out of love. That is not a conscious decision. Your boyfriend clearly cares for you, but he’s fed up with feeling miserable in your relationship. The only real chance to fix this would be if you changed, but still there are no guarantees he will fall back in love with you. This is a good wake up call for you to work on your insecurities, so you can have a happier and healthier relationship next time. Even though we can’t change our past, we can always learn from it!

  17. maryllama says:

    I am in a complicated situation as those before me. I grew up with an abusive father who was an alcoholic and watched my mom deal with this abuse for years. I have a love/hate relationship with both of my parents. I am 21 years old. dating a man for 3 1/2 years on and off.. all of the OFFs have been my call. Shortly after calling it off i will want him back. I broke it of the first time because I was feeling dissatisfied. i felt like i was missing out on single life being that i was in college etc and i didnt want to be unfaithful. So, after two months I experienced it breifly and decided i wanted to be back with him. He is honestly a great guy, whom i feel safe with whom i can be with for hours and days on end and not et sick of him. He is my best friend truly. He puts me at ease. BUT for some reason something in my brain does not let me be happy with him. Our second break up was also because of me – well my decision. We were fighting very frequentyl and when we fought it got unhealthy. I punched him on a few occasions and at first he did nothing but then the last time he choked me.. i know its abusive.. but i cant help but feel like something in my past caused me to be violent and bring out this vicious.horrible side of us.. im not puting the blame on me completely i think our chemistry is very unhealthy. We have this love for one another but at the same time we both get so insecure… he has been with other woman during our breaks and i have been with other men but I play the number game and get myself all bent out of shape thinking how could he have slept with 5 girls yada yada… although i wanted those breaks.. Anyway My doubts have always existed but lately they have become over powering to the point where i am persuing therapy and feel like i am searching for an answer that will never come. In a perfect world him and i would work out the problems because i do love him as a person.. i know he will take care of me, i want to take care of him, i love his family and mine loves him.. we have mutual friends, we have a good time together, i love so many things about us and truly cant see myself with anyone else but then another part of me hates myself for being so indecisive, so doubtful so unsure. I am basically unsure if my gut is saying its over and i haven’t accepted it yet or if i am just not over some of the hurtful things that have happened but regardless i know that i cant start fresh and be with someone new and thats great and all but I just want to make it work with him, we have grown up together and i know people stay out of fear and of course a part of me is scared.. but i do see potential in him as a husband and human.. he loves me and i don’t want to throw that away even if i could find someone to love me too.. I just dont feel sold on the idea of leaving but my anxiety has been unmanageable. I literally think about leaving everyday.. i’ll cry at work if something triggers it, ill lose sleep for days on end.. i don’t know what to do anymore.. when i do end it i just feel like i made the wrong decision.

    • Petra says:

      Work on yourself, your insecurities, traumas. You won’t be able to have a loving mature relationship before you’ve dealt with those, at least partially. You will keep having problems with this guy or the next. You will grow through relationships too, so please don’t think you need to stop dating – but just understand the problems will remain until you get to a better place with yourself.

  18. Terry says:

    if you have 15 minutes, please read….I have an exhausting love story but one that is dear to my heart. We started dating 4 years ago. I was only 2 months removed from my previous relationship however we had been friends in the past and had a history and so it happened naturally. He was smart, funny, positive, handsome everything i wanted.. few months in i started to see a side of him i never had before, He was very jealous and somewhat controlling – came of as insecure because he was always arguing with me when we would go out together. It became so routine, and only got worse once he graduated and i still had one year left. He would visit friday we would fight that night or saturday night and spend sunday making up. during these fights he would say cruel things, call me names, put me down – he was drunk. he would apologize time after time until i finally said i needed a break… He begged for me back for 3 weeks and i just wasnt ready.. I felt so much anger because he couldv’e been the love of my life and my dreams but he kept breaking his promises and all the wonderful things he did were washed away by his mean words.. one month later i sought out affection from another man, briefly. Upon hearing this news he did the same. FOR SOME REASON, this triggered me to want him back.. so we started dating again, trying to work these issues out. trying to uncover where this insecurity came from. He would have longer spells of “good” but ultimately i always had this wierd feeling that he felt i was too good for him, that he felt inferior and in turn put me down because i was independent, self sufficient etc. He said on many occassions that i was the strong one.. i stayed with him because when he was nice he was wonderful, i mean he would do anything and EVERYTHING for me. it was a little love story but then the dark times were dark and the verbal abuse seriously started messing with my head.. at our 2 year mark i caught myself actually becoming verbally abusive too.. it just happened where i started reciprocating the hurtful words, not as extreme – he would compare me to other woman, say he could be with hotter girls, say he wanted to be single etc etc then the next day say he was sorry, plead and beg and be wonderful and my night in shining armor for a month afterwards until our next blow out. THEN it started to get physical, i would slap him, he would choke me, push me, bite me, vice versa.. it got so bad i again ended it. This time he absolutely hated me.. that was last summer and he was so cruel and hurtful that summer. He wanted nothing to do with me, no contact because he said i didnt appreciate all he did. and i felt so much guilt he sad i was always miserable and never happy and could never be happy with him and i just started to believe that and i beat myself up for 6 months wondering was it me? could i ever be happy? i knew i had my own insecurities sometimes body image but i had been confident for the most part, positive, outgoing, and just me. but with all this back and forth it warped my perception of reality. at the end of the summer, after drunk calls rubbing it in my face how many woman he had been with, he called me one night and asked to meet up. I didn’t know what this was about but we did and he professed his love to me.. he said how this summer had proved to him i was the one, he wanted to change it all around etc etc.

    SO STUPIDLY enough, my guilt had made me weak and i thought maybe now i can be happy for once and make this work cause it was me.. it was great at first but two months in i started feeling this overwhelming anxiety i couldnt stop crying during the day i started feeling such low self esteem.. i kept comparing myself to the other girls, i kept asking him about the,, i kept imagining it. AND durign this time i found him on a dating site still.. his reasonong was that we just started back he wasnt sure what he wanted. Again i dont want to paint a picture that he is all bad becuase he was loved by family and friends, supported me, took care of me, went out of his way for me, complimented me etc. He was my best friend even through all of this because i genuinely wanted what was best for him. After the new year things settled a little more it was better we moved in basically and i dont know if we just got comfortable but it felt more calm. Then in march… we had a huge blow out one night about my past, it got verbal physical, everything it was so horrible, i know this sounds completely unhealthy – flashforward, we remained together until this october and i’ve finally ended it. Our intimacy stopped, we werent agreeing on things, we grew apart, it was shifting, eveyrthing started annoying me about him.. i tried counteless times to ask him if everything was ok? he would say we were great, he felt we were awesome, he felt we were finally growing up and being better. BUT FOR ME i just felt something was off and now that i’ve seperated myself i feel like maybe i caused all those fights, all that abuse – verbal and physical. maybe i antagonized it? could i have supported him better. He said i always disagreed with him in front of people, he said i always wanted to “talk” and he just wanted things to just be.. and for me i felt this elephant in the room that he never wanted to talk about or we would over and over again but nothing would come of it. Then in angry moments he would say he wanted to be single he missed it etc. Once i broke up with him he was on a dating site within hours.. when confronted he said “you made this choice now live with it” then 2 weeks later he emailed me apologizing and wrote a bunch but a line that struck me was “thank you for doing something i never could”…. for months i asked if he felt the love fading, if he was still in love with me, why wouldnt he be intimate with me, why did i always have to remind him to do nice things etc. he denied it over and over making me feel insane and now its over and hes gone without question. I understand being with someone like me must be draining but… the communication – lack of – kills me and now i feel like i failed myself and self-sabotaged my relationship maybe if i left it alone it wouldve gotten back to normal but because i always focused on the bad it never could?

    this whole breakup has brought out a lot in me, lots of anxiety and depression. i was verbally and physically abused by my father and so when these things happened with him it was triggering but sometimes i wonder if i fostered that type of relationship, i made it OK – i set myself up for it? he tells me all the time that i make him this way, he will be different with somoene else, it was me. My self esteem is on the floor. i feel like staying with him was a mistake but leaving makes me question my thoughts, my decisions, was i dilusional did i lose him because truly i dont see him as an abuser.. hes kind, funny, loving, poetic.. or is that all manipulation? i almost feel guilty for wanting better? guilty for being so on and off with him, i would try and end it once a month it was exhausting and he would save it and i would end it and he would save it.. whats wrong with me and my brain.. why couldnt i leave and when i do why do i doubt.

  19. Petra says:

    Hi Terry, please check my response to maryllama – right above your comment.

  20. John Cox says:

    Hi, i am going out with my girlfriend 14 years now, we met in high school and have dated straight since, we get on very well, have never broken up and we still love each other and i can feel she loves me more now than ever. I cant get the notion of being single for once in my life out of my head, i just want to be on my own to see what life is like single and being able to meet whoever i want, but i cannot just leave my girlfriend for this reason, i love her to bits and dont want to lose her after 14 years when we have reached 29 and should be getting married. Please help me to do the right choice, i am so confused. I just want to be on my own for 2 months but then i might lose her forever?



    • Petra says:

      Talk to her about it. You never know, she might be even thinking the same thing. But even if she doesn’t – this is an important thing to share and discuss, it won’t go away if you ignore it. And it’s probably better to discuss it now than once you’re married with kids, then the consequences of all your decisions will be much greater. Don’t be afraid of her leaving if you open up, if she truly loves you and you have a good connection getting over this hurdle will only make you stronger. However, be prepared that it can go either way – she may understand and agree with you, or she may be shocked and hurt. But if you don’t get it out you risk much more in the future.

  21. Bernice says:

    Hi Petra

    Please help,I’m a 27 year lady with 3 kids. They all have different father’s. I am currently with my third father’s child. We have been together for nearly 3 years and we are staying together. Well it’s his place . I’m currently not working but im looking for employment.We are staying with my last born (his child)however my other 2 kids stay with my mother.My boyfriend does not like my other kids, every time I ask him for them to visit me he refuses, and he does not have a reason. He recently cheated on me with a girl who stay close to us for months, he used to bring this girl to his place (the place I share with him )and he would sleep with her on our bed. Although I forgave him I still think about it and I don’t trust him at all. My parents don’t want me to be with him anymore. I don’t know what to do . Please help

    • Petra says:

      Oh this sounds bad… think about what would you tell your girlfriend is she told you this story? Doesn’t seem like he’s worth it to me. You need to spend some time alone and focus on other things in your life, think about why would you even linger for a man like this. You don’t need to be treated like that. Just give it some thought please and remember – it’s better to be on your own than with a person who doesn’t love and respect you. His actions speak for it. Plus, a man who doesn’t like your kids? That has to be a deal breaker, if nothing else.

  22. Tatyanna Sanchez says:

    Hi Petra,
    Me and my boyfriend or ex now were together for two months but he failed to mention that he left a 3 year relationship for me. He still loves her but is not in love with her. He texted her a week ago and i found out and ever since he just felt bad about it, but he had less love for me even before he started talking to her. He does not know why he felt the love go down and thats why he broke up with me cause he couldnt give me 100%. Before him feeling that way we did tend to fight alot not everyday but 2-3 times a week. Sex went down more but we think it is because of birth control. I want him back he is the love of my life. And he loved me the same he loved me so much he left her because he saw us being something. I am fighting for him but I dont know if i should or what to do or how to help him. Please help.

    • Petra says:

      It’s really up to him. You can’t force him to feel something he doesn’t. Seems like he is not over her yet, and if that’s the case it’s best for you to give him space and time to figure it out, if he needs it. That means breaking up or just separating for a while. If he comes back on his own, he is yours. If not – that’s your answer.

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