Q: Dear Meredith,
I dated someone for six years who I thought I would marry. One day he just told me he wasn't happy and that he was done. He left me with major abandonment issues. After he left, I started dating guys who I knew were wrong for me so I didn't have be as vulnerable as I was in my six-year relationship.
My problem is that I've had a friend for years who has always been an important part of my life. We both have strong-willed personalities, which have caused disagreements even in our friendship. But one of the things I've always loved is that it's easy for us to just say OK, we don't agree, and move on, friendship unscathed.
About two years ago, I confessed that I felt something more than friends and wanted a romantic relationship with him. Well, I pulled such a coward move and did this while he was living in across the country knowing that I wouldn't have to act on my feelings. A year later, we were both back in Boston and he really wanted to try a relationship. I had just gotten out of a relationship with one of those guys I shouldn't have been dating because they were wrong for me. My friend and I tried to make things work but he ended up getting hurt because I wasn't fully in it because of my feelings for my ex.
After this, we didn't talk for a while and our friendship really suffered. But in the winter, we saw each other and all the feelings rushed back in for both of us. We ended up going home together that night and deciding that we were both going to just be happy together -- but I wouldn't be writing if this all worked out. I ended up bringing a lot of my feelings of abandonment into the relationship. I would be really happy for a week and then I would freak out and look for reasons that we wouldn't work or pick a fight to test him. Well, I succeeded and sabotaged everything. He finally decided that we were just too different. He was apologizing a lot because I would keep picking fights about stupid little things and he just didn't want to continue to apologize for the way he is or feel like he didn't to change for me to be happy. Just to give a brief example, he is very passionate about video games and I would just say I hated them and that I didn't want to know anything about them even though I knew it was important to him. I was just trying to push him away and it worked.
I didn't realize what I was doing until it was too late. It's been two weeks and I feel like such an idiot that I let my fear of abandonment get the best of me and hurt him in the process. I've explained all of this to him over the weekend and he took it all in but needs some time to process and decides if he can give me another chance, which I completely understand.
What do you think? Have too many bridges already been burned?
– Pusher, Boston
A: Pusher, I'm not convinced that you sabotaged this relationship because you have abandonment issues. Maybe you have them. I don't know. But isn't it possible that you're picking fights with this guy because you're annoyed? Or because you don't want to date a guy who loves video games? You told us that you and this friend have always had strong, conflicting opinions. That's why I think that the failure of this relationship wasn't about "issues." Maybe it was just about two people not being compatible.
Before you make promises you can't keep you should consider why you're begging this friend to stick around as a romantic partner. Because I don't think that you sabotage relationships. I think that you try to prolong them when you shouldn't. You're obviously attracted to your friend but that might not be enough.
Think about what you really want and why it's not working out, abandonment issues aside. He just might not be the right guy.
Readers? Is this about abandonment issues or about a relationship simply running its course? Is this guy just another person she's dated knowing that it wouldn't work? Should she be trying to work it out with him? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.