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How can we fix this?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 10, 2012 09:00 AM

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It's time for another self-help book review project. If you want to participate, the info is here.

Also, as I mentioned yesterday, Love Letters is now on Pinterest. I'm just posting things that I think we'd like. Pinterest makes me a little dizzy, but I'm doing my best.


Q: Two years ago I met the woman of my dreams. She was beautiful, smart, and funny. We took things slow for a very long time because both of us had just come out of tough long-term relationships. I had been going through a really rough time professionally. I had been laid off twice in two years and was extremely frustrated.

During this time, we saw each other a few times a week but never got very physical. After eight months of casual dating, she approached me about getting more serious and making our relationship official. While I had strong feelings for her, I felt terribly inadequate. She was finishing up her master’s degree and was taking steps toward the life that she had been working so hard for. I was just this guy who couldn't hold a job and was barely making ends meet. My self-confidence was at an all-time low and the prospect of meeting her friends and family made me very self-conscious.

I told her that I needed a little while to get my act together. In reality, I just wanted to get to a point where I felt comfortable being around her family and close friends. After a month or so, we reconnected and rekindled our relationship and shortly thereafter I was able to find a job.

Of course, when I acquired this new job I had already accumulated quite a bit of debt and picked up a second full-time job working at a bar to cover expenses. Shortly after I was hired, I was arrested for DUI and my problems worsened.

We had a very big argument where she made some hurtful comments regarding the DUI (which she regretted). Over the next few months, as I dealt with the aftermath of the DUI, I withdrew from her as our relationship grew more tenuous and stressful. I didn’t feel like she was supporting me in my "mistake" and was chastising me for my terrible error in judgment. After months of fighting and threats of just breaking up, I ended things.

I immediately sought therapy and realized I had broken up with her because I never accepted her apology. I told her that I wanted to try our relationship again. After a few weeks she decided to let me back into her life. We tried to get back to that place where we were both head over heels with each other, but her fear of getting hurt kept getting in the way.

Recently she decided that if we were going to have a future she needed a few weeks to come to terms with the hurt that I had caused her in breaking up and the hurt that she had caused me by saying the things that she did. I'm at a loss and don't know what to do. She's the love of my life but I'm starting to wonder if I deserve her after breaking her heart so many times or if she deserves me after making cruel comments to me during a very vulnerable time in my life. It's been a few weeks and I'm having a hard time dealing with her loss from my life. Please help.

– heartbroken and hopeless in boston


A: If your girlfriend wrote me a letter, I'd tell her to walk away from you, H&H. I'd remind her that you pushed her away when you felt threatened -- long before the DUI -- and that you're just not comfortable enough with yourself to have a significant other.

I'll tell you the same thing to you even though you're the one writing the letter. She should walk -- not because you don't deserve her, but because you've never really been capable of treating her like a real life partner.

Even before you behaved recklessly, you were an inconsistent and insecure. She wanted a relationship with you despite all of your flaws, but you backed away because of how you felt about yourself. You spent eight months warming up to her and you still weren't ready.

I believe that you love her. You just have some work to do on yourself before you can truly commit to someone else. You need to continue with the therapy. You need to be around real friends, the kind of people who can support you as you sort yourself out. You need to ask yourself some big questions about your second job.

I understand that you're sad about losing her, but the relationship wasn't working. And again, I truly believe that the root of the problem existed long before that DUI.

Readers? Can they work this out? Do they "deserve" each other? Can you make a judgment about her reaction to the DUI without knowing what she said? How can a couple get through something like this? What about his insecurities? Help.


– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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.

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