Dear Dr. Archer,
My boyfriend and I have been living together for over a year and lately we've been fighting, and it's all my fault. I have been pushing him away by saying things I don't mean. How can I change this so he won't leave?
I get upset when he spends the night at his friend's house or leaves without telling me. I want to stop this before it's too late! I've said I'm sorry, but sorry doesn't cut it. He wants me to tell him why he should stay. He's been helping me, and when I struggle I sometimes won't ask him for help. I get bitchy, controlling and clingy, but I don't want to be that person!
I always blame his friends for coming into our relationship, saying things I know will push him away. I treat him like crap; I know a guy needs his friends, and I have trouble making my own. I should have my own space and do what I need to do.
I know I'm not his mother and am not here to make his choices for him. I should accept him and just say okay go, have fun and see you later -- but NOOOO, I get upset that his friends have him and not me, even though I see him every day.
I guess I need to wake up and grow up, stop being clingy and controlling, but this is how I was raised. But a person can change, right? This guy will leave if I don't do something to fix it, and I know it's going to get messy.
I think I just answered my own question, actually. But how do I make him stay, and not leave? In two days I have to come up with a reason to make him want to be here.
I wrote him a letter, which I included below. I enjoy him and shouldn't worry so much when he's away. He enjoys time away from the house, which is understandable. Everyone does! I hate being this person.
You are absolutely correct that we all need time to ourselves and with different friends. Relationships are great, but it is never enough to just be with each other all the time. It's not healthy and it's not realistic.
I read the letter you wrote to your boyfriend, and I’ve included it below my answer. One thing you wrote concerns me greatly; that your boyfriend stops you from cutting and from trying to kill yourself. That, Amanda, is a huge red flag that I cannot ignore.
So my advice is simple: you must see a psychiatrist immediately. The only way you can make this relationship work is to take care of yourself first. I suspect you are depressed, and if you can get that under control, it will do wonders for this or any other relationship.
You MUST find alternative coping techniques to deal with difficult situations other than cutting or considering suicide. Putting your thoughts down on paper can be very therapeutic.
Get a journal and express yourself through your words. Or, write down all of your negative thoughts and feelings and then tear the paper up. Take your beloved dog you mentioned for a walk or simply cuddle with her. You can also visit an online support group or call a friend.
Cutting may make you feel better at the time, but you're paying a very heavy price, as it causes more problems than it solves, and is a sign that there are deeper issues at play. If you still have these urges, Amanda, you need professional help.
There are no guarantees for any relationship, no matter how great it may be. Life throws us curve balls all the time, and you need to be able to handle negative situations in a healthy way.
Please, read each letter and follow the links. You will read many stories much like your own. You must learn how to handle stress and disappointment in a healthy way, not in a destructive, harmful way.
Getting help and learning how to react to negatives within life will not only help you, Amanda, but it will allow you to start having healthier and happier relationships, either with your boyfriend or anyone else. That should be your priority.
No one can know if you and your boyfriend will remain together, but if you get the help you need, you have a better shot of making any relationship work. Please do not delay, and get the help you need. All the best,
Where to begin...... I have so many words, so many feelings, but where to start. You're here six days out of seven. This is home and no one likes to be stuck here at home doing the same thing every single day. You need your friends and family. You need something other than just me. I was being clingy and selfish. I accept that, and I was being controlling, too.
I shouldn't care what time you'll be home at all. It's whenever you do. Love comes from the heart, and so does trust. It's something that can easily be broken, but if there's a chance, I'll change. I don't mean to be the controlling stupid person who, yeah, I'm not your mother, I'm your girlfriend, someone who is here for you, a partner, a person you can share everything with.
I read what I wrote and how stupid I feel because of what I did and what I do. Why did I say it? The fire can always light again, it just takes a match to make it burn. I don't want you to leave! This is your home, your place were you can even go running around the house naked, to do whatever you please. I never in a million heartbeats ever wanted to make you feel unwanted and unloved.
I was clingy but I never wanted to stop you from having friends or see them; I shouldn't even care what you do with them; it's none of my business. It took what I call a wake up call to realize what we have is the best relationship I have come across -- all I wanted was to have a house with you, nothing more and nothing less.
I don't want to be that bitch that tells you what you can or cannot do. You have your own choices and so do I. It's the gifts or whatever that brings us together. Something more than just friendship!
From day one you made me have a relationship that I can be happy. You stop me from cutting and killing myself! You've been there when I needed you most. I will do the same for you. I don't want to sit here and argue anymore. I just want to enjoy being with you. I enjoy being with you.
We do spend time together; we spend most of our time together. Every once in a while people do need their time and space to do what they enjoy doing, like me being with my dog and looking for people to chill with so I can have my girl time.
I have to open up more, with you it's your guy time. I know it's something you enjoy doing. Your friends are important to you.... yes, I did have friends that were important to me, so I understand totally where you're coming from. It's friends that make you laugh, and in a relationship laughter is good. We shouldn't fight because we have each other.
My point is I'm coming across. I need my own time, what once a week, where I can focus around me and not just you. I love you and all, and I don't need you to call or text every second of the day of what you're doing and I shouldn't care.
What I'm trying to lay out is I enjoy having you around. I've made tons of mistakes and I'm not a perfect person. I'm sorry for my actions. Sorry doesn't hardly count. I will do my best, my darn best, to heal your wounds if only you'll stay.
I never came across someone with your type of energy. I never in my life felt this way. I don't need you to live on, but I like you with me. I'd like you to stay here, your home.
We'll get through this, we always do! If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. But it will work! I'm done bitching; I'm done being that personality. I don't want you to go. Everything here is what my dreams are about.
Loving a person doesn't just make them stay around. It's what comes from the soul. I have a connection with you that no one else I've had with can compare. I didn't mean to hurt you and I did. I won't hurt you again; you have my word. I won't stop you from being you. You help me so much..... all I have to do is ask for your help.
Just speak up a bit, that's all. This house is missing you. It doesn't feel complete. I mean, I don't feel complete or whole without you. I love you. Why would I say that? I let my mind take over my heart. It's not right at all.... like you giving up school so I can finish, then you can go. Working where you do for life doesn't sound at all like fun... I don't even know what to say.
If you stay you will see a different person in me. You have my word, my heart and my love. I don't want to date anybody else. I want to stay with you. Yeah, I know you have your own friends that are important to you, and your family.
Your friends make you who you are today and everybody around you. They open their homes to you when you need a place to stay. I see that now, and I won't make a huge deal of it. If you want to see them, go. Have a great time.
I can only hope there is a chance, maybe just one more chance. The fire will be burning again. I have to get over my own insecurities and create time for myself, like when you're gone for a night.
I'm willing to let you go and create an environment where you can enjoy being you. The more I stand on my own and take care of myself, then the more you'll be attractive, too, and might be willing to want to be with me.
I have been hanging on to you, creating an environment where you feel controlled and suffocated. It does not make you want to stay, but rather makes you want to leave. It also destroys your aliveness and your mental well being, which are very important. I do sound fearful and upset, and that can make your situation worse.
I'm willing to change. I told you, it takes time to work on this, but I believe this wake up call can change my whole aspect, that time is good apart and it makes the heart grow, and that yes, we do need our own space. I just hope this is enough.
My whole heart is pouring out! As I spend this time waiting for my parents to get here, I think how important you are, how you gave up things to be with me and that you didn't have to.
You do care; you do love me. You are here when shit happens and you're not here to hurt me at all. I just want this final chance to make things work again. There is a chance! I will work on it, and you will see a difference.