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October 20, 2017 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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Breakups Are Hard

Question:

I dated a woman for 8 months and recently broke up with her (she left me). She stated that because I left my job and had some legal problems which I cannot discuss, she could not be with me anymore. A close friend told me that I clearly loved her a lot more than she loved me, or my job situation and legal problems would not have mattered. I spoke to her on the phone and she refuses to see me, although she admits she misses me. I am so heartbroken and miss her so much, but my friend tells me that if I love her then God will take care of it; I should leave her be and not force the issue. I know I can change her mind if I went to see her. I don't want to be lonely/alone but I want what we used to have - happiness.

Should I just leave her alone as my friend suggests or should I pursue this girl? If job security was more important to her than I was (or so it seemed), what does that say about her (and me)? I don't think I'm ready to start dating yet, but when I am, how do I avoid the same mistakes I made with this last one?

Lonelyman, 32-year-old man

Answer:

Dear Lonelyman,

I am sorry to hear about your recent breakup. It is indeed hard to have a relationship breakup when you are in love. It is also very difficult to be alone. Even though it is quite possible to live a rewarding and happy life alone it is more enjoyable to have someone to share it with.

I was struck by what your friend said. It is common for people to believe that love conquers all. If that were true then your friend would be right that your legal and career problems would not have mattered. However, I am not necessarily in agreement with concluding that she did not love you. There is a great difference between the feeling of being in love and mature loving. Mature loving has to do with practical issues as well as the feelings for the other person. For a relationship to work feelings of love are a necessity. However, love by itself is not enough.

A healthy relationship is possible only when two people share the same values, goals, and desires in life. Both people have to have a strong sense of self. Each person has to be able to take care of themselves and run their life in a healthy way. This means taking care of their basic responsibilities and making themselves happy in their own right. One way to gauge this is if their basic lives are in order. A job and being free of legal problems are two ways this can be done.

In general, if your problems are temporary and unusual in your life and your lover is overreacting to your situation, then I would agree with concluding that she was not very loving. However, if she feels that these problems are indicative of the way you run your life generally, then she is looking at some very practical issues that any prospective partner is going to evaluate before they decide to merge their life with yours.

This is perfectly fair and understandable. There was not enough information in your letter to indicate the type of legal problems and to discern if she was being practical or selfish and uncaring. I would take a long and sober look at how you are running your life and see if she has a point. If she doesn't then you are finding people who don't really know how to love. If she broke the relationship because your problems tend to be chronic and ongoing, then I would address those issues.

You said you left your job. In general, people who are acting responsibly don't leave jobs until they have another one lined up. Again, I don't have enough information to know if you acted frivolously or if it was something that you had to do. Sometimes a job becomes untenable and has to be left quickly, but it is rare.

I hope this has been helpful. I also hope that you realize that there is no judgment from my side, but it would not be beneficial for me to ignore these possibilities. Either way, it is rare to not find another lover. I am sure that you will eventually have a good, loving relationship. It is always helpful however to do some self-reflecting and soul searching when a relationship ends. It is how we learn and grow and eventually find a lasting and healthy relationship.

Take care.

Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.

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