I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for the past seven months.
And, I love him dearly and want our relationship to work. We also have a friendship that spans some 20 plus years. We are currently in a long distance relationship. He’s in Georgia and I am in New Jersey. But, surprisingly the distance isn’t the problem between us. We managed to avoid the distance issues because we communicate often. Both of us are willing to travel to see one another. Although, we are not physically together, I am totally fulfilled in our relationship. We made long term future goals to be married and relocate to Florida.
Here is the problem, a few months ago, because of the economy and lack of employment due to the nature of his career (construction work), he needed to relocate back to Georgia to be near family for support, personal issues, and dealing with his teenage daughter who he recently gained custody. It has put the weight of the world on his shoulder. Recently, he and I have begun to have some disagreements and arguments. Now he feels he doesn’t have the energy to put in our relationship right now until things gets better on his end. He’s asking for space and time so he can deal with what’s on his plate. But, I feel all relationships have peaks and valleys, good and bad times and working through them together will only make us stronger.
I believe if we get married there will be other “hard” times that we will need to get through. So, I believe this trial will define us, and make us stronger as a couple. Because I am fully committed in supporting him as he goes through this rough patch. I am at my wits ends as to what to do. Should I give him the space he needs? I don’t want to lose him, but I don’t want to push him away either. Please I need your advice. – Ms. Wanting This To Work
Dear Ms. Wanting This To Work,
Chile, where is my morning cup of coffee. I see this is going to take some energy. Notice I put the key word in my sentence, “energy,” just as your boyfriend said to you.
The last thing you want to do is push, force, and infringe upon someone who tells you, “I need space right now. I don’t have the energy to commit to this full-time. And, I need some time to myself.” Listen to what they are saying, and support their choice and decision.
I understand that relationships have their peaks and valleys, good and bad times, and this is the testing ground before you get married, but if someone needs space, give it to them. That is being supportive. That is listening to your partner and respecting their wishes. You are not going to lose them, for how can you lose someone if they wanted to leave anyway?
But, take into consideration what you said in your letter and about your relationship. It’s only been seven months. Uhm, sweetie, slow your roll and pump your breaks. During the seven months he has had to move back home, his options in employment were limited due to a lack of jobs, and he’s had to take on the responsibility of taking care of his teenage daughter. Ma’am, that is a lot. So, I understand he has a lot on his plate. Thinking about a relationship is probably the last thing on his mind right now. He’s trying to find employment to care of himself and his daughter, get a home for them, and make sure his employment remains stable. And, who knows what other personal issues he has. If he just regained custody of his teenage daughter, then there is an adjustment period between them. I’m sure she has some personal issues and challenges of her own. And, couple that with dealing with his daughter’s mother. I’m sure they are going back and forth.
So, I wouldn’t take it personal because it has nothing to do with you. Your arguments and disagreements are because of his response to his immediate situation. He’s trying to fix his circumstances and rectify his situation. I’m sure he wants to get married, and he probably really likes you, but he can’t be a man and make you his wife if he can’t hold down a job, can he? He can’t possibly feel like a man if he is living with his family, and can’t afford to fly to see you, or you come see him and y’all are up in his family’s home? Yeah, you can pay for the flight, and pay for the hotel, but that doesn’t make him feel like a man. He probably doesn’t want to take from you, and doesn’t want to have you feeling sorry for him. It’s a man thing.
Therefore, be supportive of him emotionally and mentally. Let him know that you are there for him. Let him know you are there to listen to him if he needs someone to talk to, someone to vent to, without your commentary of what he should be doing, or how he should be doing it. Sometimes folks just need someone to vent and get things off their chest without being made to feel guilty or bad or worse off.
Also, let him know that you are willing to be a support system, and not someone looking for something from him. That’s why he said he doesn’t have the energy to commit to you. At this moment, he cannot think about directing more energy into something that is asking something from him. And, we all are not equipped to handle crisis, obstacles, and circumstances equally. We all handle things according to our own strengths, and abilities.
Now watch this, you stated that this situation will define you. Then, you are absolutely right. This situation is defining you. Wake you’re a** up and see that he can’t handle this. He can’t handle several things coming at him at one time. Now that you have this information, and see what he is capable and able of being in this moment, what are you going to do? You can’t make him be strong, the savior, and get his Jesse Jackson on to “rise above.” This is not him. When his employment opportunities became limited, what did he do? He went home. He went to his safety net. And, now he’s having relationship issues what does he do? He’s running away because he can’t handle it. Look at what someone is showing you. Look at who they are being in times of crisis and you will be able to tell who they will be at all times. – Terrance Dean
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