If you love yourself …

Joey Garcia

After a pretty serious relationship, my boyfriend suddenly claimed that he was confused and not ready for the commitment level I wanted. He broke up with me. I cried, begged and made him sleep with me even though that was the last thing either of us wanted. I was embarrassed and, during the subsequent month apart, realized that I was clingy and emotionally dependent. I always knew that he needed space, but felt that my need to be with him was far more important. After a month apart, we got together and both apologized. He still needs to be alone right now. I’ve never sought a friendship with a guy that I’ve been intimate with, but the thought of losing all contact breaks my heart. I think of the saying, “If you love him, let him go … if he comes back, he’s yours forever” and want to believe it because the future looks bleak without him. What can I do to win his heart? I know I can survive without him, but will I be happy?

The future’s not ours to see (Que sera, sera!), but needing your ex in your life when he needs to be alone guarantees your unhappiness now. After all, the future looks bleak without him only because you’re accustomed to imagining a future with him. Your life is changing, calling you in a different direction, and you’re kicking and screaming all the way. If you wish to be happy, surrender to this possibility: the disintegration of your past is perfect in a way that you cannot now understand. Perhaps one gift of this change is that it inspired you to see how you had reduced yourself to a clingy, emotionally dependent existence. Continuing to insist that you need him in your life perpetuates your crutch.

Let’s look at your choices. You write that your boyfriend “claimed he was confused.” “Claimed” implies that you don’t believe him. This is the behavior of someone who is infatuated. Then you “made your boyfriend sleep with you.” Translation: you tried to sell him on the idea of staying with you by prostituting your body. It was a desperate act, again behavior typical of infatuation, not love. If you love yourself, let him go. If you come back to yourself, be yours forever.

It may be possible for the two of you to be friends, someday. A desire to quickly establish a friendship after a breakup usually signifies insecurity on the part of the person pushing to maintain contact. This is especially true when the relationship was fraught with volatile arguments or when one person ended the relationship to be alone. In romantic relationships of a year or more, it’s best to avoid contact for six months before creating a platonic friendship. Otherwise you simply fall into old patterns, including sex, which stagnates emotional development.

I cannot stop thinking about my ex-boyfriend who recently married. I even had a few dreams about him. Can you help me forget and be happy for him?

Yes! He is not the man for you. How do I know? Because he married someone else! When your thoughts drift toward him, rein them in. Focus on making yourself the ideal partner to the most ideal partner you can imagine for yourself.

If you feel overwhelmed by a “poor me!” attitude, pray: “Inspire me to move through these feelings with dignity, so that I may appreciate all examples of genuine love in the world. Help me to trust that my life is in right order. And may my prayer serve anyone, anywhere, who is in the same situation as I am.”

Meditation of the week
Over the centuries the gentle greeting, “God be with you” has been reduced to “Goodbye.” Can you remember, in loving silence, what goodbye really means each time you say it? Is there another way of calling the holy into your relationships that you can resurrect from disuse or secularization?

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