Turn Back Clock
Q: I have been seeing my boyfriend for almost 7 months now (I'm 27). Things were so great in the beginning, but then he was in a motorcycle accident and things changed. About a month ago he told me that he is confused about us, and added that he always feels this way in relationships. He can see us having a future, but he doesn't feel that we have that much in common, and he doesn't feel the fireworks anymore like he used to. I told him that not every couple has to be alike, they always say that opposites attract. I sometimes feel that I should break up with him to let him off the hook but I love him too much, and I truly know in my heart that we are supposed to be together. I am trying to be patient with him but it's very hard to give him space when he tells me that he loves me so much and that I have his heart and only see him on Friday nights and when we do see each other, he is soo romantic. I am soo confused. I just want things to be like they were 6 months ago. -- Linda
Dr. Susan: The "honeymoon" period of a new relationship, whether you're legally married or not, is typically six months to two years. First you are both blinded by hormones and see only the ways you're alike. Later most couples go through a disillusionment period, when you realize how different you actually are from one another. That's when many non-committed couples are driven apart. Although you can't expect to turn back the clock and feel exactly the same as you did at the beginning, your relationship can deepen and become enriched over time.
You need to have a talk with your boyfriend about your conflicting needs. You want more of his time, but he feels like something important is missing. It's not a matter of "letting him off the hook." As for whether opposites attract, it depends on what aspects of your personalities are opposites. It really does help if your basic values are the same and you have some interests in common. Differences can add spice to a relationship, but only if you learn ways to deal with conflict and to respect, understand, even delight in the ways you're not alike. That takes a certain level of maturity and effort.
When you say you "are supposed to be together," what you mean, I take it, is that this is what you long for. But in relationships, there are no "supposed to's." Give your guy a little more time to resolve his confusion without pressuring him. Rather than longing for the past (already!), see if the two of you can live happily in the present and work together toward a satisfying future.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.