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Feeling abandoned and unloved by boyfriend

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 2 1/2 years. I am 17 years old and he is 20. For the first year our relationship was as great as it could be. He was caring, and loving, and always seemed to care about my feelings and problems. But since I moved to a different city an hour away from him, he’s realized he had been giving me too much of his attention and was not doing things for himself. Now he barely calls me, and I only get to see him in the weekend. I have told him several times that he needs to call me a little more and care about me a little more. I try to communicate with him, he just doesn’t seem to care. It seems like he only wants a girlfriend in the weekends and be single during the week. That really bothers me because he’s the only person I can talk to comfortably, and in a way I depend a lot on him. (I don’t live with my parents or have a good relationship with them, also I don’t have any friends). I know I have a lot of problems, but he has helped me fix so many of them, and it just feels like he has abandoned me. I have no idea what to do at this point and feel completely helpless. I can’t talk to anyone because I don’t have anyone that cares enough to listen or talk to me. Is he really abandoning me or is it just me being too emotional about the small stuff? (I’m a very emotionally unstable person)

When you two first got together, you were only 14 1/2 and he was 17 1/2. At those ages, he was an older and maybe wiser guy who could be someone for you to lean on. It may be it was kind of flattering to him to be needed so much. Now he is in his twenties. It sounds to me like he is feeling torn between some loyalty to you and wanting to explore what it means to be young and single. He may be ready to give up being the strong one in favor of finding a relationship that is more equal. You’re hanging on as much from dependency as from love – which is never the basis of a healthy relationship.

What you do at this point is start to deal with the underlying problems that have left you so alone. Appreciate your teenaged romance for the good thing it was and let go. A relationship that is so one-sided and built on caretaking is not one that will last. You need to take over the “fixing” and learn how to take care of yourself. Find a counselor if you can. If you feel helpless about how to find and keep friends, group therapy is often a really good place to start. Take advantage of any opportunities for growth that come your way. Develop yourself so that you have a whole, healthy person to bring to the next relationship.

If you need someone to talk to while you look for a counselor, you can call the Boys and Girls Town Hotline at 800 448 3000. There are counselors available there 24/7 for young people like you to talk to. Check out their website at: http://www.boystown.org/national-hotline.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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