[Two Pronged] Seeking closure
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dra Holmes and Mr Baer:
I seek lots of advice from my friends and even my sister, but I hope you can help me.
I am 32 years old and I have a boyfriend who is 24 years old, very young to be my boyfriend. We have a long-distance relationship – I'm abroad and he's in the Philippines. We met through a social networking site.
Age and distance have never been a problem for us but I've been very sensitive lately. I always check his Facebook account and if he talks to someone else, especially girls, I always overreact.
Lately, he has changed a lot. I feel his coldness now, unlike before when he was the one who would insist that I talk to him. But now he tells me he does not have all the time to chat with me or text me.
How come he could talk to me all the time before, but not now? He claims there's no problem with our relationship, that everything is okay, but he is not the person I knew before.
I finally decided not to chat with him for two days. But then I missed him and couldn't stop missing him, so I messaged him. He never responded.
I don't know what to do. If he doesn't want me anymore, why isn't he saying anything? At least I can go and move on. On his Facebook account, it still says he is in a relationship with me. I still have access to his Facebook account, but he never talks to me. I always see him online but he never reads my messages. Please help me figure out what's on his mind. I am really bothered. This is really hurting me.
Thank you very much.
Thank you for your email.
I get the impression that you have decided already what constitutes "the best advice" and will keep asking until you find someone who tells you what you want to hear. Whether what I have to say will meet your expectations will of course be up to you but even if it doesn't it may hopefully show that there are options which perhaps you haven't considered.
After a good start, it seems that your relationship with your boyfriend (let's call him Dan) has gone into reverse. Once warm and chatty, he is now cold, distant and won't even talk to you. Yet for some reason you are reluctant to draw the conclusion that the relationship is all but over and instead you require Dan to state the obvious explicitly.
Perhaps your issue should be less about your relationship with Dan than about your seeming inability to draw your own conclusion from the events that have unfolded and move on without a verbal assist from Dan. Ask yourself why you still want someone who won't even speak to you to tell you it's over before you feel there is the closure you say you crave. The answer to this question will stand you in good stead for all your future relationships.
Best of luck,
Thank you very much for your letter. I am afraid I agree with Mr Baer on this one: "that you have decided already what constitutes 'the best advice' and will keep asking until you find someone who tells you what you want to hear."
There are two reasons I say this:
First is your question: "If he doesn't want me anymore, why isn't he saying anything?” You seem to feel that if he says nothing that gives you an excuse to hang on until he actually says something.
You clutch at straws; e.g., his saying there's no problem with your relationship, his saying everything is okay, his Facebook status still being in a relationship with you, and your still having access to his Facebook account.
Of course, there is always the saying "action speaks louder than words."
The above actions may be the reason you feel he still cares for you and holding on is the way to go.
However, if you use the above to rationalize your reason for staying, then please look at his other actions e.g. his not having time to chat or text you, his no longer trying to answer you, his never talking to you, his never spending time to read your messages, despite his being online.
Second are the phrases: "I've been very sensitive lately" and "I always overreact." While not everyone has the same reason (usually unconscious) for using these phrases, you seem to use it as an excuse for his behavior. In other words, if you stopped being sensitive and overreacting (implying that there is nothing to be sensitive to), he will behave as he has done before.
I doubt that he will, Alma.
You mention your feeling ignored by him. Please listen to your feelings, Alma.
True, he may not have told you in so many words that he no longer feels bound to you, but based on my clinical experience, he has given you hints that this is the case.
Should you still decide that until he says something you can still hold on, perhaps you can ask yourself this question: "Do I want to hang on to a man who treats me so callously?" I cannot help feeling that "Good riddance to bad rubbish" is the more appropriate saying to guide your decisions. It is also a much healthier response to what is going on in your life right now.
Should he behave differently when you tell him you want to end your relationship, then well and good, give him another chance if you wish.
However, should he not seem affected by your relationship ending, then accept that it is, indeed, ove.
I know it will be difficult, Alma, and you may still decide to look for the best answer. In either case I wish you the very best of luck.
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email email@example.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.