Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reader Letter: "I feel like we are drifting apart. Help!"

compliments of

I received an email from a reader the other day concerning a problem in her romantic relationship. Find her email below:


I need some advice. My boyfriend and I have been together for 7 years (since my junior year in high school). Lately, my boyfriend has been very distant with me. I don't know what's going on. I know he is unhappy with work and where he is in his life right now. But I don't know what to do. He barely talks to me anymore. We aren't intimate. We don't even kiss anymore! I feel like he is questioning everything about his life, including me.

I'm so scared about what's going to happen. With me looking at schools that may move me away from him and him looking for newer places to live for a job that he actually wants to do, I don't know how I am going to keep us together.

Any advice?
-Drifting and Unhappy

Dear Drifting and Unhappy,
I'm sorry to hear about the situation you are in. I know it can be difficult when it feels like both parties are heading in two different directions.

So first thing: the distance. If he is really as unhappy with work as you are saying, I would suggest a bit of understanding for the space that he needs. The distance that he is giving himself may not be a reflection on his relationship with you (heck! The guy has committed 7 years to you--I highly doubt that he's going to throw it away) but a reflection of where he is in his life. When a person experiences extreme unhappiness and lack of fulfillment at work, these emotions often resonate to other aspects of a person's life.

So please. Do not take it personally. I would suggest that you tell him that if he wants to talk/vent/or just get away, that you will be there; but, if he requires his space, let him know that you are giving it to him and aren't just ignoring him and the problems he is experiencing.

Second: growth stage. I'm assuming you are both about 23/24 years old. Your early and mid-twenties are major time of growth. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. This is the age where people begin to find their sense of self worth, their independence, their place in life, where they want to be, etc. 

Your boyfriend's problems at work is a catalyst for his own personal growth: defining his self worth, where he wants to be in life, and all others mentioned above. And, like you are saying, you are looking at schools to pursue your professional career that may or may not move you away from him.

It's at this moment, where two people are growing, that distance may appear in the relationship.

Do not be scared.

This moment is ABSOLUTELY normal. And while it is absolutely frightening that it may cause you to lose the other, do not be afraid. Both of you should take the opportunity to grow and better yourself. Him, with finding a job that fulfills him and you with continuing to pursue your dream professionally. Be a little selfish, grow, thrive. 

And when you've both found your place in life, come back together. You both will be more wholesome and content with life. You can then come together as a couple, but independent in your own ways and way more fulfilled. 

This is a moment of opportunity. Reach for it, grab it, and live it. Exciting times are ahead.


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