- Dr. Love in the Media
Should You Cut Your Losses
May 19, 2003 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I had been seeing my ex-girlfriend for 3 years (she is now 19 and I'm 23) before we split up. We had a great relationship and we had a lot of fun and plenty of affection but there was always one issue that got between us - University.
I always worried that when she went to university, which was local luckily, she would lose interest in me and we'd fizzle out. We didn't have any problem expressing our love for each other and we both knew how each other felt.
Shortly before the start of her first semester I started to have problems with a colleague in work which manifested itself into depression/stress which I quickly sought help from my doctor and occupational health nurse. It was clear that recovery would be slow and my girlfriend was aware of this. Until Christmas I was unsure of the issues at the root of my problem, until they subsided over my Christmas break.
When I discovered that the heart of the problem was work I quickly changed jobs but on the day I was offered my new job my girlfriend decided to split up with me. I pleaded with her to give me a chance to recover and she agreed providing she had some space.
Things got better after this for a while apart from a growing tendency to spend most of her time with her university friends rather than me. Now we have split up (apparently for good) - she says she doesn't love me anymore and it isn't working - but I know that when she is stressed with exams at the moment) she acts irrationally and can make bad decisions but. . . . . .
Until University, everything was great. . . Her mum says that it is down to her age rather than any fault of mine. . . . . I appreciate she needs more space so she can enjoy university. . . I know that she is stressed out. . . . She says she doesn't love me yet she worked herself up to the point of vomiting because she was worried about hurting me when she split with me. . . .
I know that I haven't been easy to deal with due to my depression etc but thing have been so much better lately. We are a good couple usually and I don't see why it has to end here.
Can you shed some light on the matter? I love her so so much and don't want to let it lie, despite the current situation. Should I cut my losses and continue to mourn or wait a while and give her room?
I wish a had a crystal ball that permitted me to see into your girlfriend's soul. You say that she makes irrational decisions when she's under pressure. In other words, she's impulsive and goes into action in order to discharge her emotional pressure.
What I don't know is whether she comes to her senses when she calms down and then tries to retract what she's done. If so, there is a chance that she would return to you. However, you would be vulnerable to being dumped again and again each time she becomes upset.
I would point this pattern out to her and tell her that problems arise in all relationships. If she ends it with you and starts up with another man, then what? Is she going to break up with him when the going gets rough?
Tell her that she's headed for no lasting relationship. Encourage her to look at the fact that your relationship was by and large good and not worth trashing because of a short rough patch. If she is willing to see the light and get help for her impulse disorder then you have a good shot at making the relationship work.
If she isn't interested in hearing you and taking what you say to heart, then you will be left with no choice but to mourn and move on. I hope this doesn't turn out to be the case for your sake.
You sound bright, emotionally tuned in and generally wonderful.
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