Time Out from relationship is a good idea

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: The advice Im seeking has to do with independence and trust. Im 19 years old and just moved to Texas due to someone breaking into my apartment and beating me up/ The person that did this was paid to break in by my dad. I have been sexual abused in my past from age 7 to 14, physically abused and verbally abused. Do to all of these events I have extreme trust issues. I hate depending on anyone else. Recently I got engaged to someone Ive been with for going on 4 years. We have a lot of trouble in our relationship because of my refusal to depend on him. I dont feel like I need to depend on him, but it makes him feel more secure I think. We currently live together and have for about 3 years. I have been thinking a lot lately about moving out and being on my own. Not that I dont care for him or love him, but I really feel best when Im by myself. Not literally like a hermit but only depending on myself. Am I wrong?

A: No. You’re not wrong. You are only 19 and you have a great deal to figure out before you make a life long commitment to anyone. You’ve been through a lot and yet you’re still getting on with your life. Good for you. It absolutely makes sense that you would want to take a little time out to stand on your own and find out what you are made of apart from a partner. I do suggest that you find a counselor to help you on your way.

I’m guessing that your question is partly coming from a concern about hurting your boyfriend if you do break it off for now. I am assuming he knows your history and that he loves you. Maybe you can help him understand that taking a time out is not because you don’t love him but because you need to do some healing and learn more about yourself. You could suggest it’s not a bad idea for him to work on himself for awhile too. You and your boyfriend helped each other through your teen years. Now it may be time for you to each explore yourself, options for what you might want to do in life, and maybe even other relationships before settling down. In the long run, this will only benefit your relationship if you do get together again. Each of you will be bringing a stronger, more adult version of yourself to it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Jul 2006

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2006). Time Out from relationship is a good idea. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/07/16/time-out-from-relationship-is-a-good-idea/