I’ve been pushing my boyfriend away

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

current_problem: I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost three years. He’s my best friend and the only guy I’ve ever loved. I’m pretty high-maintenance (and some might say immature) and when we first started dating, he won me over by doting on me and being very attentive with lots of phone calls, IMs, and e-mails, thoughtful little gifts, shopping trips, etc. Every time we were both online, he would be sure to send me an IM, even if he couldn’t talk, just to tell me he loved me.

Now our relationship has stagnated a bit. He still treats me very well but never IMs me or e-mails me, never surprises me with gifts. We talk a couple of times a day and see each other a few times a week. Recently, we’ve been fighting about Instant Messenger. He works at a desk much of the day and is almost always signed on to his Instant Messenger. I guess I’m still stuck in our past and I always expect a sweet IM from him, but it never comes. I’ve talked to him about it and he always has an excuse. Every day, he gets on MySpace and God knows what else but can’t find the time to send me ONE IM (because that’s all I ask for, just so I can know he’s thinking about me).

The thing is, I feel so strongly about this that we’ve fought about it the past several days. I’ll wait for him to send me a message and he never does, so I finally IM him, usually with a pouty message. Then we have an argument where he makes excuses and I accuse him of not caring. I push the issue and push the issue and it drives him nuts and stresses him out. We’re both miserable right now. I know I’m pushing him away, but I’m not having my needs met. He’s not living up to the standards HE created in the beginning of the relationship.

I also keep demanding that he break up with me. I tell him I know I’m making him miserable and he should leave me. I don’t think it’s because I really want to break up. I just want him to chase me like he used to. I just want to feel WANTED.

Am I being ridiculous? Do I have unreasonable expectations? I know I’m probably being self-destructive in the way I’m going about this. How do I get what I need without making him miserable? I love him so much, he’s an amazing guy, but I just don’t feel very loved or even wanted right now.

A: Yes. You are being rediculous. The man talks to you a couple of times a day. Yes. You have unreasonable expectations. The way people behave at the beginning, intoxicating, where have you been all my life part of a relationship is different from the way people treat each other when they settle into a lasting relationship. In good relationships, people normally go from being “crazy in love” to being loving and steady. Although I understand why you might miss the intensity of the early days, that kind of romancing generally isn’t what happens over the long term — except in sweet moments. Sadly, by being so constantly demanding, you aren’t giving your boyfriend a chance to give you those random, special I love yous. From his point of view, anything he does now looks like he is responding to your demands instead of responding to his own heart.

Rather than trying to figure out how to “get what you need” from your boyfriend, you would probably do better to figure out how to not be so needy. You must be pretty amazing for your boyfriend to put up with your behavior so you do have something going for you. My best suggestion is that you find yourself a therapist to help sort this out before you lose what sounds like a very good thing.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jun 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). I’ve been pushing my boyfriend away. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/06/06/ive-been-pushing-my-boyfriend-away/

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