Good Relationship?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. Hi, I am 23 years old. I was in a six year relationship, my first relationship, things didn’d work out. I was single for a year and met someone. The relationship started off really quick, intense feelings, after two weeks we had already said that we loved one another. This is pretty unusual for me, I don’t put too much hope in something to avoid dissapointment.

He had just come out of a two year relationship and was engaged to be married. The weekend she moved out was the weekend we started dating. I asked him if this wasn’t too fast but he replied that he did not have so many feelings for her – but didn’t know how to get out of the relationship and waited for her to end things. We had been dating for a month, but drinking every night and going out to friends (he stopped drinking for two years and started now again).

We hadn’t fought once, but I realized that every time he had a few drinks would try to pick a fight. I just avoided conflict so a fight never occurred. Until one night…We had a few drinks at a family gathering afterwards we went to my house to collect a few things before we would go to his house. He started threatening (name calling) my dogs (my dogs are extremely important to me) and I asked him to please stop and he didn’t take it up very well, he drove off, when he came back we started fighting, a few things were broken in the house, I also got physically hurt during the prosses, but it wasn’t direct physical conflict.

Anyway we ended things but I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him because of a few drinks. He wrote me a letter to apologize for everything that had happened. I know that at this stage of his life he has many financial problems and he has excessive pressure from his father (he works for his father at the moment). We met up a few days later and now we are back in a relationship, but things are just not the same. He might have to work in another town for financial reasons, but will be coming back every weekend (not moving). I am willing to work on a long distance relationship.

He has reduced his alcohol intake, which I am very proud of. Please note that we haven’t spoken about this, he is doing this on his own. He seems very distant and this morning I spoke to him about it. I asked him when I say that I love him and he says it back – does he mean it? He replied yes. I asked him why he never says it to me first anymore and he replied that he doesn’t say allot of things anymore. I asked him why not? He mentioned that if he had to work in another town things between us would probably end… So I said that he would be coming back every weekend like he said, so with a smile on his face he asked if that would work for me, so obviously I replied yes. So he smiled the whole time with a soft laugh too. So this tells me that he is relieved to know or maby happy to know that I still want to be with him no matter what happens!!!

So this is what I am so unsure about…The next thing that is bothering me is that because of my emotions I keep getting heart pulpitations. I am anxious the whole time, I have had medication to try and “take the pain away”. But nothing seems to work…In the last two weeks I have had terrible dreams about my father, two sisters, and my mother, all dying in seperate dreams all different events. This is bothering me cause usually when I have dreams that are similar – it actually becomes reallity… no I am not crazy!!!I can’t concentrate at work, I have lost my interest in sports – but forcing myself, I can’t eat – feel nausious the whole time, curious to find out what the future hold for me – want to see a fortune teller (haha), extremely emotional – but can’t get one tear drop out.So now I am looking for answers, can you give me some advice without recommending therapy?

A. I appreciate your detailed letter. Since you did not ask a specific question, I can offer only general advice. I have a few concerns about the relationship that are detailed below.

To begin, the intensity and quickness of the relationship is concerning. You mentioned that you had already said “I love you” to one another after two weeks. This is very quick; maybe too quick, especially after he just ended a two year relationship with someone else he supposedly loved. Although some might incorrectly argue this point, you cannot really know if you truly love someone within this short time span. Why? Because you really do not know him well enough to know if you do actually love him. Two weeks in simply not enough time to get to really know someone in any in-depth way.

It seems that you may have fallen “head over heels” in love with this person. The danger of falling “head over heels” in love is that you can become blind to many facts about the person and the relationship. If you are “blind” you may miss important red flags about a person or overlook certain aspects of a person’s personality or actions that would normally alarm you. Being “blind” in this way puts you in jeopardy of not being able to see the reality of the relationship clearly thus endangering your ability to correctly determine if the relationship is healthy or right for you.

Another concern is that you said he surprised you when he was under the influence of alcohol and acted out in a way not consistent with his character. He not only changed his behavior while intoxicated but he became physically violent, as per your letter. Since you did not mention what exactly happened I can only speculate but you did say that you were hurt. This is not a sign of a healthy person or a good relationship. Yes, he was intoxicated when this occurred but this is not an excuse and it should serve as a red flag to you.

You also mentioned that he voluntarily decreased or stopped his drinking and this is good. But it will be difficult for you to determine if you he is going to keep his word since you have only known him for a short time. I guess only time will tell if he stops this behavior and hopefully, for your sake, he keeps his promise.

In summary, my overarching concern about this relationship lies not necessarily with him but with you. Why are you so willing to stay with him no matter what happens? In the very short time you have known him, you two have already fought, you were hurt by him indirectly in a physical altercation, he is already emotionally distant and unresponsive, and he has indicated to you that the relationship may not work. This is not a good beginning to a relationship. Where did you learn or who told you it is okay be treated by someone is this manner and be willing to stick around for more?

Maybe this relationship will work out but is it more likely that it will not, and maybe that is for the better. The relationship has not had a healthy beginning thus far. Think deeply about if this relationship is right for you or if how he treats you is really what you want, deserve or expect.

If you want to ask a more specific question, please consider writing again. Take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Mar 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Good Relationship?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/03/16/good-relationship/