Feelings change constantly

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My fiancee and I just broke up for probably the seventh time. I told her I didn’t love her anymore because I came to the sudden realization that there were often times where I couldn’t stand being around her, even hated her, about as often as I loved her and wanted to always be with her. She has expressed more than once her concern that I was exhibiting suicidal behavior, driving recklessly and taking unnecessary risks and putting myself and others in danger. She had also said that my indecisiveness about my near future seems to her like I don’t plan to be alive for long. She told me that I often criticize others’ actions despite the fact that I have done those same things on occasion, though I don’t know what she means, I’d think I’d remember doing it. She claims that I am sometimes a totally different person. When I broke things off with her it felt rather forced and impulsive. I love her, then hate her. I want to leave, then I don’t. I feel like it’s all a mistake, but then I think it’s the best decision I’d ever made, setting her free. I don’t know what to do.

A: Your problem isn’t your relationship. Your problem is that you are so worried about making the wrong move that you don’t move at all. For every zig you make in life, you make a zag. The end result is that you go nowhere. Your apparent recklessness may be a way to have some excitement without doing anything that really matters.

There are probably good but hidden reasons why you have taken this approach to life. Those reasons are hidden from your girlfriend and from yourself. If you knew what you were up to, you would at least have an explanation or an excuse.

I strongly suggest that you sign on for a little psychotherapy to get to the bottom of it. Once you understand yourself a bit better, you’ll be in a better position to make some decisions. Of course, if you are truly terrified of that outcome, you will be as undecided about making a therapy appointment as anything else. Watch yourself as you look up the mental health clinics in your area and go to make that call. If you find yourself somehow having good intentions but not doing it, it will confirm my guess. Take a deep breath and do it anyway. You might want to bring your letter and this response with you to the first session to give yourself a jumpstart.

I applaud your courage in writing to us. It was a step in at least one direction. I hope you will find the strength that is in you to take another step down the same road.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Nov 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Feelings change constantly. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/11/15/feelings-change-constantly/