Why am I Pushing Him Away?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have been with my boyfriend for two years. During these two years he has became someone I love and trust and could see myself with forever. That word though “forever” scares me to death. I know he is perfect for me and he adores me. Our families click and he loves my daughter with all his heart. We are like the picture perfect little family.

I cant do it though. I have started to distance myself, I think that he deserves better and that I need to find out who I am and live life. I have already told him on more than one occasion that we are going to break up or that I’m not sure what I want.

The worst part of everything is if my boyfriend and I ever go out for drinks, the night ends with me telling him how much I hate him and how he’s not the man for me. I never think this though when I’m sober. I’m not sure what I want. This isn’t the first time I have done this either. I have had 4 previous relationships that were well over a year each and I pushed every boyfriend I have ever had away. I want this cycle to stop but I do not know what to do.

A: What you should do is listen to yourself. You’re right. You don’t yet know what you want in your life. Having a number of relationships in the teens and early 20s is normal. This isn’t necessarily a “cycle.” It’s how people sort out what they do and don’t want in a life partner. My guess is that having a child made it difficult for you to do the kind of self-exploration that is usual at this stage of life. Responsibilities to your daughter do come first. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the time to understand yourself and to decide who it is you are looking for.

I suggest you slow down. At 21, you have plenty of time. You shouldn’t settle into married life unless you are 100 percent ready — no matter how sweet the guy or how invested your family is in him. Your family isn’t going to live with him. You are.

When you are disinhibited by alcohol, you say what you really think. Since you are under the influence, it’s likely that your boyfriend doesn’t take you seriously.

It’s time you had that same talk while cold sober. Tell him that he may be perfect in every way but you’re simply not ready to settle down. Free him to explore other relationships. Get yourself involved with school or activities that will help you develop yourself and expand your circle of friends. If this relationship has promise, you may come back around to it in a few years.

Even though you aren’t ready to be a wife, you are already a mother. Make sure to give your daughter the love and care she deserves too. You need to nurture her development as well as your own.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Dec 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Why am I Pushing Him Away?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/12/13/why-am-i-pushing-him-away/