Is This Love?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I guess I’ll just start from the beginning. I met my boyfriend during my junior year of college in Florida. We started out as friends for a couple of months. He was my marijuana dealer. I was a student, who worked as an exotic dancer and the local strip clubs with my wild group of girlfriends. I’d had plenty of experience with men and dating, but no serious relationships up to that point.
He fell head over heels in love with me. As time passed I grew to love him too. I honestly believe he’s the only man who’s ever loved me for who I really am.
Unfortunately the relationship has never completely satisfied me. I’m ashamed to admit this but I’ve cheated on him many times. This has caused so much strain on our relationship. He became jealous, possessive, and even violent at times. However, despite the infidelity and the fighting we can’t seem to stay away from each other. We have a deep connection that we are both afraid to lose. I’ve tried to break up with him many times to spare both of us the agony. But every time I lack the strength to carry it through and I run back to him. Is this love? Please give me some advice!

A: I don’t think it would be accurate of me to suggest that your relationship is crazy. It sounds as if there is a very powerful connection between the two of you. That disconnection is painful and obviously the relationship means a great deal to both of you.

What might be a better question is: Is your relationship real intimacy? The infidelities in which you engage would seem to be designed to sabotage and prevent intimacy. I think the real question here is how much intimacy can you handle?

If I were to answer: “Yes, this relationship is definitely love,” how would this change your behavior? If I say: No, it isn’t love –what would this do? But if we have to ask how much intimacy can you tolerate, I believe we get much closer to the issue.

I would strongly recommend individual therapy for you to unravel this question. I don’t think things can improve until you understand more about what intimacy means for you.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Aug 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Is This Love?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/08/18/is-this-love/

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