Not Sure Why I’m Staying

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I guess the real eye opener for my relationship issues was my birthday, which is today. However, my boyfriend and I were supposed to celebrate it yesterday. He claimed a month ago he got me the most thoughtful gift ever. The day of, yesterday, he says going out to dinner is my birthday gift. I told him I was disappointed. He called me ungrateful. We have been dating for 4 years and are young still. I expected more though, at least something small to go with it. He blamed me for expecting something even though he lied to me. He lied about getting paid his final paycheck.

I felt attacked. We fight all the time and he doesn’t show any future qualities anymore that I desire. He used to be so thoughtful and caring but now he doesn’t show me any appreciation and doesn’t have any drive in life. I wanted everything with him. I know I should walk away from this. I’m tired of the lies, lack of emotional satisfaction, and his laziness. I feel like more of his mother than his girlfriend because his mother babies him and accepts any mistakes he makes. His father doesn’t but he never listens to his dad. I don’t know why I always want to go back. I tell myself I can change things or if X happened then Y would be different but it never is. I feel like a fool going back to him every time and I know my family thinks it as well. Why do I always feel the need to go back to him and the gut feeling that things will be different?

I can only think of three reasons: 1. I enjoy the companionship. We play online games together and it is fun. I don’t have any other friends, they either moved or got pregnant, and I went to college locally.

2. I have anxiety over a plan I set for myself. I get anxiety when things don’t go a certain way. I want my first child by 30 and I feel like I’m running out of time. I feel like I will be alone forever. I really feel like this needs to be addressed.

3. I attract losers. I’ve been in two serious relationships and always think my kind nature can change people. The first guy was cheating on me and was more active in our relationship than the person I referring to in this post. I just feel like the next guy will be worse.

A: You already know you are staying with this guy for all the wrong reasons. You are only 22! You’ve been with him since you were 18. It’s absolutely normal for people your age who got in a relationship so young to find that as they grow up they are growing apart. Having fun playing video games can be the basis of a relationship as a teenager but it is not the stuff of marriage material. Holding onto him because you don’t have friends doesn’t solve the friend problem. It only prevents you from making friends who are more supportive and grown up.

Your experience with men is limited. It’s premature for you to describe yourself as attracted to losers. You were young and made some mistakes. The issue is not who you are but what you learned. I would hope you’ve learned that liars rarely tell the truth; that you can’t change someone; that lazy people don’t make good mates; and that you deserve better.

You’ve been badly hurt. Now you are anxious. Please get the help you need to manage the anxiety and to generally feel better about yourself. You are much too young to give up on yourself. There really are good men out there but you’ll only find them if you get out of your uncomfortable comfort zone and embrace life. A therapist can help you take a new look at the assumptions you are making and can be a support while you try on some new behaviors. Please give yourself that chance.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Feb 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). Not Sure Why I’m Staying. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/02/13/why-am-i-staying-with-this-guy/