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!
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.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Is This Love?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/08/18/is-this-love/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.