July 25, 2014 in Features

Carolyn Hax: Repair relationship with yourself

Washington Post
 

Dear Carolyn: I’m 26, he’s 27. Dated for about a year, fell hard and fast, moved in after about six months and were beginning to talk about getting engaged. I thought I had found the one.

But I messed up several times during the relationship and hurt him. Two months ago an incident happened that was the last straw, and he ended the relationship.

Over the last two months, I’ve tried to repair the relationship.

I feel like counseling and reflection have helped me see that I can be a better partner, but I’m not sure how to show him I’m sincere. Or maybe I’m deluding myself and if he hasn’t decided to try with me after two-plus months apart, it won’t happen. Then again, maybe I’m being shortsighted and two months isn’t that long at all. – Sad in Maryland

You’re being short-sighted, yes, but in a much more dramatic way than in the best-case scenario you give.

I’d even call it rush-sighted. You moved in at six months, you talked engagement in less than a year, and you managed to fit inappropriate behavior with more than one man in that brief window, and you’ve apparently overlapped these recent two months of “counseling and reflection” (less than two, actually) with a deliberate push to get him back that you’re already set to abandon for Plan B.

As I read your letter, I had the sound of a fast-forwarded tape in my head.

Slow down, please! Way, way down. As in, recognize that thinking about this just in terms of this guy, or any guy, is being shortsighted. This is about repairing your relationship with yourself.

That’s what your behavior is telling you: The impulse to be with this guy that guy the other guy wait no the original guy is just a symptom of your not being at peace with yourself.

When you treat therapy and “reflection” as means solely to the end of getting your favorite distraction back, then you’re missing the point.


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