Relationship advice


#1

Hi there. I have been in a relationship for about 1.5 years now and lately I have just not been feeling like things between my girlfriend and me are right. I’d just like a little guidence from people who know about relationships.

School has been a lot of work lately and I have been pretty down with life in general. I just don’t feel like we are as close as we used to be. But I can’t tell if it is all my work bringing me down or if I sincerely don’t want to be in a relationship any more.

Anybody have any advice on how I should go about sorting things out?

JMJ, George


#2

Talk to God. Talk to her.

Talk to God to ask for direction and discernment on your call to married life. Is this what he desires of you? Does she fit the bill?

Then talk to her about your talk with God. You need to do one of two things:

  1. Break it off
  2. Commit to working through it

I am strongly against the idea of soul mates. Marriage is work. And it takes two people who are up to the task. It sure helps if there is some chemistry and makes a huge difference if there is a shared vision of the purpose, values, faith, etc. But you don’t have to be feeling the sparks flying in order to decide that this is where you are being led. If you are called to marriage and she fits the bill, then you work on it until she either doesn’t fit the bill or you marry. (Well, in the latter case, you then get a promotion, but you still have to work.)

If she isn’t the type of wife who will lead you closer to God or if the answer is that you aren’t being called to married life, then you recognize the difficulty of this development after a year-and-a-half, you decide that it is better than 2 years or 3 years, and you break it off.

After this long, there is bound to be a lull in the relationship when you feel comfortable with each other and start taking each other for granted, so you have to work at keeping the spark alive. And you have to realize that it will simply peter out at times and have to be re-lit. It is easier to re-light than it is to go through it all again with someone new (until that flame wanes as well). You don’t say if your relationship has included any sexual contact (and you don’t have to), but in case it has, you might be seeing the benefit now of waiting until marriage for that as well. The unitive aspect of sexuality really helps in overcoming the difficulties of the first year of marriage. Without that as a possibility for the future, you really don’t have much to look forward to from an “in a slump” standpoint. If it has included a bit too much (again, it is fine if you just chew on the thought and not post about it) then perhaps your feeling like things aren’t right could be quite true. But if this is the case you two could decide that it is best for your relationship to hold off until you have the assurances of permanency and support that come with marriage before going back to that. Whatever it is that is coming between you, talk to God, then talk to her. There really are only two choices here.

I’ll keep you in my prayers.


#3

No, no sexual contact. We are both Catholic and we both agreed at the beginning of the relationship that we would not have sex unless married.

Thank you for the advice, I really needed to hear that.


#4

[quote=Curious_George]Hi School has been a lot of work lately and I have been pretty down with life in general. I just don’t feel like we are as close as we used to be.
[/quote]

how close are you supposed to be? If you are not ready for courtship and marriage you should not be any closer than good friends. How do good friends treat each other? What kinds of things to they share? What kind of things do good friends do together? How do they show respect and support for each other? Friendships need nurturing, giving, sharing to remain relationships. If neither party is moved to such nurturing, maybe the relationship is over, or cooling down, or becoming less important.


#5

I was just thinking, would anyone mind telling me about hard times in their relationships and how it was solved? I would really appreciate it.


#6

Heh. I know a thing or two about this…

Going through something very similar to your situation, I asked a lot of people for advice, including many people on this board. I got a lot of good advice, some things to think about, and not a few chastisements for being a whiner. (I’m not saying YOU are.) A couple of things kept coming through that rang true out here in the real world, too. In no particular order, here’s what helped shape my recent decision about a relationship:

#1: You just “know.” I loathe this thought/sentiment/whatever, but there seems to be some truth in it. If you spend more than two seconds trying to convince yourself that she’s a woman you could marry, chances are, she’s not. I spent about a year debating with myself about it in every spare moment.

#2: Dating should be “courtship,” i.e. figuring out if she would be a good wife. If that’s not even a consideration, time to bail out because there’s nothing but trouble down that road.

#3: One year should be enough. Again, people have wildly different stories about the amount of time it took to figure out if “it” was there, but I would say the overwhelming majority of people I talked to knew within at least six months. As I approached a year and a half with a girl who was just about perfect in every way, I knew something was wrong.

#4: Religion: If you’re not both Catholic, forget about it. Converts are fine, but the dangers in inter-faith courtship and marriage make me want to bag the whole thing. IF I ever find a girl who makes all the struggles seem silly, she’ll undoubtedly be a practicing Catholic girl.

#5: Mistaking the “it” factor. I’ve clicked with a few girls, and more often than not, I’ve mistaken it for some kind of other emotion. What took me 32 years to figure out is that sometimes we just click with people in general, and when it happens with women, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s some kind of cosmic love. Sometimes it’s just the mutual appreciation of another person. Of course, our world perverts everything and it’s easy to get confused about that kind of thing.

#6: It’s critical that your families can at least tolerate each other. It helps immensely to have a common circle of friends to keep you accountable.

To summarize:

No long-term "dating."
Look for a potential mate, not a date, or don’t look at all.
Go Catholic
Love, but don’t fall in love with love.

I know your current situation is unique and you can’t apply some kind of template to it, but take it from someone who’s gotten burned by ignoring the above guidelines–they work.

At least, so far. I saw my ex-girlfriend last night and she looked diminished, hurt and confused. I would almost rather have seen her crying than putting on that brave face. It’s taking everything I have to walk the path I’ve chosen. I tell myself that without that “marriage feeling” after a year and a half, it’s probably never going to come, and I shouldn’t waste any more of her time. There were more reasons than that, but it all seems like b.s. immediately after the breakup.


#7

Curious George,

Since you indicated you and your girlfriend are both catholic and therefore respect each other and are abiding by church teaching with regard to intimacy, I can only advise you as I am doing with my teen children…

Start listening and reading up on what the purpose of a male/female relationship is for Catholics (actually it’s for all humans, but it’s hard to get non-Catholics to accept that).

My kids got a lot from PureLoveClub.org and Jason Evert’s Romance Without Regret talk (they listened on line and then saw him in person when he was in town).

You’re probably older and wiser already, and may already be on board with what’s at those sites, but the resources (books, links) are still worth browsing.

Once you have the basic chastity and why thing under your belt the next step is examining the purpose of marriage. For that I recommend Christopher West’s talks (available on CD) with regard to Marriage and the Eucharist and Theology of the Body.

What you’re looking for in your reading/listening is why you would be interested in a long-term relationship with a woman…what are you seeking from that relationship? What do you have to offer that woman which will move her closer to God? How will the two of you move closer to God together? How will you handle your faith journey when one of you is growing at a different rate and in a different ministry? How will your relationship be open to new life? How will you two raise and nurture new souls toward God?

If these aren’t the questions you’re asking about your current girlfriend, then don’t worry about whether or not you’re as close as you used to be, that’s the least of your worries. Reexamine what the relationship is about now and what it’s supposed to be about. That should help you figure out whether or not to stay in this relationship. It’ll also help you figure out how to strengthen it, too, should it be ‘the one’.


#8

[quote=Curious_George]I was just thinking, would anyone mind telling me about hard times in their relationships and how it was solved? I would really appreciate it.
[/quote]

Curious George, I went through the same thing about 3 years ago with my current husband when we were dating. This was back in college, we had been together for a few years. You do get to a point in a dating relationship where you are just not sure where things are going. We were both in school and like you facing a heavy load. It didn’t seem like he cared enough about me or called me enough. Things didn’t seem as exciting either and he was the only person I had dated, and I wasn’t sure if I should date someone else. I also happened to meet another guy that I really liked alot. It was very exciting meeting someone new, and I almost thought about breaking it off with my boyfriend (now husband!)

But, when it came right down to it, I still really loved him (my husband) even though things weren’t the greatest. I think love faces all sorts of times where things seem dull, or you may feel depressed for whatever reason. You just have to consider whether it is worth sticking it out or not. For me I just thought about all the happy times I had with my husband when we first met. We also talked about where we were heading and I think that helped. He ended up dropping out of his particular academic program that was sucking the life out of him. This helped our relationship alot, and our circumstances kept changing since we were young, which also kept the relationship flowing because we had different things we were doing. Now we are married and sharing life together and things are almost easier because his goals are my goals and we know we are together for keeps!

Just pray about it, you are still young. Stick it out a few more months and see how it goes. If not, you are certainly not married and school and your life is most important. Be happy, and talk things over with your girlfriend- this will help too. God Bless.


#9

[quote=Curious_George]No, no sexual contact. We are both Catholic and we both agreed at the beginning of the relationship that we would not have sex unless married.

Thank you for the advice, I really needed to hear that.
[/quote]

Admirable! You don’t see this type of commitment among young people much anymore. :thumbsup:


#10

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