“My boyfriend, Mark, and I have been together for two years, and we’ve been up and down the whole time. Things will go well for a while, but then we’ll be miserable. I’ll threaten to leave, but then he’ll tell me he can’t live without me, and he’ll beg me to stay. At times like that he can be really pathetic . But lately I don’t see that things will be better in the long run, so I feel trapped if I stay but too guilty to leave.”
You’re never trapped. You feel as though if you left, you’d be HURTING Mark, and you believe that because I’m sure he TELLS you that in a hundred ways: with the things he says, with what he does, and with the puppy dog way he looks at you if you even mention the possibility of your leaving him. He acts like a huge victim around you, and that is something he was trained to do from childhood.
But you need to see the truth here, darlin’. You didn’t make him the way he is. Before you two ever met, he was alive for how many years? Twenty? Thirty? Forty? I don’t know how many years it was, but the fact is, long before you came along he was taught how to see himself and the world around him. He learned how to act like a victim, for example. He learned how NOT to function in a healthy way in a relationship. He did NOT learn how to bring Real Love into a relationship, and it sounds like you were not well prepared to participate in a loving relationship either, so you two were pretty much guaranteed from the beginning to have the problems you’re having.
Without sufficient Real Love, your problems will CONTINUE, so SOMEBODY has to break out of this cycle and make a change. If you were married, I’d say, Stay together and work it out. But you’re not, so why stay in a broken, damaged relationship while you’re learning about Real Love? It’s just too difficult. Instead, it’s much, much easier to leave a relationship like that and learn about Real Love SEPARATELY. Learn to tell the truth about yourself and find Real Love from people who have it. Then, when you’re much healthier—in like a YEAR, not like in a few weeks—if you feel like you and Mark were somehow meant for each other, you could always get back together with him and see if he has an interest in learning about Real Love. Then you would have something to offer him that would make a relationship work.
If you do choose to leave him to get healthier yourself, do NOT feel guilty about HIS pain. As I said, he got where he is LONG before you came along, and your leaving will add to his pain only a tiny amount and only for a brief moment. You really have to believe that and remember that, because he’ll try to tell you otherwise. He DOES need help, but right now YOU are not the one to give it to him. You’re not healthy enough or strong enough. You’ve already proven that.
In every relationship, you have to get yourself healthy first before you can help anybody else. If you forget that, you become incapable of bringing happiness to anyone.