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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Young and Needing to Take a Break

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Author Topic: Young and Needing to Take a Break
sacred_cat
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So, I've been with my boyfriend for almost two years. I am 18 now, and started seeing him when I was 16. He is now 21.
I've just graduated from high school and am looking to get a job as a CNA until I'm ready to go to college whereas he is struggling to get his GED.
I've been going out to clubs lately with my friends, and am realizing that there is so much in a life of being single that I have never experienced.
I do love my boyfriend, but I can feel things getting a little strained sometimes, and I'm thinking about asking him to take a break from our relationship so I can explore being single--I was very young when we first started going out, and honestly my relationship goal at the time was to live on my own with the person I love.
Since this does not seem likely to happen soon because of his independent financial situation, I'm realizing that there is more to relationships than that goal.
I really would like to maybe take some time to be single, but how do I explain this to him? I'm so scared of hurting him, but I feel like if I ever am going to be happy with long-term commitment with him, I need to experience being single, and then come back to him. Basically, I need to know whats out there before I can fully devote myself.

Is this a valid request? Is there any way to tell him this without making him think I want to break up with him for good? I'm so scared of hurting him. I'd also like to set a time limit of maybe a few months on how long we'd be apart. Can anyone give me any advice on this situation?

Posts: 42 | From: USA | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DiamondGirl2K
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I am in almost the same exact situation!. I've been with my boyfriend for almost 5 years since I was 16! We broke up for 6 months in 2004 and I had a lot of fun being by myself for awhile. I dated during our break up but it was all just fun. We got back together because I missed being with him and I loved him so much.

But now, within the last few months it seems as though my feelings toward him are changing. I still love him with all my heart but sometimes I want to let him go. I'm in college and working part-time. He works as well but he thinks that because he has a job that all of his problems are solve.

I am working to get my permit and soon after move on to get my driver's license. I want to get my own apartment. Basically I'm motivated and want to do a lot of different things. He doesn't seem to want to do any of that stuff. He doesn't seem to want what I want. He says he does but his actions prove otherwise. He just talks about what he wants to do and how he wants things to change but he doesn't do a thing to help his situation.

I'm just confused as to what I should do. He is a good person and I hate to hurt him because I know how much he loves and cares for me. It's just that a lot of the time we seem to be on different levels and I'm not sure I can continue being in a relationship like that. I would love to work on our relationship but I don't know how to go about doing that.
I'm afraid that if I tell him how I really feel about us then he will take it the wrong way and will be really hurt. It would break my heart to see him hurt.

Can anyone give me some pointers?

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Diamonds R Forever!

Posts: 137 | From: The Home of The Greatest: NY | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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You know, it's REALLY normal and common -- and there's not necessarily anything wrong with this either -- for relationships to simply change over time, ESPECIALLY when the people in them are in serious phases of personal development, as the teens and twenties tend to be for most people.

It's normal and it's common for romantic relationships like this to grow into friendships, or to end up being better as platonic friendships. Some high-school/college-age couples who were great together even wind up back together after years of being apart.

And if and when this happens, it can hurt. It can hurt if we have the idea that romantic love is eternal or unchanging (and often, it's not), it can hurt if we have the idea that the closest relationship, the best relationship, MUST be romantic (even though plenty of the best relationships we might have in our life may be as friends or as parents). It can hurt even just because anything coming to any sort of end, even if it's just a change, can be difficult.

But trying to keeop something it isn't anymore, for any reason, if often just as hurtful, and sometimes more so. So, it's really important to talk this stuff out with a partner when you're in this spot, however hard it is, however much either party may feel some hurt. Staying with someone out of obligation isn't an unhurtful thing either, nor is -- and sometimes this is part of the issue, and it makes no one a bad person -- wanting to do everything so as not to be the bad guy, or the person responsible for any hurt, or the person seen as selfish, etc.

Both of you have known your partners a long time, so *should* have some really good communication avenues at this point: use them. You both seem to care a lot about your partners, and they care for you: you can have these talks, this stuff is going to be important to your partners as well. For all you know, they may want to talk about the same things.

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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
pwk23
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I started dating a guy when I was 16 and fell madly in love. We were together for three years, including two years of me being across the country in college. The entire last year of our relationship was terrible for me, though, because I realized I didn't really want to be in it anymore. We'd grown apart without me realizing it until it hit me one day when someone said, "Wow! You've been together that long, and so far apart? You must really love him!" And then I realized, I wasn't actually in love with him anymore, and I wanted out--I wanted the experience of being single again, of dating other guys. But no other guys seemed interested in me initially, and he had quite low self-esteem so I was afraid he'd hurt himself if we broke up, so I foolishly stayed in the relationship for another year, and towards the end of it started cheating on him quite a bit before breaking things off completely with all parties and resolving never to get into that giant mess again.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that, yes, experiencing being single is great! I'm definitely not recommending the cheating route, but if being single is something you really want to experience, then I'd say go for it, because you might end up becoming uneasy and bored and perhaps feel "stuck" in your relationship, like I was. If I could redo things I'd have broken things off the moment I realized I wanted a break, and avoided much of the mess I eventually ended up in.

My ex was also more understanding than I thought he'd be--he was depressed for a while, but he said, "I do love you, and even if you don't feel the same about me anymore, if you need space...take it" (he didn't find out about the cheating, which still guilts me a bit). We are still good friends who keep in contact and I know that if I wanted to return to him, he'd still be accepting of me, although I know that is not currently what I want.

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DiamondGirl2K
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I guess I just feel like our relationship isn't in the place it should be. I feel like we could be doing a lot better as a couple. As I said before I really do love him and I would love to make our relationship better.

I decided that I am going to come clean about how I feel and from there on we can work on it. When we talk it out, I'm sure that he will tell me how he feels and I would never have guessed it. The same thing goes for me.
Iím going to give you a little bit of background so you can fully understand.

We broke up the spring of 2004 just after I started my first semester of college. He wasnít working or going to school and I felt that he was holding me back from what I wanted to do so I decided we should take a break. That summer he got a job where he got paid decent money. He made over $14 an hour and while that is not huge, it is pretty good. He was 22 then and still living at home with his uncle. His mother passed when he was 12, his grandmother when he was 18 and his father isnít really around that much.

We got back together during the fall of that year and I felt that he had really matured from where he was a few months ago and we were happy. In December of that year, his uncle died in their home from a massive heart attack and he was really devastated. I stuck with him during that time and I felt that even thought tragedy had struck, he should take this opportunity to move out on his own because I didnít think it would be good for him to continue living there after his uncle had died.
He chose to stay in that apartment and a couple of weeks later, he let his aunt move in with him. I knew this would be a mistake from the beginning. Sheís very controlling and treats him as if he is a child. I felt that at the age of 22, he should NOT be living at home with her and needed to be out on his own so he could be free to do what he wanted and not feel bound.

So now in 2006, he is going on 24 and still living with his aunt. I just feel that after working at that job for almost 2 years, he should be at a state where he wants to get out from under her and go out on his own. However, he still chooses to stay there with her and I canít figure out why. He constantly complains about how she carries on with him about everything under the sun and heís tired of her but still is not trying to improve the situation by leaving. He recently got a promotion where he makes more money so I donít believe his finances are a problem. I just think that heís scared to move out on his own but I believe that if he doesnít like his current living situation then he should stand up as a man and do something to change that.

I just think that he is not in the place at his life where he should be. I think he could be doing a lot better at his age. I also feel like he is just waiting for me to do everything like find us an apartment and figure everything out. Why canít he help me instead of just going along for the ride? I feel like he just leans on me too much as if I am his mother instead of his girlfriend and I want an equal partnerónot feel like I am taking care of a child.

Am I clear in what I am saying? Am I wrong to feel this way? If anyone who replies needs any clarity on this then let me know and I will fix it.

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Diamonds R Forever!

Posts: 137 | From: The Home of The Greatest: NY | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sacred_cat
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wow, thank you for all the replies you guys, we can support eachother.
DiamondGirl, you are not wrong for feeling that way about your boyfriend, I feel the same way about mine in my current situation.
I think talking it out together is a big must, and it can lead to either of two things: you two solving it with him deciding to change, or you two breaking up.
It feels that way for me because I am ready to advance to the next level in life, whereas my boyfriend is still struggling to get his GED, and in my opinion spends too much time doing partying with his friends for someone who can't even find a job at McDonald's. I feel that my interests in a boyfriend have changed since I was 16, because who really thinks about long-term/marriage qualities in a partner at 16?

I still love him, but I feel like we're going in separate directions. Sometimes he tells me I'm being to hard on him, but I think he's being too lenient on himself because obviously he's not getting anywhere.

It's so scary, and I guess it's a part of growing up that makes you realize that love and attraction cannot always equal a long-term relationship. I love him, but I can't see myself spending the rest of my life with someone who can't handle his own.

And DiamondGirl, I can imagine that the hardest part will be bringing up the subject that something is wrong and that something has to change. I wish you luck and emotional strength, and I hope things work out for the best for you. Keep us updated.

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pwk23
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Wow, DiamondGirl, that sounds really similar to the ex I mentioned. He dropped out of college, had some troubles with work, and then the closest thing to a father-figure he had, whom he really loved, died suddenly and he was devestated. I wanted to break up with him, but I knew I'd feel guilty if I did at that point so I let him lean on me anyways.

He still lives at home, whines about how he hates it and how his mom makes him pay rent and how he gets annoyed at her boyfriend, who lives with them, and how his younger sister gets spoiled by the father who left them years ago. He used to have major aspirations to go to college across the country and study to be a zoologist, but gave up because it was "stupid" and "not attainable"--though it was perfectly attainable at the time. It's the same reason he gives for not moving out, though I know he'd be much better off if he did--he just believes it won't work, so he doesn't move out, even though friends have offered to room with him and work out rent issues and such.

Especially during the last few months of our relationship, he was clingy and realied heavily on me for support even though I'm literally across the country for college. He wanted to marry and had a life planned out for us after I graduated--which involved me moving back to that state, into his house with his mother, never mind asking me what -I- planned to do after graduation. I don't think he wanted to marry me due to being in love with me so much as he was just desperate to have something there with him who would unconditionally support him, but as cruel as it might sound, I knew I wasn't, and couldn't, be that person for him so I broke it off (There was also that whole cheating bit, but that's just an unrelated reason that coincided with the timing of it all).

Oddly enough, after I broke it off he suddenly began to get things together again. He was depressed for a while, and I know he misses me a lot, but once he was alone I think he realized he had to slap it together himself if he wanted to make a better situation. While he still believes his dreams of being a zoologist or finishing college in the near future are still unattainable, he went through some training and got a better job, and is certainly more open to the idea of moving out, even if he won't do it quite yet. What I thought might be devestating to him ended up as a wake-up call of sorts, and though this may not quite end up being your case, I wanted to share my experiences with you guys. I hope it works out!

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sacred_cat
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you know girls, this wake-up call theory does seem to hold some water.
My friend's sister had been with her boyfriend for number of years, and she had decided to break it off because he was being a slacker in getting his life together.
After a certain amount of time they actually got back together because he realized that he really had to change if he wanted to be with the one he loved, and the're still together now a few years after the break up.

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DiamondGirl2K
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quote:
Originally posted by sacred_cat:
Sometimes he tells me I'm being to hard on him, but I think he's being too lenient on himself because obviously he's not getting anywhere.

It's so scary, and I guess it's a part of growing up that makes you realize that love and attraction cannot always equal a long-term relationship.

I know exactly what you mean! My boyfriend always tells me that I am being mean to him and that I should have more patience with him. I said to myself "Are you for real?" I know that I have plenty of patience in order to deal with him because if I didn't he would've been out the door a long time ago!

It's true that when you grow up, your outlook changes on everything from relationships to style of dress. When I first met him at 16, I believed in loving someone forever and fairytale relationships. But now at 21, I think more rationally and realize that there is a such thing as falling out of love and breaking up. It hurts when it happens but time heals all wounds eventually and if later on, things work out then great. If not, then we should look at it as a learning experience and move on with the best from it!

[ 06-07-2006, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: DiamondGirl2K ]

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Diamonds R Forever!

Posts: 137 | From: The Home of The Greatest: NY | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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