Life Advice

/

Health & Spirit

Deciding whether to give on-again, off-again boyfriend unconditional love

Carolyn Hax on

Dear Carolyn:

I've been dating "Z" off-and-on for 2 1/2 years. He is 39 and never had a serious relationship before; I'm 33 and have been in love once and had one other long-term relationship that ended in a healthy way.

Z and I love each other but he has a hard time communicating with me about his feelings for me, or making tangible plans for our future. He does give me a hard time most of the time and has broken up with me multiple times for no clear reason, which has been difficult for me, needless to say.

We recently spent six months apart due to his saying he was "sorry" he was "not the one for me."

We came back together a few months ago and were thrilled to realize our mutual love. But a recent snag has brought up this gnawing question: If I love him, shouldn't I accept him for who he is and love him unconditionally? Or should I keep trying to get him to communicate with me in a way I need, since we are still learning how the other wants and needs to be loved?

-- Should I Stay or Should I Go?

That's actually several gnawing questions.

The first part alone is two: (1) Shouldn't I accept him? And (2) Shouldn't I love him unconditionally?

The answer to the first is an easy, solid, unqualified yes. Accept him. If taking what you see as what you get from people isn't the key to happiness unto itself, then it's at least a massive step toward eliminating needless frustration. And/or eliminating multi-year off-and-on relationships with people who give you "a hard time most of the time."

The second question is very different from the first. Once you accept someone as-is, it is not automatic that you then love this person unconditionally. Au contraire. You accept, then you see if there's love. Accepting that someone is who he is and isn't going to change could be just the truth-dosage you need to realize you don't in fact love him. Or like him much.

...continued

swipe to next page
 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
 

Social Connections

Comics

Strange Brew Steve Benson Barney Google And Snuffy Smith Diamond Lil Free Range Spectickles