I met a boy when I was 14 and fell in love. I met the same boy when I was 18 and we fell in love again. When we met again at 28, life had hurt him, to where I almost did not recognize him. We fell in love, but the demons he was wrestling with destroyed so much. After two years, where I have left him off and on, he has been doing better the last two months. He has shown me everything I wanted in a man now that he is on medication and in therapy. Do I walk away for good or give him another chance?
Signed, In love and worried, too
Dear In love and worried, too:
There was so much to read between the lines of this question that I had to take my time in dealing with it.
So here it goes — according to you, you have now met and reacquainted yourself with someone from the time you were 14, 18, and now 28 years of age.
It is clear that on some basic level, that you really care about this human being, and that in his own way, he cares about you too. I am assuming at the age of 14, you were too young, but what happened at the age of 18? You did not elaborate on what broke you apart then. Was it something that you noticed about him? Were you separated because one of you had to relocate?
So, I am left to assume what happened there. By your own admission, you said that when you reconnected at the age of 28, he had “demons” and he was a different person from the one that you knew all those years ago. It seems to me that you are trying to help him, and again — according to you —,he is now on medication. The inference I get is that there are some mental issues at play here.
My thoughts around all the clues you gave me in your question is that you’re not quite sure based on what you know right now. If you feel safe and secure around this person — which is not what I am sensing from your note above — then that is one thing. If, however, you have questions based on what you are experiencing, or his “demons,” then I would caution you to be very careful. There is no sense in trying to save someone at the expense of your own soul and well-being. When we enter relationships, it is with the premise that we are coming into it as whole as we can possibly be; and that we will be sharing a life with someone who has some of the same core values. It is clear to me that you see the warning signs, which is why you are asking your question. I applaud you for that. What I want you to do now is seek counseling from a trained professional on how you should move forward. Never let love cloud your judgment or discernment. I wish you well, and take care.
How does one know when their time is up in a relationship, job or space?
Signed, Things to ponder
Dear Things to ponder:
I am going to gently suggest that you do know when it is time to leave a relationship, because deep within, we all begin to feel a level of discomfort that we cannot explain when things are off kilter.
That is how it starts. We always want what is best for those around us and often when things start to shift, we experience and question, but keep moving as if nothing has changed while hoping that it will get better. There are indeed times that with open and honest communication, we can work through the misunderstandings to reach a better place. What we often do, though, is question, hold onto it, say absolutely nothing, and then build a level of distrust over time that can be felt by all parties involved. That is what a lack of communication will do in any relationship –work-related, platonic or intimate.
So then, if you have taken all the steps towards resolving the issues as you have seen them — if you’ve had the meetings, tried compromises, set boundaries and nothing has changed, then it is time to look elsewhere. Sometimes not wanting to rock the boat or becoming complacent on our end keeps us stuck in a rut. I challenge you now to take a look at where you can grow and thrive, and begin taking the necessary steps to taking a frog leap into a better place for your peace of mind and well-being.
Fear and guilt are two anchors we must relieve ourselves of as much as possible, if we are to dare to dream for a better existence. Good luck, and take care.
The advice offered in this column is intended for informational/entertainment purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. This column, its author, the Philadelphia Sunday SUN newspaper and publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.