on taking risks in love
October 10, 2010, 9:23 pm
Filed under: advice, life, love | Tags: , , , ,

Dear Spoonah,

I’m hesitant to ask about this because it’s somewhat of a difficult issue, but maybe you can offer some perspective. My friends have given me advice, but I can’t help but feel like their opinions are mostly subjective. I’m hoping you can help out.

I’ve been in a relationship with my partner for almost a year. I do care about her a lot, and I want this relationship to work, but…in moments when I’m being honest with myself, I notice problems. Things have been up and down for a while, we’ve been on and off for the last few months. Every time we break up, I just want to get back together with her, but every time we get back together things are only good again for a few weeks before I start to remember why we broke up before. I feel a lot of pressure to make it work. I really don’t feel like I have my shit together enough for other people to be in a relationship with me, and I’ve already invested almost a year in this, you know?

I have a friend that I’ve been hanging out with a lot recently, and I feel like maybe there are sparks there. When things happen and my relationship with my partner kind of sucks, she has been there to listen and give me advice. I don’t know what to do…maybe there is potential with her for things to be really good, but I feel so overwhelmed by what’s going on with my partner that I can’t even think about it. I don’t want to hurt her, I don’t want to hurt my partner, and I am tired of getting hurt. I want to go to a therapist but I already feel crazy, so I don’t think it’s going to really help.

What can I do? Sorry to be the debbie downer of your blog. ):

Heartbreak Hotel

dear heartbreak,

it sounds like you have two separate problems here. first, you need to deal with your current relationship. second, you need to figure out what feelings you may or may not have for your friend, and what you want to do about them.

as for your first issue, your current relationship, I think you know what you need to do. you are at a point in your relationship where it is high time to do some stock-taking. what is it about this relationship that is worth all of the pressure and stress of going back and forth? know that you can love and care about someone but not be able to have a successful relationship with them. I will refer here to the masters of all thing love: singers of rock ballads in the nineties. in the words of Don Henley and Patty Smythe:

I don’t want to lose you
I don’t want to use you
just to have somebody by my side…
…but baby sometimes love just ain’t enough.”

ask yourself, do you see yourself with this person long-term? does she light up your heart? does she support and inspire you? because it sounds like you’ve been with her long enough at this point to know what she is really like and to have a feel for what it is like to be with her. if it isn’t what you need, it is going to be best for both of you to end things before they go on much longer. you both deserve someone who is totally supportive and right for them. do yourself a favor and end things before you hurt yourself or your partner any further.

as for your other issue, your (potential) feelings for your friend. what it sounds like to me, not knowing the whole situation, is that you are feeling like you aren’t worth having a relationship that might work. that might be part of why you have stayed with a partner that you have continual problems with, and why you are so hesitant to pursue something with someone who sounds like she has your best interests in mind and really wants you to be happy. you mention that you feel like you don’t have things together to be with anyone other than your current partner, and that you’ve considered therapy. maybe it would be worth taking some time alone and trying to figure out what it is you really want in love. if what you really want might be taking a chance with your friend, give it a try. if she is a good friend, you can take things slow and see where they go. start by asking her to spend some more time together. watch a movie together (always a good bet for making a move) and try snuggling up, or holding her hand.

in both of these situations, it sounds like you know what you need to do and want to do. that’s the easy part. the hard part comes now: having the courage to go for what you need. love is all we get in life. go for it. always, always go for it.

I leave you with this:

“Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it…It really is worth fighting for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk everything, you risk even more.” – Erica Jong

good luck out there.