A reader asks: I have been dating a girl for the last two years. I am 26-years old and the girl is 21. Our parents know about us and have met each other and have spoken about our marriage. I am her first guy she ever had and were happy. She always told her friends that I am a very cool and chill guy as I never had any problems with her friend circle in university.
In February 2011, she got involved in a new group within the university that involved guys from the group. My girl friend never had male friends until February 2011. She asked me to meet them, I refused saying that 'they are your college friends so what will I do by meeting them... You have fun etc'.
One day during the same year, my girl friend told me that a guy proposed to her knowing the fact that she is planning to marry me. My girl friend told me about it and I didn't appreciate this fact because 'why would a guy propose to a girl when he knows that she is serious with her boy friend.'
I asked her to maintain a distance from this guy. Later, I started to get possessive and as months passed by we started to fight, which gradually grew to bigger and frequent.
After one-and-a-half month when the fights reached their peak, she tells me that the whole 'proposal thing' was a prank played on me. She says she never told me this because I would get angry. When I asked why was the prank played she answered that it was to see how possessive I was.
She admits that was a childish behavior on her part, but by the time I was already in this possessive mode. Then, I told her that I would like to meet her male friends to see how they mingle with her and would like to know the people she hangs out with. I demanded this so that I get rid of the insecure feeling and the possessiveness that I had towards her. However, she never introduced me to them.
Later, we started to fight over time issues. I am a working person but I have enough time to for her. She, on the other, has considered friends as a priority over me and started to give me less time; I used to react to this and we used to fight. She broke up once, but came back the same day after I convinced her and a month later we again had a fight and she broke up with me.
Now, it's almost a month she hasn't called me and it's me who is calling her on a daily basis. She says she has no feelings left for me. She says she can't fake the feelings towards me, for neither she nor me would be happy.
I told her this time that I have learned from my mistakes and now everything is fine from my end as the guys who I doubted are the ones trying to patch us up. She is just stuck to her decision and says we don't have a future and she doesn't want to spend her future with me. She even told her mom about the issues we have had lately and her mom told her that she is mature enough to decide what's right for her.
I don't know what to do. She even deleted me from Facebook and BBM and she also removed the ring I had given her two years back. All I want to know is: how can her love for me die down in a day?
How can she say she doesn't feel the same for me anymore? She has this mindset that I don't trust her and if this is how I am before marriage, how would her life be after marriage. I really love this girl. Her mom loves me a lot too. I'm trying to get her back and all she says is she doesn't want to stay in touch and asked me to move on and take care of my health.
I can't even think of another girl. What do I do? I love this girl and I am so messed up.
Dr Tara Wyne (Clinical Psychologist, Clinical Director at The Lighthouse Arabia, a community psychology clinic in Dubai) replies: Your question seems to be asking how you can accept the end of a relationship when you didn't want it to end and are still full of feeling for this girl.
The end of a relationship can be a very traumatic experience, particularly if you had envisaged that this relationship would lead to marriage. In a long-term relationship we build many hopes and dreams around our partner and invest a great deal of ourselves and our emotional energy in that person. You feel a greater sense of loss when such a relationship ends because you are not just losing a partner, but a future and a joint identity that you had built around the relationship.
It sounds like you and your girlfriend had a good connection and attachment to begin with. Clearly there was enough strength of feeling for both of you to think about marriage, make introductions to each others family and have a intimate relationship. However, it appears that things began to change as your girlfriend's social network begun to grow and it seems that there were early signs that she may not be as committed as you to the relationship. The so called prank that involved her telling you someone else was interested in marrying her sounds more like her testing your reaction and possibly a guilty conscience trying to confess she was perhaps in another relationship. You reacted as one would expect when you are in a committed relationship, you created boundaries and demanded that she alter her interactions with males to safeguard your relationship. It appears that she struggled with these boundaries and with you asking her to respect your rights as her partner.
I see that your girlfriend was 5 years younger than you. It strikes me that it is the difference in life stages which is relevant here. Being 21 she was clearly only just beginning her adult life. Being at college brings more independence, exposure to new people and experiences. The commitment she made to you was prior to all these new experiences and relationships. She may not have had the maturity and awareness to know whether her feelings for you were real enough to commit for life.
You clearly seemed to continue fighting for the relationship, but it seems your girlfriend was becoming increasingly distant and eventually her priorities changed favouring her friends and freedom over a committed relationship. It is obviously incredibly difficult to accept when the person you love has changed, but it is very important for you to examine that there were several signs that she was become more distant and disconnected from you ever since she developed her own friendships.
Being with somebody for two years, considering marriage and fighting to save your relationship are difficult things to walk away from. But the bottom line is that you had become insecure and distrustful of your girlfriend, and you were not able to bridge the gap between you.
When two people really want to rescue, or repair their relationship, they work on their friendship, work together to build their relationship back up and most importantly try to understand what led to their breakdown so that they can avoid this and be stronger in future. Your girlfriend has clearly shut down on you and severed all communication between you. She seems determined to move on and throughout the months of fighting and arguing has perhaps been gradually detaching from you.
As your girlfriend ended your relationship and didn't consult you, you are suddenly left alone with many feelings and still being attached. It's important to slowly review the whole relationship as objectively as you can, take a real look at the patterns, changes and messages from your girlfriend. You need to be realistic about how long a relationship could last without any real compatibility. If you can do this you may realise that while you may still want her, it came to an end for many real reasons.
When you are trying to make sense of the end of a relationship and your partner won't speak with you, try writing a letter to her with everything you are feeling. It will release some pain, some anger, some frustration and maybe lessen the pressure on you. This letter is for you. You don't need to send it.
Ultimately, you have to create some boundaries for your own behaviour. Stop reaching out to her, look at her and the relationship realistically. Talk about it with friends and family, process it, mourn and grieve it so that you can let it go. Even if you don't want to, when you are given no choice by your girlfriend, you have to learn how to be self protective.
Write with your concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org and selected questions will be answered by a panel of qualified psychiatrists and psychologists. Your contributions will be modified for length and appropriateness, and will be open to other Gulf News readers to comment and suggest solutions. Let us know if you would like GulfNews.com to withhold your name from your letter should it be published.
Disclaimer: This blog is a conversation and is not an alternative for treatment. The recommendations and suggestions offered by our panel of psychiatrists are their own and Gulf News will not take any responsibility for the advice they provide.