My boyfriend’s clingy ways are off the charts, and I need help

My boyfriend’s clingy ways are off the charts, and I need help

My boyfriend and I have been together 5 months. We met in college; I’m 19 and he’s 21. He has been super keen from the start (he told me he loved me 3 weeks in). Towards the end of Christmas break, my family was involved in a horrible accident that resulted in my mother’s death, and my father is still in the hospital. I took this semester off to heal and to take care of family and legal things. My boyfriend and I Skyped, texted and called regularly during the break, but since the accident contact seemed to quadruple.

He started bugging me about coming to visit me and he came two weeks after the accident. He was welcome, but seemed to concentrate only on when he’d see me next rather than on the present. The night before he left, he cried and told me he could see himself with me for a long time and that he had a dream where we were married and grew old together (which kind of creeped me out. Four months in?) He sent me a ‘I already miss you’ text 10 minutes after leaving.

Things have gotten more intense since. He has been pushy about me visiting him and gave me hell about visiting friends who lived closer to me than he does. He texts me every few hours telling me he loves and misses me and acts depressed when I can’t talk to him. He makes out that he’s the victim and I’m the bad guy because I can’t go see him, even though he knows that everything that’s happened in the past month has restricted how far I can travel at the moment.

It’s starting to annoy me and I really just want to end things but I’m afraid he’ll get depressed and do something (he has a history of depression). Plus, his friends are my friends and I don’t want things to be awkward between everyone but when I tell him I love him back, it’s forced. Please help me get control of this situation. Suzanna

I am so sorry to hear about your mother. And your dad. I hope he is on the mend, and that you have other family around you and friends who can support you while you get through this. Because that’s all you need right now. Support, love, caring, time to process your grief and loss and deal with the legal and family issues in your plate.

Your boyfriend has issues of his own. You suspected it when he dropped the L bomb way before you were ready for it. Four months later, when you’re dealing with an unexpected tragedy, he’s proved he just hasn’t got the maturity to man up and be there for you. Reading your letter in full (I had to edit it somewhat, sorry) I can’t help thinking his behaviour actually borders on emotional abuse and harassment. And, while I understand your concern, his reaction to you breaking it off is not your responsibility and you shouldn’t feel guilt-tripped into keeping a relationship going when you’re not feeling it.

That said, it’s never easy ending things. It’s awkward and awful to hurt someone. So if you decide to break it off, be nice but firm. Something along the lines of: ‘I am in the midst of a tough time at the moment and the past month has made me realise that I don’t have the energy or headspace to be in a relationship right now. I’m also not sure we’re a good fit as a couple. I know this may be really upsetting and it is for me too, as I don’t wish to hurt you. I am sorry for that, but I have to do what’s right for me at this point, which is to concentrate on my family.’ If you feel it’s necessary, enlist a mutual friend to keep an eye on him and support him, and remind him about counsellor services at your university.

Wishing your dad a speedy recovery, Suzanna, and you and your family all the best navigating through this sad time.

Love, reality chick

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).

1 Comment

  1. Pat Riarchy 6 years ago

    man up

    Would you please give me a definition of this?

    How or even why would you say such a thing when we are all equal. You females have referred to men in the most vile and disgusting ways for 50 years for not treating you equally. Ignoring gender. Now you seem to say that men should have identifiable stereotypical characteristics or he is a female or otherwise not worthy. Under feminist definition (i.e. female definition), doesn’t that make you a Female Chauvinist Pig for refusing to treat genders equally?

    Would that also make you a Liar and Hypocrite when you scream for equality yet refuse to accept it?

    You reckon we men are confused. I’m one of them. Would it be safe to say that it is simply too dangerous to believe anything a female says?

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