Q&A: My Live-in Boyfriend Goes Out with Another Girl (Part 2)

[This is a response to a Q&A query. Please read the original question here.]

Sarah, are you or are you not Jake’s girlfriend as of today?

The main issue here is that none of you have a clear answer to that question at the moment. You’re both confused.

Jake breaks up with you. He stops having sex with you to impress this point upon you. And then he has dreams about you cheating on him and drinking again. If he’s truly let go of you, why does he care? If he’s truly let go of you, why does he need to tell you that Sally is only a friend and not a date?

On the other hand you sometimes feel it’s over. You feel you’re living with him just because you have nowhere else to do. Then again you feel helpless about not being able to make him believe that you’d never drink again. And you feel uncontrollable pangs of jealousy for his new “friend” Sally. Why Sarah?

Live in boyfriend cheatingPhoto by romaaaaaa

This brings me to the question of the mysterious circumstances of the “break-up” itself. Your boyfriend of three years broke up with you because you went out and got drunk one evening. One evening in three whole years. Really? I’m sorry Sarah, but let me tell you – that wasn’t the reason Jake tried to end this relationship, it was the trigger. Things have been there on Jake’s mind for a long time, nudging him, pushing him to reconsider your relationship with him. I suspect there isn’t one but several reasons he’s been feeling this way. The incident of your night out in the town was just the trigger which excited him into taking action.

It’s these real issues which you need to find out Sarah.

What are these issues?

Why didn’t he discuss these with you?

Can you do anything to allay his worries about whatever the issues are?

Do you want to?

These are questions the answers to which both of you will have to work out together. Have an open discussion with Jake. Ask him directly about what is it that’s bothering him. And most importantly – emphasize that you want to make this relationship work and you’re ready to put in all necessary efforts for it. At this point there’s a significant communication gap between the two of you which needs to be bridged if this relationship has to move any further.

The second issue is that of your total emotional dependence on Jake. Yes Sarah. You’re overly emotionally dependent on him. His approval means the world to you. Him going out with another girl – who he doesn’t even call a date – makes you completely out of control. You’re still extremely guilty about the drinking incident. And you feel desperate because you have nowhere else to go.

That’s not the way any healthy relationship can work, Sarah. Every relationship requires some space. Emotional intimacy is great. But too much emotional dependence on your partner makes them feel suffocated. It makes you completely out of control. And so it gives your partner two reasons to start feeling a bit wary about you.

Hence you need to find yourself. You need to find your strength. That’s your Priority #1 in life at this point. And for that you need to be self-sufficient. Yes, it’s a long-term goal, it can’t be achieved tomorrow. But what stops you from spending every waking hour in pursuit of that goal? Focus on your job search. Put that as the #1 item on your daily to-do list, because it is. No matter whether this relationship survives or not. Jake is right – even if it does survive, some level of material independence on your part will take certain pressures off both of you (e.g. guilt on your part for feeling like using him, consequent lack of trust on his).

Also, as a direct consequence of your excessive emotional dependence your boyfriend, you’re letting him take you for granted. At the moment you’ve put him at the centre of your life. That’s not where he belongs, Sarah. There’s one, and only person who belongs there – you. If you’ve been regular around here you’d know that your partner is a very important part of your life, but not your life itself. One more important principle that’s relevant to you is – you can’t change others, you can only change your own response to them.

Sally, for example. You’re letting her affect you so much more than you should, Sarah. You’re way too worked up about her role in Jake’s life. The only message that this conveys to Jake is, “I’m desperate and unable to function without you.” Jake may not be conscious of it, but this message signals to his brain that you’re “safe”, that you can be taken for granted. Which makes his brain think it’s OK to not reply to your message while he’s out with Sally at 1 in the morning.

This is a never-ending vicious cycle Sarah. The only way – if at all – of making Jake take you more seriously is to let go. When he comes back tonight don’t even wake up. Tomorrow morning ask him pleasantly how his evening went. Never ask him about Sally. Never make angry comments about Sally. If she ever comes up in conversation, be warm and positive. You’ve told Jake you’d be “mad” at him for having a night out in the town with Sally. But ironically, your message to Jake would be a lot clearer if you don’t get mad, than if you do. If you’re all cool about the whole Sally thing, Jake will slowly realize you probably need him less than you once did. Trust me – if Jake still loves you, that can be just the wake-up call he’s needed for so long.

All the best Sarah. At Love in India we’re all there by your side. :)

2 thoughts on “Q&A: My Live-in Boyfriend Goes Out with Another Girl (Part 2)”

  1. Nice post. I dont agree that Sarah’s act of betrayal was a trigger , and not in fact a reason.

    May be …
    Jake was also emotionally dependent on Sarah. When she broke her word, in-order to save his own sanity , he chose to break all emotional and physical contacts with her. May be not a perfect way, but still a way to break his own emotional bonds with Sarah. By going out with Sally , he may be trying to prove himself that he does not need emotional bonding at all , or may be he is just showing off to Sarah that he does not need her – in turn proving himself only that he does not need emotional bonding with her . Or most probably both. Point being , Jake has realized that by keeping emotional bonds with some other person – he can get hurt easily . In order for his own survival, he feels- he has to either not make any emotional bonds – or make it with a girl who values it more.
    May be ends ….
    What do you think about the ‘may be’s Author ?

    Anyway, the post is about Sarah. I agree that “if Jake still loves her” your solution might work :) – though there is a simple caution (discussed in point 5 ).

    Tell Sarah, feeling guilty does not help anyone – but not feeling guilty should not mean that she starts defending her right to have that drink – and that breaking her word was un-necessarily being blown out of propotion.

    1. Accepting the fact that she did broke her word
    2. If she feel that she has hurt Jake, forgive herself first.
    3. If she loves Jake, keep on loving Jake without asking anything back
    4. If she does not love Jake, do what ever you want in that case , I dont care :P !!
    5. Figure out that life is bigger than a relationship with another human being. Figure out what she wants to do in life (apart from making this relationship work) , and work on keep doing that. Getting Jake back, has nothing to do with this point. If you do this, to get Jake back , then you have missed the point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>