My father died suddenly three weeks ago. He and I were very close and I could never have imagined what life would be like without him until I had no other choice. I’m 25 years old.
At the beginning, my boyfriend of almost a year was taking care of a lot for me. He was speaking with my boss, staying with me on the day I found out, and so on. However, my ex boyfriend has also been there for me. His mother died about two years ago and we got back together after I talked him through it. We had been together on and off for years before that. We were never officially a couple because he lives far away, and as a result, we never got to give things a fair shot. I ended things after some friends convinced me he wasn’t treating me well but he and I never talked through it.
His feelings haven’t faded since I ended things. As my ex and I have been talking more I feel the chemistry coming back. I’m not sure if it’s just because of the situation, but the chemistry is lessening with my current boyfriend. I felt this happening somewhat before all of this happened but now that my feelings for my ex are getting stronger I’m feeling even more conflicted.
I don’t know how to make an informed decision about this.
I hate the idea of hurting my boyfriend but I don’t know if I’m stringing him along, either.
Any advice would be much appreciated!
- Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
A person cannot make an informed decision about matters of the heart. You have to listen to your feelings, weigh which of the two boyfriends you feel closest to, think about which of the two you could have the best possible life with and make your decision. Making a decision based on the fear of hurting someone’s feelings makes no sense. Which ever of the two you decide you want to be with, the other will survive andget on with his life after the breakup. However, there are some things you must consider before you make your choice.
First, you are in mourning over the loss of your father. That is always a deeply felt crisis to live through. Grief is a profound experience and, therefore, it is best you put off all important decisions in your life until you have worked through or adjusted to this loss. Any decisions you make at this time will be colored by your feelings of loss. Therefore, you may regret what you decide at this time. You need a clear head and heart to make such an important decision.
Second, if you want to be with your ex boyfriend, it is important to think about the fact that all of the old problems you had when you were together will continue to be present. I assume he continues to live far away from you. Also, if he treated you badly before, it is most likely that he will repeat that again.
Third and related to grief, helping someone through a crisis is not a reason to be with or marry that individual. Again, the reason is that such a decision is based on emotions that have nothing to do with love, romance and quality of relationship.
Lastly, it’s important to talk over whatever problems you and your present boyfriend are having. If your feelings towards him have changed it’s important to know why. That includes the two of you discussing what might be going wrong or what unspoken complaints you may have with one another. Relationships are never easy and your change of heart may have more to do with unspoken dissatisfactions and angers than anything else.
In my opinion, it is best to wait until you feel better before making any peremanent decisions and to discuss things with your present boyfriend.
Best of Luck