I feel like we could have a really great relationship if he opened up

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
I really need some advice quickly. My boyfriend and I have been together almost five months and everything was going great. Early in the relationship he told me that he didn't know if he could fall in love again. He was still in love with his first love (from when he was fifteen - he's now 21) and didn't know how to get over that. But our relationship has been great. We are able to talk about anything and love being together. Lately he's been acting differently. He's seemed more distant and less affectionate. I'll look at him and he'll look back at me but have to look away after a second or two. When I asked him what was going on this weekend, he told me that he's always had a problem being able to take a relationship to the next level. He said that he cares about me and doesn't want us to break up, but he doesn't know if he'll be able to get closer, or fall in love. He said that in all of his relationships since, it seems that at between 3-6 months it'll get to a point where the girl wants to take the relationship to another step and he just isn't able to. With his last girlfriend, she said that she loved him but he said he didn't love her. But he felt bad for hurting her so he stayed with her for over a year and a half. When they finally broke up she was really hurt anyway. He said that she didn't deserve that and he doesn't want to do that again. I'm not in love with him yet but I can see myself falling in love with him in the future. He said that whatever happens happens and that he really wants to be able to take the relationship to the next level with me. But he doesn't know if he will be able to. He still has strong feelings for his first love (although he hasn't even talked to her in over 5 years) and thats getting in the way. I feel like he's scared about being hurt again, or just feeling like that for someone else. They didn't go out for long (about 3 months) but they didnt' break up because they wanted to (she moved) and when he saw her a few months later, they were still really close. I asked him if he wanted to get over those feelings and he said he deffinitely did, that he wanted us to be able to take our relationship to the next level. But then when I suggested that he maybe talk to someone, he said that he didn't want to be tricked into feeling, or not feeling, something that wasn't real. Is there anything that I can do to help? I really want to make this work, and give our relationship somewhat of a chance. This is really hurting me because I feel like we could have a really great relationship if he opened up. I'm feeling completely lost so any advice would deffinitely help! Thanks

RomanceClass.com Advice
I guess he should get points for being honest, but it is really sad that he can't let go of his first love. I know how hard it can be to get over a previous relationship, particularly one where one or both people don't want it to end. But carrying that torch for five years is a bit much. I think he's less in love with her and more in love with the idea of being in love with her, if you know what I mean. He can keep himself from being hurt again by never letting himself get close to someone. Unfortunately, he's also adept at keeping a dead relationship going, which only confuses the issue of whether he's really involved or not.

Convince him that seeing someone does not mean getting tricked into feeling a certain way. Their only purpose is to hold a mirror up so people can see themselves more clearly. They don't create emotions at all. They bring understanding to people.

You're going to have to decide what you're willing to take when it comes to a relationship with him. If he's serious about you and about wanting to get over his ex, then he should be willing to put in the work to do it. If he isn't ready to do that, then you'll either have to wait it out or find someone new.

Sorry I can't be more positive about it, but you are, as you know, in a very tough situation.

Good luck!

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com

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