Q: Jody, my boyfriend, “John,” and I are both basically writing to you to settle a problem we are having. We would like your help in solving our issue. So, as I write this, you can know that this is not just from my side. It is from John’s side as well.
John and I have been going together, this last time, for about six months. I say “this last time” because we went together about a year and a half ago and broke up after six months. John has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which makes him jump from one thing to another and makes it hard for him focus on things he needs to be dealing with. I finally decided that I couldn’t deal with things and broke up with him. But then he asked me out again. I was very hesitant to have him back in my life, but I have always been very attracted to him and think he has many good qualities, as well as the issues that pulled us apart. We also share many interests and enjoy each other’s company. So, I finally decided to give it a try again.
Up until two weeks ago, things have been going very well for us. In fact, so good that we have been talking about having a commitment ceremony in a year or so, if things keep going like they have been. We love each other very much. After we broke up, John went into therapy and feels like he has settled many of his issues; also he is now on medication for his ADHD.
Now, to the problem: John wants to go to New Zealand for two months. He has a job where he can take this time off to do this. He has always wanted to go there and he has a friend who is there right now. So, he feels that this is a good time to go. His friend will be leaving New Zealand in January, so he wants to go now. His friend is female, she’s a friend he’s had for many years.
I don’t like the idea of his going at this time. I feel like this is a crucial time in our relationship. We’re talking about commitment and seeing if our relationship is going to work But, anyway, I’m willing to let him go for six weeks, but he is insisting on two months. The reason for two months is that he says that he has a list of things he wants to do and see there – he and his friend have been talking and planning this trip for over a year, before we got back together – and it will take at least two months.
We are now getting into fights about every little thing. Several nights ago, we both just couldn’t stand it when we were out to dinner. We decided that the best thing we could do was to be apart from each other, so we called it an evening. The good thing was that in the past, John would have run off and been gone for two weeks. This time, he called me the next day.
I feel like if he loves me and wants our relationship to work this time, he will honor my need to have him here. He believes that if I love him, I will let him have the two months to do what he wants to do. So, that’s where we are. We don’t want this to break us up, but we are worried that it could since we are both pretty firm about our positions.
To Let Go, or Not
A: Are you telling me that this relationship is at risk because of two weeks? You didn’t mention how old you both are, but I’m assuming that you are not in you’re 80s or 90s and in poor health, where “time–two week” might be a big issue. This so doesn’t make sense, at least not on the surface. Therefore, I have to believe that the “two weeks” is not the real issue. Strikes me that it is more like control issues, and “if you love me you would…”-type issues. And, these issues will surely kill your relationship, if not now, at some time in the future. I recommend you both get into couples counseling together to get to the real issues.