“We were so happy and insanely in love”

They’ve been together since high school. But now, the stress of both college and her mom’s cancer has taken a toll on their relationship. Is it worth fighting for, or is it time to let go?

Carly says:

 I have been dating my boyfriend for over a year. We hit it off senior year in high school, and have now made it through our first semester of college. We were so happy and insanely in love.

Two days before I went to college, my mom was diagnosed with stage four cancer. This obstacle has been a burden on our relationship. Every argument we get into now makes me feel even more depressed on top of all the stress I am dealing with. I have lost the joy and same amount of giddiness I have had in the past.

We have been going through an extremely rough time recently, and our relationship is suffering. I’m not sure if all this is because of what I am having to deal with or if it is time to let go. I want to fix things and I know he loves me, but I don’t know if I should be investing all my focus into fixing our relationship. The last thing I want to do is end it, but I am so tired and stressed out. I’m not sure if I have the energy to mend this. I do not want to do anything impulsive.

Travis says:

 I love Carly with all my heart. Around our one-year, we started having a lot of problems. I deeply regret the way I acted at times and apologized over and over. I am committed to making a change in things, but I don’t know if she believes me.

I am a terrible plan-maker, and that makes Carly feel like less of a priority when I forget things. I say stupid things sometimes and always end up feeling terrible about it. I just hope I did not commit to making a change when it is already too late. I am afraid I already lost her. She is not in an emotional position to fix what is broken. I got so focused on college and finding a friend group that I lost the focus I had on our relationship.

I am trying to make a change, but we seem to always be at each other’s throats still. I think she has also lost sight of how happy she has been with me in the past, and I never want her to forget that.

One thought on ““We were so happy and insanely in love”

  1. Dennis Hong says:

    Thank you for reaching out, because this type of issue is exactly why I created LemonVibe. 🙂

    Anyway, what I immediately noticed after reading your two sides was that you’re focusing on separate (but related) issues:

    • Carly, you talk about how the stress from your mom’s health is affecting your relationship with Travis.
    • Travis, you talk about how you’re bad at making plans, forget things, and have said things you regret.

    What’s interesting is that neither of you addresses the issues the other person is bringing up. And that suggests to me that there might be some sort of breakdown in communication between the two of you.

    Now, the good news is that you both seem introspective, and you’re willing to accept responsibility for how you’re contributing to your relationship problems, rather than blaming everything on the other person. That’s always a good sign, because blame is often the harbinger of doom in a relationship.

    Then again, maybe both of you chose to address your role specifically in your write-up, rather than lobbing accusations at the other person. if that is the case, then that is an awesome sign that your relationship is good one. So keep at it then. 🙂

    Either way, I think it is important for each of you to be open about about how the other person’s issues affect you specifically:

    • Carly, perhaps Travis’s flakiness is hard for you, because you already have enough stress in your life, and it’s just too much to take on the cognitive load of being the planner/rememberer/fixer-of-everything for the two of you.
  2. Travis, perhaps Carly’s external stressors are (or were) pushing you away and making you not want to put any effort into maintaining the relationship.

  3. I can see how these issues can compound on each other and push the two of you into a vicious cycle of stress and resentment. So at this point, I think you each have to ask yourself two things:

    1) Do you want to put in the work to fix the relationship? Like, truly work at it, rather than just saying you do want the relationship to work out, but secretly hoping that it’ll magically fix itself.

    2) Do you trust that the other person is just as willing to put in the work to fix the relationship?

    Many breakdowns in communication between a couple boil down to this — one party is willing to fix things, and the other party is not. Or one party thinks the other party doesn’t care, so they give up, which causes the other party to care even less, and so on.

    To that end, I suggest that the two of you sit down and have a long talk. Without making direct accusations against the other person (i.e., do exactly what you did in your writeups), explain how you’re currently feeling about the relationship, how you think it can be improved, and what both of you believe you can do to contribute equally to improving it.

    Once you have this discussion, I think you’ll get a better idea as to whether or not the relationship is still worth salvaging. No one — certainly not strangers on the internet — can give you the answer to that question, because ultimately, that’s a decision the two of you have to make together.

    Hope that helps, and good luck!

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