Hi Dr. Greenberg,
My name is _____, I’m a junior in high school. I don’t know if you normally answer questions (and I fully understand if you don’t) but I was reading a lot of your other work and really loved your insight to teenage problems. Anyways,I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost two years now. He’s a grade below me, so obviously the idea of whether or not I break up with him before college comes at hand… (But that’s not why I'm writing.) Lately, and I don’t know if this is typical with high school relationships, I’ve just been questioning if we should still be together. The thing is I definitely still have feelings, but for the way we were before, and not so much the way things have been. It’s almost as if we’re ”too used to us” and he’s almost taking it for granted. I feel I’m the only one who really is pushing for us to be together, but I don’t know if I’m doing it because I really want it, or because it's what I’ve become used to. The thing about it is I’m very Christian, and he is too. So it wouldn’t be so easy to find another guy like him. But another thing is he’s a very talented athlete, and it sometimes seems that’s all he ever focuses on, and I’m worried I’m just in his way. It almost makes me feel bad about myself.
Also, this year I've struggled with depression and generalized anxiety disorder(and sadly developed an eating disorder, that of which my parents do not know of.) I was going to a psychologist for a while but we no longer could afford it. Because of this I’ve lost many friends, and don’t have many people to talk to. Obviously my dark (sometimes suicidal) thoughts brought a toll on to my boyfriend and I. Something I found is one minute I'll have these thoughts towards him about needing to break up, or our views aren’t the same, or it’s not working etc. but the next, I’m so happy and can’t see why I thought that. I don’t know if that had anything to do with the mental issues I’ve been having, but it’s what’s been making me frustrated.
I know I just said a lot, and I don’t even know if you’ll read this. It sometimes just feels nice to get things out.
I’m just worried I’m gonna lose the guy who I thought was my best friend and really loved. I don’t wanna make a decision ill regret, you know?
A Teenage Girl
Dear Teenage Girl,
You are very brave and very articulate. I admire you for so many reasons. You are not only facing your issues but you are seeking help for them. Good for you!
I must tell you that relationships between males and females are among the most difficult things to manage. They can be wonderful sources of joy as well which is why we continually pursue them. The one thing that may be harder than maintaining and sustaining a good relationship is making a decision about a break-up. You see you have invested a lot of your time and feelings in the relationship
I can't tell you whether or not to break up with this young man but I can make suggestions. First, I suggest that you find a way to get back into therapy for the depression, anxiety and eating disorder. Please tell your parents about the eating disorder. I am sure that there are clinics in your area that allow you to pay what you can afford. It is possible that your conflicted feelings about the relationship are contributing to the overwhelming set of feelings that you are experiencing.
I feel so badly that you are experiencing so many ups and downs in your emotional life and have no one to talk to. I understand that your boyfriend may also feel ill-equipped to deal with the issues that you are struggling with. Perhaps it is too difficult to deal with boyfriend issues while you are trying to sort out other issues.
Perhaps you can consider waiting until you feel better before making a decision about the relationship. When you are feeling better you will be able to make a decision about the relationship from a position of strength. Please get back into therapy and then let me know what happens.
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