Dear Dr. Love:I have been living with my boyfriend for the past 4 years and we now have a son together, the problem is over the past two years our love life has diminished to NOTHING. I still love him very much and I would never cheat on him but I feel so lonely. We don’t even talk any more. I want to try to work things out but I don’t know where to start, I don’t really know how to talk to him anymore. Any advice?Lost for Love, in S. C.
In the spirit of Christmas, I am going to name you my ‘Relationship Scrooge’ for you are the man who says, ‘Bah Humbug’ to relationships.Remember what happened to Scrooge by the end of the novel. He had a turnaround!Why do I liken you to Scrooge? Because I can see that you aren’t 100% sure that you don’t want a relationship. I know that you consciously think you don’t, but if you were completely unconflicted about this decision, you wouldn’t have written to me asking for advice on how to stay away from women. If you were completely decided to be a loner, you’d simply stay away from women and that would be that.My point is, when you ask for ideas on how to stay alone, you are actually telling me that you are fighting against a strong impulse not to be alone. If there were no force inside yourself pulling you to other people, there would be no struggle, hence no need for advice on how to stay single.So, as I see your issue, you are in conflict regarding whether or not to give up on love. I encourage you to resolve this conflict. Once you do, then if being alone is right for you, it will come naturally without prompting from an outsider.As part of resolving your conflict, I think that you need to face an important fact: Your wish to be alone is caused by a feeling of defeat due to two failed relationships, and a sense that you are destined to be hurt by love.So, you are basically backing off to insure that you never get hurt again. The fact that you are sure that you would be damaged if you ever allowed another person in close is right on target. You would be damaged, not because you are cursed, but because your unconscious mind chooses betraying women.On some level you know that you cannot count on your unconscious to make a better choice next time around. Why? If you read my Advice Archives, you will see that all humans unconsciously recreate the traumatic relationships of childhood, hoping for what I call a Happy Ending to the original trauma. If you felt betrayed by someone as a child, then your mind will draw you to a betraying partner. The unconscious hope being that this time around your love and devotion will make the betrayer become faithful and true. And, when this happens, the original wound will feel healed. But, this doesn’t ever work out because once a betrayer, always a betrayer. The leopard can’t change its spots.And, this explains why you want to avoid relationships in the future. Your unconscious knows the futility of this struggle, and so it has chosen to give up on love, to head for the hills and retreat in order to save yourself. But, isn’t there another answer? To work through your original trauma and break free of the compulsion to recreate the past?Then, you won’t keep being drawn to betrayers. So, as I see it you can escape the issue and struggle to stay alone forever, or you can face your Old Scar head on and heal it. If you choose the second option, you won’t need to fight to stay alone for the rest of your life. You will heal your scar, which will free you to choose someone who doesn’t resemble the parent who hurt you; then you will finally find the love you have always craved.So your choice becomes, spend your energy running from unhealthy love or devote your energy to healing your wound so that you can find healthy love.I hope you face the issue head on. If you’re ready, my book Till Death Do Us Part will show you how to heal.