Dear Dr. Love,I hope you can be of some assistance to me as I am at the end of my ( emotional) rope.My Fiance and I recently broke up after 6 years, and the only explanation given was that she’Fell out of love’. Here is a little background so you may asses the situation:Although she says she fell out of love, she also confesses that she has never been treated so well or been as respected by anyone else in her life. Not only were we lovers, we are also each others’ best friends, and enjoy so many of the same interests…from humor and politics to Religious beliefs and recreation. Never has physical/emotional abuse entered into the picture, nor has drug/alcohol use/abuse.For me, the happiness I gained through our relationship was not from my needs, but rather by meeting her needs and doing things that made her happy and put a smile on her face. My happiness came from her being happy ( sounds strange, but I feel gifts from the heart are better than all the material wonders in the world) There are also very few’niceties’ that she has had to do without…from trips to art, etc. She is the only person on this earth that I would not hesitate to give my life for.Although we are not the worlds first’perfect’ couple, we do have a much stronger foundation than many people we know, a fact that we both acknowledge and are thankful for. And although she says she doesn’t love me, her and I still enjoying doing things together…dinner, outings, talking, etc… However, she dropped the’bombshell’ as it were, only after I asked her to pick a marriage date and place.Now, I don’t know if this is critical or not, but her Father had been gravely ill for the past year, and passed away at the beginning of the year. He was a very verbally abusive person to both her Mother, and her. Before he got sick, she had enough of him (her Father) and put up a wall of hate towards him, acting as if she didn’t care about him (although she did love him because he is her Father, she didn’t like him as a person).My concern is thus: 1~ Has her feelings of anger at her Father somehow been transcended toward me (or our relationship) 2~ How do I help her so we may help ourselves?She admits that she is also confused as to why she is feeling (or not feeling) love towards me, but she doesn’t know how to fix the problem as she doesn’t know how the feeling(s) went away. She insists the problem is hers, and I insist that although this may be true, any problem that affects a couple is best resolved by the couple and/or counseling.Any insight or help would be greatly appreciated as I do not like the living hell we are presently stuck in.Sad and hurtin’
I totally see why you are suffering. I think that your girlfriend’s confusion is directly related to the death of her father. As you said, as much as she hated him, he was her father.When a parent dies, it is common for the unconscious mind to wish to bring that parent back to life. Sometimes we bring that person back to life by assuming their traits. For example, a man may become stubborn like his father, only after his father dies.Another way to bring that person back to life is to find a substitute for that person. In other words, we may try to find a lover who resembles the person that we lost. For example, a married woman may leave her sociable husband and begin an affair with a loner who resembles the parent that died.The reason why we want to bring the dead parent back to life is due to the great urge in all of us to heal our old wounds of childhood. See my Advice Archives articles on Unfinished Business and Repetition Compulsion.As I have explained numerous times, we are all drawn to lovers who resemble the parents that let us down. The unconscious hope is that if we can obtain from our lovers the treatment that we always yearned for from the parents that disappointed us, then we will finally heal. Unfortunately, this recreation rarely works since the lovers we choose are usually damaged in the same way that our parents are, hence they are unable to provide the better treatment, or the ‘happy ending’ that I speak about.So, in your girlfriend’s case, it sounds like she doesn’t know how to deal with you any longer. You don’t abuse her as her father did, and now that he’s gone it sounds like she may be cruising for a replacement for the old man.You don’t qualify as a replacement, since you don’t abuse her. You might try a little humor. Ask her if she would like you better if you dumped on her like dad did?At this point, all you can do is talk with her. Make the observation that since dad died she seems discontent with you. Ask her if she can come up with the connection between losing dad and falling out of love with you.If she is open, you can explain to her what I told you above. It might also be a good time for her to do some counseling. Above all, encourage her not to take action now. Her decision to break off with you would be clouded by her grieving.She should be able to work this through. Please keep me posted.