Oh Dr. Love, If you could solve my problem, I’d sprout wings!It’s like this: There is this man (he is 27; I am 20) whom I have known for a few years now. As time went on, we became closer, coming to quite an intimate place. However, throughout the time we were physically involved, he was seeing a small number of other females.I knew about it all along (he was open with me about it), and said I didn’t mind. I suppose it must truly matter to me; but I felt a love so strong that I thought I could put up with anything just to be with him. I still feel this way, even though we haven’t been together in over 8 months.Throughout our ‘relationship’ (and all his other ‘relationships’), there was always this one woman (she is 29; older than he) whom he would continually go back to. He has told me that she is the one who he could be with and be happy with just her.However, they always fight (he said it’s about 50/50 with the fighting and the getting along). They are now living together. I see him a couple and it’s not that I don ‘t have other ‘love options’. I have tried dating many men since our ‘separation’, but it always end up that it’s him in my dreams.What can be done? Please advise, Dr. Love.
I wish I could solve your problem, like magic. That, unfortunately, isn’t possible. What I can do is help you understand what is going on inside you, and then, with that information, you can save yourself.If your boyfriend were dating one other woman, I’d say you are in a love triangle. But, since he is seeing so many other women, this is no simple triangle. What needs to be done is self-examination.You need to understand why you feel drawn to a man who will not devote himself exclusively to you. In fact, you knew he was involved with other women from the get go, and you were willing to accept his crumbs. What you need to find out is why.If you have been reading my columns for a while, you know that if a person finds him or herself locked in a pattern that can’t be broken, then he or she is dealing with unfinished business from childhood.Being locked in a pattern of behavior that we can’t seem to stop is called Repetition Compulsion. And the reason the unconscious mind backs us into sticking points is because it has a master plan: to recreate a trauma we experienced in childhood and then to work for a happy ending to that trauma.For you to figure out what trauma is being recreated for you, ask yourself, ‘How does my desire for an unavailable man relate to my history? Which of my parents wasn’t there for me? A variant of the last question is, ‘Which parent was so involved with other people or activities to the point that I felt deprived?’Next, ask yourself, ‘What type of happy ending did I seek when I was a child?’Did you want more attention? Did you want to feel like your parent’s number one girl?When you realize what you needed as a child, then you know what happy ending you seek now. Your happy ending will probably sound like, ‘My lover will give up all others and choose me.’Once you identify the happy ending you seek from your boyfriend, ask yourself if you have any chance of obtaining that from him. When you realize that the answer is no, then explain to yourself that the reason you feel you can’t let him go is because you are hooked on trying to get your happy ending from someone who resembles the parent who let you down.Tell yourself, that ‘ain’t’ gonna happen since your lover is damaged in exactly the same way that your parent is. Your lover is incapable of closeness. He can’t give. He can only suck from the various women he sees. Read also my Advice Archives under Unfinished Business and Repetition Compulsion.If you still feel stuck, then by all means work on this issue in therapy. A modern psychoanalyst is best trained to handle this type of problem.Let me know how you make out.