Dear Dr. Love, I’m a 20-year old girl, who has been dating for almost a year now. My boyfriend is incredibly sweet and nice, he always listens to me, and tries to understand my problems. He’s quite an attractive guy, and a very intelligent person too. He’s actually a 100%-okay guy.Still, there is something about the relationship that bugs me, and I just can’t figure out what it is. It just feels like I don’t like him, as if I’m not in love with him. Which I don’t understand, I mean he’s always there for me, he loves me dearly, and he would never hurt me.I’m trying to blame myself, for I have been depressed for more than over half a year. Maybe I just don’t feel like having a relationship, because at the moment I feel like I have too much on my mind. Or maybe I should just accept that he’s not the one for me, that I’m just not in love with him.I just don’t understand, I hate myself for it, am I just a spoiled brat? Is this relationship not enough, do I want more, what’s the problem with me? Can a depression cause a person not to like his or her girl/boyfriend anymore?Sometimes I just think that the relationship with my boyfriend has caused me to feel depressed, because I just can’t stop worrying.Could you please give me some advice, because it’s really killing me, it’s really getting me mentally exhausted. Thanks, Maria
Many women have complained to me that they find it hard to love a nice man. When a woman feels this way it’s usually because she is carrying some baggage from childhood, which explains why she is drawn to a person who mistreats her, instead of a nice guy.Whenever we are drawn to a partner who mistreats us, it’s because we want to replay a wound from childhood in order to obtain a resolution. For example, a woman whose father never paid any attention to her always chooses unavailable men, hoping that she can transform the unavailable lover into an attentive, loving partner. If she can pull this off, it will feel like she healed the wound with her father. (See my Advice Archives under repetition compulsion).This explains why a nice man would not be appealing for this type of woman, since he wouldn’t play out the old wound with her. Does this fit for you?If this doesn’t fit, then, we need to consider that your depression is clouding your feelings for this guy. Remember that loss of interest is a symptom of depression. I must point out that you attack yourself, and call yourself mean names (spoiled brat).Know that anger directed at the self is the main cause of depression. So, you need to work on understanding why you are hammering yourself. The fact that you misdirect your anger makes me wonder if you were mistreated as a child.Perhaps someone spoke cruelly to you, and you learned to verbally assault yourself. Also know that children who are mentally or physically abused build-up a lot of anger, which they swallow and turn back on themselves. This is because it is too dangerous to direct anger at an abusive parent–the child would risk more abuse.Misdirecting anger in order to protect the self from further attack soon becomes a lifelong pattern. My point is that the unhealthy way that you handle your anger makes me suspect childhood abuse.And, if that is so, then you would be drawn to a lover who would mistreat you, not a nice guy. And, so we come full-circle, back to my first theory, that you don’t want a nice guy because you are trying to heal a wound that you suffered during childhood.I hope that I have given you enough clues to help you work this out.