Teen Talk: Temporary 'break' in relationship leads to hurt feelings

11/20/2012 12:00 AM

11/19/2012 4:31 PM

DEAR KELLY: Please help. I'm 17 and I went out with a guy for a little over one year and then we decided to take "a break" (his idea), which lasted about three weeks.

During that time we both kind of did our own thing and really didn't even talk. I went to my best friend's house and a bunch of us got drunk and yes, I hooked up with my best friend's brother. When my boyfriend and I started talking, I told him from the beginning what happened. Even though he was mad and it made him sick, he said he wanted to get back together.

Fast forward to now and he still can't seem to get over it. He hates it when I hang out with that friend and texts me, like, hundreds of times when I'm with her asking if her brother is around, if I saw him, if we are drinking, etc.

At first I understood but now it upsets me, and I stopped responding to all his crazy texts. When I don't respond he starts calling me and won't stop until I answer. Then we get into a huge fight and he calls me a cheater, then he apologizes for being so crazy and says he wishes we had never had the breakup in the first place.

I know I was wrong for hooking up, but we weren't together. I didn't even know if we would ever get back together. My boyfriend says he's not mad because he knows he should have never broken up with me, but he says he can't get the image of me with my friend's brother out of his mind. I think he's obsessed about it. I don't know what to do.

I used to be patient but now I just think that maybe we can't get past this. Is it possible? Should we just break up and be done? I'm tired of feeling watched and like I can't hang with my BFF. She and I have been friends since fifth grade, so I'm not willing to stop hanging out with her just because he can't handle it.

Should I have to choose?

– MC

DEAR MC: Your boyfriend sounds like he is struggling with many insecurities over what happened. Even though he wants to be over what happened, it doesn't seem like he is. He no longer trusts you, which is why he does the extreme texts and phone calls. Without trust, or the ability to rebuild it, your relationship will continue to struggle and the crazy-making behaviors will only get worse.

You didn't cheat. You were not in a relationship at the time. But this is not about you cheating or not cheating; it's about your boyfriend's ability to accept that you were with another guy and his fear that it will happen again.

My guess is that your boyfriend isn't really mad at you, he's more mad at himself for calling for the "break." He blames himself and takes the frustration out on you. He seems to have a hard time letting go of what happened and moving forward.

What part do you play in this? I'm not convinced you really want to be in a relationship with him right now, and there is nothing wrong with that at 17 years old. You shouldn't have to pick between your best friend and your boyfriend.

But if you really wanted to make him feel better and find a balance between the two, it seems you would be making more of an effort than you are. You could offer to have your friend come to your house instead of going to hers, if that would make him feel better.

If you aren't sure you want to continue, step out of the relationship without blaming him or making it all his fault.

You both contributed to why it isn't working and it may be time to move on.

Please learn an important lesson from all of this – alcohol played a big role in your choice that night and it can get you into more risky or dangerous situations if you continue to choose to drink. Think hard about how you act when you drink alcohol and ask yourself whether it will continue to get you into trouble if you continue to partake the way you did that night.

Sometimes when we take a "break" we see things from the other side and realize that being single is fun and liberating. At your age, being single is a great thing. Be honest with your boyfriend. Let him know that right now the drama of what has happened feels like it is bogging you both down and you are tired of no longer having trust in your relationship. Don't blame him – it's not about who was wrong or who did this. It's about walking away before things get ugly and you both get more hurt than you already have been.

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