He wants a “break”

I know I can’t depend on my fiancé for happiness – but I don’t know how to be happy. 

This moment will not last forever, says our elder. Talk to your fiancé and consider couples’ therapy.


Dear EWC

Hello. I don’t really know what to say. I just know I need help with my life. I’m engaged to the man who truly is the love of my life. But I’m not good for him. I’m not good for anyone. I have no friends and no one likes me. I realize the problem is with me. Maybe I’m not approachable or not nice enough. I have so much sadness inside me it’s so unbearable at this moment. My love wants a “break” from me. Because none of his friends like me and I complain a lot. I’m trying so hard to be good and nice and not complain and just be happy with life for once. But the only time I’m happy is with him – but now knowing I make him miserable with all this. I’m so broken. I’m crying just trying to type this out. 

I have no family, they abandoned me because I wanted to be with him. They kidnapped me and stole my car and forced religion on me. I had to sneak out and run away (at 19 years old) to get out and be free. I don’t want him to be the source of my happiness anymore. I need to make myself happy first so I can make him and everyone happy. I know being the source of my happiness is hard and I know he feels trapped because I have no one else and he means so much to me. That’s why I’m here. I need to fix myself. Not just for him but also me. I just don’t know how to be happy. Nothing makes me happy like he does. Nothing makes me smile like he does. I’m trying to reach but I don’t know what I’m reaching for. Please, please help me.


Greg replies

First let me say how terribly sorry I am to hear of your current difficulties. I hope I am able to offer some food for thought, a bit of comfort, and a few suggestions on where to go from here.

Let me start with a bit of a reality check: I am certain you are not the completely unfriendly and unlikeable person you describe in your email. All of us have complex personalities and all of us are unfriendly and unlikeable at some point in our lives. But we are also other things.

Please remember that our thoughts or opinions about ourselves are not facts, they are not reality; they simply are thoughts and opinions. In my experience, many people have a “tape” running in our heads telling them how bad a person is, how unworthy they are. Try listening to that tape, noting that it is there, and then put it aside. It’s not reality and it’s not who you are. You are much more complex than that. 

You make a very insightful observation in your letter: Other people or things cannot make us happy. Happiness needs to come from within. We need to be happy with ourselves before we can make others happy. At least that’s my experience in 64 years of life.

Here are a few questions. I don’t expect you to answer them for me, just to reflect on them and see where they take you.

  •       Have you shared your feelings with your loved one? Have you had a calm, honest conversation with him so he knows how you feel and how hard you want to change?
  •       I don’t know your fiancé or his friends. Is it possible that you are right to complain about them? Are they really good people whom you are unjustly complaining about, or are they jerks? I know you love this man, but can you step back and try to think about him objectively?
  •       What would it be like for you and your lover to sit down with a trained couple’s therapist? Can you imagine what you would say and do in a session like this?

I’m sure you are feeling overwhelmed just now. You have a right to those feelings. But I’d like to encourage you to realize that this moment will not last forever. You are a young woman with a long life ahead. There is lots of time for you to do the self-work that you, and that all of us, need to do over the course of a lifetime. Take a deep breath and exhale it slowly. Tell yourself that things will change for the better, even if it takes some time.

So, consider a conversation with your fiancé. Consider seeing a couples’ therapist. You may also consider seeing a therapist just for yourself to talk through some things. Try to live in the current moment. I know that may sound corny, but I really believe in it. The past is gone, the future is not yet here. Try to find joy and satisfaction in the very moment in which you live. Things will change. This will not last forever.

I hope this has been a little help. I wish you all the best.

Article #: 408877

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