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Relationship Health Message Board

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My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 months. I'm 28 and he is 33. We've had a really fantastic relationship and we fell for each other pretty quickly. We've met the families and friends, taken vacations together, gone to family weddings and work functions together, and have had a really incredible bond, an attraction and connection neither of us have felt before. He told me he loved me first and we say it to each other often. He is incredibly passionate and treats me like gold. He is affectionate, thoughtful and romantic. We mesh so well together, we have a great time together and we've never argued. We've talked about the future, together, and it is scary, but comforting and exciting at the same time. He emails me with reasons why he loves me, he writes poems to me about how he feels. I have been totally swept away.

Last week, I noticed he had become a little distant. He has been under a lot of stress and pressure at work for a couple of weeks. I know that everyone has times when they're just off, not right, and I figured this was his. Despite this, I felt like we were ok. We saw each other, had fun, all was normal. Friday during work he emails me that we need to talk. Friday night we get together and I nearly lose him. For 3.5 hours we talk about how he feels, how scared he is that we're not right, how he has this gut feeling it will never work out for us, that he sees little things that could become problems later and he is afraid things will only get worse. He convinced himself that we were doomed and he told me he didn't think we should stay together. I was shocked and sad and scared, but I felt like he was making a quick decision, he wasn't seeing the whole picture, he got spooked at the future talk and playing house on the weekends and rather than deal with it or step back, he was going to run. He told me he loved me, but the last few weeks he hadn't felt in love with me, he hadn't been himself. He'd been looking at other girls, thinking about being with other people. He said that he had been saying he loved me when we said goodnight or got off the phone, but hadn't truly felt it. It hurt. It really hurt to hear it. We talked and I asked him to give me and us a chance, not to leave the relationship and to think it all through more. He agreed and we took a night apart. He came back Saturday and we reconnected. We talked about the conversation Friday a bit and he said he freaked out, he was scared of committing and us going so fast, but it wasn't fair to walk away and not give things a try, not try to work on it. He was affectionate and intimate with me, he was thoughtful and sweet. He made plans to see me this week, talked about our weekend, talked about us attending his friend's wedding in November. I felt like he was trying.

As for the L word, I told him I understood and I didn't want him to say it unless he felt it. I told him that there would be times one of us loved the other more, and that all couples have phases. I said it might take some time for us to get back on track, back to normal. And that we could work on it -- making sure he spent time with friends and not just with me, as he had been doing; stopping the talks if the future, because it wasn't necessary to do it now; take the pressures off and just be with each other, without him feeling as if he had to make a choice now. He said that when he would say "I love you" that I often said back "for how long" or "forever?" and he felt weird because he didn't know how long. I realize now that I was being really needy and it was putting pressure on him. It wasnt fair of me to do that. He said he felt dumb, that it was just a word. I told him it was more than that and it was ok if he didn't feel it right now. I stopped saying it too this weekend, to let him not feel pressured by it.

I feel like we are working on things and I am glad that he did not just walk away, that he realized there is something good here and is willing to give it a shot to make it work. The love thing is hard. It hurts to know my boyf isn't feeling like he is in love with me. I think we are very fragile right now, I think it will take time to get back on course. All I can do is be open and patient and see how he handles it, see if he can truly do this. He may not be able to, he may not feel the love with me again. It scares me and saddens me, but it might be the end result a week from now, a month from now, a year from now. I think it is normal for relationships to have some ebb and flow, to have ups and downs when feelings may not match. But I am not sure how to handle this how to deal with it. I feel like I can't make him love me, but that is also up to me now to make him remember why he fell in love with me. Other than being open and loving to him, what can I do. I hope this is just a phase, just a bad few weeks, just a major freak out, just him being scared. But I am so fearful that this is the beginning of the end, that we will be back in this place again, and at that time, it will be final. I love this man more than anything and I want this to work. I'd do anything for it. I am just so very afraid that the love that has diminished for him the past few weeks may not be regained. That he may not feel the way he used to about me and that I'll then lose him for good.

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