Q. Since high school, I have developed a pattern of having a serious boyfriend for a year or two. Around the two year point, I end up breaking up what was previously a blissful relationship — leaving the guy feeling blindsided. Is my pattern something I will have to work to break? Or when I find someone to stay with, will I know?
A. Oh the age old question…how will I know? Here some 40-somethings provide their perspective.
I would look at why you are getting into relationships to begin with and why you clearly feel “trapped” after you are in them. Are you actually interested in these men or is it to “say you have a boyfriend”. Is it for an ego boost or because these guys are genuinely great? Relationships should be two sided, if they are not, then you are simply taking advantage of someone else’s feelings. Try dating instead of intense relationships until you have a clear handle on what it is that you want. – 40-something, NYC
I’d definitely say any patterns that you have are worth exploring. You might consider seeing a psychotherapist to discuss what goes on for you at the two-year mark that makes you want to end a previously “blissful” relationship. Do you have fears of abandonment or hurt from your childhood? Or is there really something you notice about your partner that makes it clear to you that you should no longer be together? Patters are usually patterns for a reason: they indicate something going on with you more often than just being pure coincidence. – 40-something, LA
At the age of 45 and having repeated the same pattern over and over I have some perspective. Mine was a little different. I had a series of five year relationships that would never get close to commitment – just dance around it. Around the four year mark I would line up my next relationship before I left the one I was in. Now in my 40s and single I realize that the only common denominator is myself and I’m finally taking that look inward and taking my time to figure out what I am looking for. I don’t know if I will find the right relationship but I do know I won’t be in a relationship for the wrong reason (or not knowing the reason). So my advice would be to get into what you are looking for / not looking for / what is behind your pattern now. It is probably better than waiting until your 40s. – 40-something, San Francisco, CA