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You Asked: He Constantly Tells Me I Can Do Better

Dear Sugar,

I have been with my boyfriend for almost two years. It's a long distance relationship and it's not always easy, but he makes me happy. There have been times, though, when he tells me that I could "do better" than him. I'll admit, he's not the greatest boyfriend sometimes, but who's perfect? The distance (2,200 miles) and the time difference (three hours) doesn't help either, and with such factors, it's sometimes hard to make time for each other. Even if he thinks I deserve better, shouldn't I get to choose to be with him for as long as he wants to be with me? I hate it when he tells me that and I hate it even more when he does things to push me away. I'm really happy, but I don't know if this relationship can work if he keeps thinking like this. How do I get him to stop? Can I get him to stop? What should I do? — Settling Sally

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Settling Sally,

I'm sure this isn't the answer you want to hear, but it sounds to me like your boyfriend is trying to make you break up with him. It also sounds like your relationship is quite a roller coaster, as many long distance relationships can be, but it can't make you feel very secure to have your boyfriend continuously tell you that you can do better. Although he could simply be self-deprecating, my take is that he's just afraid to end it.

Since you've been struggling with the distance for two years, a talk is most definitely in order. Ask him where he thinks this relationship is going and be prepared to answer the same question. You say he makes you happy, but do you make him happy? Get to the bottom of why he's verbally pushing you away — deciphering whether it's insecurity or the beginning of the end is imperative. Once you figure that out, hopefully you can work together to build the lines of communication and change things in your relationship for the better, if that's the path you decide to take.


Join The Conversation
lemamike lemamike 8 years
I don't have a lot of experience with LDRs so it's hard for me to answer. I undersand he might be insecure and that happens a lot but it does seem if he were happy he woudln't want to try to push you away. Also, because you don't have much face to face time it seems weird he would spend your vaulable talking time telling you to move on rather than just being happy. It's definitely plausible that it seems an easy way for him to try to break up with you. It's a typical martyr move.."youre too good for can do better."
jazzytummy jazzytummy 8 years
I have to go with Dear Sugar on this one. I think he is probably seeing someone else, doesn't have the guts to just break it off, so just keeps telling you that he is not good enough, hoping that you will be the "bad guy" and break it off. It is even easier for him to be this way because you are not right there in his face every day for him to deal with. I'm sorry, but I think this is on the outs. If he wanted to keep you, why would he tell you to find someone better? Think about it!! Not a comment on LDRs, just this particular situation, btw.
Community-Manager Community-Manager 8 years
Hey everyone, please remember to let everyone share their opinion freely without any attacks. Thanks!
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
And don't worry LDRs work great!! FOR HIM... :ROTFL:
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
I dont really agree with DearSugar. I dont think it sounds that fatalistic to me. I dont see where you wrote that the distance and time zones were a roller coaster, you just mentioned that they suck, which of course they obviously do and would. Personally, I love LDRs because I believe that you get to have a life in addition to being in a relationship, which I think is sometimes hard to balance when you live in the same city as your SO. Maybe your dude is just a little insecure. Maybe its just something he says, without even realizing it or meaning it. Maybe you should start saying it to him and see how HE reacts! :P I wouldnt blow it out of proportion. I just dont really see this being a big "problem". I feel like y'all will figure it out, either you'll move there or he'll move to you, but you'll figure it out.....whatever! :)
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
guess what: he's right! get yourself another boyfriend :)
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Sorry, but if he is saying this to you a lot, it sounds to me like he is trying to get rid of you, or get you prepared for a breakup. :-(
candace87 candace87 8 years
This isnt an attack, but Mesayme, How can you "not believe in" something you've experienced? Just because you or the person you were with wasn't capable of making it work? Chances are, even being together they wouldn't have worked if you didn't care enough about eachother to keep putting in the effort. As for the cheating husband, it's unfortunate that he couldn't control himself but not everyone is like that. You've also said if "two people want to be together, they will, no matter what." No matter what. So no matter the distance. Or if you meant they will be physically together, sorry but sometimes it's just not possible.
candace87 candace87 8 years
I haven't read the whole thing yet, but I have to say..I hate when people say "I don't believe in LDRs!" Just because you can't do it doesn't meant the rest of us can't! It isn't something you can just "not believe in." You're just not open to the idea for yourself. Don't tell me that my relationship isn't going to work when you don't know anything about it. Sorry for the rant.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
For the last damn time... it's my comment to express my opinion. Not an statement in a law case for you to repute. And I said "I" don't believe in them because, four didn't result in a happy marriage...and my S-I-L's husband cheated on her in Iraq ,however after 14 yrs of marriage were able to stay together. The rest of what I said was... I just believe that when two people want to be together, they will, no matter what. ***And if one doesn't it can't work.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
Maybe he's just trying to get you to break up with him. You two have been together for 2 years and maybe he just doesn't want to hurt your feelings. I'm not saying it's the right way to tell someone, but let's face it, men/guys/boys have issues with hurting feelings and giving straight answers (women do to, but since we're talking about a guy...)
Ac2366 Ac2366 8 years
Sometimes people us the "you can do better than me" line as an easy way to break up with someone. Sometimes all you have to do is plant a seed of doubt in someones head to get the ball rolling. Maybe he's not happy with the relationship and trying to let you off easy.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
It's ignorant to make a blanket statement that LDRs don't work. Statistics show that they succeed and fail at the same rate as close-range relationships. As with any relationship, it's only as good as the two people involved. Anyway, in the OP's situation, I'd ask why your boyfriend kept saying these things - and be honest that it really bothers you and that you'd rather not hear them. I can see Dear's point about him softening you for a breakup, but I can also see him being annoyingly insecure. I'd also ask him directly if by implying that you should look for someone, he wants you two to take a break.
resamac resamac 8 years
karlotta knows what she is talking about! I have been in a long distance relationship myself for almost two years also. I feel like because of the distance we are closer then most non-long distance relationships. All we have time to do is talk and be there for each other. I have so many friends whose relationship is like mostly physical, and they argue all the time. I hardly ever argue with my boyfriend, I trust him. So when we argue it's mostly unrelated to distance.
Liz4aker Liz4aker 8 years
LDR can and do work. It just takes strong people and a lot of communication. Because you can't rely on physical attraction to get through a rough patch, you spend a lot more time talking out problems which leads to a stronger relationship overall. Which is why you need to be open with him and talk out your problem like Dear said. Also have you discussed when you will no longer be LD? Having a firm end date can really help anxieties. It also shows your commitment to each other.
karlotta karlotta 8 years
She doesn't believe in long distance relationships? Mine must be have been a hallucination then. Maybe I shouldn't have dropped so much LSD? We were together LDR for a couple of years and now we live together and we're happy - so yes, it's doable! And I was really insecure at times, because that's one of the difficult things about being apart: not knowing how many really good looking, fantastic, talented, smart people your SO is meeting while you're not in front of him to remind him how great YOU are. So my take on it is very simple. Your guy is insecure. And the way to make that go away is to reassure him. As many times as it takes. It can get tiresome, but if that's the biggest problem in his personality and in your relationship, I'd sigh a sigh a relief and just start lathering on the coats of love and compliments.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
I don't believe in long distance relationships, sorry. Only couples who've been together and have a strong foundation can sustain being apart (ie. some military families) even then there are a tremendous amount of infidelity issues. I just believe that when two people want to be together, they will, no matter what. And if one doesn't it can't work. Sounds like he's the one.
lintacious lintacious 8 years
Does he show signs of insecurity in other situations as well? That seems to be the core problem.
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