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You Asked: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Dear Sugar,

I have been with my boyfriend for a little over four years. We've made it through a lot of obstacles together, and I love him dearly. We recently hit a plateau and have broken up several times in the last few months. It's been a rocky road lately, and I go back and forth daily about whether or not to stay. He is a great guy and treats me like a princess, but it seems lately like our entire relationship is an uphill battle that we aren't winning.

For a very long time, I mentioned to him that things needed to change and he ignored it. Then we took a break and suddenly he's changed, but at this point it almost feels like too little to late. I used to have a huge sex drive and always wanted him to touch me and kiss me but now, it's the exact opposite. Is this relationship salvageable? Is there anything I can do to fix this?

— On the Fence Olivia

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear On the Fence Olivia,

Four years is a long time to spend with someone only to walk away, so I completely understand your hesitancy on deciding whether or not to stay in this relationship. Since you don't mention any specifics about the things that "needed to change," I'll assume that they're a variety of issues that came down to you not getting your needs met. This happens in many relationships and it can cause one person to find the satisfaction of those needs in other places. It's likely that in the time he'd been promising to change with no evidence of such, you had been distancing yourself emotionally. Now that he's made the changes you're unable to close that space that's been created, thus creating that too-little-too-late sensation.

That said if you walk away from something without certainty you may be left with feelings of doubt or worse, regret. If your boyfriend really has changed, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and try reinvesting yourself in the relationship. If in a few months time you're still feeling the same way or your boyfriend has reverted to his old self, then at least you'll know that you gave it a last try. I hope it all works out.


bluestar bluestar 9 years
If a relationship reaches "almost unbearable" I think that's a sign that you are really not compatible with that person. Just because you have been together for a long time, doesn't mean you are meant to be with that person. You should never have to convince yourself to stay with someone. I know a lot of people that have had great relationships for years and it was never unbearable!
austerity austerity 9 years
wow Kim27, you put it beautifully.
Kim27 Kim27 9 years
Relationships always go through patterns. The first stage is known as the honeymoon. The body produces more dopamine, making everything seem wonderful and like you have found "the one" this is known as "loving under the influence". Slowly as the relationship continues the dopamine and endorphine fade and you start to notice flaws, become agrivated by personality traits or habits and small fights begin to occur. This is the second phase. the relationship becomes rocky and eventually becomes almost unbearable. this is unfortunatly the longest and hardest phase. Happily if you two can see how much you really mean to eachother and work through it, you are at the final stage, true love. You only truely know A person once you have been to hell and back with them. Dont give up it will pass.
bluestar bluestar 9 years
Bad sign if you are making up and breaking up all the time. Time to let it go!!!
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 9 years
The changes may be a too-little too-late, but at least there's change. Was there a reason for the changes? Was it just to make you happy or some life-altering event in his life? If he's making a conscious effort then I think you should be too. After all that's what you've been trying to move toward. But ultimately, if you can't deal with the relationship anymore and are perpetually unhappy because you can't shake the what ifs then it's time to move on.
RaCheer RaCheer 9 years
I am in the same exact boat in my 4 1/2 year relationship. I think it's best to just listen to your heart but I know that doesn't make it any easier. If it did I would be able to tell you what to do!
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
I'm in the same boat as you ... I've been with my guy for so long that some changes feel too little too late.
italianblonde italianblonde 9 years
I'm sorry but I had to mention I now have that damn song stuck in my head..."should I stay or should I go now..."
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
I think that if you ultimately want marriage/a life partner and children in your life, you have to look at him and think: Do I want to marry him? Could I build a future with him? Will he be a supportive husband and a good father to any future children? You will know the answer to these questions in your heart. You probably already know. Although you may not want to get married or have kids soon, if you can't look into his eyes and see a future there, this relationship is just a diversion(not that there's anything wrong with that), or just a way to pass the time until you meet Mr. right. But the problem is that if he is not mr. right, the longer you stay with him, the longer it will take for you to meet a guy who will make a good father, life partner/husband. I understand that some relationships are good ways to learn what you want in a partner, or sometimes there is a lesson to be learned about yourself from that person. But if you have already learned this, it is time to be realistic and move on. Good luck to you. Trust your instincts.
IAmAnon IAmAnon 9 years
I don't think she's selfish at all. Yes, every relationship has troubles, but if she's not happy in the relationship then she shouldn't fight for something that isn't going to work. In the end it's up to her what she feels is right, and I don't think it's selfish at all that she's having doubts about their relationship. Some people would rather not be in a relationship and be happy than be in a relationship and not be happy, and vice versa. It depends on the person.
crackaddict crackaddict 9 years
if in doubt, kick him out.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
It's hard to know what to say because I'm not sure what kinds of problems you two were having. I agree with a lot of what austerity said in general though. Relationships are not without problems, so make sure you're not just cutting out at the first signs of trouble. Also I think that ultimately you need to ask yourself if you're happier with him or without him. I think that 4 years is a long time to not just try a little bit longer. A few months isn't much in the scheme of things. Good luck hon!
austerity austerity 9 years
I have to disagree. Let me give you some frank advice. No relationship, even if it is with the ultimate Mr. Right, is going to be as filled with fireworks and passion as it was in the beginning. You've got a great guy who treats you like a princess, is awesome in every way and loves you deeply...and you want to break up with him just because you're having a couple of fights (that too after years of such a great relationship). Whatever happened to the idea of commitment to the one you love in our society? I think we have to stop thinking of the relationship with our SO as some commodity that you just get bored with and then throw away. Frankly, you're sounding a bit spoilt. It doesn't even sound like he is guilty of any real dealbreaker. Talk it out together and/or see some counselor. Is a bit of dullness or a rought patch enough to cut off a relationship? Not IMHO.
IAmAnon IAmAnon 9 years
When you're together for so long and love the other person so dearly, it's very hard to grasp the idea of giving up on trying to make the relationship work. Even if he is a great guy and does treat you like a princess, I honestly think that if the relationship feels like an uphill battle that you aren't winning, and that you feel that the change in him is a little too late, that the relationship simply isn't working, and isn't going to work. Every relationship does have problems that need to be worked through, but sometimes its best to just let it go and stop trying, as impossibly hard it may seem at times. Ultimately, the decision is yours - and is, if its a mutual decision. It's a very hard decision to make. If you really can't make up your mind, I would stick around for awhile to see if he really has changed, and go from there. My opinion is based on one of my past relationships, where I was in exactly the same situation.
lmors lmors 9 years
This is incredible.. because I am goign through the exact same thing and have no idea what to do.. I wish I had some life experience to offer you for this, but I am honestly interested to hear what others have to say on this.
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