Dear Miss Emily:

Hello, I am writing because I have some paranoid issues with my love life.  My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years, but we dated back in middle school, too, and one day found each other again. When we first met, I was in a 3 year relationship, but my boyfriend made me fall  in love with him. Well, things were great and he was so sweet to me, shortly after we got pregnant with our little boy. He was so happy and he let me know all the time by the little things he did. He wanted to marry me and didn't want to wait. One day, things changed.  He stopped doing the sweet things he always did. As time went on, we broke up for 1 week.  He left me and I was heart broken – crying. After that week, he finally asked me back but it didn't go like it does in the movies.  He was really mean about it. He told me that if I wanted to be with him, I had to abide by his schedule and come around when he said I could , ‘cause I was too clingy and he didnt want to see me all the time. I know that was stupid, but I did it. Eventually, we both went to counseling and he changed his ways, a lot, and stopped being so mean and saw his flaws, but we still have some issues. Now he doesn't want to marry me.  Is it possible for someone to one minute be crazy in love and want to marry someone and, then, turn around and change there mind and decided they want to wait?  I have my problems too. I am always questioning his love and that is where the whole issue lies. I am paranoid, and base everything little thing he does on whether or not he loves me. The thing is, I do all I can for him. When I am in a store, if I have some money, I will think of something I can buy for him to make him happy.  When he is in the store, he will come out with tings for himself and nothing for me. I feel like that this shows his love if he won’t even think enough of me to ask.. Also, whenever he is sick, I am there to baby him and make him feel better, but when I am sick, he doesn't act like he cares. He told me the other day he was worried about us breaking up ‘cause he thinks that maybe we would both be happier if I could find someone who made me happy – and if he could find someone who appreciated him more. He said he didn’t want that to happen ‘cause he loves me so much.  He said that he knows he has things to work on and he will , but he wants me to work on appreciating him more and I know I do. He still does nice things for me, like he drove up to a pay phone from work the other day just to call me at work and tell me he loves me. He comes home, helps with our son, pays our rent, our sex life is great and he never comes home late.  It is more of me worrying all the time about his love for me. I do question his love a lot,  but  it’s just that sometimes he doesn’t always act like he loves me. He used to never say this but, now, when he’s mad, he calls me a bitch.  My friend’s boyfriend acts the same way. She said its natural for a man to be selfish for no reason. I just need some light shed on the situation.  My stomach is always in knots ‘cause I’m always worrying about if he loves me.  Please be honest, and tell me who’s to blame and what I’m doing wrong.

------------------------Miss Emily’s advice-------------------

Dear Unappreciated:

Relationships are often difficult to maintain unless the couple is willing to do the hard work to keep it together.  I don’t believe that we are meant to be with anyone is particular – some people like to think “we were destined to be together” is the reason they found that one person – and no one else could have been a candidate.  Don’t get me wrong, the “soul mate” approach is fine, but even they have to work to keep it stable, because no situation is perfect. Human beings are wired to make mistakes, because so much of what we do is controlled by our emotions.  In your case, I think your boyfriend was simply not ready to make a full commitment, but when a baby is brought into the mix, it forces the issue of marriage and that is the problem.  This guy should not be calling you a bitch when he gets angry, or any other time. I think he sees himself as being caught in the middle – wanting to do the right thing but feeling frustrated that you and he are so young making it difficult to be forever tied down to the thought of marriage and family.  I am aware that you see it differently. You want family and a happy ending.  But it also seems that you are in a position to be “needy” and that puts him off.  I’m not blaming you, but you asking him to be more than who he is, is perceived as nagging and gives him an excuse to say, “Well, I just don’t do anything right, do I?”  That’s when it makes it easier to walk away, no matter whether a child is involved or not.  Your girlfriend is wrong when she says that a man can be selfish for no reason.  Anyone can be selfish for no reason, and it’s no excuse for bad behavior.  In your life, you have him and the baby.  In his life, he has you and the baby, and financial obligation.  I see no hope for your future together unless you get it straight in your head that self-respect should be your new mantra.  Learn how to demand respect by not allowing yourself to be treated like a second-class citizen. Stop talking to him about whether he loves you or not, and how he could be more thoughtful.  Men tend to see things in literal terms (black and white), and women, being more nurture-oriented, also expect to be nurtured.  The truth is, any relationship needs to be nurtured and men and women want to feel appreciated.  No one is to blame in your situation.  Playing the blame game is useless.  You can’t force someone to care more than they do, but you can show him that you are a capable, strong individual in your own right.  I can’t guarantee that this guy will ever marry you, but while you are together, it would be nice for your child’s sake to keep harmony in the home.  If you and he can’t do this, then it is better for you to be apart.  Tough? Absolutely.  But it is so common in our society. Getting pregnant and expecting marriage out of it, is delusional, at best.  My advice?  Lose your insecurity with this man and make plans for a possible future without him.  That would mean finding a career (this can be done with night courses) that gives you an outlet, and a feeling of self-worth – and a way to support a single household if things go south.  Hope is not a plan.  Do not wish yourself into a better life.  You must do the hard work to get what you want out of it.  If not now, when?