Dear Miss Emily:

I need help.  I'm having a lot of trouble with my relationship with my boyfriend of almost 3 years. In the beginning, he was absolutely perfect; showering me with affection and attention. However, as time progressed, I noticed things just weren't the same. I should also mention that in our religion, dating is strictly prohibited, therefore, our relationship was very hush-hush, and we couldn't really do all the conventional things couples do. Anyway, things were going okay.  I had accepted that sometimes people change. However, this summer, our parents apparently contacted each other, and that led to mishap. We planned on getting married, however his mother does not approve of me. Due to this we broke up during  the summer, and I was completely devastated. I went through a period of severe depression in which I lost several pounds and harmed myself. After about a month of not being together, we both realized we just couldn’t do it. So we got back together.  However, things are VERY different now. We barely get to talk, and his excuse is that he is busy with university. Also, I have recently found out he hid some things from me. Such as, he is planning to move to the U S sometime soon, and I did not know about this. Also, he keeps in touch with a few of his friends who are girls, even though I don't like it. I don't know what to do. How to get him to listen to me, or respect how I feel about certain things? The worst part is, I can’t leave him, because I know I wouldn’t be able to live without him!  I need attention and affection from him. I need him to treat me like his girlfriend. I have so many questions, but he never has the answers. He says he loves me, but I don't know if he really does. Does he really love me, or he is just with me for the hell of it? Do I need to end it with him?
Depressed

-------------------Miss Emily’s advice-----------------
 
Dear Depressed:

You have made two contradictory statements.  “I can’t leave him, because I know I wouldn’t be able to live without him,” and then you asked me, “Do I need to end it with him?” I absolutely hate the fact that you even entertain the idea you can’t live without him.  What happens?  Do you stop being who you are?  Does the sun stop shining?  Is your world frozen in time?  I don’t mean to make light of this, but you have added an element of drama that makes it worse than it has to be.  The fact that his mother does not approve of you is problematic, because you say that your religion prohibits certain things.  That makes me think this parent’s opinion is critical to having a successful relationship with her son.  But the biggest problem is with the man you love.  He seems caught in the middle of this, and although he has been seeing you again, his heart is not in it.  Without saying so, I think he can see the writing on the wall.  If it is true that he is moving to the United States, soon, and he has not informed you of this (nor included you in his future plans), that tells you all you need to know. To be dismissed in this manner is wrong, and your respect for him should  be at an all-time low.  I beg you to fight for yourself, and that does not mean that you have to fight to keep this man in your life and sell your soul in the bargain.  You need to realizing that you are a good person who deserves to be free, and live free.  If you see yourself as an appendage to any man, you’ll never be satisfied.  You want love, respect and support from a relationship.  You are not getting it from this man and if you are wise, you will realize it, work like hell to get over him, and chart a course for your life that is full of hope and not doom.  If you find yourself slipping into a deep depression over this, again, see a doctor or therapist.  Your life may depend on it.