Readers’ dilemma: My boyfriend makes me feel like second best


I’ve been going out with my boyfriend for two years – we met at uni but haven’t seen each other for a year. He was working away during the summer so I couldn’t visit, but since I graduated and he returned to do his final year he has no time for me. When I ask when we can meet up, he says ‘I’m trying to find time’ or always has an excuse – and I just accept it. I feel that I’m second best to everyone in his life. I don’t know what to do any more. If I break up with him I don’t know how I’ll cope. He was so supportive of me when I finally came out to my family.

Although he’s openly gay and has been since he was 15, he never refers to me as his boyfriend. I’m ‘just a mate’ to anyone who asks. He has never told me he loves me, which hurts me deeply. And after all this I don’t know if I can forgive him and continue to love him. I’ve been diagnosed with depression and this situation isn’t helping me at all. Should I stay with him and continue to feel this way, or leave him and possibly feel even worse than I do now?

Nick, via e-mail

The Guyliner replies: Letting go of a first love is the hardest thing, especially if they’ve been with you as you came out to family. And after everything you’ve been through, your confidence is at an all-time low. I don’t know how much you have confided in your boyfriend, but he doesn’t seem to be taking your needs into account. Sure, final year is stressful and he’ll be busy with his studies, but not finding time to see you for a whole year suggests your boyfriend isn’t in this for the long haul.

I know you’re worried how you’ll cope if you decide to break up with him, but feeling positive and battling depression is all about removing negative influences from your life if you can. While you may feel worse at first, in the long run moving on from this very one-sided relationship – which seems to be taking up most of your valuable headspace and energy – could be what you need to get back on track.

He won’t see you, call you his boyfriend and never tells you he loves you – what good is he to you right now? You expect different things and he needs to know that. Maybe you need to be more direct. Call his bluff and suggest a series of dates when you can visit him – nobody has that many plans they can’t get out of.

It’s one thing to be in a long-distance relationship, but to live in the same country and not see each other for 12 months? That’s not a relationship. If he can’t meet you halfway, you have to take the initiative. If he’s not interested, he should have the guts to tell you, but it’s time you stopped accepting his excuses and made things work for you. You may be heading for your very first heartbreak, and it will be tough and painful at first, but you can’t live in limbo. You deserve to meet the love of your life, and you will – but it doesn’t sound like this non-committal guy has got what it takes.

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