I’m always so sad to see him go

Dear Lisa,

I seem to want to spend more time around my boyfriend than he of me. He makes the effort to spend quality time together, I just seem to want much more of that time.

When I brought it up today he said he had his “own scene to attend to”, which I totally get intellectually. However, my heart is screaming that he spends more time with me, and I notice I get sad when he is getting ready to leave. It is starting to make our partings a bit awkward and not at all like the normal energetics of our relationship.

Is there anything I can do to tone down or control these feelings so I’m not so melancholic and grumpy every time he is getting ready to go home?

–Goodbye Blues ( ♀ Duncan)


Dear Goodbye Blues,

The disparity between heart and head is a strong cue to what is really going on inside. I think you are right to look a little deeper when your heart can’t believe what your head is saying. The combination of a few things might be stopping your goodbye from being less bitter and more sweet.

One, you say that you want to spend more time with him than he does with you. From the way you worded this, I wonder if you are wanting to spend so much time with him to avoid really living your own life. Sometimes, the fluctuation in the amount we miss our partners has to do with how actively we are participating in our own lives: how interesting it is, how challenging it is, and sometimes even whether we feel brave enough to face it head on or not. Perhaps you feel melancholic when he leaves because you know that your life outside of your relationship isn’t that interesting, or that you will have to face the challenges of your life alone. By not creating a life for yourself that captivates you, you are making yourself too available to your relationship and needy of his attention, which inevitably results in a man who can’t relax and be with you, because he can feel you depending on him to fill the space that your own life needs to fill.

Two, when you say that ‘he makes the effort to spend quality time together’, do you mean it? Or are you trying to convince yourself that you are happy with the quality of the time you spend together? Maybe he hasn’t quite mastered giving you his full and undivided attention when you are together, which makes the time you spend together unsatisfying. Let me explain: men have a tendency to be far more single focused than the typical woman, which means that he does best when he puts all of his focus on one thing. When a man is truly able to concentrate on his partner, it is because he has otherwise been able to focus all of his attention on his purpose, leaving his mind free to be with his woman for the time he has set aside. If his attention is divided – he is concerned that he isn’t ‘attending to his own scene’ – then it is likely that he is still working to develop his ability to focus.

And finally, are you living the time you have with him to its fullest? Do you feel like you two are really spending time together, doing something engaging and challenging? Do you make plans to do things with each other, or do you just spend time doing what you always do? It is easy to have the best of intentions, and then relax into each others arms and let plans fall to the wayside. This makes the goodbye time a reminder of the time you didn’t fully ‘live’ together as opposed to the suspenseful end to a well written chapter. One thing I notice is that when I haven’t fully lived my day, I dread going to bed; prolonging my day closer and closer to midnight because I’m trying to squeeze in what I really should have before. I think if you two make a plan and stick to it, your time will be more fulfilling and easier to relinquish when it’s time to say goodbye.

Obviously, of one of these issues can cause problems between you, any combination can cause a lot of sub issues! Remember that while you can’t do anything to improve how he is with you directly, attending to your part of even one of the points I mention above will likely unstick things in other areas, and even shift the way he interacts with you.

Let me know how things go!

– Lisa



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