How to Know if You`re Really in Love/Relationship problems


Hi Jan,

Basically my problem stems from a past relationahip where I was cheated on and emotionally torn up for over a year! I remained single after our break up for 15 months where I then met my current partner who is the complete opposite from my ex weve been going out for 8 months! hes loving, caring, kind, sentimental and would never go out of his way to hurt me as he has to much respect! HOWEVER, When I went into this relationship my mentality was ''Im never going to let another man treat me the way I was treated before! I wont get hurt again! Ill be the one to hurt them instead'' and I put invisible barriers up! I normally go for a bad boy and this time around I didnt, I went for a good looking sweet guy who is honestly like a breath of fresh air but recently Ive been doubting everything......So in the begining stages of the relationship if my partner ever did anything to p*ss me off or he'd talk bad to me Id do things to test his feelings, flirt with other guys infront of him to see what his reaction would be or say other guys are good looking to hurt him and this would normally happen when Id have to much to drink (Ive quit drinking, its been two months so far)but when Id sober up and he'd be hurt It would make me hurt and Id ball my eyes out with tears questioning why I did it or why I wanted attention from other men, what was I trying to prove? was it insecurites? (Im very insecure and need constant reassurance that Im attractive) or was it because I was testing his emotions to see how far I could push him to determine how much he actually cared about me? but I cant seem to shake off the guilt! The last time I flirted with someone intentionally while I was drunk he threatened to break up with me and I was devestated, I broke my heart with tears (its happened on 4 occasions where Ive screwed up and tested his feelings) and now I feel like I dont deserve him, I feel like Ive ruined everything and want to start fresh but I cant walk away from him..I dont ever want to see him hurt again!  Hes forgiven me but I CANT FORGIVE MYSELF! I dwell and dwell and dwell until my head hurts or I start crying with guilt, I have a tendancy to over analyze everything but the thought of losing him makes me feel ill.....I do love him but Im not IN LOVE with him and that frustrates me more because I start to question if I truely want to be with him if I dont love him yet and then I mentally torture myself asking ''if you lost him and you met someone else would you miss him or would you not care?'' the answers yes but I make myself belive I wouldnt miss him and then I start to cry! yet when he threatened to break it off with me I was in obviously I do want to be with him! I just dont know whats wrong with me and why Im feeling this way, all I want is to be happy and content.....I sound crazy but I dont understand myself and Im on the verge of tears again as I type this.....please help!

Love Again ~ Creating Relationships Without Blame
Love Again ~ Creating  

I was just like you.  When I broke up with my first love, I decided, "No more romance for me!"  It had betrayed me.  I wanted someone I could talk about anything with.  I was protective, too.  I'd think, "This is nice.  We'll see what happens in the future."  Well, 25 years into my marriage, thinking this way, I finally decided that I had indeed married a good man and I didn't want to wait till he died to let myself love him!

What people call "love" are  the chemicals that every animal feels - the mating urge that draws us together.  It's not enough.  Chemicals don't make us smart or conscious or good communicators.  We need more than animals do.  We need to learn how to be conscious, and aware of what's going on with our emotions, or they WILL kill any good relationship.

I suggest you read some good books, and maybe read with your boyfriend, as well.  My husband and I have poured the 35 years of our work into 2 books that you might check out.  One is about knowing ourselves.  The other is about bringing that knowledge of ourselves into a relationship.  If those books don't draw you, look for some that do.

I think it would be a great thing if every couple in the whole world would "study" relationships and themselves.  You and your boyfriend can decide to be "learning partners."  Because you are drawn to each other, you have the opportunity to really look more deeply into whatever comes up inside you for your whole life, and learn to be even more wise, and more connected with each other.

Most people are good, but they are definitely IGNORANT, and that can lead to just as much heartache.   What we don't learn haunts us and sets us up for failure.  No one magically becomes knowledgeable or wise.  Until we work on understanding relationships, we won't understand them.  That waiting would be like me waiting to learn how to change the oil in my car. Good luck with that one!  Or, how's this?  I burned up my first car engine!  I had seen people putting gas into cars at gas stations, but didn't realize they also put oil and water in!  I had no father, and we didn't even have money for a car when I was a child, so I never got educated.... until driving down the freeway, one day, the engine burst into FLAMES!

LEARN, so your relationship doesn't burst into flames!

Good luck to you!
Jan Harrell, PhD
Author:  Personal Strength ~ Spiritual Joy:  Bridging Heaven and Earth.
         Love Again ~ Creating Relationships Without Blame

How to Know if You`re Really in Love

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Jan Harrell, PhD


I believe I can address any questions and concerns a person might have.


I have been a clinical psychologist for 32 years. I co-authored a book on relationships, Love Again ~ Creating Relationships Without Blame, with my husband of 40 years, who is also a psychologist. I have taught at UCLA and at Southern Oregon University. I was the psychology columnist for the magazine, Make You Happen! for 1 1/2 years.

I have a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California.

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