From Breaking up to Being Smothered

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“Suzanne Gelb Image”

”Breaking Up – Why Can’t I?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

I want to break up with my boyfriend and he won’t take no for an answer. Every time I talk to him about it, he talks me out of it. What can I say that will stick?


Dear Trying:

In some instances, when a person wants to end a relationship and has trouble “getting the message across” to his/her friend, it is important that the individual make sure that s/he truly wants to end the relationship. That being the case, it is necessary to put a period at the end of the statement. If the person still receives calls from the friend, it is probably appropriate to remind them that, “I no longer want a relationship with you. It is over.”

“Please don’t call me anymore,” said one former girlfriend in such a situation. After that her boyfriend continued to call and make contact, at which point she said nothing and hung up. That worked for a while because he stopped calling. But then the calling resumed, and so she changed her phone number. Good luck.

”Smothered – Why Won’t She Let Me Be?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

My girlfriend is possessive and wants to spend every minute with me. On those few times that I socialize with my buddies without her, she calls me on my cell phone to check up on me all the time. If I turn my cell off, she calls my friends to check up on me. I love her, but this is too much. How can I get her to back off?


Dear Smothered:

It is interesting to evaluate the meaning of “too much.” When two people are serious about each other, they tend to want to be a part of each other’s lives as much as possible. There is a difference between sharing friendship and being in a committed relationship. If the goal is just to be friends, then the time spent together would be different from the time spent with a girlfriend or boyfriend, where there is an assumed commitment. It is important to keep this difference in mind when developing relationships.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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