Will Her Disability Send Him Packing?
Q: I was the victim of a drunk-driving incident which left me disabled. My boyfriend of three years was so supportive and by my side. But it's been almost a year since it happened and I feel that he's becoming more and more distant. I've tried bringing it up but he says everything's okay. I'm heartbroken because I know what my future will be. I'm still adjusting to it all, the wheelchair, my emotions, and I know it's hard for him too. In my heart I know he would have an easier life with someone else but I don't want to lose him. I don't know if I'm expecting too much. — Brooke, 27
Dr. Susan: Love, ideally, is the same thing, no matter what your physical disabilities. It's as much a commitment as a changeable emotion. Both of you have had to adjust to a very different reality and relationship than the one you expected three or four years ago. What could be happening, though, may have little to do with your condition. Love is a matter of committing to someone through hard times, no matter what emotional ups and downs either of you go through. It can be hard in your 20s to know what you're going to want down the line.
If your boyfriend's feelings are stagnating after three years together, that might have happened anyway. I don't think it's too much to expect total honesty from him. Might he have an easier life with someone else? That's impossible to say, as who knows what another woman would have brought to a relationship. People get old, they get cancer, they flip out, they get fat, grumpy, or boring. What you can do is show him how much you love him. And try to determine where the sense of distance is actually coming from.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.