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Dr. Paige
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1427
Experience:  Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist
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After a few years of living together, my common law boyfriend

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After a few years of living together, my common law boyfriend and I were recently separated from eachother due to immigration issues. Basically he doess not want to deal with the fact that I cannot live in the U.S. (I'm Canadian) and he should fix his immigration papers before continuing to stay there. So I came back to Canada. Before this happened we had been arguing a lot, and now that we can't see eachother for at least a few months, i feel very disconnected from him. Sometimes to the point where i wonder if my feelings run as deep as they used to. I still love him but that in love feeling has all but disappeared. Is there any way to reconnect and revive our relationship in a long distance situation or are we doomed to break up?
Hello. If it was just the distance issue, I would say yes it can work out. However, you indicate that there are other problems and the one that stands out to me is that he avoids issues that need to be discussed. Taking the distance problem out of it and just dealing with the arguing and inability to solve problems, I would say you have a tough road ahead of you.
What I would suggest, is that you talk to him in a very honest and blunt manner. Ask him straight out if he wants the relationship to work out or not. If he says yes, then you need to BOTH make a plan to make it work. He is going to have to learn to discuss problems in a way that doesn't cause blame and anger between you. What do you feel the problems are? What does he feel the problems are? Remember that you are both a team, not you vs him. If you come to the conclusion that the living situation is what bothers both of you the most, work together to try and solve it. If you feel its better to write down your thoughts and send it to him so he can read it, in order to get your point across in a more effective way, then do that. You have to both decide what you want out of the relationship. Before you start hashing out ways you think it will work, you need to first decide what you want the results to be. If you aren't on the same page to even begin with, then you need to think about the relationship. Be sure you both want to be together and that you both want to put in the work before you just haphazardly grasp as straws. Make a plan THEN take action. Yes it can work, but there will be work involved for BOTH of you. One person cannot make a relationship work on their own. it has to be a team effort.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

You said I need to figure out with him what I think the problems are vs what he thinks the problems are. I really already have the answer to this, namely that I believe the problems are immigration and communication related (specifically that we're in a tug of war because I want him to deal with this issue anld he avoids it) and he thinks that we need to work on our relationship before we work on the immigration problem. Specifically, he has told me that I should be more loving and supportive towards him, and he has also asked me to stop nagging and pushing him on the issue. I have been losing feelings for him lately over frustrations I have towards him, so he is probably right about this. So I wanted to know if there is a chance for me to revive that 'loving feeling' in this situation or whether the other stuff needs to be dealt with first, and is there any point really?

Well, if he has said he wants those things to change in you and you say he is right, then are you going to make an effort to make those changes?
I do agree with him that you should work on the relationship problems before the immigration problems.
It sounds as though you aren't sure if you want to work on the non immigration issues. So then you are the one who can answer if there is a point to all of this. You CAN revive that loving feeling, but you have to be in it 100% in order to do that, it isn't just going to change on its own. If you think he has a point to how you treat him, you have to change that for this to work. Yes, there is a point and you can make it work, but work is the key word and you have to fix the relationship at least to a good point before you can even think about living together. He feels as though he shouldn't put forth the effort of moving or changing his living situation unless you are willing to change the things that he needs for you to change. So then its up to you. Do you want to do this or not? There is never a guarantee that a relationship will or won't work, but it will never work if one person feels that the other isn't putting in any effort.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, I do want to work on it. The thing is I get so frustrated with him not dealing with our other issues that I don't feel that I CAN be loving towards him. It seems like such basic common sense that we have to follow the law. By him not doing this and other irresponsible things he has done in the past, it makes me doubt whether I can tolerate this behaviour if he does not change. For example if he wants to stay in the States and wants me to go back there, he hasnt done enough to show me that he will follow the rules since he won't even do that right now. I am so frustrated that I can't even bring myself to want to laugh and have fun and be in love with him. How can I bring back my love for him?

Ask him if you stop nagging him and make some changes yourself, if he will be willing to talk about the issues that you have with him. It's all give and take. If he feels you need to change and you feel that he needs to change, you are going to have to meet in the middle somewhere and find reasonable compromise that both of you can work with. He feels like why should he make all these changes just to have you not change. He feels the same way towards you as you do about him and someone has to make the first move towards changing that. You can't just bring back love for him without all of these things being addressed. Sweeping things under the rug will not help things. If you both find that neither one of you is willing to make a change, then you need to admit this relationship probably isn't going to work.
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