My girlfriend invalidates my feelings and makes the relationship feel one sided. She tells me that I don’t feel things when I really do. What should I do?
Sincerely, Regretful Romeo.
Dear Regretful Romeo,
She should not have control on what you feel or don’t feel. While she may not feel the same way, you can’t tell someone to feel a one way or another. Don’t feel ashamed or bad because of that; relationships should be fun. She should be using phrases such as “I don’t feel the same way” or “Can’t relate. Sorry.” It is definitely unfair for her to assume she has claim over your feelings despite you being different people. It’s easy to forget people in a relationship are still different people. This is why the first thing you need to do is accept that she doesn’t reciprocate some of the things you’ve been saying. You should have a conversation with her about how she’s feeling and maybe apologize for coming on too strong. Opening up the conversation will allow you to better understand how she feels and where she’s coming from. However, try to explain to her that your feelings need to be recognized, and she doesn’t have the right to change them or put you down for having them, but make sure she’s comfortable with how you feel. While it’s helpful to be on the same page in a relationship, it isn’t always necessary. As long as you both have respect for how the other is feeling, you’re golden.
*This is letter is a fictional story, but the advice is real. We want to provide an example of what the advice column looks like. If you are interested in relationship advice, feel free to send letter to the firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll keep your identity anonymous. Jack is a pseudonym.