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Grow Yourself, Grow Your Relationship

Dr. Neder,

Hi, I am very interested in your help on this.

I met my girlfriend freshman year in high school for the first time. We are currently in our junior year of high school and we have been going out for almost four months. We talk about how we will always be together and how we are going to go to college together. I am starting to trust her more now and I know that I am in love with her, and she has said the same to me. We spend almost all of our time together and I really want the best for both of us.

I want to marry her someday. I think about her all the time and I always want her to be happy and safe no matter what. I would do anything for her. I want to know how I can add more to this relationship and keep it going forever until I die. I truly love her with all my heart and would give my life for her for anything.

I know it is not possible to know what will happen in the future, but I want to know what I can do to beat the odds and be with her for the rest of my life and ensure that I can be with her and always have her. That is what I want more than anything. She has changed my life so much where I have put her first before all of my goals and aspirations in life, to where it has transformed all of them into her.

Thank you,


You want to insure this relationship lasts the rest of your life? You can do either one of the following:

1) Don't grow, change or leave high school, or
2) Die young.

Ok, I'm somewhat kidding here, but you've asked for advice, so I'm going to give it to you.

You are very young, but this isn't just about your age. People at every age go through all of this too! You have a lot of experiences ahead of you and you're right about not being able to predict the future. Here's one thing you CAN predict: you're going to change a bunch over the next 5 years, 10 years and beyond. You're going to change so much that you won't even be the same person! Trust me, I went through it, your parents went through it and everyone else on the planet has gone through it. So will you.

That's not an overly-simplistic thing to say either. It's important to understand because it directly affects your future relationship. You can't avoid change, so you might as well look forward to it and make the best of it. I've talked with many people that tried to do exactly what you're trying to do now. So, they stunt their own growth out of fear of changing their relationships. They put their goals and aspirations aside or even change them. You know what happens? Their partners change and eventually they break up anyway because the two people no longer have anything in common! Then, they have to work really hard to try to catch up when all of their friends are also moving on.

Here are some facts:

1) Relationships are very difficult even when you are experienced and have lots of maturity behind you.
2) They're even more difficult when you have neither of these.
3) Everyone grows and changes with time.
4) Relationships grow and change with time too!
5) Very few relationships last a lifetime.
6) Of those that do, very few of them are said to be "truly happy" by the partners in them.

I'm not trying to paint a bleak future for you here at all. What I'm saying is that you can beat the odds, but not by trying to never change or grow or by putting everything of yourself into the relationship. You see, relationships are about the people within them - they are not an entity of, and by themselves. As you both change so will your relationship.

Your best option is to refocus yourself on your goals and aspirations and move toward them in conjunction with your relationship. Take time away from your girlfriend to work on these things - and to give her time to work on herself too. If you don't do this, you're simply going to suffocate the relationship, your girlfriend and yourself. Putting too much emphasis on any particular area of your life isn't healthy and that causes the disease to spread throughout every other area of your life - including (especially?) your relationship!

So, if you want to help your relationship to survive, do the following:

1) Get refocused on your goals as your primary focus.
2) Let your girlfriend do the same thing.
3) Grow as individuals first,
4) Grow as a couple second,
5) Öand watch your relationship grow along with it.

My friend, change is going to happen whether you want it or not. You can't prevent it, so instead, us it to your advantage.

Best regards...

Have a love, dating, relationship, sex or man/woman question? I answer all email. You can write to me at dwneder@beingaman.com for answers. For more information about my books, "Being a Man in a Woman's World" (volumes I & II), and other products visit: www.beingaman.com. Check out the discussion group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beingaman.

Copyright (c) 2005, Dr. Dennis W. Neder
All rights reserved.

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