What to do when a relationship isn’t working

Lil Chen asks: These past few weeks I’ve realized that I like it when I have admirers. I don’t know why, but I think that’s where my confidence comes from. When boys follow me around or try to get my attention, I gain more confidence, and whenever I hear my Best Friend having more admirers, I lose my confidence and I doubt people’s compliments about me. I don’t like my attitude but sometimes I like it too. I also have ummm…a boyfriend. (Does that make me a bad or selfish person?) He’s my first real relationship. It started just last month, but I’m already doubting it. I envy couples because I want to be like them, having someone to be with and all, but now that I’m in a relationship, I hate it. I don’t like the way my ummm…boyfriend is. He’s too lovey-dovey and insecure, and he gets jealous too easily. I’m still 15 and I don’t know love, but he’s talking about it already. He was my crush, and I told him, expecting him to not want me (all my crushes never liked me back before, that’s probably why I liked them). Now that we’re together, I’m confused as to whether I like him or not. I get scared of him even when he’s not mad. People always tell me I’m lucky because we’re together; they say we’re a cute couple, but I always get insecure when they say that. I can’t even tell my Best Friend about it because she keeps telling me stories about our friends and their break-ups with their boyfriends, and whenever I mention breaking up with him she tells me that I’m like our friends. She hasn’t experienced being in a relationship – that’s probably why – but her words still haunt me. I want to have a boyfriend, but if this is what a relationship feels like then I don’t want it. I want a guy who makes fun of me or makes fun of everything, the one who would do anything to make me laugh, even if his actions are reckless and would probably get him in trouble. The kind of guy who isn’t always lovey-dovey, only during special moments. That’s the guy that I dream of. Sure, I want him to be protective too, and I don’t mind that he gets jealous when I go near guys because that’s how I’ll know he cares about me so much. My other Best Friend told me to break up with him, but I feel like my other Best Friend will shame me if I do, along with other people. I try to picture myself with another guy, but it feels so wrong because I have to be loyal to him. What do you think I should do?

Hi Lil Chen –


Everyone has problems.  Some are more fun than others.  This problem of yours is a VERY fun one!  Oh how I wish all my pack members could have this struggle, instead of the loneliness so many are going through!


Okay, first of all, there is NOTHING wrong with liking attention and admiration.  It’s very natural.  When I go to the dog park, I absolutely expect the boy dogs to chase me; I do not chase them!  The only male I chase is Handsome, my human (and he admires me above anything in the world).  I like being the center female, and expect boy dogs to treat me that way.  And just like you, I can get a little jealous when other females get lots of attention.  But when that happens, I usually just do one of two things – either walk away and find something else to focus on, or do something to get at least some of those boy dogs to notice me.  Either one works, and you can do the same.

But now, onto this boyfriend issue.  It seems to me that the only problem here is that you’re worrying too much!  You had a crush on a boy, you told him you did, and now you’re realizing that you two are different and want different things in a relationship.  Great!  Your job is to break up as friends, having no fights, no big problems, and nothing but the highest respect for each other, and MOVE ON!  Somewhere out there is a girl who will rapturously adore his lovey-dovey-ness, and how attentive he is.  And somewhere out there is a boy who will be very glad to make fun of everyone around including you, and only tell you how much he actually loves you when you’re alone, and only rarely at that.  But you’re not that girl, and this isn’t that boy!


What’s bad is when mismatched people stay together too long, and develop hurt feelings about each other.  Don’t let that happen.   Split up now, and be great friends.  There’s no reason why you can’t.


Dating should be FUN!  Otherwise, what’s the point?  If you’re going to do something requiring lots of work, painful frustration, and tolerance, let that be your math homework!!!


All my best,


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