Dating and Relationship Advice

Dear iris,

I’ve been in a healthy & loving relationship with my boyfriend for five months now. I’m so extremely happy, but I tend to overthink & am sensitive, so I wanted to know if I’m coming from a reasonable place. There’s nothing I can complain about, but we live 45 min away & I don’t drive on the freeway. Ever since we started dating, he knew I had a fear of driving on the freeway. He said he would drive to me and that he didn’t care how much or how far. It meant a lot to me, but just recently, it seems like driving to me is a burden. He’s asked me to Uber & I did once, and I don’t mind it from time to time, but I guess I’m just questioning his change in attitude towards it. It makes me feel less loved or not as important. He mentioned us moving forward from the honeymoon stage to reality. I just want to do the right thing, and if that means losing this fear of driving on the freeway I will. I guess I feel hurt a bit; I miss when he would drive to me frequently without hesitation. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Signed, Freeway Fears

Dear, Freeway Fears

I understand wanting to be cared for and accepted, regardless of your fear. You’re not being too sensitive for valuing that in your partner. Having someone who's patient and understanding is great for sensitive people who tend to overthink. That being said, I think there’s a bit more going on with your situation.

I wouldn’t assume that your boyfriend changing how frequently he drives to see you means he doesn’t care. Perhaps his job, school, or family obligations keep him from being able to drive across town all the time. But if this is a concern that’s been bothering you a lot, I’d suggest having a conversation.

We can both sit here all day and speculate why your boyfriend’s habits have changed, but they’d only be guesses. The only way for you to know what’s going on in his mind is to have a conversation with him. Plus, talking about this will be a good exercise for the both of you—scenarios like this are bound to pop up again in your relationship. Learning how to communicate them will be vital for keeping your relationship healthy.

But before you have this talk with him, I want you to consider something. There’s a chance that your boyfriend is pulling back for the same reason you’re concerned about the relationship—he’s putting in most of the effort for you two to see each other.

It’s one thing for him to say that he’ll do whatever it takes for you two to see each other at the beginning of your relationship. It’s a whole other thing to live that reality when you’re driving an hour and a half to see someone who doesn’t make the same drive.

Again, I understand your fear of freeways. But there are ways around that: driving on side streets only or Ubering. My point here is that a relationship is two-sided. It might feel great that your partner will come and see you whenever you want, but that’s not going to create a balanced relationship.

Your boyfriend wants to feel cared for just like you do. It’s important you put in the same effort as he does. That could mean slowly getting over your fear of freeways, or it could look like offering to pay for his gas to see you.

A relationship is about intertwining your romantic life with the rest of your life. You can’t expect to move out of the honeymoon phase if you’re stuck thinking that your boyfriend's affection for you should come above everything else. You both have to compromise, not just one of you.

To wrap all of this up: have a conversation with your boyfriend. Talk to him about how you’ve noticed he’s less excited about coming to see you. Let him know you appreciate his efforts and want to do the same for him. Then discuss what that could look like together.

Not only will this talk ease your mind about why things have changed, but it’ll bring you and your boyfriend closer together—a win-win for everyone.

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