First Love – Knowing When to Let Go


I’m 16. My boyfriend will not spend any time with me anymore, and it really hurts me because he puts everything in his life before me. I don’t know why he cares so little when he says that he loves me.

Dr. Greene's Answer

Let me go out on a limb here: you started dating a guy you really liked. He was wonderful. He made you feel special. He told you he loved you, he gave you gifts, and he was very affectionate. You did really fun things together and you felt wonderful. The two of you became physically involved. It seemed really right at the time. Now he seems distant, and you feel used, insecure, lonely, and confused. This is a very common scenario.

The high school and college years are an incredible time of exploration. Life is filled with options. You have new freedoms and opportunities, limitless energy, and raging hormones. This combination is exhilarating and dangerous. The exhilaration is obvious; the danger is not.

Of course there are all the dangers everyone talks about: drug addiction, HIV, unwanted pregnancy, etc. But there is another danger that most people miss: the danger of getting stuck in the wrong relationship.

I’m not saying that your relationship with your boyfriend is wrong. But I am saying that you need to be clear about what you want out of a relationship. From your question, I can tell you want a boyfriend who likes to spend time with you. You want someone who puts you ahead of other things in his life. If you’ve talked with your boyfriend about what you want, and he isn’t responding, then perhaps this is not the right relationship for you. Or at least this is not the right relationship for you at this time. Don’t spend your energy trying to change someone else. You can’t control him, but you can take control of your own life. Above all, stay true to yourself and what you want out of a partner. A relationship is about both parties staying true to themselves while caring for each other. One of the reasons that divorce is so common among adults is that both people in the marriage didn’t learn these lessons as teenagers. All too often, one of the individuals in the relationship attempts to give up things that are important in order to gain the other’s love. As time goes by, this loss is greater than can be tolerated, and divorce seems to be the only way back to finding one’ s true self.

As painful as a breakup is, it is still far better to face what you really have and to deal with it, than to keep trying to make something work out of a situation that just doesn’t feel right. The longer you wait, the more painful it is likely to be. Next time around, look for a guy who wants the same thing out of a relationship that you want. In the long run, you will be much happier.

Last medical review on: March 12, 2009
About the Author
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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Recent Comments

I met a guy when I was 14. We fell in love and had been dating since then. We’ve been having a lot of ups and downs but still we’ve managed to work it out, till now I’m turning 18. Its been great and now I think we connect at a deeper level. We decided against sex until this year, my first experience was painful, and we brushed it off with the idea, its just my first time. But the second time was still painful especially when he tries to go deep. Good thing, he’s so comforting but I also want to get through this and enjoy sex with him. I wonder where the problem might be. From my community, sex is not a topic that’s freely discussed and there’s great victimisation against having teen relationship.


Thanks for writing in. First, you should know, I’m not a doctor, but I am a mom.

You sound very mature in your approach to sex. It is unfortunate that your IRL community doesn’t talk freely about teen sex. It’s great that you are reaching out to others.

You are correct that many women don’t enjoy their first sexual encounter. In fact, it’s often painful. That should not be the case going forward.

Lack of lubrication can be an issue. Fear of pain, can make natural lubrication less likely. If you take longer to prepare for intercourse, lubrication may come naturally. If it doesn’t you can use an over-the-counter lube or a food grade lubrication, such as coconut oil. If you are using a condom (highly recommended even if you are using another form of birth control), make sure the product you use works well with the condom.

Pain when going deep may be an anatomical issue. Some times a different position can help with that.

If the pain persists, I recommend you talk to your doctor.

I hope that helps.
Best, @MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.