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  • #108834
    B
    Participant

    Pretty Face, I’m sorry to hear that– why don’t you start a new thread with some details. There are plenty of people here that can offer you some insights. You will be ok

    #106622
    B
    Participant

    Sorry for confusing you– I was kind of talking to myself I think! Just venting since I was having a bad day due to other circumstances. The other guy I don’t have much to add about. He was very nice and reliable but I was not feeling a connection either emotionally or intellectually as he did not challenge me or talk about things that I found interesting (or would change the subject when we did). He also came on very strong before I was able to grow anything for him, which made me feel rushed, but that probably wouldn’t have mattered if I felt a connection to him. I found myself not caring whether I saw him or not.

    I am friendly and social but also introverted and shy sometimes. At first I may seem reserved (depending on where you meet me) but I can be very playful and love to laugh with others. I am constantly out and about doing fun things or deep in thought, or both. I think of myself as intellectual but not extremely so. I like talking about ideas and concepts more so than day-to-day things and people (unless it’s to talk about them more deeply like motivations, psychologically, etc.). I am still growing out of my insecure, socially fearful childhood but there is more growth to happen. There will be days where I feel very lucky to be surrounded by good friends and other days when they are nowhere to be found and I feel lonely and self-pitying. A few days ago I tried to set up a get-together to reunite a large number of friends and all but 2 (of 20+) bothered to respond and could actually come without cancelling last minute. I felt like a loser, because another girl in the group has no problem getting everyone to show up. When I asked her if she was coming her response was just “no”, not “I can’t make it, sorry.” I am a little jealous of people who are just naturally popular as it takes me a long time to make good, reliable friends. Thankfully I have a few now (they just couldn’t make it πŸ˜‰ ).

    Some days I exude confidence which attracts people to me– including the disorganized guy who couldn’t believe I was shy– but when they leave or I feel abandoned my confidence fades. A few other things lately have been causing me to doubt myself more. For example, I run, which brings me joy and allows me to be with friends, but am injured and have to cancel my training for a marathon I was excited about. The reuniting dinner thing was supposed to be a way for me to connect with those friends. I am also having a hard time finding a new job, although I am lucky to have a stable one but it is unfulfilling and under appreciated. This is all just a natural ebb and flow of good and bad days I suppose, until I mature more and stop letting people and external events affect my self-esteem. It’s a work in progress πŸ™‚

    I do notice that when I let all of these little things get to me is when I start thinking about this guy or even my ex before him whom I still miss deeply sometimes (or the things we did together, rather), as I put my self worth in what they think/thought of me when I feel vulnerable.

    I’m also still just confused and wish I knew what was going through his head in my quest to understand other people and how they think.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by B.
    #106513
    B
    Participant

    If I can bring myself to. I didn’t have much courage (or time) to ask him about his deeper thoughts regarding this sort of topic while we were dating. Now would be even harder as I only see him in public around other people. A lot went unspoken. But I know it would be good practice for me to approach this fear. Even now after having dated someone else since him I am afraid to bring up sensitive topics. This one I am currently seeing I am not interested in pursuing a relationship with anymore but when I had arranged a meeting to gently let him down I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. Communication was very poor growing up, apparently. I feel so incredibly stupid for not saying anything, but he didn’t ask to see me again so I couldn’t say I didn’t think we should see each other anymore. Now it’s fading awkwardly.

    I am also afraid the original guy maybe lost interest because there was someone else he is interested in. I don’t know if that’s the case and if it were I would be very shocked because she is my opposite (bubbly, very outgoing, very religious, and I doubt she has that deeper intellectual connection with him), but this would make it the third time in a row that someone I cared about either lost interest in me and started dating my a bubbly person like this or found one shortly after breaking up with me. If I am no one’s type, then who is mine?

    #106500
    B
    Participant

    I doubt it– he is very focused in other areas of his life. He just seems to lose track of time or has a poor grasp of it. He spends a lot of his time engrossed in serious books that would bore me. When it comes to reading and his studies, I probably look like the one with ADHD πŸ˜‰

    #106438
    B
    Participant

    Is that an appropriate thing to ask? I’d feel kinda awkward lol! And I still wonder if I should text him good luck on his event tomorrow. Part of me doesn’t care to, but the other part feels bad and wants to show that I still support him and care.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by B.
    #106432
    B
    Participant

    His brain does work very differently from mine! It was really fascinating and I loved asking him questions about his perspective on time. Like he would say he couldn’t really keep track of which training groups met on which day, even though he worked there almost every day of the week and that schedule never really changes… He struggled greatly to plan things and admitted frequently that he sucked at timing and was constantly late to things, but he really did make an effort with me because he could tell I valued time. I brought up the register thing only because that meant he was stuck and forced to interact with me πŸ˜‰ The other day that I ran into him he wasn’t actually on the job anymore but was just hanging out and after a few minutes of me being there working with another staff member he went to the other side of the room behind some stuff and hid in the corner on his phone.

    I’d hate to think 5 hours was like 5 minutes to him, though. I did say at one point near the end “well, I didn’t expect this to last more than one drink” and he said “yeah me neither.”

    I really just want to know why he feels so awkward or afraid of me now πŸ™

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 8 months ago by B.
    #102156
    B
    Participant

    Thanks anita! I definitely thought about what you said about trying “type” people and I was afraid of coming across that way or actually being guilty of that. I brought up attachment styles a lot because it helps me clarify what sort of beliefs and behaviors I typically have and of those I’m afraid to be in a relationship with. It’s sort of a shorthand, but I can see it getting a little out of hand if I let it guide my decisions.

    However, I hadn’t felt that deep gut fear in a while and it was so unwelcome that I just want to run away from it and protect myself. It reminded me of the hurt I felt in my last relationship and the feeling that I wasn’t important enough to keep around. I am obviously still not healed from those past hurts and am still trying to make sense of what happened, but I feel the strength under my fear now as well, so it’s not all in vain.

    He has done nothing wrong, I’m just trying to get people to forecast the future for me πŸ˜‰ I am wide open for learning!

    #96028
    B
    Participant

    Thanks anita! And I agree with you that I am not stuck with her. I read before about how you (and others) have let those who are hurtful in your life go, even if they are close family. I am not ready for that nor do I see myself doing that, but I do believe in tightening up a ton of boundaries. But it is hard. I am trying my best to be kind and inclusive to my mother, but I can never do right. No amount of rights make up for any “wrong” I do for her. I can not simply live my life and grow into an independent adult without “hurting” her somehow or being “selfish”. If that is what I must be to establish healthy boundaries, so be it.

    Unfortunately one of us would have to move for a healthier physical distance to occur, but I see that happening for neither of us… But I think so far it has been very helpful for me personally to realize that what she does is unhealthy, so I can begin drawing those very important lines..

    #95908
    B
    Participant

    I’m not sure where the line is between own personality and her influence, but I grew up terribly shy as a child. Once comfortable and confident with friends I could be a leader or a follower, but I moved every year or two because my dad would get a new job or change professions. We settled at the end of elementary school so before that I always had to make new friends. I never made friends that I really clicked with in middle/high school, though, but I was perfectly content staying home playing MMOs with online friends. In college it took me a year to find my close group of people.

    Romantically, I always had crushes but grew up awkward, got chubby all of a sudden after 2nd grade, had acne in high school, etc. Until college I was too terrified for anyone to know I liked them lest there be a chance they didn’t like me back. That was one of the biggest humiliations I could imagine. I’m only moderately better in that area now and have tremendously grown my confidence, but some areas lack behind. My first relationship (right after college) was with someone I didn’t think I ever had feelings for but wanted the experience. It lasted 6 months before I realized I was settling and we were too different.

    A few months later, a guy I found very physically attractive at the gym who I had a crush on asked me on a date– something I had fantasized about since middle school. I knew that now that I had lost weight, got extremely active (I’m a distance runner), and became more confident that people actually found me attractive, but subconsciously I’m still that ugly duckling and can’t really believe it when someone finds me attractive. We started dating and after the first week I was just obsessed with figuring out if we were on the right track to a relationship. I didn’t want to screw anything up and was terrified of being abandoned. Like extreme anxiety. I lost my mind and thought I was crazy!

    I had never been so emotionally unstable before. I don’t know if I actually came across that way when we were together, but 2 months into it after he came on very strong he suddenly disappeared (I think another girl was in the picture). The same exact time that happened was when I met my most recent ex, the one who was recently divorced. We both got to know each other first when I told him about the guy and he opened up about his pending divorce, and grew connected from there. My anxiety persisted into this relationship, often being afraid of being abandoned unreasonably, or having texts go unanswered (they never did). He demonstrated lots of patience, love, and reassurance and was a good partner to help me heal for the first 4-6 months, before he started pulling away and wanting more time to himself, which triggered the anxiety again.

    Even now, thinking about if things with my new crush or someone else got serious, I am terrified of feeling that way again. I hate that I became a little depressed the night I found out he was going to be moving even though we’ve only had 2 conversations. I am so much happier and secure when I am not concerned about whether I love someone more than they love me back…

    As for friendships, I have been in the city I am now (where I was originally from) for 2 1/2 years after graduating in another big city. It wasn’t until the last 6-8 months that I really feel like I’ve made close friends and I am so, so much happier now. It also helps that I have a good roommate with a dog so I never feel lonely at home. A year ago I was on forums like these asking if I’d ever make close friends because I felt so lonely when my ex wanted to spend time with his, since he stayed in the town he went to college in and has years of close friendships.

    Sorry for writing about myself so much… sometimes I am also afraid of being a narcissist with how much I like introspection and talking about me!

    #95882
    B
    Participant

    Thanks anita for still listening and providing really good questions..

    I was scared of when she would explode, but I also knew that she’d just get over it again and be sweet and that the pattern would continue. I still worry about what I do or say triggering something, though I care a little less now because I know she’s just “acting out”. Then later she will apologize because she was feeling anxious and/or depressed, which unfortunately she is suffering from a lot because of her hormones not being at a good level. Funny enough, she tells me often that she’s afraid of setting ME off and that she has to walk around eggshells with me… When I react to her (which I do, we can both be hot headed) she thinks I’m very upset and offended– projecting her typical reactions onto me. I hardly ever am– I’m usually just irritated and defending myself. I don’t get very emotional with most of our fights but I always feel the need to defend myself unlike my dad who gets walked over by her. So she and I go head to head very often. These days I am afraid if I don’t keep up with all of her questions about what my plans are, how my day is, when is she seeing me this weekend she will blow up again and I will have 1 less person to support me when I need it. She gets mad or sad when she can’t see me every weekend now, until she actually has plans and then dropping me is easy for her.

    I always thought this was normal for a mom until a year or so ago…

    #95870
    B
    Participant

    I have been seeing her for I’m guessing 5-6 months now? I can’t recall at the moment… Before her I was seeing another therapist for 2 months or so but I felt she wasn’t getting anywhere or giving me much to think about.

    I have begun to talk to her about my mom. I came to a lot of breakthrough realizations recently, but without anyone’s direct assistance. Though I’m sure the therapy definitely helped me become more aware and open to these realizations. My mom was abused as a child and is very controlling and very unstable in her moods. She always blames it on hormones now (she’s had her thyroid removed) but she’s definitely always been a little unpredictable. She’s always a victim and blames other people and things easily. She thinks all of her behaviors are just the way she is, and nothing will change. She’s gotten much better, actually, at growing a little, but is still stubborn. She can be very sweet, loving, generous, and then suddenly she explodes.

    Often, it’s because something I or my dad do (or don’t do) is irritating. I can see her every weekend and talk to her every day like I have been recently, but if she’s in a bad mood and I am too busy to talk to her when with friends, she will tell me I am a mean daughter, that I’m pushing her away and don’t love her and that she is crying and doesn’t want to talk to me and holds a grudge for a day or two, making sure I hurt too. A few times after breakups and I’m spending time at her house but am sad, she gets mad that I only come to her when I need her. She sometimes gives me the silent treatment. One time when I hit rock bottom emotionally after breaking up with my first boyfriend she told me on the phone that she didn’t want to talk anymore because I was making her depressed. I had no one else to talk to. She hasn’t done anything like that since, but I still remember it.

    I haven’t seen my therapist in a while because I was doing great, but see her again next week thankfully. However, last time I brought up the frustration with my mom guilt tripping me and resenting me for not staying in touch all the time, I was trying to ask my therapist what I should do or how should I talk to my mom to not hurt her feelings but explain that I needed space. She didn’t give me any concrete advice but told me an anecdote about a coworker who had to sleep in a car with his wife one weekend. When she asked him why they did that, his answer was “in-laws”. So her point was that basically I’m stuck with her 😐

    I still love my mom but I’m beginning to discover how inconsistent her closeness has been. I still haven’t figured out what that means for the rest of my intimate relationships.

    #95851
    B
    Participant

    He already had been going to counseling (and I really hope he still is) and was advised that he needed to work out his issues in rediscovering his identity on his own. Who knows what’s going on with him.

    Also, my therapist told me something I’m afraid may have been detrimental to my healing a few days ago and I wonder what others think (about what she said or whether she should be saying things like this):

    I had texted her after this all happened and she told me a few days later that she thought his call was a last ditch effort to get back together and that he loves me but feels I will never love him as he is. That she could be wrong but was offering a thought that came to her. I of course don’t think that’s the case, though when I saw him in person I did mention I was going on vacation to a foreign city that we had both talked about going to together a few months ago, but with another guy (he’s just a friend and no one else wanted to come.) Maybe he did feel a little jealous about it, or thought I was ok enough that he could tell me something I probably wasn’t really ready to hear…

    I was doing great before I found out. I’m still doing fine, though I had several bouts of emotional breakdowns at the end of the day/first thing in the morning when I was alone. A few days later I was doing fine again. I didn’t realize it but I think I was using my crush on a guy I see often as an emotional crutch to move on. Crushes have always been exciting to me and I grew up always having one and enjoying living in my fantasies. It also gave me hope but as I’m very familiar by now, I get a little too emotionally involved after a while.

    Both myself and (I’m fairly certain) the guy are very shy when it comes to someone we like but I am pretty sure I can tell that he likes me back. I’ve learned that my gut instincts have been incredibly accurate after doubting myself all these years. Unfortunately I just learned that he is applying for a PhD program a few states away, so I guess pursuing him is pointless… but it has also made me miss my ex again and now sad about this crush. I wish I were less shy and had the guts to tell someone how I feel instead of always getting too scared and then later regretting not doing anything. Maybe he doesn’t end up leaving and I miss my chance?

    I’m not terribly lonely, but I really just miss… something. I don’t know what it is. Attention? Obviously love and affection as well… Trying to get to the bottom of this. I want to be carefree and excited again! I don’t like how I feel when wrapped up about someone else πŸ˜›

    #92641
    B
    Participant

    Roxanna you sound like a very level-headed and kind-hearted person. I hope you two are able to work it out. I definitely think you could both benefit from couples therapy or especially individual therapy for him. A good therapist does the same or more to help an individual with attachment issues learn how to form a strong, secure attachment using their relationship with their therapist as a model example.

    I hope I didn’t make it seem like this is all on you and that you’re responsible for him feeling this way in any bit! You deserve to have your needs for space met too, and it’s very important that you both harbor your own interests and relationships, though every couple is unique in the balance they strike between what they share and what they keep independent. I think some people will always want more or less, even when they overcome their initial insecurities, and that is totally ok. Clear communication is a must to make these things work.

    I think it is good that you are willing to help him see that he needs to rediscover the happiness that is sourced from within him. You said he was initially very independent and lively. Remind him of that if you can, and that you are not going anywhere right now, while he works on himself to find that happiness again. I remember thinking “what has happened to that?” reflecting on my past independence and happiness. It is sad when you give that to someone else to be responsible for, and scary when you don’t even realize that you have until it has already happened. Not feeling connected to others and have a support network is also a big factor, like you mention.

    Ideally you eventually find a compromise that you are both happy with, but it will take him more effort to become more conscious of what is happening to him too. Patience goes a long way here πŸ™‚

    #92627
    B
    Participant

    I just wrote a response and submitted but it is missing πŸ™ Also, I noticed I wrote boyfriend when I meant husband, so sorry for that!

    You can be very confident, intelligent, social, etc. in life but still be very insecure in relationships (either fearful and anxious or avoidant and repressed), unfortunately.

    Here are some quotes from the book to describe more of what I think your husband is going through:

    β€œIf you’re anxious, when you start to feel something is bothering you in a relationship, you tend to quickly get flooded with negative emotions and think in extremes. Unlike your secure counterpart, you don’t expect your partner to respond positively but anticipate the opposite. You perceive the relationship as something fragile and unstable that can collapse at any moment. These thoughts and assumptions make it hard for you to express your needs effectively.”

    β€œWhen your partner feels s/he has a secure base to fall back on (and doesn’t feel the need to work hard to get close), and when you don’t feel the need to distance yourself, you’ll both be better able to look outward and do your own thing.”

    One suggestion I will make for your current predicament:
    Try gently suggesting that while you spend time with friends or do something on your own that he do something simultaneously with friends. If he doesn’t yet have friends, encourage him to find a hobby or activity meet up where he can meet others and form other close relationships. At first it will at least help distract him from the distress he may feel when he thinks you don’t want to be with him. And then afterwards, make plans to meet up for a dinner, a date, something more intimate, to share your experiences. It’s a way to positively reward his venturing out to do his own thing knowing you’re at home waiting for him while also giving you that healthy breathing room you need.

    When I was insecure about my boyfriend making all of these plans for week nights and not making time for me, he suggested that after I get back from one of my hobbies that we get together because I wouldn’t see him the next night like he knew I wanted. Of course, this time together must be quality time or else the triggered attachment system (she doesn’t want to be with me and is just doing this to shut me up!) doesn’t truly get pacified…. which must be hard to do if your attachment system is also still triggered (I haven’t gotten the space I need yet!)

    Over a year in this relationship I got much better with my attachment insecurity. It was still there, but I got the healthy push I needed to form close relationships with others, which took some time and is an ongoing pursuit. No one person can serve all your social and connective needs.

    It seems to me that your husband is very thirsty for reassurance, and if he feels like what he does get is tiny sips, he will go back to being thirsty almost immediately. What could possibly be happening is not that he truly needs to be with you 100% of the time, but that the time he does have with you is not quenching this thirst. I would try to get to the bottom of why and what this is.

    #92613
    B
    Participant

    Roxanna your boyfriend sounds like he definitely has an insecurity in the way he forms attachments to others (and even if he loves his parents, could have stemmed from there too). I am myself this way and didn’t realize it until entering my first serious relationships in adulthood. I am very close with my parents but certain ways that I was brought up and influenced by them and others (as well as having very low self esteem and shyness) still impact the more confident and outgoing adult I’ve become. What has helped me heal and take responsibility for my feelings was therapy, an understanding of codependence (as anita has mentioned) and especially the book on attachment styles (http://www.attachedthebook.com/about-the-book/). That book has been a soothing therapist for me on its own.

    Your boyfriend has an anxious attachment style, though you sound relatively secure but just need some space, understandably. I would also read up on the 5 love languages. I, too, told my last boyfriend that while he seemed to think he was spending a lot of time with me, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled with it because it wasn’t the type of quality time (focused on each other, in deep discussions, etc.) that would’ve left me satisfied after a while and able to calm down and become more of my independent self again. I can also identify with not having as much of a support system initially which is very important to work on, but it does take a lot of time, effort, and patience on both of your parts. My first focus with your relationship would be gently helping him understand that while you love him and want to be supportive, he needs to find his own responsibility in his feelings. A couples counselor would be fantastic for that, I think.

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