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Am i too clingy or is he pulling away

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  • #391188
    Notebookb6
    Participant

    I have been having this ‘almost relationship’ with a friend (long distance) for 2 years, due to the pandemic, I haven’t got the chance to go back to my hometown(where he stays) yet. We text every single day, we had endless topic to chat with, we share similar interest and all. We had been working from home throughout the pandemic time, until recently (2022) when he started getting back to work in office, I’ve been noticing the declining of our interaction, he seem less responsive, he took longer time to reply, we doesn’t seem to have much topic recently. When i initiate he doesn’t seem wants to continue with the topic.

    For a better understanding, here is a list of things we used to do then vs now:
    then:
    1. we would text whole day and wish goodnight sleep
    2. he would spend long hours getting in touch with me
    3. we would talk about many random topic
    4. he would ask me questions and care about my daily life
    5. we share our lunch photo every day

    recent:
    1. he takes longer time to reply, and the answer is usually short
    2. the frequency we text each other has declined a lot
    3. we still share lunch photo daily
    4. he no longer ask questions and cares about me
    5. our interaction has gotten less fun than before
    6. we no longer wish good night sleep daily (occasionally yes)

    He did mention he’ll has to focus on his personal project as the deadline has due. As I have the anxious attachment style, I’m always worry about him getting close to other girls especially now that he got back into office. So by my paranoia mind I always assume to the worst case scenario, which in this case, it felt like he is pulling away. So I’m not sure if i’m being too clingy or he’s just getting busy with the ‘new normal’ life. Would like to have a perspective from a 3rd person, thanks!

    #391189
    samy
    Participant

    This may sound rude but nobody is in an almost relationship. You are either in one or not. And you are not. Don’t let people drag you along. If he wanted to, he would. And he doesn’t want a relationship. You are just lurking on the sidelines waiting for him to give you the validation of being his girlfriend/boyfriend

     

    Nobody should have you on your toes. A relationship should be about belonging and companionship. I don’t really care about attachment styles. If someone is triggering anxiety in you it is best for you and them to put an end to it.

    He has already shown you what this is:

    he takes longer time to reply, and the answer is usually short – not interested
    2. the frequency we text each other has declined a lot – not interested
    3. we still share lunch photo daily – is the bar this low?
    4. he no longer ask questions and cares about me – not interested
    5. our interaction has gotten less fun than before – not interested
    6. we no longer wish good night sleep daily (occasionally yes) – please, stop this!

    You deserve to be in a relationship where you feel secure, wanted and loved. I wish him well and hopes he finds that too. But I want to help you. The attention he gave you in the start had you hooked and you have let 2 years go by with crumbs of hope that you will “get” him. He is not a prize. Stop chasing people when they have shown you what they think of you.

    Please work on your self-esteem. Why are you accepting almost relationships. For 2 years? You are lacking a healthy sense of boundaries and standards. I did too, so I am not judging. Please wake up. And you may get advice to communicate but this I am against. Some things are bare minimum. Even if you got into a relationship with him, you already know what it’s going to be like – not fulfilling and anxiety inducing.

    I’m always worry about him getting close to other girls especially now that he got back into office. So by my paranoia mind I always assume to the worst case scenario, which in this case, it felt like he is pulling away. So I’m not sure if i’m being too clingy or he’s just getting busy with the ‘new normal’ life. – he is not your partner so you are wrong here to expect anything. But in the future, if a partner makes you insecure about loyalty, introspect on if it is really you or if that person is not meeting your needs. Don’t try to be the “cool girlfriend”. You trust people when they earn your trust.

    Your anxious attachment style is tied to your self-esteem issues. Do work on that.

    This person is not even a proper friend. Take your time and energy back. If you need to cut contact to recover from the almost relationship. Do it. Focus on you. Be with people and invest in activities that fill you up with joy.

    Sorry if it hurt your feelings but I need you to recover from this and fly high. I know you deserve good things, please believe that.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by samy.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by samy.
    #391194
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Notebook6:

    A little history: in October 2018, you left your hometown and country and moved to a new country where you started a new job. You liked the job at the time, but you were lonely, homesick, and you missed your ex. You wrote at the time: “I miss closeness with other, I even CRAVE for it. But sometimes when I’m with someone for too long I felt exhausted, and I wanted to be alone”.

    During the covid-19 lockdown of early 2020, while living in the new country, you got closer to a hometown male friend whom you knew for five years, and the two of you were texting each other every day long-distance. You felt a deep connection to him. During Dec 2020-Feb 2021, you were worried about “a decline of our conversation frequency… he started to shift his focus to his art career, sometimes we would go few hours without texting each other… This shift has causes me to have withdrawal symptoms, I felt anxious, I had the intense fear of losing him, I have the fear of him texting other girls… I have insomnia just by thinking about him… (I)  get anxious and depressed, to the point I couldn’t focus on my career… I have my art career to focus on too, but because my mind is always occupied with things related to him, my art progress has been in stagnant state for a while” (Feb 6-7, 2021).

    On March 7, 2021, you felt better: “I’m feeling better recently, as I’ve been very close with the person I mentioned earlier, we have been texting frequently, and he also sent me cookies from his country (my hometown), we had midnight talk once every few days, one time it lasted until 3am last week, it felt like the connection is back as usual, and last time I was probably overthinking too much“.

    Fast forward to January 12, 2022, you are worried again about the same friend who recently shifted from working from home, back to the office: “when he started getting back to work in office, I’ve been noticing the declining of our interaction… He did mention he’ll has to focus on his personal project as the deadline has due. As I have the anxious attachment style, I always worry about him getting close to other girls especially now that he got back into office… I’m not sure if I’m being too clingy or he’s just getting busy with the ‘new normal’ life. Would like to have a perspective from a 3rd person, thanks!” –

    Here is my input: In February 2021, you were worried about “a decline of our conversation frequency”, and in January 2022, you worry about the same thing: “ the declining of our interaction”.

    In February 2021, the reason to the decline seems to have been: “he started to shift his focus to his art career”, and in January 2022, the reason for the decline seems to be: “he started getting back to work in office… He did mention he’ll has to focus on his personal project as the deadline has due”.

    He has spent lots and lots of time communicating with you daily for close to two years, so I figure that he is emotionally attached to you and is likely to increase the communication current communication frequency after he completes his personal project (although future projects and changes in the workplace may cause repeated declines in communication frequency).

    You mentioned that this friendship is an “almost relationship“, and that you are worried “about him getting close to other girls especially now that he got back into office” – it is possible that he prefers a long-distance almost-relationship over a committed, in-person relationship. Maybe he feels more comfortable in a long-distance almost-relationship. Maybe being physically close to another person for too long exhausts him and he prefers to be alone, just like you (“when I’m with someone for too long I felt exhausted, and I wanted to be alone”). If this is true, then you don’t have much to worry about… except displaying an anxious attachment style means to worry, doesn’t it?

    What about the online therapy you mentioned last year?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by anita.
    #391214
    Notebookb6
    Participant

    Dear Samy,

    I understand your point of view, as when I was reading your text I’m listening to Youtube video about letting go. Just a little bit context, we are not long distance nevermet friend, we have been knowing each other for more than 6 years. I’ve been having the self-esteem issue for the longest time, and is currently working on it through therapy.

    But you’re right, I’m giving too much attention on him and is deeply attached, I need to set boundaries and work on myself more.

    Just another context that this is not the first time he seems pulling back, the same thing happened last year around the same time when he was working on his personal project. Everything went back to normal once he completed it. So it could be the same case for this time too.

    And we have quite a few of friends in common, so cutting contact might not be the best option.
    Your advice may sounds hurtful but it might be the truth that I had to face, so thank you for the advice.

     

    #391215
    Notebookb6
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Thank you again for taking effort to look back previous post, much appreciated

    And you’re right that what happened between Dec 2020-Feb 2021 is occurring again this time, its just the same timing and same reason! I understands its not realistic to expect the same texting frequency as previously since the ‘relationship’ is not as new as before, but sometimes its still nerve wracking thinking that he might lost interest and now he got a new working environment that he will meet new colleagues/friends.

    He has spent lots and lots of time communicating with you daily for close to two years, so I figure that he is emotionally attached to you and is likely to increase the communication current communication frequency after he completes his personal project

    The fact that during Jun-Dec of 2021 we have been texting a lot, to the point he sacrifice sleeping time just to have the night talk, almost everyday. I’m utterly grateful for that. And then we slowly run out of topic, and in mid Dec 2021 he mentioned he has to focus on personal project, and that was when the frequency starting to drop.

    //

     it is possible that he prefers a long-distance almost-relationship over a committed, in-person relationship.

    It might be true because he mentioned he needs lots of personal space before. Currently I’m suffering from loneliness after working from home for 2 years, most of the time there is nobody I can talk to, I’m socially deprived and has no life. Which can contribute to my neediness towards him.

    //

    What about the online therapy you mentioned last year?

    It’s still on-going since March 2021 till now, the therapist thinks that he has been quite consistent and stable, its mostly my overthinking and low self-esteem that causes so much suffering. I’ve been practising CBT for the past month, sometimes it helps. And now I’m just getting started on practicing writing gratitude journal, hope it helps in improving my sense of self/self-esteem.

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by Notebookb6.
    #391217
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Notebook6:

    I will read and reply to you in about 9 hours from now.

    anita

    #391242
    Notebookb6
    Participant

    Okay

    #391249
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Notebook6:

    You are welcome. “Sometimes it’s still nerve-wracking thinking that he might lose interest and now he got a new working environment that he will meet new colleagues/friends” – it is interesting, isn’t it, how your brain and body react to the idea that he would lose interest in you, as if him losing interest in you would mean injury or death to you.

    For a little girl living with her mother, the idea that her mother will lose interest in her would mean, in the little girl’s mind, that there would be no one to feed her, no one to cover her with a warm blanket when it’s cold at night, etc., and all this would mean death to her. So, naturally, when her mother is repeatedly inattentive, depressed and/ or angry, the girl fears for her life and becomes a very anxious little girl, being anxiously attached to her mother.

    Fast forward, the girl is now a woman, and she imagines that if some guy living in another country, a guy who is not a source of food and shelter, etc., that if he loses interest in her, then she’ll die, or experience some other physical catastrophe. This woman is experiencing an anxious attachment style.

    I wrote to you: it is possible that he prefers a long-distance almost-relationship over a committed, in-person relationship, and you responded: “It might be true because he mentioned he needs lots of personal space before” – this means that he is likely to keep being invested in a long-distance almost-relationship with you and avoid a short-distance committed relationships with a different woman, a woman in the office/ hometown.

    Your online therapist since March 2021 seems to agree with me, having told you that the guy “has been quite consistent and stable” in his communication with you. You also shared that you’ve been practicing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for the past month, and more recently, you started a gratitude journal so to improve your “sense of self/ self-esteem“. I wonder how a gratitude journal can help your sense of self/ self-esteem?

    Currently I’m suffering from loneliness after working from home for 2 years, most of the time there is nobody I can talk to, I’m socially deprived and have no life. Which can contribute to my neediness towards him” – yes, of course this would contribute to your attachment to your friend. Two years of working from home is a long, long time. Is there no way for you to socialize in-person with people?

    anita

    #391263
    Notebookb6
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Ever since I experienced betrayal and painful breakup from past relationship, I became paranoia and its hard to trust people anymore. It somehow affects me till now. This current guy friend has been an artist with lots of fans, sometimes when I see fans commented on his photo that he’s cute I felt jealous. He is also friend of other artists and there is one talented pretty lady who is successful in her art career that I often compared myself with, and felt envy. When he doesn’t text me in long hour, i guess he’s been texting with many others people, and that’s where the anxiety stems.

    it is possible that he prefers a long-distance almost-relationship over a committed, in-person relationship

    From my understanding of his past relationship, it started from him getting close with his ex girlfriend as a coworker -> it leads to more texting -> eventually they got together after getting closer. So I worried this would happen in his new working place too. By the way I finally able to go back hometown soon (2 weeks later) and will be staying there for one month. Will see how we progress from there.

    I wonder how a gratitude journal can help your sense of self/ self-esteem?

    I’m not too sure as this has just started for the 3rd day, I’m trying to acknowledge and appreciate every action taken by myself that helps in self growth.

     Is there no way for you to socialize in-person with people?

    Sometimes I socialize with other tenant of the same household, but the interaction is minimal. Once every two months (in average) I meet up with friends too. Aside from that, I have video call one a week with parents. Most of the time, I’m alone when going out for movies or grocery shopping. I’m still looking for ways to meet more new friends, and recently looking up for yoga classes hoping it would fill up my time a little.

    #391264
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Notebook6:

    Looks like I will be able to read and reply to you either in a few hours from now, or in about 14-16 hours from now.

    anita

    #391265
    Notebookb6
    Participant

    Sure take your time 🙂

    #391266
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Notebook6:

    This current guy friend has been an artist with lots of fans” – but he chose for so long, to spend time communicating so much with you, not with his many fans!

    By the way I finally able to go back hometown soon (2 weeks later) and will be staying there for one month. Will see how we progress from there” – this is huge news, you will be staying in your/his hometown, the same town, for a whole month, in March 2022???

    Sometimes I socialize with other tenant of the same household, but the interaction is minimal. Once every two months (in average) I meet up with friends too” – this is far from being enough socializing for you.

    Thing is, Notebook6, you need to calm down your desperation for your friend: he is not that important in your life, not practically, so far. He is not as crucial to you as you imagine him to be… he is not that important!!! Lower your expectations of him and figure out ways to connect with other people.

    anita

     

    #391269
    Notebookb6
    Participant

    Dear Anita:

    I should have mention it earlier, but YES I’m finally able to fly back hometown after 2 years of seperation, and yes both of us staying in same hometown too, it’ll be until end of February 2022!

    He is not that important in your life

    I understand that relationship is not 100% of our life, in fact, before pandemic I was happy and confident despite being single. Back then I had a healthy social life and also I visit to gym frequently. Since pandemic happens and we started working from home, my daily social life was basically dropped to almost none. And this guy friend is the only one who text me daily and accompany me throughout the pandemic. Guess this is how the strong attachment formed. I’m still trying to distract from focusing too much on this relationship, that I’m planning to join yoga class or maybe short course in near future.

    #391283
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Notebook6:

    It’s exciting, to be going home after two years of separation. I wish you safe travels!

    I wrote to you: “He is not that important in your life“, and you responded: “Since pandemic happens and we started working from home, my daily social life was basically dropped to almost none. And this guy friend is the only one who text me daily and accompany me throughout the pandemic. Guess this is how the strong attachment formed” –

    – I understand of course, that you formed a strong emotional attachment to him, an attachment that is stronger because of your pandemic related social isolation. By him being “not that important in your life“, I meant practically he is not important because he is not your source of food, shelter, material goods, ability to travel, etc.

    Please contemplate the following: part of the intensity of your anxious attachment style originated in childhood when you were really practically dependent on your parents for everything (in the beginning, you couldn’t even sit or walk by yourself). Fast forward, you are anxiously attached to your friend as if you were practically dependent on him.

    anita

    #391312
    Notebookb6
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Thank you for the wishes!

    I agree with the saying that he doesn’t determine my livelihood and survival, after suffer so much from this deep attachment, I have to try learn about detachment and focus more in building up my self esteem and confident again. I’ve booked a yoga trial class this weekend and hopefully by joining class it helps to refocus on my life again.

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