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Anxiety & depression in a relationship?

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  • #362297
    Lea
    Participant

    Hi ! Warning, this is going to be a very long message haha.
    I am writing this because i can’t stop myself overthinking about the situation.
    To start off here is a very short description of the two main characters. I’m a girl of 25, in the past i got 3 longterm relationships (between 1 and 2 years and half each). I live alone in my appartment as i moved out from my native country to study abroad. Usually people qualify me as the “perfect little daughter, wifey material”. He is 23, he never properly dated a girl, the only one he « dated » was when he was 15 and it lasted a few months. Otherwise he only met girls from dating apps and never for something which lasts very long. He is extremely shy, he suffers from anxiety, i think he was going through some depression (for the reasons explained after) and he has some gender identity issues (identified as cis-hetero queer male but many people think he’s gay). He lives at his parent’s home. We both have a very roaller coster studies path haha. He will start a new 5 years program in september and i will continue the same program (i still have 3, 4 years of studies tho). A few months ago, we met at university a few weeks before the confinement. It’s not an exageration to talk about love at first sight (we spent literally 10 seconds staring at each other in the eyes the first time we saw at university haha). We started to talk a lot (in average between 5 and 7h per day everyday..). We had our first date which was really amazing and after we slept together for the first time. One week after approximately I asked if he wanted to meet again he said « yes but as a friend if you don’t mind ». I was kinda lost, because my first thought was « hey ok he just wanted a one night stand but now he doesn’t care anymore ». However after we slept the first time, he kept reaching me out during the whole week. So the short version after that is that we talked and he told me that he panicked as when things could get serious he instantly thinks about wedding and those kind of stuffs (comitement stuffs) and usually when a girl told him she may be interested by another date it was just in order to be polite (as he explained it). And I asked him if he wanted to give a try to a potential us, nothing complicated, whithout any pressure, just going with the flow as we had (have?) a really strong connection together. He said yes. However as everyone know, the pandemic started to hit and we found ourselves locked in our places. Hopefully (or no) we live in a country which didn’t practice a real quarantine, therefore we were still able to meet (not in town). But from the moment we decided to « give a try » to the moment he chose to stop, many things happened in his life, he got many family issues which lasted for months (so even from before we met) and it reached a pic approximately one week and half after we decided to give a try. Obviously i told him that i totally understood, i was here for him if he wanted to talk, to change his mind and if he wanted to get space and time for himself that wasn’t a problem at all. We met once a few days after he told me his issues, it was him who asked me to meet. I didn’t force him to anything, like i told him, it was just about following what he wanted to do at the moment and definitely nothing more. Two weeks after that meeting, he told me he wanted to stop everything as he didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of being in relationship with me but he valued a lot our conversations. However, a few weeks ago he told me i was the very first person with who he really wanted to be for a serious thing. From here, i was completely lost and devastated. First off, for me, we didn’t date at all. I explain, from the moment we decided to give a try to the moment he decided to stop, we met literaly three times, we didn’t spend any nights together, we only zoned out inside and nothing more. I mean, that’s legit in the sens that we both worked during the week and him even during the week-end, we still had our online classes and obviously he was going through so many things in his life. He told me « yes but the honeymoon phase is over for me and i realized i wasn’t comfortable ». How could we live a real « honeymoon phase » or acting in a relaxed and preasureless way in this context ? Moreover, looking at the context we couldn’t do various activities and well, we only talk about something which lasted less than one month. I just felt like he forced himself to « act » in a way he thought i « expected » from him ? And if so, that’s understandable then he internally « exploded », nobody can ‘t face all those issues and being on top for a very new potential relationship as i told him. I really thought he didn’t want anything serious since the beginning but here are the facts which tend to prove me the contrary : he always was the one who talked about committement, i never put that topic on the table, from the beginning until the end (to be fair he kinda freaked me out when he talked about « wedding » haha) when we met a few days after he told me about his issues, he brought a big and expensive box of chocolates and he told me « that’s the kind of gift we do for people we care about litteraly 72h before dumping me, he had a party with some friends of him from university, a girl asked him if something was going on between him and me and he basically said yes and that was kinda serious (and apparently he was pretty happy about that). I don’t know any of his friends from university. I only knew what he said because a person was actually a friend of a friend of mine but we found out that like a few days ago so technically he could have said anything there were almost 0 chances i would have known what he would have said. Now, we have decided to keep in touch. I thought he was just being polite and that we would just lose each other after a while. The point is we really keep talking. For instance two weeks ago we spent the whole week daily talking in average 6h per day, he sent me covers and made covers of some of the songs i love. But now, it’s like he became distant again. I can sens according to our chats that there are some stuffs which are going on in his life again. Maybe i’m wrong, maybe he just wants to cut off everything with me now. (why tho ? I mean, he insisted a lot to keep in touch, he always sent me the first message after the « breakup I just really don’t understand what happened which could have made him stopping everything. To which extent his anxiety and his probable depression played/play a part in this story ? We have a lot of things in common, we both acknowledged that it was a big first we could spend that many hours talking to someone about everything (even now) and there is obviously the physical attraction. Plus, how comes you can “officialize” something with someone with your friends (and being happy about that) and 72h later dumping the person? So, this very long message is a kind of bottle threw in the sea haha. I miss him a lot, I know we don’t have the same experience, I know he has a lot of fears. And i also know we never had a real relationship, we never gave a real try, therefore we can’t even talk about feelings which have faded away and i perfectly know he’s not a player, he didn’t even try to play me just to have sex. « i don’t feel like it and i rather stop now than making you believe things ». Yes but i’m not an idiot either, i can see how our conversations are/were those past weeks. The same kind as before. Why didn’t he ask me a break when i asked him if he needed space and time for him instead of just pursuing something he wasn’t comfortable anymore for some obvious reasons? The only thing which has changed is us stopping officially « trying ». I don’t understand and I’m hoping for some help because it lasted only a few weeks but i just can’t move on while it’s been already one month and half. In addition some of my friends saw on his twitter, him liking many things relationship/breakup/depression/regrets stuffs (well i don’t know to which extent it’s supposed to be useful to know that tho haha). And obviously the big question : is there any chance we could, not even get back together but start to give a real try ?

    Thank you to everyone who will be brave enough to read until the end haha !

    • This topic was modified 2 months ago by tinybuddha.
    • This topic was modified 2 months ago by tinybuddha.
    #362379
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    You shared that you are 25 year old woman, a student living abroad in your own apartment, with 3 or 4 years to go in your five years university program. You had three long term relationships in the past and currently you are in a relationship with a 23 year old man who lives at his parents’ home, planning to start the same five year university program that you are in, this coming September.  He “never properly dated a girl.. is extremely shy.. suffers from anxiety.. some depression.. and he has some gender identity issues (identified as cis-hetero queer male but many people think he’s gay)”.

    The two of you met at university a few months ago, “a few weeks before the confinement”. It was “love at first sight.. literally 10 seconds staring at each other in the eyes the first time we saw” each other. You proceeded to talk a lot, have a date, and you “slept together for the first time”. A week afterwards you asked him if he wants to meet again, and he said: “yes, but as a friend, if you don’t mind”. At one point he told you that “he panicked as when things could get serious he instantly thinks about wedding”, but the two of you decided to give the relationship a try, “nothing complicated, without any pressure”.

    Next, “as everyone knows, the pandemic started to hit and we found ourselves locked in our places.. we live in a country which didn’t practice a real quarantine, therefore we were still able to meet”. Before and after your mutual decision to try an uncomplicated, no pressure relationship, he experienced complicated, long-term family issues. These issues reached a peak about a week and a half after the decision to try, and he chose to stop the trial. You supported him in his choice. Next, he initiated a meeting with you and he told you his family issues. Two weeks after that meeting, he told you that he valued your conversations a lot, but “he wanted to stop everything and he didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of being in relationship” with you.

    Next, he told you that you that you were “the very first person with whom he really wanted to be with for a serious thing”. Next, “he became distant again”. You are confused: sometimes he shows a lot of interest in you, at other times he is distant and wants to end things. He is the one who brought up the word wedding and .. scared himself with the idea, you didn’t bring it up. A dating relationship didn’t even start, as you  only met 3 times. You are wondering “to which extent his anxiety and his probable depression played/ play a part in this story?”. You asked “the big question: is there any chance we could, not even get back together but start to give a real try?”

    My initial input is regarding his identification as a “cis-hetero queer male”. “cis” is short for cisgender; a cisgender male means a person  born male and identifies himself later as a male (as opposed to a transgender female who is a person born male and identifies later as a female). This man you are referring to was born male, identifies himself as a male, is heterosexual (“cis-hetero). He also identifies himself as a “queer male”. A queer gender means that the person fluctuates between male and female, being in between the binary gender categories of male and female. All together, these 4 words cis-hetero queer male mean, as I understand it, that he was born a male, that he most of the time identifies himself as a male, that he most of the times identifies himself as heterosexual, being attracted to women, but sometimes he identifies himself as a female and sometimes he is attracted to men.

    It is possible that he never had sexual experiences with women, or with men. It is also possible that he had some or lots of sexual experiences with men, and/or with women outside of the context of long term relationships (which you say he didn’t yet experience).

    You met him only 3 times and the two of you don’t have mutual friends, so you don’t know how he spends his time outside of online classes and living at home. He may be your only romantic/ sexual interest, but maybe you are not his only romantic/ sexual interest. You wrote that he is not a player- maybe not with you, maybe he is a player in the context of sexual activity with men. I don’t know, but you don’t know either. If he is a player in that context, it could explain his changes and unavailability to you, as he is otherwise occupied.

    What do you think about what I wrote here?

    anita

     

    #362383
    Lea
    Participant

    Hi! Thank you for your response. Maybe i should have been a more clear about what you point out.

     

    We aren’t in a “give a try” mood anymore as he decided to stop before even something could start so technically he doesn’t “owe” me responses or conversations anymore. However i don’t really understand his attitude, he stopped everything because he doesn’t feel comfortable (I get he’s scared about comitement and certainly everything went to fast for him). But, our last chats were more than friendly, it was the same kind as when we started to flirt a few months ago. Ok, why not. But suddenly he became distant since last friday. Why this changement? We had great conversations, many things to talk as usual and now, he’s almost ignoring me after insisting to keep in touch and engaging almost all the chats with me. At first i thought it was because he met a new girl but the point is, since he decided to stop he haven’t met someone new. Plus, i really thought that being friendly together was what made him feel the more comfortable. And i know for sure he spends all his time at home except maybe once or twice to see his friends from high school.

     

    I think for him “queer” is more related to the definition of “strange, which doesn’t correspond to the traditional social norms” rather than the sexual context of the word (i’m not totally familiar with this term honestly, i refer myself with what he told me). In the sens that, he has a lot of traditional “feminine features” (his clothes sometimes, he likes to put makeup etc) but he really identifies himself as “cisgender male and heterosexual”. He told me he tried men once but he didn’t like it and this is when he realized he was definitely neither gay nor bisexual. Interesting point here, is the fact that he was the one who brought his sexual identity as topic first, “yeah many people think i’m gay as i know i look very feminine but i’m not”. After a few weeks he talked about him feeling like he belongs to the queer community but i think it’s something which is still very new for him as well.

     

    He doesn’t have many experiences, neither sexual nor romantics. Funny thing, we were extremely open about what we liked, what we knew, how many partners we had before. And through what he told me during this conversation, i spotted we didn’t have the same experience (sexual either actually). Plus, his last “relation” was one year ago and between me and this one he didn’t have one. I know i can trust him about what he told me.

     

    I know he’s extremely introvert as well. He doesn’t really like to go out and for him, i quote “the perfect date is outside, in a forest with a pic-nic”. He spends a lot of time alone, playing music, sewing, woodworking etc. Before we ever started to date we had a group project and we worked with two of his group of friends, this was during our chats i learned more about his hobbies. He has the combo anxiety + introversion + kinda depression.

     

    He clearly scared himself with the idea of committement, i feel like he acted in a pure “fight or flight” way. But i don’t understand what was missing between us. We had/have a great chemistry, attraction is/was here, we can talk for hours and hours. I tried to be as much supportive as i could be during his family issues, i was even ready to stop for a while everything in order for him to rest. So i really don’t get what happened, he’s not a player, nor a cheater, he’s actually the contrary

    #362385
    Lea
    Participant

    Also, he comes from a “traditional” family where the classical gender roles must be respected and i know it clashes a lot with what he would like to look. Therefore that might explain why he has gender identity issues. As he doesn’t follow the “classical” gender path ?

    #362386
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    Your recent post gives me more information about this young man. It reads to me that you did very well with him, being supportive of him, not applying any pressure on him, and therefore, the inconsistency and unpredictability in this new, sort-of relationship is rooted in his issues, not yours.

    Reads to me that his “combo anxiety + introversion + kinda depression” is what’s responsible for his inconsistency and unpredictability with you. Reads like he suffers from anxiety, including social anxiety and therefore he prefers to be alone and engage in solitary occupations such as sewing and woodworking. Reads like he is not socially sophisticated, having had little experience socializing and connecting with people.

    I wonder if he ever attended psychotherapy and I wonder about the nature of the family issues that he shared with you (?)

    anita

     

    #362387
    Lea
    Participant

    Yes he went to see a counselor and before the pandemic begins, he was supposed to start a therapy as well. He had to face illness, deaths in his family and insults based on his look. I was wondering if maybe he could have put a lof of pressure because of my past as well? He asked me a lot about what i did, with which kind of men i was etc. I usually dated men older than me (i had serious father’s issues i recently finally overcame which is why i started to be interested by younger men as i told him).

     

    He seemed to be extremely concerned to be “at the same level” i would say, in the sens that he asked me about my social life, social environnement and i was as honest as he was, I used to date men from NYC/Manhattan, Paris etc. I explained why i went through a phase where i was with people i didn’t get along at all.

     

    Also, i speak various languages and he started to learn Spanish (i’m extremely familiar with this language as well) and we tried to speak it together. Although he gave up as he saw he couldn’t have a “decent” chat with me. So naturally i proposed to teach him as i really love teaching but.. he refused. He did the same with music, i proposed him to show him some stuffs on piano but he kinda refused. While when it’s him who knows something i don’t know, he’s always up to teach me ?

    #362389
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    His lack of dating experience, his social anxiety perhaps, these long predated meeting you and are therefore independent from whatever it is that you shared with him about your life, and with how many languages you speak, and so forth.

    Here is a possibility, a wild possibility (as I have very little information about him and no information about his family): his father is aggressive, offensive, his mother sweet and gentle. He wants to be like his mother, not like his father. Wearing female clothing and putting on make up makes him feel like he is on his mother’s side, away from his father, that he is gentle like his mother, not offensive, crude and rude like his father.

    Here is another possibility: his mother is domineering, aggressive, harassing his father. His father is the gentle one, in comparison, wanting to be left alone, so he (the 23 year old we are discussing) becomes like a .. substitute wife for his father, gentle, unlike his mother.

    anita

    #362403
    Lea
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I would say the second option is the most likely one. As far as i could understand, his mother was very strict, she pushed him after high school into a business school, she is stuck to the rules and she was the one who “attacked” him on his apparence (which isn’t masculine enough for her apparently).  His father is the “cool” figure indeed, however he’s not often at home because of his job.

    In addition, “my” boy is the elder of three children. I would say he has the maturity of a big brother but deep inside he’s still a young kid who had to grow up faster because of the responsibilities which were imposed by his parents regarding his younger brother and sister maybe? These are only suppositions.

    I know he has a lot of issues to accept himself and honestly i’m glad that he never thought about staying with me in order to just flatter his ego, he never tried to lower me either.

    He told me when we talked about his issues that he felt extremely apathetic and when he said that i knew it would affect what he felt for me. This was one of the reasons i asked him if he wanted space and alone time, like i told him, i really didn’t want that he felt the potential relation became a burden during this hard time.

    Why did he refuse to give to himself time and space while he told me that in order to rest he needed to be alone? Why did he push himself in a situation where he wasn’t comfortable? Why i feel like he was extremely concerned by the commitement? I mean, he knew i didn’t want a summer fling or a hookup, but once again, i told him i wasn’t expecting from him a proposal, i just wanted to take it very slow and easy regarding the circumstances and.. yeah, for me, being slow at the beginning, is the only way to try out if something with someone has a real potential or no.

    He knew we had/have a strong connection, he acknowledged it as well. Everything was new for both of us as it was the first time i could spend that much time talking with someone and the most important, that was the very first time i felt comfortable and confident with someone that quick and so did he according to himself. I was ready to support him no matter what would be his decision if he wanted whether to temporary stop or no, he knew it. How comes in a few days, he could gift me a big box of chocolates, consider with his friends that we were a “serious thing” and all of sudden decide he “didn’t feel comfortable” and that “the honeymoon phase was over” while it didn’t even start at all (from a very down to earth point of view)?

    Some of my friends told me that maybe he just didn’t feel comfortable to be in a relationship at all due to his issues and that would have nothing to see with me. I don’t think i forced him into something he would feel uncomfortable as i asked him many times if he was sure about his decision.

    I really don’t get his current attitude either. How comes last week we talked everyday many hours per day, everything was super nice, friendly and flirty at the same time and suddenly he’s very distant? I would have understood if we got bored but the point is, we were far the be bored as last time we got a long talk we stayed to talk from 4:00pm until 1:30am in non-stop..

    What am i supposed to do now? I feel like i did everything i could do, i don’t want to lose him but i don’t know what are his positions toward me and i don’t think he really knows himself to be honest..

    #362405
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    I think that you understand correctly here: “I don’t know what are his positions toward me and I don’t think he really knows himself”- he doesn’t know-> you don’t know, and of course, I don’t know.

    He may very well be.. mentally unwell, at least in the context of intimate relationships. It is not reasonable to expect healthy behavior from an unhealthy person. The behavior you can expect from him is the behavior he has already practiced.

    “What am I supposed to do now?”- in regard to him, nothing at all, is my guess.

    I was wondering, you shared earlier that you were involved in the past with older men, having had a daddy issue, I think is how you put it. This man we are discussing is younger than you, is he very different from the older men you were once attracted to? What is the nature of your attraction to him???

    I ask, but answer only if you are comfortable answering. I will now take my walk and think about what you shared about him, regarding his strict mother. When I am back in about an hour I may post to you more.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by anita.
    #362408
    Lea
    Participant

    Yes that was my guess as well. He got a direct hit in his “masculine ego” by his own mother. And that, i suppose hit pretty hard after when it comes to intimate relationships. I don’t really expect something anymore, or at least not on a short-term now, even a middle-term would be kinda too optimistic in my opinion anyway. At the moment i think i mostly want to understand what happened, to which extent his mental issues affected/affect him toward me. Everything is too recent, i don’t even want to try to move to the step forward the relation. At some point i feel like i mostly need to understand i guess.

    I agree with you, there is nothing at all i can do anymore, I really miss him and i really want to try out something but, i know he’s in a vicious circle where he doesn’t consider himself worth of love and i know he needs to heal by himself as well. This is a hard pile to swallow. And i keep wondering if he really wants to keep in touch or if he’s just going a down time now. I read a lot about anxiety/depression/introversion lately, i’m aware he needs his alone time mostly after socializing but still. I can’t stop myself thinking about his intentions even tho i’m aware he must be in the same questioning phase as me.

     

    To talk about my daddy’s issues, i was raised by a single mom therefore i don’t have a real father’s figure. I think i was looking in my previous relationships a substitute to that missing figure in my life. And this is why i dated older men (in average between 5 and 11 years older than me). Although i finally got over that issue pretty recently actually. And this younger guy is i would say (and paradoxically enough) the “healthiest” attraction i’ve ever had, in the sens that i don’t see him as any substitute, it was him, as a person i was/am attracted to.

    I started to be aware of his mental issues kinda early but i found out how strong they were pretty recently. I never tried and never felt the need to fix him as i’m perfectly aware that it’s not my role anyway. I just tried to make him understand that i accepted him, not only for the good but also for his flaws. I don’t think i really succeed in this task and i wonder if it would be too late for that? Not necessarily in a romantic style but just in general. I mean, he’s a really kind person and very honest, he never tries to take advantage of a situation or of someone, that’s actually the contrary. I realized, beyond the strong and primary attraction i had/have for him, i valued him a lot as person because of his lifestyle which is actually very sane.

    #362414
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    You feel strongly for this man. It is a powerful statement: “this young guy is .. the ‘healthiest’ attraction I’ve ever had, in the sense that I don’t see him as any substitute, it was him, as a person I was/ am attracted to”.

    On my walk, before I read your recent post (“I mostly need to understand I guess.. can’t stop thinking about his intentions”), I thought to myself that there is a good chance for me, and you, to understand him better by knowing the questions he asked you, (I think you wrote that he asked you a lot of questions about your past relationships):

    What questions did he ask you, what kinds of questions did he asked you repeatedly?

    What in your answers to him did he ignore and what in your answers to him did he focus on, wanting to know more about, leading him to ask you more questions?

    anita

    #362430
    Lea
    Participant

    I do feel strongly for him indeed. We were for each other the first time in many areas (me for him as first person he wanted to be with for a serious thing and him for me the youngest person i felt for and all the meanings behind this choice)

    If I remember correctly he asked me a lot about how long did i stay with them, how old were they, from which kind of social environment they were with a focus on the social part actually. All my ex are from a “wealthy” environment. He asked me a lot about my education as well. I got a very traditional one, very “bourgeoise” and everytimes we talked about that i could sens he felt uncomfortable, i don’t really know why.

    We are both from the same “social class” (“middle-upper class” to quote himself) i told him i didn’t care about those kind of stuffs. But he seemed to be kinda preoccupied by those kind of things. I mean, i didn’t choose the kind of education i received, i won’t hide my personality or my past, that would be lying about me. I accept him as what he is and i think i have the right to expect the same from someone isn’t it?

    #362432
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    He is very concerned with social status/ education/ wealth?

    I am thinking: He witnessed a bad marriage between his parents, lots of stress in the home.His mother is the strict, aggressive parent, his father- the cool parent. His empathy is with his father, so he tries to be for his father what his mother was not: gentle, feminine.

    He doesn’t want to ever be stuck with a woman, like his father and himself have been stuck with his strict, aggressive, unpleasant mother. He gets scared if a girl wants a second date with him, gets scared that a girl/ young woman will want to marry him.

    His family life was stressful, there was tension in the air, the more he interacts with his family members, the higher his distress level, so he turns inward,  withdraws from the outside, becomes introverted- less stress that way.

    He meets you, feels connected, has a date with you, sex, then he turns inward/withdraws (its his habit by now). Let’s be friends, he tells you, and reaches out to you to talk, a lot. You suggest to give a relationship a try, he agrees, then he turns inward- it’s his habit, since early childhood.

    You wrote  that the two of you talked a lot: “we spent the whole week daily talking in average 6th per day.. spend that many hours talking .. about everything”-

    – you talked so much, “about everything”,  and yet he is very much a mystery to you. What is that “everything” that you talked about?

    (I will be away from the computer, and back in about nine hours from now).

    anita

     

    #362450
    Lea
    Participant

    Indeed, he seems to be very concerned with social status/wealth/education. For instance i remember him asking if i used to go to thrift shops, if i had to work in order to get what i’d like to. I’m only child and i don’t come from the “working-class” that’s a fact i’ve never really had to put many efforts to get what i want. Moreover, in my hometown, thrift shops don’t exist therefore i’m not use to go to those kind of places. But, did i really have to justify those points? Once again, he was the one who always brought those topics, i told him, i didn’t and i still don’t care about that. And what’s the point anyway? Someone with a bit of privileges isn’t instantly an abomination and not a bad person, i mean, it’s all about balances right? Why did i have to justify those aspects of my life? Because we are both from the same social class..

    Your thinkings have some good points: “His family life was stressful, there was tension in the air, the more he interacts with his family members, the higher his distress level, so he turns inward,  withdraws from the outside, becomes introverted- less stress that way.” => Apparently his mother’s family is kinda in conflict with him (still due to his appearance) as well. Moreover there are some internal conflicts (i don’t really know the purposes, he didn’t talk about them and i didn’t want to ask him too much questions) between his mother’s family and his mother.

    “He meets you, feels connected, has a date with you, sex, then he turns inward/withdraws (its his habit by now). Let’s be friends, he tells you, and reaches out to you to talk, a lot. You suggest to give a relationship a try, he agrees, then he turns inward- it’s his habit, since early childhood.” => Yes, i tend to agree with that as well. However i would blame more his anxiety/introversion rather than a fear of reproducing the same scheme than the one he knows from his family.

    “He witnessed a bad marriage between his parents, lots of stress in the home.His mother is the strict, aggressive parent, his father- the cool parent. His empathy is with his father, so he tries to be for his father what his mother was not: gentle, feminine. He doesn’t want to ever be stuck with a woman, like his father and himself have been stuck with his strict, aggressive, unpleasant mother. He gets scared if a girl wants a second date with him, gets scared that a girl/ young woman will want to marry him.” => Lots of stress at home that’s true but, i don’t think his mother is that “aggressive”, strict yes for sure. Because they are really close him and his mother. I was thinking that maybe she overprotected him actually, she is certainly very bossy and she seemed to have taken decisions for him many times regardless if he whether he was ok or no with that. (e.g him being pushed into a business school while he never wanted to work in this area). He talked a lot about his mother, she was his reference, more than his father actually.

    I would say he wants to be with someone, to find his “only one” yet he’s scared, he feels unworthy of being loved due to his issues, not only the family ones but also his mental ones. I could sens he badly wanted to be “on the same level”. Also, i remember asking him if he wanted that i teach him something on piano, he said no but i learned afterward that he accepted that someone else taught him the same thing i proposed to teach..

     

    “– you talked so much, “about everything”,  and yet he is very much a mystery to you. What is that “everything” that you talked about?” => We talked about our common readings, musical tastes, our personnal issues, a lot about feminism, constructivism, gender issues etc. We could jump from a serious topics to a very light and breezy one without any disturbance

    #362464
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    From your recent post I understand that he negatively judged you for being of a higher social status and therefore you didn’t have to work in order to get the material things you received, somehow expressing to you that you are “an abomination.. a bad person” for being born into material privilege (?)

    You tend to agree that his family life was stressful, there was tension in the air (“Lots of stress at home”), and his interactions with his parents increased his distress, so he instinctively chose to turn inward, to withdraw from social interactions (the making of an introvert). He repeatedly withdrew from you because he is anxious and his way of lessening his anxiety to withdraw.

    His mother was strict, “maybe she overprotected him actually, she is certainly very bossy and she seemed to have taken decisions for him many times regardless if he.. was ok or not with that (e.g.,.. being pushed into a business school while he never wanted to work in this area).. He talked a lot about his mother, she was his reference, more than his father”- when she forced him into making her choices, sending him the message that he is not capable to choose well for himself, when she overprotected him, she also weakened him.

    Maybe he became feminine so .. to please her (not so to please his father,  like I suggested earlier as a possibility). Maybe he submitted his masculinity to his mother, so to gain her acceptance of him. When she rejected his feminine appearance and behavior, that must have confused him, creating an ongoing conflict within him,  because the result of his efforts to gain her acceptance resulted in the opposite: her rejection of him.

    Developing this idea/ possibility: he developed to be who he is by trying to please his dominant, bossy mother, choosing a career path she chose for him.. and on an instinctive level (it was not a thoughtful choice), he chose to be the feminine child that she wanted him to be (not realizing that she wanted him feminine in the sense of submitting to her will, but she didn’t want him to appear feminine.

    anita

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