Boyfriend with sick father

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    Hello, I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for over a month now. He is my best friend and he is a great guy. Whenever I have a problem, he is always a great listener and always makes me feel better. Now he is feeling sad about his sick father and I don’t know what to do because I’ve never had a sick family member. I felt a bit worried because he wanted space although we just started dating. I had an argument with him about it because I felt like as a girlfriend I deserve to hear about his thoughts. He told me he doesn’t want to talk about it. I know now that a guy needs space when he has problems and all I should have said was “I’m here for you” and hugged him or something. But I’m scared that I might have made him lose interest in me because I might have said things that hurt his feelings. This happened with my last boyfriend. I feel like I am a bad girlfriend because I am not very understanding and I nag too much. But after I had the argument with my current boyfriend I did tell him that I was sorry and I am here for him. We seemed to have made up but I’m afraid that he’ll never trust me again because of my big mouth and emotions. Please help. I know tinybuddha can help. I have been following tinybuddha for quite awhile and I have moved on from my past relationship because I read your articles about letting go and I am in this relationship now because I followed my heart and said give love another try. But I feel like I have made the same mistake and cannot fix the problem. If I give him space I’ll feel like he’ll stop talking to me forever and if I keep talking to him I feel like I might say something wrong again and add to his pressure with his family problems.

    Rock Banana


    First off, I’m guessing that this is coming from a place of neediness here. You feel you need this to work out and that you need him to love you, and so on.

    Neediness is a common thing, it’s also not very helpful for creating relationships that are enjoyable, have space and so on.

    When you know that you are enough all by yourself, and that you don’t need this relationship, and that you don’t need people to love you, a lot of these problems melt away all on their own.

    Another thing that I’m seeing here is worrying thinking. As is usual, it’s “awfulizing” about the future, the thoughts don’t really make logical sense, they’re just typical worried thinking. If we have a look here we see things like “I’m worried that I’ve messed up and he’ll never trust me again” and all of this stuff, these are just thoughts not facts, and they are only one way of seeing things. If you believe these thoughts you will end up doing a few things, including being worried, and also, slightly ironically (but not if you realize how undermining neediness and worry are) messing up the relationship you’ve been trying so hard to keep working.

    Just back off this whole thing and relax a little. Understand that you are enough as you are now, that different outcomes are fine and that you can deal with them (like you moved on from your last relationship and let go – so it is possible). Wanting this to work out is one thing, being needy and attached to the outcome and worried about what if it doesn’t work out is another, far less useful thing.

    As for “what to do” – what’s funny is that in a way, it’s so simple. Just listen. Relax, create space, and just listen to what’s up and what’s going on. You don’t need to contribute much. Notice how you think he’s a great listener and you feel better after talking to him. Perhaps you already know what you could do to help?


    Dear denisenas:

    It is a skill for you to learn and practice: to think before you talk. It took me a long, long time to learn this important skill. To take a moment after the thought occurs in your brain and before you open your mouth to say it. Pay attention to the thought, you preparing what to say, take a moment to evaluate it and proceed. Practice will make you good at it!


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