October 11, 2017 at 2:51 am #172703
This is definitely not my first time writing a forum, I've actually written 2 on the very same topic; my boyfriend and his closed off nature. Next month it'll be our one year anniversary. Ever since the start of our relationship I felt that my boyfriend was never ‘really there' with me, he would often zone out, go on his phone and kind of go about his day is if I weren't there. If you have patience to read my last 2 forums it gives major insight into our past and actually, it shows that I have been dealing with this problem on and off for our whole relationship. And that is the exact problem – I feel like I am alone in this.
Now, a lot of people will give the advice that I should tell him I feel like I am alone.. but I already have! So so many times I've lost count. I cannot tell you the amount of painful conversations we've had that ended with both of us in tears. I think this happens because I don't think he understands or fully takes in what I want from him.
So about 2 days ago, I kind of fell apart yet again about this issue. We're long distance, so when I went to visit him and the whole time he physically didn't want to touch me, and was on his phone a lot and just didn't look very interested.. it broke me yet again. I feel I am a very strong individual. I have been through years of anxiety by myself, and throughout our relationship I have grown stronger and stronger, especially because of this issue. HOWEVER, whenever I am with him while he is being off and wanting to be by himself, I feel SO weak and very clingy and just completely hopeless. When I am experiencing lack of effort from his side, I just start to cry completely randomly and I can tell he gets bothered by it or doesn't know what to do so much. I think maybe I cry because my gut is telling me something is wrong and I just can't hold it in maybe.
So I guess a lot of you are wondering why I'm still with him.. Well, it's not actually always like this. Sometimes, this lazy and emotionally unavailable guy comes out of no where and I simply have to put up with it. One day he is happy and energetic and willing to put in effort and everything is amazing and we love each other and we show each other so much love, and the next he's completely cutting me off and acting like he cannot be bothered with me.
So, yet again, we started the very same conversation we always have, I tell him I'm hurt by the lack of interest I saw in him, by all of the texting and how much he didn't want to touch me, etc, etc. He again, start telling me how sorry he is about how much he's hurt me and begging me not to cry or feel sad. I mentioned to him that I feel like I'm constantly putting effort into this relationship while I get none in return. I explained to him very literally what I do for our relationship. I told him no matter how tired I am I try to show you love or be there for you because I know we don't have much time together. And he said something so important!!! HE said “that sounds exhausting”!!! And I was shocked. I began telling him that if he wants a relationship where only half the effort that I put in is shown, he will not experience all of this love, he will have the type of marriage where they live together and go out every once a while but never talk, never go on dates and don't feel like they have to make time for each other. It broke me to hear that because that is not what I want in my life. I told him, that no girl would be happy with this relationship, and he said he thinks I'm wrong and his behaviour and efforts could be accepted, but I'm afraid, for me, it is not enough for the rest of my life to feel this left out and hurt.
He also told me that he understands he has a problem with communicating and expressing his feelings and he will try to work on it. But will he? I've asked him so many times to do just that and he just doesn't do it. I feel sorry for him because he is a genuine person and I don't think he wants to hurt me, but he does, all the time. And I guess this is what's keeping me with him too – I know this is not intentional. I know he loves me. And he does so much for me. He's very patient with me, I'm emotional a lot of the time and he's always there to listen when I cry. When I had no time off work he came to see me 3 hours away just for 24 hours so we could be together. I truly feel he loves me, and I know I can do no wrong in his eyes. But there's just something he's holding back.
Whenever I think about the possibility of breaking up with him, I completely ruin my whole day and week. I become a mess, I become depressed, I cry at work, and I just feel like I spiral out of control with my emotions. I know I want to keep him in my life, I literally cannot imagine not speaking to him for the rest of my life. But what do I do to make him realise he could lose me?! After every sad conversation that we have, he seems fine the next day and kind of acts like nothing happened. I fear that he's just not willing to work on our relationship, but whenever I talk about maybe breaking up he says he doesn't even want to think about it because he sees a future with me.
How do I communicate to him that if he doesn't put the effort in, then I am no longer happy to carry on? Or how do I even show him how to put the effort in? I feel as though I am talking to a child who has no idea about the world of relationships.
Any advice would be very appreciated!
Thank you xOctober 11, 2017 at 6:49 am #172727
You shared in your previous thread that you have an “insanely close” relationship with your mother and sister, if I remember correctly, that the three of you talk and talk for hours and lose concept of time.
Having read this post carefully, I am thinking that it is possible that the reason “he would often zone out, go on his phone and kind of go about his day is if I weren’t there” is that you talk to him too much, that you share too much and he can't keep his concentration on what you say, he has to take a break.
It may be that he is not as closed off as you think he is, but that you have unrealistic expectations regarding a person's ability to pay attention to a person who talks a lot. Maybe your mother and sister have this ability but most people do not. Is this possible?
anitaOctober 11, 2017 at 7:13 am #172731
Thank you for your reply. Yes, you do remember correctly.
That could be possible, although I don't think it is only my mother and sister who have the ability but maybe more so the fact that I have this problem with men maybe? My whole life my best friends and closest relationships have always been women for some reason. I think maybe because they understand me better… I am a complicated person and I know that, and I always have a lot to say and express. If it helps for you to know, when I share my problems with my dad he replies with a very quick and sharp solution, and telling me to calm down and enjoy life instead of making such a big deal out of things. Maybe this is why I've always had friends that are girls, because they stereotypically elaborate more and I love to discuss and delve deeper into things. My mum is also always trying to teach me that guys are much simpler, so maybe I just have a hard time understanding?
Last time you asked what my family think of this situation. My mum and sister believe he is a good guy who truly loves me and is really trying his best to make me happy. My mum says only I can be the one to decide what happens and it's just a case of whether I'll accept him for who he is or not. My dad (although he can see why the way my boyfriend is bothers me) thinks I need to cut him some slack.. he always says “poor guy, leave him alone”
I do notice that when I go about my own things and maybe spend less time thinking about or talking to my boyfriend, he seems to come out of his shell more and misses me more during those times. It's weird, the whole “chase him and he'll run away, ignore him and he'll come running back” is very true indeed, but I don't want to be playing games with my boyfriend forever.
Friends have also given the advice that if there are ‘red flags' as such at the beginning of the relationship, that is never good and therefore the relationship will not last. My take on it is; red flags aren't problems themselves, but the unwillingness and inability to solve those problems are. Right now, 9 months later writing about the same thing, thinking about the same, I'm feeling like the problem isn't being fixed. What do you think?
FruzsinaOctober 11, 2017 at 8:05 am #172735
You wrote: “I do notice that when I go about my own things and maybe spend less time thinking about or talking to my boyfriend, he seems to come out of his shell more and misses me more during those times”
When I read the sentence I just quoted, I thought to myself: he comes out of his shell because he doesn't feel the pressure, that is, when you stop pressuring him, he relaxes and comes out of his shell, missing you. Then I read your next sentence, your interpretation: “It’s weird, the whole ‘chase him and he’ll run away, ignore him and he’ll come running back' is very true indeed, but I don’t want to be playing games with my boyfriend forever.”
I don't think he is playing games or that games are required. I think this is the matter: when you talk to him too much, when you pressure him to open up, and all that, this is pressure put upon him, and as a result he … does the exact thing you don't want him to do, he closes off, withdraws, focuses elsewhere, ignores you.
Reads to me that he does love you and that he understandably withdraws from you because you put unreasonable pressure on him. In other words, you are causing him distress which harms him. His withdrawal in turn, hurts you.
You wrote: “I am a complicated person and I know that”- can you elaborate on that?
anitaOctober 11, 2017 at 8:24 am #172743
I'm glad you said all of the above because it is proof my research and own interpretations were correct also. In July I had another one of these ‘breakdowns' about our relationship, so I went searching. I remember spending the whole day obsessing and researching about what I should do. I came across this article – http://theladiescoach.com/spirituality-and-self-love/release-blocked-feminine-energy/ which was extremely helpful.
I not only applied going with the flow and used my feminine energy around my boyfriend, but started to tap into it in all aspects of life. And everything was perfect and harmonious. When I went to visit him then, I remember feeling the happiest with him I ever was. That is because I did not try to control him or us, and I completely let go of every expectation that I had for us. He did still pull away at times then, however, instead of getting upset and pressuring him I went and did my own thing too. It only took very small amount of time for him to come back to me. At this point I felt like I had it all figured out, but I fell back to my old state and I have trouble tapping back into this feeling and way of life again. I think this maybe has something to do with the fact we are long distance. We usually only see each other 2 days at a time, so I always feel so much pressure to make that perfect, and as soon as he does something I don't approve of, I go into panic mode and end up running around in circles in my head, trying to control us and overthinking our every step.
I'm very sensitive. I take a lot of things personally and overthink things very easily too. I've had anxiety ever since I was very young and a lot of things seem to scare me. I worry about the smallest things and make them so huge, and the reason I say I am complicated is because ones closest to me always have to listen to me talk on and on about the same issues, because I ruminate, and often have negative thoughts. I also have thought in the past that I may be a little bit bipolar; it's insane how quickly my mood changes sometimes, from one extreme to the other.
FruzsinaOctober 11, 2017 at 8:42 am #172747
It happens more often than not, that we go back to old habits of thinking and behaving. We are habitual creatures. Habits are hard to break.
Regarding your anxiety, the ruminating, negative thoughts, worries, is your mother anxious as well, does she ruminate and worries a lot too?
anitaOctober 11, 2017 at 8:54 am #172749
That is true. I'm very glad and proud I came to this conclusion, however it is tough to always remember it. Maybe I just need to be patient with myself.
My mother and I are very similar! The only difference is, she is of course older than me and wiser. Yes, she is a worrier and ruminates also, however she tells me it used to be worse when she was my age. She tells me that over time, she has learned to switch off her mind and not always listen to her thoughts. My mum's sister has always had anxiety, and my grandma also easily worries and is sensitive.
FruzsinaOctober 11, 2017 at 9:17 am #172753
You've been worried about your boyfriends' “closed off nature” as the reason for your dissatisfaction in the relationship and otherwise, when thinking about the relationship.
But even though you have a very close relationship with your mother (and sister), even though you talk for hours at a time, about anything and everything, that openness, that mutual availability and closeness, has done nothing to resolve your anxiety, has it? Not during your relationship with your boyfriend and not before you met your boyfriend.
If you agree with my last paragraph, how do you explain that a close, open relationship (what you wish you had with your boyfriend but already have otherwise) did not and does not resolve your anxiety and distress?
anitaOctober 15, 2017 at 6:35 am #173197
I think you are very right. Thank you for helping me realise this. If I am honest, I have not been very happy the last couple of months. I went through a lot of changes after graduating from university and I'm not sure what the next step is in my life. I think I have to focus on making myself happy mentally in order to fully enjoy my relationship. Maybe subconsciously I put too much pressure on the relationship and look to him as my only source of happiness? I am not sure. But I realise I am going through a difficult time in general…
FruzsinaOctober 15, 2017 at 7:39 am #173205
You wrote about your mother and your grandmother (your mother's mother, correct?): “she is a worrier and ruminates also, however she tells me it used to be worse when she was my age….my grandma also easily worries”-
this would lead many people to think of anxiety being genetic, after all there is the grandmother being anxious, her two daughters and granddaughter. Genetics? I don't think so. Not likely.
When a child grows up with an anxious parent, the child feels the parent's anxiety repeatedly, maybe daily, for years. It makes the child feels… anxious, scared on an ongoing basis.
As a result of this ongoing fear, that is, anxiety, the child feels weak and clings to the anxious parent, afraid to lose them, afraid to be alone.
I think that you are very much that child, feeling weak and clingy. You wrote in your original post: “whenever I am with him while he is being off and wanting to be by himself, I feel SO weak and very clingy and just completely hopeless”- this is what a child feels with an anxious parent.
It is interesting: your mother may very well be a good mother in many ways, but if she has been anxious as your mother, she has passed on that anxiousness to you.
I hope you post again with your thoughts and feelings.
anitaOctober 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm #173301
It looks like you received some great advice. I wanted to add, I too go through the same emotions, thoughts and feelings, and unfortunately, have sabotaged my relationships due to my anxiety, clingyness, fear, lack of self worth, rejection and abandonment issues, etc. Most of this came from alot of trauma as a child. I am currently on medication and trying to work through it in therapy. I would like to suggest a great book that really helped me with relationships, fear, anxiety and men. It's called “Co-dependent no more” a best seller.October 17, 2017 at 9:48 am #173551
Thank you for you reply and recommendation. Did you regret breaking up with your significant other? Do you feel happier yourself? I'm sorry to hear you went through a bad time and I hope you feel better soon.
FruzsinaOctober 17, 2017 at 10:00 am #173557
That is an interesting perspective.
I still feel very sad and not myself… My boyfriend is coming to visit me this weekend and I'm very scared… I'm not looking forward to it that much, because I feel like my overthinking habits have messed our relationship up so much that I worry I'll make it worse. I think I just have bad memories about him coming to visit me, because the past few times, he left and then I just cried because his visit wasn't anything like I imagined. ( it didn't meet my expectations )
Throughout the whole of today, I was thinking “what if I actually broke up with him?”. My friend gave me the advice that the problem with me is that I worry too much about what's going to happen after I make my choices. And I agree with that. So, what if, I just took a leap of faith and broke up with him? The thought of that… It's very wild and not like me at all. It almost excites me because I wish to be more spontaneous in life. BUT then comes the horrible dread. “What if I am making a horrible mistake and he is the love of my life and I just need to be patient with him and our situation?”
I never take a chance and always want to play it safe. If I am honest, I do see many positives about breaking up with him. First of all, I won't have to deal with this agonising problem every single day and I'll feel like I have my life back. But doesn't that meant that this could be solved by simply moving in together? I noticed my unhealthy overthinking habits that have been wearing our relationship down the past 5 months started as soon as we moved apart after university.
I almost can convince myself fully that it is the right choice to break up. I have nearly gotten to the “ok, I will do it” point, many times. And then, I see him in person. And when that happens there is no way at all I could do that, because seeing him in person and not just tapping away at my phone all day texting him makes such a big difference. However, it sometimes brings love and happiness, but it mostly brings worry and stress.
How can I tell if I am in denial and I do need to break up with him? Or is it my overthinking brain that ruins everything while nothing is wrong??
FruzsinaOctober 17, 2017 at 10:53 am #173563
This is an important decision to make- to break up or not, this weekend.
This is my understanding of your situation at this point: you suffer from anxiety. The “insanely close” relationship you have with your mother and sister is fueled by shared anxiety: you cling to them and they cling to you. If you were not significantly anxious and neither was your mother (or sister), then the closeness you would have experienced would have been of a different kind.
In your relationship with a man you expect the same kind of closeness (with adjustments, of course, it being with a man). Reads to me that you need a man who is present, in the same geographical location so that he is available every day. For this reason alone, your boyfriend does not qualify.
And if a man does live in the same geographical location, he needs to be a … needy man, needy of you, needy of your company. Did you experience in your past a romantic relationship with a man, in the same geographical location, one who needed to be with you every day, often, one who needed to talk to you often… one who was perhaps clingy?
If so, how did it feel, to you
October 18, 2017 at 11:31 am #173749
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by anita.
I read this morning all of your posts on your various threads since November 2015. I didn't read my or others' replies to you, only your sharing. I hope that this hours long endeavor on my part will be useful to you. My first post to you has my summary plus quotes from your various posts. My second post will have my comments, my understanding of the summary and quotes.
November 2015 you shared about having lived in a flat with six others, you wrote it was “the best year of (your) life”. You met up with two “very close friends… on a daily basis”.
The second year at uni you moved in with two course mates. You wrote: “We decided to move in together because we couldn't go a day without seeing each other.” But you were distressed because you and your ex flat mates didn't meet often. You missed them. You were distressed over friends who “seem to cancel a lot or put off meeting up”. You felt lonely and bored.
You wrote: “What’s making me feel more lonely is that my house mates are absolutely fine with the way things are. ….How do I connect with old friends who are happy and don’t feel like they need to see me?”
And you cried quite a bit: “every time I see pictures of last year I can't help but start crying, because I miss it so much.”
February 2017 You first wrote about your current boyfriend whom you met 3 months before:
“From the very beginning, he would often zone out from where we are and go into his little world… he has gotten used to his time alone and knows how to be alone very well… I am the complete opposite, an extrovert who needs to socialise to feel ok and alive. So most of the time, when we are together, I will end up doing all of the talking, I will be jumping around him very energised and hyper as usual… I really feel as though I am the one bringing all the energy into the relationship…… it feels like effort to be with him because I always have to have the conversation flowing and provide energy for both him and myself.”
April 2017 you wrote: “he treats me like I’m the only girl in the world, expect he forgets to include me in his feelings sometimes.”
You wrote: “I think there is some insecurity within myself about us that makes me constantly question how he feels about me and blame his closed off behaviour on myself, which I need to work on..
You wrote: “I simply told him I want to be more involved in his life and would like him to share his emotions and thoughts with me about things rather than keeping everything to himself”
About your relationships with your family, you wrote: “Me and my family share absolutely everything with each other… My mum knows everything about every relationship my sister and I have had in the past and she’s always been the first to turn to when I needed someone… we usually talk for 2 hours, without even realising how much time has passed”.
You wrote: “I guess it is because of the strong relationship I have with them that I have high expectations for my partner.”
October 2017 you wrote: “whenever I am with him while he is being off and wanting to be by himself, I feel SO weak and very clingy and just completely hopeless. When I am experiencing lack of effort from his side, I just start to cry completely randomly…
“I think maybe I cry because my gut is telling me something is wrong and I just can’t hold it in maybe.
“I mentioned to him that I feel like I’m constantly putting effort into this relationship while I get none in return. I explained to him very literally what I do for our relationship. I told him no matter how tired I am I try to show you love or be there for you because I know we don’t have much time together. And he said something so important!!! HE said ‘that sounds exhausting'!!!
“And I was shocked. I began telling him that if he wants a relationship where only half the effort that I put in is shown…. I told him, that no girl would be happy with this relationship”
… I feel sorry for him because he is a genuine person and I don’t think he wants to hurt me, but he does, all the time.
…I know he loves me. And he does so much for me…. I truly feel he loves me, and I know I can do no wrong in his eyes. But there’s just something he’s holding back.
How do I communicate to him that if he doesn’t put the effort in, then I am no longer happy to carry on? Or how do I even show him how to put the effort in? I feel as though I am talking to a child who has no idea about the world of relationships.
“I am a complicated person and I know that, and I always have a lot to say and express.
“as soon as he does something I don’t approve of, I go into panic mode and end up running around in circles in my head, trying to control us and overthinking our every step.
“I’ve had anxiety ever since I was very young and a lot of things seem to scare me. I worry about the smallest things and make them so huge, and the reason I say I am complicated is because ones closest to me always have to listen to me talk on and on about the same issues, because I ruminate, and often have negative thoughts. I also have thought in the past that I may be a little bit bipolar; it’s insane how quickly my mood changes sometimes, from one extreme to the other”.