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My Boyfriend is going through an identity crises

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This topic contains 92 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 days, 15 hours ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 93 total)
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  • #212581

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ladybug:

    Time by itself doesn't fix this kind of things. It is the two of you communicating honestly and repeatedly, on an ongoing basis that can fix this, over time.

    I don't know which came first, your needing/ nagging or his emotional withdrawals. Maybe both. But when a person in a relationship withdraws, acting hot and cold, a partner cannot not be negatively affected, acting needy and such. You may be taking more responsibility here than what belongs to you.

    “too many complications” in your relationship means that honest, effective communication is required, so to simplify. Complications happen when there a significant lack of honest communication. When such is lacking we make assumptions. If one significant assumption is untrue, a whole lot of our understanding of a person and a situation is not true.

    Let's look at this: he feels comfortable having sex with you, suggesting from the beginning of this unusual breakup to be friends-with-benefits. But he feels uncomfortable to kiss you when not having sex, or to hold hands… why is that, I ask. When having sex, his focus is his sexual need. But when not, the focus in kissing would be affection for you. A man can have sex with a woman he is angry at, but he cannot act affectionate with a woman without that sexual overriding motivation.

    And so, I disagree that this is time for you to focus on yourself. I think it is time to communicate with him, to have honest communication, ask him questions.

    anita

     

    #212845

    Ladybug
    Participant

    This weekend has been quite interesting. He seemed his usual emotionally distant self, he came home late friday night as he was out with his friends. He made small conversation and told me about his night and how he didnt feel well. He as usual got into bed and wanted to cuddle. Saturday morning he had a motivational speech to do for a youth program and asked if id go with him which i did. His friend is the founder of this Youth program and his friend as well doesnt know we are on a break and kept introducing me as my boyfriends future wife. And during the Youth presentation he mentioned all that my boyfriend has achieved and spoke of how good he is as a man and a boyfriend to me… Which was probably a very guilty pill to swallow for my boyfriend but i gracefully smiled and nodded to protect his image. We later that day went on a hike with the youth team and i landed up sitting near a group of guys in the van, He very much seemed to want my attention. And the whole hike he seemed pleasant yet neutral towards me. After the hike we went to his grandparents place for a couple of hours then decided to go home. when we got home hes energy changed a little, he was talking about the day we had, how he'd like to do online teaching and how he'd love to do more motivational talks. He even went as far to mention that if we both did online teaching we could travel and live in different parts of the world and i could quit my job. This was a major break through to me because a man who sees a future with a woman tends to be comfortable enough to make future plans with her. I did have a major concern about him and his sports massage therapist. Because i have heard how bubbly and giggly their sessions get, and im not comfortable with him creating such close chemistry with a pretty woman who as her job is allowed to touch him. His past massage lady also had the hots for him and he use to entertain it by building a close friendship with her and that was completely disrespectful to our relationship which at the time was the beginning faze and we kept our relationship a secret. I dont want him to know im suspicious of his new massage therapist but i will make him aware when i feel something isn't right. I provide all that is required of a girlfriend, i tend to all his needs. And even adjusted to his need for space this last month so anything he does that breaks our relationship trust or loyalty is on him. Yesterday he was very open emotionally, he was playful, kind, and seeking of my affection very much. He didnt seem like this cold heartless guy that hes been over the last month, with his guard down and his heart more open he seems to have more of a conscious which is good cause that means he is more aware of repercussions to his actions. He has been much easier on my feelings. But i dont want to keep my hopes up until he calls off the break. I feel that if i ask him about the relationship or emotional stuff too soon it might freak him out and scare him away again.

    #212855

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ladybug:

    It seems to me, more and more so, that this is not a faze that he is going through but a pattern of behavior that is likely to continue. Because of his experience with his emotionally unreliable mother (and ex girlfriend), he sees you at times as a friend and at other times as a foe/ a threat. So he is affectionate with the friend and distant from the foe.

    The reason this pattern is triggered when he loses a fight or suffers otherwise in his career life is that when he loses a fight, his anxiety increases. When his anxiety increases, the foe part of the friend/foe pattern is triggered. On the other hand, when he talked about the two of you traveling and living in different part of the world, he was feeling comfortable, not anxious, and the friend part of the friend/foe patter was triggered.

    You wrote above, “if I ask him about the relationship or emotional stuff too soon it might freak him out and scare him away again”. Last year you wrote about the break then, “I broke down and sent him a million texts trying to gain clarity”.

    When suggesting that you ask him questions, I don't mean to do it the way you did in the past. Ask him questions in a different way. Ask him a question (one simple question at a time) for the purpose of gathering information, like a scientist, best you can. Ask him without emotion other than curiosity and an expressed desire to simply understand. Have no suggestion whatsoever, in your question, that he should do or not do anything, that he should feel or not feel any particular way.

    You could ask him how he felt Saturday when his friend introduced you as his future wife, ask in a neutral, curious tone. Then listen to his response.

    I can't think at the moment of a context in which you can ask him how he feels about holding hands when.. he doesn't feel like it (to check if he indeed feels that you are a threat), but that is a question to be asked somehow.

    anita

     

     

    #212863

    Ladybug
    Participant

    He addressed the whole future wife introduction thing, he didn't want me to feel uncomfortable so he jokingly said “dont you just hate when people make marriage jokes” I just played it off like it didn't faze me. He has mentioned many times in the past about how he likes that I don't pressure or initiate marriage. He like most men have to feel 100% ready and secure within themselves and in life before getting married. And for me that's perfectly Okay, but it gave me so much security knowing he saw a future with me and I'm not just a faze In his life. We have such a great connection, and our energies polarize well together. We hit a bumpy road and it needed to happen because we got stuck in a pattern that wasn't helping us grow. So on the one hand he and I are naturally growing closer as he lets his guard down and on the other hand I still fear he seeks to be free and independent. Because I know him very well, I see him drawing closer and closer as the days go by… and what I've noticed is that it's not me that causes his hot and cold behavior… it's his own inner conflict based on what took place during his day. When he's quiet and emotionally closed off I give him space and when he's happy and emotionly open I welcome him with open arms. He really wants to be great in his career as an MMA fighter but his disappointed in himself because he has lazy habits. He likes getting out of his comfort zone and for months he just layed around in that comfort zone and it eventually made him depressed and feel as though he is incompetent. So this break was him breaking free and getting back out of his comfort zone and feeling like a man again. He has more drive now to get things done and to be happy within his life. So I'm patient because I know he is such a complicated guy with such wild expectations of himself but I have to surport his vision and not talk him out of any of his crazy dreams or try to fix him. He's a good guy, he genuinely is so this type of behaviour during the break is something I never see from him. When he feels distressed he goes through a panic and destructive pattern and that's when he pushes me away and takes his break.

    #212871

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ladybug:

    If “most men have to feel 100% ready and secure within themselves and in life before getting married” then marriage would be as rare as… well, a national news item, I am thinking, as in “so and so in (city, state, country) is in the process of getting married today.. the world is in awe!

    I don't think there is a single man or woman who feels 100% “secure within themselves and in life”, and very few who feel on an ongoing basis close to that 100%.

    You read like a very emotionally invested woman, very close to 100% invested in your boyfriend. It is admirable, in my mind, the level of your commitment to him. Again, he is very fortunate… if he is able to appreciate what I appreciate in you.

    anita

    #212879

    Ladybug
    Participant

    What i meant by 100% ready is that the Pros outweigh the Cons. And marriage is a big step especially for a man who hasn't seen a successful marriage growing up. He wants to be great at alot of things in life and one of those things is being a good man to a woman and i guess i stopped showing appreciation for all that he provides and all the good he brings to my life, i began trying to fix him when he was going through a troubled time. He felt that he isnt bringing any value or happiness to my life because i kept expressing all my negative emotions and he felt blamed for my insecure and unhappy complaints. A break really does open your eyes to how you could be affecting the person you love by relying on them for your happiness and security. I dont enjoy admitting my wrongs in the relationship but its definitely lifted a weight off my shoulders taking my happiness and confidence into my own hands. I do hope he gives us a second chance and i really hope we can bring back the trust in our relationship.

     

    Thank you so much Anita, this sight has really brought me so much peace getting to share my worries and to have amazing advice and perspective on my matter.

    #212887

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ladybug:

    You are welcome. I think you got it right, that your behavior in the past was damaging to the relationship, (and would be to a relationship with any man, I believe), that is to express to the man all your negative emotions, blaming him for those and expecting him to fix your inner emotional experience.

    Excellent on your part to understand this and then to change your behavior. Admirable. And it will work for you overall.

    Keep in mind that in a relationship there are two people and therefore two set of problems brought into the relationship. Just as you took responsibility and made changes in regard to the problem you brought into the relationship (mentioned in first paragraph here), he will need to take responsibility to the problem he brings into the relationship, and that is, what may very well be a friend/foe pattern.

    Avoid the limited view of the picture, that is, the problem you brought being The (only) Problem.

    anita

    #212999

    Ladybug
    Participant

    I definitely dont take all of the blame because i know how his lazy habits and demotivated attitude caused tension in our relationship… He created his own misery and he is the only one that can break free from his own negative feelings and lazy habits. Every day is a battle where he struggles to be productive and to be happy. Especially now that he has this knee injury, its slowing his process of getting out of this sort of depression. He at times closes his emotions off and at times hes open and affectionate. He cant find the source of his own pain. I love him dearly and i do believe he will get through this. His mother doesn't play much of a factor in his current life, there might be negative affects to his upbringing but i feel that he has just hit a all time low after his loss and it effected every aspect of his life. He just became stuck in a miserable, ungrateful hole. So me taking responsibility for my faults  is good for my growth, and he will too have to take responsibility for what hes done. I dont want to focus on what i have no power over as you said so me reflecting on my value and past mistakes creates a power for me to change and be an amazing person for myself and for him.

    #213005

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ladybug:

    I suggest this future scenario: his knee injury heals, he wins fights, his career picks up, his finances improve, he tells you the break is over, he is willing to hold hands and so forth-

    what do you do then? Will you be able to feel safe in the relationship with him knowing there will be future challenges, definitely, because that is the nature of life?

    I mean, how do you feel safe with him once the unusual break is over and not anxious about the next injury or loss of a fight, or bad financial investment… next challenge?

    anita

    #213007

    Ladybug
    Participant

    That is the conversation i want to have with him eventually, i need him to see how running away or pushing me away when things get tough makes him a coward. And that its unacceptable for a man to just become emotionally MIA without taking in consideration of the woman who takes care of him and has been patient through all the difficult times. Still today i cook, i clean and give him space when he seems closed off and im affectionate when he seeks for it. I am displaying the valuable girlfriend and life partner i am. As partners im doing my part best as i can, and he has seen how little he contributes… So in the end if he decides he wants to leave then he will have lost a treasure of a woman and i doubt he will ever find someone like me again. Being the best version of myself is either going to show him why he saw me as a life partner or its going to attract a better man who will appreciate and adore all that i have to offer as a woman.

    #213009

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ladybug:

    Excellent thinking, reads to me. You are practicing the best version of yourself. How long do you think that you can do this though, what is your time limit (I am sensing the understandable anger at the situation)?

    anita

    #213013

    Ladybug
    Participant

    He is an extraordinary man and i can say he is worth the wait but i too am an amazing woman and if he keeps doing this i know there is a man out there who will appreciate me more than he does. I am well aware that this is not fare what he is doing to me, and nobody deserves to be treated like an option after devoting so much into a man. Once he comes back to his senses and calls off the break, my standards on what im willing to accept has changed. I still want him to have his freedom and space but what he contributes to me and our relationship will display his level of love and commitment. I gave him so much loyalty that he stopped putting in effort to put a smile on my face. I was willing to accept less than i deserve to suite his lifestyle and convenience… But through all the pain his put me through i can say i have found a new sense of self respect and making everything so convenient for him made him lazy and he has taken everything i have to offer for granted.

    #213017

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ladybug:

    So far you have turned this situation into a positive learning experience for you. You corrected what needed to be corrected on your part, you have shown admirable loyalty that is beautiful and rare. You are aware of a whole lot, understand all you need to understand at this point. Quite impressive, to me.

    I agree with you that you are an amazing woman. I hope to read from you again and again.

    anita

    #213965

    Ladybug
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Id like some advice, so a week has past and theres been some improvements regarding my situation. So my boyfriend and i are still on this break but he went out of town for the weekend and the whole time he was away he was texting me, i told him that we are on a break and the whole idea is that he should be cutting me off and hes response was that things were stressful but now things arent anymore, He also said that we still do things like we in a relationship. I then told him that we cant keep up this lie, i cant keep pretending that im his woman when he discarded me 2 months ago, i told him that i am happier within myself but keeping up this lie is getting harder on my heart day by day and i said that he needs to eventually come to a decision and let me mourn and make a plan to move on with my life. Hes response was “F*ck i know its difficult as hell” “Thanks for giving me the time to figure my sh*t out”

    When he got back he was happy to see me and to be home again, last night when we were out, he was speaking to his brother about them both having trouble in relationships, he said something like

    ” Its like when you get into a relationship you open yourself up more and more and then you reach a peak point and its like you reach a barrier that you cant seem to cross, its like you cant give that part of yourself. And you can keep going through this cycle, whether its with the current girlfriend or the next girl or the next girl, it will keep happening if you dont get to the route of the problem withing yourself, you just got to keep working and with time you'll overcome that limit”

    He has realized that he has this limit when hes inlove and things progress and are great but then he reaches a limit where he cant seem to give that part of himself, and i feel thats where fear of commitment comes in. He was very serious about our relationship where he could see us getting married and i think he himself was frightened by hes feelings for me. Which resulted in him pushing me away when emotions became overwhelming. He seems to want to get over this barrier, and i give him love, support and space to deal with his issue. I thought i contributed to his pulling away but after last night i see now that he after 2.5 years his starting to feel that fear of commitment even though ive never pressured for marriage or anything like that, which only shows that he is frightened by his own love for me.  Even with his fear of commitment and trying to get to the bottom and make sense of his inner issues he still seeks for my love, opinion and companionship.

     

    Is this normal for a guy to pull away when hes very inlove?

    How could i support him to overcome this fear?

    #213971

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ladybug:

    Yesterday I was about to post to you, asking how you are doing, but decided to wait until tomorrow (would have been a week since your last post), and here you are with a new post.

    I read what he said to his brother, paraphrased, last night while out with you. Then I read your interpretation of what he said.

    First what is clear: his break from you is part of his pattern of behavior in relationships (“you can keep going through this cycle, whether it's with the current girlfriend or the next girl or the next girl, it will keep happening”).

    Second, what is it that “keep(s) happening” to him, I ask, and answer:  fear and anger.

    I still believe that his fear in the context of a relationship with you is the same fear he experienced in the context of his relationship with his mother. There is nothing more powerful in a child's life than his early relationship with his parent. The brain is formed during those years.

    You called his fear “fear of commitment”, a term not connected to an individual's childhood, but something a lot of men share. It may be part of his fear, but I see his fear as way more personal than the general, fits-all fear of commitment.

    He said something like “you just got to keep working and with time you'll overcome that limit”- if he was to overcome his fear, it would be through conversations with you beyond saying: “F*&* I know it's difficult as hell” and “Thanks for giving me the time to figure my sh*& out”

    His trouble in the relationship with you is not something he can or will figure out by himself and then come back to you with: I solved this problem within myself, I am ready for you now.

    He said: “You just got to keep working and with time you'll overcome that limit”. I am editing it:

    You just got to keep working on it with your girlfriend and with time and ongoing honest communication with your girlfriend, you'll overcome that limit.

    I think you benefited from this break to a point but I don't think this break can continue indefinitely. I think you are getting angrier, understandably. And I believe it will be a mistake on your part to keep waiting for the impossible, for him to figure it out independently of you and then return to you fine and dandy and ready.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by  anita.
Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 93 total)

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