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My DP and I keep on splitting up - are we just too anxious or is there a problem?

(15 Posts)
NessCathy Wed 24-Aug-11 13:26:19

I’m been with DP for just under a year, and it seems as if we keep on breaking up. We had a chat about it, and it seems as if the problems stem from our anxieties, which then escalate, we get close to breaking up, and then we don’t. DP is lovely, but we both seem to worry about whether we love each other, rather than just enjoying being together.

I have no relationship with my parents (I was abused by my father) and to an extent, I blame my mother for being part of this. I think I have found it difficult to get close to people, and certainly one of our early near break-ups was about this.

Yesterday, after growing distant for a few days after another argument, I was ready to split up with him (and him with me). I asked him to come round to mine. We live 30 miles apart. He suggested that I should come to his as he was working and I had the day off, so we could meet straight after work. I felt if it was important, he would come around to mine. In the end, he did come round and then we didn’t break up and had a great evening.

I don’t want to continue this cycle, but when we’re good, we’re very good together, and I think there’s a real potential for us to have a great relationship. Is it just a problem of controlling our anxieties, is there something rotten with this relationship?

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 24-Aug-11 13:29:54

Have you had counselling to deal with the lasting effects of your abused childhood?

BooBooGlass Wed 24-Aug-11 13:30:12

What exactly are you arguing about though? What are these anxieties you keep mentioning?

Spero Wed 24-Aug-11 13:32:15

You won't know if it is fixable until you try to fix it. Sounds like you do definitely need to go down counselling route.

NessCathy Wed 24-Aug-11 13:40:21

Our arguments have, I think, revolved around the idea of whether we're both in this for the long-term, which then sets off a chain of arguments and worry. For example, I don't think either of us have really let ourselves go, so that we fallen in love with each other. We like spending time with each other.

NessCathy Wed 24-Aug-11 13:42:07

How would one find out about counselling?

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 24-Aug-11 13:49:58

There are some good suggestions and pointers for how to get a psychotherapist an what to look for in one in this recent thread.

I feel for you. No wonder you have attachment problems if you were abused in childhood. A therapist will help you work through those issues.

NessCathy Wed 24-Aug-11 14:02:05

Thanks, the cycle seems to be some recognition that we're not fully attached, and because one of us isn't, the other draws back.

pictish Wed 24-Aug-11 14:05:16

Without sounding rude OP, you both sound a bit emotionally immature.
To keep breaking up and getting back together like that in under a year is very intense and dramatic.
I think you should take a break for a while and assess what you both want, and decide if the other person is mature enough to provide it.

Good luck xxx

NessCathy Wed 24-Aug-11 14:12:01

Pictish, perhaps thinking about it, the title is wrong - it's not that we definitely split, but rather we seem to get close to it.

Thanks for your advice, I do wish we could break this cycle.

deepheat Wed 24-Aug-11 14:27:02

To be fair pictish, OP has acknowledged that this isn't ideal and has been emotionally mature enough to think through possible reasons for the situation.

Anxiety in either partner has a significant impact on a relationship. It often goes hand in hand with very low self esteem and my experience is that for a relationship to be properly healthy, for both people to love each other in a healthy way rather than a damaging way, they need to be able to love themselves first.

Add to that the fact that excessive or chronic anxiety prevents people from taking pleasure in life generally and prevents them from properly focusing on things other than the source/s of their anxiety, then the illness can effectively work as a relationship killer.

Bearing this in mind, I'd argue that you're not at this stage in a position to work out whether you have a future or not. That isn't to say you should split up, but I think you both need to acknowledge what you're struggling with as individuals and make dealing with that a priority. It might be possible or helpful for you to support each other in this, but be careful that you don't become too co-dependent at this stage.

See your GP. Medication can help, but rarely addresses the root cause of an anxiety. Research your options so that you are well informed when you do speak to your GP. If you aren't happy simply with medication, then make that clear. My personal view (though this is backed up by recent research published in the BMJ last year) is that talking therapies, CBT in particular, are the most likely to offer a long-term solution to anxiety problems. Waiting lists once referred can be long though and depending on where you live, sessions can cost £50-£120 a pop privately.

Either way, it is an individual problem, so there is no universal solution. Good luck whatever you do.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 24-Aug-11 14:31:48

It's hard, if not impossible, to have emotional maturity about something that you have not had a healthy model for, and which you've had a very destructive early life experience in -- such as healthy attachment, in your case.

I would suspect your partner also has some kind of attachment trauma of his own, somewhere in his past.

The two of you stepping back to have a grown-up think about your relationship won't help you if neither of you has the tools in your arsenal to sustain a healthy relationship. I really think your best bet is getting professional to help you understand how you function in relationships, why that is the case, and what you can do about it now.

Good luck.

Smum99 Wed 24-Aug-11 14:45:40

I think solo counselling would be helpful - it does seem you and maybe him have an anxiety over the relationship - does falling for each other make you vulnerable? Answer is Yes, when we fall for someone we do risk that they could hurt us emotionally by leaving. It's also totally understandable given your past to go into relationship slowly. It could be that the break-ups are about "tests" for the relationship. i.e he should travel to me if he values our relationship or it could be that you are negotiating the boundaries and haven't yet found a way to communicate differences. Or it finally it could be that the relationship has warning signs as there is too much conflict. A good relationship counsellor could help you and maybe relationship books. If you pick a counsellor do make sure you are comfortable with the person. The right counsellor for anyone is the key - you should get a good vibe when you phone to discuss, they should make you fee comfortable from the outset. If you're not comfortable trust your instinct and go to the next on the list.
Good Luck

NessCathy Wed 24-Aug-11 15:16:59

Thanks for all your help. What I'm worried about is how we progress together as a couple over the next few weeks. It's been a year, and after a while, I think we're both a bit tired of all this uncertainty. The counselling is definitely a long-term solution to this problem

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Wed 24-Aug-11 15:47:24

I understand your worry, but there is probably no quick fix for your relationship right now that will help you be a better couple in the immediate. Getting counselling for yourself will only pay off medium- to long-term, but it is defintely worth it since you will only be able to have a healthy relationship once you are secure about yourself and what you want from a relationship.

Just do the best you can with your relationship right now; whatever feels best to you. Trust your gut.

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