Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Don't know what to do :-((14 Posts)
Sorry, really long post.....
My boyfriend has been severely hurt in his previous long term relationships and consequently has ongoing issues from this. He's been very honest about it ever since we first started going out. He gets periods of anxiety and depression where he goes really quiet and retreats "into his shell" in his own words. He has counselling once a week. I suffer from bad anxiety as a result of awful past relationships too and also have counselling so I can really appreciate where he's coming from and his needs.
We've been dating a while now and so far I've coped with his moments of needing space and I realised last week that I'm totally in love with him, I haven't told him yet though. He's always been upfront and honest with me and treats me like a princess. In daily contact and pays for everything. Friends and family know about me.
Recently he's been even more attentive and seems to have relaxed at lot more and seems a lot happier. He's been making me feel very special and that he cares about me.
He has counselling every Thursday afternoon and we generally joke about how helpful or unhelpful it's been. We're very open and honest about our "issues" as we call them. However this Thursday his train got cancelled and his missed his appointment. He was quite upset and discussed his frustration with me. I was a tad concerned and had fully prepared myself that he might have one of his moments.
Today (Saturday) we were supposed to be meeting up. I had a really awful experience yesterday (Friday) and had gone into my shell about it. My boyfriend actively went out of his way to get me to talk about it and reassure me which really highlighted to me how much he cares. He was planning our day together saying he'd get all his jobs done so we could have a nice evening together and that he was planning on giving me a massage etc. Basically I was desperate to see him and was really looking forward to it.
Anyway this morning I woke up and no message from him which is unusual. I waited all day thinking he was just busy getting stuff done but at 4pm I messaged him saying "Are you ok? Have you changed your mind about meeting up today? Xxx"
He's replied saying this:
"Kinda, I've got my self into a mess today, dunno how, I should get up, been in bed all day. I'm my own worst enemy at times. Sorry, need my weekly appointment too, had quite a few things I needed to unload.... It's not you, far from it. I really like you, I mean that. Just abit of a train wreck at times. Xxxx"
Then he sent:
"Going for a walk to clear my head xxx"
My first reaction was one of utter heartbreak that I wasn't going to get to see him and I've found myself totally unable to reply. He then sent:
"Night, sorry xxx"
That was 4hrs ago. I'm sat here feeling totally numb and heartbroken. I don't how to reply or what to say because I'm feeling so hurt. I know I'm being selfish because he can't help it but I have no idea what to say to him. I can't say I'm exactly surprised as I was kind of expecting him to have a blip because of missing his counselling. He's saying I'm not the issue and I'm trying not to take it personally but it's hard not to feel hurt.
I know I'm probably making him feel bad by not replying.
Any advice please?
Regardless of his issues he should have let you know he was cancelling. I wonder whether he would have text you if you hadn’t contacted him first.
I know it’s hard but I’d back off fir a bit, let him come to you. Also think long and hard about whether this is the sort of relationship you want
I would back off as well. I understand that you need to be accommodating wrt his mental health but you also need to be careful to protect yourself as you have needs too.
I would say that in your position, my main worry would be that if he is was so hurt to require counseling up to now, he might not be able to progress your relationship to a point it can make you happy. You need someone to count on and if that person is not him...
Yeah that's the bit that hurts. It's very out of character for him. We have a sort of code system for when either one of us needs some space. This is really unlike him. In his defence I know from when my anxiety has been really bad that I could easily waste a day in bed and not realise the time etc but I'm still very hurt. This is the first time he's ever done this though where he's not messaged to let me know.
Up until this point the relationship has been fantastic and I've felt such a sense of relief dating a guy that fully understands me and doesn't judge me. But this behaviour has knocked me for 6 a bit
Is he really in the right place to have a relationship at the moment? He sounds like he has a lot of issues going on. Leave him to it for now and as already suggested take a big step back from it all.
I can't fault him for needing counselling after what he's been through especially as I also have counselling. He did say that he was having feelings for me that he's never had before any I think he's needed the counselling to help stop him from feeling scared and to process his feelings.
I do think I need to back off though. Just worrying that not replying will somehow make the situation worse
It sounds like you are both not in the right place to be in a relationship/together?
My advice would be to focus on taking care of yourself for now..take a step back from him. Would you be ok being single for 6 months and focussing on yourself?
I can't fault him either for trying to sort his issues out, but what stands out is that he is clearly cut up over a previous relationship and I'm not sure how open that leaves him to be in a new one.
I've been single for 2 years. The past 4 months with him are the happiest I've ever been. Anxiety and depression are mental illnesses that don't necessarily get better. I've lived with my anxiety from childhood. Its part of who I am.
He's been single for 3years, trying the odd bit of dating here and there but never made it to a second date with anyone. He's said that he's never felt a connection like the one he feels with me. He's been in 2 long term relationships with controlling women who were both cheating on him and manipulating him for years. I think he's absolutely terrified of making the same mistake again.
I'll leave him to it for now and will see what happens
That sounds incrediblly difficult. I think you should text him, don't ignore because it can look like punishment and manipulation. Just don't put pressure on him. But I could see that if this becomes a pattern that it will create anxiety for you.
There is a very common and very modern position on emotional problems, mental health and hurt. That is "take yourself away and look after yourself' and I would agree with this especially when you are protecting yourself when that other person is hurting you. However there is a less fashionable and rather old fashioned way of looking at this. Humans are not like wild animals that take themselves off to die away from the pack. We are social, we are dependent upon others, we are intelligent beings and so much of our subjectivity and our perception of the self is reflected back to us and constituted by relationship with others. Our emotional well-being depends upon positive relationships. So, rather than the paradigm "look after the self" we should switch this to "care of others"
If a relationship has any long term hope of surviving life's pressures, then it will be because the individuals involved are focused on care of the other, not care of the self. In this way we all have our needs met by our partner. If we focus on care of the self we can overlook the other person, and it can be logically argued that care of self means we have no needs that can be met in a relationship. So, we could just as easily be on our own!
A strong relationship is one where people have worked on the self, not so they are able to take from the other, but so they have something to offer the other person.
So, if this is going anywhere, and if the two of you have emotional and mental health problems, it will only do so when you both shift the way you look at relationships.
It's a funny thing, but when you reach out to support others, and you shift the focus from you to them, when do the same, neither of you have the headspace to allow your own personal issues to drive a wedge between you.
He's been in 2 long term relationships with controlling women who were both cheating on him and manipulating him for years. I think he's absolutely terrified of making the same mistake again
I'm red flagging this. Too often men who aren't that into things string women along half heatedly mucking them about using the above as an excuse.
I understand the existing MH issues, and yes of course small steps should be taken as you both have to respect your own boundaries and each other's (re emotional boundary sharing and risk taking) BUT this smells of him stalling for time OR setting an agenda for him being able to to jerk you about in future (because that's what women do to him, right?)
You are not his previous gfs and you are not "all women". Proceed with caution.
"He's been single for 3years, trying the odd bit of dating here and there but never made it to a second date with anyone. He's said that he's never felt a connection like the one he feels with me. He's been in 2 long term relationships with controlling women who were both cheating on him and manipulating him for years. I think he's absolutely terrified of making the same mistake again."
I actually think you do sound a bit controlling. He has MH issues and got in touch to tell you he was struggling thqt day. Instead of being understanding you decided to not reply to guilt trip him because you were disappointed.
Personally i think you both need to work on yourselves before getting in a relationship. It sounds co.dependent.
"He's always been upfront and honest with me and treats me like a princess. In daily contact and pays for everything. Friends and family know about me.
Recently he's been even more attentive and seems to have relaxed at lot more and seems a lot happier. He's been making me feel very special and that he cares about me."
So he does everything for.you and treats you like a "princess", and you cant even be understanding when he has a rough day? I actually think you're the red flagger in this relationship OP. Big red flag to be "heartbroken" when your partner cancels a date because he's struggling with depression.
If the roles were reversed we'd be calling the man a selfish manipulative twunt. Sorry.
Agree that you both have some work to do before being in a relationship with each other. You have been used to him treating you a certain way, and now you're 'heartbroken' when he can't live up to that. A better response would have been 'I'm sorry to hear that, but no problem, and I'm here when you're ready'. It all sounds very dramatic, demanding and dependent.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.