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33 and confused

Community Member

I’ve been with my partner for 2.5years, everything was great the 1styear. We got along & I could see a future (he’d been married prior and I’d been engaged)

COVID hit he lost his job & his family got into legal woes & he became cold
he admitted
he’s not been himself & once it’s over he will go back to normal

I gave as much love&support as he’d allow as he turns phone off for days, we don’t live together & I’ve never been to his place, I had to drag his address out of him as I thought it was odd we’d been together for 2 years & I didn’t know where he lives), I let him be & gave him the time he asked for & let him know I was there
he became mean, if I had an issue it wasn’t as important as his issues, if I told my feelings I was being dramatic & he has no time or patience for nonsense.
I get while we’re at work (he got a new job with very long hours and literally works 7 days a week apparently) that we can’t text & talk all day.
but I’m lucky if I get 2 texts a day and he is unreachable at least once every weekend.
Once the legal issues settled & he seemed better I shared that I don’t feel loved & cared for, he didn’t care. I withdrew into myself, stopped sharing my life, sadness or happiness with him as when I did, it didn’t compare to his stress. It’s constant fighting & me trying to show him I feel like a secret, he was so secretive about giving me his address, he ignores me for days at a time. He likes to feel physical intimacy (hugs, kisses) where as I like to feel loved & heard & if we can’t see each other often, a kind word goes a long way.
but he told me he needs time to be able to compliment me because he’s stressed. I could count on one hand the nice things he’s said to me. he never says anything nice to or about me. I don’t need constant compliments, just want to feel loved. I don’t know if I should stay & see if he does get better or if I should move on. we don’t have photos together, We’ve never celebrated anything, new year, birthday or anything. He forgot my birthday this year and last year I got a single text saying “happy bday”& when I say that he says get real we’re going through a pandemic. Im struggling because I’m 33 and hanging out with him in a car because he’s not ready to introduce to family because of the stress & that’s ok. just want to add the family issues are somewhat stressful, but all avoidable. It’s all stupid decisions made by his family that he for some reason has to fix. please help me with some honest advice x

17 Replies 17

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Harlow, and a warm welcome to the site.

The situation you are in isn't the easiest comment to reply to, only because he was married and you were engaged and now wanting to be in a relationship where love is a strong issue, but from what you've told us this doesn't seem to be so.

Sure he likes the kisses and the hugs but these aren't what love only entails, it includes communication, understanding, enjoying each other's company and doing a combination of these, plus wanting to be with one another, laughing and consoling at various times and trusting each other, so you can tick off what you believe you have and see what you don't.

When you start a relationship that has actually been going for 2.5 years, then to help with all the previous concerns it's much better that other person knows, then you can help each other cope with any problems that may be lingering on, because as soon as you keep these to yourself, then trust disappears and the love for them is in question.

I can't tell you what to do, but I can suggest and after all of this time, you haven't seen his family, then say that counselling may help him to open up, if none of this happens, then maybe a separation or another decision is for you to decide on.

Kisses and hugs are not related to having an open communication.

Hope to hear back from you.


Community Member

Thank you Geoff for your kind reply.
We used to have that kind of relationship where everything was good, communication, time and effort spent etc.

but if I bring up any issues or hurt I’m feeling I get told I’m being dramatic or trying to start an argument.
I hate fighting with anyone and it bothers me that he thinks I’m looking for a fight.

I feel in life there will always be stressors to some degree and I don’t know how long I can be on the end of his aggression and indifference.

i guess I’m questioning whether I should stick it out and see if things get better or just go. I see so many red flags that concern me but because he shuts me out so often it’s hard to tell if they’re really red flags or just his way of dealing with stress.

Thank you Geoff, you’ve been so kind

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi there Harlow88 and thanks so much for reaching out to the forum.

Your amazing post is so full of pain, detail and emotions about how you feel about your partner's behaviour.

You asked for some honest advice. Geoff has made some very good points, I'd like to add a few if that's OK.

To me, any relationship has to be nourished not by hugs, not by texts, not by coldness, but by RESPECT.

Without respect, love will not grow, laughter will not be spontaneous, you will never make each other feel needed, and the future is not bright.

Is seems to me that his behaviour in ignoring you for days, not bothering with birthdays, not even taking you to his place and so on, does not show much respect for you as a person and your rights at all. He is taking you for granted and not really caring for you.

Every human being including yourself deserves an amazing life with a partner who elevates you and encourages you to be the best you can be. Is this happening with you?

I wonder if it is time that you brought things to a head - tell him how you are really feeling, what it is about his behaviour that concerns you, ask him if he really loves you. Now this will take some courage on your behalf but at least your uncertainty will be addressed. It will be very unfair of him to tell you again that you are being unreasonable - he has to respect your rights.

Women have a very strong loyalty setting, much more so than men. I think you owe it to yourself to ask if this is the relationship you really want. Maybe even try giving him a complete break with no communication at all for a few weeks and see if he bothers to contact you. His actions will speak volumes about how he really feels for you.

I hope I haven't gone on too much Harlow88 and wish you all the very best for resolving this.

Always happy to chat if you feel that may help.

All the very best, The Bro

Community Member

Thank you Bro for reaching out I truly appreciate it.
Of course, I’ll take all the advice I can get as I feel embarrassed talking to people I know.
To answer your question, no it’s not happening. I don’t feel encouraged or supported or even heard.
I have spoken to him so many times and have been shut down.
If someone keeps telling you that you’re not as important as their family (which I understand to a degree) or that your problems aren’t as important as theirs then I start to believe it.
Im starting to wash my hands constantly in 3’s and find any excuse to wash them. I know that sounds silly but I don’t know why I do it. I use to self harm and I guess it’s the lesser of 2 evils.
I feel like I’m a loser who isn’t doing anything worthwhile.
I’m obviously not married and no kids and still live at home but am saving to buy.
I have so much love to give but I feel I get so much love from friends, family, coworkers even wonderful strangers like you guys. But he needs time to show me love and thought.
I don’t expect to be above his family, I just want to feel important to him.
I don’t know anymore if this is the relationship for me.
I feel I’d be a jerk if I left him when he’s asked for time.
He’s a somewhat religious man and I am not and there seems to be a lot of excuses relating to the religion for why he won’t do this or that.
I guess I’m saying I’m exhausted. I’m sad. I’m over pretending I’m ok when I’m not. I know a lot of these feelings come other things too, I’ve gone through very scary family health issues and now it’s like it’s consuming me. I have to say drive safe to my parents like 4 times every night or day or I panic something will happen.
Every cough or sneeze I’m terrified something is wrong. Every trip over gives me chest pains.
it’s literally consuming me. I’m constantly worried about my families health and well-being.
I love them so much and the thought of them hurting is devastating.
I feel I need help but don’t want to rely on medication.

I do feel chatting to you guys is a big comfort so I can never thank you enough for that.
happy to take any advice,

thank you x

Hi Harlow88,

Thanks for opening up to us and sharing your story - I'm sure it's not easy. This is a really difficult situation to be in and I can tell by your message you're in a lot of pain. Pain you do not deserve or should be subjected to.

This is really tricky to write, as I really don't want to tell you what you should or shouldn't do - but I definitely want to be honest and at least say this doesn't seem healthy or that it will improve anytime soon. It sounds abusive.

There are so many red flags here and I think the stress you are put under trying to fit within his 'rules' is taking a toll on you. You deserve a voice in a relationship, your opinions and ideas and emotions should be valued and respected.

I'm really sorry to hear you've coped with self-harm in the past, and that you're finding yourself doing some other coping behaviours like washing your hands in 3's. Have you considered getting some support to work through these with a psychologist or councillor? It could be a really helpful step.

I hope this helps in some way.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Gidday again Harlow88 - I really appreciate your reply and openness.

Please keep on keeping on so to speak. Have you heard the song 'Ke sera sera' ? Its all about whatever will be, will be. In time this situation will absolutely sort itself out, when it is ready to do so.

You loyalty to him is incredible and heartwarming. Just remember to look after yourself please. If he doesn't make you feel good there are no ties, and you are therefore able to set yourself free.

Just remind yourself that there are no photos with him, no birthday memories etc. Only negative thoughts that seem to be building. Take good care of yourself and let this period of time be something you can look back on and learn from.

I think you are amazing.

All the very best, The Bro

Hi Banksy,

thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I really do appreciate it.
This forum has made it easy to talk, kind of like a safe space with no judging faces.
I feel I know what to do, just having a hard time doing it. He seems to be going through more family issues at the moment and it’s like I’m the least important so he doesn’t have to do anything or put in any effort whatsoever because he’s going through more important things.
I’ve gone through some terrifying things the last week, my dad ended up rushed to hospital with chest pains, and mum had a severe reaction to the vaccine and it was just horrible as I couldn’t do anything to fix it. They’re ok now thank god but it was so scary.
I messaged and told him what happened and he didn’t get back to me until the following day. Yes he said are they ok, hope all is well but there was no call, no offer of help or support. Barely anything. It took 3 days to ask how I was. All he said was hope all is well. I told him no it was one of the worst night and following days of my life and all he said was hope they get better soon.
Am I overreacting to that? I really don’t know.
In regards to red flags he says we can’t do Valentine’s Day stuff because it’s against his religion, but being intimate without marriage doesn’t seem to be a problem (that is also against his religion).
It’s like he picks and chooses what he wants to do based on how he feels at the time.
I have considered speaking to a counsellor, mostly in regards to the worries about my family’s health but think it’s time to stop putting it off.
The plan was to wait until New Years to see if anything had changed by then.
The last 2 New Years was big fights about it as he “doesn’t get excited about anything”. But I do get excited about the thought of a fresh year to restart and spend with someone who loves me.
I know waiting until then sounds silly but I’m just so confused.
I know how he used to be and feel like what if I’m making a mistake by leaving when he’s going through a hard time and clearly doesn’t know how to deal with that.
we all go through stress, but, and I can only speak for myself, I don’t put him down or snap at him or ignore him and turn off my phone so I’m unreachable.
I’m really trying to just stay together at this point as I’m not sure my depression and anxiety is solely based on the situation with him anymore.
thank you for reaching out and being honest, I am forever grateful for everything!

Community Member

Hi again Bro,

Thank you replying. It’s so wonderful to see that there are such kind people in the world. Being an essential worker we don’t see much of that anymore.
Yes, I have heard this song. It’s hard to walk away knowing I’ll have to start all over again and that time isn’t on my side.
I want to start my own family and feel the love and support and affection so many people share with their partners.
I want to look after myself but find myself feeling alone, empty and defeated.

I try to be there for him but he keeps me at arms length.
And I’m completely aware at how stupid this all sounds, if it was me reading this from someone else I’d be thinking “leave him!” But I’ve invested this time and don’t want to throw away something that could be a bad patch. Very long patch.
I’m very confused and unsure.
Thank you for your honesty it’s so very appreciated.
I think YOU'RE amazing, thank you so much!

Community Member

Hi Harlow88

From the sounds of it you have been so considerate of his feelings and what he is going through, but it's also good to see that you are acknowledging that you also have needs that you deserve to have met.

What has been happening with your husband is similar to what has been happening with my wife. Her job and being locked down burned her out completely, so now we are separating, but I know that when all of this ends she will feel completely different (not that this means she'll want me back).

This burnout is like a second pandemic at the moment. He could be overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions to the extent that it renders him incapable of looking at his own feelings at the moment, which in turn leads to frustration. This would make it very difficult for him to show emotion, as his mind is in a frenzy. I've been through this myself, and I'm quite sure my wife is right now as well.

It is reassuring for me to see that some people (you) still know what true loyalty is and are not so quick to give up on people, but it's also good that you are thinking about your own limits as well. Someone as compassionate and loyal as you have been deserves to feel valued.