How do I support/contact boyfriend who has asked for space?
I don't know if this helps at all. My husband as also in a very dark place when I met him. His first reflex when he isn't doing well is also to retreat. So I know where you are coming from.
Perhaps you can turn your reflex around... from what I understand, your instinct here is to ask - ask if he's okay, ask if plans are still on, ask (in essence) if you are still loved... when he may have nothing to give right now. So maybe instead of making it an ask for confirmation, turn it into a give confirmation 🙂 message him just to tell him you are thinking of him, that when he is ready to let you in you'll be right here - no matter how dark the place he is in. That you respect that he needs space, but you want to make sure he knows that that space is for him and not for you, and you are looking forward to having him close again. Something like that?
I notice when my husband tries to retreat he usually does it thinking he is protecting me, and then when I pile my own need for validation on top of that it overloads him... but when I turn it into "your dark doesn't scare me, and I can't wait until you come back to me no matter what state you are in" and do not make him feel like he needs to carry my wellbeing, too, it relaxes him emotionally and he comes back to me much sooner.
Every individual is different and depression is not the same beast for everyone... but this is just how I handle it with my loved one!
Thank you so much DaylightAmy. That is so kind of you to take the time to respond - and with such wise words too.
Yes - I suppose my instinct is to ask. I feel like I'm in a limbo. He asked to be alone to get his thoughts in order. I'm confused about whether that means forever or just for now? Or just for a few weeks? So I suppose I'm looking for validation that we are not over. Plus - I'm worried about the darkness that he's in. I want to be able to hold him, comfort him and it's so hard being shut out. I suppose I'm trying to understand the "why" of pushing me away.
What you said about your husband retreating to protect you resonates with me. He told me that he's no good for me and that he'll only hurt me. I definitely don't want to overload him, so I think that approach of just letting him know I am here, that I miss him and that I'm thinking of him is a good one. I was thinking of waiting until this weekend, when he is on his day off to send a short text that says those things.
Does your husband indicate that he appreciates you reaching out like that when he is pulling away? I'm so scared of making him retreat further, but I feel like he won't make the first contact and the longer I give him space, the harder it will be for us to reconnect.
Thank you SO much. You have no idea how good it felt to logon here this morning and see your message!
I'd text every now and then to touch base to show interest in his well being but I do agree that you both need to decide on the holiday plans. If he won't even discuss that with you then I think that’s a bit on the nose, if not immature and would then question whether it's worth your time and energy pursuing something with this guy.
Thanks so much for your reply Shockwave. I do appreciate your advice.
Yes - I think that's how I've seen things - that after a bad breakup, meeting someone new and having things go well would be something I'd jump at. And I think he has done - but he's gotten to a point where things are starting to get serious and it's spooked him into worrying about whether things will go wrong again. And when the anxiety/depression voice is talking that's all he hears. (That's just what I think is happening...) As someone who doesn't have that anxiety voice in my head, it's hard for me to understand why he would do that, and I suppose that's what I'm trying to get insight on.
When it comes to the holiday - I agree - he does need to talk to me about it so we can work out what to do. I know it sounds like he's being selfish and it really is something that's stressing me (I've taken leave from work and everything is booked etc) - but I'm just hoping he needs a bit more time to come out of this bout of depression. (fingers crossed)