Long distance, extreme emotions and insecurity!
My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship for two years. Over that time we have been through a lot together and up until recently everything had been mostly positive.
In recent weeks, the strain of the "what-ifs" has gotten to me, which as a result my boyfriend has distanced himself from me. This is because he is the one planning to me and with very little physical evidence (as wrong as it is) I just don't know how/when it will work. Despite being told it'll happen in February. He and I have also recently started new jobs, so our window of time together has closed drastically, since he's in a Florida time zone and I am in SA. Before it was quite easy for us to talk. With this distance, he's been working security really late, then going and hanging out with friends so regularly that I haven't really been factored in.
This really bothered me a few days ago when he was out with his friends for 12 hrs on my day off and I waited at home patiently to spend time with him. The joy of social media was seeing it all pop up on my news feed and feeling incredibly isolated. We later solved this issue and attributed it to bad communication and I explained that I felt insecure because it felt like he had "moved on" with his life. It also brought up a lot of old issues for me as well.
We've since reconciled and I feel like we're on the road to recovery. We're texting and calling etc. But my anxiety (as much as I trust him and have for the past 2 years)
Sorry, I accidently posted before I was done!***
My anxiety just keeps telling me that he's inevitably going to leave me. That his new work colleagues are more fun, more interesting - more of anything than me. That our reconciliation is not truly "okay." In a logical sense, I know it to be true, I know that we're rock solid; but on the other hand, I feel sick with sheer terror. I don't know what to do about it, I don't know if I just need time and I don't know how to deal with it in a healthy way that isn't going to be suffocating for people around me. I feel very emotional and also very shaken, almost like a child feels after being scolded, but I am feeling it constantly.
I would really appreciate some insight into how to deal with it because I know that it can be damaging to relationships. It has in the past and that's why I was so concerned it was over. I just don't know how to pair back the paranoia, insecurity and assumptions.
I guess there are two things to consider. The first is the nature of long distance relationships, based on text, voice-calls and maybe video links. All of which provide an illusion of closeness.
I say an illusion because I think the human animal is designed to react to all sorts of hidden cues that are only available when a person is actually present. As these may be partly the ones that help foster closeness and intimacy their absence over time will naturally make one feel less secure and isolated.
That plus long distance communications can lead to misunderstandings and feelings of isolation too.
The way out of that I would think is to get together - even if only for a short time. In a loving relationship both persons care for and wish to look after the other. If your BF really is serious about being with you long term and looking after your well-being then making the effort would seem highly appropriate. To calm your fears he really should come to you, even if only for a week.
The other thing is your current state of anxiety. Living in fear and apprehension 24/7 for long periods is bad for a person and can lead to more permanent states of illness. I’d suggest seeing your GP and explaining the situation, see what happens.
You can help reduce the frequency and intensity of anxiety with your lifestyle. A healthy one, eating sensibly, exercising regularly, practicing sleep hygiene can all assist. Taking time to do the things you enjoy and being distracted by them is also pretty good. In many cases just getting out and being with people can have a positive influence.
Do you have anyone – family or friend - you can talk frankly to, who will understand and want to help? I’ve found this can make a big difference.
I’d really like it if you came back and talked some more, say what you think
Thanks for your message.
Yes, I do know what you mean, I know I tend to assume things when I read his texts or talk on the phone; but I find when we videochat I am less likely to take issue. It's just harder to organise than it used to be. I can say that both of us aren't natural communicators either.
We're seeing each other for almost a month when I visit in November. He has visit me in the past and it's my turn to do the same. But we're 10,000 miles apart so the visits are more few and far between. I am petrified of how I'll adjust back after my visit. Another reason why I am so concerned what'll happen if he doesn't move on plan for next year. He says he worries that I won't wait for him and I also worry that emotionally I won't be able to handle it if it continues much longer. It'll be costly for him to move to Adelaide from Florida, so I worry about the money aspect too.
I have spoken to my GP and have been diagnosed. I haven't seen my psychologist in a while because I haven't had time. I often feel like professional don't even seem to understanding the severity of this anxiety.
In regards to my health, I am definitely working in and I am lucky that my work is very active. Often times I struggle to have the confidence to try things and it put me off my passions. The same with socialising.
I have spoken to my friends, family and boyfriend. I can say they all feel very helpless as much as they are supportive. They don't know how to support me. They just don't know what to do for me anymore. My boyfriend has taken on a lot for me because my anxiety has prohibited it, so I am now advising in certain aspects (like finally having a job, car etc.) but I find it hard to work on my university work. I just want us to work through the distance and I know that unless I start being more positive and calm, he will feel like there is no way of us working. Be it close or far away.
So I woke up early today to meet one of his friends on Skype. The internet was poorly so he ended up taking me aside on the phone and saying, "Look, I can't talk to you much longer." I explained that I had gotten up early, got dressed and ready and had made the effort, so I'd appreciate that he give me the chance. Turns out the internet had meant that he couldn't hear me speaking to him. At the end of the call, he said, "I can call you later. But keep in mind, I don't know what time, it could be 2am (US time.) I felt a pang of being pushed aside but I left him to it.
Later, we texted and I asked if our relationship had gotten too serious, he said:
"No... I feel like you've been insecure about us though. There no room for us to talk or have fun anymore."
and when I asked if that's why he seems to be avoiding talking me, to which he answered:
"We just don't talk anymore. I need someone who can talk to me and not be insecure and me questions due to insecurity."
I am even more freaked out now. I am trying to normalise our interactions again but his distance is causing the anxiety. I don't know what to do or how to move forward. I asked he would be willing to give me a chance to speak more positively because otherwise our relationship won't work, if he won't give me the trust.
His response was:
"My phone is dying."
I am so so worried right now.
Well I can't say your news about your BF is very encouraging. Not knowing what time it is where you are and responding with "I need ..." when you are in obvious distress does not strike me as being somebody who is overly concerned.
However I'd be the first to admit that I don't know the facts or anything else. This could just be a rough patch, I really don't know.
Look all I can do is compare how I act, which is not the same thing. I'd spend an awful lot of time deliberately making up for the shortcomings of the internet - just so my GF would not worry excessively. But then again I'm not likely to engage in a distance relationship anyway - life is too short.
If I loved someone I'd live close, even if it meant forgoing the best jobs.
The other thing is people have 'antenna' - you included - which may pick up things that are not directly stated. Yours are telling you there is a problem. How much do you trust your feelings in areas other than your relationship with your BF?
I'm sorry not to be full of positives, unfortunately the snapshot you have given does not show everything ideal at that moment.
I'm pleased you do have both personal support with family and friends and are under medical care. If you find your uni work is suffering because of an anxiety or other illness I suggest you see University Disability Services, a confidential service that can assist with extensions and deferments.
I can't really advise you what to think, all I can say is that if you have had a relationship for two years it is not something one would give up on easily.
Please talk about things as often as you'd like
I felt the same way hearing that remark. I think I identified what the issue was as at the time it seemed totally out of character. None of which is an excuse; but definitely explains it a lot. With starting his new job and having ongoing issues with his parents, he finally was feeling accepted by his peers, a "king of the world" moment if you will. He wasn't considering the impact it had me at the time and therefore couldn't recognise the downfall of the way I was being treated. Something we have spoken a lot about over the last few days. He has since apologised and I think he recognises now that if it happens again I simply can't continue an LDR. He also expressed a need for wanting a family and acceptance, which I acknowledge, but also explained that we will never be family if we don't learn to value each other better. I genuinely don't think he meant to hurt anybody; he is very naive, a little social awkward and isn't really used to being cared about to be honest.
I do have "antenna" and I think I could inherently recognise the problems. Our conflicting schedules, him trying to help with uni, my nerves about the future etc. all contributing to how he was feeling. But I do trust him and just need him to be more clear with communication in future.
Uni work is next to impossible for me. I have already contacted Disability Support and they have been very unhelpful. I get 10 mins extra on exams even though my doctor requested I have a support person from the University. This is my 2nd online school and if I don't succeed I will lose funding. I also don't have the option to go back on campus right now. It's a major stress in our relationship. I am really just hoping to scrape through to graduate honestly.
But on the relationship front, I think we're both under various strains and we're missing each other terribly. I have explained my needs and my dealbreakers, so he's well-aware that if things don't change I can't continue. I do have confidence in him though, now that he truly understands my feelings, so all I can do now is trust and wait.
Thank you for you message!
You seem more hopeful than last time and have more understanding of what happened. I guess I just cross my fingers for you and hope things smooth out.
You don't sound over pleased with your medical support, which is not that uncommon. I tend to feel it is the relationship as much as the therapy that is the main help. Finding the right person can be hard. If I didn't think the current person was concentrating on what I considered the most important things then I'd ask why. Therapy is two people and both have to have the same goal.
If you don't mind me asking what is the pressure to to complete uni at the moment? You sound as if your plate is already very full and need the least stress possible to live a reasonable life. Pity Disability Services is not more understanding on practical matters.
It was pretty good to hear what has been happening, I hope you talk more
You can talk via Skype, text, letters or even calls but most of the time you can't see the reaction each of you have when something is said, OK this may happen with Skype, but if something is said that you don't agree with then the reconciliation like giving each other a hug isn't possible, and then creates anxiety and worry and perhaps what may happen later on, party more with his mates.
At the moment you are living different lives and don't know what he's doing nor does he know what you're doing, I know you can come together when you're talking, but being in love is very strong, a kiss here and there but will
Thank you for the encouragement of your last message. Every little bit certainly helps.
I feel despondent in regards to the support I have received from professionals and institutions at this point. Like I said earlier, it seems that severity of my condition is usually overlooked, which makes me very depressed. A lot of what I am told is simple "brain retraining." Which I am not offended by, but if that's the only way you know to think, it's almost next to impossible to "undo." I'd rather practical advice that no one feels that can give me. The security of knowing where things are headed and that I won't fail.
The pressure with finishing uni is that I started the course five years ago. My parents are frustrated that it isn't done and have pushed me the whole way. I wasn't ready to go to university and as much as I have tried to tell them of my struggles, they are of the opinion that I should just "get on with it," my boyfriend has been one of few who actually gets it. I want it out of my life. Even if that means never using it. I just want to begin the life I want and university holds me back. I promised I'd have it finished by this year though because I didn't want to disappoint them again; but I really don't know how thing will get if it doesn't happen. I am frightened of the fall out.