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Long relationship and (recent) issues

Community Member

Hi everyone,

I was referred to this forum by a counsellor at university.

I am currently in a long term relationship with my partner who I have been with for a very long time. We both love and respect each other.

Short summary: I have been with my partner since high school (so a very long time) and recently feel like we have been having a lot of dramas.

I am also in exam period at the moment so the added stress is definitely not a good thing because it distracts me. We have both had friends (girls and boys) throughout the years, but he has recently gone back to uni to study a science degree and made a female friend which I initially had no problem with.

Over the course of friendship, I feel like he has substituted the attention he would usually provide me for other things (possibly including her). They talk everyday and not only that, but almost all the time everyday. She has disclosed some personal things to him as well which is when I felt the "budding" friendship was a bit too much. I have male friends as well but I know where the boundaries are. Basically they became friends whilst she was going through a breakup and I feel like she's very comfortable with that friend attention she gets from him.

He doesn't see the problem with it but I feel like it's because he fails to see how he is neglecting my needs as a girlfriend. I have anxiety and I feel like this heightens it. The fact that after all these years together he doesn't know where to draw the line in a friendship. They also text at odd hours of the morning (e.g. 1 am or 2am). I don't know if Im reading too much into it but it really affects my mood. To be frank, I get anxious about not having a boyfriend whenever I think that maybe we both need a break. But other times I am fine with that thought because I am exhausted by thinking about all the problems especially at this time.

It feels like everytime we take a step forward, we take 3 steps back too. He also labels my concerns as insecurities, which I think it may be but I was speaking to someone today and they said if it was a legitimate concern of mine then it shouldn't be undermined simply as an insecurity.

i have seen a counsellor over other recurring issues I have had (last year was tough for me). And i am all for lending a helping hand but I think there are some underlying issues there. I have also been very emotional over these issues (and others) and cried a lot over it yesterday 😞

5 Replies 5

Community Member

It seems that your partner is a caring and supportive friend, but I agree that he should care more about your feelings. You mentioned that you are emotional over that. Did you get to talk to your partner when both of you are calm? Communication is not effective when both of you are emotional. Write down all your concerns and find a time when both of you feel comfortable to have a chat. If both of you are very stressed out with exams now, then probably have the conversation afterwards.

Tell him how you feel without blaming him, i.e. don't say something like "You only care about her! You talk to her all the time, including early in the morning." This will only trigger more emotions and tension between you. Instead, start off with something like "I can see you are a very caring and supportive friend, but your interactions with your female friend these days make me uncomfortable. I wish you could devote more time to me, as I am going through a difficult time." This way you can better communicate your expectations to each other.

It is good that you are seeing a counsellor regularly to address your anxiety.

Good luck to your exams and relationship!

Thank you for your reply! i've never been on this before so it was nice to see the response 🙂

We have spoken about it when we are both calm and I have now learnt to not act out on a whim when I am upset over these issues. Even when we are calm, I feel a lot of things get misconstrued between us. I have taken the approach "I wish you could devote more time and i feel uncomfortable" and only recently has he said he'll make an effort to not make me feel that way.

The biggest issue for me is that when disclosing personal information (his friend), she obviously feels comfortable enough to do so because of the extent of their friendship. I have friendships too and to be honest, when one of my close friends who I mostly turned to for advice got into a relationship, I respected and acknowledged he wouldn't always have time to help me with my anxiety/ problems so I began to deal with it myself. I think respecting another person's relationship is important. If my male friends ever make me feel uncomfortable by the way they act or talk around me, I will 100% let them know and not let that behaviour further perpetuate (based on my respect for myself and respect for my relationship).

Thank you for your kind words though. I am hoping to book in a couples counselling session after exams. 🙂

Good to hear that you two are communicating with each other. You need to accept that everyone is different, some open up themselves only to their love ones, whereas some open up to their good friends as well. I think your bf's female friend is the latter. She may turn to your bf for advice, especially on how things are viewed from a male perspective. She may happen to be less sensitive about male friends in a relationship and somehow your bf does not realise that too. This creates the problem.

It is a good idea to book in a couples counselling, so both of you get to know each other better and improve communication. Wish you all the best!

Thank you, this helps.

I am trying to see things from his perspective because he hasn't done anything wrong but be a good friend. I think I still may have a problem with the friendship though.

I don't want to be the type of person who makes him choose between one or the other and I hope it never gets to that. Even so, he has told me that if it does then the outcome will not be in my favour which I found quite confronting.

It is clear that you two have different views towards friendship. There is no right or wrong. It is a matter how you two get on comfortably with each other. This is something you need to sort out with him through couple counselling.

In the meantime, focus on your exams and good luck!