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The twilight zone, I need guidance

Community Member

Hi all,

I’ve been with my amazing boyfriend for a year now and he confided early on that he suffers from anxiety, has had depression and a level of ADHD (not taking meds for anything).

He is incredibly loving, giving, caring and an excellent communicator. He is 38 and a bar manager, has had many jobs and owned his own business. He as countless ideas for future ventures, some of which he had wanted to put in motion by the end of the year.

Over the last 6weeks his anxiety has flared up and reached a point where he’s pulled back from everyone, including me. The signs and symptoms are mental and physical and he doesn’t want to see or talk to anyone. The only people he feels comfortable with are his brother and family, who won’t ask questions.

Hes tried reassuring me countlessly that this is a cycle he’s gone through before and knows what to do, and just needs space to sort his head out. Saying constantly it’s not me or “us” and that he’s not here to waste my time; if he didn’t want to be with me he’d tell me. I obliged for a few weeks but was struggling with lack of communication and time together, paired with the feeling that I couldn’t help or support. I started to feel neglected as he was incapable of being a boyfriend and giving to the relationship.

Two weeks ago I suggested we have a month apart (but still in a relationship) with minimal chatter and not seeing each other so that he could focus on himself without the pressure to please me. He didn’t want the “break” but agreed it was probably best for his headspace, to sort everything out.

Two weeks and I’ve been a mess. While I’ve told my closest friends and family, to have their support, he’s told no one. He’s had a lot of quiet alone time, said it’s been helping and today said he felt a little better. But his messages are unemotional, he doesn’t want to talk about it, he’s not reassuring me that “we’re okay”, he stopped saying he loves me.

I guess I’m feeling neglected, abandoned and I’m SO confused. I’m trying to have faith in him and keep reminding myself that these are his issues and nothing to do with me but now I’m getting anxious that perhaps he doesn’t want to be with me. I’m so scared because I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Does anyone have any tips for how to get through this or similar experiences?

1 Reply 1

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi TheGirlfriend,

My heart goes out to you - it must be so hard, to develop feelings and care for this guy so deeply for a year to then have him suddenly pull away. To give you a bit of background about me, I’m someone who suffers from chronic illness and also depression/anxiety as a result. Like your partner, I tend to want to go away and “fix myself” and then come back when I’m all better and be sociable again. However, when I got together with my last partner, he didn’t really take no for an answer and just inserted himself into my life. He was there and he reassured me constantly that he didn’t care and just seemed to know how to support me to get through those times, would bring me soup and magazines etc. It got so he was the only person that could seem to comfort me and to this day he is the only person that I have truly let in my life that way and take care of me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe you need to try make him think of you the same way he does his family. It’s a hard one because you want to respect someone’s wishes for space but sometimes what they want isn’t always what they need. It’s a tough one!