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So emotionally exhausted, fighting against the urge to give up
I am trying to keep some sort of relationship up and running that is strongly impacted by my partner's mental health. He is an avoidant attachment style and has significantly suffered after separation from his wife despite him separating. He says he feels nothing at the moment and I can see the closeness between us deteriorating. He wants to see me but it is only half a day a week because he has this constant urge to seek "safety" at home. I am trying my best to be understanding and supportive and he is very happy with my support. But I am anxious by nature and I am currently learning a lot about what in my childhood caused me to become an anxiously attached person. I actively challenge my behaviour always reminding myself of what a secure person would do in that moment and trying to self-regulate. I am trying to learn to self-soothe as well. I feel I am doing a lot to work on myself and to support my partner and not cause any unnecessary pressure. But I feel like my resilience is fading away and I am just so incredibly sad and heartbroken. I just cannot see how this will ever get better with him, he is working hard on getting better for himself but it seems so self-absorbed. I have needs too and I told him that. He said I can tell him that and we need to communicate but also that he may need to say no because he feels uncomfortable. I feel I am always giving more than I receive and I am now very confused whether this is just my anxiety talking or whether it is a real lack of him trying to meet me halfway as we agreed. I am just so unhappy but I don't want to give up because we have fought so hard to get here and I feel I cannot leave now. But I cannot go on like this either. How do I become more resilient and more hopeful again. I feel so emotionally drained and I am not very kind to myself most of the time. I thought I was going well in my new-found determination to change for the better now that I understand where my anxiety comes from. But today I feel like I have experienced a massive step backwards and I have just been really unhappy and negative all day. What can I do?
Let's start off with your partner's separation. He was the one to end it right? Depending on how long ago it was, it sounds like he is not coping well with the divorce. This could be for a multitude of reasons, either he is emotional about the divorce, struggling financially, feels like his life has changed dramatically all of a sudden, and needs security and support. Your anxiety only makes this situation worse as his behavior worries you. But it's a good thing you're actively conscious of your anxious thoughts, and battle them the way that suits you best when they arise.
At this point in time, you are both working on yourselves, and ultimately you are more important right now. That's not to say you can't support him, but don't let it consume you. If you need your needs met, or you have certain expectations, putting aside that he has things going on with him right now, it is only fair to push for those things.
Feelings of hopelessness kind of are a good thing. Why? Because it means you still have some hope left, to feel hopeless in the first place. Hold on to it. Keep communicating, support him as best you can, but always put your needs first. If you are unhappy, then you need to do what makes you happy. Time heals all wounds, and if he loves you and values you, you will be together. Theres a quote which goes roughly like this "I promise to work on myself, and be a better person for you. Only if you promise to do the same for me."
I'm a bit of an ultimatum type of person. AND im super understanding and supportive. BUT you can't give your all, and leave nothing for yourself. Try make it clear what you want or what you need, whilst also reassuring him he has your support. But don't forget to make him aware that your needs are important, and if you don't have them met, then you cannot invest into a one sided relationship. Thus, leaving the ball in his court, the choice up to him, and any conclusion made becomes ultimately, his. If you're confident he loves you, then you have nothing to worry about, and things will fall into place slowly.
Wish you the best of luck.