This topic contains 38 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Hannah 4 weeks ago.
February 7, 2018 at 12:09 am #682571
I have been dating the love of my life for the past 7 months. We fell in love very deeply and have a connection neither of us has ever felt before.
We both deal with depression and anxiety. We have different Attachment Styles; his is ‘anxious-avoidant’ and mine is ‘anxious-preoccupied’. They don’t play well together, but we communicate really well about our needs.
About two months into our relationship, he panicked and broke things off. This is an earmark of his AS, so I heard him out the next day when he asked to meet, and he explained why he panicked. We reunited.
Last week, he did it agin, saying thats he’s slipping back into depression. He said he doesn’t know what he’s doing and has to focus on himself and his health. I agreed, but asked him to speak to his therapist about ending things before hitting the panic button again- to see if we can do this, and if so, how I can support him and help keep our love healthy.
We poured our hearts out to each other; I told him to take the space he said he needs. He is the one who needs care more right now so I am here, even if at a distance.
He saw his therapist today and they agreed that he needs to take 2 weeks to deal with himself and recalibrate. That he should request that there be no contact so he can do the work without outside influence.
I asked if he’d come back to me and he promised he would; he told me he loved me and said I needed to respect this. I asked if we could talk one last time to say goodbye, and he said no, because it’s not goodbye. It’s ‘talk to you later.’ He even apologized about Valentine’s Day and said we could celebrate when he comes back.
I feel so sad that his healing might mean the end for us. If he decides he truly can’t do this, it will be a weighed decision and not a panic reaction. I want what’s best for him, but now I’m in a two week limbo to see if he’s going to be ok, and if, ultimately, he’ll come back to me.
I need support here… day one has just come to a close, and I won’t hear from him until the 20th. He’s part of my daily routine and this is going to be a big, loud silence.
Can anyone please provide encouragement, or just help talk me through the next two weeks? I can’t bear the thought of losing him, but I know he needs to heal and I would rather miss him than lose him by not respecting his needs. I know I will drive myself crazy during this time, and any help would be appreciated.
PS… I promise to update daily.February 7, 2018 at 2:06 am #682575
It Is good to see you communicate so well. I hear you. He is part of ur daily routine, of ur life. It’s be so hard to imagine losing him or this relationship. I have been going through similar thing for extended period. Understand u. Hugs.February 7, 2018 at 3:04 am #682576
I’m sorry to say, I think it might be for the best if he ended it. An avoidant-anxious and an avoidant-preoccupied together is going to be very, very hard work every step of the way. If you have to post here every day for the next two weeks to get through two weeks without him, you would be better off seeing a therapist.February 7, 2018 at 4:15 am #682577
I’m sorry for your sadness. I can only imagine how you must feel. Treasure this time and spend it taking care of yourself — do things you enjoy, spend time with family/friends, journal, etc. Just stay busy with worthwhile activities. That is critical. As time goes on it’ll get easier. Just take it day by day. Instead of focusing when he’s expected to return to you, focus on returning to self, loving self, and healing self. If you do this, with assistance from your support system, you’ll emerge on the other end, stronger and better for yourself, first — then others.February 7, 2018 at 5:53 am #682580
I completely understand how you feel.
At least you only have to wait for 2 weeks, even though everyday must be like torture. I’m on the other hand, decided on 3 months of no contact. And it’s only been 7 days and I cried my eyes out everyday. It’s not easy and I doubt it’ll be easier anytime soon 🙁February 7, 2018 at 7:07 am #682584
Honestly, a relationship shouldn’t be this hard. Love is not enough, its just one part of the entire pie and without all the others the pie will crumble.
You need to take this time to truly consider if he’s someone you can rely on to be there during the hard times! He is SHOWING YOU he’s someone you cannot rely on to be there, one who will flit in and out of your life when he’s not in a good place which appears to be every three months based on your short time together.
Seriously, you need to take this time and DETACH yourself from him because your clinging onto him like a life preserver and he’s clearly not capable of being that for you because your drowning yet more concerned about ‘fixing him’ than you are fixing yourself. Take this time to FIX YOU, as your co-dependency is going to destroy you if you don’t get a handle on now and learn how to create strong healthy boundaries. I suggest you seek a therapist as well because your not seeing ‘the big picture’ of how difficult your life would be hanging onto a man who’s going to keep running away when his mood changes.February 7, 2018 at 9:11 am #682592
I’m not really interested in being told I’m better off without him. He’s working on things, and that is what is important. He’s not denying it, he’s not pretending nothing is wrong and spending the time getting drunk. He’s learning better strategies and getting his bearings after a very rough few months of personal losses and family stress.
He’s very good to me. I’ve struggled my entire life with depressive episodes and I know that just because a person suffers, it doesn’t mean they are not worthy of love and security. I’m not taking that from him; that’s my half of the equation, and what I am willing to offer.
I’m posting here because, while I am going to therapy, seeing friends, working full time, going to the gym, and reading a lot to fix me, I am in love with this person and it’s taken this long for me to find a connection this deep and meaningful. He is worth the discomfort I am feeling at this time.
I am also very strong from all of my own issues and work therein. I work hard for my own happiness and am vigilant about seeking help during my low points. I have a great support system.
Knowing he’s struggling and worrying he’ll not come back sucks, because I’m human. I’m working on the fear, but I’m posting here for support during the sleepless parts of the night, or times when I feel I might cave and check in. I know I mustn’t do so, hence my pouring out here instead.
Thank you for your support. Day 2 commences… now.February 7, 2018 at 9:17 am #682593
I’m sorry you’re going through this as well. Use the time as well as you can, and keep coming back here for support if you need it. Hugs.February 7, 2018 at 9:51 am #682596
Nichole, fair warning, this is a public forum and you can’t control what people post here. You’re going to hear things that you disagree with or don’t want to hear. If you are in this fragile a state that you have to post here on a daily basis for two weeks while he’s out of contact, you really need more help than this site is set up for and you are not prepared for the comments you will get here. There are some nasty trolls who get their kicks making fun of people like you. I’d go lean on the “great support system” you say you have.
I know it’s not what you want to hear, but the others who have said out that this might not be the best relationship for either of you have a good point. It isn’t about this two week period, it’s about much more than this. If the two of you have these personality types plus anxiety and depression, it’s a recipe for a rollercoaster ride that won’t be fun. If he has to cut you off every time he has to go take care of himself, there’s a fundamental problem that all the love in the world isn’t going to overcome.
No one is saying neither of you doesn’t deserve love and security. And certainly no one said he’s out getting drunk. You’re already very defensive. You’d be better off journaling or doing something else to place your focus elsewhere in your weak moments.February 7, 2018 at 10:09 am #682599
I know who the trolls are when I see them, so I’m ok there, but I appreciate your concern. I think you’re also misreading my response. I was saying that he’s not just getting drunk as something that I know to be true that makes the difference to me. He’s taking a thoughtful, constructive break. That makes him worth the wait. I’m not defending him because he doesn’t need defending. I was married to a man who ‘didn’t have a problem’, and when it became clear that he was never going to work on things or improve, I took my leave. We were together 11 years.
I also know this might not be an ‘every time’ thing, either. He is working on his panic response as I am working on my fear. But this is the first time he’s been really taking this by the horns, so I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. And maybe this forum will simply prove to me that I’m going to be fine either way. I just don’t want to set myself up for the temptation to contact if I can set up a post here as a last resort.
Primarily when I said I’d post daily, it was more because I read about a girl called Sofia on here and she left everyone hanging with her progress. As I’m in the same boat, I don’t want to leave anyone else in a similar situation wondering how to get through. I think everyone’s posts here are valid and have the potential to be helpful to others.February 7, 2018 at 10:41 am #682607
Lol Sofia. Who knows what happened there.
Although i totally agree with lane, i also get you want to keep this love. All i can say in that case is that you have to work to change your own love style to secure. Accept how he is, and now you can cope either way. Then 2 weeks become a holiday. Good luckFebruary 7, 2018 at 10:51 am #682608
Right?! I was so miffed and I just read it last night. Felt bad for everyone who was there the whole time trying to help. I hope she’s ok and things worked out so she’s happier now.
Thank you for your support; I understand most ppl here on this site are trying to help and so far everyone is talking to me like they would a friend they care for. I also get where they’re coming from but I’m not ready to let him go. I need to see how this story ends from a healthier place.
So I’m working on me, but I’m also very anxious. So I need the advice. I might not want to hear it but every perspective helps. I’m all over the place lol.February 7, 2018 at 10:59 am #682609
Im serious about the changing to secure style. I did it myself, not on purpose. But it happened when i got more grounded and realizing i would always be fine. Love is nice and it sure is nice to have a partner. But its not a life necessity and to keep at all cost. So the more secure i got, the closer my guy wanted to be. That also wasnt intentional but it happened. And if it doesnt work out with your guy, you will have a better foundation for yourself anyway to build onFebruary 7, 2018 at 12:58 pm #682623
So how did you do it? I’m working on getting there but any pointers would help. I’m currently doing CBT, that seems to make the panic go away a bit.February 7, 2018 at 1:34 pm #682628
It had a lot to do with focussing on me and what makes me happy, realizing that fear of rejection or abandonment is just a useless thought. Anything and anyone can go. Some people lose their children and stil find a way to cope with that.
That a relationship is a two way street and we both need our own fun in that. Seeing that love is more fun and happy based and with the right person there is no need for anxiety. Etc etc. It was a natural proces. That was my normal self but it got lost after a few horrible things that happened to me.
I guess its seeing things in perspective.
With your guy: its good ypu two can talk, but it does overcomplicate your life. Do you really want that? Its your job to make yourself happyFebruary 7, 2018 at 1:36 pm #682629
I also recommend yoga btwFebruary 7, 2018 at 2:15 pm #682634
I think you are focusing on the wrong thing. As you know depression is a serious illness and there isn’t going to be some magic answer in 2 weeks time. I just had a friend who’s boyfriend left for a month of therapy to deal with his depression and he broke up with her the first week he was there to focus on his healing. His counselors wanted to make sure it was his decision and not their influence and ultimately it was. I realize you want to be there for him and support him but trying to save a drowning person will just bring you down too. There is no easy answer and no 2 week fix. Give him the time if you want but ultimately you need to decide for yourself if you can see dealing with this uncertainty the rest of your life. This kind of relationship will only magnify your problems not make them better. Life us going to throw you all kinds of curve balls. Do you really want a partner who walks away and needs a break from you when each one comes?February 7, 2018 at 5:03 pm #682662
Hi-sorry you are struggling with this. I am older-edge of 60-lol and will give you my “life experience ” take. People that are emotionally healthy and/or in good relationships turn to each other to help cope with life’s issues and problems. If they are turning away it can mean many things,among them that they can’t deal with themselves,let alone another person.
I hope he can get help and figure out what he wants. However,I see a pattern here that has a high chance of you just getting rejected and hurt again and again with no end to it. People are not always “worth waiting for” and you can waste lots of time for ultimately nothing. Post with updates as needed.February 7, 2018 at 10:23 pm #682722
Thank you for your insight. Everyone on here has been giving me very valid points, even if it may not be what I want to hear in some cases.
I am not ready to throw in the towel on this one, but I am also not resigning myself to a lifetime of this. I don’t deserve it, no matter how much he might work or try. He can’t just keep leaving.
As long as he commits to working on him, as I will continue working on me, then there is hope for us. But I am going to ask him to commit to discussing his panic with me prior to distancing or leaving altogether. Then if we decide in the future that it has to end, it’s a choice based on a mutual ubderstaning that this can no longer work and not one made in panic that damages our bond.February 7, 2018 at 10:39 pm #682724
Let’s see. You bi5 are in therapy, use the therapy lingo and can’t get along? Anyone without a degree tell you it takes two healthy people to have a good relationship? My fee advice. No chargeFebruary 7, 2018 at 11:37 pm #682725
And there’s the first troll, right on schedule.February 8, 2018 at 6:54 am #682751
T from NY
I have a psychology degree, have worked in human services capacity for years doing social work, had years of past trauma, years of therapy, am currently in therapy with a trauma specialist to continue my healing and am very familiar with attachment theory. And I’m very sorry to say — your posts come across as very codependent. You act is if you can control the outcome of things with hard work and reflection, that if you just examine something enough and understand it — you will be able to move the pieces around and make it fit. That is false thinking and just not how it works sometimes.
You wrote you were going to ask your SO “to commit to talking about his panic before he throws in the towel”. Don’t you see how you’re attempting to control his narrative? What if you tried less managing and more being still? What if you gave him space (not physical — I know you already have to do that) but emotional space where he actually feels SAFE telling you how he feels?
You feel somewhere inside you that if only things are talked about in a logical way, at a measured pace, with objectivity, with understanding of neuroses — that all will be well and sorted and he will SEE THE LIGHT about his panic, about the “rightness” of your relationship. This course of action may be all well and good for science or something similar — but very different for matters of the heart.
I agree with everything Lane said. This man is a grown man. People only do things when they are ready and willing to do them. I know you don’t consider him to be a responsible and ready partner right now because you make all kinds of excuses (give reasons) why he cannot be (his panic, his depression, his anxiety) Even if this were the case, 2 weeks of alone time is not going to equal a reliable partner when you two have already been together for over half a year. (And this is supposed to be the honeymoon! And yes, usually even people with mental health issues go through this relationship stage!)
I am convinced, unfortunately, that you make it so difficult to tell him things and to end the relationship that these are the measures he resorts to. Additionally, even if he wants the relationship to continue — what kind of partnership is it where one has to go off on their own for weeks and figure out their deepest fears, issues, challenges? When you see a future with an SO you want them to be involved in the process.
Please take this time to rediscover you. Your posts are all about him. I know it doesn’t seem that way. And I know it’s a generalization — but men who need breaks from a woman who loves them are really just men not sure about the woman or are in no place to make healthy decisions regarding their futures. And a mere two weeks is not going to change that.February 8, 2018 at 7:06 am #682752
T from NY
Also as an aside — I apologize if I came across harsh. Tough love maybe. And I don’t blame you for loving him or wanting to wait the 2 weeks which is not a huge amount of time in the scheme of things — BUT I do wish for you, someday, to see that a healthy woman, a woman who has A LOT of love for herself and absolutely knows her worth — would not be with a man who shuts her out for weeks. WHATEVER his reasons. Codependents believe that to die for love, to suffer long for love, to wait on someone to go figure their stuff out — is beautiful and a sacrifice and romantic and NEEDFUL sometimes. Period. the end. But that’s all part of distorted thinking and the illusion of attempting to control a future outcome. Healthy love is not this hard. It just is not. I wish you the very best. And hope you find deep and abiding love — within yourself — and then with a partner that is not avoidant — in your future.February 8, 2018 at 8:52 am #682761
I agree it’s a good idea to give him this time and space, espcially if he’s seeking help.
But..he’s done this to you twice in the space of 7 months. This can’t keep happening. I can see him as one of those men who just walk out on his wife and kids because it “became too much”.
You need to think about you and put yourself first. What he’s doing to you is a mild betrayal. He agreed to be in a commited relationship and now he’s backtracked.
Please don’t let him keep doing this. Three strikes and you’re out should be your rule. If he’s not healthy enough to be in a relationship, he won’t make a good partner. You can’t make him be one.February 8, 2018 at 9:59 am #682772
I know you’re all right about this not being ok.
I struggle with letting him go. I really love this guy. I’ve never met anyone like him, who I have this much in common with or who seems to actually understand me and have compassion for what I deal with. I have a lot of trauma, and he’s been a very welcome bright light at the end of some very dark tunnels.
I guess my compassion partly wants to prove to him that he’s wrong about being unworthy of love. But maybe I don’t see my own worth either. Age old question: how do you learn to love yourself in the right way?
Pointers on that would be great too.