Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Questions and discussions about relationships: girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, partners, friends, family or other intimate relationships in your lives.
larajeancovey23
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Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:53 pm

Hi, I'm not sure if anyone can help with my situation but it's been on my mind all day. I just know that it's been on my mind all month and I'm sure I've talked just about everyone's ears off in my social circle. I have major anxiety so it's hard for me to really just rid of these thoughts. Anyhow, my boyfriend and I met online last April or May and we've been talking ever since. We've planned trips to the where he lives and here, where I live. We'd get in very small fights usually over tiny things like me being moody or him having a bad day, but recently since about the beginning of last month his aunt passed away. I wanted to be there for him, but he was so distraught about it I didn't heard from him for two days. Which I understood what was happening so I wasn't worried, my anxiety was fine. He reached out again and he sounded really sad, but one day I was going through my own problems and I needed someone to talk to and I told him about it and he disappeared for the whole day. And I guess it got to me, because in my mind I thought he was just ignoring me and my feelings so I got upset and when something's on my mind I text a lot. The next day he said sorry he just needed to be alone and I told him that it makes me upset when he just shuts down. This has happened twice, if he has a bad day, he'll just shut down out of no where. Which is where my past kind of comes in my ex was abusive and left me in a parking lot at midnight and I remember calling him multiple times and he never picked up his phone...he later texted me putting me down and cheated on me with his now wife, but that's a different story. I've also been ghosted every time since after my ex and it's been 4 years. I have yet to have anything successful whether I get anxious or not, sometimes the guys just leave in mid conversation. So I do get anxious with my now boyfriend when I don't hear from him in the middle of our conversations. Especially since he lives on the other side of the world and I know he also struggles with depression at times. So I'm always asking if he's okay if I don't hear from him...which I guess is a bad thing. I've told him that I'm aware of me being clingy and overwhelming and he's never told me that I was too much for him until we got in that fight. I heard from him after three weeks as I was about to delete everything and move on..because I assumed the worse, he had texted me, "Hey, I'm sorry I know it's been a while, but I can go if you want."
I wasn't sure how to respond..I had said that I was confused and asked if he knew how I felt and of course I didn't want him to go, but I wasn't sure if he still cared and my anxiety got to me and I asked if there was someone else because I haven't heard from him in 2 days now. I'm so used to talking to him everyday that when he stopped talking to me I went into shock because it felt like I was reliving all my past experiences. And I myself got depressed...because it made me feel like I wasn't important enough to even deserve an explanation for just disappearing...when I addressed it last time but I understand I can't control his behavior. But I didn't mention to him how hurt I felt...I also went through a lot of fights with my dad during that time and texted him during that...because he's always been there for me, even though I knew he wouldn't get back to me in that time. He's always been there for me and has always assured me that I wasn't a problem for him, but I'm not so sure anymore. I now feel unloved and uncared for and insecure about the relationship and I miss him and all we did together like Skype calls and movies. I just want things back to normal but I'm not sure what happened. I know my anxiety is bad, but it's making me feel unlovable and impossible to deal with. I talked about it with my therapist and all he told me was that I had an anxious attachment style and he thought that maybe my boyfriend has avoidant attachment. It was just so strange to have my boyfriend show me so much affection and care and withdraw and now seems distant maybe. I don't want to lose him but I'm not sure how he feels. I'm already thinking he won't even text me back again. I'm too scared to get my hopes up and too scared to speak to him any longer before I talk about how I feel again. Anyhow, I'd like things to be fixed between us but I think I've screwed up everything with my anxiety. I'm not even sure how to talk to him anymore or whether he'll talk to me again.

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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby Mo » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:08 pm

Hi there, and welcome to Scarleteen.

I'm sorry you've had so much conflict with your boyfriend around communication and you feeling abandoned. Differences in communication can, I think, be extra tricky when it comes to long-distance relationships, since all or most of the communication is going to occur remotely and not face to face. It isn't wrong for you to process your feelings with a lot of texts, or to want communication to happen often, and it also isn't wrong for your boyfriend to need time to himself, or to process his feelings privately.

If you're willing to talk to him, to see if you can patch things up, I think it would be helpful to have a really explicit conversation about what communication would look like for each of you, in an ideal world. How often would you want to talk to each other? Would you want him to say "I have to step away for a bit" when he needs to take a break for texting, so you know he's not ignoring you? You could say "when I don't hear from you for a while, I worry you don't want to talk to me. Are there ways we can figure out so that I can feel reassured and you can take the alone time you need?" and see what he comes up with. It's possible for people who communicate differently and who have their own conflicting mental health needs to have successful relationships, but often it requires a little extra communication about it.

With your therapist, has he given you any strategies for ways you can manage your anxious feelings when they come up? I'm hoping he can give you some tools you can use when you feel yourself spiraling off into intense anxiety over this or any future relationships. If he has given you some, are they working for you? Do you need to ask him for something else to try?

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:13 pm

I'm too afraid to reach out again...because I think he'll just leave. But I'd like to just speak with him about what's going on and make us stronger or help us to feel a little bit more normal like before. I'm just not sure if what he said last sounded good or not..I don't know what "I can go if you want" means. My therapist hasn't helped me much with anxiety. Much more depression because when I first went it was for suicidal thoughts or overwhelming depression at the time. I know certain grounding techniques, but they don't help much. But I'm trying not to get really really anxious about it so I don't bother my boyfriend like I have in the past. And I know I'm a clingy person which he claimed he was too but much more me than him. But I wish he would be more open in communicating with me when he does feel bad or when he needs space. Because I'm so open to him about everything and how I feel..it doesn't seem fair in a way. And not everything is fair, but it would make things easier for me if he told me he needs space than to just disappear..because in my mind it triggers everything and tells me that he's going going to ghost me no matter how good things are.

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:11 am

He responded..but I don't think it's good. I'm not sure. He said, "You..you think this is all because there's someone else?" When I asked is there someone else...I'm not sure what else to say. I just told him..I can't explain my mind, I'm sorry I was just trying to understand everything..my therapist hasn't really given me much anxiety help.

Sam W
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:36 am

Hi larajean,

There are a few things to touch on here, but I do want to mention that if you're therapist hasn't offered you much help around this, that's actually something you can bring up with him. It's completely within bounds to say "hey, my anxiety is doing these things, and the methods I have to address it haven't been working. Can we talk about other ways to approach it?" You can also find a bunch of advice on getting what you need out of therapy here: Process This: Getting the Most Out of Therapy.

While it does sound like anxiety and your past experiences are playing a role in this conflict, I don't think the blame sits entirely on them. It sounds like there's also a big mismatch in terms of what you each need from communication and in the ways you each communicate with the other. Too, it's not surprising these latest texts have you confused. Honestly, if my partner and I had a fight and then I didn't hear from him for three weeks, I'd assume that we were as good as broken up. I think lots of other people would too. And it sounds like you were on your way to that conclusion. So suddenly having him back and communicating might be adding to how confused you feel.

Have you given any though to Mo's suggestion about having a very explicit conversation about all this? I know that might sound intimidating, or like it could lead to a break up, but right now it sounds like the pattern you're in is making you miserable. If it would help, we can also use this space to talk about how to approach that conversation with him.

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:32 am

My anxiety hasn't been so bad now..I guess because he contacted me but it is still there..just more controlled because I don't want to send him like 30 texts on how I feel again like I have in the past..he's never said it was an issue before though. I have..but he hasn't responded yet so I don't want blow up and have put him on silent so I'm not tempted to look at my phone because I've been on edge for three weeks about us..and I understand he was grieving but he also didn't make it clear to me when he mentioned it..that would be great. I really just want us to get back to our normal routine again but I'm not sure how he feels about me anymore and if he even still cares. Because we did have so much fun together and love talking and making plans. I'm not sure if we'll ever go bak to that though..not if he clams up if we have a problem..he told me in the past that he's not good at talking about things or about how he feels so idk maybe he's just trying to avoid it till it goes away but I want us to get through it somehow

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:34 am

It is miserable to me...I don't like being confused about us..and he's never made me feel so unsure before. He's usually supportive and reassuring even if I doubt myself many times and if he doubts himself I do the same..this is the first time he's made me feel so unwanted...

Sam W
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:48 am

Even if your anxiety is, right in this moment, not as bad, I'd still encourage you to have those conversations with your therapists about new ways of coping with it. As you've already experienced, one thing anxiety does is flare up when you're already struggling with something. So, it's helpful to have tools for dealing with it in place, even if you don't need them right away.

Okay, from what you're describing it sounds like a conversation about communication and expectations is long overdue. If you can, I'd suggest having the main talk either over the phone or over Skype, since that way you'll at least be able to gauge each others tone. Do you feel up to sending him a text saying that the two of you need to have that conversation?

Can you also give me a sense of what your social supports are besides him? Do you have friends or family that you can talk to about what's going on?

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:00 am

I understand..I can speak to him about it next time I see him. It especially flared up when my boyfriend just disappeared after the fight...I'm really embarrassed over all the texts and calls I've sent but it really is like reliving all my past moments I've had before. Especially my ex..my boyfriend doesn't talk down to me like he did but I just imagine being left in the parking lot and calling and texting all over again. I guess..but right now my mind just thinks he won't even respond back after what I said. I think he might be mad at me I'm not sure..I'd love a phone call, we'd call almost everyday but yeah I'm not sure what's going on. I've told my friends and family..but they can only take so much. Especially if I get depressed..and I don't mean any harm by it, it's just I get frustrated and I don't think they understand..so I haven't been telling them much currently

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:02 am

I really just want to understand him and what he's going through or how he's feeling...but it makes me not want to reach out to him when he goes in and out of our conversation and his tone just sounds..not like him at all

Sam W
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:12 am

Given how stressed this all is making you, it might actually be time to be proactive in asking to have this conversation, rather than waiting for him to respond. That may be the first step in breaking out of this current pattern where you get anxious about his responses and he draws away or doesn't answer you. When you say you think he won't respond after what you said, can you give me a sense of what, exactly you said to him? I'm afraid I'm having a little trouble tracking what was said when in your conversation with him.

That anxiety response where you start reliving past bad moments is another thing to bring up with your therapist. In addition to making it harder to deal with what's going on in the moment, it also sounds like it's causing you to relive some scary times in your past, and you deserve help in dealing with that.

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:26 am

I just said..babe is there someone else..and he responded with You think all this is because there's someone else?

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:27 am

and..all I said was I can't explain like my mind, I'm sorry I was just trying to understand

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:27 am

so..I don't know if he'll respond to that at all

Sam W
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:52 am

Thank you, that was helpful. So, I think at this point asking him outright to have a longer conversation specifically about what you each need from communication in order for this relationship to move forward. Do you feel ready to do that today?

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:14 am

Um..I don't know about today..I've been so stressed out about it I've been trying to avoid it. I'm really just waiting for his response before we do that..or I don't even know if he wants to do that..because I feel so embarrassed about what I said. I feel bad that that thought even came in my mind about him..

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:15 am

one of my friends advised me to just forget about what happened and act as if nothing happened..but it hurt me so much and I'm a little mad about it

Sam W
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:24 am

I would caution you against trying to pretend nothing happened, because that means that both the current issue, and the deeper issues in the relationship, are not actually going to get resolved.

If part of what's making you hesitant to have this conversation is that you said some things you're embarrassed by, you could mention that when you ask him to have this talk. Too, at a certain point, waiting to see if he'll contact you back is just extending your own unhappiness. Think of it like pulling off a band-aid: if you draw the process out, you extend the amount of time it hurts. But if you do the painful or scary thing quickly, it's over and done with and you can move forward. I'm not saying asking to have this conversation, or the conversation itself will be fun. But it's a necessary conversation to have if you want this relationship to continue. Does that all make sense?

Gone.Sorry.
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:30 pm

I don't know if this will help or not, but one way to help psych yourself up for a conversation is to realize that by not talking to him because you're afraid of x, y, and z happening will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

He'll never know you don't understand his answer if you don't say so.

A larger discussion of the issues you want to confront will never happen if you never ask for it to happen.

He can't respond if you never continue the conversation.

The best way to clear the air and to be heard and to work things out is to do the hard thing and speak up and have the conversation. Ignoring things may seem like the easy path, but it's actually causing you a lot of anxiety and upset and hurt feelings. Stewing in these feelings isn't actually making anything easier. It is making the conversation you want and need to have seem scarier and harder than it needs to be, though.

One thing to think about may be: do you feel safe talking with him? Do you feel heard when you speak with him? No good relationship can survive if you can't communicate with each other! How do you see things working out in the most ideal sense? After so many weeks of just ignoring you, what would he need to do in order to regain your trust?
These may not be easy questions, but they might help you figure out if you want to continue having a relationship with him (versus just being afraid of change/afraid of being alone) and, if so, what you need to ask for in order for that to happen.

If at all possible, this does sound like a conversation you should have over the phone. If not that, then at least in real time, so you're not each sitting there waiting for a day before getting a response.

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:18 pm

I'm really too afraid to..I'm not sure how to word it without sounding idk strange. I did feel safe talking to him until this happened and his responses just make me want to run away. I don't know if things will work out at all..I really want them to. But I'm so used to things not working out...I get so anxious and just assume that they won't work. Yesterday was his day off...which we always call and since he didn't mention he wanted to call I'm just assuming he doesn't want to talk anymore and all of this is overwhelming for me..and my trust is a little broken..

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:19 pm

I'm doubting that he'd even want to call at all...but I enjoy him so much

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:21 pm

or if there is someone else..I don't want to know or I don't even know what the last response he gave me meant

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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:34 pm

You'll never know how he feels if you don't talk about it and ask him. Assumptions are meaningless because you're not a mind reader, and they're only being fed by your own anxiety.

However, if you're unable to talk with him, maybe that's your answer for now. Would it help you not dwell on this if you told him that you some space to process what's happened and think about what's been said and done? Would it help to tell him that you two should go back to no contact for whatever amount of time you think you need (one week? two weeks? a month?) before you two talk about re-instating your relationship?

You have options here, but for your own state of mind, you need to make a decision. What are you capable of handling right now? Can you handle a conversation with him or do you want to just full on take a break and give yourself time to process, think, and let yourself enjoy doing other things?

I think you're getting very caught up in your own head right now. If you don't want to take an extended break, maybe you can just take the rest of the day (or even the next two days) to do something you want to do? Is there a book you've been wanting to read? How long has it been since you went to the aquarium or zoo? Would your friends do a movie and ice cream with you? Perhaps a dance party tonight? Do you enjoy baths? Could you spend some quality time taking care of a pet? Do you write or draw? When was the last time you had a good workout? Could you go out on a walk around dusk and maybe do some stargazing? Maybe try tackling an ambitious baking/decorating project?
Do something to get out of your head. Let yourself think about something else for a while. Sitting here only convincing yourself not to talk to somebody you want to talk to sounds exhausting and upsetting! Change it up. Give yourself a break. Do something enjoyable - away from your computer. You might find yourself in a clearer headspace if you do.

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:02 pm

yeah..I'm not sure if I can handle it today. I think I'll take another day for myself..and send him a message..I hope he isn't angry at me

larajeancovey23
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Re: Boyfriend and abandonment issues

Unread postby larajeancovey23 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:03 pm

I'll keep updates..


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