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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just wanted to say that I do not personally have SA, but my boyfriend of 5 years has battled SA for over 10 years now, so I feel like I know (from an outsiders perspective) what he goes through on a daily basis. But my dilemma is this:

Most of the time, he keeps his struggles to himself (he IS a guy ;)), but when he does reach out to me for support, or just to talk, or whatever, I find it incredibly difficult to support him. I listen to his feelings carefully and try to give him my thoughts on the situation, (which is often times quite different than his), but it seems like since I don't have SA myself, my words just fall flat on the floor, which I understand. So I'm just at a loss...

I understand I can't take away his anxiety, but does anyone have any suggestions on what a supportive girlfriend CAN do? If anything? Does talking details make it worse? Is being positive annoying and unreal?

Thanks in advance for your help!

(ps. Sorry if I posted this in the wrong place, I didn't see any threads like this already though...)
 

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I've had SA all my life, and when someone tries to talk to me about it I really do appreciate it. But I find that most of the time a lot of people try to talk me out of feeling anxious, and that does nothing.
Be understanding. Ask if there's anything you can do for him. Don't try to tell him that it's unreasonable. It might be hard to understand where he's coming from, but try your best. If he gets frustrated, don't take it personally. SA is a huge struggle, and I'm sure he just appreciates you being there for him.
Good luck!
 

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Every person is different and experiences SA in a different way so it's impossible to give quality advice concerning him as I don't know him like you do. Me personally, If I had a girlfriend I'd want her to be there to just LISTEN. Thats the main thing, just having someone you can talk to that you know won't judge you or be annoyed with you. Just be there for him, you can't fully understand what he feels so don't try to tell him 'do this or do that'. If you're out with him and you see that hes incredibly anxious you could bring it to his attention so he can consciously think about the situation and that could help him relax.
 

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Hi,
I've been phobic for 17 years now and I've been with my husband for almost 14 years. It's a topic that keeps coming up lately.

For me, I just want him to listen and sympathize. Support me in ways like saying, "That must be awful to go through." or "I still love you and am happy to be here to listen and be a soft place to fall." I don't like it when he says something like,"Well, this is what you can do..." or "Why did I let you be this way for so long? Let's do something now to correct your problem."

Unless he specifically asks you to tell him what to do or to give him suggestions, just take his lead. If he is just expressing his feelings, just listen. From our end, if we just want to express how sad or frustrated we are, and we hear our listener shooting out 'solutions', it discourages us from wanting to express them again in the future with that particular listener. :)

It's hard on us as the phobics, but I understand it is hard for my husband and you. It's terrific that you are seeking positive ways to help your loved one. I hope my reply and others as well is helpful for your situation.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow, thanks for your replies - that was quick! How strange that someone posted the same thing a few days ago - silly me. ;)

Well I guess one question is this: After social situations, when he begins the questioning phase, is it helpful for me to discuss this with him? Or should the situation just be left as it is, with no analysis?

Because when we do talk about it, I get the feeling that I'm fueling his fire. It's like he's fishing for certain answers and it makes me feel like I'm on the hot seat. But I don't want to not be there for him when he wants to talk about it either.

Do you think these conversations help settle his anxiety OR just make him feel even more alienated and misunderstood? *I've asked him, but he said he wasn't sure...so I thought I'd ask here)
 

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After social situations, when he begins the questioning phase, is it helpful for me to discuss this with him? Or should the situation just be left as it is, with no analysis?

Because when we do talk about it, I get the feeling that I'm fueling his fire. It's like he's fishing for certain answers and it makes me feel like I'm on the hot seat. But I don't want to not be there for him when he wants to talk about it either.

Do you think these conversations help settle his anxiety OR just make him feel even more alienated and misunderstood? *I've asked him, but he said he wasn't sure...so I thought I'd ask here)
Right now I can't help but to post-analyze my social interactions and the way I do it is not healthy at all. I tend to find any little mistake I've made and blow it out of proportion, beating myself up for having made such an obvious blunder (even when things went well in reality). I am trying to stop this but I can't seem to not dwell on it.

I think a very brief post-analysis is healthy if done to identify obvious (and real, not imagined) weaknesses and ways to improve next time. Unfortunately, keeping the analysis limited to this is difficult.

I really admire you for sticking by him like you have. You accepting him for who he is should go a long way towards helping him. It gives me hope to know that there are understanding women like you out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry it took me so long to reply - life gets crazy sometimes!

So, the post-situation analysis is ok, as long as it's brief and realistic. I can handle that. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't setting him back by hashing out it with him, by giving him more to dwell on than he needs. I'll just have to give him "the look" or something if he keeps going on about it. :wife Haha.

And thank you all for your advice! He's been having a really tough time lately, (he works in home lending taking calls from angry home buyers all day...yikes!) and I felt like he was slipping away from me. But I've taken everything into consideration and I'm pretty sure he's noticed because he's opening up to me a lot more about it these past few days.

I wish you all the best on your journey!
 
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