Social Anxiety Support Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope it is o.k. that I am here... I can't find anything anywhere for people who want help in coping with someone who suffers with SA.

I met my boyfriend 10 months ago in Church, we had met 30 years prior but never spoke, he was shy, we were both young, then we never saw each other again. We started dating a month later and things seemed fine.

After about 3 months he started putting up walls, pulling away, no more kissing - (it made him uncomfortable), he wouldn't come over to my house anymore... I figure I must have triggered some anxiety and didn't know it - I assume it had to do with the kissing and the intimacy (that was only kissing - not even french kissing as we don't believe in that because we are Catholic and not married).

He swears it isn't me, that it is him - the way he was raised, not having experience with relationships and being a loner... he asked me not to give up on him or us and that he was trying. Now it has been 5-6 months since our last kiss, since he came over to my house, since we were close in any way... he gets so defensive if I bring it up, so irritated and annoyed with me. So I try not to say anything.

I want to be where he feels safe, not where he has to retreat from to feel safe... I am sick inside and it really hurts... I try to not take it personally but how do I do that... when the man you love can't touch you other than a hug and holding hands. He says I need to focus on what we can do (what is allowed) not what we can't do and what isn't allowed.

Some days I feel like I would wait forever for him to want me, need me and love me - other days I feel like I deserve more than to sit home alone and wait for him to be comfortable with me again. He is the most amazing man - I started a list of all of his good, wonderful and beautiful qualities... I am up to 50... I know I can't change him, I can't fix him... but will he ever want something better for himself or for us?

I just need some guidance... people tell me, "he just isn't that into you." I hate that line... I can tell he is into me... he's just freaked out and scared and I have to give him his space - it's just so hard to be the one that has to be patient and wait and do without and be without all the time... but I suppose he feels like he is having to do the same thing.

Will we make it? Is there any hope? Oh, I'm in my mid-40s and he is in his late-40s.

Thanks for reading this, I'm sorry it is so long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
he is being selfish and if he's defensive it means he gave up and is not working on his problems. tell him how much it hurts you and try to become affectionate in small steps so he doesn't get overwhelmed. also, make sure to praise him for any efforts he does make and point out all the qualities you do like about him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: selfish

He knows how much I hurt over this... I think it makes him feel worse... which puts him back to defensive which causes more anxiety... I think it has gotten easier for him to not see me, he emails 4-5 times a day and shares every detail of his life with me through email - when he wakes up, when he gets to work, what he has for lunch, when he's going home, when he showers and when he goes to bed, what he thinks, wants to do, and believes, but nothing past that... I can sit next to him at Church, I can walk with him once a week, and after Church he will visit with me for a half hour before he has to get home to shower and get ready for bed.

Maybe it really is too late for us... maybe I pushed past a boundary that was too much and he can't get past it. Maybe I just need to accept that we are friends - the sad part is that I don't even feel like he is my friend really. I can't tell him how I feel anymore, I can barely touch him without him tensing up, I can't ask him how he feels or what he wants or needs, sometimes it really feels over but it's like he won't let it be over.

I just can't be the one to walk away, I can't be another one of his disappointments, I can't be one more person that hurts him... it would break my heart worse than it breaks every time I have to walk away from him without so much as a kiss goodbye.

I asked him tonight if he would consider kissing me on the cheek, he said he would think about it... I tried kissing him on the cheek for awhile after he stopped the lip kissing... after I would kiss him on the cheek he would nervously say thank you... like I had done some favor. It made me feel like he was allowing me to do it as a consolation - like it was the least he could do. Sometimes I feel like the hugs are more about that... like he has to hug me since he can't kiss me anymore. Sometimes I just feel like there is nothing left about me that he wants, if there ever was.

Sometimes I even pray for God to let me stop loving him, stop wanting to wait, for God to give me some sign that it was ok to walk away. I've even prayed he would find someone else who could make him happy, feel loved, feel safe - feel all of the things I want for him to feel.

I'm not really as pathetic as I sound... I am fairly attractive, educated, funny, hard-working, responsible... I own my own home, car, have raised a child alone, I am Church going, moral, and live my faith... I'm funny, easy-going and I live my life... I take care of myself, and I am there for my friends and my family... but I am a passionate person, when I love I do so on every level and I give 100% - maybe I expect too much, some people think I do I suppose - is wanting something reciprocated that bad.

I just don't know anymore - but for now I am still here, I'm still waiting, I think you are right... I think he gave up months ago... he thinks that it will just 'get better'... that it will go away as easily as it began (the SA)... I don't think it works that way from what I have read.

He is selfish, but does he have control over that? Is his fear-driven life something he chooses or is it something he is conditioned to react to and he knows no other way. Maybe he doesn't want it bad enough, maybe he has convinced himself that his life is good enough and that he doesn't need or deserve anything better than what he has now.

I wish I could figure it all out... I'm sorry if this was rambling... I'm sorry it is so long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,130 Posts
That sounds like a really difficult situation. It also sounds like you really love him. You two talk through email a lot right? Have you tried expressing yourself to him through email? I know you said he becomes defensive when you bring these things up, but maybe if you told him how you felt through written word he'd have time to calm down and actually consider what you're saying. Tell him some of the things you've said here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you so much for responding... he reacts even worse in email... he takes everything wrong, like I am attacking him. I bring it up about once a month... which in comparison to 4-5 emails a day that is maybe what one email in 150 but it morphs into days of hurt and frustration for him and I and it has gotten easier and easier to say nothing just so I don't upset him.

I pray every night that he doesn't really think I try to hurt him or pressure him or freak him out with my questions or comments. I just try to let him know how I feel and what I want and need and think... I try to get him to tell me the same stuff but he just gets so agitated, irritated and annoyed even if I sent him the most positive, I sentenced, understanding emails... he blows them into something ugly and accusatory.

I have never believed once that he ever has not done, or said or not said, anything to hurt me on purpose. I believe him when he tells me it isn't me personally, that it is just him and how he is. It sure feels real personal most of the time though - I work real hard at trying not to take it personally I'm not so much trying to fix him or change him as I am wanting him to try to get help or just try harder to let me be part of his life... even baby steps.

I hope somewhere deep inside he knows I love him, I think he does, maybe he doesn't feel the same but doesn't want to lose me either, maybe he can't admit that to himself. I have even told him we can just be friends but he has to tell me - and he won't admit it.

I love it when we walk because he forgets everything for awhile and we laugh and talk and I get to see his beautiful smile, I get to see him relax and be a little goofy and funny. He teases me and I can tease him back and it is relaxed. He only lets this happen once a week - on Sunday night, but it is better than nothing.

Our time after Church is nice - it's only a half hour but he puts his arms around me and hugs me and I can feel my whole body relax for that short amount of time. As long as I don't touch him too much he is relaxed and ok, as long as I don't touch his hair or look at him too long, or let it show how much I want to kiss him, or hold him too close. If I follow all of the rules that he needs to 'be ok' then I feel like I am momentarily in heaven just by him holding me and getting to hold him too - and he seems to like it too. But when the half hour is up he gets in his car and leaves without looking back, that is the hardest time for me.

I really need to get a grip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Please Read This

As a sufferer of SA, I say this with the utmost consideration for your boyfriend's feelings. He needs to get a grip!!! He has become so wrapped up in his illness that he has forgotten there is a way out. You have to want to overcome SA to actually do it. You can't keep making excuses for everything hoping that things will change. Yes, initially, you keep thinking you'll just see what happens. But at some point, you either acknowledge that you will do something, or you relinquish all control to the illness.
As his girlfriend, you should not be thinking about all the ways that you're "to blame"...which you're not by the way. You can't feel like you're the reason he is dealing with these things. All you do that way is make yourself unsure and then you have two "crazies" trying to work out a problem. Take a deep breath and relax. You have to keep a cool head for both of you guys. My husband had a hard time initially dealing with my SA, but he loves me enough and more importantly, I as the sufferer love him enough to want to work through it together. You have become an outsider in your own relationship with absolutely no control to change that. Look at it this way. If he didn't have SA would you put up with this?? While I agree that we SAs should be allowed a slight reprieve from the normal timelines of certain situations, that does not mean that the rules of a relationship should be thrown out entirely. You can not continue to allow his illness to talk his way out of everything he is getting away with. And the truth of the matter is, the relationship you guys have is not helping anyone. As hard is this may be for you to hear, maybe you are a trigger for him. Maybe the two of you as a unit is not going to work. But that doesn't mean you can't still appreciate the good that you've had and carry that with you. You're worried about making sure he's happy and loved whether you're the person giving that to him or not. My question for you is, who's worrying about the things that you deserve???? I promise you, it's not him.
As hard as it may seem, you have to realize that until he wants to change, he won't. There is absolutely NOTHING you can do to help him past this difficult time, unless he wants you to help. And although you may not like to hear it, someone in his position is too weak to be "into" anyone...you or any other. I know it seems hard to do this, but you have your life and your child's life that should be and need to be first and foremost. As long as you're spending all your energy waiting for the next email or disecting the meanings of the last one, you're not ever going to get what you're truly after. The love and support of someone who wants the same for you.
Good Luck and God Bless!!! Stay strong. Like I said, you have to be rational for the both of you. You'll figure out what is best for you, but I promise you this. If you stay on the path you're on now, you my dear will be the one that suffers. I'm sure you've heard this, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. When is the last time you tried something new?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So detachment with love... tough love... is that it?

Well, I don't sit by the computer waiting for an email. I do what I need to do and check it when I can - reply when I can. That is the beauty of email vs. phones lol... funny how easy it was to accept him not wanting to use the telephone - it saves a lot of time.

My son is my first priority here on Earth, and I live all of my life first for God, second for my son, third for myself - but I do get what you are saying. My boyfriend is a priority for me but I can only be there when he is ok with me being there... when that isn't happening I have plenty of other things to do... more than I can ever get done.

You are correct about needing to keep a clear head and not getting so emotionally out of whack over this stuff. But it is hard. Are you saying that the way I treat him enables him to not get help - to keep coasting?

Thank you for your reply - it helped to get me re-focused, created more questions but for the most part was very helpful.

You are correct... some people just can't fit together... with or without SA that is the case in all relationships for a variety of reasons. I accept that.

I haven't gotten to where I am ready to give up yet, but your advice is helpful.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Hello again...

First, I want you to know that I am in no way trying to berate you for what you are or are not doing. If the things that I say sound harsh, remember that you're reading them and can't hear the inflection in my voice. I am trying to help you and your boyfriend from my experience, not criticize you for your own.
I personally believe that you are enabling him. People tend to look at SAs as something special, that need to be treated delicately. Like I said earlier, we may need a little more time, but we're not completely foreign to the ways of the world. As long as he knows you are willing to put up with things the way they are, why would he change?? You've already said that your relationship is limited by his "needs." And you've also admitted that you follow all of those rules to make sure he's comfortable. In the meantime, aren't you yourself completely miserable??? Don't tell me you're not. The only time you even sounded remotely positive was when you talked about the 30 minutes you get with him after church. So what, you get thirty minutes and he gets all the rest??? And when you were talking in a previous post about him calling and telling you he's showering and eating and going to bed....that sounds like a camper calling to check in with his mom before going to bed every night. You're trying to have an intimate relationship with this man and you're role has been turned into nothing more than a mother of sorts. While women do love and protect and care for their men, there are several other levels of intimacy that add on top of that to separate a couple from a mother/son relationship. Even your blissful thirty minutes sounds like a parent saying goodbye to their child when dropping them off at college.
I'm not saying to force him in to having sex, but you yourself have said that you can't even touch the topic without setting him off. I'm telling you this....you will never move past this point. You will be in this same position 20 years from now unless you layout your guidelines, and more importantly.....STICK TO THEM. Yes SAs may need a little more something, but this man is not completely and totally clueless as to how this all works. Give him more credit than that.
As to your child being a priority, I did not mean to imply that he is not. However, the longer you stay with an SA who doesn't try to change their situation will only get worse. You either get better or you slide further down the well. He doesn't sound like he's wanting to get any better.
You have to decide how much time you want to spend trying to make something happen. And trying to make it happen without him even knowing what's going on??? IMPOSSIBLE. Like I said, set your guidelines, i.e. he needs to go to therapy or you're done, or whatever your guidelines maybe. You can't blame him for doing what he's doing if you don't ever tell him it's not okay. People only do to you what you let them. While he may have more difficulty expressing emotions, you shouldn't let yourself believe that the way you're being treated is ok. It's not!!!
Good Luck. I'm here if you need it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I didn't take it the way you think, I was just clarifying stuff, it is a lot to think about, and it goes into other areas I have dealt with before, thank you. I got that you weren't making judgments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
558 Posts
It seems very very hard what you are going through. Everyone needs physical affection.

I somewhat disagree with ace in that there is nothing that you can do to help him get through this. Quick: ever get over some tough situation with someone's help? Was that person enabling you?

But in any case, I don't think you have to be miserable. I mean you could still help him as a *friend*. I mean you have your needs and yeah the rules of a relationship should not be suspended.

Maybe you could suggest (or rather insist) that he start seeing therapist like ace wrote--and maybe taking meds. If he's already doing so, how about different meds and a different therapist! **Something** has to change.

Leaving him alone for a while might help put things in perspective, you know, let him realize how much he needs you. Maybe just explain why you are distancing yourself so he doesn't take it as you bailing on him.

I can only imagine how tough it is. I hope it works out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I read a lot on here last night, and I prayed a lot and I thought a lot....

There is no bailing happening here... I will be just friends for as long as I can before I ever consider any other alternative. I won't be the one who leaves.

The biggest problem with leaving or distancing myself from him is that he is a firm believer in God's Will... he rationalizes everything by it... he says, well, if you leave then it is God's Will and we weren't meant to be together... or he will say he would rather me date other people and be happy... or he will say I can't help how I feel and he will just be glad for the time we had together. It won't change anything for me to leave... he will just be the same, alone - they same way he was for 12 years before me... he looks at it like he was doing well enough and was relatively happy before I came along and he can just go back to the way he was and he will be o.k. Maybe the things he says (like the previous examples) are all talk and he would feel differently but I won't risk his (or my) heart on it.

I have my moments where it is hard, but I have a full life and am used to being alone and doing things alone - I've been single and haven't dated for the 8 years before I met my guy. So I still do the same things I've always done, I go have coffee at Starbucks, I go to Books A Million and browse, I go to a movie with or without my kid, I don't mind going to a restaurant and eating alone - I have always been very independent and have never shared my space very well (outside of my two marriages - one died and one went to prison for 15 years after I divorced him)... maybe in some ways this relationship is a blessing while I am still trying to raise my son the best way I know how.

I think that sometimes I start focusing on how hard it is and lose sight of how much easier things are right now trying to work full time at a new job, go to school and parent my son and take care of my yard, house and family and friends... maybe if I had a traditional boyfriend I would be listening to how I never have enough time for him, how we never have time to do stuff together, how we never talk, ... my first two husbands were like that. Maybe this really is God's blessing me with someone that fits into my life right now and maybe he picked me for my guy because I don't require so much of him or his time right now when he doesn't have it or isn't able to give it.

I think I need to be focusing on what I have, what is happening, what is possible and what we share instead of getting lost in all the things that aren't the 'way it is supposed to be' - that is a fallacy anyway, maybe the way it is supposed to be just isn't us.

I'm not saying that he doesn't need to accept his problem and get help, or that I won't insist on progress, therapy and maybe meds... but it will be about him getting help so he can be happier, less insecure and more able to live his life... not just so that he can be some person that fits into all of my requirements as a 'traditional boyfriend' - what if he gets on meds, gets into CBT and improves only for me to find out that he wants and needs more than I can give. I need to be more realistic.

Like the priest said, if he was kissing you would you really be able to maintain self-control? Good point... I've never been real good at that - that is another great thing about my guy and me... we balance each other in some ways, he has self-control and it is my shortcoming, I am a free-spirit and he takes on some of that when we are together.

Well, as you can see I am feeling better today... the info on this site helped a lot to make me realize that these things are 'while not normal' or normal for him... they are how he has been for a very long time and it is common for the SA sufferer. It helps a lot to know it really isn't me... that it really isn't personal... no many how many times he tried to tell me that - until I can to this site - I doubt I really believed it.

Thank you for all of your help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
Have you showed him the list of all the things you love about him? His reaction to that is all you need to figure out what to do. If he takes it positively- then there's hope. Try going to a therapy session with him and maybe you two can figure things out. If he takes it negatively- then it's time to move on unless he's willing to put some effort into this relationship instead of relying on "God's Will" (No offense meant here. It just sounds like an excuse to not bother to try changing). If he's not ready to learn to love himself, then he's not ready to love you yet. Sometimes being selfish is a good thing. This is one of those times. Don't waste your life waiting for him if he's not going to love you the way you deserve.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
984 Posts
All you can do is love and be supportive, you can nudge him in the direction of getting help but there is nothing you could ever do or say to fix it. You will probably have to resign yourself to be the dominant one in the relationship if you do go for long term even if he does start getting help. Honestly he sounds like a "project relationship" a phenomena mostly seen in men who fall for messed up people with lots of baggage and devote all their time to fixing them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've heard that term before - project relationship... isn't any relationship, even a healthy long-term one, a project. Doesn't any relationship require a lot of work, sacrifice, dedication, determination and commitment to keep them going.

Well, for now I'm not on a time schedule. I sent him an email that I will be with him and committed as long as he commits to doing everything he can to get, be and stay as healthy as he can be, in all areas - not just mentally and emotionally. I told him that they only thing that will make me leave is if he isn't working at being 'in' our relationship with me. We will see how it goes.

Yes, I gave him the list - just the other day - after holding it back for the whole 10 months we have been together. He was surprised I think that there really were so many things about him that were positive, he said thank you.

Well, I need to get to work... thank you all for getting me through a rough patch - you all helped in different ways to give me some perspective, some clarity and to get my head back on straight.

I'm ok for now, it may not work out with him and I - I have left relationships before and if that is what I have to do I will do it, but for now... I'm committed and staying.

As for being dominant... I am very controlling naturally... it is nice when I am with him to let him take over in some areas - it is a nice break... but I am used to being in control, that is sometimes a flaw... I have let myself get somewhat out control lately in that I am reacting to things instead of acting... that is where my work must start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,864 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just an update... I emailed him and told him that I would be with him as long as he was trying, no response, but then he never responds to the personal stuff unless I really push it, and that leads to more problems.... I got a Wednesday added to our walk schedule (now we will walk on Wednesdays and Sundays)... I agreed to try to shop at WalMart and when I asked him to a cook out with my son and I on July 3rd he didn't immediately say no or think of some reason he couldn't. Plus I am going to a presentation he has to give at a Church group on the 21st.

For me, this is big - it does show me that he is trying and that he wants 'us' to work. Maybe I am making too much out of it... but he even agreed to think about the kissing on the cheek thing (him kissing me)... so we will see what happens.

All of your advice seems to have helped. Any other tips are appreciated.

Thanks

caflme
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top