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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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How to React Constructively

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I've been in a relationship for 8 yrs. We lived together for 5 yrs. Have LIVED APART for 1 yr after a breakup. He moved back to NY where we previously met and lived together. I stayed in LA where I was pursuing my MFA. After a month or so of being apart, he started to call me and tell me he wanted to work things out. I was so vulnerable and really wanted it to work. I agreed to working things out. He needed some time. I don't know. I gave it to him. He visited me. I visited him. He said he didn't want to be with me anymore. He felt forced. A few days later, he tells me he wants to work things out. Again, I was so vulnerable and really wanted it to work. I said yes. He kept his full-time job in NYC and visited in February. It went nicely except for one big argument that we got over. He was supposed to move here in March, but the job (he loves) sent him to India. He always said he'd be here before graduation (according to him even though I remember explicitly asking him to move out here by March.) I wanted to keep him and so I said fine. I felt bad about having him quit his job but I wanted to work in entertainment and just finished a somewhat prestigious program for it, so I felt like it was best for me to try really hard at being here for three more years and then reassess the situation to see what was next. I felt like if he made that commitment for me and offered that emotional support that I could be there for him for whatever was next. If I ended up making a lot of money, I envisioned myself helping him with his career. If I didn't, I thought then I could be an emotional support role for whatever was next. I graduated last week and he was here, but he flew here and flew right back. He quit his job for me and bought a car. The car was cheap. He tried to get it repaired but couldn't in time to drive it here. Partly out of procrastination and partly b/c the mechanic he trusts was booked for three days in a row. He avoided me for five days before flying out here. I asked him not too because it hurt too much but he did anyway. I've talked to him about how this makes me feel but it hasn't helped. Now, he's been back in NY for five days and I just found out from his Dad that he went camping for the weekend. He hasn't tried to get his car fixed yet promised to be out here in a couple of weeks. Next Sunday would be two weeks and I don't think he's going to make it since his car isn't fixed and he still has to drive across the country. This would make it the third time that he hasn't lived up to his word. I'm feeling disrespected, sad, and betrayed. I've asked him directly if I have anything to worry about but he said no. He's basically said that he's going to avoid me for a little while b/c he's still upset about quitting his job. He makes it sound like I forced him to quit but he never offered an alternative. He never asked me to move back to NY for him. I think the earliest I'll hear back from him is Monday and I don't know what to do. Advice? What would you do or say if you were me? I've called, texted and emailed (minus Wednesday) but have tried hard not to badger. I love him but he's been hurting me a lot lately. I hurt him earlier in the relationship and so I felt like I deserved it to a certain extent but have been actively working on myself ever since. Therapy, education and just looking within myself to see who I really am and what I can offer. I feel frustrated and without control since he won't answer my calls, etc.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like from your description that he is more focused on what he wants instead of what you need in the relationship. He may have quit his job, but that is a choice he made, even if you asked him to consider it. Ultimately, he decided to do it and he could have said no. And the idea was for him to be with you, not decide to do whatever he chooses.

It also sounds like you feel you owe him something. If you did hurt him earlier in the relationship, that is something he can bring up if it bothers him and try to work it out with you. He should never hold it over you nor should you feel guilty about it. You also should not consider asking anything of him as imposing too much. He always has a choice as to what he can do and he could discuss it with you so you can decide things together.

If he is not keeping his word with you, it could indicate that he is either putting himself first in the relationship (you can tell by how he acts if there are issues with Narcissism) or he does not respect your needs in the relationship. Either way, your needs are not being met.

To address this issue, you may want to work in therapy to focus more on meeting your own needs. The more you try to get him to do that for you, the more he may try to avoid the relationship. But if you can work on building yourself up and meeting your own needs, he may see that and consider changing how he treats you.

You may also want to confront him about his behavior. If he is not being honest with you and following through with his word, let him know how it makes you feel. Only by confronting the issue will you get the answers you are looking for from him.

You might also want to stop trying to communicate with him as much. Sometimes people will resist someone trying to contact them just because that is part of their personality. But if you stop and just focus on yourself, he may reach out just to see what happened, giving you a chance to have contact with him and talk this through.

I hope this has helped you,

May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Kate,


I know what you mean about feeling like I owe him something and needing to focus on my own needs. I don't think he's a true narcissist but he does lack empathy at times.


I have been working on myself a lot and have been trying to build myself up. I just get really vulnerable sometimes. I think it's partially due to the fact that I don't want to throw all these years away and that I lack strength sometimes.


I am trying to work on that. I've decided I'm not going to talk to him until he calls me but the issue is that I'm really angry right now. I can't believe that he would treat me like this. He's expressed how proud he is of me, made a speech at my family dinner, but then he just shuts off.


I'm tired of being treated this way.


If I did take him back, I'd want to get married in the next 18 months, but I'm afraid that I can't trust anything he says based on previous behavior.


I don't know.


I know I should be looking for a job right now and have put only half-hearted efforts in partly b/c of distress and partly b/c of family visits, etc.


I guess I'm saying that I'm pretty certain he'll call me sometime next week. If/when he does, how should I react? Should I set ultimatums? Should I tell him I'm kind of tired of all this and not sure how much more fight I have left in me? I'm just not sure if I can trust him. Waiting around no longer feels emotionally healthy.


I do want my needs to be met and I've been trying to express that but to no avail. I'm just not sure how to proceed.


I'm torn between breaking up for the sake of pride and putting my extremely fragile heart back into his hands, hoping that he'll do the right thing. Neither option sounds great.

If he does call you, tell him how unhappy you are with how he is acting. Be non judgmental and gentle about it, but also be firm. Ask him what steps he is going to take to fix this. And make sure he is willing to commit to the relationship. If not, it's going to be hard to get your needs met. You cannot have a relationship by yourself.

And focus on yourself from now on. Increasing your self esteem, deciding what you want in a relationship and exploring all your options are the best ways to handle what he is doing. If he truly wants to be with you he will notice that you are not focused on him and he will do something about it.

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Kate, I meant to put "good service". I don't know how to fix that without paying additional funds.


Thanks for your answers.


I'm applying to a temp agency right now so that I can hopefully have a source of income while I find a more desirable job.

Thank you for letting me know! I can try forwarding your post to the moderators to see if they will change it for you.

I hope you are able to find the job you want. My best to you in your search.


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