How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Z Your Own Question

Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5211
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
74815544
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. Z is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have been seeing my boyfriend for 9 OKMH103100

Resolved Question:

I have been seeing my boyfriend for 9 months now and I am going through something similar now to what has happened several times during our relationship, but I dont understand what is really going on here. I say something to him about him cheating (usually something possibly suspicious such as text msgs, call logs). He then gets very angry and accuses me of snooping and the fight ends with him saying that he cant be in a relationship with someone who goes through his phone/computer. He then asks me to leave his apartment (or demands his house key back) since we dont live together. What follows are days/ sometimes weeks of him totally ignoring me. He wont take my calls or return messages. If I go over to try and talk to him he closes the door in my face. Then I leave him alone and wait for the "verdict". He has broken up with me twice in similar situations. Other times I will go for 2 weeks or so not knowing where things stand. Then I start asking where I stand and I feel like I end up apologizing for stuff, but he is the one who has treated me in this heartless manner. In the past, he usually comes around after some convincing. Its always the same thing that seems to trigger these fights followed by him cutting himself off from me completely for weeks. And I dont know where I stand. Please explain what happens to him that causes him to act this extreme? Why does this only happen when I bring up an issue I am having with him possibly cheating?

Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 12 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you are having this issue with your boyfriend, I can imagine how this distresses you

Dr. Z :

I would like to ask a couple questions to get some more information, and be able to help you more.

Dr. Z :

You mention that you say to something about cheating to him, and this usually triggers these issues, has he cheated on you in the past?

Dr. Z :

Also does he have any low self-esteem issues that you know of?

Customer:

Hello

Customer:

Yes, I have caught him cheating on me once. I did not see it, but I heard everything through an open window. To this day he still denies that he cheated.

Customer:

He has had an extremely traumatic background but then I would think that multiple issues may trigger this extreme anger, not just the one "hot topic"

Customer:

This man is very self focused and I am guessing has low self esteem although he hides it in being over confident about himslef

Customer:

this reaction seems extreme to me

Customer:

Mature adults talk about issues...not cut the other person off completely

Dr. Z :

Okay, that is very common to hide it and over-compensate for low self-esteem. So if you caught him cheating on you in the past, but it was never resolved, as he never admitted to it, this can lead to you being more suspicion and him being more defensive, which could account for his extreme reaction.

Dr. Z :

I agree, but I think him cutting you off completely is a passive-aggressive way of expressing anger that many individual with low self-esteem do

Customer:

Why would he be angry at me for a problem I brought up concerning HIS possible infidelities

Dr. Z :

There are a couple of possibilities. One is that he is cheating on you currently and does not want to get caught and by blaming you is a way of deflecting that.

Customer:

I have suspected him cheating early in the relationship as I found a condom in his pocket. And he used to spend late hours at this one womans house.

Dr. Z :

Another possibility is that he is getting frustrated by the accusation and instead of being assertive and talking about it, this is how he responded to it.

Customer:

He has reacted this way since pretty much 3 months into our relationship.

Dr. Z :

The frustration built up and caused this level of an anger reaction

Customer:

I realize I do tend to obsess about what he is up to...based on my instinct though.

Dr. Z :

If he acted this way so early in the relationship, then it is possible that he is being unfaithful to you and it blaming you to know take responsibility for his own reactions.

Dr. Z :

By obsess, how often would you bring it up?

Customer:

How can he blame me for HIS actions?

Customer:

I bring something up about once every month to two months

Dr. Z :

Many individuals who do something wrong or cheat will shift the blame on to you because this is their way of failing to take responsibility for his actions and to make it seem like your fault, it is a form of manipulation.

Customer:

I see. He doesnt ever get angry about any other event/topic..only this one

Dr. Z :

Well that could be because he is cheating then, and this is him being really defensive about it to the point he gets very angry and then shifts the blame on you. This is a form of manipulation that some individuals in relationships will do when they are unfaithful.

Dr. Z :

Have you considered couples counseling with him at all because this seems like a tumultuous relationship you have had with this person.

Customer:

I can understand getting angry and annoyed with me always bringing this subject up and me going through his phone etc, but complete ex-communication for weeks. Is this fairly common?

Dr. Z :

It is common with individuals who have low self-esteem and improperly express their anger.

Dr. Z :

Individuals should always express their anger, but in an assertive and healthy manner to promote conversation

Customer:

So other women in relationships go through what I do?

Dr. Z :

Yes definitely, other women and men have gone through what you are going through

Customer:

So basically you are saying this reaction is because he IS cheating and feels guilty?

Dr. Z :

Well that is definitely one possibility, I do not know him, so I cannot say with 100 percent certainty. The other possibilities is that he is frustrated with you thinking he is a cheater and instead of talking about it with you, he overreacts in this way because he is unable to express his anger/frustration in an assertive and healthy manner

Customer:

I suspect he may be bipolar because he has cycles of depression and then lots of energy. He has admitted to suffering from depression too. Could these episodes be related to that perhaps? I wondered about that, but the mood change is extremely rapid...happy and loving before I have the "bad"conversation with him, then as soon as I mention something..this extreme reaction happens literally within seconds.

Dr. Z :

The cylces of depression and mania are typically where an individual goes through months of depression and then a couple weeks of mania in Bipolar Disorder. Now low self-esteem is a symptom of depression and so is irritability, so his reaction can be associated with that. Also the mania of Bipolar disorder can account for this too, but your timing would have to exact each time you bring this issue of cheating up.

Dr. Z :

The depressive episodes sound more likely for his reactions

Customer:

When people go into this extreme cut off mode, are they feeling sad about fighting with me during this period or are they getting angrier as time goes on during their absence?

Dr. Z :

They are feeling very vulnerable and usually they get angry at first, then they get sad and lonely as time passes which is why you get together weeks later

Customer:

So can you suggest the best way for me to handle this situation when it occurs? ( I never know if he will break up with me or not)..

Dr. Z :

Well i think couples counseling is the best option for both of you because this behavior will always continue without good psychological counseling

Customer:

But if this man is a player/cheater and he gets depressed and lonely during this time, is he MORE likely to cheat or LESS likely?

Dr. Z :

I think no matter what you do, he may always react in this manner or a similar manner.

Dr. Z :

Some individuals are more likely to cheat when they have low self-esteem because they seek validation from multiple sources.

Customer:

What I meant with my earlier question was, do I just wait for him to contact me then? What if I dont hear from him for another week?

Dr. Z :

Well I think you should wait for him to contact you, you do not want to push him. But I also think you should give it a good thought if this is a healthy relationship for you regarding his psychological issues that he may have.

Customer:

Thank you very much for helping me with this issue

Dr. Z :

Anytime, is there anything else I can help you with tonight?

Customer:

Not right this minute, but I will be sure to contact you if I have further questions, if I may?

Dr. Z :

Of course you can contact me anytime in the future :) I wish you the best of luck with everything. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, and again if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Customer:

Thank you

Dr. Z :

You are most welcome :)

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5211
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 12 months ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Customer: replied 12 months ago.

Hello again


This boyfriend still has not contacted me and its been a week of total silence now. I am getting very anxious about not hearing from him. Should I still wait and not contact him?


 


My other question is if he does eventually call..what is the best way to behave. Should I show my sadness or disaproval of his behavior or act like nothing has happened and just carry on..?

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 12 months ago.
Hello again,

I would give it till after the weekend and then on Monday night you can call him. I understand that you are anxious, but you have to give him some time to cool off and compose himself.

Now if he calls or you call, you can apologize, but at the same time you should also point out that she should not just cut you off and break all contact. I would recommend couples counseling to him and use the pronouns "we" and "us" a lot to show that you both are a team and that you both have things to work on to enhance your communication and strengthen the relationship. This will make him less defensive, but he will not feel like he is taking all the blame but that you are in it together.

I hope this helps you and that everything works out well for both of you. If you have any questions or concerns at all, please let me know.
Customer: replied 12 months ago.

Thank you. But what am I apologizing for exactly? I simply asked him a question and he was the one who cut me off totally. If I apologize it looks like I am guilty of something and I dont feel I am


 

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 12 months ago.
The apology would be more of a gesture to show that you are willing to work together with him to repair the relationship. You can apologize for how you asked the question or how you brought it up. It would be like an olive branch and show that he is not 100 percent at fault here. While I know that asking a question is not usually a problem, and I do not think you did anything wrong with asking the question that requires an apology, but I think it will help him be less defensive and more open to repairing the relationship. Like I said you do not have to apologize for asking the question, but you can apologize for how you asked it. So the apology would not be admitting guilt in a sense, but more of an olive branch to help put him at ease and cool tensions.
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5211
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Hello again. I am feeling very depressed and dont know what I can do. I am so confused. After a week of silence on Saturday I texted my bf " I miss you". He replied that I should come to the tango class he teaches that night. I was sick so I couldnt go and texted him that. He then offered to bring me dinner if I hadnt eaten. He drove through to my place. He didnt stay long though and acted distant. No hug or anything. Then yesterday I texted him asking if he wanted to get together that evening. He replied "No thanks, XXXXX XXXXX". I found this very strange. SO I asked wrote to him and said that if you dont want to be with me, please just let me know". His reply was " I dont, Im sorry".


Obviously I was very upset. I went to his place to try and talk but he had some teeth cleaning device in his mouth and conveniently couldnt talk. So I basically said how I felt about him and asked if he would reconsider. I dont know if it was a nod indicating yes. But I could tell he already had plans for the evening, and he only got back to his place around 3 am. I dont know what to make of all this. If he really didnt want to have anything to do with me, why would he bother inviting me to his class or bringing me food, and then the next day saying he doesnt want to be with me anymore? I am so confused. What is going on here?

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.
Hello again,

I think he is confused as well and like I said I think he shuts you out like this because he feel vulnerable. While I agree that he likes you a lot and that is why he was there for you, but when he starts to feel vulnerable it frightens him and he pushes away. Now you can text him and ask for clarification because the teeth cleaning device may have caused a miscommunication. I think you have to give him some space and let him come to you now as you have clearly stated your intentions. Hopefully he will come to you, and most likely he will when he does not feel as vulnerable. If he does not, then I think you will have to move on from this relationship. I know this will hurt you at first, but this may be the best outcome for you as he is most likely not ready for a real relationship with anyone. He will have to fix himself first before he will be able to maintain a healthy relationship. I hope this added information help you today.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Can you please explain why he would be feeling vulnerable?


 


Also, what is most upsetting was his text saying he doesnt want to be with me anymore. Since he is a volatile and unpredictable person I just dont know if he actually meant this or not

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.
Well I remember we discussed that he has low self-esteem issues and this possibly causes his vulnerability issues as he does not want people to see what he is insecure about. This causes his vulnerability and why he pushes you away like he does. I think his text was more impulsive and not congruent with his behavior towards you, so I would not take it at face value. I know this is hard, but be patient and let him come to you. He already knows that you want to get back together, now let him make the next move.
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5211
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education