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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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i am 30, and my boyfriend of 3 months has gone quite distant

Customer Question

i am 30, and my boyfriend of 3 months has gone quite distant on me in the last week. I know the right thing to do is not contact him and give him the space he needs. I am finding this very difficult, feeling a lot of pain inside me and fear that he will end it. But I know I need to be strong and he will come back to me when/if he is ready. I am trying to focus on other things, see friends, meditate, and reclaim my happy life. I am just struggling with this physical pain in my gut - my reaction is to want to call him and just end it, and get rid of the pain. However I think I need to breathe through it and ride it out...and see what comes back. How long should I wait?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 1 year ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this very frustrating time in your life.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You have just starting dating three months ago and this is supposed to be your honeymoon phase, what happened for him to get this distant?

Customer:

Thank you Rafael, I'm glad I came across this site. It's really tough... I'm usually such a strong, happy person - and I've had some relationship issues in the past I guess. This one I thought was different though. I feel I have "stuffed it up again" and it's really hurting me

Customer:

I guess we became close quite quickly, opening up a lot quite early on...

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

What has case you this pain, which were the core issue happening in this young relationship?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Being open is never wrong but pushing things, going too fast without being careful and knowing the other person well enough is risky and could lead to very painful surprises.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

How has he justified this distance from you, or has he just stop communicating and sharing this much without a good reason?

Customer:

He's just stopped communicating as much with me - he told me he has a very busy couple of weeks, and I know he's going through a lot with work, a foot operation, he's been sick with a head cold and he told me he suffers depression. he told me that right at the start...

Customer:

I think it's my insecurities and fears ruining things. He has been so wonderful to me the whole way along, and I think I've stuffed it up - pushing him away. That's why I'm trying hard not to contact him and hopefully save the r'ship....

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Could you please tell me how could you have pushed him this much?

Customer:

it just really hurts. it's like i'm facing all my fears of insecurity. I need to learn to love myself again and boost my self esteem as it's dwindled a lot I realize...

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You just described he's told you he's too busy, dealing with work challenges, health issues and suffers if depression, and that all together is a lot, and I do not see you created such reality at all

Customer:

oh... yes...maybe you're right!

Customer:

ummm.... good question.... I suppose I scared him when I opened up about my fears of him one day leaving me. Maybe I have put too higher expectations on him?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It seem you are taking responsibility for his personal issues and his inability to be consistent working on your relationship and even sharing with you as before

Customer:

Yes... I think you're right. I feel I am taking on that responsibility, yes. I hadn't thought of it that way

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I do not think you telling your boyfriend something like this would make him go away. What I see is that he has has already serious issues he does not know how to cope with, including a serious mental health disorder, and that he has not been able to play a consistent, responsible and caring role in your relationship because of that.

Customer:

Gosh I hope so... maybe it's all in my imagination... i really hope so. He has been so amazing to me, just last week he took me to an amazing horse performance for my bday. It was on that night I first noticed he seemed not that affectionate. However he told me he was exhausted, getting sick and stressed about work....

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I believe you are punishing yourself, feeling guilty and blaming yourself out of ear, because of your own insecurities and not because of having failed at all in this relationship, while has has failed because of not being more open and honest, caring and respectful telling you why he was taking this distance, apologizing for his withdrawal. It's obvious he has so much on his plate that he does not know how to handle it.

Customer:

YES

Customer:

Wow!

Customer:

Yes, that's right. When I asked him on the phone if he was ok because he seemed distant, he just said he's "feeling all over the shop." When I asked if it was anything I said or did, he said "no.."

Customer:

Oh my goodness, that is a whole new perspective, thank you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I think he needs to work on himself, his own rehabilitation process, to take better care of himself in order to be able to share in healthy ways and take good care of any relationship.

Customer:

YES....because i know when he gets exhausted it all gets too much for him, and you're right, I dont think he knows how to cope. I just wish I could be there for him to help him, it hurts a lot to just have the silence between us.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're welcome. You seem very caring and loving, and in this whole story I do not see how you could have pushed him away at all, but his own issues undermining his ability to be present and share in healthy and more fulfilling ways, consistently and with more sensitivity, not out of meanness but because he does not seem to be able to handle his own stress and emotions,

Customer:

YES! Oh wow Rafael you are a genuis. I already feel so much better :)) I was wondering why I was feeling all down and depressed, beating myself up for having ruined what seemed to be such a great relationship with a wonderful guy who I care deeply for.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You have not chosen this silence but he has, it's one of his boundaries, and if he wants that, you need to respect it, and focus on taking good care of yourself, while hoping he could do the same, with adequate professional support, since depression requires when this strong, regular psychotherapeutic support.

Customer:

Thank you Rafael. Yes, I have not chosen this silence at all - and I dont' want to contact him out of respect for his boundary, you are right. What if he calls me and dumps me though? how long will the silence last, before I need to contact him and suggest we go our separate ways for a while?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please work on becoming truly fair, gentle, understanding loving and supportive with yourself, since from there you would be able to take good care of yourself, and for sure of your relationships, without any self-sabotaging nor to allow anybody to use or neglect you at all. In this case it is obvious to me he has neglected you and the relationship because of hos own inability do cope with his personal life issues.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Thank you for being this open here, for trusting me this much.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

What ha she asked you about a time for him to be by himself, has he specify any?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If he hasn't then I believe that 7 to 10 days could be a reasonable period for him not to resolve his serious issues, but to have a clearer mind to tell you what he wants and is willing to do or not about your relationship, since you cannot keep waiting clueless because he just chose not to talk about it.

Customer:

He never actually told me he wants a break, he has just "gone distant" (my perception) and I am just trying to be sensitive to the change in his communication by giving him space...

Customer:

and all the website advice says "when your bf pulls back, you should pull back too and wait for him to come back. Women tend to want to push them and ask them what's wrong all the time, which can push him further away. The rubber band theory??" I dont know...

Customer:

7-10 days, ok

Customer:

No.... I am just going with the flow....I haven't heard from him at all yesterday or today as yet, so I thought I'd refrain from contacting him for the rest of the weekend, and maybe call him Sunday afternoon if I've heard nothing. I know he has a busy weekend working at a bike event, (of which he originally invited me to, but now I have heard nothing about it..)...

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then it's necessary not to make assumptions but to be assertive, being sensitive is wonderful but it should not imply passivity or tolerance with what is unhealthy. Then it is necessary for you to talk to him about it, for him to clarify what he needs and wants, while you share about your core needs and expectations too, to see how well they match in the present and if both are truly willing and able to keep sharing and working on building this relationship. Be empathic, understanding and supportive, but not passive nor codependent, since pleasing what is unhealthy would only hurt you and undermine what is unhealthy in the other person.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

For sure I do never recommend avoidance when in relationship, since that could only fuel and perpetuate what is dysfunctional. Open communication is necessary, and it must be present in both partners.

Customer:

YES. Ok. then perhaps I will give him a phone call and see if he wants to have a chat about it.

Customer:

Ok, awesome. I will give it a try then... and if he needs a break then he can specify how long he needs. I can specify my needs too, for a caring, loving relationship that is healthy and open in communication

Customer:

I am scared of hearing what i dont want to hear...

Customer:

but i need to be assertive. You're right. that's something i need to work on in every day life, stop being too kind hearted/door mat to people.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Perfect, sounds good. I do agree that people need space, and that being pushy never helps, but at the same time being passive or avoiding dealing with something that is unhealthy is never a good approach in my opinion. It's about mutual respect, responsibility, sensitivity and caring.

Customer:

You are amazing, thank you. I already feel empowered. I need to look after my own wellbeing and being passive is not helping. That is where much of the pain is coming from.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Read about codependency and work on becoming more assertive, self-confident and resilient. unconditionally respecting, loving and supporting yourself.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right. I am glad to know this has been this helpful.

Customer:

Ok, that sounds great. :)

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thanks. Take gentle care and consistent action. :o)

Customer:

Wow. Thank you. I am writing that down. Good night

Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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