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Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1073
Experience:  20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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My boyfriend has shut down emotionally- so much so that he

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My boyfriend has shut down emotionally- so much so that he says he isn't sure if he knows how to love anymore. He has been hurt so many times by his family and by the death of his father a few years ago that he has shut himself off from loving anyone - including me. He says he cares for me and I mean a lot to him. He just moved out of the house we shared together a few days ago and we have been together for 3 years. He simply tells me he doesn't know what he wants and needs some time alone. I don't know what I should do to help him, but he doesn't want to talk on the phone or anything. He says he needs to "miss me", so I need to know how to help him. He is one of those people who has taken care of people all his life he doesn't focus on his emotional needs. He also told me that part of him doesn't believe he needs help when I told him he was broken inside.
I am hurting so much and am not sure what to do. We are amazing together and he says little by little over the last year or so he has shut himself off from love and he hasn't been able to control it.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Tamara replied 7 years ago.
Hi there. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm pleased to try to help you today.

I'm sorry to hear about this situation you are having with your boyfriend. I'm sure it is distressing to you, and I know you want to help him.

Based on your description, I would say that your boyfriend is suffering from depression, so that would be the first thing to try to help him with. It is very common for depressed people to feel cut off and alone, and to shut down emotionally. I'm sure he doesn't want to get hurt anymore.

So I would suggest that you talk with him about your concern that he is depressed and that you would like him to go talk with someone. Make it clear that this is just about you wanting him to feel better - not about you trying to get back together. It sounds like you are doing a good job with letting him know you love him and support him, so I'm sure this won't be a problem.

Unfortunately, he isn't willing to talk with you, so it's going to be hard for you to talk with him about this. Just be patient and be there, and do your best to give him the space he needs while gently encouraging him to get some help. He can feel better, but because he is depressed, it will be hard for him to act on that by himself.

Best wishes, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions. Tamara

Customer: replied 7 years ago.


He is supposed to be trying out seeing a psychologist this week, but he just seems to want to cut himself off from the rest of the world. I asked him if we had broken up and he just responded with "I don't know". He says he isn't sure if he even knows how to love anymore. Everything is answered with "I don't know".

I suffer from depression and will be going away for about 3 months in order to heal myself and deal with my own issues. Other than letting him know I am here for him - that is all I can do?

Expert:  Tamara replied 7 years ago.
I know it's frustrating, but yes, that's all you can do. I'm sorry. You're in a very difficult position to be in when you love someone and can't get through to them or help them. Be supportive, and in the meantime, take care of yourself. Hopefully the psychologist will be able to help him get back on track and he will be able to give you some answers. Good luck. Tamara
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