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 TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
TherapistMarryAnn is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am having an issue with my boyfriend regarding being in

Resolved Question:

I am having an issue with my boyfriend regarding being in touch with each other throughout the day. We have a secret relationship right now (I am divorced, he is separated) for the benefit of alot of people so we can't outwardly speak or text when others are around. He comes from a difficult childhood where he never felt loved. His 18 year marriage has ended due to that. Counseling was involved. He felt that he was never heard. It has been stressful trying to keep in touch so we have relaxed it a little as there has been some suspicion as well. We keep having the same issue that whenever he has an opportunity to text or contact he does. This could mean many times a day. As this relationship is not normal I am trying to behave in a normal way at home and not have the phone with me at all times and trying to secretly go off to make contact. He was away one day and we did our best to be in touch. I was with my daughter for awhile and when we got home I ate lunch and then took a nap and texted him after that. He was upset that I did not try to contact him as soon as I got home whether he could talk or not. This makes him feel unloved and when I try to explain he says that if I want to be with him I need to make this adjustment. If I don't then that is ok. This is the way he is built and needs this. I don't need to be in touch as much as he does and it doesn't mean I don't love him or not thinking about him. Any insight from the info I have provided?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

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

It sounds like your boyfriend is trying to make the relationship work his way because he is fearful of being rejected or not feeling loved. He is trying to control you and your actions so he can make you show him he is loved. He wants to gain his value from you rather than realizing he is a valuable person whether you love him or not. Also, the problem with his actions are that you do not operate by those rules. You understand the normal way of communicating your feelings. He is on a different level because of his past abuse. And he wants you to work on his level. He needs you to fulfill his needs because he is unable to do so himself.

Your boyfriend is being inflexible. He may not realize he has a problem or he may feel that his problem trumps anyone else's preferences. What he doesn't see is that making someone show they love you works the opposite way. It makes the other person want to move away because the pressure is too great and the expectations unclear. And the need is never fulfilled.

What you can do is talk to him about what we discussed here. Let him know you understand his needs, but that no person will be able to fulfill them. He needs to work on healing and accepting that he is worthy and lovable himself, without needing you or anyone else to fill the void for him. Therapy can help him do that. He can also use self help. Here are some resources to get started:

Feeling & Healing Your Emotions by Conrad W. Baars

Adult Children of Abusive Parents: A Healing Program for Those Who Have Been Physically, Sexually, or Emotionally Abused by Steven Farmer

Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward and Craig Buck

Also, you can work with him to set a number of times you can call each other. It can be flexible. For example, on normal days, set the number to 2. If it's a weekend and you have more time, it can be more.

Find other ways to express your love. It may be hard right now because your relationship is secret, but trying to find ways to connect are important. Anyway you can connect safely will help until your boyfriend can get help for his problem.

I hope this has helped you,


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you