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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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so my boyfriend and i are trying to work things out after i

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so my boyfriend and i are trying to work things out after i broke up with him. he finally convinced me to change my mind, and the minute i did, he's become very cold to me. i followed advice and have been trying to be patient and kind and wait for him to come around and feel safe again, but he doesn't communicate with me anymore either. i feel lik i'm talking to a wall sometimes. he's definitely warmed up a little over the last few weeks, but it's not like how it was and he often makes really passive aggressive jabs at me. we had drinks one night and he told me that sometimes he hates me but we laugh so much together that it's hard to maintain.

i'm not sure what he wants anymore and i feel really miserable. i would like to fix things but i don't know how to treat him or this. any advice on how to handle him would be appreciated.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 6 years ago.

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


It sounds like your boyfriend is punishing you for breaking up with him. It is definitely difficult to deal with especially since he is taking this over weeks of time instead of just a day or two.


It seems to me that you have done what you could to help the situation. All that is missing is his willingness to participate in the relationship, which he is not doing right now.


The issue here is that now that he has shown you that he is willing to take this out on you for weeks, do you want to deal with this kind of behavior in your relationship? Unless he is willing to look at his behavior as a problem and deal with changing it, he is going to do this again. Also, the fact that he told you he hates you sometimes is a concern as well. He sounds angry and controlling, two very difficult personality issues to deal with.


You can try to stay with him, but that means you will have to learn to deal with his behavior. One way is to ignore him. Once you have apologized for breaking up with him and done what you could to repair the damage, then let it go. If he won't talk with you, don't force it. Let him call you when he is ready. But be prepared. He could either not call at all, call many weeks down the road, or become even more angry and make it more difficult to be with him.


You could also continue with him as is. Let him give you the cold shoulder and keep trying. He may eventually give up his behavior and become more accessible.


If you feel the relationship is worth counseling, consider going to see a therapist together. He may learn better ways of expressing his anger and learn to deal with the control issues he has. And you both can work on ways to communicate so you both feel better about each other and the relationship. You can search on line for a therapist at


I hope this has helped you,


Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I haven't heard back from you. Do you have more questions or need clarification?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
sorry kate - it's been crazy busy at work. just one more thing

i do want to work things out because i still love him. but i'm not sure how to combat his negativity. like i can see if i just react to it, it could explode or spiral into something really awful.

the last time he lashed out at me, he apologized. i told him that all was forgiven and that i was probably especially sensitive to it bc of the way things have been between us. he then seemed to soften up and try to be nicer, but still not really opening up. before he left to go out of town for work, i asked him if he wanted to continue doing this bc it was hard for me to tell and that i missed him being close.

he wasn't giving me a straight answer. instead saying if he wanted to leave he would have done it long ago (during the time i was having mixed feelings about him and his situation). but he very grudgingly says i love you. and he makes me feel like i'm not wanted around when we're hanging out. however he seems equally irritated when i go off to do my own thing.

i don't want to be all analyzing stuff in his face but i just want my nice boyfriend back who used to claim that he cared for me all the time. am i just setting out for failure? is there anything i can do to make him feel like he can get close to me again?

Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I can understand your concern about the relationship. You miss the kind and loving person he was before. It can cause confusion and hurt when someone acts differently than they used to.


The problem you are dealing with here is his anger. This anger he is showing you is part of his personality and unless he decides he wants to change it, he will be like this always. He has changed from the nice boyfriend he used to be because now he feels safer about you staying in the relationship. So he is going to show his real self to you.


You have tried many ways to reach him. Those attempts were all good ones. However, this issue has nothing to do with you and all to do with what is wrong with him. You could be anyone and he would still act the same way.


As hard as it is, you need to start thinking of yourself. Do you want to continue to be treated this way? Are you willing to accept his anger and withdrawal as part of your relationship?


His promise to stay with you is most likely because he is finding that this relationship works for him. He gets to express his anger and you stay. He gets to punish you for whatever is bothering him without repercussions. As long as you remain, he will as well.


You may want to start by taking a look at what is making you stay in this relationship. You deserve to be treated well and with respect and that is not what you are getting in this relationship. Try talking with a therapist to help you gain insight not only into your relationship, but yourself as well. That is the best thing you can do to help the situation right now.





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