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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I was in a loving fun relationship with my boyfriend for four

Customer Question

I was in a loving fun relationship with my boyfriend for four years and he dumped me two weeks before I was going to move in in what I suspect was classic commitment phobic behaviour. He immediately realised he made a mistake apologised convinced me to get back together and move in and I did because I love him and believed he got over his fear and issues. The past year has had it's ups and downs and I have been all over the map trying to make living together a success, over functioning and acting like a wife, suspecting him of cheating, being needy and clingy and needing reassurance that he is going to dump me - all because the breakup was so painful and out of the blue that it was a major blow to my ego and made me so insecure and I didn't give it enough time to rebuild the trust. In other words, I am no longer the independent girl he fell in love with and I occasionally make myself miserable. I haven't been sharing enough of this with him because I know I am being paranoid or I don't know how or I don't want to rock the boat etc. But he knows as he tells me I am unsettled, is constantly worrying about me and my smoking tells me I act strangely etc. And because I have left it so long I have been finally started bursting at the seams - initiating or forcing conversations, crying randomly and recently picking a fight with him after getting home drunk and then apologising and then doing it again without knowing exactly what I've said, basically lots of drama. I am working on myself know and trying not to obsess or overanalyse or be so dependent. It's been a year now and I can recognise that most of the issues in our relationship that I thought were his doing are actually mostly mine - stemming from the pain of the breakup and rejection/abandonment issues and me placing too much importance on him and our relationship that I have lost myself. My question is: how do I prove to him that I am not going to be a drama queen anymore, that I am ready to be an emotionally mature and stable person and that I am working on myself, before he decides to leave me again because I am no longer the person he fell in love with or he doesn't want the drama? Is it too late? I want a second chance because I know we can be happy together and I want to get married. I think the only thing stopping him from proposing is him picking up on my emotional instability and not wanting to commit to that drama and wanting a simple less complicated life without someone he keeps telling to calm down and having to reassure. How do I convince him that I am a forever partner and get him to be ready and confident in proposing?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

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


It sounds like when your boyfriend broke up with you all of a sudden, it triggered something from your past about being abandoned. When he suddenly ended the relationship, that brought up all of those unresolved feelings and you were traumatized by them.


When you look at the relationship, there are two things going on here. One is your feelings about being abandoned. The other is the trust you have in him. Part of that is about your past issues but part of that is because he did leave all of a sudden and without explanation. In any relationship, no matter how secure the partners, suddenly leaving and ending the relationship is going to cause the trust in the relationship to dissolve. And in order to continue the relationship, the trust has to be rebuilt.


You cannot control what he does and that is the first thing to allow yourself to realize. You may want a guarantee which would be wonderful to have, but no relationship can offer that. There needs to be a balance between trust and independence. You have to assure yourself that even though a break up would be bad, you would get through it and be ok. You would not fall apart or be damaged beyond repair.


Also, letting go allows you to be your own person and for your boyfriend to be his own person. It is hard to let go because our nature tell us to hold on tight to something we want. Letting go sends danger signals. But this is how you hold onto a relationship. By allowing the other person to have choices. Those choices should be within the bounds of the relationship, but other than that, the other person need to be allowed to be themselves and offer their love as they need to.


It is not too late to repair your relationship. Seek counseling. That is the first step. The issues you are dealing with are deep seated and talking to a counselor will help you find the source and address it. Also, consider asking your boyfriend to go with you. Working on the trust in your relationship is important. He needs to explain why he left so suddenly and how you can trust he will not do it again.


Also, work on your issues through self help. Talk to your boyfriend about it. Don't make him emotionally involved, but just as a way of letting him know you are working on these issues and taking them seriously. Here are some resources to help you:


If you seek help and show your boyfriend you are working on your issues on your own, he will see by your actions that you are serious about the relationship.


I hope this has helped you,




Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks Kate. I have been really working on myself and through self help but I can't really afford a therapist - my job is also in jeopardy which is adding to my insecurity and my boyfriend told me when we first started dating he would never do couples therapy and I accepted that then so would like to respect that now - he is from a very traditional English family and went to boarding school from the age of 8 (which has been another source of problems bc of his predisposition to emotional detachment). I also genuinely dont think that he would think we need it. He thinks I am overreacting in the first place, when I mentioned that yesterday was the anniversary of our breakup and I felt weird about it he told me not to dwell on the past and couldn't understand why I would want to. He doesn't understand my need for reassurance or my trust issues- he seems to think that living together and being together is proof enough of his investment in the relationship and what do I have to worry about so much. He keeps saying that nothing bad is happening but can't or won't tell me not to worry because he still feels the same way about me as he did when he begged me to give him another chance and that this time was for keeps, which is what I want. He mentions that he wants to marry me when out and drunk rarely but I don't see any evidence of it. He is spending his money not saving it. I am turning around everything he says and does and holding on so tight as you say. I love him so much but I need to stop pushing him away. I am asking you this question today because last night I went out on the anniversary of our breakup and got drunk came home blacked out waking him up and talking to him - apparently aboutnhow happy I am that we are together and does he not feel the same way etc and I felt horrible this morning but tried to laugh it off with him. I texted him today that I don't want that type of ridiculous behaviour (drama) in my life anymore and that I am done with it, chapter closed it's been a year now since the breakup and we've made it past that and I want him to truly believe that promise. I am not from the UK so I live in his house near his parents with some of his friends which makes the whole dependence issue feel worse (I used to be fiercely inde pendent) and I want to feel calm and collected and confident when I go home in 3 weeks time for a holiday of 3 weeks. To be honest, I would like an answer more specifically related to what I can do today, practical advice for now, tonight, how to deal with my feelings or talking to him, rather than just counselling and self help which i know will take me on a long journey.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 5 years ago.

You can start by keeping your conversations with him on the lighter side. Talking to him about the past or how you feel will only bring you both back to the bad side of the relationship.


Try to focus on the parts of your relationship you feel make you close. What brought you together, what kept you connected and what makes you both want to stay together? This will help you feel connected and he will sense this as well.


Listen to him. Men feel validated when you listen and confirm what they are saying is important.


Plan special times together. Make a nice dinner, treat him to a special outing, share a story or unique event you both will remember. Don't bring up the past but try to create new memories.


If you can, connect him to your family. If you are with his family all the time, you can feel isolated. Use Skype or another method to bring him more into your life. Those connections will help strengthen your connection.



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