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I have been in an relationship with my boyfriend for 5 years

next week and as far...
I have been in an relationship with my boyfriend for 5 years next week and as far as I am concerned, it has been a good relationship, a very happy one.

Yet a few days ago, my boyfriend told me he no longer loved me and has not felt anything for me for since Christmas. Up until then, I had no idea he felt like that. We always talk and laugh together and everyday he has told me he loved me. But according to him it has all been a lie.

After a lot of talking, it has become apparent that he really hasn't been unhappy for the whole of the past few months. He has felt unfulfilled by the relationship but felt guilty because he has never doubted the relationship before so pretended everything was okay. Yet the fact he was keeping up this façade meant he came to resent spending time with me. And he tried to convince himself that I made him unhappy and tried to push me away.

He has been going through a rough time at university and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. He had stop going to lectures completely but told no one. His family and I did not realise until the end of the academic year he hid it so well. The pressure of trying to make his parents proud of him got to him and he couldn't face not meeting their expectations. After talking, it became apparent that he began to doubt our relationship at the same time. The anxiety he felt when trying to be a good boyfriend made him come to resent the relationship.

He says he still cares about me. He has admitted the anxiety and guilt he has felt around our relationship was all in his head and there is nothing about me that he would want to change. However, he has spent so long trying to convince himself he doesn't love me, he says he has become confused. He still enjoys spending time with me but he is still in two minds whether he loves me.

Once he is back at university he will receive counselling for his anxiety and I think with a bit of space, he will realise that the negative feelings he has associated with our relationship are separate to his love for me. But I'm scared that won't happen. I'm scared he will never love me again. I feel so helpless because if I try to spend time with him, I putting pressure of him to feel what he may not be ready to feel yet but if I just give him space, he might just not think about me to avoid the problem and never reconcile our relationship.

What should I do? He is the love of my life and I can't lose him. I just don't know what to do. Do you think he will come back with time?

Thanks.
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Answered in 26 minutes by:
9/9/2013
TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5,863
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your boyfriend has confused his anxiety with his relationships in his life. He has isolated himself and not shared what he feels. That alone is going to cause him confusion.

It is easy when you isolate yourself emotionally to get confused about what you feel. There is no way to sort your emotions if you are not letting them out or sharing them with anyone. And with your boyfriend, it sounds like he has been keeping in his emotions for a long time.

He seems to feel there are too many expectations on him as well. If he is feeling pressure from university and his parents, he may have felt your relationship was also a pressure to him, even though that is not true. Since he was not sharing his feelings with you, there was no way for you to gauge this and to help him through his issues.

It may help to give him some time to sort himself out. The less pressure he feels, the easier it will be for him to work on his anxiety and sort his feelings out so he can see your relationship like he used to.

What you might want to try is talking to him about backing off and just being friends for now. That allows you to have contact with him and help him, yet also gives him the emotional space he needs.

You might also want to learn what you can about anxiety so you can help him when he is open to it. The more you know, the better you can be there for him. Here are some resources to help you:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm

http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders

Most likely, once he sorts his anxiety out and gets help (see if he is willing to go to therapy, it is the best treatment for anxiety), he will be able to approach your relationship again without confusing it with his anxiety and other issues.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5,863
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Kate,


 


Thank you for your answer. A lot of your answer does make sense but I am unsure of how to just be his friend.


 


He wants to keep in contact with me and we have agreed to spend less time with each other. Once we are both back at university, we will not be able to see each other much anyway. I have already identified myself as a pressure and know I must keep my distance. However, I feel I cannot support him as a friend as he never opens up to his friends. He has never really opened up to anyone except me (and that is rarely).


 


By saying we are just friends, I am sure he will not turn to me for support and I am worried he will feel he will have no one to turn to. He will receive therapy at university but I worry without anyone checking up on him, he might stop going due to his anxiety like last year.



I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety last year so in some respects I do understand what he is going through. However, during the toughest times, I never pushed him away, even when I felt I did not have feelings for her. That's what hurts me the most.



He says he still wants to talk. We have agreed to keep communicating while we are both away at our universities but how do I act? Do I ask up after him? Or pretend their is no problem and wait for him to talk about it if he wants to? He knows I still love him and I think now he is feeling guilty that he cannot reciprocate. How can I talk to him without reminding him of that guilt?



I feel he has kept quiet for such a long time, it might be too late to save our relationship. I know you cannot really say for sure, but how long do you think it will take for therapy to take effect? How long will I have to stay strong for him and keep my distance?


 

It might be best to be as supportive as you can as if you were friends. That means letting him do what he needs to in order to take care of this issue but checking in once in a while to see how he is. You can keep it simple and just say you want to be sure he is doing ok as you would with your friends. Let him be the one to say more. But if he is unwilling to share, there is little you can do otherwise.

How fast therapy works depends on how open he is to what the therapist is saying to him and if he is willing to share his feelings in therapy. He might be able to feel better quickly if he is open to it. And he could feel a lot better within a few months.

Kate

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I hope my answers were helpful to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

 

Kate

 

 

 

 

 

May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

You have been very helpful Kate, thank you. I have now given you a rating.


 


Am I just struggling with the concept of being friends and checking up on him from time to time. We have spoken everyday since we started dating 5 years ago and I'm finding it difficult to stop that. What would you recommend as an appropriate amount to talk to him?


 


We have maintained a long distance relationship while we are both at university but that based on the fact we communicated so much. I worry once he is away and we aren't talking as much as we use to, our relationship will degrade further. I guess I cannot make him talk to me more than he wants to.


 


He wants to see me before he goes away again. Not to talk but just to spend some time together as a couple. I worry he may be trying to force himself to feel something he is just not ready for yet. Do I just follow his lead when it comes to interacting from now on?


 


I'm sorry if I'm not making a lot of sense at the moment. I have so many emotions up in the air at the moment, I'm struggling to make sense of it all.


 


Thank you for your help.


 

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thank you Kate. This is all making sense. It is really tough at the moment, but I am going to be strong for the both of us.


 


I really appreciate your advice.


 


Amy

You're welcome, Amy! Anytime :)

My best to both of you,
Kate
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