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I have been with my boyfriend for almost two years now. We

I have been with my...

I have been with my boyfriend for almost two years now. We get along great, have great chemistry, an amazing friendship and our sex life is just as good as well, so there's no problems there. In the past two years, my boyfriend gets into these moods where he starts to question the relationship and needs space. We remedy that by giving him his "me time", which can last from 1-3 days. Just a note, my boyfriend and I are both in the military and had recently got back from a 7 month long deployment, so we've been seeing each other non-stop (almost 24/7) for the last 7 months---no breaks. Even after our deployment, we still hung out together and started doing more "marriage-material" things, like grocery shopping together, spending nights and afternoons together everyday, carpooling, cooking, etc. Last week, my boyfriend tells me that he had a problem with the relationship and felt like he doesn't even have time for himself anymore. He says that in order for me to be happy, he has to accommodate my needs (which is his attention) and in return he doesn't get to take care of his own needs (which is doing HIS own thing). He also mentions that sometimes he doesn't see us long in the future. This saddened me most of all because he even mentioned to me before that he did and wants us to both get out of the military and live our life together. I was so confused and hurt. I figured that we both need space because we've always been constantly together, so I told him that we need to cool off for a week so we can spend some time away from each other, have our space and "me time", and reassess our relationship with clear minds. He was reluctant about cooling off at first because he said he already knows he's gonna miss me and feels like a week may not fix anything. He also said it makes him sad to think that I'll be alone. I told him not to worry about me and that I will definitely be okay. He also acknowledged that he has a "problem" and says that I am an amazing woman and have no fault in what is going on. So then we decided to cool off. It's been almost 4 days now. We texted the other night just to check up on each other and he said that he felt empty and guilty for "ditching" me for his me time. I told him it's okay, and that we need it because we haven't had a time for ourselves. I am hurting but I know I'll be fine. I have hopes that we will be back to normal after the week is over. I am visiting my family for a weeks who are 8 hours away from where we live so that we wouldn't have to see each other at work. I am still hurting and doubting things at this moment. But I do miss him terribly and feel the urge to text/call him every minute, but of course, that would just ruin the whole point of giving each other space. My questions are: Did I make the right move or was I wrong to cool off with him? Why does he do these things where he needs time for himself? Why would he question the relationship at this time? Is there anything else I should do or know about this relationship? Thank you...

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Answered in 1 hour by:
12/7/2013
RealSupport
RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3,191
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Verified

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am sorry to know about this frustrating situation.

Customer:

Yes, it is very frustrating

Customer:

I am still feeling hurt about it. The feeling comes and goes, thankfully I'm out of town.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Absolutely, I can see it, but only you know how it feels.

Customer:

This has somewhat happened before, where he questions our relationship and ultimately needs space...

Customer:

I always end up being hurt. But I want to understand that he's a different person and needs his me time.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You said your relationship has been very good for the 2 years you have been together, but that this only issue has undermined it. You did also say this issue has been going on for 2 years, then it was always been there, right?

Customer:

Yes. Every 3-4 months or so this happens

Customer:

It always starts off with him feeling like the relationship is not for him. Then it goes on to him needing space

Customer:

This is his first relationship, and he's 28.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

That's what it seems to be the case, since it has been happening throughout your relationship, and yes, it is normal for some people to feel more need for themselves because of personality and other differences.

Customer:

And I am trying to understand it...

Customer:

He said he feels bad for it. He feels guilty.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see,then it could be a big factor for him to feel confused and challenged about commitment or feeling pushed with it.

Customer:

Probably...

Customer:

I don't know what to do...

Customer:

He said that he couldn't leave me because he loves me...and that it hurts him to think of doing so, eventhough sometimes he feels like he has a lot to do in life still and doesn't know where I add up.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This does not mean that he has also has doubts about how well match you happen to be, but the only way to know is by working on it, giving him space, promoting communication, further intimacy, trust, healthy boundaries and limits, where each of you feel really comfortable and not pushed to do something you do not want to do. I do not mean that you have been pushing him, but that it seems to be the way he feels in the relationship, by not having more time for himself.

Customer:

So do you think me giving him this space is good?

Customer:

Just a time apart?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see, then it truly seems that he is not feeling comfortable by all the responsibilities and obvious limitations that a committed relationship presents

Customer:

I do want to talk to him about this when we talk next week, that we need to reassess our relationship and giving each other space, and not going too fast...

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I suggest you not to push him away at all, but better to find balance in the time and activities you share together and the one he has for himself.

Customer:

So do you think my "damage control" of giving him a week of space is fine? Or is it damaging?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sounds good and necessary

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It could back fire, no way to know, that's why I suggest you to keep good contact, not too often, nor a long silence either

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Balance would be the key factor to promote here

Customer:

Okay. How many days in between, you think? I talked to him a couple nights ago via text...

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

every 2 or 3 days could be fine, just make sure you ask him what would feel fine and comfortable enough for him, in order for you to respect his boundaries and preferences.

Customer:

I see. I don't think we even discussed that. I did tell him to keep in touch and I will do the same. I was the one who seem to initiate the conversations.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

The more open and honest you get in your communication. the closer you would get, able to better understand what you feel, need and expect from each other.

Customer:

Okay. The last thing I want is for this to backfire

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

That's why you should ask him what works for him

Customer:

Okay. I will. Is there anything else I need to be aware of when it comes to his behavior?

Customer:

I don't want to get my hopes up with him. I am willing to be patient...but...I just don't want a broken heart

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If you do work on creating a relationship where both of you would feel happy and satisfied with the time you share together, then such episodes should not continue to happen. If they do, then, since you'd be working on improving your communication, you would address it and work on it, to find out what else is going on. Individual and couples counseling could be necessary then.

Customer:

Couples counseling?

Customer:

I want to do that, but I feel like he's too prideful...

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

That's why you need to be realistic and based everything not on nice words but on concrete actions each of you present in this relationship, to promote it.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If both share the same feeling around having this relationship as a top priority and truly want to work on it because of what you feel, and expect, then no selfish-immature approach should undermine this process, specially when undergoing a crisis like this.

Customer:

Okay...

Customer:

I asked him how he felt about the space, and he said its a good thing because he needs to refocus on himself for a time.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Good

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Both need to reassess what and how much you want and are able to afford in this relatiosnhip

Customer:

I really don't want this to happen again. It hurts me. I just hope that this doesn't have to happen again. I guess giving each other space here and there is necessary, esp. for him...

Customer:

I just want him to be happy and not feel like the relationship is all about me. He said that's how he felt, that the focus is on me and that sometimes because he's busy making me happy, he's not making himself happy...

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I agree with that, and in case he does not look for professioanl support now, that he seriously consider it before a new episode arises if it arises at all in the future

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Balance is the goal then for the two of you to work on as a real team

Customer:

So this can work out? I am just not getting my hopes up?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It can, and time will show you, not because of nice promises and words of love, but through consistent actions, this is why both of you need to work on creating this balanced and mutually fulfilling relationship.

Customer:

Do you think slowing our relationship (pace) down will help? I'm guessing one of the reasons why he's freaking out so much about the future is because we are rushing things? Maybe we need to just slow down...

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I do totally agree with that, since that seems to be at the core of the problem here.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Do you have any further questions that I may help you with?

Customer:

Yes. How do I slow down my relationship? It's crazy because he was the one who wanted to do all the things that we've been doing, such as cooking, saving money, moving in together, etc...why is he now the one withdrawing all of that?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Only he can answer that question. We could endlessly speculate about multiple possible reasons, and still get it wrong, this is why you need to work on truly learning about each other, what you really think, feel, want and what does nor work for you. If you feel uncomfortable with something, you would talk about it and support each other making things work.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You need to focus on the present, otherwise you could spend time and energy about what happened and undermine your present, which is the only reality you can actually control and shape at will, by each of you taking full responsibility for the role you play in it.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You said this has been an ongoing issue since the beginning of your relationship, then it is clear that it has not been addressed, that's why you are now facing this crisis. If you learn the lessons from it and work on the areas you need to improve, you would heal and grow from it.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I suggest you to read this book: "Love Is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstandings, Resolve Conflicts, and Solve Relationship Problems Through Cognitive Therapy":


http://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-Enough-Misunderstandings-Relationship/dp/0060916044/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381452535&sr=8-1&keywords=love+is+never+enough It would help you work on these areas.

Customer:

Yes, it has been ongoing. I will definitely get this book

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This one is very good too: "The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts"


http://www.amazon.com/Love-Languages-Secret-That-Lasts/dp/0802473156/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381718946&sr=1-8&keywords=marriage

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Good

Customer:

One last thing. He dwells on the future a lot, and where we are going....I always tell him to not dwell on it and focus on the now....how do I convince him to live in the present?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

By modeling it, by fostering open and honest communication not only when issues arise, but as an integral part of your relationship, by being patient, understanding and supportive, by respecting his boundaries, and enjoying as much as you can your present, showing him how to do it by your very behaviors, ways to approach things, the priorities you set.

Customer:

Okay. Thank you :)

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions and to follow up, since I am here willing to support you as possible. Thank you for your trust. Take gentle care and consistent action.

RealSupport
RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3,191
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Verified
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RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 3,191
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