Psych Central

My boyfriend has me emotionally exhausted

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 months and it’s really been getting serious and we’re in a long distance relationship. I met his family and friends and they absolutely love me. He met my family and friends and they absolutely love him. Before I met my boyfriend I used to smoke pot on and off. Then I decided to quit and he said “That’s great, but if you were to continue my feelings for you would be the same.” I still quit anyways. Then a few weeks ago I smoked with some friends to relieve the stress in my life and I hadn’t talked to my boyfriend at all that week. So I told him about it because I love him and I tell him everything. When I told him, he flipped out on me and said I was a liar and deceitful and that his opinion of me had lessoned. Then he ended the conversation by saying “I need to think about where we’re going.”

He didn’t contact me at all until a week later. When we talked he didn’t even bring up the smoking pot issue. He asked me “can you learn to love someone?” and I was like “yea I guess” He said “It’s just because you’ve been telling me you love me an awful lot lately and I’m not sure I feel the same.” I told him that I’ve only been expressing my feelings because he said “I love you” first. He said he doesn’t remember telling me he loves me. He was up here a month ago and we were lying in bed and he whispered my name and I said “Yea?” and he said “I love you.” When I explained that to him he said “I was probably sleeping because I don’t remember.”

This I totally don’t believe because that whole weekend was consumed about talking about the future. He even mentioned how he liked my apartment and how he could see us living together in it comfortably. He was like “I don’t know if it’s the long distance that’s making me feel this way but my feelings are neutral right now. I don’t feel strongly either way. I don’t think it’s fair to you since you already know how you feel.” and I said “I thought things were going great. What do you want?” He then said “Yes, everything is going great. You are absolutely amazing. That’s the thing, I don’t know what I want. If I had to lay it all out you would have every quality I want. Every time I talk to you, you blow me away.”

I then said “You’re not breaking up with me are you?” He then said “That’s kinda what I’m doing. What we have is great. I’ve just been thinking a lot about us. I don’t know what I want. I definitely want to talk to you about this during the coming weeks so we can work this out because I don’t want to throw away what we have.” I then said “If I hadn’t told you I smoked pot last week would you still be having this conversation with me?” He then said “Probably, I’ve been thinking a lot about us lately.”

So in ending this conversation he said he would call me the next day. He didn’t. It has now been 4 days since I had any contact with him at all. I think I really scared him with the whole “I love you” thing but I only said it because he told me first. I talked to a friend of his and she said that he’s an organized person and has life pretty much figured out in his head. She thinks that he loves me and is scared because this relationship was unexpected.

I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to be a good girlfriend and give him his time and space but I’m starting to get fed up. I don’t want to be with someone who can’t communicate with me. He does go to college so I understand he won’t have a lot of time, but he doesn’t talk to me when he’s online. I need some serious advice. Should I give him the benefit of the doubt and think he loves me but is scared or does he just not have the nerve to dump me? Should I step up and take the initiative and end things or wait for him to come to me? Keep in mind, this man is everything I could possibly hope for. He is literally an angel. We have never had any problems, everything seemed picture perfect. This is all a complete shock to me.

A: It sounds to me like your boyfriend is a fundamentally nice guy who doesn’t want to hurt you but who isn’t ready for the relationship you want. As a result, he reassures you by telling you it’s not about you. He doesn’t say anything definite but beats around the bush. Then he disappears for days at a time. He doesn’t realize that by trying so hard not to hurt you, he is hurting you even more. This kind of on again off again situation is very, very painful for the person who isn’t in control of it.

Analyzing him isn’t going to help. Accept that he’s telling you in the only way he can that he is backing off. Now you need to do the same. I know it’s disappointing. I know it hurts. It’s sad and frustrating when everything but the timing looks so right. For the sake of your own dignity, end it. You can’t be friends with him right now. It will be too hard since you see him as perfect for you. Grieve this relationship and move on.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Mar 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). My boyfriend has me emotionally exhausted. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/03/15/my-boyfriend-has-me-emotionally-exhausted/