My partner is so distant

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My partner, is so distant. We live with her parents. She stays in a dark room all day long. Unless her parents leave. She will not stay in the house if they are gone. But if they have to go somewhere that is more than 2 blocks from the house, she will have them drop her off at her grandmothers apt. Which is right around the corner. She never stays with me. Even when I had my own apt. she would never stay with me. She refuses to leave her parents home, or go more than 2 blocks from her parents house. Can you give me an idea of what may be wrong with her?

A: This must be hard on you both. Like you, I’m very concerned about your girlfriend. This cannot be a hppay way for her to live. On the basis of your letter, I can make only a couple of guesses. It’s possible that your partner has a dependent personality disorder. She is so frightened of being out on her own that she relies on her family to get her through the day. It’s also possible that she is significantly depressed — or both.

Meanwhile, the two of you are in your twenties and living with her parents. If you want to establish an independent life, you probably need to get a place of your own. If your partner can’t stand that idea and also refuses to get some help, you have a difficult choice. Is this relationship really what you want? If so, are you willing to continue to organize your life around your sweetheart’s fears?

My best suggestion is that you make an appointment to see a couple counselor to help the two of you sort out your feelings about being adults and being in a relationship. A professional counselor will also be in a position to assess what is going on with your partner.

Even if your girfriend won’t go at first, please go yourself. Once you get started, your girlfriend may have the courage to join you. Meanwhile, you’ll have the opportunity to think about where you’re headed in this relationship.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jun 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). My partner is so distant. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/06/07/my-partner-is-so-distant/