Psych Central

Was it him or do I need counseling?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

January of last year two people I cared about and a family member died on the same day. I was unhappy at my job so I quit in May and returned to school. I have run through my savings and am now looking for another job. During the summer, a very close friend committed suicide.

In May, a decade-long good friend and I started dating. He did not reveal for a while that he actually lived with someone. I decided to continue dating him because he was going to have her move out. She eventually moved, but he did not tell me for a month.

My bf has told me he is passive aggressive and has intimacy issues in that he pushes away people he cares about. He has told me he was coming over and then not shown up or called. When I expressed my anger at this he refused to speak to me for a few days. Continually told me he was coming over only to finally admit later in the evening that he was at a sporting event. The sex is great. But we never do anything together. When ever there is a social event he invents an excuse to be late or to miss it. When we are supposed to have a date night he is either late or “falls asleep” so does not hear his phone if I call or text to remind him.

Over the course of the seven months we have been dating I have been constantly frustrated with his behavior. I break up with him, he refuses to speak to me, then I want us to be back together. Finally, over Thanksgiving weekend he agreed to go to counseling. He also says he has problems being around when other people are experiencing emotions – he did not call when my friend committed suicide and was very difficult about the funeral until I got frustrated and just assumed he did not want to go, which he later admitted was the case. If I am angry at his actions he will not speak until he thinks I have calmed down. He has even lied about where he lives even though he knows we have mutual friends that live near him and I have access to property and court records.

Finally, after Thanksgiving he was not making the appointment to see a counselor. Saturday before Christmas he inexpicably stops speaking – he will text responses to me but will not answer his phone. So I (bad I know) gave him an ultimatum of either therapy or no relationship and we are now broken up. Do I need therapy for having dealt with all this? Do I need to now repair the relationship and tell him we can bo back to being friends for the sake of seeing him in social situations, which happens about once or twice a year? Is it possible that I was too demanding, should not have had expectations of him or of any man I date, and that I should have been more patient with him making the appointment to see a therapist? Do I need counseling for thinking I am the one with the problem because I want to be called every day and think I should be able to ask my “boyfriend” to spend time with me?

A: You are asking many good questions. I think you already know that I’m going to support you in finding a therapist to talk to to help you answer them. On the face of it, it’s possible that you are hanging on to this guy because you can’t bear another loss, having experienced so many in such a short time. That may well be what is overwhelming your own good sense.

You made quite a long list of reasons why this man is apparently incapable of being the kind of man you want as a friend/lover/mate yet you can’t let go. Please don’t berate yourself for this. It’s understandable. Dating means meeting people and rejecting and being rejected (gently, I hope) until you find the right match. You have to be able to accept the losses while you go through the sorting process. A therapist will help you resolve your grief so that you’ll be strong enough to do that sorting again.

I hope you will follow your own good advice and get a therapist soon. You deserve to find a man who is worth your love and loyalty.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jan 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Was it him or do I need counseling?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/01/05/was-it-him-or-do-i-need-counseling/