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Why Is My Boyfriend Distancing?

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From the U.S.: I met my boyfriend 3 years ago in high school, he was my first love and I thought would be my only love. My boyfriend has had a rough past jumping from foster home to foster home then landed in an abusive adoptive home. I helped him get out of that situation and he now lives with a family who has taken him in as his own.

Since then we have had about three major incidents where he would just break up with me. The first two was because of me and I struggle with issues too and get caught up in the moment and say and do things I don’t mean. But my boyfriend currently is a full time student and full time employee so he’s been very stressed lately more than anything he’s been before. However we see each other every day even when he’s exhausted after work he’s come over just to hang out and cuddle. He’d go out of his way to talk about our future and talk about how much he loves me.

Then the past week he’s been more quiet than usual so I got worried he didn’t want to be with me any more and I kept asking him if he loved me. And then one day we were texting and he was being really short and I asked him why and he got weird. He then said he didn’t want to be with me for the past week and he didn’t think we could work on our relationship. But yet the day before he was at my house till three in the morning cuddling and watching movies.

Nothing is making since and I don’t know what to do. It’s been three days since then and we had a conversation over the phone and he ended the call by saying he needed to think about everything. Since then on all social media he’s deleted everything of our relationship. Without one word to me. Today we’re meeting up. And I don’t exactly know what I should say or do. I don’t want to loose our relationship because I really do love him and I know he loves me. His biological mother was Severely bipolar And depressed, could that be passed down to him? Could that be the cause of all this? Thank you for your time.

Why Is My Boyfriend Distancing?

Answered by on -

A.

I’m sorry that the time between when people write and when we can answer is too long to provide help for a meeting that was to happen the day the letter was sent. But my guess is that this problem isn’t over.

Both you and your boyfriend have had a rough start. You found each other and have clung to each other like survivors from a ship wreck cling to a life raft. You helped each other survive by giving each other love and support. But life isn’t the Titanic. One or both people don’t have to “die”. There can be a much happier ending – with each person reaching the shore of adulthood and having a happy life, with or without each other.

You two met when you were only 16. You are both growing and changing. It may be that what you each needed then is not what you need now.

I don’t think your boyfriend is bipolar. I do think he is struggling. On the one hand, he may be ready for a more independent life where he has the freedom to explore his studies and work without the obligations of a relationship., On the other hand, he doesn’t want to feel like he is abandoning you. But seeing you every day and responding constantly to texts may be more than he can or should reasonably do.

On your side, I think you know you do need to explore who you are outside of this relationship. On the one hand, the possibility of being on your own is sending you into a panic so you say mean things to your boyfriend and crowd him even more. On the other hand, you know that your constant need for reassurance is hard on him and unhealthy for you.

I think you might benefit from seeing a therapist for awhile. A therapist can help you expand your support system so all your emotional needs aren’t funneled to your boyfriend. Just as important, therapy can help you find out who you are as a separate adult.

A healthy relationship is made up of two strong people who are interdependent, not dependent, with each other. Once you each find ways to transition to adulthood, you will be in a better place to reevaluate your relationship.

One more thing: A constant need for cuddling isn’t healthy for either of you. Let those times be less often and more special and they will be more meaningful. If you need physical affirmation every day, a furry pet may help you transition to a healthier balance.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Why Is My Boyfriend Distancing?

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Why Is My Boyfriend Distancing?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/12/12/why-is-my-boyfriend-distancing/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 10 Dec 2019 (Originally: 12 Dec 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 10 Dec 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.