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dr. jekyll and mrs. hyde
June 10, 2011 9:16 PM   Subscribe

I am having a hard time reconciling why I want to break up with my boyfriend at least once a month. Please help.

I'm struggling with some lingering depression left over from a traumatic last year of college and a bad reaction to shitty HBC. My boyfriend and I just hit 4 months officially (and 8 months unofficially) and there are times where I am so profoundly grateful to have found someone as wonderful as him, and then the rest of the time I'm crawling out of my skin around him and keep trying to break up because of [insert myriad of depression-fueled excuses here].

These depressive episodes are starting to break my heart. I cannot understand why I wake up sometimes when I'm sleeping over at his house and I find myself thinking, "Who is this? What have I done? Why am I in this relationship?" My therapist insists that I not give in because the relationship as a whole has had a significantly positive impact on my life, but how can I reconcile that when I feel like running and hiding from this gorgeous, wonderful man half the time I'm with him? I feel numb during these moments. I cannot process compliments or affection and I find that even physical interaction is forced on my part because somewhere some part of me is going "If you felt normal you know you'd want this!" Now I'm starting to wonder if these thoughts are actually a subconscious desire to flee that's entirely separate from the hormones and the depression. Bottom line is that my BF does not deserve to be with someone who is constantly trying to decide if she can be with him or not. He's been so kind; he just says this is something we'll get through together, as if simply loving me with all his heart will break through whatever it is I'm going through.

What do I do? I am so cold and distant to my boyfriend right now and yet all I want is to be held and kissed. What is wrong with me?
posted by iLoveTheRain to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am so cold and distant to my boyfriend right now and yet all I want is to be held and kissed.

Held by him specifically?
posted by elektrotechnicus at 9:30 PM on June 10, 2011


I have an ex-girlfriend who would essentially break up with me once a month. It turned out that she had very severe PMS that required medication to balance out. This could be your issue, as well. Though, given that you also suffer from depression, I may be way off base on your particular situation.
posted by asnider at 9:35 PM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are you seeking help for your depression from a medical professional?
posted by rhapsodie at 9:35 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Explain to him what you're going through--that it really is you, not him. Take a break from the relationship so that you can have the mental space and energy to heal. Hopefully, you can use this time to work on overcoming your major feelings of depression. If things are meant to be, he'll be waiting for you when you're ready to date again. Just talk about it with him. Only you know whether spending all this time with him is hampering your recovery.
posted by sunnychef88 at 9:39 PM on June 10, 2011


I hear you saying you're grateful, he's wonderful, he's wonderful, he's gorgeous, and he deserves better than this. That's not quite the same as saying you're in love with him. In your best moments, are you? If so, then I'd definitely trust that feeling, your therapist, and your BF. If not, then sure, you do have a number of things that might be preventing you from feeling everything you could, but don't stay in a relationship just because you have low self-esteem and think the guy is too awesome to drop. So just wait for one of your best days to make this decision, and stick with what you plan then.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:07 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you want to break up with him because you think you're "not good enough" for him or something like that? That's irrational and you should wait it out. Talk with your therapist about it.

Do you want to break up with him because you don't like him that much, or you don't click with him, or that kind of thing? That's okay, even if he is a very nice guy you are allowed to decide that you don't want to date him. It's ok to break up if it's for a reason like this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:08 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Doing things that make you feel numb or forcing yourself to touch someone even when you don't want to--these things are not healthy and they are not improving your life.

It also sound like you might be dissociating, which is a sign that being in this relationship is incredibly stressful for you right now. Stress can come from good things as well as bad things. If you're still healing from trauma, you might not be able to handle this much "good" stress yet.

To use an analogy--exercising is usually healthy, but if you have a stress fracture or an injury, you might need to take time off from exercising so that you can heal properly.

You don't have to answer this if you don't want to, but were you ever abused or in an abusive relationship? The way that you are completely discounting your own emotions (and the feeling of numbness) reminds me of the really shitty negative affects I had from being abused as a child and being in an abusive romantic relationship.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:03 PM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, I'd like to point out that you say you have these feelings "at least once a month" and then later go on to say it's about half the time. I think you are having a lot of trouble figuring out what's really going on and how you really feel. I wonder if you're downplaying your negative feelings (or the frequency of them) because you really want to be into this relationship because that's what a "normal" person would do, or because your therapist thinks it's a good idea.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:19 PM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree with sunnychef88 - it sounds like you should take a break from this relationship. It seems like you've talked with him about this, and if he's a cool bf then he will understand. I would suggest proposing breaking up for exactly 2 months. And then promise each other than in 2 months you will both be single and will get back together to re-examine the relationship.

Then be single. Sleep with someone, have a few dates, have plenty of time to yourself.

Once the two months are up, you would have a much clearer idea of how worth-it the relationship is. And, if you want him back, get him back.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 12:27 AM on June 11, 2011


What is wrong with you? Read your question.

You're depressed. You didn't react well to HBC. (Never heard that story before!) You are in a transitional phase, post-college. (Weekly or more it's a hot topic here on askmetafilter.) You're in therapy. (I take it that's not new?). You have a history of running away from relationships. (Why is the tiger striped?) You're ambivalent and unknowledgable about receiving / giving affection. You are having 7-year-appropriate stuff in your relationship at 4 months, when other people are usually collecting each other's Kleenex from infatuation intoxication.

"What's right?" is a better question, followed closely by "Can it/I be fixed?".

If BF is going to wait out this phase, my bet is that he's in for a long wait. You sound like a borderline stable, inexperienced person in a historically unstable phase of life trying to deal with more advanced stages of life.

The image I get is a 7 year old with a $10,000 bicycle. Training wheels come before the Tour de France. You know how you just spent four years getting a degree and you feel incompetent to hit the workplace? It took planning, discipline and time to get to level of great insecurity! It's gonna take, I think, some time for you to get to a similar emotional level, and the project is similar. Physiological/hormonal stability, emotional skill assessment and repair, solidification of your specs on a LTR, self-awareness and knowledge of the real you. You can't just drop your drawers and call that a relationship. It's more than kissing and sex and sleeping over. Ideally, it's two (nearly) stable entities joining forces to make more stability. There IS a MINIMUM threshold, and it sounds like BF has it and maybe you might not?

The BF can help fix you, but he's like a bottle of medicine. You'll use him up. Do you think over a year or two he'll get frustrated, mad, or hurt? What do you think he thinks about someone who is frustrating, angering and hurting him? What does it do to his precious goodness and self-image? There is a HUGE difference between acute and chronic illness, and chronic exposure to stress is damaging like sunburn. It has lasting effects. He's probably too young and inexperienced to see what kind of damage HE might be suffering. If so, he'd be a perfectly normal young man, being that we're kind of clueless about self-protection until we're aware we're mortal!

We all want love. You may just not be ready for it, yet. You may need to practice on yourself, first, before practicing on a mate. It's awfully kind of you to be worried about him, and to care for him and that seems to suggest you are a good person under all this foam of dissatisfaction and illness. He's one of many Mr. Acceptables out there, and you'll find him or another soon enough, but you've got to learn how to live with / love you before you can love someone else. There's no pill and no quick therapy for gaining stability and focus. You may never get it, but I suspect you will if it's important enough to you.

Take a break. Do something nice for that boy, even if it hurts him. Get your house in order, THEN go shopping for a co-owner.

Good luck. This is one downside of young. It gets better, as they say.
posted by FauxScot at 12:30 AM on June 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh dear. Break-up with him already. Just because he's gorgeous and a good guy does not mean he's the gorgeous good guy FOR YOU.

I have had this feeling that you're describing, and it almost always happened when I was dating a guy that looked good by the general public's standards, who was generally nice and very amicable. And, despite all of this, we had no chemistry, I wasn't really attracted to him, and he bored me.

Find someone you're actually into. It sounds to me like maybe you haven't dated many nice guys, so now that you found one, you feel like you should like him more than you do. You'll find a nice guy that clicks better with you by moving on and looking around.

P.S. Birth control really can screw with your hormones, but your situation sounds (to me) more like a case of just being not-that-into-him.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 1:15 AM on June 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Try non-hormonal birth control for awhile and see what happens. That shit can really mess with you, sister.
posted by marble at 1:32 AM on June 11, 2011


You should listen to your therapist, but you should also bring this question to your therapist and read it through with him/her. Let go of your guilt about your feelings and instead try to look at it logically and soberly. It very well could be hormones. Or depression clawing its way back at you. Or both. Maybe you need to stick this out with him to learn how to weather these storms -- or maybe you are just not in a place right now where you can worry about someone else's feelings right now. Maybe, since you are in the process of trying to recover from a traumatic time and a deep depression, you need to focus on yourself and not be in a relationship right now - but none of these things require value judgements on either one of you. A huge part of a good relationship is timing.

Still, I am right with the others who want to point out the "once a month" part of your question. I too have a really hard time being logical about my emotions because of my hormones. Relationship or not, you're going to need to learn how to cope and make it through these times!

Hang in there... keep talking it out with your therapist, breathe and stay focused when these feelings come up, and most importantly, go slow. When you feel bad, there is a desire to TAKE. IMMEDIATE. ACTION - and that's not necessary. What you should do is listen to yourself, and wait to make any major life decisions until you feel like you are of sound and solid conviction. Getting there is probably going to take some time and work with your therapist. You're not going to just wake up next week and know exactly what you want. But you ARE going to wake up and know what you want if you keep talking honestly to your therapist and keep listening to yourself. These confusing feelings are difficult, but you can use this confusion to learn how to trust yourself when you are feeling upside down. Once you get the hang of it, and learn how to find your center when you feel like you are scattered to the four winds, you will be in a much better place.

Do you keep a journal? I have found that to be extensively helpful. I can just write the crazy feelings out, and I can look back on them later and go - huh - I am feeling the SAME way now? I didn't even realize. Also when I am having a particularly hard time, I keep a very detailed spreadsheet of where I am in my cycle, what I ate, how much sleep I got, my mood, how much water I drank and any major notes I feel like I need to write down (i.e. stressful thing at work - or this awesome thing happened!). VERY helpful for pattern recognition (you guessed it - my cycle was the real driver of my crazy feelings). But sleep, good food, and reducing major stressors helped me to combat those crazy feelings.
posted by pazazygeek at 6:54 AM on June 11, 2011


I felt like this, complete with those cyclical episodes and then feeling guilty and sorry and all that, right around the same period in my life (end of college etc.). Honestly, I was depressed, but I also had a lot of stress and uncertainty in my life that was making me hate my day to day. I didn't last with that partner (we discovered as we matured we had lots of concrete practical irreconcilable differences in what we wanted the future to be like), but this sort of thing wasn't really all about that--it was because I needed to sort my own shit out first, get my life where it needed to be to make me feel secure and satisfied with where I was headed. Easier said than done of course, but it was the only thing that got me to a point where I could be healthy and sane and not so up and down unpredictable in my romantic relationships. Work on the other aspects of your life as if tomorrow you'd have to be independent and ok (not just financially, but emotionally--in a place you don't mind living, with friends you genuinely like and hobbies or whatever that sustain you and make you feel accomplished on a personal level, go to therapy or do some other serious self-evaluation/reflection on your needs and emotional habits, etc.) if you haven't yet. I think until I got to that point I was using relationships like faulty crutches and taking out all of my unhappiness and low self-esteem about every other aspect of my life on my boyfriend.
posted by ifjuly at 10:19 AM on June 12, 2011


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