I love my boyfriend and enjoy his company. He loves me a lot. Why then do I feel on edge when I'm near him?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
[this will get long long looooooooooooooong...]
My boyfriend and I have been together nearly nine months. He is my first relationship; I'm his third. We've had typical ups and downs, but we've always enjoyed being with each other and we care for each other. We both live on campus and see each other nearly every day (barring holidays). We do enjoyable things together, we're very comfortable with each other (physically, mentally, emotionally, etc), and we respect and support each other.
I have had a history of panic attacks and depression, and lately they have been getting worse. I took BC pills for four days in February (Mercilon) and stopped because they were making a mess of my mind and body. As soon as I stopped, things got better, but the anxiety and depression remain. My boyfriend is SUPER supportive of me: he relaxes me, gets me what I need (usually water), calms me down. He'd wake up in the middle of the night and relax me if things got bad. I have not received this level of support from anyone else and I really appreciate that.
Right about that time I have been having nagging thoughts of breaking up with my boyfriend. They don't seem to have any rational explanation. The closest thing to that is one incident in early February (before the BC) where my boyfriend did something that made me feel very uncomfortable. I don't want to get into details, but suffice to say things nearly ended but we have worked through that and he has been very apologetic, working hard to ensure that it doesn't happen again. We did speak to people about it and they've all agreed that it was a misunderstanding and that he didn't wish me harm.
We have a policy of not keeping things in lest they blow up in our faces, so whenever we have issues with each other, we bring them up and discuss them maturely. We both have things to work on, but we ARE working on them and the effort shows. My boyfriend is aware of these nagging thoughts and supports my decision no matter what.
Things got worse a few days ago. We had a pretty good weekend, getting out of college and going around the city. on Monday night he came up to my room and chatted for a while. For some reason, though, the whole time he was talking I had this really strong bad feeling in my heart going "GO AWAY SHUT UP SHOO". I tried to fight it but after a while I relented and told him I was feeling that way. I started to doubt whether I really loved him, and that scared me. It was like I wanted to love him but my heart isn't letting me express that. He still said he supported me, he'll do what he can to help, he doesn't hold this against me.
The next day the feeling wouldn't go away. I went up to his room to snuggle for a bit (like we usually do) and I felt the strong urge to get away. We went to get breakfast and I could barely stand being in the same table. It felt terrible and awful. Here's someone I really love and now I can't stand next to them!
Indeed, that feeling made me so upset I spent the whole day crying and talking to three different counselors about it. (I also talked to my sister the night before.) I had classes that day but could barely concentrate. I wanted to know if it was still possible to love someone if you can't really feel it inside (it felt like something had possessed me), how do you tell you love someone? The common threads that came up are:
a) It could be biochemical - the BC hormones, my general anxiety/depression (I used to be medicated years ago), sleep deprivation, stress (we both go to uni and I'm very very active elsewhere, which is getting me down a little)
b) It could be emotional exhaustion; nothing necessarily wrong with my relationship
c) Around the 6-9months stage, the relationship evolves from twitterpatted bliss to companionship and friendship; not being used to this transition, I may have interpreted this as "relationship gone bad" when really it's "relationship adjusting"
d) Seeing my boyfriend everyday could get tiring on me
e) I'm overthinking things (which I am prone to doing)
Talking to three counselors and crying the whole day didn't make me totally better though. I was dying to get home. By the time I got home, I went to my boyfriend's room and begged for help. I felt very weak, tired, and on the brink of collapsing. He brought me up to my room, got me food and water, and tried his hardest to relax me and calm me down. He let me cry; I haven't cried so hard in a long time. I let out everything I'm feeling. I ask if he's tired of me being like this. He says he's fine, that he supports me. After a while I do relax, and sleep.
This morning I feel a bit better; however that "on edge" feeling I got near him is still there. It's not as strong but it's still there, a little. I'm fine with talking to him on the phone, or being at arm's distance. Even hanging out in his room is great. I feel like I'm in good company, that I'm safe and fine. But when he holds me or is generally very close I felt cagey. I go back to my room all alone and I feel better, but then I worry about whether this can survive, do I really love him if I'm feeling that way around him, blah blah. I can't win either way!! Even with this breakup thing, it's like:
Side A: Break up with him! Relationships shouldn't have pain!
Side B: The only reason it is in pain is because you're so obsessed with breaking up, dumbass. And there's no guarantee breaking up would make the pain go away.
Side A: BREAK UP! Just...because.
Side B: -_-
When I am around him, I am still happy, but I feel split in two. One side is happy and content, and the other side goes "but are you REALLY happy or just tricking yourself, hmm?" I haven't managed to be totally happy in a long time; I'd get pleased over small things but the anxiety sets in again. He's been absolutely wonderful to me, I feel his love for me so strongly, and yet I can't seem to muster the energy to show that love back. It's like the tables are turned; I used to be more effusive with my emotions while he'd hold back, but now he's more open with them and I'm the one unintentionally holding back. I WANT to show them, I just can't seem to bring myself to do so.
One time, in the midst of my anxiety and depression and obsessive thoughts, I asked for a break. AS SOON as I said that, I KNEW it was the wrong choice. I felt terrible the next day and went "ah, fuck it". I'm glad we didn't take that break, but I'm wondering if I need one now. The idea of breaking up with him is heartbreaking though. I can't stand it.
My Questions (FINALLY):
a) Why do I feel on edge when I'm near him? And why the sudden switch from "he relaxes me" to "he tenses me"? It really is like a switch.
b) Do I love my boyfriend less if I want to spend some time alone? How do I show him that I still love him? He says he knows I do, but *I*'m not even sure. Does seeing him nearly every day for nearly a year have a role in this?
c) How do I get these obsessive thoughts away? They've lost all basis and are just bothering me.
d) I've been told that BC hormones take about 6 months to get purged out of the system. The timing fits (The obsessive thoughts came after the BC) but since I only took 4 days' worth, does that matter? I did react very badly to it.
e) I've been told that I may not have totally forgiven for what happened in February. I thought I did, but could that be a concern? I don't think about that incident much, just as something that happened; right now I'm just more worried about these obsessive thoughts.
I may see a counselor again but right now I'm all counselled out. I did sign up for a program that involves regular psychology sessions but I haven't heard anything from them since.
The idea of not wanting to spend time with my boyfriend because my heart's being tense and anxious is just breaking my heart more. I want to spend time with him; I just don't want to feel tense just by being in the same square centimetre with him. If it wasn't for this anxiety, things are going very very well. It's all my self-doing. What can I do?