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Thread: The guy I like has severe anxiety, but am I being too forgiving?

  1. #1
    Member Skylark89's Avatar
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    The guy I like has severe anxiety, but am I being too forgiving?

    I've been seeing a guy for some time. We've both told each other that we really like each other, and we've talked a lot about a future together.

    However, my guy suffers from crippling anxiety. He told me he didn't used to have it, and thinks he's gotten better over time. I wonder if he's really just adapting to it. I think it's worse than he believes. He can't go to certain places or do certain things, for fear of having an anxiety attack. At times, he says he "can't handle" people and shuts down. He has a "comfort zone" of about 60 miles in radius, which he can't leave. He can go to the grocery or work, but I think he has to stick to a slight routine.
    It's frustrating that his doctor just prescribes him pills. I don't think his doctor ever suggests he sees a therapist or support group.
    I've tried to gently suggest therapy, but he has no interest in going. In the end, I drop it and don't push it.

    The problem is I don't feel like I can always talk to him. I try to be understanding about his anxiety, but how much is too much? I start to wonder if he's actually just taking me for granted...or maybe even playing games. I don't know what to think at this point.
    Whenever I try to state what I need out of this relationship or we begin to disagree on something, I think it starts to trigger an anxiety attack in him. He will either verbally lash out and abruptly end things, only to come back a few days later...or he will just shut down and push me away for some time. I try to give him space and wait until he reaches out.
    When we end up talking again, he usually brings up what happened and wants to talk about it. Yet, he never fully apologizes unless I directly tell him how much he hurt me. He also reassures me that he doesn't want me to feel like I can't speak freely; he wants me to tell him whenever something is bothering me. It's very annoying when I hear him say that. I don't know what to do, because whenever I do try to state what's bothering me, he gets triggered all over again. I know it's not healthy, and it's really hurtful.

    I realize I can't and shouldn't continue a relationship with him, unless he's willing to go to therapy. It's starting to affect my self-esteem and mental health a lot. But I don't know how to say this, without him getting defensive.
    I want to be understanding and supportive. I want to give him space when he needs it. I just can't keep going on with the way things are. It's tearing me apart. If anything, I'd like to be a friend to him.

    My friends aren't helpful in advice. One says I should just let it go and give him space when he needs it, because it's probably very hard for him. The other says I should dump him.

    Right now, my guy and I aren't speaking again. I've written down a few things that I want to say to him, but I'm not sure which is the right step to take. 1. Should I just give him space and wait for him to reach out again? 2. Do I contact him and ask if we can talk? 3. Do I send a text saying that I can't do this anymore and can only be friends?

    I would really like to remain friends, if that's all we can do. I enjoy talking to him and spending time with him. We have a lot of fun together. I don't want to have to say goodbye. :(

    I hope I can hear some replies from people who have had or do suffer from a similar form of anxiety. Even if you don't, I'd like to hear your perspective. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Hi,

    I dated a guy for eleven years. Let me tell you from personal experience the last three years with him were hell!
    He suffered such crippling anxiety it consumed every thing. So I tried for the last three years with him and I lost myself in the process. No matter what I did it wasnít enough!

    You canít be his personal therapist and itís not right he wonít get help. Whatís worse is that itís taking a toll on you. Ending it is the right thing to do. Be firm and call him up and tell him that although you two arenít suited for a relationship it doesnít mean you canít be friends. Either he understands or doesnít. Either way, you set yourself free from his problems weighing you down.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    Your guy is a high maintenance project. You are the one who ends up as his therapist which is unreasonable and defies all logic. He's a drag.

    After you give him space, he'll come around and contact you. Then talk. Of, if he texts, text him and tell him it's over.

    No, don't be friends because again, he'll be your endless assignment.

    Saying good-bye is what you need to do to save your sanity.

    I've dealt with people with anxiety and you either need the patience of a saint to deal with them or dissolve the relationship or friendship in order for you to have less stress and more peace of mind for yourself.

    People with anxiety will give you drama. With some people you can enforce healthy boundaries and maintain a superficial relationship with them. Your conversations must remain generic otherwise you risk getting entangled with their problems and you'll end up as their psychologist all over again.

    Some anxious people push other people away permanently because usually people don't wish to associate with people who dump their problems onto others. Instead of a relationship or friendship, dynamics, correspondence, verbal and written interactions feel burdensome.

    Yes, you're too forgiving. Forgive means to move on. Forgive doesn't mean condone nor forget. In order for you to move on, you need to make your exit. Then you can heal and let him sort his own life out.

    You're too accommodating. It's over. He will not give you a smooth, content, harmonious relationship. He will give you a relationship filled with endless angst and tension.

    Mind games and volatile temperaments are real deal breakers. I'm sure you're fed up by now. Diplomatically and respectfully part ways. Be gentle yet firm and final. If he's relentless, then ignore, ghost, block and delete him.

  4. #4
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    Having had my husband be crippled with anxiety until 12 years ago and having had a nervous breakdown in 2012 and have suffered severe on and off anxiety since I can understand his position and yours.

    The best course of action is usually therapy and medication. Therapy is a very critical part of it and medication is very critical part. However the person has to be prepared for therapy and want to do it or itís not going to work.

    If this relationship is beyond what you can tolerate it is time to leave it.

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  6. #5
    Super Moderator Capricorn3's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Skylark89
    I've been seeing a guy for some time.
    How long is "some time"? And how often?

  7. #6
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    I want you to understand, that there is no magic cure for the type of anxiety your boyfriend deals with.
    Pills, therapy, support groups, etc. They may help..notice, I said MAY. But they aren't any kind of guarantee either.

    I think people assume that if only someone with anxiety would get therapy, or if only they would try harder, if only they pushed themself more...it would magically cure them
    And that's sadly, not the case.

    Anxiety to your boyfriends degree, is lifelong. It may get better in time and it may get worse. It could be a combination of the two where some months, years it improves and gets worse and improves again.
    It's difficult to tell and there isn't always a rhyme or reason to it.

    What your boyfriend needs, is someone who will 100%, fully willing to accept him and his limitations.
    The last thing someone with an anxiety disorder needs, is someone who is belittling them, assuming they aren't trying hard enough, or not accepting his limitations.

    You making the statement that he is "playing games" really does show how little you understand.
    He is not playing games...he is trying to survive.

    I know you don't suffer with an anxiety disorder like he does, but I can tell you it's incredibly difficult. If you can imagine someone carrying a boulder on their shoulders, every single day, and having massive struggle, then you might comprehend a small part of what an anxiety disorder is like.

    Please don't downplay his suffering.
    But on the other hand, if you can't or don't want to deal with it, then be honest with him.
    He needs a lot of love and a lot of support and understanding right now. Believe it or not, the more of that he get's the better he will be, more so than any therapy will give him.

  8. #7
    Gold Member Skeptic76's Avatar
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    Reading your post it seems like underneath all the swirling feelings there is a single undercurrent. It looks like you already know exactly what you want to do, but maybe you are seeking some third party encouragement? In fact you have a written list of things you want to say. What kinds of things are on the list? What would the ideal result be of reading that list to him?

  9. #8
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SherrySher
    I want you to understand, that there is no magic cure for the type of anxiety your boyfriend deals with.
    Pills, therapy, support groups, etc. They may help..notice, I said MAY. But they aren't any kind of guarantee either.

    I think people assume that if only someone with anxiety would get therapy, or if only they would try harder, if only they pushed themself more...it would magically cure them
    And that's sadly, not the case.

    Anxiety to your boyfriends degree, is lifelong. It may get better in time and it may get worse. It could be a combination of the two where some months, years it improves and gets worse and improves again.
    It's difficult to tell and there isn't always a rhyme or reason to it.

    What your boyfriend needs, is someone who will 100%, fully willing to accept him and his limitations.
    The last thing someone with an anxiety disorder needs, is someone who is belittling them, assuming they aren't trying hard enough, or not accepting his limitations.

    You making the statement that he is "playing games" really does show how little you understand.
    He is not playing games...he is trying to survive.

    I know you don't suffer with an anxiety disorder like he does, but I can tell you it's incredibly difficult. If you can imagine someone carrying a boulder on their shoulders, every single day, and having massive struggle, then you might comprehend a small part of what an anxiety disorder is like.

    Please don't downplay his suffering.
    But on the other hand, if you can't or don't want to deal with it, then be honest with him.
    He needs a lot of love and a lot of support and understanding right now. Believe it or not, the more of that he get's the better he will be, more so than any therapy will give him.
    Thank you, yes. Recovery from this type of anxiety is not linear. It is also usually lifelong. There will always be an up and down and up and down and up and down. Itís usually pretty rare with somebody with severe anxiety to make a complete recovery. My husband is pretty good but it took the right medication and 10 years of therapy.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    Changed my mind.

  11. #10
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    Gosh, what if you wanted to get on a plane and go on vacation together to some exotic location? He cannot go with you.... chi

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