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What do I do with an emotionally unsupportive boyfriend?


AnneMartina
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Lately I have been really down. It is due to a mixture of problems in my life. I won’t bore you. I’m unemployed due to COVID 19, clueless about what direction to take my future career in, my family never stop arguing and treat me like their door mat around the house. I’m just angry, frustrated and upset.

 

I try to confide in my boyfriend about how I’m feeling inside. I don’t know if I’m depressed or whether this is just a passing phase. When I talk about things he says nothing at all really. 2 days ago when I really had enough of it and confessed that I wished I wouldn’t wake up tomorrow - he responded in the most unsupportive way via text. See quotations.

 

“This is nothing in comparison to what you will have to face in the future. “

 

“The world doesn’t work the way you had imagined.”

 

“I have been in the same boat as you and I sailed through it.”

 

“This is reality. I don’t want to give you false hopes lol”

 

“The problems u had before were only the tip of the iceberg.”

 

I was in bed crying at the time. I understand that maybe it can be hard to have to listen to a person who is having problems and that you sometimes need to have a “tough love” attitude. Perhaps I over-do it now and then. However, I just feel the way he responded to my breakdown was extremely cruel and unsupportive. Whenever he is having a hard time I am always there for him. I listen and offer an opinion and try to reassure him of things. I am sure I will have to face harder times in life in the future, but this whole scenario has made me wonder if he really is the one that I want to be there for me. Or "be there." If things ever got really bad I would want a partner with a different attitude that will support me. We are 22 and have been together almost 5 years. I let little things like this slide before, but since this occasion has been more noticable, I cannot shake it off. Is this acceptable or am I just over reacting? I haven’t talked to him in almost 2 days because I’m mad and feel like he makes me feel worse. He texted me twice. He asked if I was mad. When I ignored his text he just said "okay." Nothing since. How should I deal with this? Any answers much appreciated. :icon_sad:

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Sorry to hear this. it sounds like he was trying to listen and was at a loss for words. Not everyone knows what to say in response to your extreme comments and distress (never imply you are suicidal).

 

It would be much better to go to a doctor for an evaluation and to get some supportive therapy from a psychologist. Honestly, this is simply over his head.

2 days ago when I really had enough of it and confessed that I wished I wouldn’t wake up tomorrow - he responded in the most unsupportive way via text. See quotations.

 

We are 22 and have been together almost 5 years. I cannot shake it off. Is this acceptable or am I just over reacting?

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Are you expecting your boyfriend to act as a counselor to you? Its really hard to judge not knowing what was said or how often -- to know if you are dumping on him truly or are always so down on yourself or you occasionally confide your heart to him.

 

You say "if things really got bad". Honestly, is what you are going through truly bad? Honestly, if someone talks about something ALL THE TIME but never does something about it, I might respond like your boyfriend. Don't know what direction to take your career in? Well, he can't help you there. Find mentors. Make an assessmet about what your strengths are. Take steps. If your family treats you like a doormat, is that actually true, or are you overly sensitive OR are you very wishwashy and you perceive your family as wanting you to carry your weight as making you a doormat/ do you live with them?

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Hi!!

 

I have been on both ends of this situation, like yourself. And my partner reacts sort of the same with the whole tough love thing. I know this may be the last thing you want to hear but it’s so easy to fall into a bit of a pity party -I do the exact same! And I’m in a similar situation with being unemployed through this pandemic. I can see where your boyfriend is coming from based on how my boyfriend complained about the same thing for a while and it wasn’t that I didn’t care it was that I felt like he was repeating himself but actively doing nothing to help himself. But also I have been the one complaining a lot that I feel down and as if I have no purpose. I know it’s so difficult especially with family arguing that you feel as if the closest person -and sort of a comfort blanket- is your boyfriend. And so he is the one you feel you need the comfort from! Tough love is good in a way, as you’re told the things you don’t necessarily want to hear in that moment and it’s horrible I understand that... one thing I can say though is just use all of this free time to try and figure out what you want to do. Try and occupy yourself with the things you enjoy, even if you don’t feel like doing them! And remember that how you feel isn’t wrong, it’s perfectly okay to feel this way so please never thing you are wrong for feeling the way you are. Just think over what you want to do, make a five year plan, fantasise about having that perfect job and big house and nice car, allow yourself to get excited about it and let it drive you and keep you motivated and hopeful!! You’ve got this, and you can do ANYTHING you put your mind too, I promise!!! Feel free to private message at any time even if you just need a moan!! Sending big hugs and love, you’ve got this!!!xxxx

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Well, first he listened. There are people who would like that, instead of someone giving their own opinion and suggestions. Some people don't want another fixing their problems. They just want to vent and be heard.

 

But I'm sure you got on him about not responding how you wished, so he likely tried to give his perspective, hoping a different viewpoint might help you.

 

For one thing, don't text about serious stuff. Texts should be saved for light and fluffy things. Keep the serious conversations to in person or actual phone calls. That way you can interpret a person's tone better, instead of misinterpreting the tone or intention of a sentence.

 

It's okay to be real and confide in a partner, but make sure it doesn't become such a regular pattern as to become draining on another. Because even if I have cared about someone and have a long history with them, I'm going to start to avoid that person if the Debbie Downer aspect regularly weighs more heavily than more positive discussions, and having fun together.

 

Utilize your time proactively and read articles and books on how to deal with problem people in the family and research careers that interest you. Realize that relying on others too much to solve your problems isn't feasible. It's your life and yours to figure out.

 

If you're getting mad because he doesn't respond how you'd wish, you have several options. Tell him what you're looking for from him when you vent. If he won't or seems clueless on how to give you that, either break up with him or keep him around and find someone else to vent to who knows how to respond the way you like.

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Do you think you whine and complain too much? Maybe he feels that you do. What happens when you try to discuss his lack of emotion/support/interest in how you are feeling?

 

Some guys just stink at being compassionate and at 22 that may well be his problem. He's not mature enough to know how to respond to you.

 

I agree a trip to your doctor for a checkup would be a good idea. If you cant resolve this then maybe you need a new bf.

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Listen to you're feelings. They are telling, this not what you want or need. Resist ignoring your own feeling to appease others to keep a relationship.

 

Don't ignore people, when asked what's wrong or if you are mad. Take time to think how you feel and examine your feelings. Respond calmly and explain your feelings. tell them what you would like them to do in the situation in the future.

 

Listen to them, too.

 

It's unfair (to others) to expect them to figure you out. It's unfair (to you) to discount your own feelings.

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I don't think this is about your boyfriend. That pain is already inside you, with or without him. His responses are hurtful because they reflect that pain back to you. Relationships behave like mirrors, often reflecting things back at us that we may not want to see or cope with. He can't heal you but I think you can.

 

Practicing gratitude is not easy especially when it appears like the world (your world) is falling apart. Being grateful for the little things can mobilize and take away a lot of paralysis, fear, depression and loss of hope. You should see a doctor if you are suicidal but I think the first step is practicing a little gratitude for the things you do have.

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Venting once in a while should be fine, and it’s helpful to preface with “hey I just want to vent, would you mind listening for a bit?” Or specifically asking for a hug or some words of understanding. Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t naturally know how to react to your venting. I’ve learned that asking specifically for support here and there does wonders. I also used to make the mistake of thinking that my partner was there to make everything better. Truth is he’s not. I rarely vent anymore and have learned to cope with issues that have nothing to do with him mostly on my own. It’s very freeing. I don’t know how often you tell him About your problems, but it sounds like you do it frequently. It just gets tiring. Now if he generally reacts dismissively, I’d probably work on communicating what it is you need in those moments from him. You don’t want him to become your emotional sounding board though. Try doing some self care first when you feel down or chat with a friend.

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I was in bed crying at the time. I understand that maybe it can be hard to have to listen to a person who is having problems and that you sometimes need to have a “tough love” attitude. Perhaps I over-do it now and then. However, I just feel the way he responded to my breakdown was extremely cruel and unsupportive. Whenever he is having a hard time I am always there for him. I listen and offer an opinion and try to reassure him of things. I am sure I will have to face harder times in life in the future, but this whole scenario has made me wonder if he really is the one that I want to be there for me. Or "be there." If things ever got really bad I would want a partner with a different attitude that will support me. We are 22 and have been together almost 5 years. I let little things like this slide before, but since this occasion has been more noticable, I cannot shake it off. Is this acceptable or am I just over reacting? I haven’t talked to him in almost 2 days because I’m mad and feel like he makes me feel worse. He texted me twice. He asked if I was mad. When I ignored his text he just said "okay." Nothing since. How should I deal with this? Any answers much appreciated. :icon_sad:

 

Why do you need someone to be there for you? Is it common that you go through these down episodes, and does he always have to try to reassure you? Generalising here, but men and women are different. Men try to fix, women try to empathise. If you want someone to tell you everything is going to be okay, to listen and reassure, then ask a woman. Your boyfriend is not a counsellor and should not have to listen to you constantly being down on yourself. And, if he has been in your life for 5 years, no doubt he has tried to be there for you, at his age, has no experience trying to emphathise and just sits rigid and thinking how to fix the situation. I can imagine what he thinks...'Oh God, here we go again with all the down crap.'

 

Then, when you don't get exactly what you want, you ignore him, for 2 days. That is called emotional abuse, from you. Likely this is not the first time you have done this either, and he knows the best thing for him is just to leave you alone. I wonder if he thinks he would be better off with a more emotionally mature person, so he wouldn't have to go through this time and again.

 

So, my question to you is, what are YOU doing about your situation? And I'm not talking about your boyfriend's lack of empathy, I'm talking about your ongoing life struggles? Are you seeking professional help?

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Venting once in a while should be fine, and it’s helpful to preface with “hey I just want to vent, would you mind listening for a bit?” Or specifically asking for a hug or some words of understanding. Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t naturally know how to react to your venting. I’ve learned that asking specifically for support here and there does wonders. I also used to make the mistake of thinking that my partner was there to make everything better. Truth is he’s not. I rarely vent anymore and have learned to cope with issues that have nothing to do with him mostly on my own. It’s very freeing. I don’t know how often you tell him About your problems, but it sounds like you do it frequently. It just gets tiring. Now if he generally reacts dismissively, I’d probably work on communicating what it is you need in those moments from him. You don’t want him to become your emotional sounding board though. Try doing some self care first when you feel down or chat with a friend.

 

What excellent advice and it's what I try to do as well in my marriage. Venting once in awhile absolutely has its place - and what I find, personally is that what helps instead of venting:

 

Drinking a lot of water or even some water (I keep my water bottle full all day and aim for 10-12 glasses/day- find a type of water bottle you like -I have a favorite, helps to motivate drinking all that water).

Cardio. I do a cardio workout daily but if I'm stressed I will "angry clean" or move my body, etc -harder with the pandemic, of course because I can't just leave easily with my child home 24/7.

Calling a friend and listening to the friend -whether good or bad stuff. Not talking about myself.

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I was in bed crying at the time. I understand that maybe it can be hard to have to listen to a person who is having problems and that you sometimes need to have a “tough love” attitude. Perhaps I over-do it now and then. However, I just feel the way he responded to my breakdown was extremely cruel and unsupportive. Whenever he is having a hard time I am always there for him. I listen and offer an opinion and try to reassure him of things. I am sure I will have to face harder times in life in the future, but this whole scenario has made me wonder if he really is the one that I want to be there for me. Or "be there." If things ever got really bad I would want a partner with a different attitude that will support me. We are 22 and have been together almost 5 years. I let little things like this slide before, but since this occasion has been more noticable, I cannot shake it off. Is this acceptable or am I just over reacting?

 

"Tough love" is a last-ditch technique used on incorrigibles when all else fails. I have no idea why people try to apply tough love to every problematic situation, as though every problem constitutes an out of control disaster. Panicked thinking.

 

Even more absurd that he is telling you all about 'how life is' when he is literally the same age as you are.

 

Personally, I would not accept it. I have no room in my life for someone so condescending. I don't need people to beat me up (purportedly for my own good) and tell me how to run my own life. All I need is a little compassion here and there. I choose my relationships accordingly.

 

But that's just me. You have to decide what's right for you in that respect, and you have to stick with it. That means it may be time to end this relationship. Don't cling to it just because it lasted this long. That would be silly.

 

I haven’t talked to him in almost 2 days because I’m mad and feel like he makes me feel worse. He texted me twice. He asked if I was mad. When I ignored his text he just said "okay." Nothing since. How should I deal with this? Any answers much appreciated. :icon_sad:

 

One thing you shouldn't do is play games. The silent treatment is immature. Even teenagers know better than to act that way.

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Lately I have been really down. It is due to a mixture of problems in my life. I won’t bore you. I’m unemployed due to COVID 19, clueless about what direction to take my future career in, my family never stop arguing and treat me like their door mat around the house. I’m just angry, frustrated and upset.

 

I try to confide in my boyfriend about how I’m feeling inside. I don’t know if I’m depressed or whether this is just a passing phase. When I talk about things he says nothing at all really. 2 days ago when I really had enough of it and confessed that I wished I wouldn’t wake up tomorrow - he responded in the most unsupportive way via text. See quotations.

 

“This is nothing in comparison to what you will have to face in the future. “

 

“The world doesn’t work the way you had imagined.”

 

“I have been in the same boat as you and I sailed through it.”

 

“This is reality. I don’t want to give you false hopes lol”

 

“The problems u had before were only the tip of the iceberg.”

 

I was in bed crying at the time. I understand that maybe it can be hard to have to listen to a person who is having problems and that you sometimes need to have a “tough love” attitude. Perhaps I over-do it now and then. However, I just feel the way he responded to my breakdown was extremely cruel and unsupportive. Whenever he is having a hard time I am always there for him. I listen and offer an opinion and try to reassure him of things. I am sure I will have to face harder times in life in the future, but this whole scenario has made me wonder if he really is the one that I want to be there for me. Or "be there." If things ever got really bad I would want a partner with a different attitude that will support me. We are 22 and have been together almost 5 years. I let little things like this slide before, but since this occasion has been more noticable, I cannot shake it off. Is this acceptable or am I just over reacting? I haven’t talked to him in almost 2 days because I’m mad and feel like he makes me feel worse. He texted me twice. He asked if I was mad. When I ignored his text he just said "okay." Nothing since. How should I deal with this? Any answers much appreciated. :icon_sad:

How often are you complaining? It's one thing if this is your first time ever venting and his impulse is to immediately dismiss your frustrations. Then again, it's also worth noting you've for whatever reason omitted your messages, and whatever other potentially "kinder" messages he may have first attempted for that matter, making it quite a bit easier to chide the guy for being excessively curt. Not sure why you'd share his end of the private correspondence and not yours.

 

In any case, it's fair to say that now more than ever, there aren't too many people out there who don't have their own share of obstacles or who are otherwise swimming in optimism. If you've previously made it a habit to "vent," someone's threshold for indulging your struggles while navigating their own is probably going to be limited. Obviously absent sharing something exceptionally tragic or traumatic, it's much better to focus on how you can foster your relationship into a positive refuge amid fairly universal troubling times.

 

While at face value your boyfriend's comments seem condescending, he's also listening to his grown girlfriend complain about nagging parents. Maybe it would've been better had he said "there, there" and left it at that? At the end of the day, though, he's actually pretty openly outlining the baseline of what he needs to see in order to keep respecting you. Apparently that means being able to independently navigate things like your parents and a career direction without emotionally offloading on him.

 

You mention "if things got really bad, you'd want someone to support you." And you're right, you should want someone to support you through truly trying times. Is there an actual example of that where he hasn't? You also mentioned being there for his hard times. Has his complaints or struggles then been the same as yours now? However hypocritical or insensitive he's ritually been-- assuming at all-- isn't something any of us can gauge based on your post alone. If you feel he's too apathetic all around, then yeah, start asking yourself serious questions about the longevity of the relationship.

 

And to echo the others, if you truly find yourself "not wanting to wake up tomorrow," then you really need to look for some professional help. That's pretty serious. But if you were exaggerating, that's not the kind of hyperbole you throw a loved one's way.

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Most (not all) men are at a loss when a woman is crying on their shoulder....showing feelings spells awkwardness because a lot of males are taught to be tough and to suck it up, don't look like a wuss. He was uncomfortable, so he was trying to get out of the situation, in a cumbersome way.

 

I suggest you start by venting by writing your thoughts in a journal. It's easy, you can do it anytime, no one there to criticize you, you have complete freedom to express yourself. Next, seek out a female friend to chat with, and share experiences with, etc. Go with them for a coffee, have a chat. That should make you feel refreshed.

 

As for finding a job, plenty out there, just have to search what is needed. Big companies (just as an example) like Amazon (not promoting them) are hopping busy, and any company that does deliveries or Covid checking temp, cleaning and all that jazz. If you are good with sewing, I know a few out of work ladies making some cash under the table, making cute/fun patterned, masks. You can even do some dog walking for those who can't get out. Just have too look and you shall find something to earn yourself a bit of cash until things pick up again.

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