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My boyfriend often forgets what I tell him


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Hi everyone, 

So, obviously I was on here earlier in the week to seek advice for my jealousy around a friend/co-worker and my boyfriend. A lot of the responses were very helpful and I decided it may be that I need to work on my own issues. So, I managed to get booked in with a therapist today and had my first session 😊

I told my boyfriend mid-week that I had my first session today and he seemed pleased for me. We didn't discuss at length, but I explained the kinds of things I might bring up about my self-worth etc. 

Anyway, neither of us have discussed it since, but he completely forgot I had the appointment. He had messaged about other things, but has forgotten that. This is not the first time he has done this. He always goes on about how bad his memory is and I know he forgets things that other people tell him so I can sort of let some stuff slide. But I would've thought that he would know this was important to me and remembered so he could ask how it went? 

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Good for you for seeing a therapist!

I don't think this is a big deal at all. Has your boyfriend been to therapy or considered it for himself? Also therapy is private so in his mind maybe he didn't want to pry? And the therapy is about something that you have been stressing him about so maybe he wants space from it. 

It can be hard with things like therapy to put yourself in the other person's shoes as to how important it is.  For example, he might relate more to an important job interview or an important doctor appointment because you are physically ill or you needed a follow up because they found something wrong or suspicious.  When I want to remember things like that I put a reminder in my phone -and it feels weird sometimes like "shouldn't I remember this because I care?"

Well yes but as a backup I do so because life is busy, life is distracting and I prefer the backup as opposed to not following up with my husband or family member/good friend.  Has your bf ever considered doing this so he stops "forgetting" what people tell him?

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If I remember correctly, you didn't believe your boyfriend when he told you he didn't have feelings for his co-worker.  If you go out of your way to believe he doesn't care about you or would rather be with someone else, you will keep finding evidence of that.

You could also turn it around and think "even though I've grilled him on this co-worker he is still with me and is happy for me that I'm addressing some of my insecurities".

He may not have asked because he doesn't know if/what you want to share or if you want to talk about it.  If my friend told me she was seeing a therapist, I would not ask her how it went after a session- I would assume she'd bring it up if she wanted to talk about it, since the nature of therapy is to have private conversations about personal things.

I would take this as an opportunity to focus completely on yourself as a side-hustle he doesn't need to know about in any detail.  Do the self-reflections on your own, process it on your own or with your friends, and then bring all the bonuses (improved esteem, healthier emotional habits) to your relationship table.  

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9 minutes ago, jessb86a said:

 I would've thought that he would know this was important to me and remembered so he could ask how it went? 

It's best to keep what you discuss with your therapist private and confidential. You're BF is right not to pry or ask invasive questions. Don't try to involve him in your therapy. Therapy is for you and your own well being. The relationship is a separate situation. Keep conversations with your BF about your relationship, dates and other topics. Keep what you discuss in therapy confidential.

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8 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Good for you for seeing a therapist!

I don't think this is a big deal at all. Has your boyfriend been to therapy or considered it for himself? Also therapy is private so in his mind maybe he didn't want to pry? And the therapy is about something that you have been stressing him about so maybe he wants space from it. 

Thank you! I can already see it's going to really help me. So pleased I've taken the first step. 

So, he has admitted to forgetting and apologised. So, it's great he has apologised, showing he is sorry he forgot that because he maybe acknowledges it's kind of a big deal. It's just that fact that this is not the first time and it leaves me wondering if he is really listening to me or if he is really bothered with what I have going on? 

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2 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

It's best to keep what you discuss with your therapist private and confidential. You're BF is right not to pry or ask invasive questions. Don't try to involve him in your therapy. Therapy is for you and your own well being. The relationship is a separate situation. Keep conversations with your BF about your relationship, dates and other topics. Keep what you discuss in therapy confidential.

Thank you, I can see your point and I won't be sharing what we talk about. He has admitted to forgetting I even had it though and I just thought a simple 'Hope it went ok' might've been considerate. It's the idea it's not the first time and it makes me wonder if he even takes in my important appointments. 

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2 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

It happens. Doesnt mean he doesnt care. He cared enough to apologize so it should be enough to move on from a situation.

How did it go? Did you managed to unwrap why you feel jealous and threatened from coworker?

Thank you. I did think the apology was considerate and showed he knew it was a big deal. I guess that does show he cares. 

So we only did the assessment today, but I did mention that I always feel second best and that everyone is somehow 'better' than me. It made me realise there is a lot to uncover. 

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2 minutes ago, jessb86a said:

Thank you, I can see your point and I won't be sharing what we talk about. He has admitted to forgetting I even had it though and I just thought a simple 'Hope it went ok' might've been considerate. It's the idea it's not the first time and it makes me wonder if he even takes in my important appointments. 

So be clear then with yourself and your bf - it's not about this time but cumulative.  And you now keep looking for things he is doing that you feel do not show he cares.  Be honest with your bf "I felt uncared for when you didn't remember I had the therapy session and it reminded me of the ___ times in the past __ weeks you didn't follow up with me about what was going on in my life"

Also if you have a lot of stressful stuff going on constantly I mean that's draining to the other person to remember all the stressful stuff.  How often does he ask how the movie you saw with your friend was or what you thought of the new pizza place you said you were going to? Or whether you figured out how to use the new equipment at the gym?

I had my routine annual breast ultrasound yesterday.  It stresses me.  My husband sort of knows this -that it stresses me (it's been normal for many years, it still stresses me.  He saw me leave for it and called after me 'good luck!".  He had a long meeting before my appointment then had one during it then another shortly after I was due to arrive home.  Right after the appointment I texted him "all good" and he added a heart. 

Honestly -in a perfect world I'd have loved if he asked me when I got home how it was (meaning unprompted) but I knew (1) he really doesn't get why I get so stressed -it's much more of a woman thing to still get stressed after 20 years of normal ones; (2) he had back to back work meetings; (3) he sees me as independent and resilient -I don't ask him to take me to doctor appointments, I am proactive in making all the annual appointments I am supposed to have and he believes if heaven forbid something is wrong I will tell him.  So that's on me -

If I want more "caring" I would have to ask -and I don't want to burden him.  I'd much rather he remember that I finally got to go back to my favorite cafe I hadn't been to in years because of the pandemic.  

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17 minutes ago, savignon said:

If I remember correctly, you didn't believe your boyfriend when he told you he didn't have feelings for his co-worker.  If you go out of your way to believe he doesn't care about you or would rather be with someone else, you will keep finding evidence of that.

You could also turn it around and think "even though I've grilled him on this co-worker he is still with me and is happy for me that I'm addressing some of my insecurities".

Thank you. Yes, I guess I won't turn my thinking around on one session and this is further evidence that ultimately, I refuse to believe he truly cares about me. I just wanted reassurance that this wasn't a big deal, or whether this was something to worry about that he forgets some things I tell him. 

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4 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

So be clear then with yourself and your bf - it's not about this time but cumulative.  And you now keep looking for things he is doing that you feel do not show he cares.  Be honest with your bf "I felt uncared for when you didn't remember I had the therapy session and it reminded me of the ___ times in the past __ weeks you didn't follow up with me about what was going on in my life"

Thank you for sharing your experience and I hope all went well with your appointment. 

I have actually talked to him about this before, a few months ago. He doesn't ask a lot of questions in general, but I accept that about him. He is who he is, he's quite reserved. But to not remember an important appointment made me feel disappointed. 

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The problem is you can't live on getting reassurance from others on a regular basis. I was in relationships where I constantly asked others for reassurance that my doubts were normal -my doubts usually were like "am I really in love?" "do I really want to be with this person? do I care enough?"  I would get the reassurance.  That would help very short term.  Until the next time which usually was less than a week later.  It was exhausting.  To me there needs to be a basic core foundation of: security, stability, caring, love, connection/passion - so that if something rocks the boat you're not rocking the core of the relationship.  It's resolvable.  "He's usually there for me and he forgot I had a therapy appointment.  Hmmm -I wonder what's going on with him, this isn't like him." Or "he's there for me in all the ways that matter and I trust him.  And he has a terrible memory so if he forgets again to run the dryer for me while I'm out for 5 hours I'll be annoyed". 

Annoyed.  Not "OMG does this mean he really doesn't care aobut me?? "Mom/Sister/BFF - Husband forgot for the 4th time in 3 weeks to help me with the laundry and now I'm going to be up late again finishing.  Do you think I'm making too big a deal out of this or does he just not love me???"

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5 minutes ago, jessb86a said:

Thank you for sharing your experience and I hope all went well with your appointment. 

I have actually talked to him about this before, a few months ago. He doesn't ask a lot of questions in general, but I accept that about him. He is who he is, he's quite reserved. But to not remember an important appointment made me feel disappointed. 

I will disagree with you on this one. My husband is reserved and introverted.  He is also a very caring and thoughtful person to everyone in his life.  I've known him a total of almost 20 years.  Met him in his late 20s.  He doesn't pry, he's not chatty, but he asks the questions that matter to those he cares about and we didn't even text until 6 years ago when we got our smartphones -we emailed for a lot of that time but it wasn't easy like today to "ask a question."  If you care you ask a simple question.  Not many questions, not tons of questions but yes the important ones whether you're introverted or extroverted (like me).

I shared my experiences and in the post below because it's a shaky path indeed to need external reassurance to the degree you do IMO.

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2 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

The problem is you can't live on getting reassurance from others on a regular basis. I was in relationships where I constantly asked others for reassurance that my doubts were normal -my doubts usually were like "am I really in love?" "do I really want to be with this person? do I care enough?"  I would get the reassurance.  That would help very short term.  Until the next time which usually was less than a week later.  It was exhausting.  To me there needs to be a basic core foundation of: security, stability, caring, love, connection/passion - so that if something rocks the boat you're not rocking the core of the relationship.  It's resolvable.  "He's usually there for me and he forgot I had a therapy appointment.  Hmmm -I wonder what's going on with him, this isn't like him." Or "he's there for me in all the ways that matter and I trust him.  And he has a terrible memory so if he forgets again to run the dryer for me while I'm out for 5 hours I'll be annoyed". 

Annoyed.  Not "OMG does this mean he really doesn't care aobut me?? "Mom/Sister/BFF - Husband forgot for the 4th time in 3 weeks to help me with the laundry and now I'm going to be up late again finishing.  Do you think I'm making too big a deal out of this or does he just not love me???"

I really connected with your last paragraph. I go from feeling fine, to 'He doesn't love me or care about me because he forgot my appointment.' Again, it's probably my constant, low-lying feelings of insecurity and low self-worth. Like it automatically means he just doesn't care enough, because why would he? I don't truly believe he should care because I don't really love myself as I am. Hence the start of therapy today. I have so much to work on......

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Are you searching for drama and problems?  Serious question.

I don't think any person, especially one with known poor memory picks and chooses what they forget.  Of course, if something is important, we want to remember but we all forget things.

From the things you post it seems like you try to connect all your BF's acts to his feelings for you. Maybe you need to focus more on yourself.  Sounds like you really put a lot of what is happening with you on him.  That's a lot of pressure on both of you.  

I get in trouble for the other end of the spectrum... I remember a lot and when I say I forgot, people don't believe me!  Like what the heck? LOL

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4 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I will disagree with you on this one. My husband is reserved and introverted.  He is also a very caring and thoughtful person to everyone in his life.  I've known him a total of almost 20 years.  Met him in his late 20s.  He doesn't pry, he's not chatty, but he asks the questions that matter to those he cares about and we didn't even text until 6 years ago when we got our smartphones -we emailed for a lot of that time but it wasn't easy like today to "ask a question."  If you care you ask a simple question.  Not many questions, not tons of questions but yes the important ones whether you're introverted or extroverted (like me).

I shared my experiences and in the post below because it's a shaky path indeed to need external reassurance to the degree you do IMO.

I completely agree with you there. I don't ask loads of questions, but I always check in one people I care about. Maybe I'm being unfair on him because he does ask some questions, just not the same way I do! 

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4 minutes ago, jessb86a said:

I really connected with your last paragraph. I go from feeling fine, to 'He doesn't love me or care about me because he forgot my appointment.' Again, it's probably my constant, low-lying feelings of insecurity and low self-worth. Like it automatically means he just doesn't care enough, because why would he? I don't truly believe he should care because I don't really love myself as I am. Hence the start of therapy today. I have so much to work on......

It's great you started and I hope this therapist remains a good fit for you.

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3 minutes ago, Lambert said:

From the things you post it seems like you try to connect all your BF's acts to his feelings for you. Maybe you need to focus more on yourself.  Sounds like you really put a lot of what is happening with you on him.  That's a lot of pressure on both of you.  

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I think I am still in the process of analysing a lot of his actions to 'check' that he loves me. I am hugely into this man and have never felt as strongly about anyone before. But, I have so many unresolved issues that I am constantly worried that he will leave me, find someone else or that he doesn't love me the same way I love him. It's exhausting, but I am so pleased I have started therapy and found this site where I have been able to voice my worries and get some reassurance from unbiased people 😊

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17 minutes ago, jessb86a said:

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I think I am still in the process of analysing a lot of his actions to 'check' that he loves me. I am hugely into this man and have never felt as strongly about anyone before. But, I have so many unresolved issues that I am constantly worried that he will leave me, find someone else or that he doesn't love me the same way I love him. It's exhausting, but I am so pleased I have started therapy and found this site where I have been able to voice my worries and get some reassurance from unbiased people 😊

That's all you can do-- keep working on yourself.  I am happy you are doing that.  

I really liked the way @Batya33 explained always needing to check in that people agreed with her/ that she was on the right track.  (She said it much better than I am) but I think that is a fairly common thing.  It's lack of confidence in ourselves. 

I have been there, too, as a young person (I am in my 50's).  With time I have come to realize- no one knows what they are doing.  They are just doing their best.  And with time I have also come to see, I would not take the advice of most people.  Nor is their agreement with me a guarantee that I am right.  

And totally agree knowing a person that constantly needs reassurance, is exhausting and unattractive and they expect too much from others.  I actually dumped a friend of mine over this kind of thing.  She was constantly insecure and here I am comforting her, with nothing left for myself and she couldn't give the comfort back because she was so insecure with herself. I snapped.  I felt bad but I had to get away from this person or I was going to lose my mind.

A friend or a romantic partner or family member cannot baby you like a child.  Children need constant attention. Adults need to be stronger self-parents to themselves, focus on themselves and make good choices.  And even that is no guarantee.  Bad things can and will happen.  Handling them - not fearing them - is the answer.

You are doing the right thing-- therapy and working on yourself. Try to improve your self-talk.  Tell yourself what type of person you want to be and then when it comes time to act or do something, remember that.  

Hang in there.  We are all battling something.  

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2 minutes ago, jessb86a said:

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I think I am still in the process of analysing a lot of his actions to 'check' that he loves me. I am hugely into this man and have never felt as strongly about anyone before. But, I have so many unresolved issues that I am constantly worried that he will leave me, find someone else or that he doesn't love me the same way I love him. It's exhausting, but I am so pleased I have started therapy and found this site where I have been able to voice my worries and get some reassurance from unbiased people 😊

I was hugely into two men who weren't right for me. One was very reserved and kind of distant.  One was not into me the same way I was into him.  I dated and was serious with the first for almost 3 years.  But after a rocky time because he was so distant etc he proposed and I declined.  I knew I would be "lonely" being married to him. 

10 years later I found out why I felt that way -this was unusual of course but 10 years later my extremely high sex drive/virile ex boyfriend told me he was gay (I had only seen him once before in that 10 years), that he tamped down all his feelings until after we broke up and found his true love (male) around 4 years after we broke up.  This is why he would get so "distant".

Guy two simply wasn't that into me - he ended things after 5 months.  He talked about the future, marriage, introduced me to his mom who jokingly called me "Mrs. [his last name]" etc but was never that into me.  He was into the woman he met 6 months later I guess as he married her in 2005.  

I also was really into my on again off again ex of 7 years who also was very reserved and didn't ask a lot of questions -I'd say to him "do you want me to do your side of the conversation? ok "so - how was ____ -did you have a good time??""  LOL.  He was ultimately not right for me.

Be careful about confusing "really into" on your end when it's at least partly based on the challenge of getting a reserved man to be into you.  Often reserved is seen as "masculine" and is a turn on.

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1 hour ago, Batya33 said:

I also was really into my on again off again ex of 7 years who also was very reserved and didn't ask a lot of questions -I'd say to him "do you want me to do your side of the conversation? ok "so - how was ____ -did you have a good time??""  LOL.  He was ultimately not right for me.

Be careful about confusing "really into" on your end when it's at least partly based on the challenge of getting a reserved man to be into you.  Often reserved is seen as "masculine" and is a turn on.

This is something I have to be so wary of because I have be prone to liking a 'challenge' in the past, but actually what I really want is someone who shows they care by being interested to ask questions and find out more about me. Not much to ask, is it?! I will have to simply be aware on this front because the asking of questions can be hit and miss with my boyfriend as loving and attentive in other ways as he is. I don't want to settle for a half-assed relationship, emotionally speaking! 

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Just now, jessb86a said:

This is something I have to be so wary of because I have be prone to liking a 'challenge' in the past, but actually what I really want is someone who shows they care by being interested to ask questions and find out more about me. Not much to ask, is it?! I will have to simply be aware on this front because the asking of questions can be hit and miss with my boyfriend as loving and attentive in other ways as he is. I don't want to settle for a half-assed relationship, emotionally speaking! 

You are handling this so well. Meaning proactively -the therapy, the self-honesty, keeping in check what you want, expect, etc.  

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1 hour ago, Lambert said:

Children need constant attention. Adults need to be stronger self-parents to themselves, focus on themselves and make good choices.  And even that is no guarantee.  Bad things can and will happen.  Handling them - not fearing them - is the answer.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I definitely feel like a 'child' sometimes, constantly seeking the positive strokes and recognition just to feel 'OK'. I'm hoping this is the start of my journey to being able to parent myself. 

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2 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

You are handling this so well. Meaning proactively -the therapy, the self-honesty, keeping in check what you want, expect, etc.  

Ahh, thank you! 😊 It's sort of sad it can take people so many years to finally start having some self-awareness. But at least I'm on the 'journey'. Life is about self-improvement! 

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1 minute ago, jessb86a said:

Ahh, thank you! 😊 It's sort of sad it can take people so many years to finally start having some self-awareness. But at least I'm on the 'journey'. Life is about self-improvement! 

Yes - I really do keep an eye on that for myself.  But I also think it's about self-acceptance, depending.

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