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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5928
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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There, I really need advice on how to save my relationship.

Customer Question

Hi there, I really need advice on how to save my relationship. My boyfriend told me 2 nights ago that he is not happy - that if he was in a happy relationship, he'd at least be happy about it, and not feel a void. I think we broke up that night, although I believe that he'll be back after some space, he's done that before.
Our background: The relationship emerged from a very strong friendship. I've always been there for him, I support him emotionally, I know I make him feel valued and admired, I never impose anything on him. If you ask me, he had the perfect deal. And I was feeling happy because I am a giver, and I like making people feel good, and since he was my best friend, I just loved him to bits - I still love him, although I am confused.
He broke up with me before - he says it was not a 'break-up', just needing some time, and came back 5 days later. This was a month ago. He said we've been spending too much time together and it made him feel suffocated, but that he really loves me and wants to give me the relationship I want and need.
We went away on holiday together 3 weeks ago and everything was perfect. And since then he's also been amazing, apart from last week, when he suddenly stopped relying to texts and was very apprehensive about meeting up. I had a tough week at work and really wanted to see him, so insisted we spend the weekend together. And that's when the break-up happened. All through the weekend he kept telling me that he is a solitary man, that I have to understand that he needs his space, but since I only get to see him once a week, I thought I was giving him space :(
Now it doesn't seem to be space anymore, now it's because he is feeling a void when he thinks about me, he's not happy when he spends time with me (even though I really don't bother him - he wanted to just read over the weekend, so I brought a book and sat next to him reading, not even talking to him)… and only the weekend before last he was telling me how happy he is and how much he loves me.
How can this be salvaged? What do I do now? I'd be very grateful for any advice on this!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your questions. It sounds like your boyfriend has some issues around relationships. From your description, this doesn't sound like an issue with you in particular, but with relationships in general. You mentioned several times that you are supportive in the relationship and that you do most if not all of the giving. On the other hand, it sounds like he takes from you and the relationship. This creates an uneven relationship with him having a lot of the power and you left to respond to his needs. Your needs appear to be ignored by him. What is most likely the main issue is his unwillingness to see his behavior towards you as a problem. He is in a relationship where he gives very little, then decides that it is too much for him and ends it. When he wants to, he comes back knowing you will be there for him. So he has most of the power in the relationship while leaving you to react to his actions. You don't have any say so in how the relationship works. So you are right when you say he has the ideal relationship. And when you need him after a difficult week at work, he pulls away even more. He is not there when you need him but you are there when he needs you. He decides how close you are to him and when he wants out, while you are left to wonder what your next step is to keep the relationship together. It makes sense you feel confused about this. Unless you want to continue to have a relationship that is based on his willingness to be in it, then it may help to confront this behavior with him. Let him know how much it bothers you that he decides how close you are with each other. And that he leaves the relationship when he feels like it. If you feel that confronting him is too difficult, then it may help to consider therapy to help you find out why you are willing to give so much in your relationship without expecting much back. In the long run, finding out why you are ok with this type of relationship can help you have long term happy relationships either with your boyfriend or someone else. Also, you can ask him to come with you to therapy. You have known each other a long time so this relationship is worth working on to find out if you can find a balance and stay together. And he needs to work in why he is expecting so much from you and giving so little. If he continues as he is, he will find it very difficult to have solid, long lasting relationships. I hope this has helped you,Kate May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 2 years ago.
I have not heard back from you. I hope my answer was helpful to you. If you have any follow up questions, I'd be happy to help.