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Need relationship advice

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Thewaves

Member
Joined
May 17, 2019
Messages
7
Location
UK
Hi everyone,

I’m not sure this is the right forum to post this but it would be wonderful to get some insight and advice.

My boyfriend and I have been together for three-and-a-half years. We are best friends, understand one another and love each other very much. But we are at a crossroads. He’s battled severe anxiety for more than 20 years and although he has made progress during our relationship, has sought help and is open to further help, we haven’t spent time together beyond a 60-90-minute drive from home. He struggles with not wanting to feel how he can when he panics, and that is more difficult the further we travel away. He also likes to drive everywhere (we have been on a few very short train journeys). We can eat out but this isn’t always something he finds easy or relaxing.

I encourage and support him as much as possible but it can take a toll on my own wellbeing and I miss sharing things with him. I know he’d make a wonderful father but as someone who loves possibilities, to explore and experience new things, I’m concerned about the future and potential practical impact upon family life. I’m in my thirties and would ideally like a baby within the next five years so feel like time is ticking for me in that direction. We are very sad to be in this position but are currently taking time out to reflect upon what to do having talked about this for several months, and although I know it’s our decision to make, I would really appreciate any personal insights or experience that might inform my half of the decision. He has said to me that he will try and work on things during this time. We have a friend’s wedding coming up that will take place about three hours from home and this is a target for us to go together. It will be incredible if we can do that but I know that even if we do, it might take a long time to do the things that we would love to share together and that it might not ever be possible to do those things together.

Thank you for reading.
 
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Fallingfromthetop

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2019
Messages
157
Location
Slipperyslope
I had social anxiety and while its way better I still refrain from going out to places at times, not because I cannot handle it, but because it simply doesn't give me enough and it takes a lot of energy from me. So my girl goes a lone at times and I stay at home, we are both fine with this.

You see this wedding probably as a social gathering of extra everything, glamour and glitter, smiles and happiness and for you its a huge boost in life. If your man is anything like me (and probably worse off then me) its a social gathering of extra everything of feeling uncomfortable. While it gives you energy it will severely deplete his.

Him going there will be a huge sacrifice and I think you really need to do everything you can to make him feel good about it. Support, hug, don't put to much pressure on before, if he wants those shoes let him have them etc. when there be close to him if he likes that, take it slow, don't run around to different people to fast, help him keep the tempo down, also if he gets tired and start loosing it, gets low, not speaking, take him away to a place where the two of you are alone, let him be totally alone a short while (few minutes), meanwhile get him some food smth good to drink. Take sometime to build him up again there, speak just the two of you, he might need 10min or close to 1 hour. Then you can head back into the fray. Also be prepared to call quits early if he needs it. Maybe go to car, drive away and do something entirely different (maybe kiss and make out in car somewhere) then go back again 1 hour later or something. Since you are more stable make necessary excuses to allow this behavior (going away for a bit) in front of the others without selling out your man. If you can make this whole ordeal (its what it is for him) not so scary and even a bit pleasant chances increase he will come a long the next time. It sucks a bit but this one really is up to you and will probably define what he will be open and positive toward in the future. So sadly you gotta set aside most of your wants this whole wedding day and focus entirely on what is best for your man and keep his mental state as good as you possibly can. If you want to have more and better such trips, the first times you really need to focus on him and not yourself. When his confidence grows (maybe months or years) then maybe you can start thinking more about your wants and needs in these situations.

Why? Because you can handle it but he can't. And its mostly you that care about making progress so you can have that sort of experiences together, but for you it won't come free, it will need a lot of work from your side.

Long term I think you gotta accept that he won't be able to go out as much as you want. Not for as long as you want. In my experience though if you make him feel real good at home and give him the time he needs to replenish energy and help him replenish it by doing things he really loves then he will have more energy and commitment to do things you really love (going out).
 
T

Thewaves

Member
Joined
May 17, 2019
Messages
7
Location
UK
Thank you for your reply and for your advice. I always try and make him feel as comfortable as possible and always tell him that there’s always a way out or if he needs to leave, I can always make my own way back to whereever. He really wants to go to this wedding as it’s a close friend of his. The biggest thing for him will be the distance from home, more than any social anxiety although I imagine he will feel elements of that, too, if he is feeling on edge from being far from home. We’ll have to wait and see. I’m glad you and your partner make things work. And yeah, you’re right about the long-term. I am weighing it all up 🙂 but it’s hard. I’m someone who loves to roam and be free and I find it difficult. It’s also difficult when you see your partner finding situations tricky and you just wish you could take all those feelings away for them.
 
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Fallingfromthetop

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 16, 2019
Messages
157
Location
Slipperyslope
I understand its hard, hopefully you can find compensation in some of his strengths that make it all worth it. Is it a problem for you to go separate ways at times? So you can get more of what you need, free roam feel? Or does that give him anxiety to? Or maybe you want him there with you and its not the same without him.

I think with time, practice he can get better, sadly though probably never so good as you'd wish in a perfect world. KBT can help with problems like this but its a long slow road toward progress. It took my like 10 years to get rid of my problems and they weren't even severe but I'm still a person that can get drained on trips / social gatherings, I better learned how to handle it though. Taking time off and just sit and drink a soda and watch surroundings helps me a great deal.

Him having his main security at home and your interest in being out is of course a problem that is very hard to come around. Its up to you really if its all worth and how to best compromise around it. When he does follow you out though try set up for success. Real long more advanced trips only when he feels stable or I reckon it can make it worse for next time.

Thinking about it the car can of course offer a place to retreat should panic come over him, its a familiar place you have on the go, so having that around makes him feel more safe. Maybe try plan trips where car is involved. Long term a caravan / mobile home could be a solution?

Also as many do he probably agrees at times to things that he rather not, out of guilt and wanting to give back. Try pushing for ideas and set up solutions to trips that he can handle decently well.
 
T

Thewaves

Member
Joined
May 17, 2019
Messages
7
Location
UK
Thanks for your message and your sound advice; we do mix up what we do in terms of difficulty levels. We obviously do our own thing and are fine to do things apart but it’s just that there are things that I would like to share with him that I currently can’t, such as visiting my family (I see a lot of his family who are nearby) and where I am from; going on holidays abroad (we have been on staycations and camping), just jumping on a train and going somewhere further afield.
 
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