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How can I support my boyfriend?

Monica1112

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I hope this is ok to ask here. I have recently started dating someone and although he has not outright told me he is dealing with anxiety, he has eluded to it. He experienced a traumatic event a few months back and I know he is struggling to overcome it. I really like him and just want to support him without forcing him to talk about it when he clearly doesn’t want to. He sometimes cancels plans last minute and it’s hard to not take it personal or let my own insecurities interfere and start thinking it’s for other reasons when he often won’t tell me why he decided to cancel. This occurs after he seems so exited about getting together and often times is the one who makes the plans in the first place. Should I encourage him to talk to me about it or let it be? I don’t know how to handle this moving forward and any advice would be much appreciated.
 

Cuchculan

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Can be all about what he feels comfortable talking about. There are times we hate people knowing we even have anxiety of any sort. For some they might think it would make them seem less of a person to the other person. In this case less of a man if he can't deal with certain things. Having said that, if you feel you are close enough, then he might be willing to talk a little. In other words make it clear there is no pressure on him at all. But as you are in a relationship together you think it would be nice if you both could talk more openly. Bring up the calling off things at the last minute as an example. If there is a reason, you would like to hear it and help him work around it. Can depend on how close you think you both are. There can be times when people with anxiety can push people away. Because they know they can't do certain things. I have done that one myself to a girl once. Felt she deserved better. We have no idea how he is thinking. Is he thinking the same way. About maybe he can't handle a relationship. Trying to figure things out in his own mind. Talk to him. But in a calming sort of way. Not putting pressure on him. Not demanding anything from him. He sees he can trust you, he may begin to open up a bit more.
 

Monica1112

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Can be all about what he feels comfortable talking about. There are times we hate people knowing we even have anxiety of any sort. For some they might think it would make them seem less of a person to the other person. In this case less of a man if he can't deal with certain things. Having said that, if you feel you are close enough, then he might be willing to talk a little. In other words make it clear there is no pressure on him at all. But as you are in a relationship together you think it would be nice if you both could talk more openly. Bring up the calling off things at the last minute as an example. If there is a reason, you would like to hear it and help him work around it. Can depend on how close you think you both are. There can be times when people with anxiety can push people away. Because they know they can't do certain things. I have done that one myself to a girl once. Felt she deserved better. We have no idea how he is thinking. Is he thinking the same way. About maybe he can't handle a relationship. Trying to figure things out in his own mind. Talk to him. But in a calming sort of way. Not putting pressure on him. Not demanding anything from him. He sees he can trust you, he may begin to open up a bit more.
Thank you this is really helpful. I definitely think a big factor in him not wanting to talk about it with me is it making him feel like less of a man as he is a big masculine guy who prides himself on being that way. I’m also wondering if maybe he does feels I can do better as you mentioned you had an experience like that. He does seem to be pushing me away and then pulling me back in. A little background on us, we are old friends who reconnected after many many years of not seeing each other. He was always pursuing me when we were friends but I was either in a relationship with someone else or not interested in being in a relationship so we were always just friends. I don’t know if that’s contributing to his unwillingness to fully open up to me, he has brought our past up a few times how I never gave him a chance way back when. We have a great connection and amazing chemistry but I’m afraid him not feeling comfortable talking to me about this is going to make it extremely difficult to move forward.
 

Cuchculan

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Let him know the past was the past. This is here and now. He has you now. That you want to look forwards. Not backwards. That you want that to be with him. See what kind of a reaction you get to words like that. Can even ask if he wants the same thing as you do. That is not you asking him to open up, more you asking him ' are we in this together '. If we are to make things work we must leave the past behind. It is not important to where we are today. He will react for sure. But how is the question. A person with anxiety can sabotage a relationship. Ruin it on purpose. We know we can't do so many things. That might include going to packed places. Been around people. Rather than try and fight to make it work, we take the easy option and just give up on it. No doubt hurting the other person in the process. By talking like I wrote above, he will have to make his mind up really. Better you know now than some months down the line. Exactly what he is thinking or how he is feeling.
 

MainerMikeBrown

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Monica, do you think your boyfriend would be interested in seeing a psychiatrist and/or a therapist to try to cope with the trauma he's been through?

I'd hate to see him fight this without the help of mental health professionals who could really help him, if he's emotionally ready for treatment.
 

Guitarist41

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I hope this is ok to ask here. I have recently started dating someone and although he has not outright told me he is dealing with anxiety, he has eluded to it. He experienced a traumatic event a few months back and I know he is struggling to overcome it. I really like him and just want to support him without forcing him to talk about it when he clearly doesn’t want to. He sometimes cancels plans last minute and it’s hard to not take it personal or let my own insecurities interfere and start thinking it’s for other reasons when he often won’t tell me why he decided to cancel. This occurs after he seems so exited about getting together and often times is the one who makes the plans in the first place. Should I encourage him to talk to me about it or let it be? I don’t know how to handle this moving forward and any advice would be much appreciated.
Monica, the fact you are here, and asking is a great thing to do for him. Anxiety is a disorder that focuses around constant doubt. The what if thinking is so powerful, it overrides “normal” thinking, and reason. Thinking about what MIGHT or COULD happen is stronger than plans, or feelings. It’s definitely NOT personal though. I know it’s hard to accept that, but it’s true. Fear of anxiety is EXTREMELY debilitating.
How to help? It takes a very strong person. Consistent reassurance is needed. Understanding to the best of your ability. If you don’t have it, it’s very difficult to understand, but let him go at his own pace, while making gentle suggestions to try to help him open his world up, but not push. It’s sounds hard, and it is a fine line. Sometimes there might be anger outbursts, depression, worry, etc.
you can only do your best, and try to remind him of that as well.
 

orangejuice

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You've taken the time to find out what you can do to help him. That tells me you'll do just fine supporting him. Keep thinking the way you are, being yourself, and things will be great.

But what I will say is if there's one thing I wish I could get from potential partners and never can, it's patience. If you have that in abundance you can't go wrong.

Sent from my SM-N960F using Tapatalk
 

Pandanae

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I hope this is ok to ask here. I have recently started dating someone and although he has not outright told me he is dealing with anxiety, he has eluded to it. He experienced a traumatic event a few months back and I know he is struggling to overcome it. I really like him and just want to support him without forcing him to talk about it when he clearly doesn’t want to. He sometimes cancels plans last minute and it’s hard to not take it personal or let my own insecurities interfere and start thinking it’s for other reasons when he often won’t tell me why he decided to cancel. This occurs after he seems so exited about getting together and often times is the one who makes the plans in the first place. Should I encourage him to talk to me about it or let it be? I don’t know how to handle this moving forward and any advice would be much appreciated.
This is a tough one. Not much you can really do, but try to encourage him. I know for me when I start avoiding someone or canceling plans its due to my anxiety. Only way he'll feel better about it is to just bare with it. Just keep trying. The more you two spend time together the comfortable he'll be.
 

Joshua1

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I hope this is ok to ask here. I have recently started dating someone and although he has not outright told me he is dealing with anxiety, he has eluded to it. He experienced a traumatic event a few months back and I know he is struggling to overcome it. I really like him and just want to support him without forcing him to talk about it when he clearly doesn’t want to. He sometimes cancels plans last minute and it’s hard to not take it personal or let my own insecurities interfere and start thinking it’s for other reasons when he often won’t tell me why he decided to cancel. This occurs after he seems so exited about getting together and often times is the one who makes the plans in the first place. Should I encourage him to talk to me about it or let it be? I don’t know how to handle this moving forward and any advice would be much appreciated.
Talk to him about this traumatic experience and be comforting in your approach. This alone has power to make or break your relationship.
 
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