Loving - and losing - someone with anxiety

Discussion in 'Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)' started by Nour, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. Nour

    Nour New Member

    Dear all,

    I don't suffer from generalised anxiety disorder myself - but I love someone who does, and following our break-up I would really appreciate some of your insight and advice.

    My partner and I were together less than a year, but our relationship became pretty serious quite early on. I was aware that he had been struggling with anxiety for a number of years, and I did my best to read up on it to understand and provide appropriate support. Everything was going well, until he started questioning whether he loved me, whether we were right for each other, whether I would be happier without him, etc. This was obviously painful for both of us, and particularly for him since he blamed himself for spoiling our relationship. That said, although he questioned it himself, there was little doubt for me that he loved me, and that his concerns were a result of his anxiety - regardless of the difficulties we experienced, I love him, and I can't imagine anyone I would rather spend my life with.

    Unfortunately, in the midst of this confusion, I had to move abroad for work, and we decided to break up. We both thought some time apart might do us good, and perhaps help us build a more solid relationship together in the future. However, after I left, his anxiety got worse - he has recently quit his job to pursue a postgraduate degree, and was struggling to cope with the changes. We decided to stop talking to remove our relationship as a source of stress, and give him the necessary space to adapt to his new life. I told him that, while I would not contact him myself, he could reach out to me at any time, if ever he wanted or needed to talk.

    The problem, now, is that I have no idea whether our absence of communication is helping him, or making him worse. I would accept my own pain gladly, if only I knew it was lessening his. But if he's missing me too, if it's making him miserable as well... then all the pain is for nothing. But I'm afraid to contact him, in case he is in fact doing better without me - I don't want to be the cause of any further suffering. And, similarly, despite having told him to reach out to me at any time, I'm scared that he won't: the belief I would be happier without him was a recurrent theme in his anxious thoughts. Essentially, I'm afraid our respective willingness to sacrifice our own happiness for the sake of the other's will keep us apart, even if we would in fact both be better together. I miss him tremendously, and I worry about him a lot, but I don't know what to do.

    I'm aware there's no miracle solution, no easy way out - but your thoughts and insights would be really appreciated.

    Wishing you all a good evening.
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  3. Concernedgal

    Concernedgal Well-Known Member

    As an anxiety sufferer.. we often question ourselves. One of the most frequently asked question is . ... Am I good enough? Maybe you tried too hard to try to understand. I say that because maybe your partner felt like you pityed him . Maybe by no fault of your own... you unknowingly treated your partner differently and your partner noticed. You two broke up.. (in my opinion ) because he was trying get to be kind. Maybe your partner felt as though they were doing you a favor by letting you go. Don't you see? His thinking is that if he loves you.... then you should be happy and he doesn't think that you will be happy with him because of his anxiety disorder. He really does love you. That's why he let you go. He might have thought that you deserved better. That's my opinion anyway.
  4. Nour

    Nour New Member

    Thanks Concernedgal, that's my gut feeling too. The problem is, if we're right about this, it decreases the chance of him reaching out to me if he's missing me and feeling low - because he'll prioritise my happiness over his, and he mistakenly believes I'll be happier without him. (For the record, I'm not!). I'm worried he's effectively condemning himself to be unhappy. And I don't now whether I should contact him, because I don't know whether it would be a source of confort or anxiety
  5. janemariesayed

    janemariesayed Junior Member

    Hi @Nour I'm sorry that you are missing the man you fell in love with.

    Do you live near to each other? If you cannot contact him, I thought perhaps you could bump into him accidentally on purpose. That way you will get to see him and can chat without it being you causing any pain for him. If he is feeling low without you he will be very happy to see you.

    If you do get to bump into him, I think you should tell him how miserable you are without him. You've got nothing to lose by telling him that and he may welcome it.
  6. Nour

    Nour New Member

    I wish, I wish. Unfortunately we're not even in the same country anymore. It's only a short plane ride away and an early journey, but I could never pull off 'accidentally' bumping into him. I've found myself looking at flights so many times, but I'd hate to put him on the spot if he'd prefer not to see me.
  7. janemariesayed

    janemariesayed Junior Member

    Oh no! Then, of course, you cannot accidentally bump into him. How about writing to his family? You could ask them how he is, or to try to subtly find out. If he does show signs to them that he wished it different between you then they can give him your letter and help you to get back in touch. If he has moved on then they can tell you. Or if he is better off not seeing you again, then they can tell you and not tell him. It's an idea. Otherwise, sadly, I think you should move on yourself. There is always the possibility that he just doesn't want to be in any relationship at this time.
  8. Nour

    Nour New Member

    Thank you, good advice!!
    janemariesayed likes this.
  9. janemariesayed

    janemariesayed Junior Member

    I hope it works out for the better though. For both of you. If you do need to move on, I hope you can be strong.

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