I’m just wondering if you can give me any insight as to why my relationship has been so hard for many years now. We were together for four years and things were pretty good, then all of the sudden, four years ago, it changed. It’s been like going from day to night.
Before this there was no doubt in my mind that he wanted very much to be with me. But something has changed in him and instead of talking about whatever it is and healing it, he has just withdrawn himself.
I’ve asked him many times if there is someone else but he says no. I think I believe him, but who knows. I think that I unintentionally hurt him four years ago, but he will not admit that. I did not do anything wrong just separated from him for a job. I think he felt abandoned, but that was not the point.
Carole in Los Angeles
Your partner does seem to struggle with his inner demons, but does not know how (or isn’t willing) to face his issues head-on.
When you left to further yourself, his world was forever changed. Abandonment issues are in there, but more prominent is that you can be okay without him. Even though you did nothing wrong, and he is consciously aware of it, it really did hurt him. And it changed the way he views you and the relationship.
He is unlikely to open up to you and discuss this – his logical mind tells him the verbalization will sound ridiculous. For him, your choices stirred up a lot of his insecurities and were a blow to his self-esteem. Sometimes there is a very fine line between partnership and co-dependency.
As for the current state of your relationship; what it once was is gone. You can’t go back. The best you can do is accept him for the man he is now, moody and all, and build from this point forward. I know that it has been a struggle for you, and it looks like it will continue to be. The day may come where you will have to ask yourself if this is really what you want.
I don’t see any other women around him. Even though he has issues, the guy still loves you and is loyal. However, he’s not exactly thrilled with the state of this relationship, either. He just doesn’t know what to do about it.
If you really want to see if you can improve things, put more energy into “we”. Most of the time, he feels like he’s walking behind you, not beside you. Also, be careful of how often you are asking him what’s wrong. He really doesn’t have the answer and feels like he’s under the microscope every time that question presents. It pushes him further away instead of bringing the two of you closer.
Keep in mind that the “big picture” is made up of many tiny moments. Rather than view the whole spectrum of your relationship, focus on the current moment. Try to improve the quality and connection of each moment as it passes, and with time, things will start to move in a more positive direction. Much of this burden of creating change is on your shoulders. I just hope it’s not too heavy for you.