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hope18 2nd February 2019 8:06 PM

boyfriend being distant after saying I love you **Updated**
Hi everyone,

So I'm in college and I've been dating this guy for about 6 months. He's really great, we click so well and I care deeply about him, we're pretty inseparable. It is important to note that I'm his first girlfriend. The only issue we have (granted it's a big one) is that he has SUCH a hard time opening up and expressing his feelings or what's on his mind. Sometimes it honestly seems like it's physically impossible for him. For example when something is bothering me I tell him about it and he listens very carefully, apologizes and will hug/kiss me but won't really say anything else.

Last night he was a little distant/off before he went out with some friends and got drunk. So later I texted him and asked if everything was alright because he just seemed off. He ended up telling me everything was fine and saying I love you for the first time, multiple times. He even texted our mutual best friend telling her he loves me lol. Anyways, today he has been extremely distant. I asked him to breakfast when he woke up and when we got there he barely spoke and wouldn't really look at me. I went back to his dorm with him for a little bit and eventually I said "If you didn't mean what you said last night it's okay, I get you were drinking and I don't want you to feel awkward or embarrassed, but I did mean it when I said it back." And his only response was "thank you for your concern but everything is fine" and he hugged and kissed me and held me for a while. He could tell I was upset with his response and kept trying to make me laugh, kissing my forehead etc before he fell asleep holding me.

But I haven't heard from him all day now and the only reason that stresses me out is because we usually spend the whole weekend together or he'll text and call me multiple times throughout the day to come over or see what I'm up to. I'm hoping the distance passes, but it just scares me because it was such an abrupt change. [I think it's important to mention I suffer from anxiety so I over think every situation and always assume the worst.] I truly believe he meant it when he said it and the alcohol allowed him to open up. I honestly think he just got scared or he's embarrassed for allowing himself to be vulnerable, he grew up being taught that men don't express emotions and doesn't have the best role model for a father, but again he doesn't really talk about that.

I'm just not sure how to handle the situation and reassure him that he doesn't need to be scared or embarrassed and that I love him too and he didn't scare me by saying it, the only thing that scares me is the way he's acting now. Should I just give him space and let him come to me? I just don't want him to interpret that as me pulling away because his "I love you" freaked me out.

smackie9 2nd February 2019 9:49 PM

Some guys get overwhelmed with emotions so they pull back to settle it down. Don't worry about it....things don't need addressing, he will be back all happy and normal.

hope18 2nd February 2019 10:06 PM

I know, I'm trying really hard to just calm down and not overthink everything. I asked him to hangout tonight since I haven't heard from him this morning and we haven't really seen each other this weekend. Plus I won't get to hangout over the next couple of days. He said he doesn't want to hangout tonight and he's staying in which is just making me panic (anxiety perks) because he's usually always dying to see me. So I'm just going to give him space because my anxiety makes me needy and I do not want to scare him and push him away.

hope18 3rd February 2019 1:19 PM

anxiety and relationships
This is related to my last post in this forum,

I suffer from severe anxiety particularly when it comes to relationships. I've been with my current boyfriend for about 6 months and care about him deeply. He goes through periods once in a while where he gets pretty distant and doesn't act quite the same way towards me (not as flirty/loving/eager to see me as he normally is).

Some background on him is that he has an extremely hard time expressing his emotions/opening up/saying what's on his mind. I believe this is due to his upbringing, he doesn't have a great relationship with his parents who divorced when he was young. He's also never had a girlfriend before (we're both 19). The other night, he went out and drunk texted me saying that he loves me for the first time, multiple times. He also told our mutual best friend that he loves me. This was two nights ago and since then he's been a little distant and there have been changes in his behavior. He still hangs out with me but not as much as we usually do, we're usually inseparable and when he's not by my side he's calling or texting me throughout the day. He's a very happy/energetic, outgoing and loving guy but the last two days he's more quiet and just kind of... sad? Another example is we just grabbed breakfast together and he always always asks me to come back to his dorm with him after on the weekends but this time he just said goodbye and went back on his own.

I told him yesterday that if he didn't mean what he said it was okay because he was drunk and he didn't need to be embarrassed or feel awkward. He hugged me and kissed me and thanked me for the concern but that everything was fine. Later that night I asked if we were still hanging out because we had made plans before all of this and he said no, but then ended up texting me an hour later asking to get something to eat and come over and everything seemed pretty normal when I was with him.

I know that a lot of this is probably him being embarrassed for allowing himself to be vulnerable or being overwhelmed by his emotions that he's never had before. I just really need help managing my anxiety. I notice the slightest changes in people and convince myself of the worst. In past relationships, the guy would get distant and then break up with me not long after so now any time this happens I get terrified. I'm also so used to spending nearly all of my free time with him which I know isn't healthy but it's made this a lot harder on me because him being distant only makes me want to be around him more. I need to manage my anxiety and calm down/clear my head because if I get needy and clingy it's only going to push him away and one of the reasons he fell for me is because I'm not nor have I ever been that kind of girl.

The reason I'm writing this is because I know how crazy I sound. I'm trying to focus on the facts. Yes he's been a little off in the frequency and mannerism of talking to me, but the facts are that he is still talking to me, I've still seen him at least once a day since this whole thing happened, and he hasn't said anything has changed so unless he does I should not be panicking the way I am. I just get so paranoid because of the things I've been through so my mind automatically assumes the worst as a defense mechanism. My greatest fear is that my anxiety is going to make me more clingy and needy and I'm going to self sabotage this when there may not even be an issue to begin with, like I said sometimes he just gets in a mood for a few days and then everything is perfectly fine.

I just would love to hear people's thoughts on both the situation (you can look at my last post as well) and also advice on managing anxiety in relationships.

SunnyWeather 3rd February 2019 1:28 PM

how about you ask him? you seem pretty articulate. your anxiousness stems from not knowing where you stand in this relationship. get it out in the open so you are not left feeling so uncertain. It's better to know where you stand and take appropriate action then to be left blowing sideways in the wind.

hope18 3rd February 2019 1:36 PM

If he's overwhelmed I just don't want to push him to talk so soon, I'm afraid of pushing him away more or creating problems where/if there arent any. This could totally be in my head or he could be dealing with something entirely unrelated.

If this continues I absolutely will talk to him, but the thing is he has such a hard time ever saying what's on his mind. If I ask him what's wrong he'll likely say everything is fine and then I'll explain to him why I feel that's not true and he'll apologize for making me feel anxious or worried but still won't say what's going through his head.

Redhead14 3rd February 2019 1:47 PM

1) "I know that a lot of this is probably him being embarrassed for allowing himself to be vulnerable or being overwhelmed by his emotions"

And you KNOW this how????? Because you both have been so good with communicating that you know him that well now? See below:

"has an extremely hard time expressing his emotions/opening up/saying what's on his mind."

2) "I suffer from severe anxiety"

"my mind automatically assumes the worst"

A good deal of anxiety is caused by fearing the unknown, especially in relationships.

Open a serious adult conversation with this man and get some clarity about where this relationship stands. (And preferably when he's not drinking or you -- "he went out and drunk texted me saying that he loves me"). That conversation should have happened already but certainly by 6 months . . .

3) ". . . advice on managing anxiety in relationships."


If you two cannot communicate effectively by the 6 month mark, it's doomed anyway.

BaileyB 3rd February 2019 1:55 PM

Saying “I love you” is a big step in a relationship as it puts people in a very vulnerable position. While you don’t want to make a big deal about it (given the fact that he said it when he was drunk and he may be embarrassed about that), you also want him to feel secure in the knowledge that he is safe and his feelings are reciprocated. So, you will have to talk about it, at some point...

I will say, the first time I told my partner that I loved him the words kind of slipped out (I was not drunk) and I felt very insecure and vulnerable about how it happened, how it would be received, and whether my feelings would be reciprocated. It is now a funny story, but at the time I was quite embarrassed about how it all happened.

I was vulnerable, and my partner made me feel secure. The next time I saw him, he said simply, “Those lovely words you said to me last time we were together... I just want you to know, I feel the same way.” Perfect! The next time we were together, we stood in the same spot (as the accidental “I love you”) and he kissed me said “I love you too.”

You need to find a way to make him feel safe, but also give him some space and not feel pressured. You will find a way to do that, I’m sure.

As to the anxiety you are feeling, you will drive yourself crazy if you are not able to let that go. My suggestion - you need to make peace with the fact that you do not control him and you do not control the outcome of this relationship... the only thing that you control is yourself and regardless of whether he stays or goes, you will be fine. Life will go on. When you have the self confidence to know that you will be fine, whether this relationship happens or not, you will be able to let go of the need to control the outcome and your anxiety will become more manageable...

While you are working on that, go for a walk. Meet a friend for coffee. Take a yoga class. Have a long nap. Find something to do so that you are not perseverating on this man and continuing down this worry spiral... good luck!

Gretchen12 3rd February 2019 2:08 PM

It's hard for a lot of young people to transition from family relationship to bf/gf relationships. For most people the closest relationship the first 10+ years of life is with parents. The parent/child relationship is not equal. The parents give, the child takes.
You are wanting things from your bf: attention, reassurance, validation, etc. But he is as young as you. He also wants to receive. I'm not saying you don't give, it's just that you are not so much more mature than him that you always know what to give him and when.
For example, when he told you he loves you, what if your reaction was not 100% to his liking? Of course you're not expected to fill all his needs either. It takes some experience to know how to give and receive with an equal partner.
I think you should just keep learning about each other. Communicate, but choose what issues you really want to discuss. Not everything you feel needs to be made into an issue. Some of the anxiety you can self sooth.

ExpatInItaly 3rd February 2019 3:56 PM

OP, is it not also possible he's having a bad weekend for other reasons, and it's got nothing to do with you?

Chill. Don't assume that every perceptible change in his behavior is related directly to you.

Let him come to you. You will know soon enough if he's about to break up or if it's all in your head.

smackie9 3rd February 2019 9:42 PM

There are people that are like that. Have this idea in there head that they want everything to be so perfect, but it wasn't...said it slobbering drunk, lookin like a tool.

hope18 5th February 2019 11:09 AM

Update on boyfriend being distant after saying I love you
This is a follow up to my last two posts from this weekend, if the admins could post it as a new update under there that would be awesome!

Sorry in advance that this is so long, I just really need to vent and get all my thoughts out there.

Since my last post, my boyfriend ended up texting me on Sunday night telling me that we need to talk. I panicked because obviously that sounds like a breakup and I was confused because we had just watched the super bowl together with friends and he was resting his head on my shoulder and just being cuddly the whole time.

He ended up saying that he saw some of my messages to my closest friend venting to her about things that were making me anxious when it came to our relationship. [To clarify, he wasn't snooping, we were hanging out when she texted me as I was about to shower so I told him he could answer it]. He said he was upset because he wanted me to talk to him about this stuff directly if it was really bothering me because he can't read my mind so he had no idea I was upset about this stuff. I told him that I was just afraid because a lot of it isn't even him it's my anxiety blowing situations way out of proportion and I didn't want him thinking I was completely crazy or constantly on him about things. I explained to him how I'm afraid that if I tell him everything that bothers me it will become too much for him and he'll leave so I just vent to my best friend. I also said that he isn't the easiest to talk to about emotions because up until this conversation he has never really opened up or had a talk like this. If I say something that's bothering me he usually just listens very carefully then says he's sorry and hugs me and we move forward without him really sharing his side. Anyways, I agreed to just talk to him from now on if something is bothering me.

And then while we were at it we talked about Friday night and him saying I love you for the first time and if that had to do with his distance lately. I reassured him that I meant it when I said it back and that again it was ok if he wasn't ready yet because he was drunk so I get it. And he ended up saying that he was drunk but he wasn't that drunk where he wasn't aware of what he was doing or saying. He said I'm his first real relationship and the thought of being with someone for all four years of college scares him sometimes because usually those relationships end and everyone has always told him to experience dating a variety of people. He said he wasn't coming to college expecting to get this serious with someone so quickly. He said he doesn't regret it or anything just that it wasn't what he planned on. I completely understand this fear because we did start dating only about 3 weeks after coming to college in September. So he said that he's afraid of saying those 3 words that are so meaningful to him and not being able to take them back if something were to happen. He also made it clear though that he wasn't putting an expiration date on our relationship and that he doesn't want to break up. So the conversation went well in that I got everything off my chest and he opened up more than he ever has to me.

Flash forward to today and I'm starting to worry again, I thought after the talk everything would go back to normal. But he's still being pretty distant with me compared to how he usually is. He still sees me once or twice a day after work or between classes or before practice, but it's a little different. For example he hasn't kissed me since Saturday, when we do hangout he leaves without hugging or kissing me goodbye like normal and he's on his phone most of the time. He hasn't said good morning or goodnight to me in days when he usually always always does. He usually asks me to sleep over in his dorm almost every night but again hasn't since last week. I tried texting him first this morning because he's on his way to Boston so I said "have fun at the parade today:)" and he just responded "thanks" when usually he'll be like "thank you :* I'll see you later" or something really sweet. Like I said, we still see each other once or twice a day but it's almost like other than cuddling our relationship has become more platonic since our talk and it's making me anxious.

It could just be him bouncing back from opening so much over the last few days which is a really hard thing for him to do, or he could be scared at the seriousness of our relationship, or it could be literally nothing and he's acting different without even realizing it. The reason I haven't talked to him is because we've had so many "big" talks over the last few days that I don't want to overwhelm him and push him away more, especially if there's a chance that there isn't an issue. I'm just not really sure what to do or think about this, because he has gotten in distant moods like this in the past and they usually last a little while before he snaps out of it, but this started after the whole "I love you" situation.

I am trying to focus on the facts rather than the "what ifs"/unknown to ease my anxiety (for example, last night he was laying his head on my shoulder while we was here, Sunday night he specifically said he doesn't want to break up etc...) What are your thoughts? I'm not really sure what to do honestly, or if I should even be as worried as I am.

smackie9 5th February 2019 11:23 AM

OK enough is enough. You need to slam the hammer down. Tell him face to face you are not buy what he is telling you, and you don't deserve to be treated this way. Whatever is bothering him, he better come out with it. He needs to know that his behavior is's like he is punishing you, and that is not fair.

If you keep letting him be this way to you, all you are doing is enabling the behavior. You need to think of yourself this time, because it's absolute bs with him. He's being very immature, and he needs to break that habit fast. In other words he needs to man up.

hope18 5th February 2019 11:30 AM

I know, if the distance continues over the next few days I will end up talking to him. I just want to give him a couple of days to see if he snaps out of it because this is a very, very new kind of relationship to him and he's not used to something this deep, not even with his own family. I'm not saying he's handling it right, but I'm trying to find a balance between expressing my needs while also being patient with him. He obviously cares, otherwise he would have just ditched after seeing the conversation with my friend or after talking to me on Sunday instead of taking the time to work through it and tell me he wants me to communicate with him more. I'm just not sure how much of this is in my head and me being paranoid due to past situations or how much of it I should really worry about.

smackie9 5th February 2019 11:32 AM

Distance yourself from him then. Being all happy to him, makes him feel safe....time to let him feel he could lose you.

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