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Boyfriend Avoids Talking About Past

Group Therapy: Why Does My Boyfriend Avoid Talking About My Past Depression and Anxiety?

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

Hi everyone! This is not really a problem that I am having, but rather something that makes me wonder why it is. I am a very happy and successful 27-year-old woman, and yes, I am mentally stable. At least now I am. I have however had some psychological issues in the past, i.e. I have experienced episodes of depression and anxiety. So far this has only occurred to me three times in over seven years, with two depressive episodes being rather easy to get through. One episode was quite severe, including extreme weight loss and suicidal thoughts (please note, I never attempted or really considered it — I just could not walk over a bridge without thinking about jumping because I was so sad). The first two episodes resulted from ending up extremely disappointed in myself because I lost something (a job, a man) — in both cases I was to blame. The third episode, two years ago, occurred when I was having a stressful (but also fulfilling!) time at university, I was overworked, some new girlfriends at university all of the sudden decided to start a b*tch war on me, and also my boyfriend had gone overseas for a couple of months. That time it was rather an anxiety episode I went to get help and was actually fine after only three sessions with a psychotherapist. I was never on any medication and it never really affected anyone else — I am one of the lucky ones, only suffering from a lighter depression so far, I guess.

I have been fine for a long time now, but I had to realize that my boyfriend simply isn't interested in knowing anything in detail about my past struggles. He has known me for a longer time but has only been with me through the last episode. To be exact: he was overseas during that time, and I only told him briefly on the phone. He never asked me about it back then, and never after he came back home. I don't really need to talk to about all of it with him (because I worked this out by myself and only with the therapist, and I am fine now), but it nevertheless is a defining aspect of my life. I feel like I survived something horrible once or twice, I am aware that it could happen again, and I am prepared to fight again. A couple of months ago there was a situation when we could have talked about it. I basically offered to tell him what I experienced in detail, but he never went into it. When I asked him why he never asked, he simply said that he didn't because he thought I didn't want to talk in the first place. The conversation died down then, and I didn't press the subject. I am not hurt by that, but very curious.


Why do you think he acts like this? He's certainly not the type who thinks people with mental problems are lunatics, though . . .

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karlotta karlotta 5 years
I think he feels guilty because he knows the last episode happened while and partly because he was overseas. I also know from my own boyfriend, as Kumiakasi said, that men tend to try and deal with their emotions and problems on their own. Sharing that shit just makes them uncomfortable. They don't know how to react, don't know what to say, because just listening goes against their instinct of "I will fix this right now". Have you ever noticed your boyfriend constantly offering suggestions to your problems instead of just hearing you out? Drives me nuts. But it's in their genes... they mean well. So it could be a combination of all of this. If you do end up bringing up the conversation, it could turn out not to be the cathartic beautiful sharing moment you'd probably like. There were moments when my Dad was dying of cancer when I just wanted to punch my BF in the face for not saying the right stuff or not being what I needed him to be. Looking back, he was actually there 100% of the time, by my side, supporting me in his own way. Sometimes quietly - which makes them seem absent, which is not true. I would never have survived that ordeal without him, I know that now. Nobody's perfect. It's okay.
steph1234 steph1234 5 years
Maybe he really doesn't care. Maybe he feels like since you dealt with it and put it behind you, what's the point in bringing it up? I agree with two are not best friends. And to have a strong relationship, friendship really needs to come first. If you can't talk to him about EVERYTHING, then I think you may need to move on.....
atraditionalist atraditionalist 5 years
Guys can be p*ssies when it comes to that sort of thing. I've had depression before and it was serious. I told my boyfriend at the time. I had wanted to talk to him about it (feeling as if I had someone in my corner rooting for me) but he never wanted to hear it. He dumped me soon after and asked me to "please not kill myself over this" - I guess he wasn't willing to handle anything beyond silently acquiesing to what he wanted. Sorry I'm bitter lol. But I guess what I'm trying to say is : is your relationship at the point where you can actually talk about such things? Some people just don't like talking about mental illness-it makes them feel all awkward. If you guys haven't known each other for that long or you think you might not be "there" yet in the sense of talking about serious issues. It sucks I know but c'est la vie
verbalhoudini verbalhoudini 5 years
Honestly, I think he might not want to talk about it because he's afraid it will upset you. If you two have been together for awhile, he might not want to bring up painful memories--depending on the exact nature of your relationship, he might just want to move forward and forget the negativity of your pasts. This, at least, is the case in my relationship (and I've also got a few stints in the psych ward under my belt). Although if you're the kind of person who 'talks about their mental health issues in great detail', he might just see it as a ploy for attention/affection, and that could also explain why he wants nothing to do with it.
searching-soul searching-soul 5 years
Perhaps he feels guilty or helpless for not being there when you were going through your trials. Perhaps it scares him and he feels that you two are past that point in your life. You do need to communicate to him that though you are strong, this is a part of who you are and it can possibly happen again. The person who loves you will be understanding and will be there for you despite any fears or reservations he might have. Your relationship can't last unless the person has a real picture of who you are-not a false one. That means he is there for you through the good and the bad. Tell him how important it is to you for him to know the real you, warts and all. Convey to him how important it is to you that a partner understands you and is uplifting and there for you during the less than stellar times. This is so important. I've learned this in my own relationship. A person can't just be a fair weather friend or mate. They have to be there for the good and bad, through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, because life is always going to throw a curve ball. Good luck
pax4pax pax4pax 5 years
Your relationship works both ways -- he has a reason for not wanting to hear and you have a reason for wanting him to hear. Talk about that. Either you will understand his why or he yours. In either case, your relationship is strengthened.
lcrox07 lcrox07 5 years
I agree with kurniaksih, it seems like you might have communications with him. He might just not necessarily know the gravity of your situation. Give it time...
kurniakasih kurniakasih 5 years
It appears to me that partly you guys have a communication issue, or have different style of communication. I read a long time ago from this book 'Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus,' that some guys want to be left alone when they're facing problems then they assume that their girlfriends/spouses deal with their problems that way while some girls want to talk it out and assume that it's how things are with their husbands while it's not always so. Someone in the past has also suggested about this book about love languages (anyone?), it may be a good read for you. I think if you want to discuss this with him, you should be open about it instead of opening up with 'why didn't you ask about it.' line, just make the time with him to have this discussion, let your needs be known to your partner. Unless he's a mind-reader, he doesn't know exactly what you want out of him. Better yet, if you have been seeing a therapist, ask him/her on how to communicate better with your bf. Good luck.
JoeTyndall JoeTyndall 5 years
The most important thing in a relationship is that two people become best buddies and best friends. I'm sorry to say it, but it sounds like your boyfriend is not ready to be your best buddy. You are going to have to get him to become your best buddy, or this relationship is in trouble. Would you agree?
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