Boyfriend of 5 years, had childhood trauma, issues with committment

posted 5 months ago in Relationships
Post # 16
1030 posts
Bumble bee

We have tried to break up every year since year 3 but it is so traumatic for both of us given our tight bond and mutual interests.

I think what it sounds like you actually have here, rather than a tight bond, is a tight trauma-based bond called “codependency.”  It isn’t uncommon for people who suffer childhood trauma to fear abandonment and to cling to someone in a relationship. For you, if you had a relatively healthy life, a damaging relationship can cause that same “fear to be on your own.” I really suggest looking up some articles, descriptions and signs of a codependent relationship and consider if your situation might apply. This could be the cause of your build up to break ups, then the panic and self-convincing or partner pleading that you are “tightly bonded” and share such rare mutual interests that you couldn’t bare to give each other up.

He would be an amazing husband and father but he cant see that in himself just yet. 

It doesn’t sound like he is even a good partner yet, so you deciding that he would be a good husband or good father seems backed by nothing other than your desire to stay with him and your desire to have a child. This is a “I hope he would be an amazing husband and father, IF I can get him to fix problem x, y, z” statement — and that indicates that he is nowhere near a step where fatherhood would be something he would be good at. He cannot parent while in a toxic mental state himself. All he will do is create a toxic situation for your family, and damage your child emotionally.

I sympathize greatly with feeling “timed out” (potentially) of having children, but I do genuinely believe that as a potential future parent rule one — most basic condition — is should be for you to aim for your child to be in an emotionally healthy environment. You cannot give a child that while this adult male is in your life, because he is not well.  Honestly, as cruel and emotionally distancing and abnormal as it sounds that your Boyfriend or Best Friend is suggesting surrogacy might be the only “responsible” behavior he has had: he recognizes his limitations and is attempting to disconnect from the obligation to raise a child. He knows he isn’t capable of being a father, or a healthy partner. You should listen to those moments. Your emotional brain is trying to override the facts of your relationship.

As far as therapy goes: therapy does not work unless YOU put in the work. “You” being the patient seeking treatment. You (the partner) cannot do the work for him. So if he cannot even will himself to book an appointment, it is likely that he will be resistant to discussing and working through his issues. A person who is damaged in the way you indicate he is damaged can ONLY work on himself — you cannot fix him for him.

<h3>Symptoms of Codependency</h3>

The following is a list of symptoms of codependency and being in a codependent relationship. You don’t need to have them all to qualify as codependent.

  • Low self-esteem.Feeling that you’re not good enough or comparing yourself to others are signs of low self-esteem. The tricky thing about self-esteem is that some people think highly of themselves, but it’s only a disguise — they actually feel unlovable or inadequate. Underneath, usually hidden from consciousness, are feelings of shame.Guilt and perfectionism often go along with low self-esteem. If everything is perfect, you don’t feel bad about yourself.
  • People-pleasing.It’s fine to want to please someone you care about, but codependents usually don’t think they have a choice. Saying “No” causes them anxiety. Some codependents have a hard time saying “No” to anyone. They go out of their way and sacrifice their own needs to accommodate other people.
  • Poor boundaries.Boundaries are sort of an imaginary line between you and others. It divides up what’s yours and somebody else’s, and that applies not only to your body, money, and belongings, but also to your feelings, thoughts and needs. That’s especially where codependents get into trouble. They have blurry or weak boundaries. They feel responsible for other people’s feelings and problems or blame their own on someone else.Some codependents have rigid boundaries. They are closed off and withdrawn, making it hard for other people to get close to them. Sometimes, people flip back and forth between having weak boundaries and having rigid ones.
  • Reactivity.A consequence of poor boundaries is that you react to everyone’s thoughts and feelings. If someone says something you disagree with, you either believe it or become defensive. You absorb their words, because there’s no boundary. With a boundary, you’d realize it was just their opinion and not a reflection of you and not feel threatened by disagreements.
  • Caretaking.Another effect of poor boundaries is that if someone else has a problem, you want to help them to the point that you give up yourself. It’s natural to feel empathy and sympathy for someone, but codependents start putting other people ahead of themselves. In fact, they need to help and might feel rejected if another person doesn’t want help. Moreover, they keep trying to help and fix the other person, even when that person clearly isn’t taking their advice.
  • Control.Control helps codependents feel safe and secure. Everyone needs some control over events in their life. You wouldn’t want to live in constant uncertainty and chaos, but for codependents, control limits their ability to take risks and share their feelings. Sometimes they have an addiction that either helps them loosen up, like alcoholism, or helps them hold their feelings down, like workaholism, so that they don’t feel out of control.Codependents also need to control those close to them, because they need other people to behave in a certain way to feel okay. In fact, people-pleasing and care-taking can be used to control and manipulate people. Alternatively, codependents are bossy and tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. This is a violation of someone else’s boundary.
  • Dysfunctional communication.Codependents have trouble when it comes to communicating their thoughts, feelings and needs. Of course, if you don’t know what you think, feel or need, this becomes a problem. Other times, you know, but you won’t own up to your truth. You’re afraid to be truthful, because you don’t want to upset someone else. Instead of saying, “I don’t like that,” you might pretend that it’s okay or tell someone what to do. Communication becomes dishonest and confusing when you try to manipulate the other person out of fear.
  • Obsessions.Codependents have a tendency to spend their time thinking about other people or relationships. This is caused by their dependency and anxieties and fears. They can also become obsessed when they think they’ve made or might make a “mistake.”Sometimes you can lapse into fantasy about how you’d like things to be or about someone you love as a way to avoid the pain of the present. This is one way to stay in denial, discussed below, but it keeps you from living your life.
  • Dependency.Codependents need other people to like them to feel okay about themselves. They’re afraid of being rejected or abandoned, even if they can function on their own. Others need always to be in a relationship, because they feel depressed or lonely when they’re by themselves for too long. This trait makes it hard for them to end a relationship, even when the relationship is painful or abusive. They end up feeling trapped.
  • Denial. One of the problems people face in getting help for codependency is that they’re in denial about it, meaning that they don’t face their problem. Usually they think the problem is someone else or the situation. They either keep complaining or trying to fix the other person, or go from one relationship or job to another and never own up the fact that they have a problem.Codependents also deny their feelings and needs. Often, they don’t know what they’re feeling and are instead focused on what others are feeling. The same thing goes for their needs. They pay attention to other people’s needs and not their own. They might be in denial of their need for space and autonomy. Although some codependents seem needy, others act like they’re self-sufficient when it comes to needing help. They won’t reach out and have trouble receiving. They are in denial of their vulnerability and need for love and intimacy.
  • Problems with intimacy.By this I’m not referring to sex, although sexual dysfunction often is a reflection of an intimacy problem. I’m talking about being open and close with someone in an intimate relationship. Because of the shame and weak boundaries, you might fear that you’ll be judged, rejected, or left. On the other hand, you may fear being smothered in a relationship and losing your autonomy. You might deny your need for closeness and feel that your partner wants too much of your time; your partner complains that you’re unavailable, but he or she is denying his or her need for separateness.
  • Painful emotions.Codependency creates stress and leads to painful emotions. Shame and low self-esteem create anxiety and fear about being judged, rejected or abandoned; making mistakes; being a failure; feeling trapped by being close or being alone. The other symptoms lead to feelings of anger and resentment, depression, hopelessness, and despair. When the feelings are too much, you can feel numb


Post # 17
871 posts
Busy bee

Offering to donate his sperm to you is something a friend does if, for some reason, you are in need of some sperm to conceive a child you desperately want- as in you’re a single woman or a woman in a same-sex relationship. But to have your boyfriend make this offer is beyond bizarre. 

Translation: I’ll take one for the team here, as long as I’m in no way financially or emotionally invested in YOUR baby. 

And somehow you’ve translated this into: “He’ll make a great father and husband”

Whatever childhood trauma he’s had, he needs to deal with. Professional therapy is long overdue and it sounds like he may need intensive therapy. As sad as this is, this doesn’t give him the right to procreate without responsibility nor to keep you tethered to an unhealthy co-dependent relationship. 

For you, there is a disconnect with the way you view this unhealthy relaitonship you’re in. There are no indications at all that he would be willing or able to make a good father or husband. The fact that you can’t break up after numerous attempts is a sign of codependency and dysfunction. You’ve built this up into two star-crossed lovers united against the world in some intense drama playing out in your mind. I think you would greatly benefit from therapy as well as this all sounds extremely unhealthy. 

And I was shocked to hear your ages, this means you’ve been adults for more than two decades and have not dealt with these very serious problems. But it’s never too late, I hope you’ll both seek individual professional help and find some happiness and inner peace. 

Post # 18
214 posts
Helper bee

This guy is not ready for marriage and certainly not ready to raise a child, and probably never will be.

If you have a child now (surrogate or not), that child is likely to grow up with emotional issues too, because your Boyfriend or Best Friend hasn’t addressed his own.

A man who wants to build a life with you would do anything to get there, including go to therapy. He would not put up all these conditions and make it harder.

It’s downhill from here, OP. The stress of proposing, wedding planning, marriage, and parenthood will make his problems worse. Is that where you want to go?

Post # 20
743 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

sobee1234 :  He doesn’t sound like he would be a good husband or father. Step one, the biggest pre-requisite there is, is willingness to take care of a child……..which he does not want to do.

Post # 21
1216 posts
Bumble bee

sobee1234 :  Good for you! I understand that moving on is going to be hard, but you can do it! Don’t stay in a doomed relationship because its a hard habit to break. Seek a therapist on your own who will help you wiht your own healing. Good luck, bee. 

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