Post # 1
Hey bees. I need some opinions because I’m really struggling.
I have been dating my boyfriend for over 2 years. He is the sweetest, most caring man I have ever met and he would do anything for me. I love him very much. He makes me so happy, feel so safe and comfortable and I’ve definitely had thoughts of spending my life with him.
However, he has terrible anxiety. It shows socially mostly. Unless we are with people he is very comfortable with, he clams up and becomes this extremely nervous, shaky, scared to talk person. It’s the worst around my dad, stepmother and family but I have seen him like this with others, even his own family. He lives in constant fear that everyone is judging him, thinks he’s stupid, etc.
This has been the cause of fights for two years, because it frustrates me that he doesn’t try to get help. He did see a therapist for a while and it helped somewhat, but he stopped because he felt he wasn’t helping but he made no effort to find a new one. I really think he could benefit from medication but he is super against it (he is afraid of the side effects). We had a huge fight about this the other night, how I can’t watch him suffer from this and not do anything about it, and we got to the point where we asked each other if we should just end it, because clearly our opinions differ on this and it has caused a lot of strain.
TO be honest, I am scared I’m not equipped to handle being in a relationship with someone with a mental illness. I am a very confident outgoing person and I wonder if I would be better with someone like that.
We resolved the fight, he agreed he was going to be more proactive and we agreed to give it one last chance. But he’s said this before and this has really been bugging me as I’m scared he will never truly try to get help, or improve. I’m about to be 23, and he will be 24 in a few months.
Opinions please. Thanks ladies.
Post # 2
I think the fact that you are wondering if you should break up with him or not is a red flag for you. When you marry someone all of their quirks become magnified – so unless there’s a change on his end, you’ll just notice it more. Maybe suggest a break to him and get some space so you can both weigh the pros and cons. Patience on patience on patiences is needed for someone struggling with a mental illness.
Post # 4
It sounds like maybe you guys just aren’t a good fit from a compatability standpoint. Maybe you need to be with someone more extroverted, and he’d be better off with a fellow super shy introvert. No one is a villain here…your man sought help from therapy but didn’t find it useful, and you are at your wit’s end trying to manage his crippling anxiety. The last thing you should do is continue seeing him with the hopes that you’ll be able to “change” him. He has to do that for himself, and there’s a chance he never will.
Maybe he’d be better off with someone who isn’t embarrassed by his social anxiety. I’m not saying this in a judgy way to you at all…I don’t think I could be with someone who clammed up constantly around my family and others either. I’d feel like I constantly had to babysit him and that would grow real old real fast for me. But I’m sure there are women out there who could relate to him and might not be bothered by it.
Post # 5
Whether you break up with him or not, please stop harassing your boyfriend about getting on medication. If you can’t live with how he has decided to deal with his illness, then you can break up with him. But it sounds like you’ve been attacking him for 2 years about his mental illness and how YOU think he should treat it, and that’s not right.
Post # 6
Going through the same thing
Post # 7
being introverted is not a mental illness. and pushing him to be more social is not fair. a person can value their solitude and live a wonderfully fulfilled life without having to force conversations with people whom they maintain no genuine connections with. he may benefit from developing more confidence to help him cope in these interactions, but he will probably never get to a point of truly enjoying it. and that’s fine, different things for different people. but if you can’t respect and live with this side of him then it’s a mistake to let the relationship continue.
Post # 8
Yeah, he deserves to be with someone who will be understanding to his anxiety problems, not fight with him over it.
Post # 9
I am also introverted, but I don’t think I could be in a happy relationship with someone who lives in a constant state of anxiety over perceived judgment. It just doesn’t sound like you two are very compatible… you can love someone and not be able to have a functional happy relationship with them.
Post # 10
Yes. Yes you should break up with him.
Post # 11
Has he been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder? Just because someone is anxious or introverted doesn’t mean he is mentally ill unless judged otherwise by a medical provider. You mentioned that he saw a therapist, but was it for a particular psychiatric diagnosis? It’s possible to see therapists (ETA: therapists, not necessarily psychiatrists) for things other than mental illness. And please don’t push him about medication, that is a very personal choice and it’s not clear that he’s actually been diagnosed with anything that would require something as strong as psychopharmaceutical management.
I don’t think you guys are compatible, plain and simple. Both you and he deserve to be with someone around whom you both are more comfortable.
Post # 12
You’re entire post makes me super duper angry but I am going to put my personal experiences with anxiety aside and try to write a humane post back to you.
First off, yes you do need to break up with him. Anxiety is not something you just “get over” or something you medicate for in ALL cases. You are completely right you are not someone who can handle being in a relationship with someone who’s anything less than “normal”.
Seems you are more embaressed about his mental illness and social awkwardness than he is. Then by knowing you are embaressed he feels worse about it. Not all types of anxiety require medication. Sometimes learning how to manage it helps trumendously. As well as having supportive people in you’re life.
You need to be with someone who’s outgoing and in you’re mind set. He’s not that person.
Post # 13
I’ve been on the other side of the spectrum, super introverted with a social butterfly for an ex-boyfriend. We’d get into huge fights about this stuff too and he always made me feel judged, inadequate, and like there was something horribly wrong with me–it was not fun. Now that I’m with my husband who is incredibly supportive and understanding of my introvert tendencies (bc he’s an introvert as well), I have been infinitely happierl! Your bf deserves someone like that too, as you deserve someone someone who’s characteristics don’t cause fights
Post # 14
If he has a diagnosed anxiety disorder and wants help, then I think you should stick around and help him through it. If the feelings are real and you really love him, as you say. Has he been to a GP not just a therapist? Someone qualified who can explain medication options and side effects. I have in the past been prescribed anti anxiety drugs to help me through a situation and I can say they have worked wonders. I had no major side effects. I know it was really really hard on my partner and I’m so glad he was there supporting me, don’t know what I would have done if he’d left me. Just another perspective.
Post # 15
You actually fight with him over something he didn’t choose to have? That’s like fighting with someone over having cancer. That’s low.