Relationship problem / intimacy disorder

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Hello all, my first post!

I am a 35 year old male and I have been suffering from depression and anxiety on and off to varying degrees since I have been 15!

Growing up I have managed to drop some of my worries naturally by getting older but the only thing that is ruining my life, and has been for around 10 years, is my inability to maintain a relationship!

When I was in my early 20's I could never stay in a relationship, I just felt trapped but put it down too being young and wanting to play the field, which is probably true to a certain point. I did find someone I 'loved' and after about six months ended, I can't really explain why! I just wanted to be single I think...

long story short... I tried to make this relationship work and stay with her but the anxiety was that bad I lost the plot! I forgot that I just wanted to be single and developed this 'what's wrong with and relationships' mindset. I seemed to develop a relationship problem.

after this relationship ended I was then very very nervous and reluctant to enter into any new relationship at all in case I felt the same lows and anxiety that I did with the above! It got that bad that I would arrange to go on a date with a girl but have to cancel due to the anxiety getting so bad... It got to the point where I wouldn't even go on the date because of the anxiety at committing to a date!

anyway.... Now that I'm 36 and have developed a full on relationship problem, I have realised that after all my life of pushing people away I do actually want to be with someone. Due to this I started seeing a therapist so I can try and fix myself. She has confirm that I have an intimacy disorder due to childhood trauma (I stumbled across a murder scene aged 11), and my parents relationship was very volatile! These have both made me subconsciously see relationships as bad... So I have been informed.

At the moment I feel like I will never be able to get over this and the thought of being alone and anxious at the thought of being with a woman is worrying... I mean if you can't be with someone what's the point?

sorry for the ramble but I didn't know wher to start

2 likes, 15 replies

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    i can totally relate with your story, i was in a loving relationship for a few years, an i finished with her, as i noticed girls were jus launching themselfs at me, i feel ashamed, altough now she is happy in a relationship with children, and im happy for her,

    with regards to looking for a new partner personally, i feel i had my match n i let her go, i also have issues with depression, an i think a relationship for me, would be a hindrence,

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  • Posted

    Hi there. I think anxiety and relationship probs go hand in hand unfortunately. What kind of therapy did u receive? I found that CBT was the only thing that worked for me. What you're describing is basically a phobia of intimacy - not surprising given past trauma. My past stuff is nowhere near as traumatic but I have some intimacy probs due to emotionally abusive step parent which CBT really helped with. It's when you get into the anxiety mindset that this therapy in particular can be brilliant. That's what it's aimed at, identifying all your anxious thoughts and then getting you to challenge them in your own way. You may have already had it, in which case I'm preaching to the choir, but what you're describing is such a classic anxiety problem and one that you don't have to resign yourself to forever. with the right help I'm sure you would be able to find things a bit easier. Even if you don't end up having the kind of relationship you're talking about, it may be that you could settle for a compromise eventually and, with the right management, lead to something more intimate in the future. Good luck X
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  • Posted

    Hi Brink...I'm not sure if you really WANT a relationship or if you think you HAVE to have a relationship because people think that is what you should be doing (having a relationship)?

    Another thing...it sounds like you are just not ready for a relationship and that is OK...because if your not ready "mentally"...and you go out and try a relationship to "fix" yourself or to "appease" others...that relationship won't work either.

    You have to be totally, mentally stable and well.  They say people come into our lives when we least expect it...and that everyone is in our lives for a REASON a SEASON or a LIFETIME.  These past relationships you have had...you have learned...what you like and what you don't and you can use those things to help you out in future relationships.

    My thoughts are its OK not to be in a relationship.  Its ok to have casual sexual relationships if that is what is needed at this time (as long as the partner you are engaging in sex with understands that you are not ready for a relationship). 

    I know for myself...my whole life and I'm 51....that I kept going into relationships..hoping the other person would make me whole...before I had healed from past hurts and trauma.  And every therapist I have been too throughout this time has told me I was not READY for a relationship.

    You ask if you can't be with someone what is the point?  I have a very close friend who is a guy (I'm a gal).  I have known him for 19 years...and he has never had a girlfriend or a boyfriend.  He lives VERY well...and he is a very happy guy.  He travels...he spends time with his family and friends...he is very healthy because HE can live with "himself" and doesn't need fullfillment from a partner.

    And in my opinion it is always more healthy and normal for us to be alone...if we are going to enter a relationship with many emotional problems.  You have to FIX those problems...before you can have a happy meaningful relationship.

    I didn't listen to the advice of the therapist and I never took time to learn about myself and learn how to be happy with myself....and I have suffered for that and so have the partners I have chosen.

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  • Posted

    ps.  When I say fix yourself...I do not mean to imply that you are BROKEN.  But I mean to say...you have to feel well with yourself and you have to listen to therapist you are paying for...so that you can get to a place of "peace" with yourself...so that your not getting in a relationship for the wrong reasons.
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    • Posted

      Hi missy, thank you for the reply!

      I get what you mean with the broken part so don't worry! You are right also, I seem to feel like I should be in a relationship and because I don't want to be in one, when I am, I feel anoxic us and begin to remunerate and obsess what is wrong with me! I sometimes think that I have created this issue myself by over thinking it!

      I'm 36 now and it really does worry me, like I've not got long left on the mortal plain yet somehow can't even manage a relationship at this age!

      Probably like a lot of other people on here but I just feel so lost, alone and that no one can relate at all to how I think and feel! Maybe more so on here but everyone I speak with in my life can not understand it one single bit which makes me feel worse!

      Reason for my post yesterday was I found out my recent ex is now with someone else! I ended the relationship but it knocked me side ways, really hurting today!

      Sorry to moan

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    • Posted

      Moan away..that is what places like this are for smile

      And it is natural for us to feel jilted when we find out our x is dating..just one more sign that it wasn't meant to be for you and her.

      But, again..please don't rush into a relationship....I'm 51...and I still have time if it doesn't work out with my current b/f....we are trying..but no one should live unhappy...we only live one time and on that note...you should not live your life based on what others think of you (easier said than done).  Find yourself...and you will find the right person.

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    • Posted

      You know, Brink, Missy is talking a lot of sense! She's right in questioning whether you really want a relationship, deep down, or you're just trying to fit in with so-called social norms.

      I went through exactly the same kind of soul-searching when I was your age. I too could never manage to sustain relationships. My "record" was 10 months! I already knew by that time that a lot of my problems stemmed from a very dysfunctional family background. In my 20s I too was treated for depression, but in the end I came to realise I wasn't really depressed, just different and afraid to acknowledge it.

      I'm not saying you'll never find the love of your life, and neither is Missy. (I did, btw, but only at age 65 and it wasn't to be.) But if you can learn to accept yourself as you are without trying to get "cured", you might actually find it easier to form a long-lasting relationship.

      And if you don't...? I understand only too well all the agonising that goes on around that one. And it can be even worse for a woman, with the desire for a child coming into it to. But it is possible to live a full, happy life without a soulmate. I'm in my 70s now, have friends, interests and a demanding voluntary job. I'm sometimes sad when I think about the things I missed out on, but to be perfectly honest I wouldn't want to trade my life for anyone else's!

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    • Posted

      Hi lily, thank you for that! It does give me some comfort! Missy is right and yourself too.... To be honest I have never been happy as me, ever!

      like missy says, maybe I should focus on fixing myself first and like you say enjoy my life! 

      Given me a good place to start that, thank you! 

      I need to shake this deep down feeling that I am fundamentally broken when it comes to relationships... Maybe stepping away for a while will help

      Thank you also to Michael and salorie for your comments.

      one more question.... Is it/am I normal to have this problem? I feel lm the only one

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    • Posted

      Well, clearly you're not the only one, as at least two of us in here have reported the same thing! But I do know what you mean. For a long time I too felt like the only one of my kind.

      That word "normal" is a bit of a trap. We so often hear the expression: "There's no such thing as normal", that we tend to dismiss it. The fact is, it's quite true. It is true that people who don't easily form relationships are in the minority, but that doesn't mean we're not normal. I'm sure you're familiar with the concept of the bell curve. In the measurement of any human characteristic - be it height, intelligence, sexual orientation or even a taste for chocolate - not all of us will fall within the central "hump" of the curve.

      Start learning to value yourself for who you are. You've already made the first step along this road by being honest with yourself. Looking back on my own evolution, that was actually the hardest step of all. For several years I effectively hid behind the diagnosis of depression, thinking I could be cured... But of what? I'm not saying I wasn't depressed, or that you aren't either, but it was the painful acceptance that I could never be cured of being me that started me on the road to recovery.

      I wish you joy on your journey.

      Lily

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    • Posted

      So I think your kind of lucky asking yourself these questions at such a young age.  As you see from both Lily and mine experience..you are NOT alone. 

      My thoughts on relationships (and I only thought this the last 10 years..and I thought I was the only one that felt like this...and maybe I am)...BUT...I don't think "humans" are meant to cohabitate forever...or for very long.  Not many relationships are happily ever after.  I honestly can't think of 2 couples that have been together that I know that are still happy or not divorced.

      My parents are married 52 years and divorcing..and this divorce was a long time comming...at least 10 years.  All humans have their "habits" and their likes and dislikes and I think it would be pretty odd that we would find someone PERFECT that would meet all our individual expectations.  And especially as I get older...I like things a certain way, I like certain foods, I like to sleep a certain way..and at a certain time...I like to come and go as I please...many more things..little things that become quite irritating to a "partner" after a period of time.

      This may be a BAD thought process that I have...but I have watched it and experienced it over the years.  I felt broken too...even recently.  I'm like REALLY?  I did meet someone I am very compatible with...but there are many times (cause I did live alone for a year)...that I wish we had seperate places...and then I think it would be perfect.

      As a woman...at MY AGE...(this may not be true for when I was  younger....but I'm not interested in a lot of different sex partners.  Where I think men have more of a drive for that kind of thing.  I don't know if that is true...but it seems like all the men I have been with...as soon as they break up...they seem to NEED someone. 

      My boyfriend loves me to death..but he is very clear that if I were to ask him to leave...he would need to find someone...he WANTS someone to love...all the time.  So...he would move on pretty fast.  I know he wouldn't ever forget me and would regret the things that are going wrong right now...but I don't think it is his or my fault...I just think it is this living together THING...and some of the small differences...that I think are BIG...and the ones I think are BIG he thinks are SMALL...

      LOL...its not really funny...but its honesty...that's all I have...

      So to answer your question...I think its normal...for you to feel like you SHOULD be with someone...and your not the only one that feels that way.

       

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    • Posted

      ps....again...now that your not alone smile....try to give yourself some time...don't beat yourself up....I really think if you want a lasting relationship...you have to figure out who "Brink" is....AND be ok with you.

      You picked Brink as a screen name...hmmmm....on the "brink".  I hope you can find happiness...and realize that happiness does not always come from another person....

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  • Posted

    Again thank you both for your replies, i really do appreciate the time you have taken!

    Its settled then, I'm going to work on my mental health and welbeing for once as a priority! I'm have a prescription for some ssri's which will help lift my mood rather than hoping the depression will pass. I'm going to try and be a little more proactive.

    Thank you again for the advice, especially from a woman's point of view helps

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    • Posted

      Good thinking, Brink. But keep the dose of SSRIs to the lowest possible, won't you? Betsy0603 has recently posted a very informative article in this group on getting off anti-depressants, but the ideal is never to get hooked on them in the first place.
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  • Posted

    These two ladies have spoken more sense in the last 24 hours than most of us can cram into a lifetime. Such brilliant advice! I would definitely agree about the medication, start on an incredibly low dose if you do decide to go down that route, and remember medication is only a small tool in a very big box. being kind and patient to yourself for who you are is the most important thing.
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    • Posted

      Thank you! And I like that "a small tool in a very big box".  Something i need to also keep in mind.  Its hard showing up for therapy...changing my behaviors and thought patterns...and I can't ALWAYS do what is suggested WELL...but I keep trying....and I keep finding a little more happiness when I do try.

       

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