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Low self-esteem and lack of confidence is affecting our relationship
July 7, 2014
3:52 am
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terracotta_pie
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July 7, 2014
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Hi all,

My partner and I, both aged 26 – living together – no children – been together for 2 years and 4 months.

He has put 4 stone in weight on since we've been together and this has made him seriosuly suffer with confidence and self-esteem.

He says he loves me very much and can't imagine life without me but every 6 months (ish) we fall out because he says he doesn't know his own feelings, he's unhappy in himself and is terrifed of making me unhappy. He says he knows he doesn't give me half of what I give him and he thinks it's all down to his weight gain. When we first met and he was thinner, he was very confident and happy to express to the world how much in love he was but now he doesn't engage in any social events as he thinks he has nothing to offer anyone and that he'll be frowned upon by his friends because of his weight.

He's so terrified of making me unhappy that we've even suggested breaking up for good. Making his girlfriend happy is the biggest thing that he lives for and his last two relationships (long-term) both broke off because the girlfriend told him that he she wasn't happy anymore. Rather than fight for the relationship and try to make the girl happy; he just gives up and lets them walk away... he thinks once a girl is not happy because of him, he can't then ever make them happy so he just gives up as he thinks they're better off without him.

He has now lost a stone in 4 weeks and continuing to do so, he says he feels better already which is great news. We are dieting together and attending Slimming World classes so we can support each other.

What bothers me is that every 6 months I have to go through the heartache of him telling me that he's not sure if he loves me, it makes me feel like total s**t to be honest. I broke up with him last time and he moved out for 2 weeks, I asked him not to contact me during this time but after a week he sent me a text asking how I was etc. After two weeks had passed, he came home – he was in tears (not used to seeing him cry!) and he begged me to take him back – he said that being away from me made him realise that he absolutely did love me and he does not want to be without me. I gave him a chance and everything was wonderful again, until this weekend where the same thing has happened.

I've given him lots of tips to boost his self-esteem and confidence and he's very happy to give them a go. I am also purposely no longer living in his pockets and I'm making sure he's not living in mine. I want to have a social life and not worry about my fella all the time but naturally I do.

Every time we do things without each other it's good again. We have no space and it's obvious that's what we need.

I know he loves me and I love him dearly but I'm frightened that the weight loss thing is not the only problem he's having. What if this continues to happen when he has lost all of his weight? What do I do then?

I am supporting him now and will always do my best with him, I'm very nice to him – I never judge him or 'pick on' him. He says I'm an amazing girlfriend and he couldn't ask for more.

I just need some tips on what I'm meant to be doing. How do I support him but not smother him?

I have decided to back off a little; I'm no longer going to tell him all about my day at work and I'm not going to invite him to every social event that comes up. He needs to do things off his own back and showing independence is very important in a relationship. He never has to wonder what I'm doing because I tell him everything! This is not good on my part and I need to stop. He doesn't tell me anything, he's a very closed person. We've discussed therapy but he says he's not ready for that – fair enough, I won't push him.

It's quite strange because everytime I do something that doesn't involve him and I don't tell him about it or say another man pays an interest in me; my fella becomes very inquisitive and all of a sudden wants to know things. It's like there is never any mystery about me cos I'm so open so I never keep him guessing and someone once told me that the secret to a healthy relationship is "to keep him guessing"

 

Anyway, any advice whatsoever is very much appreciated.

 

Many thanks,

Em

July 7, 2014
5:20 am
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onedaythiswillpass
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terracota pie:

I am sorry to hear that you & your boyfriend are having problems in your relationship.  It sounds like both of you have some issues to address.  I think your boyfriend needs to speak with a professional about his self confidence & how it should not be measured by his attempts to lose weight or gain it back.  That is, he should respect himself just the way he is & if it's his own goal to lose some weight, to keep trying without feeling like less if he is not always successfull.  Honestly, it's not your job to try to boost his self esteem.  You can be caring & kind, but he needs to respect himself & love himself through his own measures.

I do not think that your advice to "keep them guessing" is a healthy approach to a long term relationship that requires both trust & honesty.  Particularly with a man that has self esteem issues.  Either you want to be with your boyfriend or you don't.  You mentioned that you felt better when you had time apart.

 

You are still quite young & if you feel unable to cope with his issues, then instead of keeping him guessing, perhaps you should make a few decisions about what you are really striving for.

 

One Day

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