We fought, we had stress, he left

Visitor's Question from a 16-20 year old Female
my boyfriend and I ended our almost 4 year relationship a little over 2 weeks ago. Obviously it's still fresh, but it's complicated.

Honestly, we had a great relationship. He was 18 and I was 15. We fought hard to get into the relationship. (he had a long distance relationship with a needy girl and a bunch of my friends liked him at the time) We wanted the same things in life, supported each other through everything, and trusted and loved each other to no end. We were high school sweethearts, and created a bond that goes beyond just friends or a relationship. It's like our souls intertwined, as corny as that sounds.

Unfortunately, when we first met, we were already broken, but because of things that happened in the PAST, nothing current. We helped each other move past those things, until NEW things came up.

Basically, life destroyed our relationship. Our stress levels grew and we became sad and angry and eventually started taking it out on each other, which changed us. Soon, we weren't the people we fell in love with, but we still forgave each other for each stupid fight and problem because we knew life would get better eventually and we held on because this was something we really wanted.

But eventually, life overcame the bond and he had enough of the 'bullshit' as he puts it. We broke up, and he shut me out. Were still friends, but because of the hurt he felt, that's all his mind can see me as. Just a friend. We don't want a relationship with anyone at the moment, so that's not my concern.
My concern is, he's sick. He's always had a mental problem where he can become 'emotionally unavailable' whenever he feels too vulnerable and he'll put up a wall and shut down.

I'm guessing this is what happened, but the strange thing is, the same day we broke up, hours before we were out at dinner having a great time talking about our future and saying how much we love each other.

We did fight that day, so I'm guessing that's what triggered it, but what I don't get is how can you go from loving someone and planning a future and having all these positive emotions for someone to just...nothing. Nothing at all. He says he feels nothing towards me other than just friend feelings. He said he took all the feelings and emotions for me and 'put them in a box in the back of his mind.' That, is what confuses me. How he can just shut everything off like that like nothing happened. I don't know, doc.

I WOULD like to see us together again. Before life kicked us around, we were good together. Even after life kicked us around, we were still good together, it was just harder to see because there was more pain involved. But at the same time I'm worried that he'll never come around and see where the mistakes were made and he'll just keep everything in that 'box' of his.

I don't know. He asked for space but with the way he is, is that the best option? Obviously I'm going to respect his wishes, but it just scares me. It's only been two weeks and it seems he's completely moved on. like we didn't commit almost 4 years to each other. But that is how he copes.

What can I do to get him to remember the feelings he has for me, or how can I guide him out of his 'box'?

You don't go from spending a lovely day together and saying you love each other and planning your life out together and then a few hours later breaking up and having no feelings about the person out of nowhere. It just doesn't make sense. . .

RomanceClass.com Advice
One of the things life teaches you over time is that it is not meant to be easy. There is no such thing as an easy life. Even watching stories of the "rich and famous" show you that nobody has it easy. There are always challenges, issues, and problems to face. I know you keep saying that it's life's fault that you had issues - but life IS about issues. That is its normal state. Therefore a relationship needs to be strong enough to keep going through those issues. It's like putting a kayak in a river and then blaming the river for having a current. It has a current. That's what it is. You therefore have to learn how to navigate it. It's never not going to have a current.

You focus on the great side of your relationship - but you need to also remember that you had high stress levels and were sad and angry. All relationships are balancing acts. They tip to one side and another. Yours had too much negative emotion and tipped down. Yes even during the down-tipping phase people can still hold out hope for things to end up well - but it doesn't always happen. So it's important not to see clearly the reality that yes, you were making future plans, but yes, you were also having serious problems. One does not preclude the other. And it makes perfect sense that if it tipped too much it was going to end.

It's not a mental problem to put up a wall when outside stress becomes too much :). It is a normal coping mechanism for many people. It's a way for the mind to focus on what it needs to. The brain does this all the time, every day. If it did not, it would be bombarded with every sound, every smell, every sense and could not make sense of the things it needed to focus on. The problem is not how he's coping - it's what drove him to the point of having to cope.

So what is the real problem here. Life had its normal changes, and your relationship failed. If you think the problems you had in those four years are rough, just think of the enormous issues that many couples face over their 20+ years of marriage, involving wild kids, evil bosses, house foreclosures, and far more. You were merely getting started. So you need to build that resiliency.

It's time to prove to him that the way you two reacted to previous stress was a mistake and that now you can handle stress far better. Again, these are just training grounds you're facing now. You absolutely must build the skills to deal with these stresses if you're going to face the future. So prove it to him. Show him that you're happy, enthusiastic about life, able to handle changes, and nothing can bother you long term. Prove to him with your daily actions that you can navigate the world's problems. That is what will draw him back to you - your daily, living proof of your building of those skills.

-- from Lisa
One of Your Friendly Advisors at RomanceClass.com

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