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Long-term boyfriend suddenly cold towards me? Depression or sick of me?

By Anonymous July 5, 2017 - 4:52am
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My boyfriend and I have been in a committed relationship for 18 months and have occasionally discussed marriage (he is usually the one to initiate those conversations). We've been happy for the majority of our time together and when one or both of us do have problems we always support each other and try to avoid taking it out on each other (if one of us inadvertently does, that person tends to apologise straight away and things are fine). Because of work commitments etc., we usually only see each other once or twice a week, but we usually keep up a regular contact with text messages and phone calls when we don't see each other and it's always worked out really well. Up til now I've always felt loved and that our relationship is in quite a healthy place.

Recently, my boyfriend has had some career problems which have shaken him pretty badly. He recently changed careers as he couldn't cope with the stress of his old career, and while he likes his new one he feels he failed for not sticking with the old one. I've tried to be there for him and support him throughout this and initially he asked for my support and said over and over he appreciated it, wanted me to cuddle him when he was feeling down and phoned me for advice, etc.
All of a sudden, in this past week or two, however, he seems to have changed towards me with no apparent reason. Last time I saw him, he was still nice to me and although he was sad he didn't take it out on me but talked to me about it and I listened to him and comforted him.

However, all of a sudden he has stopped messaging me, or when he does, it's maybe a brief sentence every couple of days. All of a sudden he won't come out to see me during the week, because the 20-30 minute drive, which he never had a problem with throughout our whole relationship, is 'a long drive' or 'a trek' and if I offer to come see him by train (I can't drive) he says it's 'too dangerous.' We still saw each other on the weekend though and things seemed fine between us, despite him being upset with other things, so I figured maybe he's just a bit upset still and doesn't feel up for the things he normally does. I asked at one point if he was upset with me and he said no.

This week he was back to sporadic messages only consisting of a handful of words, and I thought maybe tonight I'd ring and just see if he was okay and how he was doing. He was so irritable, cold and aloof with me on the phone I wish I hadn't tried to. He was so unlike himself-- although he's been in a bad mood before, when he's upset with something else he doesn't usually treat me any differently, but complains TO me about the problems and I commiserate with him. Today he sounded annoyed that I was even speaking to him, and I felt so uncomfortable I didn't stay on the phone long. I asked him how he was doing and a bit about his day and his weekend and he answered in abrupt answers like 'fine' or 'the same' or 'I don't remember', in a really grumpy tone of voice. I felt my call was unwelcome but I tried to stay normal so as not to upset him further, signed off, reminded him I was always here if he needed to talk about everything that had been going on (he normally appreciates this; today he gruffly said 'thanks,' just sounding annoyed), I said have a good night and he gruffly said 'bye.'

I have never seen him like this before and I don't know what to do going forward.

I have read on several sites that often people with depression tend to push their partners away without realising, and I wondered if this was what this was, and if so I want to know how I can be there for him in the way he needs without pushing him too much when he needs to be on his own.

However, I am also worried he's suddenly gone off me, or is angry at me for something, and I don't know why, as I have done nothing to him other than support him. We haven't fought lately either. I can't think of any reason he'd be suddenly really annoyed with me and not wanting to be around me, so I don't understand.
( I remember in our first year of dating he was talking about how when he isn't interested in a girl, he is deliberately cold to them so they back off. I really hope that's not what this is. Given we've been together and serious for a long time and have been talking about a long-term future, I would really hope if he had an issue with me he'd tell me rather than do something like that, especially as I've been his girlfriend for a year and a half, I'm not just some random girl showing an unwanted interest. And usually when he has had a problem to do with me he has talked to me, so again this seems unlike him, but I still worry that he might be deliberately pushing me away).

I don't know how to deal with this situation. I wish I could talk to him and ask him what's wrong, but I feel that right now that might bother him further. If he is sinking into depression, and pushing me away because of this, what can I do to help him through it without making things worse?

If he has suddenly got a problem with me, how do I talk to him about this? I don't know what I'm supposed to have done to him. Either way, I'm feeling really hurt. Given we've been through so much together, and had been planning a future, I don't just want to walk away from him, but I don't know what's the best course of action to make things better.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? What do you think I should do?

(Sorry this got so long)

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Hello Anonymous,

Welcome to EmpowHER. Thank you for reaching out to our community. I am sure there are members who have had a similar experience and will offer suggestions.

This may all be related to his career issues. Be supportive and loving. Give him time to work things through.


July 5, 2017 - 7:35am
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