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My boyfriend has been abused and not sure what to do

Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:22 am
by ry
My boyfriend was abused physically and emotionally by his ex boyfriend as well as he was cheated on by his ex so you can probably imagine, my boyfriend has quite the trust issues and understandably so. He told me on our first date that his ex had punched him in the chest area causing my boyfriend to go to the hospital all because he refused to have sex with his ex. He also told me that his ex would constantly belittle him as well which has caused his self esteem to suffer. My boyfriend also pulled up his sleeve on our first date and showed my scars he has from when he used to cut himself. It seemed like he showed them to me to see if it would freak me out but it didn't freak me out one bit because I've met a lot of ppl who have cut themselves like that and I've even contemplated it myself when I was a teenager. We met on a dating site and it took us almost a month to go on our first date because he kept standing me up everytime we scheduled a date. I think he stood me up something like 5 times before we went on our first date. Long story short, he is not very good with communication. He goes thru periods where he will completely cut contact with me and won't talk to me for anywhere from several days to several weeks at a time and the longest period we've gone without talking has been a little over a month. Every time I've asked him if he still wants a relationship with me he says yes, he's never said no.

I haven't been able to see him in a couple months because of his anxiety. I know he wants to see me and I obviously want to see him really bad but he lets his fear get the best of him. I almost feel like we're in a long distance relationship even tho he lives about 30 mins away from me even in bad traffic and its really hard on me. I love him literally to death and I'm not ready to give up on him because I do see that he is trying to work thru all of this. He has talked about seeking professional help to work thru this but I'm not sure if he's gone thru with that yet because he has a hard time communicating with me. I would go to his house and try to talk to him but the problem is that he hasn't given me his apartment number yet because of his anxiety so I do know where he lives but I don't know which apartment. We don't have any mutual friends and I havent met his family yet so I feel like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place.

I am totally fine if he needs some space every so often or if he is nervous about going on a date, I'm fine if we cancel the date or postpone it but what I have a hard time with is his lack of communication. When he cuts contact with me he doesn't tell me he just stops texting me for a while. Its like he puts me at arms reach just so he can still keep me somewhat close but still have an out just in case I end up being like his ex. We have a hard time communicating because of this and I want to have a heart to heart talk with him but I feel like he'll just keep me at arms length out of fear. He told me before we started dating that one of his fears is that I would just up and leave him at some point in the relationship. He just texted me for the first time in a little over a month yesterday and during that month long hiatus I was texting him good morning and goodnight every single day and I wasn't doing that to be clingy or annoying I did that to show him that I wasnt going to just up and leave him. Sometimes, actually a lot of the times, I feel like he doesn't take notice of the effort I put in because I hardly get anything in return from him. I also remind myself that he probably does notice the effort I put in just by the fact that he still keeps texting me after these hiatus's specially after this most recent one.

My question is, how can he and I start communicating better? I know he wants this really bad just like I do but his fears and anxieties keep getting the best of him and he keeps me at arms length so that he has a way out if I hurt him in any way.

Re: My boyfriend has been abused and not sure what to do

Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:11 am
by Xanthia
Ry, greetings.

What you ask is a big deal. Communication is of utmost importance.
Sadly, we can only have control over ourselves. You've done very well to hang on to the relationship despite or in spite of everything, including lack of response.

So first up, congratulations for being such a good friend and for your awareness and sensitivity in understanding of yourself and this situation.

You're doing the right thing in my opinion for attempting a heart to heart discussion.
You want to share your concerns and feelings.
You'd like to know, as opposed to guessing, his reasons.
Hopefully, by now (given the date of your post) you've done so and life is going well for you both.
From what you shared, your friend has a gem from whom to regain trust and self respect, along with learning other positives.

If you have moved on from this relationship, I trust you've found a person who truly respects and appreciates you for your wonderful caring qualities.