Is it anxiety? Out of love and confused

Postby Limb0 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:45 pm

Hi guys, I'll try keep this short. Looking for some insight, and to see if it's possible my fiancee (ex?) has maybe got anxiety.

Been together 5 years, have a 3 year old daughter, and a 6 year old son(another relationship,my son). We had a great relationship, great family and were engaged and always enjoyed each others company.

3 month ago she tells me she doesn't love me, felt this way after we had a miscarriage (ectopic 4 weeks) which was 8 months before she told me this, so 8 months of feeling uncertain about me and then getting more detached as time goes on. Can't get intimate or close as it triggers feelings of the miscarriage. She's on citalopram for depression (possible wrong diagnosis imo) and getting counseling for grief/bereavement. She says she feels numb towards me and empty, as if she's changed and just wishes more than anything we could go back to how we were and that her feelings would come back. She's tried twice since to get close and intimate, both times bought back feelings of being alone and upset with the miscarriage.

We still live together and get on ok, haven't argued in 5 years and even still now haven't had a proper one. But we are currently two single people living together in this limbo, I love her more than I can explain and I'd do anything for her, but I can't live like this forever and just want us to find our way back and have a future together.

So yeah, could it possibly be anxiety? Maybe even PTSD. I know there's an element of depression there but certainly not severe as she looks after herself, still sees friends, eats well, laughs and sings, works etc, the only thing really out of sync is her sleep, she will talk to herself and fidget shuffle around etc. Any replies be greatly appreciated, many thanks, Limb0

Sorry I forgot to add, she has said she loves me as our daughters father, but cannot love me romantically or in the way a bf should love a gf
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:36 pm

Limb0 wrote:Sorry I forgot to add, she has said she loves me as our daughters father, but cannot love me romantically or in the way a bf should love a gf


I think this is key.

Let's assume she has PTSD, anxiety, depression, or XYZ disorder. Let's now assume you cure all of them. We have a magic machine that confirms she is 100% cured of all disorders.

The end result...

She still doesn't love you romantically. She still only sees you as her daughter's father.

Why?

Because her mental issues are not the cause of why she doesn't see you as a romantic partner anymore. There are plenty of relationships where partners grow disenfranchised with one another after it hits them that the person they decided to have a child with isn't doing it for them anymore.

Now, take this with a huge grain of salt as I know effectively nothing about you. Based on what you wrote you are a "nice guy". You have not had a solid fight in 5 years? She probably thinks of being ravished by the bad boy. She likes you, she thinks you are a great guy and she sees you as very caring....too caring.

I most certainly can be wrong with my assessment regarding what she is looking for in a romantic relationship. What we both do know, is you currently are not it.

My best advice is to stop looking to address the actual problem indirectly. Instead of searching for secondary causes in her mental health, focus on direct causes. Focus in on what she wants romantically.

Note, she might not be willing to be entirely honest with what she actually wants romantically. It sounds like you both avoid conflict. She might, unintentionally, be guiding or leading you to believe that her lack of romantic issues is tied to her mental state. She probably believes it herself.
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#2

Postby Limb0 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:25 pm

Thanks for the reply Richard.

I have of course thought about this before, what if it isn't these things such as anxiety or grief etc. What if she doesn't find me physically attractive. And I've asked and asked, to point that she gets frustrated, she's adamant that isn't to do with looks, she said she finds me attractive or good looking, and that it's deeper than that, she cannot fully explain it which is frustrating for us both, I've asked wether it was the sex, she said its not, I've asked her to he completely blunt and honest, since we've nothing to lose at this point, we're already at the point of preparing to move out etc.

We didn't fight btw since we haven't up untill this point had any reason to do so. We always got along together and are quite laid back in our nature, but we are by no means pushovers, we will speak our mind if we have to. And the whole bad boy thing I don't think is what she's looking for, I don't think she's looking for a man who loves to fight or steal or etc. Our sex life was never boring either, we were quite open minded.

All I have to go off is the fact that this as I'm told all started after the miscarriage. So how can we be very happy together, just got engaged, all over each other, planning our lives together and planning the future of our future child, if she knew I wasn't right? Why accept my proposal, why want to spend so much time with me and always be affectionate until that point?

Another thing I didn't mention, it's hard to get it all out and articulate properly, so much to say... On the day of the miscarriage, I wasn't there at the appointment where she was told she was having an ectopic and then followed the trauma, prior to this appointment I asked wether or not she'd like me there with her, I was working and I was naive enough to ask rather than insist on going, she told me was fine, she tells me that on that day that I wasn't there with her, she felt I didn't care, so she says she started to not care about the relationship, started to feel that I was vanishing alongside the dream of our second baby. I asked if she needed me there, she said no, I was stupid and thought no more of it, thought ah she is handling things ok and holds the same optimism and outlook as I do. Of course I was wrong, but also I feel she was wrong to tell me she was fine.

When we have got intimate she has told me that it brings back feelings of the miscarriage, so as I take what she's told me how can I lean towards anything other than her mental state?
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:51 pm

Limb0 wrote: When we have got intimate she has told me that it brings back feelings of the miscarriage, so as I take what she's told me how can I lean towards anything other than her mental state?


The mental state is certainly important. It is that you are picking...as is she...a particular moment in time, one particular event as the "trigger" or the metaphorical straw that broke the camels back.

It is understandable given that is what she tells you. It is that moment in time, that event that she can use to articulate her feelings. That doesn't make it "the cause". Exploring the miscarriage as the cause is like exploring the crash site of a plane. It is the most dramatic, salient thing that attracts our focus, but the cause of the crash actually started years prior when the maintenance schedule began to falter and went unnoticed.

You are looking at her thoughts. How about taking time to reflect on what has changed in your behavior over the years? It wasn't your thoughts that changed her opinion of her romantic feelings towards you. Your behaviors, e.g. not showing up to an important event or no longer doing X or Y or Z, changed her thoughts. There were most certainly normal changes in your behavior as well as her behavior that probably went unnoticed.

You missed the warning signs as did she that romance was fading. You missed the changes in your romantic behaviors towards one another. That isn't a matter of it being her anxiety, depression, or the miscarriage.

I hope that makes sense. Again, I'm not saying her mental health is not a factor. It is just that when it comes to discussing an issue like this, I have found it best to look at primary versus secondary causes. Spend your time focusing on the points of real leverage that directly address the issue rather than potential levers that may or may not do much of anything.
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#4

Postby Limb0 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:54 pm

If she could just turn around and tell me bluntly and plainly here are the reasons I don't love you or feel the way I used to about you... Then I'd have closure, reason and I'd be able to accept it and move on with my life. But the fact she says she has no idea, and has no idea why she can't get close or why these feelings surface, and has no idea wether she wants to move out and end our relationship entirely, she has on many occasions said that she feels she might regret it once she has got help for the grief and trauma, she has said things such as 'if we had that baby I know our relationship would still be fine'. It's hard for me to just quit on her and leave her to find a new place (we rent this one privately, landlord won't accept benefits) and have all the stresses on top of which she has already got.

Another to mention... She has had one session with her counselor, this lady said to her that you are experiencing grief around the relationship, this is because you felt that day that you lost your soulmate, my ex said that these words resonated with her
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#5

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Sep 29, 2019 4:59 pm

Limb0 wrote:Another to mention... She has had one session with her counselor, this lady said to her that you are experiencing grief around the relationship, this is because you felt that day that you lost your soulmate, my ex said that these words resonated with her


It can resonate all she likes. It doesn't make it the cause.

If that single day was enough to destroy all the years of a relationship, then arguably the relationship was built on a weak foundation. Arguably the relationship was never strong. But, I don't get that from you.

I get that you had a strong relationship that had been built over years. There were layers upon layers. Those had to be torn down over years, not in one single event.

You can't really have it both ways. You can't argue that both (1) you had a strong relationship and (2) the relationship was destroyed over one event. Those two narratives do not match.
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#6

Postby Limb0 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:01 pm

Thanks again Richard for your reply and insight. We've talked about the relationship, talked about what's changed, and she cannot find any flaws in the relationship neither in me as a partner, we'd go on holiday twice a year, once together and then with the kids. I proposed to her in Amsterdam, I always tried to be romantic and we'd often go out to the cinema or for a beer, or with friends. I think that it is her choice to look at it the way she is, and she's looking at it from a bleak and foggy perspective. I've gone over and over in my mind where I have gone wrong prior to all of this. And the only time I've messed up is when I wasn't there at that appointment. I haven't changed in terms of personality or in terms physically. The only thing that has perhaps changed is our lifestyle, we both work and sometimes with a hectic schedule we don't get that time and freedom in which we used to, but with our parents always willing to childmind we'd always find at least once or twice in a month the time for us to spend a full day or weekend together.
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#7

Postby Limb0 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:04 pm

You say a relationship can't be destroyed over one event? What about an affair? Also everything I've read in relation to miscarriage and the breakdown of relationships is that it can truly tear a relationship apart. And that's mainly lack of communication. But I'm not a mind reader, I asked her how she was etc told her I'm there for her, she didn't communicate, she kept it bottled up.

I've also read about depression causing the SO to feel like they've fell out of love. Also anxiety to do this too, to make them doubt relationship and question irrationality many aspects of the relationship.

I've done alot of searching the past 3 months and read about miscarriage being known as 'the loneliest grief of all' how it can cause detachment and numbness towards others. So is it really not possible for her to have convinced herself or put up walls against me? She's said in the past couple of weeks, that I deserve better, that she's not good enough, that she doesn't deserve another baby, that I'm too good for her etc. This to me doesn't sound rational
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#8

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:08 pm

Limb0 wrote: I haven't changed in terms of personality or in terms physically.


You have been together 5 years and you have not changed?

You write as if you believe that to be a good thing. You write as if you believe that because you have not changed, that your lack of change cannot be what contributes to her no longer having romantic feelings for you.

You believe she has changed, but you have not. You believe her personality has changed, while your personality has remained the same. You do not see a problem with that thought process?
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#9

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:11 pm

Limb0 wrote:You say a relationship can't be destroyed over one event? What about an affair?


An affair is not a single event. An affair doesn't just happen.

The affair is not "the cause" even though it is the crash. It is the focus of attention, but the cause can be traced back to the strength of the underlying relationship.
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#10

Postby Limb0 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:13 pm

I don't believe that, sorry, an affair can be a drunken one night stand, to some it could be forgiven to others perhaps not, therefore a single event that has caused the breakdown of a relationship.
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#11

Postby Limb0 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:20 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:
Limb0 wrote: I haven't changed in terms of personality or in terms physically.


You have been together 5 years and you have not changed?


Change in terms of what though exactly? I've grown a beard? I was already a dad so I didn't have to exactly change into a parent? I learnt how to play chess and cut down on my personal use of marijuana? But in terms of my personality I cannot tell you that I've had any dramatic changes to that of my character, I've not become less patient or more angry, I've not become lazy, I haven't become miserable or moody, I have not become less caring or affectionate.

In terms of her changes, these are ones of which she has declared herself, I haven't stated myself that I feel she has changed, she feels that herself. To me I don't believe she has changed for the worse like she seems to, she is a great mother, was a great fiancee. Her change I think she refers to is the way the guilt and grief and dashing of dreams she has experienced is currently making her feel
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#12

Postby Limb0 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:36 pm

Richard, I also put to you this, what exactly would you call a strong relationship? I've known relationships to last for many of years, but the relationship has been in no means strong, arguing all the time, full of deceit and stress and drama, is that strong because it's lasted 30 years?

Our relationship was definitely strong. We laughed together all the time. We did caring things for one and other. We didn't argue of stupid inane sh**, we didn't have any drama because there was nothing to cause any drama since neither of us are petulant. We loved each others company and were excited for our future. We both worked and shared chores. We both had good outgoing social lives, neither of us got jealous since there was alot of trust, neither of us controlled or told one and other what we must or must not do (unless very necessary, but never the case as neither of us are stupid and overstep any lines).

So if that's not strong then what on earth is?
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#13

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:51 pm

Limb0 wrote:I don't believe that, sorry, an affair can be a drunken one night stand


You don't believe it. Okay.

Return to my statement regarding whether or not a relationship was built on a solid foundation. You believe any relationship, no matter the strength of that relationship, can result in a drunken one night stand?

You are telling me that you do not believe there are relationships that exist where neither partner would have an affair, even when drunk?

No need to answer as the questions are rhetorical. Affairs born out of drunken one night stands don't just happen to any relationship.

The relationship of 5 years you present is one of strength, where suddenly out of the blue, a single event takes apart everything that was built. I don't believe that.

And that is the picture you are trying to paint. You are presenting a narrative where you can only think of a single point in time, a single event, a single error in your judgment and suddenly this strong relationship built over 5 years crumbles in an instant, her losing romantic feelings in a single traumatic instant. I don't believe that.

Anyway...I don't expect that you will consider the path I have proposed worth your time and I have no real desire to convince you otherwise.

Hopefully another member chimes in and gives you an alternative that is more aligned with what you wish to believe. Maybe look at some of Candid's advice on CPTSD. It might be useful for the direction you are currently exploring.
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#14

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:01 pm

Limb0 wrote:...is that strong because it's lasted 30 years?


Time is not an indication of strength.

Our relationship was definitely strong. We laughed together all the time. We did caring things for one and other. We didn't argue of stupid inane sh**, we didn't have any drama because there was nothing to cause any drama since neither of us are petulant. We loved each others company and were excited for our future. We both worked and shared chores. We both had good outgoing social lives, neither of us got jealous since there was alot of trust, neither of us controlled or told one and other what we must or must not do (unless very necessary, but never the case as neither of us are stupid and overstep any lines).

So if that's not strong then what on earth is?


One that includes romantic feelings equal in strength to the foundation of the relationship. This means, feelings of love that are so strong that a drunken one night stand is beyond laughable, and that a miscarriage is not enough to be the singular reason a relationship is destroyed.
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