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Includes Expert Content
Selfish partner - emotionally distant
csc85 posted:
I have been with my boyfriend nearly 9 years. He's a wonderful guy. Smart, attractive,good job, kind... All the qualities anyone could possibly ask for. He's not controlling, he cooks, cleans, the whole works. He just has one flaw. Unfortunately this one flaw is making me question our relationship. He's incredibly selfish. When he gets overwhelmed or depressed he shuts down completely. I try to understand and be patient but I can only take so much. He won't tell me what's bothering him. We still have a cordial relationship it's just very unemotional. "How was your day.", "good, you?". I feel like I get along really well with my roommate but I don't have a boyfriend. The hardest part for me is that when I tell him this, it doesn't phase him. I would be devastated if he told me I felt more like a roommate than a girlfriend! But nothing's changed. In all the times I've tried to talk to him, nothing's changed. I've also never been so sexually frustrated in my life. The rare instances when we do have sex, I always have to initiate. This tends to have an effect on a girls ego.

I love him more than anything in the world. I just don't feel like I'm IN love with him the way I use to be. I would hate to throw 8 (mostly) happy years away but I also don't want to be miserable for the next 8.
fcl responded:
Have you considered counselling together? It would help you identify the areas that you could both work on and help you decide on your priorities for the future ...
There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
dfromspencer responded:
My first suggestion would be to slap him upside the head. But after your explanation, it would do no good! Talking to him seems to be out of the question, since he is so unresponsive, are you sure he is still alive???

You need to sit him down, then sit on him so he can't move, then explain yourself, your feelings about this, to him, then ask him how to we fix this??? You see, us men are always the fixers, we always try to fix things, so, give your problem to him, and ask him to help fix it. If I was approached like that, I would be all over trying to fix it!!! Some men, however, will never change, no matter how hard you try. And, I hate to say this, a selfish guy, is an immature guy. One who still needs to grow up in that particular way. Selfishness comes from childhood, and it will probably take counseling to get him to quit that emotion, altogether? I myself, was very stingy. Everything I wanted, I got. My wife (ex), would get soooo frustrated with me, she would actually hit me. It took me many long years to figure this out for myself. If I had some counseling back then, who knows where I would be today? Now, I have the exact same problem, only in reverse. Now, I think of everyone else first, before myself. And a good guy always finishes last, I should know, i'm living proof!!!

I hope you can get him to see the light, either with counseling, or on his own!!! I wish you the best of luck!!!

csc85 replied to fcl's response:
I would love to do counseling. I have been to counseling on my own before and found it incredibly helpful. I haven't said anything about counseling recently but I did in the past. He suffered from (and still does on and off) depression when he was in high school. They made him go to a counseler then and he hated it. So now he's convinsed that it doesn't work. So again, it's about what HE wants/doesn't want to do. But I think at this point it's our only option. If he doesn't agree to it I guess it just shows how much he's really invested in this. Thanks for the advice!
csc85 replied to dfromspencer's response:
I LOVE your first suggestion! Believe me, I've already thought about that one. I appreciate your insight about the selfish personality type. It absolutely started from childhood. He's an only child and adopted so yeah, he's spent his whole life on a pedistall. I partially blame myself because I've done the same thing with him. I will bend over backwards to mkae him happy. I just fear that he's gotten so used to it that he takes me for granted. I'm going to try and get him to agree to counseling but like I said said to FCL, it might not go so well. Thank you for the advise. If all else fails I'll just go with the slap!
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to csc85's response:
I'm curious about whether he is selfish all the time - or more when he's depressed. I'm wondering this because depression causes people to shut down. They often can't see beyond their own troubled thoughts and feelings. Similarly, people who are depressed often are much less interested in sex- or anything else, for that matter. So, perhaps what you are seeing in your boyfriend is less selfishness and more depression??

In any case, couple therapy sounds like a good idea. Perhaps he will agree to go if he thinks that he will lose you without it. (Though this need not be stated as an ultimatum, the reality is that these problems are pulling the two of you apart. However, sometimes an ultimatum is the "slap" some people need.)
sluggo45692 responded:
We all know relationships are a 2 person activity. I'm glad you have a wonderful guy that does all those things for you. Don't throw 9 years away. If he doesn't think therapy works, it won't. Give him a goal to get it to work. Do what you have to do to keep the relationship alive. Meet with the therapist first. You've been with him for 9 years and should know what he responses to. He was forced to see a therapist. If you were forced to do something, would you think it would work? You may have to make an ultimatum. You say your sexually frustrated. Just because you have to initiate it, doesn't make it your fault. You want what you want. Get it from him. When he's sitting on the couch after one of those days, walk up to him and just start stripping and tell him he's going to work now. Be aggressive. I know when I'm down, I wish my gf would just grab me by the "boys" and take me to town.When she's frustrated, I want to know about it. Don't be sorry about taking care of your bf and don't let him take you for granted. My ex took me for granted. One of the many reasons she's my ex-wife. Now I'm not taken for granted and not sexually frustrated. I agree with all of the other people who posted. Talk to him, mentally slap him, grab him by the "boys" do what ever you have to do if you want to keep this relationship. If it means you have to bend over one way or another, you go girl. But don't be his roomy. Be his partner. If he doesn't want a partner, then live for yourself. Good Luck
csc85 replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
The depression definitly makes it worse. This makes it especially difficult for me. I know he's sick so I feel guilty being concerned about how I feel. Plus, his depression comes and goes. So when it's really bad, I let my frustration build up and then when I've had enough and want to talk to him, he's better. So at this point I don't want to say anything to set him off again. So I just continue to let things build up and I'm afraid I'm just gonna blow up one day.
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to csc85's response:
I can understand your feeling of guilt, but I hope you understand that you are doing nothing wrong. A happy relationship means that both people need to be happy in it -- not all the time, but on balance. And I can't imagine any relationship working well in the long run if one of the partners feels held hostage (not equal in asserting their wants and needs).

Your boyfriend's depression is, unfortunately, making you both unhappy. From what you've described, it sounds like therapy is the best course of action to help him and to help your relationship. Therapy can help you work together in coping with his depression.

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