Anonymous asks :

Hi, I am at my wits end. I sold up my house to move in with my boyfriend I had to give up work due to disability. I got universal credit but it stopped because of my house sale and money my partner earns put me above the limit . He and I were engaged but now he said he doesnt want to marry ever. He goes out at weekends and gets drunk and when drunk he has said he doesnt think we are working out. He said I'm controlling if I say he doesn't respect me enough to let me know if he will be in to eat with me. He has drinks after work and now said I'm putting a time limit on that I haven't but I do worry about his drinking and asked if he was an alcoholic, regardless to say that went down like a lead balloon. I just wish he would want to do things with me instead of feeling its right and proper to go out to the pub cos he has a hard job and needs to unwind. When at home he sits on the Internet reading the latest news and I sit next to him watching TV. No real conversation. I'm heartbroken. Should I just cut my loses and try and find a place on my own?

I can appreciate your ‘wits end’ position and your message gives the impression that you are frustrated, anxious and confused which could leave you feeling insecure. It makes me wonder, has there been any real communication between you both (when your boyfriend is sober and not hungover) about the stresses and changes going on in your relationship? Couples who avoid conversations around their true emotions to avoid causing upset (both emotional and financial) is destructive in the long term.

Agony Aunt on Female First

Agony Aunt on Female First

You mention financial concerns in your letter, which alone can cause a huge strain on relationships. Knowledge gives reassurance, so check your financial status and where you stand legally if the worst fear was to happen, and you separate. You say your boyfriend ‘goes to the pub to unwind from work’ and are worried about his level of drinking. On top of this, I get the impression that you are feeling isolated and rejected which is being experienced both physically and emotionally.

Ask yourself what is really going on here? Have the financial pressures led to low moods and anxiety? Would his drinking be an issue if you were secure of his commitment and spent quality time together? You say that when you’re both home together, you are not spending any time with each other and there is ‘no real conversation’ between you. This lack of communication is not healthy, and it seems like there’s more to this than just needing a bit of down time.

I understand that it can be hard to find the courage to raise the real issues in your relationship, but without bringing these to light, you will stay in the same negative place you are in currently. However, making this step to reconnect with your boyfriend on an emotional level should not come with any expectations. It is important to be aware that you may not get the answer you want to hear but either way, this conversation should offer some sort of resolution or closure to your concerns. As much as it’s painful, perhaps scary, and a risk, things will only get more toxic if they are not addressed. Discuss your feelings with you boyfriend in a neutral space. Talk to him honestly and equally about how you really feel - without blame, accusations, belittling and point scoring, and listen to his side as well.

You should also reflect inwards and ask yourself why you are so unhappy. Are there other factors in your life aside from your relationship that are making you feel low? Do you feel isolated? What is your support network like? Do you have any hobbies or activities of your own so you have some quality time for yourself? It is vital to have your own life, and not be partner dependant, no matter how low you feel right now – even the best relationships allow independence. It’s essential in a balanced relationship not to lose your sense of worth, identity and autonomy.

If your boyfriend is drinking and experiencing other avoidant behaviours as your message implies, maybe he has not felt able to be honest about what’s going on for him too, or as hard as it sounds, he may simply not be confident enough to be honest about your relationship. Seeking professional support, via a counsellor can help you off load, find objective ground and gain confidence. I believe you and your boyfriend would both benefit from this.

Answer provided by Dee Johnson, a senior accredited integrative therapist and BACP member, specialising in relationships, addiction, self-harm, trauma, anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, self-esteem, abuse, grief, bereavement and low mood. To contact Dee for help with your own issues, please email >>> [email protected]

Want to speak to someone about your mental health, day to day concerns or reach a specific life goal? Follow the link below to find thousands of BACP registered and accredited counsellors like Dee who specialise in a whole host of therapeutic disciplines and mental health issues >>>

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