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#438821 - 06/21/13 03:47 PM Re: how do you handle the distance? [Re: imperfection85]
imperfection85 Offline

Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 18
Candu, thanks for your reply.

I also see what you are saying and appreciate your feedback. I guess for me for the majority of our year it has been good and it's only been recently that he has been withdrawn but he has spoken to me about it and is aware of it. This question was just more about me having a hard time dealing with it at the time. Thanks very much for your insight, it always helps to see things from the perspective of another!
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have

#439852 - 07/03/13 02:38 AM Re: how do you handle the distance? [Re: imperfection85]
truestory Offline

Registered: 06/30/13
Posts: 1
My ex and I broke up a couple of months ago, mainly because of the emotional distance.

How did I go day-by-day with such distance? Honestly, I tried to go the healthiest route possible and remind myself to not take it personally, take care of myself, offer support when he seemed ready to accept it, etc. The catch was that the emotional distance, which he felt incapable of controlling, hurt both of us -- we both felt alone, isolated, unsupported by the other. It was heartbreaking. I would have stuck it out, but doing so would have been dependent on me learning to be satisfied with table scraps rather than a full meal. After 18-mos, he was starving to death and left the relationship in order to pursue emotional connection elsewhere. I don't blame him, really.

Please, do not make the mistake of thinking that seeing him while he's shut-down would make this distance more bearable. It doesn't work that way. My ex and I loved one another deeply, had future plans, lived together and saw each other most days...but the emotional distance was an absolute killer for both of us. We sat on the couch next to each other often, having "date night" at home with dinner and a movie; those nights were some of our loneliest. We went on a 2 week road trip to surf and camp and hang out on the sun - we never fought, saw some amazing sites, look happy in pictures, etc. The truth is we were quietly miserable, quietly lonely and his desperation to escape those feelings was increasing.

Our friends had no idea how sad and lonely we both were. No one knew how depressed he was. He's a very high-achieving and well-loved guy - tons of friends and lots of professional success in a very 'cool' field. He appears to live a charmed life. People who saw us together had no idea - no one knew about his rage or his suicidal thoughts or his inability to emotionally connect to an available and loving partner. So sad.

I've heard that a healthy relationship has a 80/20 ratio of fun/work: 80% fun, 20% work. In order to justify staying in relationship with my CSA survivor, in light of his depression and emotional distance, I had to trick myself into thinking 5% fun equaled 80%. Some of the sweet or thoughtful things he did became exponentially more meaningful than they would under other, more ordinary relationship circumstances. Something mildly thoughtful he did became the 'sweetest thing in the whole world' in my mind.

If he is distancing now, I suggest you prepare yourself to meet your own emotional needs for the extent of the relationship. Seriously. I fully believe survivors of CSA can heal but I don't think it's fair to expect them to meet your emotional needs while they're learning to honestly identify and meet their own.

#440622 - 07/11/13 05:25 AM Re: how do you handle the distance? [Re: imperfection85]
imperfection85 Offline

Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 18
Hi truestory, thanks for your response

Sorry I didn't see this until now- sorry to hear about your situation, but at least now you can pursue something that will give you what you truly need!

I understand exactly what you mean about the 5% ratio thing- when they are so emotionally distracted and not present, it's hard to have those needs met. I can definitely relate to holding on to the little things that he did, because positive moments were so rare that you almost can't help but hold onto them and amplify their value in your mind, but it is just due to the scarcity of them

Thanks very much for your advice, I am trying to take the time to meet my own needs right now and do things to keep myself healthy and safe. Feel free to pm any time if you would like to chat about anything!
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have

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