Why do I get so attached?
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Due to the help of medications I am better and am able to think more logically. I know what is wrong and what is bad about how I feel but I just can't stop it. About a month ago, I broke up with my boyfriend and best friend of a year. One main reason the relationship went bad was because I would get so jealous and he felt very smothered by me. He said sometimes he would even get scared to call me if he was late because he knew I'd be in tears. A week after we broke up I got together with another boy, except we do not know each other very well.
I have been in a relationship for about a month. Already I have become dependent. I am constantly distressed by his inconsistent affection for me. For instance, when he is with his friends, I feel invisible. Sometimes it seems like he really likes me, other times not. What I hate the most is that I feel absolutely sick if he hasn't called me all day, I feel tightness in my chest. I cry, become depressed, and feel like my life is over. Then, when he calls I get so excited and happy and everything is fine again. Perhaps this is normal. The thing is, is that I know that just because he doesn't call doesn't mean he doesn't like me anymore, I also know that it is not the end of the world, but I get depressed anyway. Any advice?
Your ex-boyfriend seems to have assessed things pretty well. Healthy people don't like to be smothered; they don't like to be associated with someone who is insecure. You mentioned having been helped by medication. I would suggest that if you haven't you should pursue counseling too. I don't know much about your background aside from what you have told me but sometimes if we have experienced medical or emotional problems we can become fearful that no one will love us so we latch on to anyone, can't stand to be alone, and generally react fearfully and jealously. The result can be that in our search we find someone who is just as dependent as we are resulting in a very unhealthy mutually destructive relationship. Or if we find someone who is healthier than ourselves they can take only so much neediness, dependency, fears, before they realize that they want out of the relationship.
I would suggest that your solution is not a new boyfriend to cling to and get jealous over. Rather, I would suggest that you need to pursue some good quality cognitive therapy along with your medication. Work on yourself. Get yourself healthy. Make yourself healthier so you are attractive to and attracted by healthy people. You have a choice in how you feel because you have a choice in what you think. You mentioned that you couldn't stop the way you feel, but you can, with the help of medication (assuming you still need it) and cognitive-behavior therapy can help you down this healthier path.
One final comment, you seem to have a great deal of concern about your boyfriend's time and attention being spent on you. It is not healthy for you and him to have only each other in isolation of others. You should have your friend, he should have his and you should have friends in common. Relationships cannot remain intense and romantic all the time. As a relationship matures those things that initially attract a couple too each other and create an intense and romantic environment should begin to find a place in an overall relationship that has moments of romance and exclusive attention mixed with the more routine matters that two mature people deal with from what's for supper to who takes out the garbage. Just because you don't have your boyfriend's total attention does not mean that he doesn't love you anymore. But if you are depressed and crying and sick because he's not there you can very quickly become much less attractive to a healthy man.
Thomas H Schear
This question was answered by Thomas H Schear. Dr. Schear has over 20 years experience as a front line counselor, clinical supervisor, program director and college instructor. Currently he provides online and telephone counseling service as well as home-study and online course for the helping professional from his website.For more information visit: http://www.ccmsinc.net/