Dating Answers

Tell me why the guy chose her over me never said he liked me hurt me bad and now I’m scared

Hello, Thank you for reaching out to Betterhelp. I am so sorry that you are going through this and are going through so much pain. It sounds like he really meant a lot to you, and it is awful when they do not feel the same way. It also sounds like you were not able to fully express how much you cared about him.  So what now? You might expect me to say that there are plenty of fish in the sea, which is true. But we also have to work on your skills as a fisherman. ;) What I would first have you focus on is self-love, self-compassion, and confidence. The truth is you are enough. Always have been. Our mistake is letting other people they have that power over us. They do not. We can either look at as him choosing another person over you OR he made a choice, unfortunate for him, because he missed out on an incredible person, YOU.  Let us get started on self-love. Some of us look at that word and cringe. Like, what does that even mean? It sounds cheesy because others have defined as so. But self-love is important. It means treating ourselves like how we want others to treat us (duh), but you would be surprised at how much we can get used to. But as long as we remember how bright our own lights shine, we won't even focus on the shadows.  Self-love starts with being honest and real with ourselves. It is taking a mirror and looking at the reflection of our soul. We have to understand who we are and things that we can improve.  Physical Changes: A lot of us neglect our physical selves. This can include eating junk food, not drinking enough water, low physical exercise, postponing that haircut, even indulging in a new lipstick. All of these are important because they boost us up. We expect significant others to do nice things for us because we would do the same for them. If this is not true for you,  please continue reading. Let me ask you this, so how can we expect something from others that we are not even doing for ourselves?  Girl, buy yourself flowers and chocolates because YOU CAN. You will get it right every time because YOU KNOW YOU. It hits different, trust. You would be surprised how many of us are not meeting our basic needs. We treat our bodies like crap without a second thought. We passively mistreat ourselves. That is not okay.  We do not prioritize drinking water. That doesn't sound too harmful, right? Well, have you ever seen a plant that has not been watered? They look so sad, they slouch, 0/10 confidence that is for sure! When you drink water, your body will thank you. No one else can do this for you. The exact same thing with eating. Have you ever gone to the movies and ate a whole bucket of popcorn? Have you been able to eat that same bucket of popcorn at any other setting? Why do you think that is? Because we are distracted with the movie. We are not consciously eating. We are somewhere else, in a different galaxy. This can be detrimental because we end up consuming more than we need to. It is like overfilling your gas tank with crappy fuel. How do you expect it to run? Think about long term? We are misinformed to think that we can run like a Prius.  So next time you are consuming a bag of chips, ask yourself, "Why am I eating this? Does it make me happy? Or does it help me escape?". I am not saying eating a bag of chips is bad by any means. I am saying that I want you to be conscious and MINDFUL. Savor it, enjoy it, be intentional.  Now for physical activities. We are accustomed to overworking and sitting our desks for hours on end. Yes, this means you are a hard worker. But your body also needs to move because it is also a hard worker. Our bodies are meant to be used. PLEASE USE IT. Go for a walk, do yoga, stretch, etc. This helps release those feel-good hormones. Who doesn't like to feel a natural high? Emotional Changes: The way we talk to ourselves is indicative of how we let others talk to us. We have that inner voice that can often be an inner critic. Be aware of this. Our inner critic is also developed from people in our lives who have been overly critical, negative, naggy, and all those not-so-fun things. I have had clients identify them as their parents, bullies, siblings, and ex. It is amazing who we let overstay their welcome in our heads.  If this, is you, I want you to close your eyes and imagine that person who is overstaying their welcome in your welcome. Now, you are going to kick them out. Go ahead, open the door, and ask them to leave. Now SHUT THAT DOOR.  Now I want to imagine someone in your life who has inspired you, motivated you, encouraged you. Someone who would come and help you whenever you need it. Do you have that person in mind? Good, now imagine them knocking on your door. Now open the door and let them in.  Remember, you have control over that door. That door represents boundaries. The same door can be used to let someone in and kick someone out. It is powerful. It is your power. See, I told you that you have always been enough.  I am a firm believer in energy. You feel it when you walk into a room, haven't you? You feel it when someone is off, sad, happy, angry all of the above. Every day, you carry energy. It is always your choice on where you will allocate it. Sometimes we waste it on others. You might be commuting to work, and someone cuts you off. You flip them off or you mutter a few words under your breath. That took energy. You can use that same energy and say, "Well that was shitty, but they probably have somewhere to go." Same energy, but you carry it differently.  Your energy can also be used by other people. I am sure you have heard the term "energy vampires" before? We have a lot of those people in our lives. It can be difficult when it is family, friends, co-workers, or even part of your job. What I encourage all of my clients learn are "assertive boundaries".  These are the "I-Statements" that allow you to use your power. You can say, "I appreciate you considering me, but I am going to decline" or "I see that you are upset but I am going to walk away so this does not escalate", or "I would appreciate assistance with this large project."  These "I-Statements" will be applied in your relationships. This is where you express your needs and communicate your emotions.  So this is just a snap shot of what your trusted mental health professional can help you work on. These are the things that will build that strong foundation for future relationships. So I hope that you continue the self-love, self-compassion, and always know that YOU ARE ENOUGH.       
Answered on 10/21/2021

Is it possible to want to die everytime you think about going out in public?

Dear PP,   Thank you for your message and for sharing with me how you've been interacting with yourself, especially on how you've been handling unpleasant feelings and emotions in your relationship. As you said this has also affected your life significantly. Perhaps by addressing how to handle unpleasant emotions in a healthier manner, we can dive into addressing the issues in your life as well?   Often the experience we've had about anxiety (or any strong emotion such as stress / depression) was so terrible (even physically) that our body sort of becomes traumatized to it. We naturally become nervous about these unpleasant feelings because we don't like these sensations and experiences. As a result, we would do everything we can to avoid / fight these anxious feelings, often using numbing techniques such as using substances or distracting ourselves. Yet only to find that the anxiety gets stronger over time because we have never been able to make peace with it.   Therefore rather than trying to "change" / "fight" / "get rid of" these unpleasant sensations, perhaps the best thing that we can do is to make room for these feelings and even sensations while staying on track to do what brings us meaning and fulfillment. Floating without judging / blaming ourselves through the anxiety experience, while focusing on making room for anxiety can be helpful.   Here is a short video put up by the author of the book "The Happiness Trap" which does a good job explaining this concept:   Please take some time to watch this and share your thoughts later :) I also highly recommend picking that book as well to supplement this therapy process.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCp1l16GCXI    We as human beings do not like suffering, therefore often times we would be doing our best to fight it. However just like the analogy of swimming vs floating that we have talked about before, the more we fight it, the faster we sink. While if we can learn to float with these waves, we will realize that we won't sink.   Radical acceptance / Expansion is about accepting life on life's terms and not resisting what you cannot or choose not to change. Radical Acceptance is about saying yes to life and all that life brings (including all sorts of emotions such as joy, sadness, peace, and pain), just as it is without forcing our ways into our lives.   Why do we want to accept life as it is? Because with anything that we do in life that brings us meaning and fulfillment, it always accompanies a wide range of emotions, we can't possibly just choose the ones that we like and fight / avoid those that we don't like. Learning to experience all emotions as they are, is a sign that we are living our lives to the fullest.   To do so we must learn to accept (and make room for) any unpleasant sensations, feelings or thoughts that we experience.   We don't want to fight it because the more we fight, the stronger they will come back.   We don't want to avoid it either because the more we avoid, the more we'll be afraid of it.   So the key here is to make room for these sensations, feelings and thoughts, while continue to do what brings us meaning and fulfillment in life.    Learning to "co-exist" with these feelings will naturally reduce their intensity.   Floating, is a form of learning to accept these feelings and make room for it.   Let me give you some practical guidelines on what I mean by accepting these feelings and make room for it.   You can look up "expansion technique" under Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for more information as well.   How to accept our emotions (and make room for them):   1. OBSERVE. Bring awareness to the feelings in your body.   2. BREATHE. Take a few deep breaths. Breathe into and around them.   3. EXPAND. Make room for these feelings. Create some space for them.   4. ALLOW. Allow them to be there. Make peace with them   Some people find it helpful to silently say to themselves, 'I don't like this feeling, but I have room for it,' or 'It's unpleasant, but I can accept it.'   • When you're feeling an unpleasant emotion, the first step is to take a few slow, deep breaths, and quickly scan your body from head to toe.   • You will probably notice several uncomfortable sensations. Look for the strongest sensation - the one that bothers you the most. For example, it may be a lump in your throat, or a knot in your stomach, or an ache in your chest.   • Focus your attention on that sensation. Observe it curiously, as if you are a friendly scientist, discovering some interesting new phenomenon.   • Observe the sensation carefully. Notice where it starts and where it ends. Learn as much about it as you can. If you had to draw a line around the sensation, what would the outline look like? Is it on the surface of the body, or inside you, or both? How far inside you does it go? Where is the sensation most intense? Where is it weakest? How is it different in the center than around the edges? Is there any pulsation, or vibration within it? Is it light or heavy? Moving or still? What is its temperature?   • Take a few more deep breaths, and let go of the struggle with that sensation. Breathe into it. Imagine your breath flowing in and around it.   • Make room for it. Loosen up around it. Allow it to be there. You don't have to like it or want it. Simply let it be.   • The idea is to observe the sensation - not to think about it. So when your mind starts commenting on what's happening, just say 'Thanks, mind!' and come back to observing.   • You may find this difficult. You may feel a strong urge to fight with it or push it away. If so, just acknowledge this urge, without giving in to it. (Acknowledging is rather like nodding your head in recognition, as if to say 'There you are. I see you.') Once you've acknowledged that urge, bring your attention back to the sensation itself.   • Don't try to get rid of the sensation or alter it. If it changes by itself, that's okay. If it doesn't change, that's okay too. Changing or getting rid of it is not the goal.   • You may need to focus on this sensation for anything from a few seconds to a few minutes, until you completely give up the struggle with it. Be patient. Take as long as you need. You're learning a valuable skill.   • Once you've done this, scan your body again, and see if there's another strong sensation that's bothering you. If so, repeat the procedure with that one.   • You can do this with as many different sensations as you want to. Keep going until you have a sense of no longer struggling with your feelings.   • As you do this exercise one of two things will happen: either your feelings will change - or they won't. It doesn't matter either way. This exercise is not about changing your feelings. It's about accepting them.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How do I know I’m not over reacting a situation?

Hello Daph, Firstly, you and your boyfriend were not together when you slept with another person (insert Friends fight between Ross and Rachel, “we were on a break!”).  So, let’s be sure to keep in mind the facts of the situation as we proceed.  In reference to my Friends quote, this is a situation where one person thought one thing and the other person was thinking another and how neither is right nor wrong as they are both entitled to view their relationship how they want, but that doesn’t mean the other has to agree with them.  So here, your boyfriend was thinking, or projecting, that you were going to stay loyal to him, even though you weren’t together.  But what he is really saying in this scenario is “my feelings are hurt” and his way of getting back at you for non-intentionally hurting his feelings is to place guilt and shame on you so that he doesn’t have to feel his own feelings.  For him to go as far as to say that he regrets not have sex with another girl just further indicates this point, not to mention, his maturity level.  You are not responsible for how he feels and reacts but, he is trying to make you feel this way.  Overreaction implies that you are not having an appropriate response to his reaction to you.  It’s ok to feel bad about what he said, but that doesn’t make you a bad person.  It’s kind of garbage for him to make you feel that way and it would be a better situation if he would own his own feelings but, we can’t control what he says or does, we can only control how you react and respond to them.  The better question here, is if you two broke up, and this is how he is going to act getting back together, then why do you think this relationship is worth your time and energy?  Sounds like things between you guys didn’t work the first time and given his reaction to you now, it might be a good thing to ask yourself.  As for your original question, it sounds like the overreaction might be on his behalf and not necessarily yours.  
(MA, LMFT)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How do I handle my partners emotions while taking care of myself?

Dear Sam,   Thank you for your message and allowing me to understand the difficulties you and your partner are going through, especially on how they are much controlled by their emotions.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable, so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggle is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency, and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others'. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hear your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How can I over over a state of depression

Hello, Thank you for taking time to ask this question. Break-ups can be devastating because you are not only mourning the loss of the person but also the loss of the future you thought you'd have with them. It's easy to get lost in the "what ifs" and the "should haves" these will hollow you out. Instead, it is essential to look at the situation and learn from it. This can mean both that you pursue personal growth or that you learn how to accept difficult losses. Its important to give yourself time to grieve. You cannot rush through sadness but you can rest in the knowledge that it won't last forever. Sadness, like any emotion, comes from within you. It isn't an external force working against you. As such, it cannot overtake or attack you (even when it feels like it) instead it is there to show you that there is an unmet need. What is it that your sadness is showing you? Do you need to pour more love and support into yourself? Do you need to feel secure and safe in your own company?    Acknowledge the hurt from the loss, let yourself feel what you need to feel, and then when you are ready press into meeting your own needs.   There is enough of you to do this, otherwise you wouldn't have asked for help.    As you engage in the healing process, remember that people do not heal in straight lines. You are not losing progress or falling behind simply because you've experienced a wave of grief. It's okay, you will have moments in the day when the pain hits you hard. These moments don't last forever. You will be able to take a deep steady breath and move into it.    Give yourself permission to be okay. Letting go of the hurt doesn't mean the relationship wasn't important to you or that it's "easy to get over" the person. Of course it isn't but it is necessary to heal.    As you move forward, let others write their own story try not to allow this loss to keep you from being fully in the moment with others (friends family). That doesn't mean it won't get in the way at first. It probably will and that's okay. Just don't get stuck there. Continue to meet the needs your emotions are pointing out.
(MS, LPC, LCDC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Do I keep honesty in my marriage or keep a secret for my teenager to keep her trust?

As a mom of 4 girls ages 11-24 and a therapist who works with middle and high school students, I feel there is no perfect answer. From a therapist's perspective I always want to engage students and build relationships so that they have at least one trusted adult in their circle. As a parent you have to sometimes play both sides of being a trusted individual to your spouse and your child, but ultimately I do feel that this is your child's story and they should be in charge of telling in to whom they want, when they want. I do find it unfortunate that her siblings "outed" her to you without allowing her the opportunity to find her voice and come to you on her own.  I believe that a person's story is theirs to tell, no matter the age. Now if there were safety concerns around that situation, then that would be a different story and for sure the control of when they tell should be taken away, but I am not hearing that. This also sounds like an opportunity for growth in the relationship that you have with your child. I also do think that it is always best to have both parents on board, as long as its safe to do so, but that may be that the information is given to both parents at different times. I would work hard with my child to explore the reasons why she doesn't want her father to know and then to try to encourage her that honesty with both of you is the best policy. There may be many reasons that she is not ready to tell him, and that is okay. The support that she gets from you, may be just what she needs to help make the decision to tell him.  In the bigger picture, it is best that she has at least one parent that is aware and that she knows that she can trust you with her most important information. I think that if she knows she can trust you with this, that it will help her to come to you with other concerns, questions or conflicts that may come in the future. And also if she can see that you are understanding and supportive, it may lead her to believe the same in him. I would also add that as a female talking to you father about any sexuality or things related to gender can be difficult, so patience and respect is an asset. 
Answered on 10/21/2021

Why am I never happy with relationships? Am I broken?

Hello, I am sorry to hear regarding your childhood and what you and your mother had to go through. You are wondering why you feel bored or exhausted early into every romantic relationship for the past 3 years?   The answer to this question can vary. It will be beneficial to process this with a counselor that can ask questions regarding the family background you provided but other questions concerning past relationship history or significant stress history in general. There are many schools of thoughts regarding human behavior. One of the most widely used modalities to teach individuals why they do what they do is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This modality teaches that there is a direct link between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Depending on the thought an individual initially has about a situation: "This relationship is wearing me out, maybe I am not meant to have a healthy relationship.." then leads to emotions: (powerless, hopeless, defeated) which then leads to behaviors: Become emotionally distant, quits communication, acts out the self-fulfilling prophecy of the thought. A good therapist can help you navigate which thoughts you are having that lead to your feelings and behaviors and help you learn how to examine those thoughts and replace them with more RATIONAL or REALISTIC thoughts. Equally important is to learn about your CORE BELIEFS. These are deeply held truths about the world everyone has that influence their thoughts, (which then influence emotions and behaviors) It is critical to examine these as well, as core beliefs are learned from childhood or from traumatic experiences as adults and serve as the lens we see the world.   The good news is that even though negative core beliefs (It's better for me to be alone, I'm not good at relationships, I'm not loveable etc.) are rigid and fixed, they can be changed with enough processing and challenge. I wish you courage in your journey as you seek to go deeper the drivers behind your beliefs about yourself and how you are in relationships. Being in a relationship is one of the most special things and brings about much joy (and sometimes pain). I commend you in your pursuit of truth and healing. 
Answered on 10/21/2021

how to have control over my feelings

Dear Ellie,   Thank you for your message and I am sorry to hear what you have experienced in the past year in your relationships. Thank you for your courage in sharing with me your pain.   “If you are brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paul Coehlo   Closure is something everyone would like. We would like validation and understanding after a relationship has ended.   We can accept that someone doesn’t want to be with us. We can accept that the relationship has changed or that they want something else. What we can’t accept is our partner’s inability to communicate that fact effectively and tell us what went wrong.   Unfortunately, sometimes your partner does not have this same need, or they may have the same need but they’re better at hiding it and pretending they don’t. They would rather just push you, and their feelings, away.   In my experience, people can’t always be honest with you because they can’t be honest with themselves. It isn’t about you. We always want it to be about us and our flaws and failures, but it isn’t.   Many people don’t know how to deal with the emotions that come with a breakup, so they prefer to avoid their feelings altogether, and this is the most likely reason they won’t talk to you. It has nothing to do with you or the relationship or something you did wrong or that you weren’t enough.   I’ve dealt with trying to get closure a few times, and it’s awful. No one likes to be ignored, and no one likes to not get answers to their questions. But, what you have to learn is that any answer you get won’t change anything, and it may or may not be the truth anyway.   I can only control myself and my actions and how I deal with the ending of another relationship that I thought could mean something.   If people want to be in your life they make an effort. If they don’t, then you are better off without them.   If you are struggling with getting closure with an ex, ask yourself why you want to talk to them. Is it to get them back? Is it to get them to validate the relationship? Is it to try to get some type of reaction, or any type of reaction?    If you are making up reasons why you need to talk to them, then perhaps you need to get closure from yourself. If they won’t talk to you, reaching out will likely cause you more pain and frustration. So instead, I suggest the following:   1. Write a letter.   Write one every day if you need to. Don’t send it; just get the feelings out there. You can write them here if you would like. :)   2. Write out reasons why they may be avoiding you that have nothing to do with you.   We all create explanations in our heads as to why our ex won’t talk to us. We imagine they think bad things about us, they don’t want us, that we weren’t enough, or that everything was our fault. Thoughts in your head are just your interpretation of what happened, and they are usually incorrect.   What if what they are really thinking is this? Do you think they are going to tell you?   I’m afraid to be open and be hurt again. I don’t think I can give this person what they need. Being vulnerable is too scary. He/she is too good for me. My abandonment issues have triggered my unconscious need to be alone.   3. Unless this was your first love, remember that you loved before and you got over it.   You control whether you move on. And you can decide if you want to wallow in self-pity and misery, or pick yourself up off the floor and be the spectacular, amazing person you are and get out there and show yourself to the world.   4. Take your feelings and write them on little pieces of paper.   “I am hurt.” “I am angry.” “I am sad.” “I am devastated.” “I am heartbroken.” “I feel rejected.”   Get a fireproof bowl and fill it with some sand. Put all the little pieces of paper in the bowl and light them on fire. Watch the words burn and with them, let the feelings go.   5. Be alone.   Be still. Cry and be sad over the loss. Accept that what once was, is no longer, and what you thought would be will never be. If it’s meant to be in the future, it will find a way to work itself out. Maybe now is just not the time.   6. Live in abundance.   They are not the only person in the world. There are literally millions of single people in the world. If you had love before, you will have it again. Stop thinking that you’ll never find someone else so wonderful. If they were so wonderful they would still be with you. They aren’t. They’re gone.   What is it you are really hoping to hear? Do you think most people can admit their fears? Of course we all would like our partner to care enough to tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts.   There are a million reasons that relationships don’t work and tons of reasons why your ex won’t talk to you. Don’t take on their issues and make them your own. Realize that we all have insecurities, and not all of us can understand how they impact us.   I’m sure you would love for your ex to say, “You are truly amazing and wonderful, but I don’t think we are a match.” The reason most won’t say this is that they don’t want you to come back at them with all sorts of reasons why you are a match, so they’d rather avoid the topic altogether.   For whatever reason, your ex has chosen to cease all communication with you. The best thing you can do is take it as a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on, and that any person worthy of being your partner would never leave you in the lurch like that.   Remember this saying, “If not this, something better.” These words sound stupid and irritating when your relationship has just ended, but they are true for a reason.   We don’t’ always get what we want, but we get what we need. Change is inevitable. Change is good. If it was meant to be, it would have been, and if it is meant to be, it will be.   Unfortunately, life does not always go along with our pre-conceived notions of how things should be, and people aren’t always what we want and need them to be. Life isn’t always wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top.   Sometimes you get closure and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the lack of closure is the very lesson that you needed to learn. Maybe you needed to learn to validate yourself and accept yourself.   Consider seeing this person as a gift sent to you. They were brought to you as a reflection of yourself. Thank them for being a part of your journey and send them on their way in your mind.   Lastly, if you are waiting for your ex to give you closure, it might be time to dig deep inside and give it to yourself.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Did I do something wrong? Can I do something about it?

Hello QuietOctane,  I understand why you would feel confused by her behavior. It seems to me that she sent you mixed signals from the very beginning of your exchanges. She moved probably faster than you're accustomed to and expected more right away. The timeline that you provided really gave me some insight about the development of your relationship. The question that you basically asked is whether or not you did something wrong to cause her to lose interest in you? It sounds like she has a fear of commitment which is probably unrelated to you. Everyone would like to think that they are at the center of the decision making process of others however more time than not, people have their own luggage that they carry from one relationship to the next. Her way of breaking up without any explanation is a new form of relational violence of our time, which has however existed for several decades, when one went out and bought cigarettes without coming back. However, this practice seems to have amplified with the attitude of relational consumerism of our time, with dating apps offering a multitude of possible partners. Also people no longer just date one person at the time but tend to play the field.  What is especially brutal is the fact that she has not given you any closure and that she is ghosting you. It is not uncommon now a days for people to behave this way but it doesn't make it okay. It must be hard for you to be dismissed without an explanation and I can imagine the pain that you are experiencing.  Feelings of rejection, abandonment, loss of self-esteem and confidence, frustration, excessive guilt, shame: here is a small sample of what you might feel. Here is my advice: you need to focus on yourself rather than try to understand what lead her to end this abruptly. You can't control her reactions but you have all the power when it comes to how you can go forward.  Some people behave as if dating is a hobby. They date people as a pastime and they get bored quickly, which doesn't have anything to do with other people but rather their inability to commit and take a genuine interest in making things work.  Breaking up is hard to do, and for some people, it is just impossible to do. That is why they walk away as if nothing ever happened. They don't want to feel bad or be bothered with how others feel. They pretend as if nothing ever happened. They lack the courage to be honest and might be afraid to cause pain, thus causing more pain by disappearing.  Most people’s first instinct is obviously to try to get in touch with the other and the silence is all the more devastating. At first, many people panic and think the other is unwell or that their phone is broken. But the only thing you can question is your own behavior. Have I have been in denial? You might start questioning your own sanity about being in a relationship that wasn't one. You have to ask yourself certain questions: haven't I hidden things that I didn't want to see? Did I not immerse myself in the fantasy? If we sometimes answer yes, we will be able to “correct” ourselves in the future; be more vigilant in a future relationship, more lucid in relation to oneself and therefore in relation to the other. First of all, as soon as you realize that you are the victim of ghosting, you must at all costs cut off all communication and extinguish any desire to ask for explanations. It can be good to externalize and write down what you wanted to say to her, but without sending the message. One solution is to share your thoughts and feelings with close friends, or a therapist, in order to verbalize things, without getting frustrated. The more you try to want to get in touch with her, the more your suffering will worsen, in the absence of a response from her.  Indeed, you are facing here a person who is not able to take his responsibilities, and in all cowardice, will never respond (at least with authenticity) to your requests. She is ghosting you and refusing to consider how her actions are impacting you. The only escape is to no longer consider her in return, and even to block her on social networks and phone, email, etc. It is not easy to rebuild yourself and gain confidence however that is where you need to start. It is more important to figure out how to go forward than dwelling on it. It is important to accept that you cannot control everything, nor anticipate everything. One of the worst thing that can happen to someone who is abandoned is to always be on guard when meeting someone new. In sentimental life, if we start to prepare to avoid certain things, we block any relationship. The incredible brutality of this rupture is perhaps the result of a bad meeting. There is no reason for it to happen again. Of course, it will take time to rebuild yourself after a ghosting episode, which remains very traumatic and destructive. After a necessary period of remission, you will no doubt still be afraid of embarking on a new love experience, with the need to control everything, to stay on guard. It may be difficult for you to give your whole trust and to open up fully to the other. However, over time, you should not lock yourself into cynicism and general mistrust of others, and particularly in romantic relationships. Over time, you will learn to let go again and to be surprised in a positive way by the other in the relationship. I sincerely hope that my answer will help you. I am here to support you should you want to start counseling with me. Don't hesitate to reach out again, should you need additional support.   
Answered on 10/21/2021

how can I break this obsession?

Dear Lavieenrose,   Thank you for your message and I am sorry to hear about your break up. Thank you for your courage in sharing with me your pain.   “If you are brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paul Coehlo   Closure is something everyone would like. We would like validation and understanding after a relationship has ended.   We can accept that someone doesn’t want to be with us. We can accept that the relationship has changed or that they want something else. What we can’t accept is our partner’s inability to communicate that fact effectively and tell us what went wrong.   Unfortunately, sometimes your partner does not have this same need, or they may have the same need but they’re better at hiding it and pretending they don’t. They would rather just push you, and their feelings, away.   In my experience, people can’t always be honest with you because they can’t be honest with themselves. It isn’t about you. We always want it to be about us and our flaws and failures, but it isn’t.   Many people don’t know how to deal with the emotions that come with a breakup, so they prefer to avoid their feelings altogether, and this is the most likely reason they won’t talk to you. It has nothing to do with you or the relationship or something you did wrong or that you weren’t enough.   I’ve dealt with trying to get closure a few times, and it’s awful. No one likes to be ignored, and no one likes to not get answers to their questions. But, what you have to learn is that any answer you get won’t change anything, and it may or may not be the truth anyway.   I can only control myself and my actions and how I deal with the ending of another relationship that I thought could mean something.   If people want to be in your life they make an effort. If they don’t, then you are better off without them.   If you are struggling with getting closure with an ex, ask yourself why you want to talk to them. Is it to get them back? Is it to get them to validate the relationship? Is it to try to get some type of reaction, or any type of reaction?    If you are making up reasons why you need to talk to them, then perhaps you need to get closure from yourself. If they won’t talk to you, reaching out will likely cause you more pain and frustration. So instead, I suggest the following:   1. Write a letter.   Write one every day if you need to. Don’t send it; just get the feelings out there. You can write them here if you would like. :)   2. Write out reasons why they may be avoiding you that have nothing to do with you.   We all create explanations in our heads as to why our ex won’t talk to us. We imagine they think bad things about us, they don’t want us, that we weren’t enough, or that everything was our fault. Thoughts in your head are just your interpretation of what happened, and they are usually incorrect.   What if what they are really thinking is this? Do you think they are going to tell you?   I’m afraid to be open and be hurt again. I don’t think I can give this person what they need. Being vulnerable is too scary. He/she is too good for me. My abandonment issues have triggered my unconscious need to be alone.   3. Unless this was your first love, remember that you loved before and you got over it.   You control whether you move on. And you can decide if you want to wallow in self-pity and misery, or pick yourself up off the floor and be the spectacular, amazing person you are and get out there and show yourself to the world.   4. Take your feelings and write them on little pieces of paper.   “I am hurt.” “I am angry.” “I am sad.” “I am devastated.” “I am heartbroken.” “I feel rejected.”   Get a fireproof bowl and fill it with some sand. Put all the little pieces of paper in the bowl and light them on fire. Watch the words burn and with them, let the feelings go.   5. Be alone.   Be still. Cry and be sad over the loss. Accept that what once was, is no longer, and what you thought would be will never be. If it’s meant to be in the future, it will find a way to work itself out. Maybe now is just not the time.   6. Live in abundance.   They are not the only person in the world. There are literally millions of single people in the world. If you had love before, you will have it again. Stop thinking that you’ll never find someone else so wonderful. If they were so wonderful they would still be with you. They aren’t. They’re gone.   What is it you are really hoping to hear? Do you think most people can admit their fears? Of course we all would like our partner to care enough to tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts.   There are a million reasons that relationships don’t work and tons of reasons why your ex won’t talk to you. Don’t take on their issues and make them your own. Realize that we all have insecurities, and not all of us can understand how they impact us.   I’m sure you would love for your ex to say, “You are truly amazing and wonderful, but I don’t think we are a match.” The reason most won’t say this is that they don’t want you to come back at them with all sorts of reasons why you are a match, so they’d rather avoid the topic altogether.   For whatever reason, your ex has chosen to cease all communication with you. The best thing you can do is take it as a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on, and that any person worthy of being your partner would never leave you in the lurch like that.   Remember this saying, “If not this, something better.” These words sound stupid and irritating when your relationship has just ended, but they are true for a reason.   We don’t’ always get what we want, but we get what we need. Change is inevitable. Change is good. If it was meant to be, it would have been, and if it is meant to be, it will be.   Unfortunately, life does not always go along with our pre-conceived notions of how things should be, and people aren’t always what we want and need them to be. Life isn’t always wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top.   Sometimes you get closure and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the lack of closure is the very lesson that you needed to learn. Maybe you needed to learn to validate yourself and accept yourself.   Consider seeing this person as a gift sent to you. They were brought to you as a reflection of yourself. Thank them for being a part of your journey and send them on their way in your mind.   Lastly, if you are waiting for your ex to give you closure, it might be time to dig deep inside and give it to yourself.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Hey. How do I stop loving someone that is not into me?

Hello Shelz,   Thank you for reaching out on this platform to ask how you can stop loving someone.   Moving on from a relationship situation that does not seem to be reciprocal. Most people would agree you generally can’t help who you fall in love with. But in some circumstances, you might wish that weren’t the case as the relationship you are in is causing you some sadness.   It seems you are trying to cope with some mixed messages from him and that can indeed be confusing!   I will share some information that may help create that 'shift in thinking' which seems to be the help and support you are reaching out for.   Maybe you love someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you but he is not able to face up to what he needs to do to fix things.   “The longing that accompanies one-sided love can affect emotional well-being and cause a lot of discomfort,”      Or perhaps you love someone who continually demonstrates they don’t have your best interests at heart. Maybe you and a partner love each other intensely but have too many differences to sustain a lasting partnership.   Regardless of the situation, love is a complicated emotion. And even when it’s clear that a relationship isn’t doing you any favors, it can feel impossible to simply turn off your feelings.   Try some of these tips can help you start the process of moving forward.   Acknowledge the truth of the situation   Optimism isn’t a bad trait. In fact, the ability to hold on to hope in difficult or painful situations is typically considered a sign of personal strength.   But when it comes to struggling relationships, it’s more helpful to consider the present reality than the future you imagine.   The person you love may not feel the same way. Or maybe you feel wildly in love during intimate moments but spend the rest of your time together disagreeing over just about everything.   If you believe giving up on your relationship or love for someone means you’ve failed, think again. It takes courage and self-awareness to recognize this. You’ve taken a positive step toward self-growth.   Simply realizing your relationship isn’t going anywhere probably won’t make your feelings disappear overnight, but it’s a significant step.   Identify relationship needs — and deal breakers    Taking a careful look at what you want from a relationship, as well as what you absolutely don’t want, can help you pinpoint the ways a love interest may not be the best match. Say you and your FWB have a great thing going. The more time you spend together, the more connected you feel. Eventually, you realize you’ve fallen in love with them.   But there’s one big issue: Days, sometimes a week or more, often pass without you hearing from them. You send them Facebook messages and notice they’ve been online, but there’s still no reply.   If you prioritize good communication in relationships, their inability to get back to you in a timely manner is a pretty good indicator that they’re not a good match. When you recognize the ways someone you love doesn’t quite meet your needs, you might have an easier time getting over your feelings.   Make Peace With The Brutal Truth   And what is this brutal truth? This person doesn’t need or love you.   Perhaps you’re intensely pained and don't want to let go. You even wonder why they stopped loving you or don't even love you in the first place.   You keep hoping and believing that they will grow to love you someday in the future.   But that’s wrong. Because loving someone who doesn't love you back sucks besides, "someday" is in the future and you're in the present.   What's the point of subjecting yourself to pain in hope that things will be better in the future that you have no control over? What if it never does?   The best thing to do is to make peace with the truth no matter how unbearable it might be.   Accept the fact that you love someone who doesn't love you in return because it's the only way to take a leap of the situation and embrace the future you deserve.   Admit To Your Feelings Do you think it's easy to forget someone you love by just pretending that you've gotten over them?   After all, you truly love and cherish this person, you're even planning your future together, probably this person made you believe that love exists.   If so, then you're wrong..... Your feelings won't disappear automatically simply because you're running from them.   So you should acknowledge the way you truly feel or the way your lost lover felt about you instead of trying to suppress them.   "Once you express your feelings to yourself, you’ll know exactly what you have to deal with. Is this something temporary or your unrequited love for this person is deeper than that?"   Brutally admitting to your feelings makes it easier to get over them. You'll even know the depth of your unrequited love for this person.   Give Your Wounds Time To Recuperate Every wound and injury require time to heal and emotional wounds are no different.   Giving yourself time to heal is one of the best ways to overcome emotional pains.   You need to give yourself enough time to grieve and your healing will happen over time. Come on, don't hold on to your emotions, if you feel like crying or screaming, don't hold back just do it.   I'm not saying you should cling to this behavior and make it your habit. All you have to do is let your pains, frustration, and disappointments out of your head once and for all. And with time, you will be fine.   Never Blame Yourself. Don't try to take it personally or blame yourself.   Why? Because it's not your fault.   Honestly speaking: There's a whole lot of reasons why you were rejected or dumped by your or ex. This ranges from your crush's pre-dating-history, your crush might be in a serious relationship, your ex no longer loves you or your ex has fallen for someone else... And they don't have to do with you or your personality.   And so, don't blame yourself over a failed relationship (as you might be doing).   Blaming yourself leads you into self-doubt and lack of confidence. Which introduces into your mind, crazy thoughts like: "She rejected me 'cause I ain't cool and handsome; He broke up with me 'cause that girl is way hotter, sexier, and more beautiful than me..." That's simply delusional!   And the worst part?   Lack of confidence makes you unable to move on with your life, ask another girl out, or build a better relationship with some other guy.   Your biggest option is to, boost your confidence in this sense.   And the best way to do that?   Is to quit taking your failed relationship too personal or blaming yourself.   Share Your Feelings With Someone When it comes to dealing with unrequited love, there's one commandment you should never break: "Thou shalt not keep thy feelings to thy self."   This may sound a bit awful, but a lot of people do it all the time. How?   They shut themselves off from others, refusing to share their frustration and grief with friends and family.   Big no-no. If you want to get your heart free from any kind of pain, you should consider talking about your true feelings with a friend or family member.   Why? Because according to an old saying: "A problem shared is a problem halved."   Talking about a problem with someone else usually makes it seem less daunting or troubling.   The truth is: It's really helpful to talk about your frustration and grief with family and friends 'cause it reduces the effect of the heartache on you.   Furthermore: It’s usually enough to realize that someone is listening to you.   To that end: You should share your pains, grief, and frustration with your friend or family member.     Fall In Love With Yourself And Look After Yourself   If you fall into self-neglect and subject yourself to harsh treatments simply because someone stopped loving you or doesn't even love you back. How shameful will that be?   If your unrequited lover finds out that you are ruined or devastated because they chose not to love you anymore what do you think will be their thoughts about you?   Do you think they'll feel sorry for you and come back to you? Of course, they won't and you know it.   Instead, they might even be happy that you're addicted to them and can't survive without them. Or worse, they may even make jest of you calling you weak and desperate.   I'm sure you don't want to be an object of pity. Do you?   What should you do then?   Fall in love with yourself, make yourself happy, take care of yourself, don't resort to smoking and excessive drinking, remember that you had your life before falling in love with that person.   Come on. There's only one you and you've got only one life why mope over someone that doesn't love you?    Cheer up, refill your spirit with happiness, go shopping, get new clothes, change your looks and lead a happier life.   If you can't love yourself how can you expect another person to love you?   Try Some Exercise One of the most effective ways to get over unrequited love is to restore and reclaim your emotional balance. And one of the best ways to do that? Is by going for some physical exercises.   Hit the gym, go for fitness classes, go for jogging sessions, try swimming or any exercise you can do.   Exercises are one of the greatest ways to eliminate negative emotions. And when you're filled with positivity, you won't have time for depression or sadness associated with unrequited love.   So just have fun and make yourself happy.   Think Of The Positive Aspects So you're in love with someone that doesn't love you back and feel as if your world has come to an end? Don't you think you're being delusional?   Maybe they used to love you and all of a sudden, they stopped loving you, maybe you feel like you're not loved enough, or you aren't even loved in the first place. Whatever your case may be, I just want you to know that it's not as bad you think it is.   If only you can look into the positive aspects of the situation with an open mind, you'll realize that it's a blessing in disguise.   "Think of this is as a test of your strength and as something which will shape you into becoming the best possible version of yourself."    I'm sure there's a huge life lesson or lessons to learn from such experience. Something like: learning not to waste your time loving someone who doesn't deserve your affection and a lot more.     Take Some Time Before Jumping Into Another Relationship If you think you'll get over your heartbreak by jumping into another relationship, you're mistaken.   You'll only be making that person a rebound to you and that's a very dangerous decision.   Because you'll be delaying the process of getting over your ex as you'll be pretending to be fine. But how sure are you that it won't end up in tears sooner rather than later?   You'll be hindering yourself from finding a better relationship that you always hope for because your rebound will give you a sense of security and hence, stop you from attending social events where you can meet a potential date.   And the worst part?   You might be hurting that person who might innocently think that you love him or her. Yeah, nobody wants to be treated as a rebound.   Instead, give yourself time to heal and bring back the smile on your face before thinking of another relationship. Or simply put, until you've moved on and completely gotten over a disappointing relationship, do not attempt jumping into another one.   If you are unable to put these ideas into action for yourself perhaps consider reaching out for som support and guidance from a professional mental health therapist either with setting some boundaries in your current relationship or to help you figure out what is going on or to help you decide what you want to do about this situation.   There is hope and there is help!  I wish you much luck.   Kind Regards, Gaynor       
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How do I end a toxic relationship?

It sounds like you started dating your current guy fairly quickly after your divorce.  Sometimes relationships that are started so close to the end of a previous relationship are not all that we expect or want them to be.  Sometimes we have to take a little more time to get to know a person in a relationship sort of way.  We may meet someone and get to know them as a friend or an acquaintance and realize that they are completely different from what we initially thought once we begin a relationship with that person.  That sort of thing can happen to the best of us.  It is a very common occurrence, so please don't feel like I am coming down on you about that.  Many of us have been in that situation before because it is very easy to get into it.  Especially when we are vulnerable after just recently ending another situation. Right now, though, it sounds like you are meeting the real person.  Having an addiction can be difficult to deal with, but having two different addictions can be doubly difficult to manage.  And it can be just as difficult for the partner of the person with the addiction.  Feeling as though you have to beg for attention is not a great feeling, and I agree that you deserve better than that.  I would wonder why you don't want to break up with him after mentioning that you feel like you have to beg him for attention, you are crying multiple times each week behind his actions, and you know he is not the type of guy you want to be with. Sometimes we can fear being alone and will settle for less than what we deserve because of it.  That is not always a good idea though.  This could lead to you resenting him later on down the line because you know that he is not what you want, just like you know that you deserve better than what you are getting.  One thing you can do would be to make a list of the pros and cons of being with this guy.  List all the ways that being with him is beneficial to you and your emotional health.  Then list all the ways that being with him is detrimental to your overall well-being.  Look at which list holds more weight, and do what is best for you.
(LICSW, PIP)
Answered on 10/21/2021

My boyfriend seems to be cheating but I love him and I don't want to see us end

Hello and thank you for reaching out to Betterhelp for support with your question. It sounds like you are at a crossroads in your relationship and unsure of what to do with your boyfriend despite these red flags being raised. Trust and communication are the foundation of a healthy relationship so if you are missing those components then what is keeping you invested in the relationship. Consider if your partner has done something in the past to make you compromise trusting him and if so, it is a personal choice if you want to forgive and move on or if you feel like that is impossible for him to rebuild the trust. When a relationship gets to the point of partners having to go through each other's phones to build confidence, it means that the trust is pretty far gone. The rest of your life is a long time and you have to reflect on if you can thrive in a relationship where you just don't believe that your partner is loyal. This could be a good time to work on building confidence so you can reach a point where you are empowered.  You are valuable and you are a catch and it sounds like you want a partner who only wants to be committed to you. You can ask your boyfriend why everything is cleared from his phone and try to facilitate a proactive conversation for building and maintaining trust moving forward. Let him know that if you can't trust each other then the relationship has no foundation. If you are confident in what you won't make that known. Otherwise, you enable someone to disrespect you if you are not showing them that you have a strong level of respect for yourself. It is a tough situation to be in but consider how you can manage the anxiety and stress long-term of feeling like you are constantly being cheated on. When someone cheats, eventually they will get caught so the truth always does come to the surface at some point. It is important to trust your gut and know that you are never stuck. 
(LMHC, CRC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How do I repair and stay connected to my parents even though they don’t approve of my relationship?

Dear "Almost 30," Thank you so much for writing to Better Help with your personal question. I will try to address this question the best that I can, although I would love to have more information about the situation and what is going on as well. It can be a bit hard to answer an advice question with limited information on the exact situation.    You shared that you are in a serious relationship at the age of 29 years old and that your parents are not approving of this relationship that you are in. My first question for you is, "what makes your parents not approving of this relationship?" What is it about the relationship that they do not approve of, and have they met your partner? Also, how long have you and your partner been dating one another? What future plans do the two of you have with one another?   In terms of your family and your parents not approving, I would like to know more about you and your background. What is the culture and ethnicity of your family? What are the religious beliefs of your family? Would you say that your family and culture operate from an individualistic perspective or more of a collectivistic culture? Does your family make choices by individual beliefs or more by what the entire family thinks?   There was a well-known family therapist who created the family system theory, and his name was Murray Bowen (1913 - 1990). He created an interesting concept called "differentiation of the self" which meant that the individual in the family may be influenced by the family's beliefs. An individual has to be, in a sense, "free" from the family in order to be happy. It is important for the individual to make his or her own decisions without major interference from the family. When people are poorly differentiated from their selves, they may look to friends or family for advice and guidance. The amount of differentiation of self can also depend on one's culture and background as well. If you were to tell your family that you are staying with your partner long term no matter what they think about it, what will the reply be? How will you cope with whatever response that they give you? What are some of the best ways to keep the peace while also being able to do your own thing and live your life happily? There may not be an easy answer to this question, but it sounds like you want to keep peace with family while also continuing in your relationship. Perhaps you may also need to consider having a serious talk with your family about your feelings for your partner.    Thanks again for reaching out with your question to Better Help! I hope this response has been helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.   Sincerely,  Larissa Rzemienski, Ed.S., M.C., L.P.C.    
(Ed.S., M.C., L.P.C.)
Answered on 10/21/2021

I have a girl friend who is Japanese. I don't speak Japanese. My girl friend doesn't speak Korean.

Hello there! Great question about communication. How difficult it must be for the two of you to struggle to communicate with each other, although it seems that you are doing a good job so far of making it work. Speaking different languages could actually be an analogy for the different ways that we communicate with each other whether we speak the same language or not. Perhaps one of us is more expressive and the other less expressive. Perhaps one of us likes more physical affection and the other likes less. Like most things in a relationship, communicating will require compromise, but communication is the foundation of a relationship and worth the work that it requires in order to lay a healthy foundation and ongoing, deepening intimacy.  I commend you for learning Japanese! That is such a lovely gesture to your girlfriend that you want to have better communication with her. Have you been able to ask her why she doesn't want to learn Korean, especially while living in Korea? Does she feel overwhelmed or that she wouldn't do a "good job" with learning? It might feel scary to take on such a big task, although even learning a few words or phrases a day would probably be useful for communicating.  I wonder if the compromise here could be that you both continue speaking English with each other for the most part while also sprinkling in some Japanese and Korean. Here's how this might work: Keep doing the fun things you enjoy doing together. Maybe you go out for a meal or out for coffee. While you're doing what you enjoy together, you teach each other words in your languages. You both probably know how to say "coffee" in English, Korean, and Japanese. But what about "spoon" or "barista" or "dark roast"? Or even graduate-level "I really enjoy having coffee with you on Saturday." Try to make it playful, so that you are learning while being together and having fun. It will feel less daunting than trying to learn the language in order to communicate at some future moment. You will be learning the language at the same time you are taking the pressure off communication, and you will be learning while having fun together now.  I hope this helps, and I wish you both luck! 
(MA, LMHC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How do you cope or what can I do when I’m feeling like an emotional burden to everyone around me.

Hello Lily,   Thank you so much for the question! Relationships can be very challenging, to say the least, and factoring in untreated mental illness can create even more challenges but thankfully nothing cannot be resolved or overcome.   One of the things I always inform my clients of is that our parents are our first teachers and teach us ultimately how to relate to the rest of the world. As a child, we model our parents’ behavior on a conscious and subconscious level then go out into the world and we further shape our personalities and the like. Self-reflection post-relationship is key as you will want to look at your patterns of dating as far as the type of person you find yourself gravitating towards and perhaps what red-flag behavior you might have missed along the way.   I would strongly recommend you take time out for yourself so you can reflect on what you want for yourself, out of life, and what you can do to reconnect with yourself. I have a caretaker personality by nature and find myself putting others first and myself last, then you may be suffering from burnout fatigue. One way to remedy this is through acts of self-care/attention/focus. After a break-up, time is needed to refresh, recharge and it would be a good idea to take a hiatus/ social media holiday to take full time for yourself to allow closure to manifest.   When you are spending time with your friends you want to be mindful of how much and how long you are discussing your ex as friends may begin to experience burnout from hearing conversations about your ex. I would encourage you to limit the time and conversations about your ex and then focus on cultivating and nurturing the friendships you have.    If you are going to be in regular communication with your ex, you may not be able to have a sense of closure but will absolutely need to set boundaries moving forward and holding them accountable for their actions.    Lastly, it is very nice of you to help your ex sort out his mental health and the like and that speaks to your values and character. Helping others is a wonderful thing to do and one of the best ways to help someone is by encouraging self-sufficiency so they can learn to empower themselves.   I wish you well!
(B.S., M.S., &, PsyD., Graduand, LMHC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

How do you deal with a fear of being alone?

First off, I am sorry to hear about the end of your relationship. It is always hard to lose someone we care about. I hope you give yourself some time to heal and maybe even grieve. It is not uncommon or even unhealthy for you to feel saddened by the loss of your partner. Many people are afraid of feeling that lost, but it is a part of being in a relationship. Perhaps, you could talk with a counselor about relationship grief and how it can impact you.  Second, it is not uncommon to be afraid of being alone. A lot of people are afraid of this for a multitude of reasons (i.e., poor relationship history from our families, trauma, lower self-esteem, uncertainty about how or what type of partners to choose, experiences with mood issues, or not certain how to deal with their own emotional issues). The most common this type of fear is simply having anxiety over what went wrong in the relationship. Many times, we take our experiences with bad behaviors (ours and theirs) into our next relationship and we have an expectation of the new partner to give us the same good feelings that we were lucky to experience from the relationship before them. We become afraid (or anxious) that we'd never be happy again, so we search out a new partner very quickly to ensure we are happy. Sometimes therapy is helpful in the in-between of relationships to help you understand how you can make yourself happy and help alleviate some of your fears about being alone.  Lastly, if you have a history of engaging in an "unhealthy spiral", it may be helpful for you to pursue counseling to know what those things are and how you can stop them before they begin. One of the most important things you should try to remember, both in and out of a relationship, is you need to be safe and sane. If engaging in "unhealthy" patterns reduces that for you then you should build skills to protect yourself and anyone else that you choose to be with. 
Answered on 10/21/2021

how can a person with trust issues be in a long distance relationship when partner gives doubts

Hi Patricia.  Thank you for your question and the brief background of the situation.  I know how difficult it can be to allow yourself to be vulnerable and to let your guard down.  As humans, we all have lived through situations and experiences that have shaped us - good, bad, and indifferent- which then drive our responses later on in life.   I want to break my response up into two different parts- 1) how to go about approaching this as an individual and 2) how to approach your girlfriend. Some initial questions that come to mind that I want you to think about - Have you ever tried to address the trust issues?  If so, how?  If we don't address the underlying issue, then no matter what, the issue around trust will continue to come up for you.  From what you shared, it sounds like you are aware of some of your triggers, which is definitely a good start.  The tricky part then is what you do AFTER you know you're triggered.  I know it's a whole lot easier said than done, but a motto that I try to live by is "It's only 10% of what happens and 90% of how I react".  And what I mean by that is while we don't have control over someone else's behaviors or responses, what we do have control over is what we do.  So the last question in this part to think about is - when I'm triggered, what do I do at the moment?  This question then also leads to part 2 of how to approach this with your girlfriend. Have you had an honest conversation with her about how you feel?  While bringing this up may be painful and bring up even more hurtful memories and/or thoughts, this type of conversation needs to take place in order to figure out how to navigate the current long-distance situation.  Long-distance relationships are tough for anyone and the key to making it work is having open communication - being clear about your needs and establishing boundaries.  I think that is where you need to start.  I hope these questions were thought-provoking and give you some guidance in the next steps. 
(LMHC, LPC)
Answered on 10/21/2021

Why don’t I deserve the right guy

First, let's start by reframing your question.  It should read, "I haven't found the right guy that deserves me". You will find what you need and will get what you want. The biggest thing is that you are working on bettering yourself so when you better yourself, that doesn't always mean that everyone else is working on themselves. Therefore, their energy can be toxic and it is nothing you should settle for. I think the biggest question you need to ask yourself is do you love yourself? Are you able to recognize and appreciate the love you have around you or are you always comparing yourself to others? Because comparison is the death of joy. Can you just enjoy exploring who you are and the people that you meet? What type of guy are you hoping to attract? Also, why do you feel alone? Often we feel alone, undervalued, and not loved because we aren't happy with who we are. I would explore more about you, who are you outside of roles and titles. The other thing to consider is where are you looking to attract the person that you want to be with. Energy is important. If you are thinking and feeling negative then negative things will come. However, the more optimistic you are about your situation the better your outcomes. You have to change your mindset and have patience with yourself and with the universe. Your person is out there, you two just haven't discovered each other yet.  So please don't harbor any anger, jealously, or envy because that blocks people from seeing the true you. Lastly, wait! Sometimes we get so consumed in looking that we don't enjoy the time of just sitting still and loving ourselves.  The more you love you the better you will be able to tell the other person how to love you. Show yourself some grace! People come into our lives for reasons and seasons.  Start to outline what you have learned from these past relationships. Do you have a dating pattern? With each one what did you learn about yourself? Also, ask yourself why are you so uncomfortable with rejection? 
Answered on 10/21/2021

Relational question

Hello,   Thank you for your question and for sharing your concerns with me.  It takes a lot of courage to share personal concerns and I can offer my professional judgment to the best of my ability without imposing any of my own beliefs.     I'd love to know a bit more about when your boyfriend decided to tell you that he has Bipolar disorder and if he is currently receiving any professional help for this disorder as this may be something that plays a big role in your relationship.  Bipolar disorder in itself presents many obstacles alone and if left untreated mentally and also without proper monitoring by a psychiatrist, the person with the diagnosis may lead a difficult life.  One thing that I have noted is that maintaining relationships and professional lives with this specific diagnosis is something that adults struggle with if they are not getting the help they need.    In terms of his relationship with you and other women, it is clear that he may be keeping his options open while he is dating you.  Platonic friendships are healthy.  However, if there are components or parts that he keeps maintaining this friendship especially weekly and while you and he are spending time together, that is something to not ignore especially since you have invested 8 months of your time with this person.  8 months is a significant amount of time to determine exclusivity with someone and to decide if this is a relationship to be committed to.  What may be helpful in this instance is to reflect or journal on your feelings about keeping this relationship or what it may look like a week from now and perhaps having a conversation about his commitment to you long-term.  If it doesn't align with your goals especially after communicating your boundaries and needs for the relationship, it would be healthy to consider if you would like to keep the relationship. Totally up to you.  There is a difference between platonic friendships and pursuing someone romantically.  Also, another good question to ask yourself, is, "Would I do what this person is doing to me?  Would I be having weekly dinners with other men while in a relationship with this person?" I hope this helps!  
(MSCP, LMHC, NCC)
Answered on 10/21/2021