My boyfriend loves me, and I am close with my sister and my best friend, but due to their own families/ different needs, I am the the emotionally needy one in all three relationships (but I help with my sister’s kids a lot)! I am a “double texter,” and my boyfriend’s recurring critique is I talk without checking in to see whether he is paying attention and I am engaging him. So I work on just keeping things to myself, which usually works for a while, and then word vomit after a bad day or because I feel so lonely and disconnected! And then I feel annoying, and the cycle repeats. What’s hard is that I don’t find this trait annoying in others – I LOVE listening when someone is sharing, and even a monologue about topics I am not interested in doesn’t bother me (from loved ones, not a random guy at work!).
I figure I should stay in therapy, but any other tips so I can be less annoying and hopefully develop closer relationships? Based on my therapist’s suggestion, I have been trying to focus on relationships with childless people who are (at least at this stage of life) more likely to have time/energy, and this helps in a way to “spread out” my emotional neediness, but I haven’t really developed any intimate relationships. — Feeling Annoying
The issue here isn’t that you are “annoying,” it’s that you “feel so lonely and disconnected.” Fix the latter and the former won’t be a problem. How do you go about feeling less lonely and disconnected? There are lots of ways. It sounds like you don’t have many friends, so obviously making new friends would help a lot. And I think your therapist’s suggestion of looking for childfree people to form friendships with is a good one, but I think a better suggestion is looking for people you share some common interests with, and the convenient thing here is that you can meet them while engaging in the activity you share a common interest in. So, what do you like to do or what would you like to learn to do? Join a club or a class or an organization that focuses on that thing.
Another way to feel more “connected” – you don’t specify what you want to feel connected to, but I am assuming it is anything and anyone outside yourself that brings you some sense of belonging in the world – is to think about what you can offer to others to make the world a little bit better. Volunteering is a great way to do that. There are animal shelters, political organizations, food pantries – all kinds of organizations, really – that could use your extra hands and care and support. A nursing home, where you can talk to your heart’s content and listen to stories from older folks who also might feel so lonely and disconnected, could be a great use of your loquaciousness and eagerness to listen to others.
Finally, if you don’t feel like you have a close, intimate relationship with your boyfriend and your friends, maybe the problem isn’t really YOU, but instead that they aren’t a good match for you. Is that possible? I’d be concerned if I’d been with a boyfriend for years and not only didn’t feel intimately close to him but also thought he found me annoying and emotionally needy and then didn’t say or do anything to assuage that fear but instead fostered it by repeatedly telling me I don’t do enough to engage him.
I mean, have your therapists suggested this as a possibility when they tell you that you aren’t annoying and that everyone in your life is focused on other things? Have they told you that it might be better to ditch a boyfriend who isn’t focused on you instead of worrying that you’re too annoying to be interested in? Let me be the one to say it then: A boyfriend who treats you like you’re annoying and like he can’t be bothered to give you attention because you just aren’t trying hard enough to engage him might not be a good match for you. Just something to think about. Good luck!
From the forums:
Two months before move-in, he sprang on me that he had decided to take another job, one which pays less and will separate us for a year at the least, all because a high school friend was working on the same project. I have never even met her and have only heard her mentioned once. I’m not jealous of her, but I am very hurt by him. I feel like I can’t see through the fog enough right now to understand whether or not I have the right to be upset. He just told me, I congratulated him, and I excused myself to bed as we are visiting family. This will cut our time short as well as his last project recently paused.
I don’t want to break up, but I cannot have an absent partner for a year. I love him and would do anything for him; I just need an outside POV. — Change in Plans
You might feel like you’d do anything for him, but the feeling isn’t mutual. He couldn’t even be bothered to have a discussion with you about accepting this job that would take him away from you for at least a year and completely change your plans about moving in together. This is not a partner who really cares about you, let alone someone you want to start building a future with.
It’s also concerning that your moving in together was “based around this one job he had all but promised to take,” as well as your wanting to leave a toxic household. Those aren’t good reasons for moving in with a partner. Because, while the start of a live-in relationship can be really fun and exciting, the end of a live-in relationship is anything but that. If you aren’t really committed to each other, the likelihood of a break-up is pretty high (especially at your ages) and it’s SO much more complicated to end a live-in relationship than move on from someone with whom you don’t share an address. Anyway, it sounds like he’s saved you from all that drama, so consider this a bullet dodged. Bid him “adieu” and find a roommate to move in with.