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Question
Posted by: Concerned and confused | 2012/06/25

confused

Hi CS

I have a issue i am sitting with, and i really need some insight into this, and what, if any, action i can take.

I have a girlfriend (a mother of three), and we haven’ t been seeing each other for long, almost three months now, and something strange is happening, and i hope you can help me with this, and i am hoping you can tell me what to do, or what not to do.

•  She is under a lot of stress at work
•  Her three children keep her up for extended periods of time, so she doesnt sleep, and when she does it is for short periods.
•  She needs to move out of the house soon (her ex husband moved out and is paying the bond until such time she finds another place to stay
•  She was told by husband to get a move on in finding a other place to stay, as he can’ t afford to keep paying


Now, it may seem obvious to you when reading this, but as of late (last two weeks), she has withdrawn from me emotionally, and to an extent physically, and she is hyper focussed on the kids and just completely loses herself in them and shuts me out completely, as it seems to me that is her ‘ shelter’  from the stress and physical exhaustion i know she is going through.

When i ask her what is wrong, she tells me she is unsure, but can’ t say what it is she is unsure about, but she did say, during one of her isolation moments, that she feels like there is to much going on right now for a relationship, but in that same session, she can’ t do this on her own anymore, she want a loving stable family environment, and i am more than happy to step in and do that.

Now my question to you, and who ever might have an answer, or just advice for me, as i just want the best for her and her children, but i am not sure at all what to do or not to do for that matter, as i feel i might be a bit to concerned and it might be ‘ smothering’  her, and i stopped that, but i dont want her thinking i stopped caring, as she told me at one point, she wants to appear tough and able to cope to the ouside world, but on the inside she is breaking apart from the strain, and she is far to proud to admit that to herself, let alone me, so what am i to do, as she asked me for some space, but yet she wants me to come ‘ fecth’  her and protect her from everything, but the thing is, as i said, she loses herself in her children and shuts me out.

Now, i don’ t want to change that, i just want her to see me as her protector and someone who can be there for her and help her, but she always insists on doing things on her own and her way.

How can i get her to see me differently, and change behaviour which is clearly a coping mechanism. How do i make her see i am here to help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Struggling with multiple real-life and unavoidable problems tends to make any of us less emotionally available to others than usual.
Similarly, we are often aware that things are not right, without being able to articulate, even to ourselves, what exactly is wrong.
It is difficult to those of us who wish to help someone, when they are ambivalent, and ask for contradictory things - stay away, and come here.
You can't "make" her see you as a source of help. She probably already does, and apart from explicitly saying that you are available and await her requests, the rest is up to her.
Maria's comments are, as always, wise and experienced.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2012/06/25

Friends of mine did a Divorce Care course through their church, which equipped them to counsel people going through a divorce. They say it takes 2 years for someone to really heal emotionally.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Concerned and confused | 2012/06/25

Hi Maria, thank you for your response.

i want to add, that it has been more than 8 months since they parted, and she herself said she is ready, so i am really not sure if she is, maybe you are right, but one thing that meakes me sure she is ready, is when things go well, ie, the kids are not misbehaving, and things at work are not as hectic, she really is her old self, very loving and affectionate, so to me it does seem there is just to much happeningat once for her to cope, and i hope it is that, as we can deal with that together.

Reply to Concerned and confused
Posted by: Maria | 2012/06/25

If she hasn''t done it already, encourage her to get a Rule 43 (I think that''s what it''s called) court order which will specify the maintenance her husband must pay for her and the kids until such time as the divorce is finalised.

She and the children might also benefit from counselling to help them through this difficult time.

Other than that, just listen when she wants to talk but don''t make promises that are inappropriate or you might not be able to keep in the long run.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Maria | 2012/06/25

By the sounds of it she and her husband only parted ways fairly recently? I can understand how she must be feeling completely overwhelmed by her circumstances but it is way too early for her to have a relationship, and for you to play the role you see for yourself. It is right that she must focus on her kids now, 3 children take a lot of work and time, and they are unsettled about the situation between their parents.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/06/25

Struggling with multiple real-life and unavoidable problems tends to make any of us less emotionally available to others than usual.
Similarly, we are often aware that things are not right, without being able to articulate, even to ourselves, what exactly is wrong.
It is difficult to those of us who wish to help someone, when they are ambivalent, and ask for contradictory things - stay away, and come here.
You can't "make" her see you as a source of help. She probably already does, and apart from explicitly saying that you are available and await her requests, the rest is up to her.
Maria's comments are, as always, wise and experienced.

Reply to cybershrink

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