Posted by: Jennifer | 2009-01-30


I have been in a long distance relationship for 3 years. Of that 3 years, we only spent about 5 months physically in each others company. By his own admission, my b/f says he has a low self esteem. I found this to be like a time bomb waiting to explode the relationship. I have tried to build up his confidence, I coach him, motivate and help him through personal problems that he experiences at work. I give him possible solutions and options and show him possible ways of how he could solve problems he is experiencing.
However, when I confide in him about any perosnal problem I am experiencing, he blames me for it and uses it against me. He also does not support me emotionally and psychologically. This really hurts me because feel that I try so hard to build him up, but he breaks me down. I have stopped confiding in him these days.
I find that he is constantly competitive with me (not in a nice, playful way) - he seems to be comparing himself to me to see how he is faring.
He seems to be in a power struggle with me. Although he says he wants me to be his equal, in practice, he wants me to be subservient to him and to obey his orders. I sometimes find that very difficult especially when I disagree with what he wants me to do. If I don' t agree with him, he does not discuss the issue with me and rationally come to an agreement, but instead becomes uncooperative, obstructive and very rude. He does not communicate, but only uses expletives.
I also find that when we are together in each other' s company, he embarrasses me in public - a form of emotional abuse. He does that almost all times when we have been together in a public space. He also appears to be playing mind games with me, and manipulates me.

I have tried very hard to make this relationship work because I care about him deeply and feel that I can help him. I was also told by a previous B/F that I don' t try hard enough to make a relationship work, and that I don' t know how to committ.

Do you think that I should, however, walk away from this relationship while my sanity is still intact, or is it still worth trying?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Long distance relationships are always difficult. But if he has self-esteem problems, he should be seeing a shrink wherever he is, and solving those issues. YOu seem to go beyond encouraging him to get the professional help he needs ( eg CBT ) and seem to be almost trying to be a therapist yourself. You can't make this relationship work --- on your own, and it doesn't sound as though he is putting much effort in it, to match your efforts. It really doesn't sound as though there's much in this for you.
If you hav e to keep putting so much work into it, that's a job, not a relationship

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Our users say:
Posted by: Jennifer | 2009-01-31

Thank you both for your responses.
I do take heed.

CS: Thank you and thanks also for this website. It is a very good service and much appreciated.
I have asked him to get professional help. He himself is a medical doctor and assured me he would, but has not done so to date.
You are correct: this is not a relationship, and I don' t get much from it. It is not even joyful.

Old Hand: Thank you so much for taking the time out to write to me. I really appreciate it. When I read your response this morning, I cried. You were so accurate in summing up my situation from just the few words that I provided on my situation. You are so correct: he is sapping my energy, life essence and vitality. I need to heal myself because I feel somewhat weakened by the experience. And I feel that I can only do this by leaving the relationship.

I hope it goes well as I will miss him also.

Reply to Jennifer
Posted by: Old Hand | 2009-01-31

I am most impressed with your credentials as a loving caring person who is a clear thinker. I can tell that the guy you are mixed up with is not worth a moment more of your time. He is what I would call an emotional vampire. Preying on you and your strength, sucking out your life essence and vitality. He clearly does see himself as he is, weak and spineless and I would say extremly jealous of your vibrant nature and kind heart. You on the other hand would fall into the category that I would term a " care giver"  I don' t know you of course, but I will stake money on it that anyone that does know you would describe you as someone who is always willing to help anyone who you perceive to be needy and always there for your friends.
Please don' t waste your wonderful life on this loser. There are so many good strong, well adjusted guys out there with whom you would be so happy, just do it !! Good luck my girl, you deserve it.

Reply to Old Hand

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