Why am I not as comfortable around my boyfriend anymore?

I've been experiencing a lot of anxiety and panic attacks lately. I was recently diagnosed by my psychiatrist with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Lately, I've been questioning everything from my career to my relationship. My boyfriend and I just moved in a few months ago. All of a sudden, I don't feel as comfortable around him as I used to, although I can't seem to find a reason as to why I feel this way.

Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

How is your boyfriend responding to your discomfort around him?

Has he told you that he's noticed changes in you?

The good news about a relationship is that you can talk about matters with the other person.  Doing so can only help clarify feelings and what either of you expect from the relationship.  

Given that the two of you recently moved in together, it is natural for new dynamics, feelings and expectations to arise.  It just adds to the reasonableness of talking with each other about how living together feels to each of you.

Psychiatrists earn their living by diagnosing people and telling them to take pills.  Very often, just being told the person has a "condition" makes them feel fragile and less capable than they actually are.

Anxiety and panic attacks do mean that there is a great deal of emotion and situation needing to be addressed.

It is the normal sign of having to address many or deep matters.   

Be patient and give yourself time to learn the details of your relationship and whatever the career particulars are that are bothering you.   You're apparently self-aware since you're the one describing your own problematic situations.  

Keep the label of being "disordered", aside.  Psychiatry labels do more good for psychiatrists than they do for people who are trying to live their lives.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lynda Martens
Lynda Martens
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc, RP, RMFT

Hi New Jersey,

You talk about two very big changes in your life that have happened lately; the diagnosis/anxiety, and the moving in together. That's a lot!

I love how you recognise that you been 'questioning everything'. I think anxiety's got its toe in the door and it's pushing you around, wanting some power over you. Fear and anxiety try to convince us that we need protection and that it's best to either pull away or fight. But letting anxiety control how you see your relationship isn't the answer here. I think you know that already.

You must have moved in with him for a reason, and it's appropriate now to simply trust that, to ask him for some patience, and to focus on learning to manage the anxiety rather than questioning this decision to move in. Fear is getting in the way of you trusting yourself and your decision. You can figure the anxiety piece out while living with your boyfriend.

When you're in a bit of a crisis is not the right time to make a major change. I suggest you use a therapist who works with cognitive behavioural therapy to learn to manage the anxiety, and then the relationship will likely seem more clear.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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