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Guest Nibroc

Boyfriend's behavior changes

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Guest Nibroc

Hello,

 

My 38 year old boyfriend had a stroke on 12/11/10 though I think it started a few days prior. He lives in Texas and I live in New York and we didn't meet in person until months after the stroke. When he had the stroke we had been friends for almost 2 years though I wanted more and after the stroke he finally realized he loved me and became very affectionate via texts and phone calls while he was in rehab. He told me things I've only read about in romance novels and I was so happy to finally have my feelings returned! He was in almost contact with me and it felt so good to know that he thought about me so much and needed me. Things changed though when his time in rehab ended and he went home to be cared for by his parents in late January 2011. The first few weeks he was still optimistic and hopeful and told me he was working hard to get stronger for us and our future together. Within a month though his hope diminished as did his affection toward me. He was receiving periodic OT and PT for a few weeks but that ended and he went several weeks without any therapy until a family member stepped in and got him more PT. Now even that PT has ended and he's had no outside therapy for almost a month and his mood has become even more down and depressed.

 

I finally went down to meet him in early May of this year and we instantly clicked and the chemistry between us was undeniable. I saw how strong he truly is and he pushed and challenged himself during my visit. I could see that he truly wants to be strong for himself and for me and I had such hope that even after my visit ended that fire and determination would remain. Well he was all fired up for a couple weeks and then that faded again and he resumed his prior behavior. When I try to push him and encourage him via texts or phone calls he balks and/or growls at me and so I've reduced my pushing fearing he'll start hating me if I don't. I am the only non family member who has stuck by him through all this, even his best friend of 10 years has almost completely abandoned him but he seems to think I'm going to just walk away too. I feel like he's trying to push me away, to "save" me from suffering a life with him and that *beep* me off to no end! I KNOW he can recover from this stroke and he's young and strong but he gives up on himself so easily and it infuriates me. I honestly don't know what else I can do to keep him working hard, if he won't work hard for himself then he certainly won't work hard for me and our future anymore. He is my soulmate and my best friend and I love him more than I ever thought I could love a man but what am I to do when he keeps pushing me away? Lately he's even started accusing me of being with someone else which is just ridiculous! I just went through a difficult divorce and I so desperately want my happy ending, with him!

 

I know that dealing with the emotions of a stroke victim are difficult. My father suffered several strokes and he was never the same man, but when I was with my boyfriend I could see that he really is the same man I fell in love with. He just seems to be choosing not to try anymore. I've done and continue to do everything I can for him. I have two little girls to support and am on a limited budget but I managed to save for May's plane ticket and by working two jobs I'm able to go visit him again starting tomorrow. I'm excited to see him but I'm also afraid and worried that it will be all for naught again as the strength he shows me when I'm there disappears after I'm gone. Some of my friends tell me to just walk away because he isn't working as hard at the relationship as I am but I can't see myself doing that. I have great hope that he'll eventually step up and fight for us but I'm so tired of crying myself to sleep at night wondering if I'll forever be alone. I'm tired of the unanswered phone calls and questions. I plan on having several long talks with him during my visit and I hope I can help him see my side. If not I don't know that to do.

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Julie, as I recall, the reason for so many changes in a stroke (survivor) is the brain has been attacked period. Right there we survivors can't comprehend as we once could with a clear mind and some can't speak plainly if at all! I wish him and you the best but looking for good things in the relationship right now is what it is. It can change as his emotions changes. He's not the first survivor to act or react in this manner and God knows I don't know why that is nor how long it will last!

 

Try not to get discouraged in his behavior for now. You had enough already you stated in a failed marriage. I had a few of those failed marriages myself and currently in my fourth, but no more! I wish I had the answers, I don't but maybe his doctors can shed some light and get him the correct medications to control anger and depression and attitude he is displaying toward you long distance!

 

Julie, let us know more as you get the understanding to make this relation get back on track! :big_grin: :cocktail: I'm speaking from my experience being twice your age, old folks know the deal! :unsure:

 

Needless to say he feels frustrated presently by having the stroke and he can't do what he knows he can do without the stroke. Any man knows his strengths and that weighs heavy on his heart at the moment that he can't do for you what he wish he could be doing! That's a true fact!Trust me!

 

Fred!

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HI I READ YOUR POST AND THOUGHT FOR A BIT BEFORE ANSWERING IT SOUNDS LIKE HE IS DEPRESSED AND EVEN YOURSELF SINCE YOU CAN T BE THERE TO SUPPORT HIM. A STROKE IS VERY HARD AND CHANGES THEIR LIVES, BODY AND OUR MINDS. WHEN OUR THERAPY RUNS OUT WITH INSURANCE, WE HAVE TO DO IT ON OUR OWN.WHETHER WE WANT TO OR NOT, WE DO IT. EXERCISE, WALKING MORE, TYING OUR SHOES, DOING DISHES ETC. AND SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT FROM OTHERS HELPED. IT HELPED ME.I SAW EVERYONE DOING THEIR OWN THING AND I THOUGHT... I WANT TO TRY, I WANT TO BE AS INDEPENDENT AS I COULD.I STILL HAVE MY DAYS OR MOMENTS OF BEING ANGRY, FRUSTRATED, DEPRESSED OR I WANT TO SIT AND WATCH TV ALL DAY. BUT I DON T. MY HUSBANDS JOB MOVED 120 MILES ,ONE WAY FROM OUR HOME, 1 1/2 YRS AGO. AND WE HAVE A CABIN 54 MILES FROM HIS WORK, SO HE LIVES UP NORTH 5 DAYS A WEEK THEN HE COMES HOME ON THE WEEKEND. I MISS HISS HIM BUT I MISS THE SUPPORT I WAS GETTING FROM HIM EVERYDAY. I NOTICE, IM MUCH HAPPIER AND BETTER WHEN HES HOME.I JOINED A STROKE CLUB 1 MONTH AGO FOR SUPPORT AND TO MEET OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAD STROKES AND FOR FRIENDSHIP, TOO.I HAD MY STROKE 3 YRS AGO, AT 48. I CAN T DRIVE SINCE MY STROKE BUT I COLLECT SSDI AND WORK 2 DAYS A WEEK, I FIND RIDES OR TAKE THE BUS. MY BEST WISHES FOR BOTH OF YOU OH YES, AND I FOUND SO MUCH ANSWERS, SUPPORT FROM JOINING THIS SITE!!! PATTY

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julie, this is a tough situation for both of you. a long distance romance alone takes alot of work then with a stroke on top of it. he probably has alot of emotions going through his mind, roller coaster type thing. he needs constant encouragement and more recovery to feel better about himself, then maybe his attitude might change for the better. so many relationships break apart from a stroke, it takes special people to make it work. maybe he just needs more time. what if he doesn't recover as much as you want him to, he will be more dependent on you, depending on his deficits. have you both considered that point. no one wants to be a burden on their loved ones. you both need to discuss many points on this issue. he could be overwhelmed with all thats going on right now, with recovery and a relationship. see what happens after your visit him. he might need some drugs to help him cope with depression, anxiety and motivation. his stroke is barely 6 months old and the brain takes that long for the swelling to go down after a stroke. what if he can't return to work? talk about these things in detail so you both know what lies ahead. i wish you both the best in working this out so you both can be happy. acceptance of his stroke is a hard step to get to for some people,so they can move on with their new different life. good luck and keep us updated as you can.

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How well do you know his parents? Are they aware that their son is very depressed? Maybe it's time you and they have a little heart-to-heart? It sounds like the least that's needed here is a med adjustment in antidepressants for him,and they may not be aware of this need. By the same token, they may know something you don't. GOOD LUCK,Becky1

 

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Guest Nibroc

Hi again,

 

Thank you everyone for your input! I appreciate all the information I can get =) My trip to visit him in June went very well and we talked a lot of things through. One of the first things he showed me was that he had been working on standing up out of his wheelchair without using the armrest to push up from. I was very pleased and impressed by his strenght! He told me he'd wanted to surprise me and he certainly did!

 

I took him out of his parents house every day on "adventures" to go shopping, see a movie, go on lunch "dates" etc. Most days we didn't get home until 9pm. I got really good at hefting his wheelchair in and out of my rental car and I mastered the procedure of getting him out of the car and into it quite quickly. We had lots of fun together and had time to bond as a couple and as I've said before, when we're physically together everything just makes sense. He assured me that he loves me and that when he gets all "growly" to just kind of ignore it until he comes to his senses.

 

I was so encouraged by my visit that when I got home I booked tickets to fly down myself, my two daughters and my mother for an entire week in August. It's going to be a fun family vacation and my girls and my mom will be able to meet the man I love. I'm hoping him meeting my daughters will help further motivate him too because my youngest daughter has had developmental delays her entire life and yet she has the happiest and brightest personality. Everyone who meets her loves her and when he sees what she's capable of and what she's overcome maybe he'll find new fire.

 

When I confronted him on the whole him accusing me of being with someone else he told me that he's just playing and that he does it to make me grr and playfully threaten him. The man always has loved to push my buttons but honestly! Lol. We've been doing pretty well relationship wise but there's been a small snafu lately. His older sister is visiting with her husband and three small children and it has made him very happy having them there. However, I'm beginning to wonder if his sister is telling him negative things about me or our long distance relationship. He texted something to me this morning that was just so unlike him. I've been having a rough week with my coworker friend giving her notice and I had a nasty argument with my mother and those events have made it hard at times to remain upbeat and optimistic. This morning he accused me of being miserable and he said that if I don't change he'll start wondering if that's something he wants around him. I was absolutely stunned and quite angry. I know this relationship is hard but I didn't think I was out of line expecting my boyfriend to listen to me without being so negative. All I wanted was an "it will be okay" and instead I was accused of being a miserable person. I've bent over backward for him and I love him immensely and I can't fathom what I did so terribly wrong to make him say that. I suppose it's just another thing I have to adjust to but I don't think it will ever not hurt me when he says such things. I'm a tough cookie but I'm not unbreakable. Maybe I just needed to vent here.

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good lord

 

 

 

You have one thing after another hitting you. As for a relationship I commend you. Some people usually leave after a stroke. I know for me, and I'm married,I aways felt that I would be a burden and my husband and he deserved so much more. But he married me not my stroke. He MAY be worried that your feelings for him may diminish after time. Self-esteem is really put to the test after something such as this.Don't let his sister intimidate you for she only sees her brother and not the love of someone else. Just understand that just like with recovery, approach him with things in baby steps and all will be good. good luck :You-Rock:

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Nibroc: You are 34 years old with a family. You are not twenty. Do not fall into these he said-she said. It either is or it isn't. He is brain damaged, you are not. Emotionally he is not capable of supporting you. You will either step up or concede that you can not take on his baggage along with your own. Think long and hard at what you feel you need emotionally to make this relationship work and whether or not he can give that to you. Debbie

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I read your post several times, each time carefully,

 

and find myself very concerned, like Debbie,

 

about how you are positioning yourself.

 

You wrote: "I have great hope that he'll eventually step up and fight for us but I'm so tired of crying myself to sleep at night wondering if I'll forever be alone. I'm tired of the unanswered phone calls and questions. I plan on having several long talks with him during my visit and I hope I can help him see my side. If not I don't know that to do."

 

Forgive me for this blunt, honest reaction --

 

I don't think you have yet fully grasped what

 

has happened to him,

 

I don't think you have imagined

 

what it is like to

 

be a stroke survivor, all of his fears,

 

all of his challenges, his confusion,

 

his struggles, his pain, his loss, his sadness.

 

You are impatient that he is not tending to

 

your needs.

 

How on earth can he do that?

 

He recently suffered a stroke.

 

My deepest apologies if I am

 

quite wrong, but you seem to be asking

 

a person in the throes of a difficult stroke recovery

 

to solve your problems...

 

Rachel

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Julie,

 

I read your post the day you posted and since then you have visited him here in Texas and it sounds like all considered things went pretty well. So much so that you now want to bring the kiddos and your mom to meet the man of your life. That being said, my hope is everything will go as you may have imagined things to go for your second visit to Texas.

 

Long distance love affairs as a general rule is sorta hard for both parties. Couple that with one of you being a stroke survivor tends to make things complicated in several ways. The mind sets (yours and his) will be different since you really lead two separate lives and households. Perhaps if it was just you and him in separate homes the thinking and mindset would be a bit different.

 

You have your kids (girls) and he has none that I read about. He has his mom and sister giving their input on his relationship with you but the big picture is you and kids without you knowing his mindset about the kids. I can detect some things will be said by him to really upset your way of thinking when the whole gang is together.

 

I was in that same boat when I retired from the Army in Georgia, met this lady with two girls, her ex-husband in Germany. I brought her to Texas she met my ex and my kids and things didn't go too well as they were before she got to Texas. Our conversations never got pass misunderstandings and arguments daily about nothing.

 

I don't know if he has an ex-friend in the same town but I can see him saying things to you and you getting upset. You may not know how he will accept your kids or always saying they are in the way even if they enjoy helping him in the wheelchair.

 

Your next visit in August should reveal some interesting facts and things you may want to think about and consider. Right now you are in love but is he really in love with you, the kids and all of what you can do with him and for him? Enough long distance phone conversations should reveal many interesting things you may not have thought about to this point.

 

The bottom line is go slow and consider your kids, they still need a mother, then if things work out you all will be a complete family again! It takes lots of time for things to jell the way you are thinking now. I wish the best for your relationship but remember you are coming together from different walks of life, ways of thinking and how things are done! My best to both of you, keep us posted on this topic by you!

Fred!

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I so totally agree It is you that has really got to step up to the plate He is going to need a care provider not another to care for if this makes sense For you to have a list if demands is really so very sad as you have nowhere to go but to get hurt. If he was totally self sufficient it would still be uphill both ways but he might post stroke be able to meet you half way As it is how can he possibly tend to your needs at every turn I know that all sounds so harsh but the kindest thing to do would be to have a realistic check list as you will be taking on a huge load here None of which will lighten your load at all we are not talking about coping with a wheel chair but the reality of brain damage and it "sounds" like your needing him to lighten the load on you and that is simply not reality. I wish you nothing but the best but I think some time in couple couseling would be a wonderfu tool to consider right now I think you both want the same thing You want him to take care of you and he needs you to really step up to care for him I wish you noting but the best and always I wish you love Both of you Karen

 

 

 

I read your post several times, each time carefully,

 

and find myself very concerned, like Debbie,

 

about how you are positioning yourself.

 

You wrote: "I have great hope that he'll eventually step up and fight for us but I'm so tired of crying myself to sleep at night wondering if I'll forever be alone. I'm tired of the unanswered phone calls and questions. I plan on having several long talks with him during my visit and I hope I can help him see my side. If not I don't know that to do."

 

Forgive me for this blunt, honest reaction --

 

I don't think you have yet fully grasped what

 

has happened to him,

 

I don't think you have imagined

 

what it is like to

 

be a stroke survivor, all of his fears,

 

all of his challenges, his confusion,

 

his struggles, his pain, his loss, his sadness.

 

You are impatient that he is not tending to

 

your needs.

 

How on earth can he do that?

 

He recently suffered a stroke.

 

My deepest apologies if I am

 

quite wrong, but you seem to be asking

 

a person in the throes of a difficult stroke recovery

 

to solve your problems...

 

Rachel

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Hi Julie,

And I thought that I had it hard... relationship wise... long distance relationships are a battle on their own. A long distance relationship with a stroke survivor now that honey can take a toll on you. My 35 year old boyfriend suffered a stroke in January 2011. We live together so I see the mood swings up close and personal. I know that my boyfriend gets frustrated very quickly more so now than ever. And when he gets frustrated, he gets annoyed and angry and says and does things that even when he looks back at his words and actions turns his head. You have to understand our boyfriends were used to being independent, not having to rely on anyone for anything. When my boyfriend was in rehab, do you know what one of the happiest times there for him was, it was standing up to go to the washroom. Although it may not mean squat to us women... it meant soooo much to him. Why? Because his is A MAN. Having a stroke leaves you feeling like a piece of you has been stripped away, the whole life you used to lived has changed. Think about it, he's living with his parents so that they could help him...A grown man who didn't need help before.

I know how it feels to be in your situation, my boyfriend talks about marriage one day, and being alone the next. I feel like I'm on an emotional roller coaster that never stops to let me off. It's hard because although deep down inside you know that they love you, the words that come out of their mouths can me very very hurtful. And even if it is followed by an apology, those words are still in your head, and they mess with your heart. I don't know when or if my boyfriend's moods will change, I don't know if his depression will ever go away... All I know is that I love him... All I can say is that if you need someone to talk to, someone who could relate, feel free to leave me a msg here...

Best of luck with everything...

Marie

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Guest Nibroc

Hello again,

 

For those who don't think I know what a stroke survivor is going through, you are in part, wrong. As I stated before, my father suffered more than one stroke and he and I were very close. He was always talking about how the stroke changed his way of thinking and I saw his personality change firsthand. The reason I "push" my boyfriend the way I do is because he's 30 years younger than my father was and I can't stand the thought of him dissolving into the sad defeated man my father became toward the end. As far as my boyfriend being independent before the stroke, he really wasn't. He had a job but he still lived with his parents and has been living with them for several years.

 

After spending a week taking care of him I've realized that no, I can't be a caretaker for a grown man. I love him very much and he got along very well with my girls but I was extremely drained after that week. Having to get his wheelchair in and out of the SUV several times a day in the 100+ heat put such a strain on me that my bp and pulse were almost dangerously high and my period came a week early. My body obviously can't handle that kind of stress and I have my daughters to take care of and raise. I still hold out hope that he will step up and take charge of his own recovery but it has become obvious that I am not motivation enough for him to do that. He's still trying to blame other people for what happened to him and I find that rather frustrating. He needs to define himself outside the stroke and let old family conflicts go or he'll never get better.

 

His parents are doing their best to care for him and I admire their strength because I know what a toll one week took on me. Perhaps it is no longer within him to express gratitude for those who see to his needs, I know I had to break down crying and almost beg for some appreciation before he'd say please and thank you. It wasn't all a horrible experience though, I can see that he is still a good man and that he's trying but I also see that he's not working to his full potential. I don't care about him stepping up for me anymore, I just want him to get better for himself and to live a full and healthy life. I can take care of myself. Maybe you'll all think I'm selfish for not being "strong enough" for him but I assure you that I've done everything within my power to help him, no one has worked as hard for him as I have. I still wish for a future where he and I can be together but for now I have to concentrate on my own needs and the needs of my family. I will always be his supporter and cheerleader and I so hope to be with the man I love when the time is finally right for us.

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You did come back after your visit with your update. I just hope the love the two of you have can become a true love 50-50 and perhaps one day the two of you can be in one household in Texas or New York however you choose! I bet you didn't have any idea it would be that hot in Texas now. I don't see how you made it here in this record heat wave.

 

Anyway my hope is the love you all have can blossom into a true relationship at some point. I also hope he can get better from his stroke in due time while your relationship gets stronger. All the best for both of you in the future, God bless! :You-Rock:

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