Agony Aunt: I’m going strong with my boyfriend, but my closest friends have distanced themselves from me

Friends not forever

I started dating a guy who was my senior in college by two years. He has recently completed his graduation while I am still a second-year student. We have been going strong for the past two years now. In these two years, my closest group of friends has distanced themselves from me and I am extremely hurt because of the same. I realised this recently when a few of them went out to celebrate the birthday of a group member without inviting me and also made it a point to post details on social media. I felt quite embarrassed by this and reacted angrily with my boyfriend. I don’t know where and how I am going wrong and slowly losing friends.

The recent incident of not being invited to the party could be evidence for the fact that your close friends have distanced themselves from you. However, the gap as you mentioned began two years ago. In the given situation I understand there is hurt on your part with their current action, but a retrospective understanding of your behaviour with them could also help understand your role in the distance. The anger and hurt could be resolved by communicating with your friends as well as your boyfriend and re-establishing the bonds.

‘Hunger’ games

I am facing a sudden loss of appetite. Food no longer tempts or fascinates me, and I do not like consuming it. It is difficult and stressful for me as I used to be a food lover. I have had body image issues in the past but never so extreme for me to stop eating. However, suddenly out of nowhere I have lost the urge to eat. What according to you might be the reason behind this? Is it psychological or physical cause?

You mentioned there is a history of body image issues which is important to consider as the current situation might be either relapse or onset of some psychological disturbance resulting in aversion towards food. To begin with, you can look for changes or sudden stressor that could have led to an impact on food habits. In case, you are unable to do so on your own, you can seek professional help as well. It is important to rule out any physical ailment so thus getting a medical check-up is also recommended.

Hard to move on

The boy I liked was confused about his feelings towards me. He finally confesses that I should move on. The feeling of rejection is still sinking in. I am aware of the fact that initially moving on and letting go will be difficult, especially when I come across him daily in the college premises. My mind is conflicted between being angry or forgiving him and moving on. What suggestions do you have to offer when it comes to controlling my mind and feelings whenever I come across him?

I understand that going through a heartbreak is a difficult thing. What you are experiencing demands time and patience. Another thing that you mentioned was learning to control your feelings which could be difficult as it would lead to unnecessary pressure on self. The more you try to distance yourself from this situation, the more it will stay on your conscious mind. Adopting normalcy at this point in time is very essential in order to help yourself recover. Prioritise your well-being and take your time to accept. Having a conflicted mind is understandable; however, remember not to force your mind to rush into making a decision on how you should be feeling.

Living with anxiety

I face anxiety very frequently as a result of which I experience heightened physical symptoms like increase in heart rates, shivering and excessive sweating. I have always been a hypersensitive and emotionally reactive person. My mother believes that I have been suffering from anxiety since birth. I cannot control myself in extreme situations and stop eating which in turn affects my health badly. What techniques do you offer as a psychotherapist?

Having an insight into certain maladjustment in our lives is equivalent to winning half the battle. The second half consists of treating the triggers and symptoms of this maladjustment, in your case anxiety. Listing down your triggers that cause anxiety could help formulate coping mechanisms. Grounding techniques, relaxation techniques and one-on-one sessions with a psychologist could help in working towards decreasing the anxiety. Since your anxiety has been long term, making certain lifestyle changes like exercising, reducing your caffeine intake, maintain a daily diary seems like a sensible option. However, it is important to take small steps for more long-lasting improvement.

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