Dr. Darcy, I’m desperate for your help. My boyfriend appeared to be the most amazing man on earth. He’s such an overachiever in work, is a VP of his company and he's only in his 30's, entertains like Martha Stewart...anyway, we moved in together after dating a few months and shortly afterwards I began seeing a different side of him. Basically, he’s an anxious mess. He’s only an over-achiever because he’s afraid that he’s never good enough. He’s also a little paranoid, always thinking that people are talking about him, or that if people break plans with us it’s because they’re mad at him. His emotional issues are so bad that sometimes he won’t go out if his hair isn’t perfect. I feel trapped in this relationship but I feel like I’d be such an asshole to leave him and not support him in getting better. I’ve suggested therapy and he’s dead set against it and says that people in your profession are more screwed up than the general population. Would I be wrong to leave him?
LMAO, I have to agree with your boyfriend in his assessment of my profession’s mental health. That said, he needs therapy regardless, and his desire to focus on this is simply his way of distracting from the real issue.
His anxiety, as you suspect, is the dark side to overachievement. It’s a strength turned up too high. What makes him great at work is how rapidly his brain processes information, how well he problem solves, and how innately his brain hunts for tasks to do. This pattern of thinking can be very difficult to turn off at will. When the mind spins without any real actionable outlet for the thoughts, anxiety manifests.
I suspect that his issues look to you, a layperson, a lot more pathological than they would to me. Regardless, if the issues are getting in the way of the relationship and he’s unwilling to go to therapy and you’re looking for an exit strategy, I wouldn’t blame you for cutting him loose. But do yourself a favor and date your next boyfriend a little longer before moving in with him. You’re a gay guy, after all. Not a lesbian.
Writer’s stats: Male, Gay.