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This situation is a double edged sword. You are most likely the first person he's been able to be totally honest about his situation, fears, anxieties, phobias etc etc, but he will likely keep a lot of stuff 'secret', even from you. My ex husband of 8 years had OCD and social anxiety, but the social anxiety wasn't to the extent of your boyfriend's.

I noticed when we began dating that he constantly thought people in the street were looking "at" him. I'd tell him that perhaps they found him attractive and wanted to look and merely laughed it off. Other times i'd tell him they were looking "through" him, not "at" him. None of this helped and i realised he was serious when he'd began asking if there was anything on his face or was his hair sitting right, did he look weird etc etc as people were "always" looking at him.

Next we had issues going to a cafe for a simple coffee as people were looking at him there too. They were watching him eat or drink and it made him super self conscious.

At the time he was studying and said that he thankfully only has to do one day a week at his course and the other days he can study from home. I thought this was good as it saved travelling back and forth from the course. What i found out much later down the track was that he did this to avoid being with people. This also led to him falling behind in his studies by 6 months and his parents had to pay some major fees to cover extra time. Mind you he was 26 years old. I much later learnt he did this with university too and eventually dropped out as he failed classes due to not turning up altogether.

After we married he complained that he was not going to anymore job interviews as nobody was going to select him for the job. He did get repeat interviews, but the other person always got it, so he said he was giving up. He was in the IT industry so i told him why doesnt he work from home (BIG MISTAKE and biggest regret of my life). I didn't know quite how bad he was and was later to learn a lot more things about him. So working from home, running a business, having social anxiety is not really a formula for success. He'd have panic attacks and phone me at work in a total panic because he couldn't find an item of clothing or some other thing which he needed. He couldn't calm down and be rational, he'd break into a sweat and have a total panic attack because he couldn't find where he'd put the last remaining screw for the computer case which he had to deliver to someone.

So getting these calls from him repeatedly while i was at work set my nerves on edge. He wasn't making much money as he'd talk people through fixing their basic computer issues for free so he'd not have to visit them and go out in public. We were living with his parents because we couldn't afford to move out with just my wage and he was constantly wanting to have children, saying that if we had children "things would change".

He did go to weddings and other social functions, but could never get used to eating out in public as people were always watching him. He never danced except our wedding waltz.

In the end he hardly worked at all and any jobs he did get with companies he walked out on within months because he couldn't handle it. He always had some excuse for not working but lots of ideas and schemes on making money, sort of like living in a fantasy land.

I spent 8 years trying to "fix" him. He had been the love of my life. We had been so compatible to the point people couldn't believe just how suited we were. The oldies used to call us Romeo and Juliet. If only they'd known what was happening bit by bit. Halfway through he began using emotional abuse/blackmail. I figure now that that was his only way of holding onto me so i'd not leave. He'd blame me for everything, which i later found out was his typical pattern. He'd tell me he was going to suicide, he'd tell me that i could leave if i wanted but nobody else would want me.

So it basically went from me loving and caring for him and wanting to help, to him turning on me in an emotionally destructive sort of way to the point that now i'm still affected by the things he's said and done and i needed counselling myself just to leave the relationship, as i felt guilty in leaving him behind. I felt as though i was leaving a child behind. My problem was that i was too giving, too tolerant and understanding.

He refused counselling while i was with him, telling me that i was the crazy one and i needed it, not him. But then people who need counselling are often in denial.

Since i've left him he has found a job, but it took forever and did get counselling for some of his issues, but only after he phoned lifeline saying he was having suicidal thoughts. He found the counselling helpful in certain areas and liked his counsellor but then she got a job elsewhere and he didn't feel the new person was helping, so he stopped. He still has issues which i think he'll always have but at least he's coping better and has moved on.

In short, it's good to "help" someone but don't help to the point where you feel responsible for him and you end up shoulding all his issues to the point you begin to suffer emotionaly. It's very deceiving. You think you are in control of the situation and you are just 'helping' him, but these types of people can pull you into the quicksand with them if you aren't careful. Only a professional can truly help and you should leave it up to a professional, while you can give support and encouragement from the sidelines.

My counsellor actually told me to in future leave "strays" by the roadside as they couldnt be fixed. I thought it harsh, but when i look back, i truly wish i'd left him by the roadside as it messed up what ought to have been the best years of my life. My mother still hasn't gotten over it as i'm their only child, whereas my inlaws knew all along what their son could be like and my mother feels betrayed that they didn't tell us what the score was.

I truly wish you all the very best as i know what a tug of war this type of situation plays with the heart. Should i stay or should i go........

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