My Boyfriend Is Distracted

"My Boyfriend Always Seems Distracted"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

My boyfriend is hyperobservant about what is going on around him in social situations. He is extraordinarily intuitive, but it goes beyond this. If we drive by someone jogging, he will notice what they are wearing down to the color and make of their sneakers. If we are out to dinner, he will analyze the dynamic and conversation of almost everyone else in the room. We all have our quirks, and I want to love someone as they truly are, not who I want them to be, so this was never something I gave all that much thought to.

Last weekend, we were out to dinner, having a lovely time, and started chatting about a funny thing that had happened at a table next to us. We'd had a bit of wine, and he started mentioning all the things he noticed around the room down to the number of times I had refilled my water glass that evening! (Six, for the record. I was dehydrated.) I was sort of stunned. I always knew he did this, but I never realized the extent to which it happened, and he had never explained it to me in quite the same way, like his mind is spinning a million miles a minute at all times, and he constructs a dialogue in his head based on how he interprets something, almost like he is reading a script. For example, if I say something to him in some tone, "Suuuure," he'll, in his head, think, "'Suuuure,' M said sarcastically." I suddenly felt very self-conscious and slightly defensive, like everything I said or did was going to be overanalyzed in his mind. I tried to really listen to him and be there for him. He expressed how embarrassed he was about this and how he never really told anyone what he had just told me.

He asked me what I thought, and I said it made some things make sense to me — he loves sex (who doesn't, of course . . . but he really loves sex) because it's one of the few times his mind is just at ease. He enjoys smoking weed for the same reason. I told him I loved him (I do!), and we talked about how maybe ADD was a part of this, etc. I was also honest with him (and maybe this was the wrong time to bring it up?) that, at times, I do get confused and frustrated because he will seem very distant. When I'm at dinner or spending time alone with him, 99 percent of the time I am focused just on him, and it can hurt to feel like that's not reciprocated. When I can see that he's somewhere else in his mind, it makes me worry if something is wrong — that I've done something to push him away. Is he losing his feelings for me? And then when I realize he's just curious as to what's going on at the table behind us, it makes me feel not good enough — like why is that so much more interesting than what I have to say?

I really value our time together and spending that time, having conversations, even if it's just about stupid things, really means a lot to me. I know it does to him, too, but I feel like we have less of that when he is focused on so many other things, and it's frustrating and hurtful to me. I recognize that part of this is just me being less sensitive or worrying that everything has to do with me — I am definitely working on that. But I am otherwise at a bit of a loss as to how to talk to my boyfriend about this, how to support him and be there for him, while also making sure my needs in the relationship are met. Has anyone experienced or heard of this type of thing before? I'd be so grateful for any advice. Thank you! 

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