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Relationship Problems

EmB

Absolute Peach!
#1
Me and my boyfriend, we aren't getting on at the minute.

I'll give a little summary of the situation. We've been together for over a year. We both aren't totally set mentally. I'm depressed, at the moment quite severely, and have anxiety. He doesn't have any diagnoses at the moment, but he certainly has anger issues, and he frets a lot about me. He can also get sad out of the blue.

At the minute, I'm really worried about our future together. He is possibly the greatest guy I've ever had the luck of knowing. He has put up with all of my problems, he's been understanding through it all, he's stayed when I've told him to leave. But all of that takes its toll on him. I noticed the other day how depressed he'll get if I'm sad. It's difficult for him. Understandably, of course! But I can't bear to see it. I bring myself to pretend to be happy, and he brightens up again. I brought it up, and he agreed, that his mood is very much dependent on mine, and in fact, he's really quite dependent on me.

I wouldn't have an issue if I was okay most of the time. But I'm not. And it seeps into him. He's been getting sadder, and angrier. He's not lashed out again, but his mood is still at its worst. And due to things I've said before, I am certain I am the cause of that. He loves me. We've talked about this so much. I've told him all of this. He says "but we love each other, I love you, I will stay with you through anything." As sweet as that is, it's not what I want... I don't want him to put himself through such sadness for me. That makes him and me unhappy. And he is exactly the kind of person who would not step back when things are too much - he wouldn't speak up for himself, he'd stay if it killed him. And I don't want to kill him.

He is the best person I've ever, ever known in my life. And if this was a small point in my life, I'd be working on pushing through with it. But it's not - it's been for 4 years, and for the short term it will stay. And with things in the future that are bound to happen that will send me back down to here, even if I do manage to get better, this is something that's going to reoccur again and again.

The question is whether I belong in relationships, at least at the current time if not permanently. Whether I should stay, and hope things get better when it's unlikely they will. Whether I should keep putting him through all that I'm putting him through. Or whether I should go, lose the best thing in my life, put him through heartbreak, but also know that he will find someone else and heal from it, and he won't be hurting because of my problems anymore. The one thing that's worse than losing him is putting him through hell. I don't have the capacity to support him like I wish I could, I don't have the capacity to step back when I wish I could. And I'm worried it's only going to get worse. So far, it has.

I'd appreciate any honest advice. This is possibly the hardest decision I've ever had to face and I can't tell what the right thing to do is. It's breaking me apart every day, and I wish I knew where to go from here.

Sending hugs

Em
 

Sunspots

To Wish Impossible Things
Safety & Support
SF Supporter
#2
I get where your coming from, I really do. But I also think that it's his decision if it's too much or not. If it was him in your position and you love him, would you want to leave? Or would you want with all your heart to stay and support him? Honestly sweetie, if it really does get too much for him you'll feel him pulling away. The fact that he's not shows that he wants to be there for you.
 

Acy

Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense
Admin
#3
I think you and your bf care a lot about each other. That’s lovely!

It’s true that seeing a loved one depressed or ill with something can be hard. It’s important for the “caregiver” partner to have other things in their life so they are not only focussed on their partner’s challenges. Having their own interests doesn’t mean that they don’t care about their partner, it just means they have something that keeps them buoyed up just for their own benefit.

Sometimes the people who love us when we are depressed don’t know a lot about the condition. They think they can “fix” things for us and when they can’t through no fault of theirs, they begin to feel down too. This might be something that you, your bf and your doctor/therapist could talk about together. It might give your bf a chance to learn what part is his in helping you and what parts are not his responsibility.

I think you and he might find a path together if you both understand and work at it. Please don’t let your depression and the guilt it can bring on in you determine your relationship. I think you deserve to be happy and so does your bf. That doesn’t mean the relationship must end. *hug
 

EmB

Absolute Peach!
#4
I get where your coming from, I really do. But I also think that it's his decision if it's too much or not. If it was him in your position and you love him, would you want to leave? Or would you want with all your heart to stay and support him? Honestly sweetie, if it really does get too much for him you'll feel him pulling away. The fact that he's not shows that he wants to be there for you.
I think if I was in his position, I would want to stay. But I don't think I would have enough self-worth to pull away if it got too much, and I am very sure he's the same. I feel like he doesn't have much else in his life, and thus he will cling, even if it's hurting him (I'm gonna follow this up in my next reply).

I think you and your bf care a lot about each other. That’s lovely!

It’s true that seeing a loved one depressed or ill with something can be hard. It’s important for the “caregiver” partner to have other things in their life so they are not only focussed on their partner’s challenges. Having their own interests doesn’t mean that they don’t care about their partner, it just means they have something that keeps them buoyed up just for their own benefit.

Sometimes the people who love us when we are depressed don’t know a lot about the condition. They think they can “fix” things for us and when they can’t through no fault of theirs, they begin to feel down too. This might be something that you, your bf and your doctor/therapist could talk about together. It might give your bf a chance to learn what part is his in helping you and what parts are not his responsibility.

I think you and he might find a path together if you both understand and work at it. Please don’t let your depression and the guilt it can bring on in you determine your relationship. I think you deserve to be happy and so does your bf. That doesn’t mean the relationship must end. *hug
He certainly believes he can fix me at times. We've talked about this since we started dating, but he still can't help it. Someone on here gave me great advice, they said when it comes to a partner with mental health, the other shouldn't help with advice and talking but through spending time with them and being a kind face. We've talked about this so much, I've told him this is what I need, but he still needs to ask and talk and give me advice. It's just the way he is.

He doesn't have much else in his life. He has a few distant friends, but he admitted he hadn't given them much attention since we've been together and so they aren't as close as they were. He's become incredibly attached, which I don't mind - what I do mind is that attachment means he is very sensitive to how I'm feeling and how I act, and it hurts him. But he can't seem to step away. Even now, I've told him we both need to focus on our mental health and try and make this work (which for him is finding other things in his life), but he can't stop messaging me, sending me funny things, asking how I am, etc etc. He might be playing with a friend but still sending me messages. He can't seem to be away from me, and as such his feelings and thoughts and needs are always focused on me. Does that make sense?

I'm just so unsure if either of us are in the right place. It's easy to love him, so easy. But the relationship I feel is only going to get harder and harder. It worries me a lot. I don't want to lose him but I don't know how to move forward.

Thank you both for the replies, I really appreciate it.

Sending hugs

Em
 

Freya

Loves SF
Admin
SF Author
SF Supporter
#7
Hey @EmB I am sorry you and he are having such a bad time. I think its really hard when the person you love is in a bad mental space and then when you have this situation where one person's mood affects the other person's mood (which then affects the first person's mood etc.) you end up in a feedback loop from hell where it gets harder and harder.

I agree with the other people here that you should not let guilt and depression determine your relationship but I also think there is a point at which the added pressure of guilt and the added difficulty of things being rocky in your relationship become too significant as contributing factors to how bad you feel to continue with.

I have been 'the person that stayed' despite it nearly killing me and I believed that if you love someone you do not walk away. Obviously your boyfriend thinks the same thing. I am sure that lots of people here will agree with that position because I think that is instinctive - that 'love conquers all'. Or that it should. Sometimes, though, love isn't especially healthy. For example, when you are talking about how to deal with a difficult situation together and you are articulating that it makes you feel better to just spend time together, be around each other, hang out together, etc. and he still needs to 'talk about it' and ask questions.

When you cannot resolve 'the problem', talking and advice focuses on 'the problem' and amplifies it. Having that be a focus in your relationship is obviously causing a lot of pressure and possibly even making him unwell. You have discussed dealing with things differently to alieviate that pressure and he isn't able to (or maybe doesn't believe that it is 'helping' because boys are fixers) so you are stuck. I don't know if you are seeing a therapist or similar at the moment? Perhaps it would be an option to speak together to someone about the best way to stop mental health from impacting your relationship and exacerbating it for both of you? If he is open to actually working on dealing with it differently then you have a shot at saving it, I think. If he really isn't able/willing to try to approach it differently then I think that you have to recognise that the situation isn't going to improve and that right now it does not sound to be healthy for either of you.

I do NOT think that you write yourself off from 'relationships' at all. I think that this is a really hard thing to deal with and that you and he are both young. Articulating and processing emotion and learning to approach problems from a different angle than you instinctively want to takes maturity and experience and a willingness to accept that things might need to go a different way. Perhaps he isn't there yet. Perhaps you are not there yet. Perhaps it takes a couple of years and honestly maybe another couple of 'gos' at it. Life is a learning curve.

You deserve good things and you deserve happiness and light. Don't let depression make you believe you can't have it. And don't let it tell you that just because maybe you can't have it NOW with THIS person, that you can't have it later with a different person. Sometimes the time isn't right and the stars don't align, and when you're young those 'sometimes' are far more regular because everything is continuously shifting. But the stars can align and the time can be right and you can have happiness so don't let depression tell you lies about who you are, what you deserve or what you can have xxx
 
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Walker

Admin
SF Social Media
SF Author
SF Supporter
#8
Hi Em,

I wanted Lu to come and answer this before me so she could beautifully articulate what I wouldn't be able to.
She and I are both like him, both "stayers" and also really good at being incredibly sad when the other one is sad. It really does take a lot of hard work to look at things objectively and see that you're two different people and his happiness isn't reflective of yours and vice versa. Neither of you "make" the other happy - each of you creates that on your own. Not to say that you aren't happier because of things that have to do with one another - absolutely that's true - but happiness comes from yourselves and I think that's where he misses the mark in this. He sees that he can't force you to be happy and somehow that is him not doing "a good enough job loving you" or a failure of some kind on his part. If he can just do something "more" from now on...

I think this is a wickedly common problem with people with mental health issues and I'm gonna agree with Lu, again, that if you guys could maybe talk to someone it might be helpful. You clearly love this guy and he loves you. Maybe that's worth it at the end of the day for someone so great, right? If you could sort that out in a few visits? I do realize you guys likely have very little money for that but perhaps some online therapy real quick can solve the problem or at least get you on the road?

I can't say whether you're on the road to a lifelong relationship together. Only you know that. I'm not inclined to lean towards breaking up myself but again, I'm a stayer. I know you don't want his mental health to deteriorate and that's a real thing. You also don't want to unilaterally make a decision based on "what is best for you" in regards to him though.

Sending hugs your way,
Matt
 

EmB

Absolute Peach!
#11
Hey @EmB I am sorry you and he are having such a bad time. I think its really hard when the person you love is in a bad mental space and then when you have this situation where one person's mood affects the other person's mood (which then affects the first person's mood etc.) you end up in a feedback loop from hell where it gets harder and harder.

I agree with the other people here that you should not let guilt and depression determine your relationship but I also think there is a point at which the added pressure of guilt and the added difficulty of things being rocky in your relationship become too significant as contributing factors to how bad you feel to continue with.

I have been 'the person that stayed' despite it nearly killing me and I believed that if you love someone you do not walk away. Obviously your boyfriend thinks the same thing. I am sure that lots of people here will agree with that position because I think that is instinctive - that 'love conquers all'. Or that it should. Sometimes, though, love isn't especially healthy. For example, when you are talking about how to deal with a difficult situation together and you are articulating that it makes you feel better to just spend time together, be around each other, hang out together, etc. and he still needs to 'talk about it' and ask questions.

When you cannot resolve 'the problem', talking and advice focuses on 'the problem' and amplifies it. Having that be a focus in your relationship is obviously causing a lot of pressure and possibly even making him unwell. You have discussed dealing with things differently to alieviate that pressure and he isn't able to (or maybe doesn't believe that it is 'helping' because boys are fixers) so you are stuck. I don't know if you are seeing a therapist or similar at the moment? Perhaps it would be an option to speak together to someone about the best way to stop mental health from impacting your relationship and exacerbating it for both of you? If he is open to actually working on dealing with it differently then you have a shot at saving it, I think. If he really isn't able/willing to try to approach it differently then I think that you have to recognise that the situation isn't going to improve and that right now it does not sound to be healthy for either of you.

I do NOT think that you write yourself off from 'relationships' at all. I think that this is a really hard thing to deal with and that you and he are both young. Articulating and processing emotion and learning to approach problems from a different angle than you instinctively want to takes maturity and experience and a willingness to accept that things might need to go a different way. Perhaps he isn't there yet. Perhaps you are not there yet. Perhaps it takes a couple of years and honestly maybe another couple of 'gos' at it. Life is a learning curve.

You deserve good things and you deserve happiness and light. Don't let depression make you believe you can't have it. And don't let it tell you that just because maybe you can't have it NOW with THIS person, that you can't have it later with a different person. Sometimes the time isn't right and the stars don't align, and when you're young those 'sometimes' are far more regular because everything is continuously shifting. But the stars can align and the time can be right and you can have happiness so don't let depression tell you lies about who you are, what you deserve or what you can have xxx
Hi Em,

I wanted Lu to come and answer this before me so she could beautifully articulate what I wouldn't be able to.
She and I are both like him, both "stayers" and also really good at being incredibly sad when the other one is sad. It really does take a lot of hard work to look at things objectively and see that you're two different people and his happiness isn't reflective of yours and vice versa. Neither of you "make" the other happy - each of you creates that on your own. Not to say that you aren't happier because of things that have to do with one another - absolutely that's true - but happiness comes from yourselves and I think that's where he misses the mark in this. He sees that he can't force you to be happy and somehow that is him not doing "a good enough job loving you" or a failure of some kind on his part. If he can just do something "more" from now on...

I think this is a wickedly common problem with people with mental health issues and I'm gonna agree with Lu, again, that if you guys could maybe talk to someone it might be helpful. You clearly love this guy and he loves you. Maybe that's worth it at the end of the day for someone so great, right? If you could sort that out in a few visits? I do realize you guys likely have very little money for that but perhaps some online therapy real quick can solve the problem or at least get you on the road?

I can't say whether you're on the road to a lifelong relationship together. Only you know that. I'm not inclined to lean towards breaking up myself but again, I'm a stayer. I know you don't want his mental health to deteriorate and that's a real thing. You also don't want to unilaterally make a decision based on "what is best for you" in regards to him though.

Sending hugs your way,
Matt
Everything you both said was so true. Some things which I couldn't have said better, and some things that I didn't even realise myself but notice are true.

I actually sent these in text messages to him (removing identifying details and rephrasing and such, of course, I just said that I had asked friends for advice). He agreed with it all, and was really grateful for both. And finally, for once, we were on the same page.

We are both seeing the university counsellor (we've just started last week). I have a good feeling about it, as I think we can both learn a lot about managing our mental health better.

He has told me over the last few days, he's been working on being okay himself. We both agreed distance would help him regain some self-assurance and help him be okay on his own. The point about happiness coming from within is important, and he didn't have that, but he's started to gain it. I told him a while with no talking but messaging at the end of the day to check in is a good compromise - that way, he can keep himself okay without us just breaking. We can start to work on being in a relationship again, not a therapy service. He's promised to keep therapy mode in the bin, and by the happiness I can feel in his messages, I have a really good feeling about all of it.

We are also going on a date once a week. No visits or overnight stays, just a few hours once a week. Again, to get back into a relationship. Our relationship had become more and more about the problems - you're very right that the more we talkeda about it, the worse it became.

I hope this is the right step forward. No talking during the day to give him the opportunity to be okay on his own, checking in at night to see if we are on the right tracks and how we are both doing as well as if anything needs adjusting, and a weekly date to feel like a relationship again. I can't remember the last time we had a proper date, and so, I'm hoping it will push us in the right direction. For once since this started going downhill, I'm feeling good about our relationship, and I know both of us are going to work hard to get it back where it was.

You are all glorious people - all four of you that replied, thank you. Sending big, massive, mega hugs to all of you.

Em
 

Walker

Admin
SF Social Media
SF Author
SF Supporter
#12
You are so lovely, I hope you two work it out. It sounds like the love is really there so maybe it turns out beautifully and this becomes a story for later. Make sure the night time texts don't become too stressful! Sending hugs :)
 

EmB

Absolute Peach!
#13
You are so lovely, I hope you two work it out. It sounds like the love is really there so maybe it turns out beautifully and this becomes a story for later. Make sure the night time texts don't become too stressful! Sending hugs :)
Thank you so much :) it is, absolutely, and I feel incredibly lucky. I'm glad he's stayed. They won't! A quick how's it going and if things are bad with one of us, we'll find a film or video to watch together before sleep :) sending hugs!

Em
 

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