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New Partner's 'Unhappy spells' - Any ideas?

(28 Posts)
lisac99 Mon 14-Jan-13 12:39:50

Hello smile

Relatively new to Mumsnet and this is the first time I've started a thread - Disclaimer: Not a Mum, however have been lurking a while and would really appreciate some advice as not sure what to do.

I split up with my Partner about 18 months ago - we were together for 10 years. Since then I've been totally single and enjoying it (no sex, no flirting, just focussing on career and friends etc) however a friendship developed further at work between myself and a colleague. He's 28, I'm 32, 33 next month.

He was planning on leaving our company anyway, so we kept it quiet for the 2 months overlap and have been 'together' about 4 months now. Things are going really well - amazing sex, he is exceptionally complimentary and treats me with a lot of respect, is thoughtful...

I've had a number of relationships, however he had a 2 week 'fling' when he was 19 but since then hasn't had any intimate contact with women.

Everything is going exceptionally well, however ever so often, he gets really 'down' and it happens really quickly and lasts for about 2-3 hours where he cries, says he's 'useless', says I deserve better than him, he's stupid and last time, he admitted to me that when he feels like this, he thinks about killing himself.

I'm not a counsellor, nor have I ever encountered this before so the second he said 'I sometimes think about ending it', I realised that I probably wouldn't be able to help him by just listening to him and he would probably need to speak to a professional. More background: He doesn't speak to his family at all, he moved out of home at 18 and has cut all contact with both parents and his 2 brothers due to his parents treating him really badly when he was growing up and all kinds of things (more neglect than physical abuse, but there was a bit of that as well). He apparently did talk to someone about feeling 'down' when he was 18 and was diagnosed with depression and given tablets which apparently made him sleepy, so he just stopped taking them and hasn't seen a GP or anyone since.

The last time he felt down, was when I made a flippant comment about how I'd love to be with him forever, but 4 months in, who knows? there was a chance we'd split in the future - it was literally as if a switch had been flicked in his head, he went very quiet... and then burst into tears. The time before that, it was because I had asked him to buy a particular type of flour so we could cook, he bought the wrong one so I said it was fine, we'd make do - he again went very quiet, burst into tears and said he was 'useless' and how he couldn't even do that right.

It doesn't happen often and I really don't want to throw the relationship away for this, however I was wondering if anyone had experienced anything similar and also, how to help him. Obviously try and find someone professional for him to talk to, but do I just sit there and listen? do I try and be more proactive? Should I gloss over it and carry on as normal?

Any suggestions would be most gratefully received, thankyou!

AnyFucker Mon 14-Jan-13 12:43:38

Jesus Christ, this takes "man child" to the Nth degree

Can you really envisage a long term relationship with this man, when you would have to monitor every single thing you said in case it made him cry and suicidal.

I would wave him off to the GP's. He needs help, and you are not the one to supply it.

OhGood Mon 14-Jan-13 12:46:11

Sorry but alarm bells are ringing. He's clearly - and I mean even on the basis of the one post you have written - pretty severely depressed, has damagingly poor self-esteem and probably has not at all come to terms with his past. I don't think you're likely to be able to have a 'normal' relationship with someone in such a difficult situation. It also sounds like there is a danger that you could get yourself in too deep - I don't think you can help this guy - he needs to help himself. And he probably should start to sort himself out before he is anywhere ready for a relationship. Sorry, but I would get out.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 14-Jan-13 12:46:34

If you walked away you wouldn't be throwing anything away you'd be gaining peace of mind. If he has MH issues he needs to get some treatment, therapy or counselling. If he is simply using extreme emotional behaviour to make you stick around, feel sorry for him and try to cure him with your love hmm.... which is more usually the case.... then put him back where you found him.

Convict224 Mon 14-Jan-13 12:47:19

I would gently encourage him to seek help, probably through his GP.

As the ex wife of a very moody, possibly bipolar, man I can confirm that it is very hard to live with someone like this. Your DP sounds different though. Possibly has suicidal tendencies. You need to protect yourself, your own emotional health, as much as he does.

If he refuses help, you may need to review your relationship. Good luck, OP.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 14-Jan-13 12:48:58

BTW... if he starts sobbing a trivial stuff like buying the wrong flour or the posisbility of a future split he is not going to react well when you end it. Be prepared and stay strong.

AngryTrees Mon 14-Jan-13 12:49:57

To be perfectly honest, it's not up to you to get him help. It's up to him. I don't think relationships do well when they start out with one person having some serious issues they still have to deal with and the other one going around trying to fix them. It's not a great dynamic to be in and anything you say or do probably won't draw him out of this pretty serious funk he's in.

It's his responsibility to take care of himself. Not yours. He doesn't sound like he should be in a relationship at the moment if he's laying all his stress and low moments at your door so early on.

Katisha Mon 14-Jan-13 12:55:49

Although you telling him he needs to see his GP or go for some sort of counselling as you can't see the relationship progressing while he is like this will probably bring on another fit of "I'm useless". You need to be stoing about this and not feel he is now your responsibility to sort out/protect from himself.

But no - do not gloss over and carry on as normal - you are setting yourself up to be too scared to talk to him like a normal adult and to spend all your time of eggshells.

Katisha Mon 14-Jan-13 12:56:22

on eggshells

lisac99 Mon 14-Jan-13 13:15:55

Thank you very much for all you replies in such a short space of time. I appreciate all of them (even the very blunt ones as I'm pretty blunt myself and what's the point of pussy footing around?).

As I'm not overly fussed about marriage / children at present, I don't feel that I can't walk away in case this is the last chance for me to find someone..although will admit to caring for him a great deal - which is probably why I posted as I wanted some outsider opinion.

I never even thought about him as a manchild, however you are probably right AF - I suppose the reason I am still 'here' is when he's not being depressive (4 crying bouts in 4 months I think?) he makes me very happy and I've really enjoyed spending time with him.

After the last time, which was last Tuesday, I spoke to him about it on Wednesday and he agreed to go and get help - however it was me suggesting and him agreeing, not him suggesting this. He's never threatened anything when he's been unhappy - he's always said that he'd totally understand if I walked away. Having spent 10 years with someone who was ... apathetic to say the least, it's nice to have someone who says 'Thank you' and does thoughtful things 'just because'. He comes to the gym with me, we cook together and basically the rest of the relationship is amazing.

However - I guess I may have very low standards reading the last paragraph back. I am strong enough to walk away if needs be - one of the good things now is that we don't work together, therefore there wouldn't be any 'fall out' as such as we don't share anything financial.

We were friends for 2 years before this - I never knew anything in this time, he always hid it very well and was able to function absolutely fine at work... Then again, I suppose that means nothing?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 14-Jan-13 13:25:18

Yes, you don't really find out anything important about someone until you're thrown together one on one. Because he's so emotionally unstable it's particularly crucial to nip the relationship in the bud rather than drag it on. If he says he'd understand if you walked away, then take him on face value. There are plenty of other thoughtful, sympathetic grown up men out there that don't have emotional problems....

cestlavielife Mon 14-Jan-13 13:58:04

when i met mey ex he was charming, nic,e had a job etc. was attending tail end of therapy group for mild depression.

i didnt take it on board at all...had 3 children (starting when i was 32) ,
the i all got worse and worse, he got more and more depressd; i bought the wrong kind of washing up lquid too many times etcetc.. if i could go back i would tell myself: steer clear.

it aint worh it.

walk away now, yes.

cestlavielife Mon 14-Jan-13 14:00:37

espec if he isnt o his own volition taking control of his depression, if he doesnt have insight. i ahve come across people since who yes ahve depression or mh issues but they are fully aware, know the signs, seek help from profressionals when it is needed...they dont tell their loved ones they want to kill themselves unless it's an agreed method of saying "get me to gp now" ...

key is: does he have real insight and ownership of his MH issues?

if yes, then sure you could consider bearing in mind it will be tough at times
if no - then steer clear

Sleepysand Mon 14-Jan-13 14:00:38

I wouldn't invest too much in this. Other people are great in bed and make you feel good and don't come with all that.

Lueji Mon 14-Jan-13 14:23:24

You will and you are already being sucked into his issues, and feeling responsible for his mental health.

He manages not to have those "episodes" at work.

And these episodes sound a bit like emotional blackmail.

Walk away carefully, then run.

garlicblocks Mon 14-Jan-13 14:34:33

He sounds really quite damaged, I'm afraid.

He hasn't had a girlfriend in nine years? Why?

You can't start a relationship with this level of emotional imbalance. It would only get worse. It's already starting to revolve around how you can mend his issues. I'm sorry for the sadness that breaking up will probably cause, but continuing would only hurt you both more.

AnyFucker Mon 14-Jan-13 15:55:08

"he comes to the gym with me"

"we cook together"

coupled with 4 crying bouts (over fuck-all) in only 4 months (you seem to think that is not very much, I say it's far too many) I say you have the makings of a suffocating, high maintenance, hard work, one-sided, co-dependent relationship

you have been warned

AnyFucker Mon 14-Jan-13 15:56:23

Sorry, meant to add you seem to think those two first points make a fantastic relationship that outweighs all the shit you have already absorbed. I don't agree.

AnyFucker Mon 14-Jan-13 15:57:24

He's said he will make an appt with someone ?

How many days ago was that ? Has it materialised ?

Sleepysand Mon 14-Jan-13 16:04:37

Re-reading this, are you sure he's not a woman? Great sex, thoughtful, cooks with you, foul temper once a month....

Don't kill me. But if it was a woman behaving this way we wouldn't tell a bloke to run. Exercise extreme caution and don't move in with him.

lisac99 Mon 14-Jan-13 16:18:26

From the responses I have received, I am beginning to think I must have a very low opinion of either myself or the expectations in a relationship as I never actually thought of 4 episodes being a lot - We've spent a lot of time together in those 4 months and therefore in regards to hours of him being upset Vs hours of us laughing, doing other things etc.... it's 1 crap hour vs 15 'good' hours, but you are no doubt right... that is too much.

In regards to seeking help, he showed me a list (on Saturday, so 2 days ago) of 5 potential private counsellors he could talk to, names, numbers etc but I don't know whether he has contacted any of them. I'm supposed to be seeing him tomorrow night, so will ask him then.

He's certainly not a woman grin and I'm not planning on moving in with him - I earn almost double what he does and am very happy living on my own after my ex. He's not a cocklodger (Hah! getting to grips with MN terms) and whenever I cook, he always offers to buy anything needed and used to bring me chocolates over whenever I said I didn't need him to buy anything - now I'm on a healthy eating plan, he has been bringing over fruit and healthy things to say thank you for cooking for him...

However, I think you are all quite right, which is actually quite a revelation - I wasn't actively looking for anyone as was quite happy on my own, and when things turned intimate, I was really happy as things with my ex had been so crap towards the end, and it was like being a kid in a sweet shop 'Wow, great sex, I can actually DO things with a bloke for a change' (my ex stayed in his room for hours on end playing computer games and never wanted to leave the house or do anything with me.. non existent sex life).

I also think you're right about me trying to mend him - It's not my place to do that and it's certainly something that I should be aware of.

Urgh. That's put a totally different (but more realistic) spin on things sad

TheProvincialLady Mon 14-Jan-13 16:22:04

If you really like him, you could separate for 6 months to a year, to give him time and space to sort himself out, with the possibility of re-kindling things if at the end of that time you are both single and he is ready to pursue an adult relationship.

It sounds like it's less depression and more emotional blackmail though.

AnyFucker Mon 14-Jan-13 16:24:06

hear me now (I love to say that...) there is a healthy middle ground between your crap ex and this bloke who has issues coming out of his ears

move on...you don't owe him anything

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 14-Jan-13 16:29:34

"But if it was a woman behaving this way we wouldn't tell a bloke to run."

I would, for a start. hmm Whether it's a man or a woman, if someone's too much in your face, too needy and resorts to waterworks when life gets slightly tricky, they should be given a wide berth.

AnyFucker Mon 14-Jan-13 17:50:06

I would tell anyone to not get involved with a person demonstrating these behaviours, too

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