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Boyfriend depression and our relationship(16 Posts)
I've NC for this but I would really appreciate a few different perspectives. I'm sorry if it's really long but I imagine it will be!
I'm 24 and my boyfriend is 27 and together for 3 years. We were first together when I was 17 but it didn't work out. He was my first love and even with boyfriends after that I always knew he was the one. We both grew up and changed so when we got back together I was ecstatic! We now have a very loving happy relationship. We had 1 issue about two years ago but other than that things have been great and I've never been happier. We have spoke about what we want in the future and pretty much agree on how we want our lives to go. At the moment we don't live together but I spend every night at his anyway (we are both at home with parents saving money.)
Anyway for the last month things have felt different and he hasn't seemed himself. I asked him 2 weeks ago and he said it was because of his work - it's very quiet and he spends his 10 hour days doing very little/nothing. I had a feeling it would be this so was somewhat relieved.
Anyway a week later he went to Scotland for work for 4 days. They offered work and he snapped it up. He came back happier which obviously I felt was a good thing. Things have been more 'normal' since - or so I thought.
Last night though we had our first hiccup in 2 years! We literally never argue so it felt horrible - it wasn't even an argument just a bit of weirdness and bad atmosphere. Eventually it all came out that he was very unhappy. He then went on to say it's mainly his job but also a bit of everything. He isn't good at talking but I managed to get it out of him - he said when he's happy with his life he's very happy with me but when he's feeling unhappy with everything in life (like now) that's when he's a bit confused about us. Most of the time he said he really wants to be with me but there's those rare minor few times when he "isn't sure" which happens to be when things are a bit crap for him in general. He also said when he went to Scotland for work he wasn't too keen on the fact he felt like he had to text me every day or call me on an evening. Obviously that hurt but I asked for honesty and that's what I got. He felt like I wanted texts all day which I didn't - I don't want to talk to anyone constantly all day. So I'm putting that down to assumptions because this is the first time in our relationship he's worked away.
He said he loves me though and wants us to be okay. There isn't anyone else. He said it isn't even something I do/don't do. Just that he's feeling unhappy with everything.
He said he's never felt this unhappy before - his job is quiet, parents nag him a lot, he's yet to have his own place. He's really down. We both have very high sex drives but lately he doesn't seem up for it as often -
I asked him if he would go to the doctor (possible depression?) but he said no.
I made it absolutely clear that I want to be with him and do whatever it takes to make it work. I told him should he want to move away for work I would go. I am prepared to do anything. I have a pretty crap job so I don't have much keeping me here where as he has a career.
He's never had a girlfriend other than me and I told him I sometimes worry that he doesn't know whether what he's feeling is normal. Things are never perfect all the time for any couple! I have previous relationships to "compare" to - he doesn't.
I just don't know. I'm a very anxious person and when it comes to relationships (boyfriend, family, friends) and if things aren't great I get really anxious which makes me feel ill.
Things today seem absolutely fine. He's his normal self and we even had sex last night and this morning - something which is normal for us but lately as I said he doesn't want it as much because of how he's been feeling.
I can't imagine life without him, he is the absolute love of my life and I just want this to work out. I don't know what to do - I don't want to feel constantly anxious but because he's usually very emotionally strong I have never had to worry about this
The fact he's told me he still loves me and he wants it to work is obviously a good thing. But at the moment when he's feeling down about his life - how can I help prevent him from making drastic changes that he wouldn't do if he was feeling normal?
Sorry for the length!
I think you need to back off and let him go. Given your ages (you are both very young) and what sounds like an utterly stifling life - living with his parents, crap job, only one girlfriend (who is forever insisting that she is his True Love and they will always be together) it's no wonder he wants to get away. Only then you started insisting that you would follow him...
Give him a break. Get a life of your own. It's quite unhealthy that you don't seem to want one and are obsessed with making The Relationship your life. There's no such thing as The One: there are plenty of nice, attractive people with whom you could enjoy a long term relationship and/or raise a family, but there are so many other things you could and should be paying attention to in your 20s - looking for an interesting career, travelling, learning new skills. Stop fixating on him, give him some space and maybe he will decide in a while that he wants to marry you or whatever, but if he doesn't you will still have a life.
Solid - whilst I was looking for different opinions I find yours rather insulting firstly I believe there is such thing as 'the one'. Everyone is entitled to believe differently.
Secondly, he's the one saying should he move away for work he would want me to go with him. He was also the one who pusued me for a year trying to get me to try again with him.
I am also not fixated on my relationship I just want it to work. I have my own friends and my own job. Also his job isn't a crap one it's just quiet at the moment.
I'm also not insisting we stay together. I would never force anybody! He's with me because he wants to be - trust me if he didn't he would've left.
As for me being his only girlfriend - that's through his own choice. He has 'seen' other women before but it never worked out because he said deep down he knew they weren't for him - it was me he wanted.
I was after advice on how to support him when he's having a shit time - not to be told what you said.
What a bizarre unhelpful comment above??
Anyway, I'm sure someone will be along shortly with more helpful advice... But for someone who suffered from depression around that age it sounds very similar. Men being men don't like asking for help or sometimes refuse to see a GP and I wouldn't push him at this stage as he may push you away or get annoyed with you thinking in his 'depression state' that you are interfering or being pushy etc.
Good thing is though he is saying he loved you and does want to be with you. When he says that sometimes he has moments etc where he is confused and doesn't know etc couples with other areas of his life like job etc... This sounds like the depression talking. It messed with your mind, you question everything and you get confused etc. If he genuinelly didn't want to be with you or had that serious doubts he would just say as he had the opportunity whilst being open and honest with you 'which is great he has actually confided in you'. I questioned marrying my husband absolute love of my life when I had my bouts of depression and I never knew why... With depression you struggle and can't make sense of why you feel like that.
I would give him time and space when he needs it, do not push the subject or mention seeing a GP just yet (unless you get more concerned about his behaviour etc) maybe let him have more space (I really needed this during my depression to help me try and get my head together... But partners can think your pushing them away when you aren't), let him for a while make the move for a while with making arrangements to meet up etc, also maybe suggest taking St John's Wort if he does become more open about feeling down and you can get this from health shops and most places (google it). Give him time and space I feel is the most important thing and try no to be pushy with him opening up.. Let him come to you. You sound like a lovely supportive partner and I wish you both well x
Newtobecommingamum - thank you so much for your reply it was so helpful
I suggested kalms to him as I take them myself for my anxiety. He said no so I didn't want to push it. It's his choice at the end of the day.
The thing is he's a "typical" man - rarely sees the doctor unless it's urgent. Doesn't ask for help, isn't very good at talking about things.
You hit the nail on the head with how I'm feeling. I also think that if he really didn't want to be with me he would end it. But the fact he still loves me and wants it to work out, and only feels like this when he isn't happy with life, tells me a lot. That's what I'm trying to remind myself anyway!
The thing that worries me though is when he's his usual self he is so so happy and doesn't have any worries really.
The things that he isn't happy with aren't exactly gunna change overnight. So I'm worried that I'm gunna be feeling this anxious over our relationship until his work does get better again or until he does move out.
I want to support him without smothering him because obviously I don't want to scare him off but because I've never had to do this before I'm not sure where that line is, if that makes sense.
Actually I'm with SolidGoldBrass. I think you need to give him some breathimg space.
Also,ime, if a relationship breaks up, it should stay broken up. They only break up again at a later date. I have never ever seen one not break up again, even if it's 10 years down the line.
There is no such thing as "the one". You really believe that out of 8 (or is it 9?) billion people on the planet, there is only one special person destined for you?
And I say that as someone who has been happily married for decades.
You probably aren't going to like what I say either (!), but it does all sound a little suffocating. You are there every night, you will follow him wherever he wants to go if he moves, I do think he needs a little bit of room to breathe and I don't think he's got the space to work out what he wants from his life.
You have anxiety, and I would spend some time working on this, Kalms great, mindfulness or relaxation brilliant too.
I think you need to have a life which is full, and which he is a part, but not the whole. There's an excellent chapter on this in the old classic self-help book 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' by Susan Jeffers. I would really recommend this book for you, because you do sound quite fearful, fearful of any argument at all, fearful of any change on his part and I think reading this book might help you with your own resilience.
You have made him the centre of your world, you say you don't have a career, why on earth not in your mid twenties? What are you going to do with your life apart from sit around with his parents, and follow him where his career leads?
I think you are getting anxious as you have made him your everything but this is then frightening if it starts rocking and being a bit unstable.
I've no reason to think he's about to leave you, and he may well be happy in this relationship, but people need room to breathe and grow- perhaps he may want to work away, go in a new direction, get new friends. If you want to be together you have to allow him to grow, not get panicky at any sign of change. His present unhappiness sounds circumstantial, I don't think he has depression, I think it's a sign he needs to change his life in some way, get a different job, move away from his parents, his life sounds rather narrow and stressful for a twenty-something.
The best thing you can do is take care of yourself- and your anxiety and make your life the most interesting it can be, you can then think about if you are heading in the same direction from a position of choice and strength, not fear of the unknown and change.
Another vote for backing off - not for the same reasons as sgb though. It sounds like you are trying to fix everything for him and I think that's not a good way to be in a relationship - you have to accept that he is a separate person to you and he needs to figure out how to process feeling unhappy, or insecure, or whatever, without you swooping in to make him feel better.
Imo the best relationships are where both partners take responsibility for their own well being, know how to resolve conflict (not having had an argument for 2 years is not something to be proud of in my book - to me it shows you are avoiding conflict/pressure which is not real life) and give each other space to develop as well as being mutually loving, supportive etc.
If I were in your shoes I'd make it clear you would provide whatever support he needed but that he needed to do the work to figure this out - and leave him to it. 27 is a very tricky age for men in my experience - they seem to go through their boy/man transformation in their late 20s and it can get a bit messy.
Ha - cross post with HP - I think we're basically saying the same thing.
The notion of "The one" is lovely but really unrealistic. If your parents had emigrated when you were a child, there would be a different boyfriend. If you'd lived in a different town, even, there'd be a different boyfriend.
I agree with SGB that it sounds pretty stifling. We've all been there when we were younger but once you are older it's easier to see how stifling it is.
It sounds to me as though leaving home would be good for him. His parents nag him a lot - that must be horrible for him. Why does he stay? He's about 9 years past the age when people like to leave home. You say he has a good job; surely he can afford to rent a flat?
Just as an aside, do his parents want you there every night?
so he works ten hours a day and lives with his parents and you spend every night in the one room he has of his own?
i'm afraid i agree you need to back off. sorry.
i'm afraid i also feel rather sorry for his mother who has the girlfriend living there essentially on top of an adult son.
Thank you for all the replies.
I'm just gunna clear a few things up.
Reading back it sounds like I'm holding onto his ankles where ever he goes. I'm really not! He (and I) do our own thing all the time. If he wants to go out with his friends he does. If I want to - then I do too. My working hours are different to his so I tend to socialise with people then.
I've spoken to him before about staying there each night and he said he likes having me there. I think I will suggest cutting it down though.
I also do not live there. I go over in the late evenings that's it. When I finish work I go home. I also have my dinners at home too.
I get on great with his family and they're always inviting me places with them. I was again invited along today but I've come home so they can have their own family time. Honestly I'm not there 24/7 like my first post sounded like I was.
I get that a lot of people think 'the one' is a load of rubbish but a load of people also believe in it and I just so happen to be one of them. As for us getting back together I was just 17 when we first met. I'm not the same person as I was then, no one is, sometimes it takes people to grow up for things to work out.
As for us never arguing, it isn't because I avoid it. Of course I'm not gunna go looking for an argument. We have had disagreements and times where we have annoyed one another but never an argument. He's a very laid back person, he never shouts or gets angry with anybody. I like that, it's good for me.
As for my career (or lack of) I am working on it. I've been job hunting for something decent for a while now and I've had a few interviews. I'm also starting a course to better myself.
As for him moving out - he doesn't want to rent. He rented with his best mate a few years ago but moved back home as his mate was moving away with his girlfriend and new baby. He doesn't want to rent ever again.
He sounds like a man who likes his creature comforts (mum to wash and cook, girlfriend every evening) but is at the stage when he is getting a nagging sense there must be more to life.
And truly there is. But only he can address it. And while he's figuring it out he'll continue in the status quo. If you want to help him, OP, I would cool the relationship off to let this happen and protect your self esteem.
I'm with SolidGoldBrass essentially.
'he doesn't want to rent ever again'
lol. sorry but just wow! his poor mother. no wonder she nags.
I reckon if you backed off he would start showing a bit more interest again. He wants his space, give it to him. No big deal, just start being busy some evenings.
You maintain you have your own independent life but you are with him every night 'late evenings.' You may as well be living together. What's the difference?
It may or may not be depression but you can still show support without being so involved.
I know you insist he is 'the one' but I think you should protect yourself from being treated badly or him ending the relationship. sorry the signs are there, he's pulling back.
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