Dating a man who thinks he's not good enough.
Firstly, apologies for my writing - it's a bit all over the place as I'm typing with a toddler jumping over me!! I'm hoping someone may be able to provide me with a bit of insight into loving a man with depression. We have been dating for almost 6 months & everything is great for the most part. He's a wonderful guy with a secure job & what seems like a good life. He has 2 children which he sees every second weekend, and 2 ex-wives (one of which he has a not so good relationship with now) so knows about heartbreak. Without going into details, he has also suffered other events throughout his life which seem to have contributed to his depression & thinking that he isn't worth loving. I also have gone through a recent marriage breakdown & have 2 kids.
The time we spend together is amazing. I believe we have a great friendship & the communication between us is like nothing i have ever experienced. He is wonderful with my kids & I know he values the time he gets to spend with all of us. The thing is..... whilst he loves the time he spends with my little family, he also struggles with the guilt of what he's missed with his own kids. I can actually see the conflict this causes within him. Also, something will happen in his life which will trigger a bout of depression and he ultimately retreats into his man cave. This happened again last night, however, we managed to talk for an hour or so about our relationship and life in general. He tells me things like he needs to be the right person for me & my kids, that he doesn't deserve to be loved by me & that i'm too good for him, that its just easier to push me away than open up his heart again because ultimately it will lead to heartbreak, & that he knows he will only hurt me in the long run. I tell him that I understand getting into a new relationship is scary (i feel the same about heartbreak), & that we can take things as slow as we both need, & that I am here for him whenever he needs. I've told him that I think he's wonderful & that I deserve to have input as to whether he's the right man for me or not.
Although I have done a lot of reading on depression, I do not suffer from it. I know that I can only offer my support but it's breaking my heart that this man thinks he is not worthy of being loved. How do I show him I'm here for him and in it for the long term? If anyone has experienced this kind of situation - from either side - and can offer me some guidance, it would be much appreciated.
Hi, I, at one point seemed to be the same type of person that thought he was not good enough. That was when i was new with love and was actually extremely scared. I was scared of just how much i was loving her, but also the fact that she loved me. I don't think anything really helped with it, but i think the best thing would be to SHOW how much you love him. Don't try to just make him feel needed, show how much effort you're willing to put into him. Having the feeling of not being enough may mean he is extremely clingy and is possibly very worried of losing you.
Keep that in mind.
Just wanted to welcome you to the forums and thank you for sharing your story.
It sounds like you have both been through a lot and I'm wondering what outside support you both might have; friends, family? I'm also wondering if your partner has ever considered getting help for his depression?
I think that it's great you would like to be there for him but it does sound like he is holding in a lot of guilt and shame around not being 'good enough' or 'worthy'. Unfortunately this is one of those things that as much as people reassure us, it's a truth we have to discover and uncover for ourselves. As someone with depression it's something I've known well and as someone supporting a person with depression it's also something I know well.
If you can I would encourage him to have a chat with his GP about what's going on and consider talking to a therapist about it. Being there for a partner with depression can often mean the simplest things such as providing space to talk or just sitting with him while he feels this way.
It also might help to read about other peoples' experiences of helping their partner with depression. I've linked a search below but in case it doesn't work you may just want to search "partner with depression" (or similar) -