Depression causing relationship doubt
Hi all, First-time poster.
I have been dating my boyfriend for 4 months now. We fell in love very quickly and I have never felt this spark with anyone. Our compatibility is undeniable and we have integrated into each other's lives very quickly and easily. He told me early in that he is on medication for depression and ADHD which I accepted as something we will have to work through.
In the last week he has been confronted with the reality that we aren't in "honeymoon" dating and has been verbalising his doubts on whether he is ready for everything that comes with a relationship. He doesn't believe he can offer me what I need, security and commitment for now and the future. He thinks he will end up hurting me one way or anther, and doesn't think he deserves me. He is filled with guilt that he can't always be present for me and is running hypothetical scenarios in his head which he is convincing himself to be inevitable.
I felt completely blindsided by these conversations. Last week we were head over heels and now he's telling himself he is "toxic" and "emotionally abusing" me for going from being so happy to being so full of doubt. I think he thinks the best thing for us both is for him to be single but i don't believe that too be true. People don't fall in love as easily as us to give up this quickly. I have reassured him it is okay that he feels this way but I'm not prepared to give up. I know he loves me and this is his mental health talking. I have asked that we take it day by day and try to work through it.
I am scared he won't be able to shake these thoughts. I am giving him space to digest his thoughts and headspace. It is increasing my anxiety too and I am focusing on myself so I am not too dependant on him or rely on him because that is what worries him. I am asking for advice on how to best work through this and settle his mind.
Welcome to the forums. I hope you find this a safe space to share anything going on.
I think bf could be in the "foreboding joy" zone. If you want to watch Brene Brown's "A Call to Courage" it could explain what bf is feeling right now.
Sometimes it's VERY scary to fall deeply in love very quickly. The r/shp itself may be wonderful but then we can feel the terrible feeling of vulnerability and step back because of fear and possibly the other person's expectations of us.
It can all feel too much.
If you can watch the show together you may have some "aha" moments together... it could help?
It's very brave of you to hang in there since bf has disclosed his uncertainty. You are willing to be vulnerable whilst he does not seem to be.
In my experience, though, when someone is trying to tell you how they feel, it's best to believe them the first time. It's also best not to excuse their words as something other than what they are, which is the truth.
I'm concerned that he said he will end up hurting you in the end anyways.... this is usually the case IME and from friend's r/shps also.
You asked "how best to work through this"... you may do as you are doing and give him space.
You are not married so the working through seems alot to take on after only 4 months.
Plus it's "his" stuff.
Also you asked how you can "settle him"... you can't. This is outside of your control.
You can reassure him. You can be there for him but you can't settle him.
That's up to him.
My advice for you is to work on YOUR relationships outside of this one. Reconnect with friends, spend time with family. Make plans with others. This will be your safety net if things go south.
Like "don't put all your eggs in one basket".
Thank you for your response and guidance.
A lot of what you said has rung true for me. I know on paper it seems like a lot to take on for a relationship which still feels somewhat fresh. I can only hope that this is a "cold feet hurdle" and something which can shape a healthy and balanced relationship for both of us.
I am going to focus on myself and dedicate more time for hobbies, interests and friends. As you said, this can act as my safety net and it will also lessen the load on him. I don't want to feel as though my happiness is dependent on him, and i don't want him to feel that pressure either.
He knows he can be aloof and reserved at times, and in the past that has upset me. So moving forward I want to live my best life with him but also without him so he isn't struck with guilt for those weeks when he may feel more reserved and want to keep to himself or go away with friends last minute etc.
I read online somewhere that people with depression can often view a relationship as a "chore" rather than a "solution". I think this is important for me to keep in mind so that I can maintain my independence and not rely on him too much.
He said that these feelings are what ended his last relationship and that was a traumatic experience for both involved. I think he knows that it is easier for him to walk away than fight through it. He knows a relationship can be hard, and he doesn't know if he can take that on or has 100% to give. But by talking through it, I think he realised that he can't keep running away as soon as it gets too much. I hope that I haven't convinced him to stay, I hope that I've helped reassure him that we can make it work.
We both know that in another few months we will need to re-evaluate whether working through this is worth it or if it is just causing us both more anxiety. But at least by then, I'll know that we have both given it our best shot. Whatever is meant to be will be.