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Is love enough? Exhausted by relationship

Community Member

I've been in a relationship with my partner for 7 years, and living together for most of that. He's a genuinely good man but I'm just not sure about continuing the relationship.

He has depression/anxiety and OCD - when we first got together it wasn't apparent, but he had a major breakdown a year or two in and it's affected him severely since. He is getting treatment, medication and therapy, and he's getting better but it's a long and slow process. He hasn't held a job for the length of our relationship. He's just starting to get freelance work in a field he's keen on, but it's still occasional and I don't know if or when it would amount to much.

I have a long history of depression as well, since I was a teenager. It had been pretty awful, but when we met I was finally getting my life on track, studying and now working full-time. I've started a masters this year as well, so I'm busy! I get periods of depression still, but am able to manage them with medication and therapy.

I love him, but I'm also exhausted by being the bread-winner, home-maker and care-giver in our relationship. I do the majority of household planning and chores: he helps with some things when I ask him, but it isn't reliable.

I'm also worried about my financial future. Because of my own issues I wasn't able to work reliably full-time until fairly recently, so I don't have any savings and we can't save anything now. I feel very anxious that we have no back-up - we've gone into debt at the moment because our pets recently got expensively ill, and I dread anything else happening. There's no chance of us buying a house, or anything like that.

I feel awful thinking of leaving, because he's a lovely person and in many ways a supportive partner, but there's part of me that thinks I might be better off on my own. I also feel dreadful because I've been in abusive relationships in the past, so I know what "bad" is - it seems selfish to quibble about "not good enough". I know he would be devastated, and I really genuinely don't want to hurt him.

I guess - does anyone have insight or perspective? I feel like I have two choices - life with him, that would be financially tight and emotionally tiring; or life without him, that would be easier in some ways, but without *him*. I really don't know which is better.

1 Reply 1

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Silvershoes

Hello and welcome. Thank you for telling us your story. All these huge decisions in life are hard and invariably there is no easy or straight forward answer. If there was you would have made your decision already. Congratulations on being able to manage your depression and get on with your life. Many people find their mental illness so debilitating they are unable to live what we call a normal life.

And this is part of the dilemma you have with your partner. Is he always going to need help or will he eventually be able to get on top of his depression. It's up in the air at this stage, although it's good he is beginning to find work.

I think no one can answer your question except you. I think you know that and you are really asking for permission to go down one road or another. And in your situation I believe I would also find it difficult to make a choice. It seems you are torn between the desire for security and to regain your health and strength, and a reluctance to hurt your partner or leave him in the lurch. Women are accustomed to putting lives on hold for the other members of the family, which makes it harder to move away.

May I ask how old you are and your partner? You are now working full time so have a chance to build up your savings and provide yourself some security. What will happen with your partner if you leave? Will he be able to manage? I'm sure this is one of the questions you have been asking yourself. And to ask that questions sounds a bit like emotional blackmail, but that is not the intent.

There is the tried and true method of putting the pros and cons on paper and weighing them up. It sounds like a possibility but we are not ruled by logic. Your feelings for this man are real and have an effect on what you do.

My suggestion is to do some research on both options. What if you decide to leave? What are the financial implications for both of you in the short and long term? Where will you both live? Can your BF care for himself or will he need help? What are the implications for your health both short and long term? What will be the emotional toll on both of you? I don't know if you can answer that one.

What if you decide to stay? Again the financial implications and your health. Presumably you will continue to live where you are now. Is your BF working as hard as he can to get back to the workforce and a 'normal' life. What is the emotional demand doing to you.

Out of words, please write in again.