Lack of emotional support
This is my first post here, sorry
it is so long, bit of an emotional brain dump for me.
I've had a rough few nights with my depression, which comes and goes but hasn't been around in a long time. I'm in a relationship with a man who doesn't seem to have any empathy or understanding towards me. He knew I was having a rough night last night and just left me to it, says he needed sleep so didn't come over or contact me. It's not like I have these dark moments all the time, a handful of times in the 5 years we've been together and he doesn't make an effort to be here, to text or to call me when he knows I'm struggling. It made me feel so alone, even worse than being single and lonely is being in a relationship and lonely.
I constantly oscillate between thoughts of 'if he really cared about me, he would be here for me wouldn't he?' to 'maybe I'm just too difficult/needy or expecting too much?'. I would be there for him if he needed me but he doesn't reach out to me much. He is a recovering alcoholic and is more than 18 months sober. He leans on others and he supports others who have alcohol issues. He says he thinks of them as 'comrades' and finds it easy to support them, plus it’s all part of his recovery to help others (with alcohol problems, not others in general).
He has improved so much since giving up the alcohol and things are really good between us when I’m happy. But when I need emotional support, he is not there for me. For a long time I thought he is just not the kind of guy who does emotional support and was kind of getting used to that. But now seeing him offering that support to others who are in his rehab group or who go to his AA meetings, yet still cannot offer support to me, hurts a lot and has made me unsure of our relationship.
He says that he is 100% committed to our relationship, the emotional connection that I feel is missing is not something that he notices or that bothers him. He thinks everything is fine and it is just me and my depression that is the problem and if I see a counsellor and get help then we can be happy. I know I have to get help, but even when I do, knowing that he is not going to support me in times of emotional need is still enough for me to question what I am doing in the relationship. Can you have a relationship with someone who doesn’t give you emotional support? Or am I thinking too much (I do tend to do that), or expecting too much and need to stand on my own?
Can you be more specific about exactly what it is that you would like him to do, that he doesn't do? You've mentioned that you've seen him offering support to others in his AA group.
Can you think back to the last time you were feeling unsupported emotionally, and have a bit of a 'sliding doors' moment? What would you have liked him to do at that moment, and what did he do instead? How did that make you feel? How would him behaving in the way that you wanted him to in that moment made a difference?
If you can answer these questions, then it would be helpful to have this conversation with him and lay it out. I've found that men like plans and specifics.
Saying that 'you don't emotionally support me' can sound vague and critical, but saying 'I like it when I'm feeling X that you do Y' gives him something to do and makes him feel useful.