Lost and confused; relationship, business and young family.
A few months into our relationship we opened a business together, all whilst I continued to work fulltime. 5 years and a toddler later I am completely burnt out from carrying such a significant load for an extended period; business, work, family, household - I carried ~80% of the load - he told me 2 week's before Christmas that he doesn't feel anything for me anymore. Although our business is successful, I went back to work following maternity leave at the beginning of COVID to ensure our family was supported. In hindsight I shouldn't have done this.
In all honesty our relationship has been somewhat toxic for at least 2 years, with issues for 3 given the workload; I slowly developed depression and severe anxiety - he too suffers. Due to the stress and pure burn out that has been building for ~4 years, I have had no libido, angry, emotional and just purely exhausted. He labels me as "miserable", I can understand this but it is more so blank and empty from my perspective. I suffered from PND, which I didn't have time to seek support for, compounding our issues, and he helped minimally with our son until ~6 months. I have asked for counselling but he isn't interested. I have also voiced that his upbringing contributes to our issues (broken home).
We spent Christmas apart and upon return we agreed to work through things, but he is continuing to tell me that he doesn't feel anything and can't guarantee that it'll come back - my efforts are too late in his opinion. Although I understand where he is coming from, I feel that this can be fixed if we both obtained professional support. As he is refusing to see a counsellor, it makes this really difficult. I was wanting to each see them separately and then together.
He suffers from anxiety and depression himself, which he hasn't sought help for despite my efforts. He is telling me that I am a trigger for him. I don't know how to fix that as I don't know what the association is. His issue is that his dad has depression due to his marriage and he doesn't want to end up like him.
I don't even know what support I am looking for in this forum; maybe help from people who have successfully rebuilt their relationship or methods to get him to counselling to resolve past conflicts and communication issues. I was considering booking my session and asking him to attend with me. If we could separate knowing we would come back together I would happily agree, but I can't do this as my family and support are interstate.
There cam be frustration when a partner refuses counseling - even my reading your post I don't understand why he we could risk his little family.
So, go to counseling yourself. However, if he asks how you're progressing I'd suggest you not discuss it. You can consistently invite him to accompany you.
Attending counseling alone has many benefits. Answers to your problems will come within yourself from guidance.
I urge you also to lower your workload and make decisions based on fairness compared to his workload.
Self preservation...sometimes you have to enforce it as partners either dont care enough or they care but will "flog a willing horse "
Welcome to the BB forums. I'm so glad you reached out. It's not easy to do that when we are feeling depleted.
One thing I noticed from your post is that you seem really clear-headed about your life, even though, as you say, you've been challenged by depression, PND and burnout. It's not easy to have insight into our situation when we're feeling low, so kudos to you for your self awareness! I run a business too, and am painfully aware of the personal sacrifices it requires, especially through Covid which had made life and business so damn difficult.
White Knight has made an excellent suggestion about solo counselling. I had the same thought when reading your post.
You mention being focused on your relationship right now (totally understandable), but I also wonder what kind of support and safety and nourishment do you need to heal from your burnout? Aside from the friction in your relationship, you sound like you're overdue for some rest and renewal.
I wonder if, as well as counselling, there's even just one tiny supportive thing you could do for yourself, starting this evening? Could be a cup of tea, some journalling, a nice hand cream... does anything like that come to mind? Small acts of self care can sometimes send powerful suggestions to the parts of us that are feeling exhausted and bleak.
I hope the coming days and weeks bring you some healing moments.