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Does my partner still love me?
For a bit of context, I feel like I should preface this by saying that up until 4 weeks ago, I thought my partner and I were going to be married in a few weeks time. I thought we were as happy as we had ever been.
Since then, she has opened up about her struggle with a significant depressive episode. She has had less severe episodes in the past, but she says she has never felt like this. She has said she is not in the right place to get married which I am 100% supportive of given where she is at right now. Her way of expressing it was that she sees us getting married in the future, just not in the next month ( as we had planned)
When she first started telling about how she was struggling, she started off saying that our relationship was the only part of her life she was confident about, and that the main issues were the enormous stress at work, and that had her questioning her identity as she feels she is not doing well at her job (even though she is amazing at her job). However over a few weeks she has started saying that started saying that she isn't sure what she wants anymore. Over the last few days she has stopped saying I love you. I have reached out to someone for some support and everyone I talk to say that "it's just the depression talking" but I'm starting to question everything. I am so scared that she is going to push me away.
I have been trying to just be present for her and not ask questions about where she is at or how she is feeling as I know it is overwhelming for her to answer, but I am really struggling without any reassurance that I am still someone she wants around. I don't want to be selfish, I just want to know that I am doing enough. I am trying to be strong, but I am so worried that she will leave me. How can I navigate this?
Welcome here to the Forum, a good move to come here as many have been in your situation. It is very worrying and I'm not surprised you are starting to doubt if you are still loved.
As someone with depression and anxiety I find you description of your fiancée's behavior somewhat the same as mine has been. I too did well at work but came to discount this, to the point I thought others saw me as failing. My brain was so full of the doubts and self-blame put there by depression I reached the stage I was sort of separated from myself -yes I know that sounds weird.
I'd no real understanding why I did things, and no feelings for others. I did not know who I loved, or even if I was capable of love - or why anyone would want me. Doubt was about everything.
This state did not get better by itself. I sort of knew something was wrong, but could not do anything about it by myself. Eventually I sought medical help and that was the start of my recovery. As time went on I improved back to the alive loving person - capable of giving and receiving - I'd been before
If you can may I suggest you persuade your fiancée to go to the doctor and set out in detail how she feels and has been acting. If she is already under treatment then really she needs to go back and say it it not working and treatment need to be reviewed
This is probably hte most important thing you can do for her. The other thing that helped me was my partner saying she would always be there for me -not something everyone is capable of.
If oyu would like to come back and talk more that would be great
Thank you so much for your message,
My fiancé has seen her GP and is on Anti-depressants- she is on the lowest dose and is about to increase them to the next does up. She also started seeing a psychologist however has said that as of right now she cant handle doing the therapy as she is too overwhelmed, but I have encouraged her to keep appointment's for the future (once her work event has finished in a few weeks time). She is also having lots of trouble sleeping, which is only compounding her anxiety and depression so she has also been given a script for a short term sleeping tablet to help over the next week or 2.
I am so hopeful that these medications, and having my support will be enough to help break the current cycle and give her enough support to start seeing the psychologist more regularly.
She is asking for space- I asked her what that meant for her, i offered to move out- she doesn't want to move out, but does want time to herself, and a lower expectation for physical affection and "i love you", as right now she cant say the words or feel the feelings. want to be her rock, and to know that i will be there no matter what, but I don't want to overwhelm her either. I understand that hearing me say I love you doesn't always help.
I seem to go through waves of being ok with and understanding how she is feeling and respecting that, and having my own doubts creep in. I feel like if she could just tell me she still loves me but cant say it right now, i would be ok.... I am just longing for that bit of reassurance. But i know that is too much to ask of her right now. and i just need to be patient (being patient is so hard for me, my own anxiety just runs rampant!!!). I have started talking to a councillor through my work to give me another outlet to help with the frustration and make sure I am able to be the best version of myself for her.
Sometimes I just get stuck wondering if I am the problem, or if our relationship is the problem, and that this amazing life we had always talked about, the house, the kids, the family we had planned, may never be realised. I cant imagine not having her in my life, or not doing all of those things with her by myside. We are an amazing team, and i want to fight this battle together.
Is it wrong or selfish of me to want that?
Of course it is not wrong or selfish, it is perfectly natural. I'm very pleased she has medical help, and htat it is being varied ot reflect the current hard time -that's good.
It may well be that she, like me, could not handle dealing with others, particularly where there is a sense of obligation that she should, As a result a need for space is -at leat to me - understandable.
As for loving, as I mentioned I was so separated from myself I could not love. Being expected to respond is more pressure. Now that's tough on you, as anyone would need reassurance, and at the moment it is not there. The best I can say is it may simply be a symptom, not love stopping, just hidden.
Walking the fine line between giving support wihtout overwhelming is a judgment thing, and you are the best person to judge. Often just knowing you are around wihtout having to say anything can be enough. I found that comforting.
I think the fact she does not want you to go is a good sign and for you to get counseling is a wise move.
Getting married is a big event in a person's life and that can create a lot of pressure. I was always worse under pressure, maybe she might be the same. If so in time I'd expect things will quieten down.
I’m sorry to hear you are feeling this way. I’m here because I am also riding the wave of just waiting to feel like what I am doing is enough or too much. I understand your feelings of worry and needing reassurance and wondering constantly if you are going to get through this hard time just to be left when your partner feels better.
I get through these moments by remembering the integrity of my partner when he is well.
At his core, he is genuine, honest and loving. He has a big heart and loves me unequivocally. He is also ‘functioning’ in his depression in that he is maintaining a high pressured job and family responsibilities as well as putting on a face for everyone around him except me. This also means our time together is when he is spent and usually at his lowest and it hurts a lot.
I have to believe that even in depression, he would maintain his honesty and let me go if he truly didn’t want me around anymore even if it is at arms length.
Monitoring the right time for a no-pressure check-in is based on where I feel he is at for the day ‘sometimes’ works. I practise sentences to use at the appropriate time and prepare answers (good and bad) so I can cope emotionally myself with his response.
No hour is the same let alone each day. Feel free to reach out anytime, you are not alone.