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Depression is ruining my relationship - do I not deserve one until I'm 'better'?
Hi everyone, this is my first post here. I'm looking for some advice or maybe just kindness.
Some background information: I'm 23F and have suffered bouts of depression and anxiety since I was 18 or so. I think I might also have BPD but this is undiagnosed. I struggle with abandonment issues, poor self-esteem, emotional dysregulation. Over this summer I'm dealing in particular with the stress of trying to build my career, and the suicide of my first partner who I dated as a teenager. I was seeing a psychologist last year but am currently facing financial difficulties which make it difficult to access regular help.
My current partner (30M) and I have been together about 5 years. There are times when the relationship feels supportive and caring. But things have been tumultuous when I've raised that certain needs aren't being met and he grows angry and defensive.
The main issues are his poor communication skills - he's often away and only wants to talk on his terms of convenience (won't call or msg for days, calls me clingy if I object). Another issue is that we're both facing potentially big moves next year but he refuses to talk about long-term commitment, planning our futures, marriage or even moving in together. The latest issue is that our sex life has become very poor where it didn't use to be - for the past year we've had sex maybe once every 2-3 weeks and only when I ask first after a dry spell. When it happens, it's in the middle of the night in the dark. If I try to talk about sex while he's away, he ignores the msgs and calls me insecure if I object. He returned from a 5-week trip a week ago but hasn't even touched me. None of this used to be a problem.
I brought this all up today as kindly/calmly as I could and it backfired. He's often suggested that my depression is the root cause of all issues and compares me to his 'happier, more uplifting' exes, but today he told me outright that depression is the reason he doesn't want to have sex, or talk about the future, or communicate when we're apart. "The problem is you; your sadness and negativity". He said sex is a chore and dealing with my depression is a job and I should stop playing the victim card.
Am I truly undeserving of a relationship, love, sex, commitment until I'm no longer depressed? I've always been acutely conscious of being a burden. But I feel like depression robbed me of so much. It took so much away from me, held me back from so many things. Does that include this relationship?
Absolutely not! My ex said the same thing to me, and I absolutely refuse to believe it. If your partner isn't willing to connect and communicate with you, then that's the problem. Not you.
I agree with Katyonthehamsterwheel.
Everyone deserves love and compassion. There's a Swedish proverb that translates something like "Love me best when I deserve it least, because it's then I need it most". I'm sorry that you are having a down time, and I'm more sorry that you are not feeling supported by your partner. I can bet that if he's feeling down too, regardless of how you feel, you are there to comfort and support him as best you can? Sex and affection should never feel like a chore. You deserve more from him, and I hope that you get it.
Sage advice from Katy and Deckt.
I don't believe your boyfriend has necessarily faced the challenge of raising someone before. Maybe all past girlfriends were content enough with the way life was at the time of dating him.
I believe one of the greatest things about raising another person to meet happiness and fulfillment involves the benefit of raising our self at the same time. The process involves a dual growth in consciousness. It is a mutual quest for new adventures (adding ventures to life). It is where we find that mutual love is found in the joy of sharing in each other's evolution.
You've challenged him and I congratulate you for trying to raise his consciousness and his game. Has he accepted the challenge? Doesn't fully sound like it.
If we were to say to our semi complacent partner, who is under the illusion things are going pretty well on their terms, 'Okay, come on now, excite me in ways you never have before. Put some effort in. I put the effort in when I'm on an amazing high. Get your poop together and stop letting your complacency swing me into a low.!' that would go down really well.
Would you say you want more excitement, more maturity, more adventure, more communication, more commitment in the relationship? It certainly sounds like it. I sounds like you desperately want to evolve and you want to rise to new heights with someone who's just as passionate about the process. Your maturity and consciousness are amazing and to be admired.
I suppose the choice here involves separation, remain in a relationship of frustration or work on having the relationship evolve. I find 'trades' make for a very interesting evolving relationship. A few examples: 'I will give you a shoulder and scalp massage (or whatever) if you answer 3 questions in the way of deeper consciousness' or 'I will take you for a weekend away if you think of something I would love to experience in bed that is something we've never considered before'. This is a romantic gesture where one partner must put them self in the shoes of another and think deeply about what would be exciting and satisfying for them. Perhaps another trade could involve partners trading/giving each other time for one hour once a week to meet up in a candlelit bath for 2.
Raising each other to interesting challenges definitely changes the dynamics of a relationship. We raise and excite our self through the challenge as well.
Cheers to you on your quest for personal evolution (self love)