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New relationship, boyfriend experiencing depressive episode
Reaching out as I need to vent and find people with lived experience to relate to & any advice would be appreciated. I met my now-boyfriend 4 months ago and he showed up open-hearted, loving, communicated well and was very present. There's a lot going for him, he is extremely mindful of boundaries, open-minded and is very authentic. He was very open about his depression on the second date (I've also been successfully engaged in a 12-step program for nearly 8 years) and I was open about my recovery.
Fast forward 3-4 weeks and he is at risk of homelessness due to a property manager not doing her job properly. He had about 3 & 1/2 weeks to vacate due to the property being sold. He was extremely stressed, but handled it very well.
I had a traumatic break-up about 7 months ago and had a solid 3 weeks of anxiety "over-watching" for red flags. I had my stuff to work through and me coming out of that seemed to overlap with his mental state declining. To his credit, he has been extremely proactive in re-engaging with his therapist, having his meds reviewed and seeing the Physio as he was having physical issues.
"We" have been in this space for nearly 6 weeks. He is still communicating relatively well, but there are walls getting thrown up fairly frequently, he has stopped being attentive, our time together has been on the couch lately. I totally appreciate him letting me in, but I struggle to reconcile on days like today where I let him know I am physically sick and he's too wrapped up in his own world to think of me. I hate having to ask to spend time with him, when the man I met and fell for would lock things in in advance. I hate that the rest of his world is getting his attention because it's a "distraction" (social media, work), but I'm somewhat out in the cold. I am engaging with a counsellor this Friday specifically for support related to this, but I need to validate my own hurt and disappointment.
Thanks everyone 💙
It sounds like you & your partner started this relationship on a good note. He sounds as though he has been very open & respectful.
Also, congratulations on your 12-step program for almost 8 years. I think that is a courageous & admirable achievement. Well done 🙂
The past 6 months sound very strained though. I feel it would be hurtful & perhaps frustrating that he seems so disconnected & disengaged recently...
I think it can really sting when we don’t feel loved ones are as attuned to us as they once were. Even if it’s unintentional, I feel it can still hurt...I feel for you...
But I think the fact that he is re-engaging with his therapist is a good sign. I feel it suggests that he’s willing to work on his struggles. Also, I think it’s great that you will be seeing a counsellor.
I think maybe it’s about more communication?
I feel sometimes when people are struggling, they can unintentionally “forget” the needs of those closest to them. So I would gently suggest finding a good time when you’re both relatively relaxed, & letting him know that when he’s being inattentive & distant, how it hurts you & be open to what he says.
It could be something, such as, “I know you you’re struggling, so I understand sometimes you need space, & that’s okay. But I must admit that I feel hurt when I feel you’re very distant & not really listening to me. I don’t mean this as criticism, but it’s just that I care about you & I want us to be more involved in each other’s lives. Can we talk about this some more?”
It doesn’t have to be in those exact words, but I suppose what I’m trying to suggest is I think communication is a the basis of any relationship.
Sometimes I feel we just need to let people know how we are feeling...that is my opinion at least...
All the best with counselling on Friday. Feel free to write any time that you want to vent, chat, etc here. There’s no pressure to share more than you want, but just know we are here if you want to talk 🙂
Kindness & care,