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Not sure if I can support him anymore...

Community Member

I have been with my partner for 10 years now and about 5 or so years ago he was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. He took medication for a while, but stopped using it a couple of years ago because he said it started to make him feel worse.

Over the past couple of years things just haven't got any better for him. He hasn't had a job for over a year and whenever he's had one they only last a few weeks before he quits. He has such a negative attitude towards everything and basically can't see the good in anyone or anything. He just sits at home all day and plays on his playstation all day.

He refuses to seek help or go back on medication. I feel like he thinks I should be responsible for his wellbeing, or if I am, then I am doing a terrible job at it.

I work full time, so I am the sole breadwinner of the household. We don't have any kids, but we have a dog (I was kind of hoping that having a dog will help him a little).

I have tried so hard to support him through this, but I feel like I'm getting nowhere and it's really starting to have a negative impact on my wellbeing as well. (I was diagnosed with depression in my late teens). He says I don't understand how he feels and thinks I'm lying when I've told him I've been through it as well, although I'll admit mine wasn't as severe as what he's dealing with, it doesn't mean it never happened!

I've just gotten to a point where I feel like I can't or don't want to keep supporting him if he's not going to try and help himself. I'm starting to resent him for not even trying and I feel like a lot of the time, he's just making excuses so he doesn't have to do things he doesn't want to do.

I'm so torn because I love him and care about him so much, but where do I draw the line between caring for him and caring for myself? I've put his needs before mine for so long that I've lost friends and barely see my family at all now.

Is it wrong to want to put myself first?

If I break up with him, I know I'll feel so guilty and I'll worry about him and how he will cope, but if I stay, then I think we'll both just be miserable forever.


Please, I need advice!!  

3 Replies 3

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

A few thing I want to say/suggest.

You are not in this world to "carry" your husband. He should participate in the responsibilities of a relationship near equal as you. I wrote an article a while ago called "who cares for the carer" you can google it, with beyond blue after it. It says how- if a mentally ill person can attend the bathroom and (in your case) play the playstation, then they can prepare a meal and welcome you home with a coffee and a chat. If not then you are being taken advantaged of and it becomes a laziness paradise.

It is also his responsibility to take medication and get regular reviews. THIS SHOULD BE DONE

One idea of mine is for you to seek counselling. This is primarily for you to seek ways to cope with him. But as time goes on, he'll be intrigued as to the outcome of such visits. Refuse to let him know any details except to say "I'm going to find ways to cope with you and our relationship, you are welcome to come with me". And leave it at that. If he doesn't go then that is a good measure of his care for you (or rather lack thereof). This will also help with your guilt in the future if you break up.

Loving him as you have expressed is good but it seems a one way love and that isn't sustainable. It wont last IMO. You need to take control. He should not compare his depression with yours. Everyone's depression is bad to them. What happens if and when your depression takes a nose dive?

My wife has depression. I have depression and bipolar 2 and dysthymia. We are strong together as we see each other as needing to rely on each other, support each other etc. We are nothing without each other and we would implode if we leaned on the other too much.

I think, for what its worth, you have to put emotion aside. You need to set boundaries tactfully. The playstation is ok IF he has searched for a job for say 2-3 hours that day, done some housework and other chores. To point the finger at you and blame you for your logical views is wrong and taking advantage of your love for him.

He is not a child and you cannot continue to be his mother.

Hope this helps.  Tony WK

Thank you so much for your advice White Knight! What you say makes a lot of sense. I have thought of getting counselling as I am finding it harder to cope at the moment and honestly think I will snap and end up saying something I'll regret.

He keeps saying I'm self-centred and my ego has gotten too big whenever we have a fight (which is pretty much every other day). I think my opinions have changed a bit and I've grown as a person and he doesn't like me voicing my opinions or how I feel about things. I guess I just used to agree with him as it was easier to do that than cause conflict.

He also tries to limit how much time I spend with my family. He says he can't understand why I like to see or call them so often. He doesn't have a very good relationship with his family, it seems they only want to talk to him or see him when they want something, although he doesn't try to reach out to them either. They only live 5 mins away from us! ( They are divorced and live separately by the way ).

 I made quite a good friend when I started my new job, she got me out of my shell and really helped my confidence. She has since moved onto a new job and we were supposed to stay in contact but now she barely talks to me because every time we try to catch up my partner comes up with some excuse why I can't go. He has basically done this with every friend I've had. He's even gone as far as accusing me of cheating on him!

Sorry for rambling on.


Rambling on is fine.

This situation is all about how much you can tolerate and how much you are happy to be manipulated/controlled.

In my opinion you need to place some boundaries up. Your family is your family, you should be able to talk every night to them, same as your friends. I wouldn't think at all about restricting my wife from doing what he is doing to you. Forums are about opinions and experience sharing.

In a way (but I don't know him) he needs to be sat down and given a brand new list of boundaries. You can write them out yourself. You can add to them, subtract them. In fact this exercise is all about doing what you want to do and the reason I mention that is that a controlling person, after given a list, a week later if you add one more requirement, they would tell you its unfair to do that. See the conditioning they can place upon you? You need to whittle away at his control and introduce your rights.

I'm pessimistic. You cant change someones spots. But I had a controlling mother for 54 years (am 59yo) and cut ties due to her controlling ways. Such was its impact upon me and my sister I think after she passes away (is 83yo) she'll haunt me from her grave in that I'll be worried still about "if she approves of anything I do".

For various reasons these controlling people begin to spin their web. It could be you are submissive, he could be over bearing, you could be much younger, he could be witty, he may not hold friendships, you might fit well into groups....whatever the reason there is no excuse.

Take care.

Tony WK