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Probably separating - having anxiety about seeing partner
It seems like my partner and I are separating. The issues are communication, the ways we express affection, and we have very different sex drives/styles. I don't hold any grudge against them at all, and hope we can still be friends, but I think it'll take a while to get there.
They're coming tomorrow to pick up some things, and might be staying a few nights, because anything else really is impractical. I can't really go anywhere either, as I have to be here for work.
I am having massive anxiety about being alone with them.
I am scared that they will verbally attack me, put the whole relationship problem on me, and accuse me of being selfish and/or manipulative.
They do suffer from mental illness, and have had suicide ideation in the past, though they have significantly improved over the past few years. So I have a lesser, but still real, concern they will attempt self harm, possibly blaming me, or maybe even attempt to hurt me (although there has never been physical abuse in the past).
I have been having panic attacks all day, and have already spoken to people on the phone, but the anxiety keeps coming back. I haven't been able to do any work, and feel physically ill.
I don't know if this sort of worry is totally normal, and I'm being irrational? I wish I could have someone here so I'm not alone with them, but there's no-one I could ask, and I think it wouldn't be fair to ask that of a friend anyway. Besides which, I think it would upset my partner even more.
I just don't know. I've thought about telling them how anxious I am, but I fear that would make things even worse.
Thank you for being part of the Beyondblue community forums and for sharing how you feel. It sounds like your battling with some pretty heavy thoughts including thoughts about your ex self-harming and blaming you and thoughts about them hurting you. We imagine that having those thoughts must feel really overwhelming.
Breaking up is never easy, especially if your partner has a history of self-harm/suicide. We believe it is only natural to feel a little worried about them. However, it does seem this worry has become quite difficult for you and it is important that you look after yourself. We encourage you to get some professional support. You're always welcome to contact the Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST via our website (www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport). We can provide you with some counselling, advice and referrals. We thought we'd link you this article on anxiety management strategies (linked here) as it may be useful for you. Also, remember that services for people with suicidal/self-harm issues exist, such as Lifeline (13 11 14) and Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467). Your partner is always welcome to call them if they are having such thoughts.
We hope that you find the forums useful and comforting. We encourage you to continue to reaching out here on your thread as you feel up to it.
Communication is a critical part of any relationship, and if you want to still work things out, you have to make a move to cultivate this. Try asking for help from counselors. They might be able to help.
Thanks Sweesoft, we are speaking to a couples counsellor, and other therapists individually.
The difficulty with communication is that our relationship largely centres around my partner's mental illness. Everything I say and do revolves around not triggering their depression. Any wrong step is accusations of manipulation and recriminations. I messed up and lost the opportunity for open and honest communication long ago, when I started tailoring my behaviour around their suicide ideation.
At this stage I don't feel I'd be emotionally safe to have an honest discussion with them unless a counsellor were physically present, or we were remote counselling from separate locations. Neither of which is possible on short notice.
It's too late now though. I'm already receiving messages that everything is my fault, and I'm a monster. I think they'll be alright for now, but my nerves are definitely up again worrying about tomorrow.