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Strelitzia

Problems with boyfriend

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Sorry about the long message. I've been battling depression for a few years now and I feel that I'm finally making steady progress. I'm on some new medication and I've been seeing a therapist pretty regularly for the past year. I have a job now and I'm trying to get my drivers license. I had a really dark patch though, and it really took its toll on my relationship. I've been with my boyfriend for four years but for two of those years I was deeply depressed. I found it hard to function and it took all I had just to continue going to school. He really supported me during this time as I don't drive and I'm having a hard time financially. I'm incredibly grateful for his help and support during that time. But its become really clear that our relationship has been affected by my depression. I'm getting my life together but it feels like its too late because the damage has already been done. Hes become very frustrated with me, which is understandable because its taken me a while to make progress. What i don't like is the way he handles his frustration.

He completely stopped spending time with my family and avoids all family events I invite him to. He's also fallen into this habit of insulting me and calling me useless and lazy. He sometimes says I'm "a stupid little girl" who doesn't think. He also doesn't trust me. Hes always had a difficult time trusting people and letting them know things about him. He often accuses me of cheating on him or talking about him behind his back. Hes accused me of talking to his friends and family or strangers about things that he doesn't want anyone to know. Hes made me promise not to talk about him to anyone because he doesn't want people to know anything about him. This makes it really hard to talk to my therapist and my family about my relationship with my boyfriend. I feel guilty whenever I talk about him because it feels like I'm betraying him so I always change the subject when he comes up in conversation.
 I know that having a support network is important when you have depression but I don't really have one. Its hard talking to him because he dismisses my feelings. My boyfriend is frustrated that I'm still struggling because he thought I would be "over it" after all these years. My therapist has recommended a few times that I should socialize more and join a club at school as a way to meet new people. Every time I've brought up an interest in this or in strengthening my support system, my boyfriend becomes upset because he thinks I should be focused on more important things like saving up money so we can live together. Hes told me that if I want to join clubs or meet new people or spend time with family and friends that I should tell him so that he can break up with me and find someone more committed to a relationship. I keep trying to explain that me working on my recovery doesn't mean that I'm not working towards a future with him. 
I know I have many areas I need to work on and I'm still getting my life together but I don't think I deserve to be called useless. Whenever we have an argument , it always ends with him telling me what I need to do or change and it makes me feel like every problem we have is my fault. He never has to change anything or fix anything. When I bring this up, he says its because I don't have the same things to offer that he does. I haven't had a job for very long, and I'm still learning to drive whereas hes had both those things for years. I'm still working on myself, but I don't know if there is anything I can do to fix our relationship.

There is also the fact that he wants kids and I don't. He knows how I feel but he keeps talking about what he'll do if he has kids or what he'll name our kids. I know he's hoping I'll change my mind. He said that he would rather die than have a future married to me and without kids. He wants me to convince him that he doesn't need to be a father to make his life worthwhile. I feel like he already has one foot out the door. 
I have a bad habit of giving up when things get hard or running away when I face a problem but I honestly cant tell if thats whats happening now. Should I keep trying to make this relationship work or just stop before it gets worse? Or does it have a chance to get better? I just need an outside perspective on this. 

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Hi, Strelitzia,

As you perhaps know, therapists aren't supposed to encourage break-ups, only in cases when it's extremely important to do so. That's probably why yours (probably ) hasn't yet told you to break up with your partner. But as we're not bound by such rules and you asked for an outside perspective, here's what I think: 

On 3/25/2019 at 8:39 AM, Strelitzia said:

Should I keep trying to make this relationship work or just stop before it gets worse?

You've tried a lot and it has been a huge emotional burden to you; I would recommend you to stop very soon. :( 

Here are some questions supposed to help you with the decision - it seems to me you'd say "yes" to quite many of them:

https://www.bustle.com/p/34-questions-to-ask-yourself-when-youre-deciding-whether-not-to-break-up-with-your-significant-other-78598

For instance:

On 3/25/2019 at 8:39 AM, Strelitzia said:

[...] more important things like saving up money so we can live together. Hes told me that if I want to join clubs or meet new people or spend time with family and friends that I should tell him so that he can break up with me and find someone more committed to a relationship.

This is so very egoistic of him. You certainly need to meet new people and engage in new activities to get better - "saving money" is not at all a reason to avoid these important, even crucial, things! And "so that you can live together" is an egoistic reason, too. As you mention, he's also thinking about breaking up with you (let's hope he doesn't only pretend it, to manipulate you!), so you're lucky in this regard: He doesn't seem too possessive and it shouldn't be a too big shock for him (although... it probably will be, because he considers you as very weak and dependent on him, so he thinks he can demand anything he wants and it will be him who will make the decision to leave you - good for you if you're finally the one who breaks up with him!).

These are also two of the worst things about him and to me, even one of them on its own would be a reason to break up:

On 3/25/2019 at 8:39 AM, Strelitzia said:

him telling me what I need to do or change and it makes me feel like every problem we have is my fault. He never has to change anything or fix anything.

 

On 3/25/2019 at 8:39 AM, Strelitzia said:

he wants kids and I don't

 

On 3/25/2019 at 8:39 AM, Strelitzia said:

He wants me to convince him that he doesn't need to be a father to make his life worthwhile.

It's not your role to convince him and - moreover - he couldn't be convinced, probably similarly to you: Having / wanting children or not is one's very personal choice. And you surely shouldn't be "bullied" (or even "bothered") by anyone to change your preference. There are several websites, blogs, podcasts, FB pages, initiatives ... of people who don't want children or even of antinatalists, so you can easily find support (or pleasant reading) on-line if you sometimes feel alone with your choice. (BTW; people who think their life becomes "worthwhile" due to having a child (i.e., bringing another sufferer on this damned planet) are very "weird" to me. If it's worthless to them now (= they haven't been able to find any "worth" there), how can it somehow suddenly become worthwhile? .. Never mind. Sorry for my personal "mini-rant".)

I would also recommend you to read (and / or watch / listen) more about these topics before you break with him (not to mention that preparing a bit to your "life immediately after breakup" in therapy!).

For instance, the videos of The School of life are usually great, for instance these:

https://www.google.com/search?q=the+school+of+life+break+up&client=safari&rls=en&source=lnms&tbm=vid&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjUtu7GjqHhAhVRjlkKHRmfCcYQ_AUIDigB&biw=1112&bih=501

https://www.thecut.com/article/how-to-break-up-with-someone.html

or even: http://theconversation.com/the-psychology-of-closure-and-why-some-need-it-more-than-others-104159

Good luck! And let us know what you think and how it goes.

 

 

 

 

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