Post # 1
I’ve been dating my fiance for 3 years and we’ve been engaged for over a year now (our wedding is in 78 days). The first year of our relationship was amazing…I couldn’t believe that I had found the One! Everything was so great and I knew I wanted to marry him after like a month. I truly feel like I found the one person that I’m supposed to spend my life with.
However, things have changed since then. And pretty much all of them stem from the fact that he feels really, really bad about himself for a variety of different reasons/situations. And everytime he has a chance to do something to make one of these situtaions better, he doesn’t do it. For some reason that I (or he) can’t figure out, he just can’t do what he needs to do to turn the situation around. And then that makes him feel worse. It’s a never ending spiral that has now affected literally every area of his life and he’s in a really bad place mentally/emotionally. (fyi, there’s more to this story, but that’s pretty much the important part)
Anyway, he never felt like he was ‘good enough’ for me because he’s not at the point in life that he wanted to be at his age and I’m at a good place. And he did something recently that set him back from finally finishing school, which has always become his marker for self-worth. (Plus, he was supposed to graduate a week before our wedding so that we could finally live in the same town and start our lives together after we’re married. Now that can’t happen.) And now he’s openly telling me that he feels so much pressure and that he’s afraid he’s going to ruin my life. He says that I should get out while I can. And he says that he’s not the man that I think he is. That this person that he is now (and not the man from 3 years ago) is the real him.
But I just don’t believe that. (I’ve actually known him since high school so I know the person he was back then too) I think he’s legitimately depressed and it’s been debilitating for him in everything that he does. I’ve been really supportive and tried to build him up with positive thoughts about himself and letting him know that I love him and that he’ll get through this. But none of that is working. And he won’t go to therapy.
But now this little part of me is thinking……should I be listening to him?? Do I trust my heart or do I trust my head and what I’m seeing (and what he’s telling me)?? How can I be with someone who is telling me that he’s going to ruin my life?? I can be very idealistic about things and I feel like my love for him and my idealism may be clouding things. And if he really is depressed and incapabile of turning things around, is this a situation that I should be committing my life to?
I love him with all my heart and know that we could have an amazing life together. Even with all these problems, our relationship is still great between us when things are good. And i don’t expect things to be perfect in our lives, but I think that even the bad times with him would be better than any times by myself.
I’m supposed to be sending out our wedding invitations this weekend. Part of me feels like we should postpone things and get some of the pressure off him and see how that helps. But I just don’t know what to do….. Anyone else have to deal with a depressed fiance? Got any advice for me?
Post # 3
Reading what you wrote, if it were me, I would postpone the wedding. That would take some of the pressure off of him and then maybe he would be open to therapy. If he doesn’t open up to therapy and you may have to give him an ultimatum, then you may have to rethink what you want to do about your relationship, as hard as that may be. I know it is extremely hard for you, but you have to decide what will be best for you. If you aren’t happy, then he isn’t going to be happy either. There is an old saying that goes “If you love something, set it free, if it comes back, it is yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.” You could translate that into “If you love someone, set them free, if they come back, they are yours, if they don’t, they never were.” I live by that saying; among others.
Take a step back and consider what you want from this relationship. When I have a tough decision to make, I get out a pen and paper. I fold the paper in half lenthwise and write on one side “Pros” and on the other side “Cons”. Then I make my lists. Then I make my decision.
Post # 4
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if a guy is telling you something that isn’t 100% bragging about himself, believe him.
Get into therapy to perhaps clarify what he’s feeling but definitely listen to what he’s saying about himself.
Post # 5
I feel for you. It sounds like you’re in a tough place. He definitely sounds depressed. Depression isn’t just “in your head,” it’s a legitimate illness.
Depression can screw with your head & your entire perception of how the world works. While you can’t force anyone to get treatment, you can help him by learning more about depression. This is a good guide from the Mayo Clinic about dealing with a loved one who is depressed. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/MH00016
I would lean towards postponing the wedding. Depression, especially when left untreated, can recur over a lifetime and totally devastate relationships. I think it’s important that you work together now to get him healthy. That’s more important than a wedding day.
If he is resistant to therapy or medicine (if recommended), I honestly think you should seriously think about whether you want to spend your life dealing with his illness. That may sound harsh, but I’m just being honest.
I’ve had experience with this. I had a boyfriend who was bipolar/borderline personality disorder/compulsive liar. After repeated threats of suicide and an “intervention” where I brought his parents into it against his wishes, I had to make the tough choice to end the relationship when his family’s answers to his suicidal threats was that he just needed to pray more. I couldn’t take the stress of feeling responsible for his health & ultimately his life, but helpless to help him in the face of his and his family’s refusal to acknowledge he had a problem. It was heart-wrenching and awful, but I had to protect my own health and not get sucked further into his vortex.
So whatever happens, you can love him & help him, but be sure to take care of yourself in the process.
Post # 6
I’m with the others, without knowing a full history, it’s difficult to determine what exactly is going on. To me, it sounds like depression. Just like BethesdaBride said, it is a legitimate illness.
I think you should sit down and have a serious heart to heart. I personally believe there are times in a relationship where you have to do a real “wellness check” and be open and honest. I think you should share your concerns for him and his concerns for himself. If this is the man that you want to build your life with, then you need to be comfortable having this type of conversation.
I would say even over therapy that just getting him to see his regular physician to talk about his feelings of hopelessness, guilt, etc may be a good place to start. Sometimes talking with a physician can either help patients get started on the right track or try a medication that may be successful. Also, with men, it is somewhat less intimidating to go to the regular doctor instead of therapy.
Again, I’m with BethesdaBride, take care of yourself in the meantime, but start trying to find opportunities to help your Fiance. Look for community counseling or mental health centers. And, most importantly, have an open and honest conversation about what you are seeing and let him know that you are concerned for him. You might let him know that often the people around us see the changes to our attitudes/thoughts/personality before we see them ourselves.
Hope this helps!
Post # 7
I peeked at your profile and saw that you’re a graduate student. It’s likely that your university has a counseling center that provides free or low-cost counseling, and typically you can go just a few times to talk to someone and get some good input on what to do. This might be a good first step for you – if he refuses to go to therapy, I would go by myself to help me sort out some of these feelings and, if nothing else, get some referrals for him.
You’re in a tough spot. My heart goes out to you, it can be maddening and heart-breaking to watch someone succumb to hopelessness. Good luck to you both.
Post # 8
So, I have to preface this by saying that it totally depends, and you and your Fiance are the best judges of your relationship.
However, I will say that when i first started dating my Fiance I loved him and his personality and looks, and everything about him, but he would tell me that I deserved better than him, and if I knew this secret he was hiding I may not want to be with him. When he finally told me, it was absolutely nothing. It was like, less than nothing. (And I always had a feeling that it would be) So I am glad that I didn’t let his perception of his problems affect what I saw in him (and still see!). So, I agree with Ejoyb that a lot of men are usually *VERY* hesitant to say bad things about themselves, and ones that do may have serious issues, but some men are also just as insecure and susceptible to depression and depressive thoughts as we are, and he may just be going through that now–which it seems like you recognize that it is.
I also know that grad school is a soul-eating process & failures in grad school tend to strike people to the core of who they are (or who they think they are), so hopefully his feelings are related to this point in time, and not to him as a person for the rest of his life. I know that having to build someone up all the time is draining — although you sound like you are generally a positive person & idealist, so perhaps it comes naturally to you — so my concern would be less whether you think that he really is this person he claims that he is, and more whether you have the energy to build him up constantly (or at least until he gets through this).
It’s a really hard question, but I agree with other posters that counseling may be the ideal way to go. You don’t necessarily have to hold off on your wedding, but may want to wait for a little while before you send off your invites, more to make sure that this wedding/prospect of being married is not going to take a worse toll on him. (Although if you do want to stay together and would be delaying for his sake, you run the risk of him seeing this delay as you acknowledging that you don’t want to be with him or think he is not the person you want to be with–so it is a fine line to consider.)
I wish you all the best which what is an incredibly difficult situation!
Post # 9
I think he is just in a tough possition and feels bad that he can’t be everything that he thinks you deserve. I would continue on with the wedding and everything. I think once you marry him and he realizes that you do love him and want to be with him no matter what, he might start to feel a little bit better. I think he should go to thearpy or a dr and get on some antidepressants though, it sounds like he may need too. Things will eventually turn around and start to get better. And it sounds like your relationship is still awesome, just that he isn’t feeling worthy of you and is having a hard time with other things.
Best of luck to you both!
Post # 10
Postponing the wedding is a sign of weakness and that you are giving up, you need to be positive with him and support him. Me and my FI’s famous quote to each other is ‘through thick and thin’ which means you stick by each other no matter what, many couples out there are with someone that is going through depression and they dont get a divorce because of it. If its just an illness as cancer or anything else, you shouldnt end something so wonderful. The wedding will be a positive and motivating reason for him to slowly heal. I am getting married in May too and trust me, me and Fiance have been jumping down each other’s throats lately, sometimes im just straight up mean to him and he could be the same way to me too, but at the end of the day we both know we cant live without each other, if you can get through this together, you can get through anything together.
If he is weak now, you have to be strong to balance each other out. Have you mentioned postponing the wedding? If you did, how did he react?
Post # 11
Whether or not you postpone the wedding, he needs to talk to someone. He sounds exactly like me when I was depressed at 13, 14, 15. I thought R didn’t deserve me, that he’d snap out of it and realize that. I felt awful about myself and didn’t think I was smart enough or dedicated enough to change. I crash dieted, which only made me gain weight half the time. I had been forced to stop horseback riding, and that created a serious hole in my life where I used to identify myself as strong and competent.
I was so afraid that R would leave me that I would try to make him see how he didn’t deserve me. Sounds twisted, but I did.
I’ll be honest, I never got therapy because I was afraid to ask for it. But I would have saved myself a lot of pain and desperation if I had. I think you need to let him know that you’re sticking by him, and won’t leave just because he admits something is wrong. Let him know that you love HIM – and that encompasses who he is now, who is was, and who he will be, even though it’s hard for him to believe.
Post # 12
I definitely would seek a counseling as it does sound like he is depressed and if he is not happy within himself it will only continue to build within him and cause more problems down the line. I also disagree with the previous poster that said postponing the wedding is a sign of weakness. If postponing the wedding allows the two of you to seek the help you may need and build your relationship to a stronger point then its the best thing you could possibly do. If your fiance feels as if he isn’t good enough my gut tells me that that feeling probably will not change and will only fester and make him feel more inadequate as the time goes on. I don’t see how those feelings could lead to a happy and equal marriage without some sort of counseling that encourages communication and lessons on self worth. One of the oldest quotes I can remember is “you can’t fully love someone until you love yourself” so my advice is to do whatever you need to do to help your FH love himself before the two of you commit to sharing a love forever in marriage. Good Luck!
Post # 13
This is a tough situation. I had a housemate who went through a period of depression, and I mean in the clinical sense, not in the “down in the dumps, feeling bad about myself” sense. It was so hard to try to be there for him and be his friend and still watch him be so very down all the time. I could barely get a smile out of him, and I can only imagine how much harder it would have been had we been in a relationship. Here’s the thing. He knew there was something very wrong. He just had a really hard time taking that step (therapy) to make it right. I was supportive, but I also was brutally honest with him. At one point I told him that if he didn’t make an appointment to see someone, I would. Eventually he did get himself into therapy and it really worked for him, but while he was depressed it was so hard for him to see the light at the end of the tunnel. He did say that my support meant a lot to him, but it was hard to see that at the time. I think you talking to a counselor might help you, especially if your Fiance is unable to find it in himself to seek the help he needs. I hope everything works out for you and your Fiance.
Post # 14
Oh jbsgirl, my heart goes out to you. What a difficult position to be in!
When I met my husband, I was dealing with grad-school-provoked anxiety and depression. I made many comments similar to what your fiance frequently says–worrying about ruining his life, not being a good enough wife or eventual mother, falling apart, etc. In light of my basic paralysis when it came to getting things done, fearing the judgments of profs and peers, he gently pushed me to visit the on-campus mental health clinic, and to seek counseling and even explore meds when things got worse. Sometimes I resented him for not having the same issues as me, or for being able to see so clearly into the murky mess that I felt I was.
All that said, I know I would not be here now, done with my degree, feeling generally okay about life, and happily married, were it not for the various factors that helped me face my anxiety and depression (for me, it was a medical leave of absence from classes, the use of meds under careful physician supervision, more exercise, cognitive therapy with my counselor, and a lot of prayer). I also have to say that the knowledge that my own personal struggles were causing stress and worry in my fiance (and now husband) gave me great impetus to change. It took courage on my fiance/husband’s part to tell me (worrying that it would send me into a deeper depression), but it did the opposite. He had to say it gently, but I got the message.
So, think about telling him what you’ve been seeing (as a commenter above has suggested), and how it affects you. This information isn’t to shame him or to make him feel worse (though it may temporarily), but you owe it to him to be honest with him.
This is a long parenthesis to say that there is hope, but your fiance has to be proactive in the process of changing. I agree with many of the above comments that say you have to take care of yourself in all of this. I would postpone sending the invitations, at least until you’ve been able to talk to him, and until you have some clarity whether he’d be willing to go to a doctor or psychiatrist/psychologist.
Post # 15
Well do you want to be married to the person he is today or the person you met?
If you answer the former then go ahead, but if it is the ladder, I would postpone it and remove myself from his life. Either he is not that into you and having major anxiety or he is just having major cold feet and does not know how to tell you.
I know postponing a wedding is beyond heartbreaking, but I think that may be best… but just my two cents.