- 10 years ago
Note: I’m a regular poster but I didn’t want this one associated with my account.
I’m a generally optimistic, energetic, glass-half-full person. I do fairly well in stressful situations and roll with the punches. My fiance claims to be a realist, but all of his friends and family decree him a pessimist instead. When we first started dating a few years ago, this was the case, but it’s changed since then (more than the loss of the “rosy we’re new in a relationship” glasses you wear in the beginning of any new relationship).
I am fairly certain my fiance is clinically depressed, although he refuses to go to a doctor or therapist because he doesn’t feel that pills or talking “is the answer.” He is incredibly stressed out by his job and doesn’t like it, but he’s now depressed about other areas of his life as well.
He initially wanted to quit his job maybe two years ago, and I stressed out about that idea because I was on the brink of losing my job (which I eventually did about 6 months later). He ended up getting a new job with added responsibility. At the old one, he felt severly underpaid, overworked (but had settled into a routine he could ignore some of that pressure and do half-assed work), and didn’t like his boss. His new job looks great on the resume, but is just more of the same – much much more with added redtape due to company climate. There is reason to suspect it’ll be less stressful in 6 months to a year, but it’s never going to be stress-free. He knows he wants to switch fields, but doesn’t know what he wants to do.
This is a super smart guy that did incredibly well at top schools (undergrad and grad), but he can’t handle stress. I’ve had stressful jobs (and he would agree my last one was far longer hours and considerably more stress) and bosses I don’t like – that’s unfortunately fairly common I think (but he thinks not), and I haven’t fallen apart in this way so although I try, I can’t really understand why it affects him so differently. He doesn’t roll with the punches and accept there are things in life he can’t change, and focus instead on the things he can affect. He also misses knowing exactly what he is aiming for – in school, he felt that it was clear and now it’s not.
I’m still stressed out at the idea of him quitting his job while I still haven’t found full-time work (in part because I don’t know when he’ll regain work, based on the fact it’s taking me this long) just part-time, but I reached the point a while back that I couldn’t handle the reflected stress he brings home and dumps on me, so I was willing for that to happen. Frankly, I desperately wish I had never encouraged him to take this new job, but that’s water over the bridge now. This has taken a negative toll on our relationship because I can’t be optimistic for two of us – it’s hard enough keeping myself up with going nowhere soon in my career. I’ve also told him to set a date to evaluate or quit (and suggested in a few months after he finishes his first year), but he hasn’t done that.
He missses his friends, several of whom moved away from his town over the years or started families and no longer have time to hang out, and if they do, it’s not for the same types of activities. (Every rare while, such as once a year, they might have dinner with us, but not the same type of outdoor activities they use to do.) This has really been the case for several years. He’s not the greatest at making plans, so he is partially responsible for this drift, but it’s also a part of the circle of life. He enjoys spending time with my friends and considers them some of his friends too now, but that’s insufficient for him. Nor does he want to make new ones. For a variety of reasons, sports teams he used to play on fell apart so he no longer has that. Not only does this cause stress and sadness by itself, but it also causes issues because that means that I am his only support. (He sometimes talks to a few others, but I get the brunt of it.)
We haven’t gone out as much as we used to, in part due to above friends/activities dwindling, in part due to trying to cut back and economize. (We are trying to economize due to my job loss, the recession and his stress over having insufficient resources to retire. This fear, despite having saved more than $200K for retirement with a paid off apt – and we’re in our 30s.) He tells me he wants to go out and do more activities at night, but many nights he’s too tired too budge from home. Or he doesn’t know what he wants to do – I’m supposed to figure it out but I’ve got no roadmap. I’m happy going out or happy staying in, so I’m not really brainstorming things for us to do, but in any event, it’s hard to figure out what it is that will make him happy.
Wedding planning has been another added burden, and we’ve just looked at venues so far. I’ve tried to do all of the work researching places, but our families have imposed stress.
I ask him what I can do to help, and the only thing is really “have more sex.” Our sex life has admittedly taken a toll for this and many other reasons, both on my part and on his as well. To elaborate on just one reason – I feel loved and appreciated when he does things for me, which based on his depression, doesn’t happen anymore. (I do all of the cleaning, organizing and the vast majority of the cooking – sometimes he helps, but never does it completely on his own.) I don’t expect it to be even close to 50/50, but I get frustrated at having absolutely zero help around the house, including even something as simple as bringing an empty soda can to the kitchen. Clearly my love language of the 5 is service, with quality time following on those heels. Not feeling loved, it’s hard to feel in the mood.
I asked him when was the last time that he was happy and he wouldn’t answer, just saying that it would depress him to think about that.
I don’t know what to do. I’m worried that if he doesn’t get help, our relationship will suffer irrepairable damage. It’s already suffering. While it’s roller coaster in some ways – not that he gets equally happy, but that he will put it out of his mind and not always “bring it home” or work gets a bit better at times – he always settles back to the unhappy depression, for longer and longer bouts. I can’t fathom this being the atmosphere in our home for the rest of our lives. Much as I want kids, I can’t imagine having to do the vast majority of the work because he’s “too tired” to help out. (Single moms, I respect you.) So I don’t know what to do. I’ve thought about going to a counselor by myself, but that doesn’t solve the underlying problem, just treats some of the symptoms, and is expensive. (And I have two close friends that will listen if I need that, both of whom work with the medical field.) As I said, he adamantly refuses to see a doctor or therapist, with or without me. (He hasn’t been to a doctor in 10+ years.)
We’ve got a vacation coming up in a few weeks that I hope will help, but I suspect will be insufficient. He feels he needs 2+ months off, not a week, and resents having worked for 6 years with the longest vacation 1.5 weeks at one time. (His company does not do sabbaticals.) So…I turn to you bees, all 2 that are left after reading this tome. Please help.