Starting from the beginning. I'm 21, recently left university and have been with my girlfriend for 3 years. We've lived together for as long as we've known each other (we were flatmates in first year.) Before that, I'd been in a 4 year relationship with another girl (so since I was 14.)
I think I've had depression, or some form of it, since starting uni. The mixture of splitting with my first girlfriend and starting uni etc. I think brought it on. But overall things with my current girlfriend were going really well.
Then we left uni and things started to go downhill. She became more depressed, and neither of us seemed to be able to agree on what we wanted in life. She wanted to be free, to do whatever she wanted, live wherever she wanted and not commit to any career or location for the next few years. I'm not saying she didn't want to commit to me, but just have the freedom of choice in general. I, on the other hand, wanted to get on with finding what it was that I wanted to do. I handed an application into my local police force, but to her, that tied her down to a location, and made her feel trapped, like she couldn't just up and go somewhere because I had a job. As naive and as unrealistic as that came across to me at first, I kind of understand now. Having just finished uni and at the age of 21, I understand that the world is ours to do whatever we want, it was just that what we wanted wasn't necessarily the same. Anyway, cue conversations about compromise and long distance stuff etc.
So thats problem number one.
Problem number two was my parents. Now my parents are very protective of me, to the point where they can be quite controlling. They want whats best for me, but don't always make me feel like I have a choice. Add on the fact that I don't think my mum in particular approves of my girlfriend and you've got a recipe for problems. I had, and still have, conversations with my girlfriend about "sticking up for myself" and "defending her against my parents." A 'her vs them' situation with me in the middle. They don't approve of me doing what she wants to do, such as moving somewhere else, or me just working for a year whilst she does a masters degree. They want me to know what I want to do and, in their own way, stick up for myself against my girlfriend, because they think she's controlling me too.
What I think feels a little irrelevant at the moment, as no matter how hard I try to tell both my parents and my girlfriend how I feel, they both think that I'm being influenced by the other, or that I'm just doing what the other is telling me to do. As of now this problem isn't resolved.
Problem number three is the doozy. Maybe around a month ago, maybe slightly less, I had one of my depressed moments. They come and go, where I feel down. If they get worse I tend to feel really numb, where I really don't care about anything. I have no emotion at all. Now this time, it carried on. Whereas before, these moments lasted anywhere from half an hour to maybe a day or so, this carried on for a couple of weeks. I stopped thinking this was depression and started to try and find the source of my unhappiness. I thought maybe it was my relationship. In my numbness I looked at her and felt nothing, I didn't feel any love or happiness. So I thought the problem was that I was unhappy with my relationship, that it wasn't working. That combined with the problems outlined above made me start to distance myself from her. I was confused, as I wasn't in any state of mind to make decisions about my relationship, or future career, or anything.
Simultaneously, a girl from work started messaging me, just to see if I was ok at first. The more we chatted, the more she complimented me and made me feel good, the closer we got. Whilst me and my girlfriend were still together, me and the girl from work would sext each other, sexual messages describing what we liked, and she would tell me that i was sexy or that I looked good etc.
After everything, and in the middle of an argument, I broke up with my girlfriend of 3 years with a text.
The next day I kissed the girl from work. It was her first kiss.
A couple of days later, I met up with my girlfriend face to face, so that I could end it properly. I outlined the problems that I thought were the reason for my unhappiness, that I thought were worth ending this relationship. These problems became conditions for getting back together, and after she'd promised to change them (and id promised to change her problems) we decided to give it another go. Ultimately, it was what I wanted, but I was confused, as I had convinced myself that I wanted to end the relationship, but suddenly found myself wanting to try and fix it.
I messaged the girl from work to say that we could only be friends, that nothing would ever happen again. A few days later, me and my girlfriend decided to resume original plans to move in together.
Meanwhile, I was still messaging the girl from work. I genuinely did only want to be friends and in my head I thought that was all I was doing, but looking back, when faced with comments like "I don't have a good body" I found myself replying with "no no you're beautiful" etc. These comments really did just come from a friendly place, but I can understand how they might have looked to someone else, including her.
A few days after deciding to resume plans to move in with my girlfriend, she saw the messages from the girl from work on my phone briefly. I eventually told her what had happened, after lying originally to her face.
We spent the night arguing, crying, talking. I rang the girl from work and told her we couldn't be friends any more.
But I also spent the night making multiple attempts on my life with a razor blade, being stopped only by my girlfriend catching me and forcibly removing the blade from my hands.
That was the first time I ever tried to kill myself, although I'd thought about it a few times before. The next day, we talked, she kissed me, I was confused and she decided that she was going to try to forgive me. She also persuaded me to tell my parents about everything, including my depression and attempt on my life.
That night I spoke to my parents, and to the Samaritans (which really, really helped) and by saturday I felt a bit better. On sunday I worked with the girl, and things were awkward but I didn't care about upsetting her or ignoring her. I hated her for what she, and I, had done to my girlfriend. Things will be difficult, as I was recently promoted to be her manager, but I feel more positive now about being able to bare it a bit.
Four days later and here I am. Im trying to balance my own mental health against making this relationship work, which at the moment is difficult. My girlfriend, understandably, needs to ask questions and be angry or upset at me, and go through the multiple phases of emotion that those who have been cheated on go through, but I, whilst dealing with depression, am struggling to hear these things, and answer the questions.
Im going to try and get counselling for my depression, but with irregular working hours and a rota only released half a week in advance, its going to be difficult.
Telling my parents about the depression has only made their protectiveness worse.
I feel absolutely horrible, and so guilty, which means I'm beating myself up which is making my depression worse. I honestly do regret everything, and this has in its own way made me realise just how incredible my girlfriend is, and how little she deserved to be treated by the scumbag that is me. All of her friends said how unlike me it was to cheat, how Im a really nice guy, and that is what I think persuaded my girlfriend to stay with me. But I don't think I am a nice guy, not anymore.
One thing is for certain, I am never going to cheat again. I am going to get a handle on my depression. I am never going to let my girlfriend feel this shit again, and more selfishly, myself feel this shit again.
Now comes the long and hard process of helping my girlfriend believe that.