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living together when it's hard

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hello everyone, I need some good old fashioned advice, this might be a long post..sorry!

I've been living with my boyfriend in a student house for the past 3 months, we've been together for 14 months and lived in the same block in halls last year. We sorted out getting the house, were the first to move in and have put a lot of effort into making it a nice place to live. The first month was definitely teething problems, silly bickering about cleaning and sorting things out. This was exaggerated by difficulties with other housemates.
However, since November things have been increasingly difficult in our relationship. He is clearly very depressed and struggling with balancing his course, the house, and our relationship and social life. Even though we live together we don't spend very much time together, we rarely do the things we did last year, and this has caused arguments. Often he is sat in his room worrying and feeling frustrated. He struggles with intimacy, we very rarely kiss or have sex anymore. He also doesn't want to go out with me or with his friends saying he can't afford it. He has been very distant and cold with me and sometimes very controlling, becoming irrational and upset if I do something he doesn't like.
I'm finding it hard to support him through this difficult time and look after myself. Initially i didn't understand why he was acting strange, i thought it was me causing problems, but he's been honest and he clearly has depression and anxiety. However, he refuses to get help. Living with him while things are like this has been hard to deal with and has made the situation worse, as I react to his behaviour and can't get space from him when he is feeling irrational or angry, so things escalate. Sometimes everything is good (at the moment things are much better than they have been) but when stress triggers his mood to change things become difficult again. My friends believe the relationship is becoming borderline abusive and that I should leave.
I'm considering moving out, and have been offered a room in halls for the rest of the year. Which are located about a 10 minute walk from our house. However, it is much more expensive than here, my room would be 1/4 the size of the one I have now, and i worry that moving to halls might not be better for me. I don't know if it will be worth it. Nevertheless, it is clear that I need to get space from my boyfriend, I'm just not sure how to go about this. I wonder if things will get better over time or if its the case that I should just leave so to force space between us to give our relationship a chance and him time to deal with his own life...

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Bee123,

    How is everything going?

    This is a tough situation. The most important thing to think about is you, you need to look after yourself and if this relationship is causing problems for you then it doesn't sound like the best thing for you.

    Getting some space sounds like a good idea, but it's hard to know how your boyfriend might react to that. Having depression means he could take things completely the wrong way and react badly to this, or say something that might make you feel a little guilty.

    Your boyfriend is depressed. Depression is horrible, and it's clearly affecting a lot. I don't think he means to cause all of these problems, or make you feel a certain way, but he can't help it. It must be really hard for him, having to juggle a lot of different things with depression, but then I realise it must be really hard for you too.

    I think if you do decide to move, you should sit him down and try to explain (if this is the case) that you will be there for him no matter what, and try to explain in a calm way your reasons for moving. Try not to say anything that might make him feel worse than he already does.

    Maybe you could take a look at this article, it's about having a partner with depression:

    http://www.thesite.org/sex-and-relationships/relationships/my-boyfriendgirlfriend-has-depression-6069.html

    It's completely your decision. We're here for you.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Bee123, welcome to the forums :wave:
    I think if you do decide to move, you should sit him down and try to explain (if this is the case) that you will be there for him no matter what, and try to explain in a calm way your reasons for moving. Try not to say anything that might make him feel worse than he already does.
    :yes:

    Perhaps making a list of pros and cons about what is keeping you with him could be a good start - while later considering the living situation. It seems that you want to move, but also seem a little confused as to whether you still want to be with him or not. Your friends think you should leave - but what do you think?

    Sometimes we stay with partners for convenience and practicality, yet if you feel it's over, moving out could be the safest option.

    It would be a really good idea to try and talk to him about all this. How would you feel approaching the subject with him?
    Butterfly123's point of him reacting badly due to what hes going through could very well be true, so try and approach this as a two way conversation so he doesnt feel attacked somehow. Maybe space or a break is really what you need.

    Whatever you decide will be what you feel is right, so can't be wrong! Do let us know how it goes *hug*
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Butterly123 and Christele

    Thank you both for your thoughts and advice, the links were also very useful, it’s really appreciated!! I’ve been feeling really alone in this and your thoughts have really helped me. *hug*

    I have spoken with him about the possibility of moving out a couple of times and he seems to understand and is being supportive in his own way, conversations have been much calmer.

    We had a big conversation last night, he was at a big low point, we talked things through and for the first time he has started to consider getting help. I hope that he does go ahead with this, all I can do is support him in what he decides to do and encourage him that getting help is not weak or something to be ashamed of. I have been seeing a therapist for anxiety problems after a mugging last year and it has helped me to huge amount in feeling myself again. I hope that seeing me take those steps, will help him feel able to too.

    He is also considering taking time out from university so he can have time to go home and feel better. He says he just wants to leave to have space to find out who he is, and reconnect with things.

    As far as our relationship goes I think that I need to be there for him as a friend and moving out may be the best option for this to work. Its clear that having a relationship at the moment isn’t helping him focus on himself and his needs. I don’t want to be the person in his life stopping him from doing anything - and often I’m the scapegoat for his depression and avoidance. I also seem to facilitate behaviour which isn’t helpful by living here. So while it will be hard it is probably the best thing to do. Moving will mean a new start for me and hopefully space for him to do what he needs.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm glad things are a little better and that your boyfriend is considering getting help.

    You seem to care a lot about him, and it's so lovely that you're doing all of this to help him.
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