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Stay in long term relationship or move on?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
So, I have been in a relationship for almost 5 years.. obviously, being human, things are no longer exciting, more just an everyday routine. For the last 3-4 years (so the majority of the relationship) my partner has had depression. As much as I tried to tell him this was the case and tell him to go and get help, if someone with depression doesn’t know they have depression, they will not do anything about it, so he never did. His depression stemmed from early life and problems that happened years and years ago which still affect him today. Due to his depression, I would never know day by day whether he was going to be in a good mood or a bad mood, he gets angry at everything (even tiny little things), he takes him moods out on me (never physically I might add, but words can hurt just as much), he never wanted to do anything, we would have constant arguments etc etc. So this had been going on for years and as much as I am ashamed to say it.. it got to a point where I could no longer cope with it, if he wasn’t going to do anything to help himself and wasn’t going to accept help from anyone else, it became a constant losing battle for me, I was no longer happy and life had become this routine of arguments and mood swings and nothing really exciting going on in everyday life.
So for months I had thought about leaving him, but being the ‘caring’ person I am, the one thing holding me back from leaving him is how he will react, due to his present mental problems, which are not his fault, but for me it wasn’t fair to put him in that position when I already know how vulnerable he is. So I had been thinking of this for months and months, written lists, spoke with friends and I had finally plucked up the courage and made my mind up to do it. I hadn’t planned exactly when as it’s not something you can really plan I don’t think.. So one Friday night we were having a normal argument, probably about some rubbish I don’t even remember, and then he turned around to me and said ‘why don’t you leave me then’ and to which I responded (without thinking) ‘well we’re not going to be together forever anyway’ .. this went down like a led balloon..
So the argument continued for a little while then he left the house. That night I felt emotionless, I literally didn’t feel anything, not happy, not sad, not upset ..nothing!
We didn’t talk until the next day. I woke up the next morning and it’s like all my emotions hit me, I suddenly couldn’t stop crying and couldn’t do anything. I was devastated. I felt like my heart had been broken, but I had broken it myself (if that makes sense). I remembered all the reasons as to why we were not right anymore, but suddenly I missed all the good times (which is natural I suppose). So I carried on with my day (when I say carried on, I cried and stayed in bed for most of it), then I text him and asked if he wanted to see me, to talk everything through properly, without arguing? To which he responded ‘if I do this, is there any chance of us getting back together’ I said ‘that’s not what I am saying, I am simply offering you an explanation, if you don’t want it then fine, but I'm offering it to you now’
So I went later that day and we spoke for hours about everything, I took with me the lists of everything I had been thinking and read them through to him. To cut a long description short, he admitted all the things he had been doing were wrong and agreed to make a doctor’s appointment for his depression. In my mind I was happy with his response but all I could think was ‘I've heard all this before’ it was so hard for me to believe that was he was saying was true as we had had these conversations so many times before.
I told him after that talk that I needed some time to think about everything, I needed to see some of these changes being made and then I would re-consider everything.

This may all seem straight forward but I'm about to throw a huge spanner in the works.
So for a good while now there has been this man at work who I have always been very good friends with, deep down I've always ‘liked’ him and had a ‘thing’ for him, but never let it show or told anyone obviously as I was in a long term relationship and I would like to say now that I do NOT think cheating is ok and there are never any excuses for cheating.
So one day during the months I was thinking about leaving my current partner, me and this man from work were texting normally, this escalated into texting until 4 in the morning and us both letting each other know how we felt about each other. We were both oblivious to the fact we both liked each other and it all turned a little exciting. So rightly or wrongly (more than likely ‘wrongly) we continued to text all the time (I had started deleting the texts when I was with my boyfriend which I am aware is the first sign of cheating even though nothing had actually happened). We would act normal with each other at work but would still continue to text all day and suddenly there was this ‘sexual tension’ almost between us, it was so strange and felt so strange to me because I hadn’t done this for like 5 years.
He was in a toxic relationship which had been on its last legs for a while.
If I'm talking honestly and not making excuses I think we both just needed a little excitement and we found that in each other. He was giving me things that I was missing in my relationship.. attention, genuinely caring about me etc.
One day I was sat in a car park on my own contemplating going into the shop and buying some cigarettes, I was so stressed (I had caused myself added stress by getting involved with him) and had a lot going on.. I felt I needed some cigarettes to take the edge off. He knew I was in the car park and came and saw me. We spoke for ages in the car about our current situations and how this probably was not ok..
We kissed in the car that day.. for the first time, which sounds like nothing but I had always had this ‘thing’ for him and it was such a cocktail of emotions.. I had not kissed anyone other than my boyfriend for the last 5 years, it was kind of like a relief as I suppose I had wanted to do that for a long time.. but in the same moment, I knew I had just betrayed my boyfriend and I didn’t even feel that guilty..
We continues to meeting for a while and the kisses continued.. until one day I had had an argument with my boyfriend and then he had text me telling me he had a free house and did I want to pop over? Of course I wanted to go and see him, he turned into my release from life and the feelings I had for him were growing stronger and stronger.. We didn’t sleep with each other than night, but other things did happen and again.. I didn’t feel guilty.
We were now both in a position where we were both cheating on our partners.
So this continued and then he left his girlfriend and he is now single.
I split up with my boyfriend and then we spoke and I am now in the thinking stage where I need to seriously decide what I do and don’t want but this is so hard.
I love my boyfriend and there really is no denying that (some people may disagree). I know I have done wrong but I honestly do love him to pieces otherwise, this would have been easy. He doesn’t know that I have cheated and I am not sure whether to tell him. When we are together I think of all the reasons as to why I am not happy, he tries making plans for the future and I decline because I don’t actually know whether I want to be with him anymore. I am now scared that I have made him make all the changes (which even if he is not with me, will still have a positive impact on his life) and in the end I am still not going to be happy. I don’t know whether it was him not making me happy or whether I was just becoming unhappy with the relationship and maybe it was time to end.
The feelings I have for this man at work are not stronger than ever, we are still messaging all the time and he is making me so so happy. At first I thought he was just a bit of a thrill and excitement but I am now realising that I do actually have feelings for him. He is aware of my whole situation and has told me that I need to do what is going to make me happy, he is not stopping me from going back to my boyfriend he just wants me to be happy, but I don’t think that I want to stop talking to him, or stop anything that is currently going on with him.
I am aware that I need to make a decision but one of them needs to go effectively. But how do I make this decision. Do I leave the person I have been with for 5 years, we know each other inside and out and as soon as we talk about leaving each other, it’s the hardest and most upsetting thing in the world.. and start a new life with this person from work, the person that when I think about it (because I'm a girl and its what we do) I can imagine a future with, a happy future.
Or do I stay with my boyfriend and see what happens in the future and stop everything that is going on with the man from work.
I do not know how to make this decision.
I'm a strong believe that life is too short and that everything in life happens for a reason, but right now I do not know what to do and I just need some honest, non-judgemental advise.
Maybe from someone who has been through something similar or just someone from the outside looking in.


  • DreaDrea Posts: 292 The Mix Regular
    Hey VickiAnne,

    It's clear that it's a struggle right now because when you have been with someone for 5 years, there's a lot of memories and emotional attachment to that person. We can't tell you really what is right or wrong to do in this situation (mostly because there isn't a clear cut right or wrong), but we can help you take steps to really decide what you want. It would be good to write a list of things that you want in a relationship and in a partner and then maybe see who fits the list more. Or possibly writing a list of the things that each do to make you happy and what you don't like as much, then you might see on paper really who you are more likely to be happier with. With whether you should tell your partner you cheated is of course something that you should decide for yourself and we will support you every step of the way. There is no doubt you love your partner because as you said, it would have been much easier to end things with him if you didn't!

    It's always a risk to end a relationship with someone to be with someone else, but not knowing if that will work out. A piece of advice however is to ask yourself, if you have been so unhappy with your current partner, although it is a risk to let him go for someone else, that new relationship could either be really great and the best thing to happen to you, or it could not turn into anything serious, but either way you might be happier than the relationship you're currently in.

    This may not be necessarily true because it differs for every single person, but if you are into your colleague and although there is sexual tension, there is also an emotional connection, maybe it could be good to ask yourself if you love your current partner on more friendly terms than romantic terms? Again, that may not be the case but it is good to explore these things as you could come to a conclusion when you put things into perspective. You're clearly a caring person and you want what is best for yourself and your partner which is what is making this so difficult for you, and you should be very proud of yourself for supporting someone with depression! Sometimes relationships end, and that is perfectly normal! Sometimes you end up falling for someone else, or sometimes you just end up losing feelings for the person you're with. We assure you you're not the only one that has been through this if that does help! It's also understandable that given your partner's mental health history, you're hesitant to end the relationship, however you deserve to be happy too, and you must remember that someone who is unwell needs to want to get better first in themselves, and as much as you are a part of his life, you should think about your happiness just as much. It is easy to feel guilty for leaving someone who is at a low point, but from what you have written, it seems like he has been struggling for a few years. There is nothing wrong with being selfish sometimes to ensure your own happiness. If you have any more questions or just want to talk please do not hesitate to! That's what we're here for.

    Have a great day and look forward to hearing from you soon!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey VickiAnne,

    I agree with most of what Drea says, and wanted to add in a little bit of my own perspective.

    I was in an abusive relationship for a while. When I split up with him after recognising the abuse, I was still devastated and mourned the relationship. You're allowed to feel sad about something ending, even if you've instigated the ending.

    It is completely okay to not be able to continue supporting your partner's depression - he is not your responsibility, and his mental state is his own responsibility. It's great that you have been supportive in the past, but at the point that it starts draining you and making you unhappy, that is no longer fair.

    I would be making my decision on considering whether I wanted to stay with my current partner or not - and in your case, I would suggest that you should split up with him.
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