My Partner Is Grieving and Depressed. Is There Hope for Our Relationship?
Dear Idealistic Partner,
It was a pleasure to read your thoughtful, beautifully expressed letter. I’m impressed by the depth of your knowledge and understanding of yourself and your partner.
Clearly you both have a great deal in common; your shared values, backgrounds and experience provide a solid basis for a relationship-yet you fear setting yourself up for disappointment if the relationship does not last.
Your partner, whom you love, has had several losses in the last six months and is pulling away but trying at the same time to say in touch, revealing his ambivalence about being close, while caring for you too; you say that you have also retreated at times. Is this in reaction to your partner, or are you, too, feeling ambivalent about the risks that go with deep connections? Maybe you’re both frightened by past sad memories. You may fear this relationship will pull you back into ways of living that you have happily left behind, perhaps after a great deal of trouble. You’re afraid of being co-dependent- you both have depressive tendencies, and as we know depression can be contagious. I think ACOA has helped you; you might consider pursuing another therapeutic connection as well.
Six months is not a very long time to grieve multiple losses, and his friends report that before these events he was a very happy person. If you are indeed in love, perhaps you could give yourself and your partner a little more time. Sometimes the experience of loving is in itself intensely frightening. I deduce you’ve had some difficult relationships in the past and you don’t want to go through that kind of terrible pain again- I can certainly sympathize with that. But you’re a mature person who can sort through the good and the bad, and I trust that you will be able to care for yourself appropriately, especially with the help of your women’s group. The best advice, of course, always comes from within, and I wonder what your deepest self is telling you.
You could simply take a chance on this love, at least for a bit more time.
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AmandaJuly 31st, 2012 at 4:05 AM
Taking care for others and understanding where they are coming from is a critical skill to learn in a relationship. Give your partner time and discuss when he feels like discussing.
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