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Thread: (Same Sex) Relationship with a depressed/grumpy man

  1. #1

    (Same Sex) Relationship with a depressed/grumpy man

    Hi everyone. I'll try not to ramble on too much. The Vicar at our church suggested I get onto an online forum to seek some support and guidance from those of you who may possibly be, or have been, in my shoes.

    I am a nearly 30 year old gay man in Australia. I have been extremely fortunate to grow up in a totally stable, warm, affirming and totally accepting family. As a result, I can very comfortably say (and say with great appreciation) that I am in a very small proportion of society that has been fortunate enough to travel through life with minimal to no mental health issues. I am stable, happy, optimistic, industrious, confident and try to see the best in life. My positivity has strengthened even further after a near death experience with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes a little over a year ago: these experiences can either make or break you, and I chose to let it make me.

    I have been in a relationship for nearly a year now with a 45 year old doctor. He has grown up in a highly religious household with very emotionally detached parents who also did not accept him for who he was (totally separate issues, his heterosexual sister also struggles as an adult with how detached they were). As a result, he has low self esteem, high anxiety, high depression, moodiness, self esteem issues - the list goes on.

    Throughout the past nearly twelve months, between trying to manage his mental health and be a support, it has felt like it has all been about him. His issues. His problems. His struggles. Him, him, him. And at some point I had to ask myself "well what about me? Don't I matter too?" My mistake has been, in prioritising him and caring for him, I have put my own needs on hold. We are currently in couple's therapy and it is my intention to start setting some boundaries now.

    It has been a largely sexless relationship. He claims to have no interest at all. This has been a huge problem for me, as I have a very healthy sex drive. More recently, I have been discovering face washers next to the bed at night (I have been sleeping in the spare room next door lately as I have been up working late, and have not really wanted to sleep with him). So clearly he DOES have some sexual ability, but doesn't want to do it with me.

    His moods are also just so exhausting. He is in a constant state of anger and stress. Everything sets him off. I feel like I have to walk around on eggshells all the time. The odd thing is, intellectually he recognises his issues and is the first to admit he has problems and says he loves me and that he wants to change, but I wonder if he will be able to. Many of his friends have rallied around me and told me has been this way for years. He likes his routine, doesn't like change, fixed mindset etc. I suspect he likes an arrangement that asks very little of him, and he can 'cherry pick' the parts he likes.

    I am exhausted. I do everything. I have to manage my job which I love, but is very full on. Manage my diabetes (a full time job, especially when you manage it well like I do). Manage the house. Manage the upcoming renovations (as he has no initiative, it's been a brainwave of his for years but has had no ability to start). Manage his moods. Try and keep the ship afloat. I do love him, he has a number of great qualities, and I want to believe he can change. But I do wonder at what point I just walk away and say "I cannot do this anymore".

    I have been very critical in my adult life of gay culture and its seeming shallowness, and many gay men who just walk away when things get difficult. I refuse to become one of them, or to be a 'flake'. However I wonder at what point I need to give up. I have stood by him for so long now, and in doing so, have put many of my own needs on hold. He is constantly apologising for blowing fuses and saying things. He just cannot handle ANYTHING difficult or stressful. Most people have acknowledged I am the adult in the relationship, and it often troubles me I have to have discussions about some very basic concepts with someone sixteen years my senior (not to mention a medical professional).

    I have to ask myself if I can do this for the rest of my life, and I know I cannot if things don't change. Perhaps we just have different emotional and sexual energy. I wonder if he has the skills to keep a serious relationship afloat. He is a fundamentally selfish person and coupled with his mental health issues, he is very hard to love some days. It is really, really hard work being with him. Fortunately, being a strong and confident person, I do not own his problems and recognise that NONE of this is about me. Even my own Psychologist told me that ordinarily she would need to tell many of her clients that it was not a reflection on them, but with me I already understand this. I refuse to be made feel, and do not feel, like less of a person. I know my worth and know 99.9% of his issues began LONG before my time.

    Has anyone else been in a similar situation before? How did you cope? Did it get better, or did you leave?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Why did you get involved with this person? It sounds miserable and draining. What are you getting out of this? Do you usually choose projects?

    I suggest you research co dependency.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member quirky's Avatar
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    What is keeping you there Australia090? I echo HollyJ's comment above, do you think there is a part of you that wants to save him, do you want to be a hero in some way, prove to yourself how well balanced you are?

    It sounds like your own emotional and sexual needs are not covered and expending so much energy on a partner will only be detrimental to you long term.

    How is the couples therapy going?

    You ask if any of us has been there..
    Not exactly but my last boyfriend was deeply unhappy. He did cater to my needs as much as he could and he really tried. However his own life was vacuous and devoid of friendships and human connections. I encouraged and promoted a lot of positivity in his life, allowed him to feel seen and heard, performed a whole lotta emotional labour. Eventually I left him but guess what...after that he turned his life around and almost photocopied my life. He went to therapy, started opening up to people, started volunteering and taking art classes and guitar lessons. These are all things I was doing so it almost feels like he stole my identity or something. Then he wasn't as keen to get back together with me. So he walked off into the sunset with a renewed sense of self and I was left extremely confused and resentful about why exactly I had put so much work in.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member Afireblue's Avatar
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    It hasn't even been a year and you are having to manage someone's mental health and be a support??? Sexless relationship??

    I feel like when most people come here they already know what they need to do and just need some cold hard re-affirmation... I believe you are one of those.

    It's time to find someone more suitable for you. You are a catch ... don't let anyone bring you down!

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