I've been in a serious relationship for two years and not sure I still want to be in it. We're both early-30s, met online when each wanted "more than just dating."
I was in the Armed Forces, contemplating whether that life really was for me. We met a few months before her father passed away.
I’d previously been in many short relationships, nothing "meaningful.” She’d barely dated at all but was ready to meet “the one.”
She was the first person who made me truly realize what and who I am, deeply. She grew up surrounded by oppression and judgement due to her religious beliefs and skin color. She's a social justice warrior, which I think is awesome.
She taught me how to look at things deeper (i.e., "white privilege, “sexism” (even towards males), “oppression” (in relation to “thinking”/religion).
Critical thinking is always at the forefront now. I feel more on "edge, “more” responsible" to think about everything and anything, all angles of why and how, to the point of anxiety and exhaustion.
I sometimes feel afraid to speak without “offending” or "slighting." I want to be a responsible and humble human but not to this extreme.
Meanwhile, I've been suffering from depression for a decade and it’s worsened these past two-to-four years... affected either from the military, this relationship, passive aggressiveness from my family, living with them, my job, etc.
I even told her I'm breaking up with her because I don't want to be in a relationship.
Yet I “need” her. She’s the sweetest and kindest girl I've ever met, despite her social justice warrior mindset.
She’s helped me – seeing deeper into my depression (and paying for some therapy!) - with getting my current job, with sorting my finances.
She's done absolutely nothing wrong other than demand the best from me and life.
I’ve told her I just want to move out of my family's house and “live on my own” (though I'm scared because of finances and my depression).
She wants to move out too but only if she marries (strict family religious rule).
But I'm not quite ready to settle down and marry! Yet here we are, both too scared to break up with each other and somehow just "making it work.” I know this isn't easy on her either. Am I just dragging her along?
It’s the depression, not the relationship. At this time, it’s mostly you who’s being “dragged along” emotionally, by yourself, and due to the long-term depression.
Your immediate priority is to get therapy for yourself and treatment that helps you build confidence to move forward with your life. Ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist or seek help from a mental health clinic.
Your girlfriend is a great support to you and has also opened your mind to significant realities, but she’s not a therapist and that’s your greatest need right now.
Thank her for all her caring advice and help but explain that there’s a journey of building inner confidence and a positive outlook, which you can only embark on with professional guidance.
You can stay loving and connected during this time. You don’t have to break up, though you may both find that the process of learning and healing may sometimes be very intense.
That may result in taking a break for a while. But any final decision about your future together, or lack of it, should not be made while you’re so depressed.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man, 48, who wondered about taking his much-younger wife, 19, to a corporate Christmas party (Dec. 19):
Reader – “The fact that you're still inclined to attach yourself to very young girls is a bigger issue. The girls, 16 and 17, you’ve previously been attracted to while in your 40s hadn’t yet developed into mature secure women.
“Young girls swept off their feet by older men aren’t yet emotionally or intellectually stable to make good, sound decisions to stave off the wolves that could take advantage of them.
“If you have a sound relationship with this girl as your wife, then you should go as a couple and disregard all the comments and backtalk.
“Some people may see this age difference as a huge flaw in your character and or morals, which can also affect your work environment.
“Perhaps, you and your wife should engage in marriage counselling to help navigate the future of this marriage.”
Tip of the day:
Depression clouds decision-making. Get therapy and treatment to help you feel confident about making life decisions.